Wedding guests want to be Wow’d when at a wedding reception. No, wait. Let me rephrase. Wedding guests EXPECT to be blown away at your wedding. They want an experience like no other. Guests want surprises and want to do and see things that they have not done before your big day. What can you do to give guest the Wow factor?
People attending a wedding, like to feel like they are part of the festivities. One way to make it so is to have a party train through the streets of your wedding city. The train could be a line of honking cars driving from the wedding to the reception. The party train could also be a short walk from the ceremony to the reception venue. Take the party train idea over the top with music being played along the way from a group of bagpipers, members of the local high school band, or even a blaring vintage boom box.
Wedding Wow Factor
Wow Factor Props for Wedding Guests
Plan your posed wedding pictures in advance. First and foremost, do not keep wedding guests waiting for the party to get started at the reception from your long list of must-have photos. However, much fun can be had with photographs. Consult your photographer and get one-of-a-kind photographs of family and friends at the wedding and reception. Include corny or crazy props for Wow photos. An example would be to bring a red painted house door for pics on each side, park a classic car for photographs or a gigantic picture frame to get attending couples photographed together inside the frame. You are only limited by your imagination.
Oh how throwing rice is so cliche. Think of original send-offs from your wedding guests. Many bridal couples have replaced rice with bubbles. What if you made your departure like a New Year’s Eve countdown? Give all your guests noisemakers like kazoos, tambourines, ratchets, horns, bells, and whatever else that will enthuse guests participating in your goodbyes.
Most bridal couples plan their reception to end on the last dance song. Much time is put into selecting the perfect song. However, a great way to inspire a Wow wedding moment is to have a final toast to thank everyone attending your wedding. You could do a round of jello shots (virgin shots for little ones) and invite everyone to the dance floor for a final toast.
Not sure who will start by saying their wedding vows first? Leave it to chance! It will add a bit of levity to the event and will also help calm everyone’s nerves at the alter. A great way to incorporate chance into selecting first choice includes drawing from a deck of cards, pulling a turkey bone, and flipping a coin.
The focus is always on the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony, as it should be. However, you can Wow guests during the ceremony by getting them involved in rituals too. Some suggestions include having them read a poem or Bible passage that is printed on their programs, have guests sing along with a well known song being played during the lighting of the unity candle, and also invite everyone to pull out their cameras for a planned photo moment before announcing the NEW Mr. and Mrs.
Your guests sitting in the back always have a hard time seeing and hearing. Wedding ceremony location permitting, surround chairs around the altar so that everyone has an equal chance of seeing and hearing vows being said the seeing the first kiss.
One way to always create an unexpected Wow factor at weddings is to incorporate some sort of home furniture into the wedding or reception. Don’t have an alter? What about your kitchen table in smallest configuration? A bar at the reception can be fulfilled with the hutch in your kitchen. If you are having a cocktail hour, bring in your living room furniture for guests to relax and enjoy chatting it up with family they have not seen for years. If you don’t feel comfortable bringing your prized possessions, you can always rent or purchase from local yard sales and swap meet.
When planning a reception, you can follow a few simple steps and you can stress a little less. The ceremony is the “pomp and circumstance” of a wedding day. The reception is the party of the wedding day. Here is an easy guide to follow while planning a wedding reception.
Wedding Reception Made Easy
When selecting a room for your wedding reception, take a look at the decor of the room. You will not be able to change wall colors or chandeliers. However, this is also a good thing if the decor matches your wedding style as less decorations will be needed. In addition, most rented rooms include a day-of-the-wedding coordinator do verify all vendors and you stay on schedule. You may not be the only wedding at the facility the day of your wedding so you will be forced to stick to your schedule or face the consequences. Be sure to discuss the selected tables, chairs, linens, chair covers, location of dance floor, and location of needed vendor tables and required tables.
