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How To Have A Fun Wedding

Publish On 2015-07-28 , 3:14 PM

How To Have A Fun Wedding | A Practical Wedding

The wedding industry, that beast of a machine, is built around selling you lots of PRETTY. Pick up any wedding magazine, and you’ll see page after page of dresses, centerpieces, favors, personalized everything (did you know that wedding toilet paper is an actual product you can buy?), and other things designed to “wow” your guests, but, oddly, very little information about how to make sure your guests have fun at your wedding. Which is odd, because when planning any other party, the main question on most people’s minds is, “Hey, how can I make this fun? (And what are we going to feed these people?)” But that doesn’t mean that people don’t want their weddings to be fun. One of the questions on my intake form for new clients is, “What are your top priorities for your wedding?” The most common answers (because my clients are rad) are:

1. That our guests are comfortable

2. That the wedding is a ton of fun (for everyone, including us)

So how exactly does one have a fun wedding? That, my friends, is the million-dollar question. If the wedding industry at large were to offer an answer, it would end up looking like some kind of fancy version of Burning Man, with a cigar roller! And a belly dancer! And a brass band! And a gospel choir! And a face-painting station! And a fortune-teller! And a photo booth! And while a wedding with all those things would probably be really fun (if a little manic), it’s very possible to create fun without a three-ring circus.


Making sure your guests know what to expect is the key element in having a wedding that people enjoy. Are both the ceremony and reception on grass or rocky ground? Let people know so that they can choose their footwear appropriately. This is also true when it comes to temperature. For example, in coastal Northern California it gets cold almost every night, even if it’s ninety-degrees during the day. So if you have a lot of guests coming from out of state, they’ll need to be informed ahead of time to bring a jacket (because unlike the more touristy parts of San Francisco, I doubt there will be overpriced Golden Gate Bridge-branded fleece jackets for sale at your wedding). Formality level comes into play here too. While you shouldn’t dictate exactly what your guests wear, very few people like showing up either extremely over- or under-dressed for an event, so giving a heads up on the general dress code is appreciated, whether that’s black tie or county-park casual (and maybe especially important if you’re doing black tie in a county park).

Beyond weather and what to wear, it’s nice for guests to know what you’re going to want them to do. Need help breaking down tables at the end of the night? My experience is that if you tell people ahead of time, they will be there with bells (or stocking feet) on. But spring this on them right before they grab their bags to get on the shuttle home? They’ll probably still help, because they love you, but some grumbling is also pretty guaranteed. I mean, I can break down chairs until the cows come home, but if I find out I have to do it after I’ve already started preparing myself to go home to take a bubble bath? The enthusiasm level is going to be on the waning side. This goes doubly for your family and your wedding party—the more you let them know in advance what your expectations are, whether that’s, “We really want you to just be guests and enjoy yourselves,” or “We’re going to have a ton of things we’ll need help with and would appreciate all hands on deck,” the more people are going to be in the right mood and mindset to both act and enjoy themselves accordingly.


One of my first rules for any party is this: do not let your guests be hungry. Because hungry quickly turns into hangry, and well, it’s pretty hard to enjoy yourself when you’re hangry. Does this mean you have to serve a full meal? Nope! You just need to serve one if you’ve set guests up to expect one. So, if your reception is, say, from 2–5 p.m., most people will infer that there won’t be a meal served and will eat before and/or plan on eating after. The same would go with a 9 p.m.–midnight reception. You can also hold a reception at another time and advertise that it’s not going to involve a full meal. “Please join us for appetizers and drinks from 5 p.m.–8 p.m.,” or “Dessert reception to follow,” or “Cake and punch after the ceremony,” or any other wording describing the fact that people should not expect to eat a meal. The opposite side of this is, of course, that if you’re having a 4 p.m. ceremony “with reception to follow” and are planning on the reception going until 10 p.m., you very, very definitely need to feed people dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy (who doesn’t love tacos or burgers? Not anyone I want at a party) but it does have to be filling. See: hangry.