If you are looking for an outdoor wedding but want to keep all guests to a designated area, then an outdoor tent is your remedy. Outdoor tents offer you the advantage of selecting your own vendors, if not in the back lawn of a hotel or other business that may require you to use their vendors with the rented space. The best part of an outdoor tent is that you are outdoors without the worry of weather. You can always add heater lamps if a bit chilly or air conditioners if too hot. However, you must consider the location of the restrooms. How far will guests have to walk or will you have to rent port-a-potties? Outdoor tents are best when weather is not temperamental.
If you are looking for a blank slate to make your own, then renting a loft is the way to go. If you want to have a location be its own ambiance, then a wine vineyard or brewery is the right choice. Keep you options open and most location are available with any budget.
Get a map of the reception room as to where every table is located with seating arrangements and vendors’ stations. This way you will know if any close family could be upset as to their location in relation to the wedding party’s table or sweetheart table. In addition, you will know that the music entertainment will be close to the electricity and you will know where the head table is so you can be sure to say hello to all of your guests. The best locations for eating tables is to surround the dance floor with the music entertainment on one end. It is also suggested to keep the eldest in attendance furthest from the music.
When it comes to food, you must decide the desired style of the reception. Food can be buffet, potluck, family style, and plated with designated number of courses. Potluck is the least formal but offers the most homemade family recipes. Family style offers a chance for both sides to get to know each other better in a more casual affair. Buffets also offer a variety of foods and can be catered to you and your guests’ eating favorites. Plated food is the least customizable with typical limits to three different main course choices for guests.
When selecting flowers for your reception, we recommend to stick with flowers that are in season at the time of your reception. In addition, keeping money in the local economy with local growers is a great option too! Keep in mind that make may not necessarily mean less money. Flowers are also a way of keeping the reception unique to you by making each table with its own flower settings. A great suggestion is to use flowers where you want guests to focus, like the entrance, rather than trying to cover the window to a brick wall.
Many music entertainers offer the service of uplighting. Why? Because lighting more than any other reception venue feature will set the desired mood more than lighting. Do you want to have a more romantic setting with lit candles? Do you want to use colored accent lighting of your wedding colors like purple uplighting onto white sheer or ice blue colored flood lamps for the winter wedding? Outdoor weddings can be beautifully decorated with white string lights (can be purchased on after Christmas sales). Walkways can be accented with lanterns. Don’t forget to light the dance floor during party time!
Music entertainment is one of the most important selections made in the planning process. Do you want to have a band or DJ. Will you require a master of ceremonies? What kind of music style will be played during cocktails, dinner and dancing? Choose wisely and be sure they have your desired and dislikes in styles of music with a bit a freedom to read the crowd.
When choosing the drinks offered during the reception, you first must consider your budget. If you have a small budget designated for drinks, an open bar would not be a choice. However, you could have an open bar with two drink tickets given to each guest. If you have a wedding in which no alcohol will be servers, you can consider an all non-alcoholic bar with virgin Pina Coladas or Margaritas and O’Doul’s. You can also choose to have a beer and wine only bar. Another trend to think about is to offer signature cocktails. If you or your spouse has a specific alcoholic drink you like best, why not just have it brought to the wedding reception in a secret cooler?
Another offering for guests that reflect your personality is the dessert table. Is the desert table only going to contain the wedding cake? What will be the style of the wedding cake? Will you offer other sweet offerings like chocolate fountain, individual candies, dessert shots, and/or peti fours? You are only limited by your imagination.
It’s the end of the evening after a night of dancing and drinking the night away. Now what? Will you offer a late night snack? Are there other locations for your partygoers to go to to continue to celebrate like a private room at a restaurant or nightclub? Is there an offering for guests to get back to their sleeping headquarters safely?
Having an intimate backyard wedding offers many advantages. However, there are also disadvantages. You can make the largest yard into a memorable experience. Let us help you plan your backyard wedding with the below 16 tips to transform your yard.
Backyard Wedding Ideas
Be sure to have great looking green grass. Bring in new sod if need be. Just as guests expect lavishing reception venues, they will also expect lavishing green grass. Do remember to let grass grow under any portable buildings that will be moved. If you have enough time (two months), reseed. Don’t forget to mow the grass a couple days before the wedding too.
Measure the yard and verify the maximum number of guests that will fit comfortably in it. A good rule is eight square feet for a seated ceremony and four square feet for a standing ceremony. For receptions, a good rule is to stay with eight square feet. However, don’t forget about tables for gifts, the cake and entertainment. The dance floor will also need to be considered.
People love to see flowers in bloom. Check with your local nursery and have plants that will be blooming at the time of your wedding. Think about flowers that may attract insects and bees to pollinate. You don’t want mass hysteria from the bugs. The nursery will also help as to when to plant!
A fresh coat of paint works wonders. Go to your local hardware or paint store and pick out outdoor friendly paint. Look at bringing old sheds, fences, picnic tables and anything else that may need spicing up.
Is there something unattractive in the yard? Consider covering it up with homemade signs, banners, streamers, and ribbons.
Please address the neighbors before the big day. Close neighbors you may consider inviting to the wedding. Others you will want to tell about the event with a home-baked pie so they stay calm during the dancing hours. Check with your local authorities and know the noise ordinances. Also talk to them about getting permission for guest parking in front of their homes and/or driveways.
Carefully examine the condition of walkways like sidewalks, stairs, deck, porch, driveways, and paths. Would you be able to comfortably walk in high heels in these areas? Repair any places with enough time to cure. Roots popping out of the ground and uneven ground will also need to be addressed. Be sure that all structures are up to code and no one will get hurt from broken banisters. It may be best to seal the driveway as it will be a big focal point for parking and walking (one month before the wedding).
Weather happens to be unpredictable. Be sure to have a backup plan. Do you need to reserve a tent or purchase umbrellas or have blankets and mittens ready at hand?
If the homeowner does not want to have the upkeep of lots of new plants after your wedding, consider potted plants that can be given away as favors the week after the wedding. You can even get potted flowers at your local nursery too.
If you are having kids at your wedding, what can they get into or hurt themselves on or keep everyone’s attention instead of on you.
We recommend speaking to a local electrician to verify the home can handle the electrical needs of the wedding. Will you need to add generators for your power needs for entertainment and lighting? Another contractor to have ready will be a plumber. Just in case the toilets get backed-up.
One of the downfalls of having an outdoor wedding is the possibility of bugs. Consider hiring a an exterminator to rid roaches, ants, wasps, bees or any other animals that are common in your area.
One of the best ideas we love is to have a piece of furniture. Go to yard sales, garage sales and swap meets. Look for furniture you can spruce up to turn into usable tables, bars, alter and other elements for the ceremony or reception. You an even create your own lounge area. Whatever fits the theme of your wedding.
Are you having a small, intimate wedding without entertainment? We like the idea of adding a few wind chimes (out of the reach of children), bells or playing music from a small iPod operated speaker system.
First impressions are everything. Do whatever it takes to WOW guests as they arrive you your wedding. A sign saying “Wedding Here” just won’t cut it. Entrance archways, line walkways with lights or decorations, or light strings showing them the way.
If the backyard has a pool, be sure it has the clear blue water look. You can also add floating candles and/or for an elegant aura.
As anyone who has even planned the smallest of registry office weddings will tell you, getting everything arranged for your big day can be extremely stressful. After deciding on what you are going to wear, the venue is perhaps the most important part of the planning phase.
We looked at some key do’s and don’ts when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding venue for your special day.
DO: Shop Around
It is understandable that some people have their perfect wedding venue; the place that they always dreamed of getting married in. While this may be the case, it is always worth having a look at several venues in order to decide which one best suits your needs. A castle, for example, might be a venue you and your partner always dreamed of, however if there is a lack of other facilities and it is in the middle of nowhere is it really that practical?