The problem with this question is that everyone has a different definition of what fun is. Because while a booze-and-drug-fueled, dance-till-the-sun-comes-up party defines it for some people, for others that’s some kind of nightmare and an intimate dinner party with board games sounds way more fun, thankyouverymuch. If forced to name the ten most fun weddings I’ve encountered, you’d see both of those, and a bunch of weddings that were somewhere in the great space in between. But what all of them had in common were that they were incredibly authentic to the couple, and to the largest part of their social circle, and hence, largest chunk of their guests. Not the giant dance party types? It’s highly unlikely that you’ve ended up with a group of friends who are, so please feel free to go ahead and skip the loud music. Totally the giant dance party types? Bring. It. On. (And leave the board games at home.) As with most things in life—knowing your crowd is key.

But what if you don’t have a particular group of friends, and your family runs the gamut, and you can barely think of two people coming to the wedding who like the same kinds of parties? Then…


This is one of the big secrets of weddings: people enjoy them the most when they’re emotionally invested in the reason they’re there—that two people they love are publicly joining their lives together. Often this means a meaningful ceremony that puts the guests into an emotional group high of holy shit, I am so happy for them. But I’ve also seen it happen at receptions after a private ceremony; the key is that a wedding reception isn’t just another party. It’s a party celebrating a very, very specific thing—your marriage. This doesn’t mean you need a tiered cake, or a white dress, or a sit down dinner—it just means that the focus should be on your marriage. If you skip the public ceremony, toasts can help a lot with this—I’ve seen many toasts that were equally, if not more, emotionally touching as any ceremony. It also has to do a lot with the attitude and emotions of the couple. It’s hard not to be on an emotional high when the people you’re there to see are on one.

At the end of the day, the people who aren’t going to have fun at your wedding aren’t going to have fun no matter what you do. You could have three live bands, a quiet board game room, and a lounge area for chatting, and there would probably still be one person who went home early. That’s okay, because this is the truth: you cannot please everyone. Once you have a group of more than about six people, someone is going to think that any given idea is probably not the best one. Your painfully shy cousin? Socially forward college roommate? High-energy sister? Easily overwhelmed and kind of awkward best friend? Party animal high school friends? Let’s just be real, there’s probably not a single party in the world that all of these people are going to love equally. What they do love, however, is you, and so even if they don’t go home saying, “That was, no question, one of the best parties I’ve ever been to,” hopefully they’ll go home saying, “I am so, so happy to have been able to be there to celebrate when this couple I love was married.”


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Government and Catholic Church Requirements for Getting Married

Publish On 2015-08-05 , 12:14 PM

Getting married in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country means that a couple is married in the eyes of man and of God. It is thus imperative that couple seeking to be married in a Catholic Church need to fulfill the legal requirements first, that is, they should apply first for a marriage license. This license, which is required even for civil weddings, is secured from the office local civil registrar (LCR) from where either of the two contracting parties resides and needs their personal appearance. There is a normal 10-day waiting period from the time the application for the license is filed, to the time when the actual license is issued. It is valid for 120 days from the date of issuance, and can be used anywhere in the country.


These are the following documentary requirements that need to be submitted upon application for a marriage license:

Certified true copy of each party’s birth certificate, issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO)
Since 18 is the legal marrying age under Philippine laws, any party aged 18-21 needs parental consent, while those aged 21-25 need a written parental advice that expresses parents’ or guardian’s awareness of the intention to marry
Certificate of attendance in a pre-marital counseling and responsible parenthood seminar, usually conducted by the health department of the city/municipal hall where the couple applied for the license
For those previously married, the death certificate of the deceased spouse, or the decree of divorce or annulment of previous marriage, whichever is applicable
For a foreigner marrying a Filipino citizen in the Philippines, a certification stating the legal capacity to contract marriage, obtained from the diplomatic or consular office of his country

Once the marriage license is issued, the couple will need to comply with other requirements as prescribed by the church where they have opted to get married in. In general, the requirements are:

Baptismal and confirmation certificates of both parties, with the annotation “For Marriage Purposes Only”, and issued within the past three months. Non-Catholic Christians may also verify with the Catholic church if their baptism is acceptable;
Marriage license from the LCR of the city/municipality of either of the contracting parties;
If previously married in civil rites, a certified true copy of their marriage contract issued by the NSO;
A canonical interview with the parish priest or his duly authorized representative;
Certificate of attendance in a marriage preparation seminar (also called “pre-Cana seminar”);
Ecclesiastical or marriage banns, which are posted in the respective parishes of both parties for at least three consecutive Sundays or weeks prior to their wedding date;
Permit from the bride-to-be’s parish, to be submitted to the parish office of the church where the wedding will take place; and
The names and addresses of the wedding sponsors.