DON’T: Take Their Word For It
As part of the “shopping around” process, make the time to attend a function that is taking place in each venue, if possible. We are not for a moment suggesting you begin to gate crash other people’s weddings, however by arranging convenient times to visit with the venue management you will be able to see what you are likely to get for your money.
This also means you can assess things like the “house DJ” and food for yourself, and decide whether you will need to hire your own and the additional cost.
DO: List Guests First
If there are certain people that you definitely want to invite to your wedding, then you should write the guest list out first. If you know you want to invite 100 people, then immediately you can eliminate any smaller venues from your choices. You will be surprised how many venues are actually aimed towards smaller groups, so could find your choices limited and your budget challenged should you be thinking of inviting 100 plus guests.
DON’T: Go Over The Top
By this we mean in terms of space. If you want to go over the top in terms of decorations, pomp and circumstance, then that is of course up to you. However, having settled on numbers of guests do not then hire somewhere twice the size of what you really need, unless they offer a fabulous package that you simply cannot refuse.
DO: Negotiate on Costs
How you do this will depend on where you are holding the wedding. If you are hiring a public venue then you will be, in effect, subsidising what the venue would ordinarily make during that day so there will likely be little room for discussion. Should you be hiring a private hall or venue, then you will be much more likely to be able to do a deal.
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Selecting a wedding venue is much more than a job of searching a big and beautiful banquet, as there are many practical things, attached to it. To select a perfect wedding venue, it is important that couples consider things beyond the grandeur of the wedding hall. Selection of the venue should be made after putting enough considerations in terms of different aspects, which we will discuss in this article. Some of the aspects that are necessary to consider before selecting your wedding venue includes space, accessibility, location, distance, facilities, payment policy, hidden cost, staff, and any other additional facilities that you may require.
Perfect Wedding Venue
The first and the foremost thing that should be considered before you finalize your wedding venue is the location. Location of your wedding venue, whether its destination wedding, outdoor wedding or a wedding hall, is crucial so as to make sure that all of your guests are able to access and reach the place easily. Moreover, there should be enough space for the arrival and parking of the vehicles of your guests along with your own wedding car. If you are going for a theme wedding, then choosing a related place is all the more important, especially for beach theme, retro theme, nature theme etc.
Other thing that should be considered while booking your wedding venue is the size of location or the hall, which should be according to the number of guests you are expecting. You shouldn’t opt for a too big place if you have a small guest list, as it will be a total waste of money, especially if it’s a hall. On the other hand, you would not also like that, there is insufficient space for the guests. The space should also be enough to accommodate the activities you have planned for your wedding, like DJ, orchestra, dancing etc. Also, make sure that your wedding venue is already an enchanting and beautiful place, so that you don’t have to spend too much on the decoration.
Another important factor that is significant is the staff and facilities available at the venue. Do consider that there are some guest rooms as well as proper rest rooms. Moreover, see the number of staff that will be provided for attending the guests, and ensure that they are well trained and competent enough to handle any unexpected situation on the D-day. Any other additional facility that you may need for the convenience of your guests or for yourself should also be checked and asked for.
Along with all the above factors, one very important factor to be kept in mind is the price of the venue. Always cross check, their prices with the ones offered at other venues before finalizing. In case of destination wedding, do consider the other costs like accommodation for guests and travelling expense, apart from the venue rates. Do not forget to clear all important things like payment schedule, any hidden cost, overtime charges, and cancellation policy. Moreover, ensure that the venue owners have their liquor license and other legal documentations in place, so that no problem arises there-from.
Dealing with all these things carefully, you will be able to select a perfect wedding venue for making your wedding all the more special.
This article has been written by an expert associated with My Wedding Songs, a company providing wedding venue listings for today’s brides and grooms.
A backyard wedding can be a lovely, intimate affair or an extravagant bash, depending on the size of your yard and your pocketbook. Hosting your wedding celebration at home can be an appealing option. One advantage is that your wedding date will not be dictated by the availability of a venue. Also, renting venues for the ceremony and reception often consume as much as one third of the total wedding budget. Investing those funds into home improvement instead makes good financial sense. There are special challenges to consider when planning a backyard wedding, so here are ten steps to ensure that yours is memorable for all the right reasons:
1. Make Room
The first step is to review your guest list and determine how much space you’ll need to comfortably accommodate everyone. If your yard is modest in size, you may need to limit the number of invited guests. If you plan on hiring caterers, be sure to anticipate the number of staff as well.
2. Expect The Unexpected
Unless you can easily move the party inside, it’s wise to plan for inclement weather by erecting a canopy or tent. Push pole tents, frame tents and tension tents take up varying amounts of room, so be sure to take careful measurements before committing to one type or another.
3. Choose A Theme
Choosing a theme for your at-home wedding will answer a lot of questions. Ideas will suggest themselves for everything from decor to food to wedding favors. When choosing your color scheme, build on what Mother Nature has provided. Shades of violet, blue, cream, pink or yellow are all gorgeous complements for an expanse of green lawn. Decorations can be made with sashes, ribbons and crepe paper. Scrapbooking paper is useful for adorning small items. Centerpieces generally consist of flowers, but for a fun alternative try over-sized glass bowls of luscious fruit.
4. Delegate The Important Tasks
Everybody wants to help, so give your friends and relatives an assignment. Doing so will free you up to take care of other critical and enjoyable details yourself. Good examples of tasks you can delegate are:
• Parking – Have a volunteer negotiate with a church or nearby retail store for use of their parking lot. A shuttle bus can be arranged to ferry guests to and from the lot, or you may wish to hire a valet parking service. If you plan on asking your guests to park on the street, be sure to notify the neighbors in advance.
• Back-up power – Find a quiet generator that can be rented in case the power goes out during your festivities.
• Portable restrooms – There should be one toilet for every 25 people, so do the math.
5. Plan Major Improvements And Purchases
Fill holes in the lawn and sow grass seeds over bare spots several weeks in advance. Keep the lawn neatly mowed on a regular basis leading up to the event. That will prevent piles of freshly mowed grass from clinging to your guests’ finery or your wedding gown. Do a bit of detective work before the big day to determine where water and mud puddles accumulate. Check to ensure that surfaces are flat enough to navigate in high heels. You may have a patio that needs refinishing, or a driveway that needs resurfacing. Remember the requirements of elderly guests, and ensure their comfort and safety.
Wedding receptions are perfect opportunities for friends and family to reconnect. Make sure your backyard is outfitted with comfortable seating to encourage conversation. Is there a place for hanging hammocks? A porch where you can place an old-fashioned swing? Maybe even a quiet nook that’s perfect for a loveseat or bench? Since you’re not just decorating for one day, you can invest in high quality furniture that lasts.
6. Grow Your Colors
Landscape your yard with flowering shrubs that echo your color scheme. Be sure that they flower continuously or that the blooms will coincide with your wedding date. The shrubs will continue to grow and provide years of enjoyment, blooming on your anniversary for years to come.
7. Set The Mood With Music And Lighting
Music will liven up your reception, whether it’s a string quartet, a live rock band, or a playlist that’s piped in through speakers hidden in the trees. For the traditional wedding march, perhaps a musical friend could provide that bit of melody on guitar, electric piano, or even accordion.
If your backyard wedding and reception extend into the night, lighting will be required. Strings of lights can be attached inside the tent. You may want to locate freestanding lights strategically at the edge of the yard to act as a decoy for moths. Solar powered lights can be placed near walkways for strolling after sunset.
8. To Rent Or To Buy
You’ll probably have to rent tables and chairs, but you may actually save money buying simple dishes, flatware and glassware at Ikea or a similar designer discount store. After your wedding, these items can become a tax-deductible donation to charity.
9. Don’t Let ‘em See You Sweat
The tent will keep you dry but you still need to maintain your cool. Elaborate misting systems are available that utilize flash evaporation technology to cool without drenching. Portable fans can be distributed to generate a heavenly breeze.