The following may also be required, as the case may be:

A certificate of freedom to marry, for Filipino citizens who have been living abroad for the past six months
If widowed, the death certificate of the deceased spouse
For previously annulled marriages, the document of nullity from a competent marriage tribunal
• If one of the parties is non-Catholic, a certification from the non-Catholic minister or pastor on the corresponding party’s freedom to marry

The Catholic Church also administers the required baptism and confirmation sacraments for non-Catholics who wish to convert to the Catholic religion before getting married.

It is important to note that many of the above, whether required by the government or by the church, are subject to fees, validity periods, and deadlines for submission.

As a side note: There are instances when a marriage is considered valid even without a marriage license. These are:

when at least one of the contracting parties is dying. Note, though, that the marriage is valid even if the dying party/ies survives;
if the contracting parties reside in an area that has no means of transportation to allow them to appear personally before the LCR;
marriages among Muslims and members of ethnic communities, as long as their union is in accordance with their customs, rites or practices; and
those who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and have no legal impediments to marry each other. They need only submit an affidavit stating such facts.

In the first two cases, the solemnizing officer has the duty to establish the contracting parties’ ages, relationship, and absence of legal impediments to the marriage, as well as submit an original affidavit and legible copy of the marriage contract to the LCR of the locality where the ceremony was performed, and within 30 days after it was performed.


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How to Seat Your Wedding Reception Guests

Publish On 2015-09-02 , 1:45 PM

If you're having 50 guests at a buffet, you may or may not want to give people specific seating assignments. But if you're having 100 guests or more and serving a seated meal, you'll want to make sure everyone's got a specific place to sit. Why? For one, people like to know where they're sitting -- and that you took the time to choose where and whom they should sit with. It's also helpful if you're serving several different entree choices, because the caterer and waitstaff can figure out beforehand how many chicken, filet and veggie dishes a given table gets, because they (you) know who's sitting there. Read on for tips on how to seat neatly.

Mahogany Place Tagaytay

Start Early

We've been at kitchen tables the night before the wedding (or even wedding morning) with a bride and groom just starting their seating chart. Don't let this be you -- you've got more important things to think about at that point! Sure, it's fine to make last-minute changes, but try to get the chart mostly done at least a week before the day.

Hit the Keys

Create a new spreadsheet. If you haven't already, insert a column into your guest list document categorizing all the invitees by relationship: bride's friend, bride's family, groom's friend, groom's family, bride's family friend, groom's family friend and so on. This way, you'll be able to easily sort the list and break it down into more logical table assortments. Now you'll need to separate these lists into distinct tables.

Create a Paper Trail

If you're feeling more low-tech, draw circles (for tables) on a big sheet of paper and write names inside them (make sure you know how many people can comfortably be seated at each one). Or you could write every guest's name on a sticky note and place it accordingly.

Head Up the Head Table

A traditional head table is not round but long and straight, and it's generally set up along a wall, on risers, facing all the other reception tables. It may even have two tiers if your wedding party is large. Usually the bride and groom sit smack-dab in the middle (where everyone can see them), with the maid of honor next to the groom, the best man next to the bride, and then boy/girl out from there. Flower girls or ring bearers usually sit at the tables where their parents are sitting, much to the relief of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Decide to sit this way, or plan a sweetheart table for a little one-on-one time.

Clearwater Resthouse

Switch Things Up

But you don't have to do it that way. All the bridesmaids can sit on the bride's side, and all the groomsmen on the groom's. Or maybe you're not into being on display, or you don't want your wedding party to feel isolated from other guests. Let your wedding party sit at a round reception table or two with each other and/or with their dates/significant others, and have the head table be a sweetheart table for the two of you. (How romantic!) Another option: You two sit with your parents and let that be the head table, with the wedding party at their own tables.

Place Your Parents

Traditionally, your parents and your sweetie's parents sit at the same table, along with grandparents, siblings not in the wedding party, and the officiant and his/her spouse if they attend the reception. But if your or your honey's parents are divorced, and are uncomfortable about sitting next to each other, you might want to let each set of parents host their own table of close family and/or friends . This could mean up to four parents' tables, depending on your situation -- or have the divorced parent who raised you (or your partner) and his/her spouse/date sit at the table with still-married parents. (Phew, confusing!)