10. Document The Event
Consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer to circulate among your friends and family, capturing the fun. It’s also possible to position the photographer with a backdrop in a corner of the yard, so that guests can drop by to have their portraits taken. A rented photo booth will allow guests to create their own pictographic record. Or provide everyone with a disposable camera and encourage them to snap away, providing spontaneous witness to your at-home wedding.
Exchanging vows in the backyard of the home you will share as a newly married couple is a treasured experience you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.
About The Author
Jay Chua is an Internet Entrepreneur and publisher of PorchSwingSets.com, a site that features reviews of trendy hammocks and porch swings. Jay lives with his wife Deisy in Vancouver, Canada, where they indulge their passion for home and gardening, relaxing on outdoor porch swings or pawleys hammocks. Jay and Deisy also enjoy keeping up with the latest wedding design trends in the marketplace.
So, you’ve read the “how to choose the perfect wedding venue” articles posted on the web, published in the bridal magazines and you’re wondering what the heck it’s a DJ would know about the topic… Well consider this, who
attends more weddings in a year than your maid of honour, and who gets to leave the wedding venue with the last of the wedding guests (keeping in mind that the wedding photographer only stays until the bouquet and garter has
In other words who really gets to know the ins and outs of choosing a wedding venue to have a decent party at? There are loads of things to consider when choosing a wedding venue. First there are the obvious ones: How many guests can it accommodate; does it have sufficient parking; is it safe; what’s the food like; are there electrical outlets for the DJ’s, band; etc.
But what about the party? I mean the ceremony, while it is the essence of the wedding, only lasts 30 to 45 minutes, while the reception can keep going for anything between 4 to 8 hours, and it is in this time that your guests will want to be entertained. And honestly, the jazz band only plays for so long! This is where I come in. You see, I’ve been a DJ for 13 years now. My speciality: weddings. And I’ve seen my share, trust me!
So what should you be looking at when you choose a wedding venue, to not only make sure that the wedding is unique, stunning, elegant, but also a wedding that your guests will talk about for years to come?
Choosing A Wedding Venue
Let’s start with the basics: there’s a good chance that 50% of your guests will be smokers, so the venue must have a facility for smokers. Now usually this is done outside, which works fine, but what happens when it rains? Can they
cater for this, or will the smokers just leave early? I mean let’s face it, smokers don’t party unless they have a cigarette in hand…
Secondly, what do they have planned for the kids? I know that some couples specifically request their guests to not bring kids along, but hey, if that were you, would you want to leave your kids at home? How about booking a
smaller venue (or a room) for the kids and arranging alternative entertainment for them, together with a qualified child minder? Did you know that there are entertainment companies out there that provide these services? This prevents anyone getting hurt on the dance floor and the kids will have a ball! Remember that weddings are a time for friends and family to get together…
Did you know that if you choose a venue in a residential area you’ll be restricted in terms of the music on the night? So instead of the rocking party you expected, you’ll be having a toned down affair with guests nagging you (and your DJ) to turn up the tunes. Now you might not have thought about this, and the venue probably neglected to mention this, but as they are in a residential area, they are not allowed to play loud music, especially not after 22h00 at night. And as a DJ we are obliged to stick to that rule, or we might be kicked out. Usually your party will also end strictly at 00h00, so no overtime here…
While a wedding in the country or in outlying areas are a better choice in terms of the music, you have to consider that your guests might have been drinking the whole evening and some of them will be driving home afterwards. A good idea might be to have the telephone numbers of cab companies handy for those guests who have had one drink too many, after all you wouldn’t want your guests to remember your wedding as the night they spent in jail…
Finally, always keep in mind that your entertainment for the evening will be one of the most important choices you’ll make. Should you decide to go with a DJ, always ensure that they are registered with both SAMRO and SADJA (the South African Music Rights Organisation and the South African DJ Association). This will prevent embarrassment during the evening and also ensure that you get quality entertainment – All Night Long! (For more on SAMRO and SADJA please visit their respective websites).