Remember, the parent-seating question is a flexible one. Set it up in whatever way best suits everybody. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to talk to the parents in question about it before you make your final decision.

Tame Tensions

There may also be situations in which certain family members just do not get along. Maybe they haven't spoken in years. Maybe the last time they saw each other there was a drunken catfight. Understandably, you want to keep them as far apart as possible. Think about these kinds of relationships (or lack thereof) before you even start making your chart, so you can take them into consideration in the first place and begin by seating Aunt Hattie at table three and Aunt Lucy across the room at table 15. Trust us -- they'll appreciate it.

Play Matchmaker

Again, all your college or high school friends will be psyched to sit at a table together. This especially works out well if you and your beloved went to the same school and have the same friends. It also gives them all an opportunity to catch up with each other, because they may not have seen each other for a while. But again -- reception tables offer a cool opportunity to mix and match your friends and your partner's -- who knows who'll hit it off? Consider seating friends who don't know each other (yet), but who you think will get along exceptionally well, at the same table -- and the rest is history. It can't hurt!


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What Catering Costs?

Publish On 2015-09-30 , 2:18 PM

Even your most jaded wedding guests are expecting to enjoy great food and drink, and lots of it. Consequently, you can plan to spend about 50 percent of your budget on catering, so it's important to know where your money is actually going–and what you can do to save. Here are the factors that will most affect the amount of your catering bill.

Town's Delight The Caterer setup at Sylvinas Pavilion 

Factor One
Serving Style: In most cases, a sit–down meal is more expensive than a buffet, because a sit–down meal requires more staff to prepare and serve it, says Dana Harris of AST: A Southern Tradition Catering & Event Planning, in Atlanta. Caterers charge you a fee per staffer, and each table usually has a server or two manning it. The fewer staffers you need, the less you'll spend. However, a buffet isn't exactly a bargain. "Buffet meals require linens and serving pieces, and larger quantities of food—people eat more when they serve themselves," explains Kay Benson of East Meets West Catering, in Boston. "Plus, you'll still need to pay staff to tend to the buffet, and waiters to provide water and wine to the tables." Since there isn't always a major price difference, your choice in this great debate should come down to the style of wedding you're hoping for. A sit–down meal creates a more formal experience, while a buffet is more relaxed. If you're hoping for the formality of a sit–down meal, but want to spend less, opt for a family–style dinner, where guests, seated at tables, serve themselves from platters.
Factor Two
Your Venue's Kitchen Situation: If you're marrying in a rural location, like a vineyard, ranch, or farm, expect ineffficient kitchen facilities— or none at all. The less your venue has in the way of ovens, prep stations, and equipment, the more it will cost to bring in these items. Under such circumstances, a "satellite kitchen" must be erected, which can include tents, generators, and a water supply, equipment that can add up to equal to or greater than your entire site–rental fee. The same goes for a wedding held at a private home, also a huge fi nancial undertaking, since the kitchens in most houses are not equipped for large parties.
Factor Three
Cocktail Hour: Cocktail hour can be the most expensive part of the night. If you want sushi chefs, prime rib stations, and loads of passed hors d'oeuvres, along with free flowing top–shelf booze, the cost of food, setup, and staff for just that one hour can totally blow your budget. For the most cost–effective cocktail hour, Kay recommends having a few passed hors d'oeuvres and several unmanned stations that feature less expensive foods. "For example, if shrimp is left out on a station, guests may have as many as 10 to 15 shrimp, but they'll take only two or three if it's passed," she says. If you do opt for passed hors d'oeuvres, several additional servers will be needed. "The more passed hors d'oeuvres, the more staff you need to carry the trays and to bus debris," says Paul Dongarra of Dionysus' Kitchen, in Baltimore. "We suggest having just three types of passed hors d'oeuvres, and budgeting about one or two pieces per person—this plan offers a nice variety, but doesn't require a multitude of additional staffers."
Factor Four
Alcohol: To provide unlimited drinks, you could be charged a fee "per hour, per guest," in which case you would know the total going in—a great option for a drinking crowd. The other, less predictable option is being charged "by the drink," which is preferable if you're hosting a crowd of teetotalers. Additional costs can include the hiring of extra licensed bartenders or the renting of glassware and bar accoutrements, all of which can add up to 20 to 25 percent of your entire catering bill. There is no easier item to lose control of in the budget than alcohol, but balance that thought against the fact that there isn't another wedding component a guest will complain about more if denied. The compromise between affordability and angry protests is to "offer your guests wine and beer, along with a specialty cocktail," says New York's Marc Alvarez of Perfectly Marc'D. "And if you have an important relative who only likes a certain liquor, have a bottle of it on hand for him or her."
Factor Five
Ordering: The reason guests are asked to select "chicken" or "fish" on their response card is because costs skyrocket when guests order at the wedding. "The caterer would have to provide enough of each entrée to ensure that all guests get their first choice," says Jonathan Beil of Fork & Spoon Productions, in San Francisco. This multiplies your food costs and is wasteful. The alternative is to serve everyone the same entrée, like a composed plate of filet mignon and grilled shrimp, so that ordering is not an issue.
Tip: If you purchase your own liquor, whether because you want to or because the venue doesn't have a liquor license, some caterers will simply charge a bar setup fee, while others add a "corkage fee"—a service charge for opening bottles the caterer has not purchased (read: made money from). Costs can rise to several dollars per bottle. This per–bottle rate is what you should try to negotiate—you may be able to have the fee waived. As with all wedding costs, it never hurts to ask

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Top 10 Wedding Budget Tips: Clever Ideas To Save Money

Publish On 2015-10-06 , 1:42 PM

Just how much are you ready to spend for the wedding event? Do you feel overpowered by the cost of your impending nuptials? Simply breathe! Weddings are typically elaborately designed events. Every bride and groom and every wedding is different. Everybody wants to save money specially when it comes to their wedding. Your wedding budget is actually an essential part of your wedding planning and can be challenging to keep. A lot of couples are trimming their wedding guest lists, cutting down on wedding invitation stationary or doing away with expensive designer wedding dress. We do recommended to always add an extra 10% for miscellaneous wedding items in planning your wedding budget for those sudden expenses that tend to pop up.

Here are some wedding budget tips on how to save money for the savvy bride. Cut-down your wedding cost with these creative ideas without sacrificing on style.
01. On wedding dress
It will save you a lot more if you prefer a designer couture by replacing the fabric or search for wedding dress options instead. You may also pick a main color theme and then have your bridal entourage or wedding party to choose their own dress with that main color.



02. On bridal hair and wedding make-up
Head out to a salon if you want your hair done by a hairdresser to save on money. If you will do your own bridal hairstyle, do keep your hair plain and simple. However your wedding make-up is an essential part of your look, specially with your wedding photos. You have to hire a professional make-up artist if you want your wedding make-up to remain throughout the day or might as well ask a friend who knows how to do it for you.



03. On wedding venue
Have your wedding ceremony and your wedding reception combined in one place. That can save you various site fees along with wedding transportation from one place to another. Choose a naturally romantic location to lessen the cost of additional wedding decorations. Destination weddings often tend to have a lesser number of guests.



04. On wedding stationary
Save on postage stamps. You may instead send out a group email and just tell your wedding guest to set a date in their journals. With wedding invitations, think about creating and designing your own. What you need to do is just choose the best font for your wedding theme, then print! Just keep it simple using high-quality paper.



05. On photography and videography
Settle for a service-only photo and video packages to be able to hire your dream photographers and videographers at affordable rates. Just avail the wedding album and edited wedding video later on.


06. On wedding flowers
In case you choose to have a professional carry out the wedding flower decorations, it can get very expensive. To cut down on cost, set up your own floral arrangements as well as bouquets and pick flowers that are in season.



07. On wedding cake
Wedding cakes can be quite costly. You can instead create and come up with your own wedding cake or simply get a basic cake coming from a local market, then set decorations around it. Other couples make use of fake cakes merely for the picture taking, then serve the real slab cake later on.


08. On catering
Serve a simple menu dish. Brunches, buffets, and hors d’oeuvres are cost effective than a three-course sit down meal.


09. On wedding favors and giveaways
Make your own wedding favors and get creative. You can make use of photo souvenirs as giveaways taken from your wedding party photo booth. Your guest will have an hilarious time as well posing with their most wacky shot and get their photos right away.



10. On honeymoon
Book in advance your romantic honeymoon travel destination and make the most of promos from airlines. Just refrain from traveling while in peak season. It’s when destinations are most crowded, very busy and will be more expensive.



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