It's a no-brainer: you want your day to stand out. No mutterings of "I've seen that before" or "This reminds me of." Like you, today should be one-of-a-kind. Local pros share advice on making your day perfectly you.
It's a no-brainer: you want your day to stand out. No mutterings of "I've seen that before" or "This reminds me of." Like you, today should be one-of-a-kind. Local pros share advice on making your day perfectly you.Color Scheming
Start fresh: "It's not the old days where linen has to match your bridesmaid dresses, your florals," says Jennifer Kontomerkos, owner of The Finer Things Event Planning. "It has gravitated to colors that complement each other and that create a feel."
Eliminate and complement: "Rule out colors you don't want, then work with what the venue has to offer," says Adrianne Mellen Ramstack of Adrianne Elizabeth LLC. Don't try to force a scheme.
Tip: Look to the color wheel for help-remember, neighbors are always friends, and opposites look attractive.
Think patterns: "It can create extra interest anywhere-wrapped around a bouquet, on printed materials, on your cake," Ramstack says.
Build up: "Start basic and layer from there. You don't want too much to look at," Kontomerkos says.
Add texture: Sequins on a tablecloth or mercury glasses holding flowers add wow. But don't combine textures and patterns on one table. If the pattern is bold, texture should be subtle and vice versa, Ramstack says.Picture Perfect
"Start early and work with your photographer in creating your day," says photographer Kimberly Potterf. "Share a skeleton itinerary three months out."
"The key is not trying to tell a photographer what to shoot, but the emotion and personalities that are important to you," Potterf says.
"The background is important, but it's a small part. You are the focus. We can do just two different feels (and locations) and really cover the gamut," says photographer Timary Lee.
"If there are any family situations, like divorces or people who do not want to stand up at the same time, let me know. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings," Lee says.
"At the end of the day, what do you want in your album?" asks photographer Christopher Keels. Communicate what is most important. Make a list for photographers with things like family traditions or heirlooms to photograph.Take your seat
Ditch the table full of folded cards. Joan Schnee of On Paper gives five fun ideas on escort card presentation.
Fall wedding: Use tree branches and hang place cards in the shape of leaves.
Classic wedding: Criss-cross strips of ribbon on a board and tuck in place cards.
Simple look: Hang a list of names, organized by table, on a large board propped on an easel.
Visual interest: Print names on die-cut place cards. This keeps it basic, but adds a fresh look.
Themed wedding: Think topics that tie in. For example, tie tags to coral or sand dollars for a tropical wedding.Clever cakes
Match your dress, suggests Jan Kish of Jan Kish Le Petite Fleur, and consider adding bling. "Bling is in, but in a different way," she says. She's seeing brides match not only the sparkle on their dress, but also brooch bouquets.
Go nontraditional. If you don't like sweet, consider tiers of savory cheesecake with red pepper jelly. Or some form of croquembouche made from donut holes, Kish says.
Add a customized cake topper that represents you as a couple, suggests Michelle Sauer of Sauer Cakes. "We custom designed one with dogs, (because) that's how they met-through their dogs," she says.
Offer choices. Sauer sees alternating tiers of cake flavors, lots of ganache and even fun fruit fillings such as mango. "(Add) fun things that are unexpected and a little more toward the bride and groom's tastes," Sauer suggests.
Mix shapes and heights, or add a pattern. "It adds a little bit of interest without going too far off the traditional path," Sauer says. "Some couples will add a pattern or texture before color."Mail review
Shape It: Think outside the rectangular invite. Using a different shape, such as a square, will make you stand out. "It'll give it that something extra. You don't get square bills or junk mail," Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings says.
Fold It: Give invite pockets a new spin by incorporating info into a Z-fold design-a three panel invite that folds out like an accordion. "It's visually interesting and makes guests go, 'Oh, look at that,' " Zemanek says.
Wrap It: Kaitlin Sockman of Ink & Ivory loves to hook everything together using ties, such as twine or ribbon, to create a complete package. "It makes it feel like a present you got in the mail," she says. "It's like a gift to your guest."
Envelop It: Consider adding color to the envelope. That will make it stick out from the run-of-the-mill white washed bills. Or carry over graphics from the invite onto the envelope, Zemanek suggests.
Label It: Consider a wrapped label or a label with color. "It's an affordable alternative to calligraphy and can add color and dimension," Sockman says.Keep it moving
Wedding days can run long. Consider these three steps to keep the energy level high, advises Quenetta Gordon of Something Blue.
Keep toasts short at about two minutes max.
Limit cocktail hour to an hour (especially if it only includes light hors d'ouevres).
Shorten the gap between ceremony and reception as much as possible.Get comfy
Comfortable guests are happy guests. Here's how to keep them smiling.
Stay on time: Two things should always start on time: the ceremony and dinner. "Everything else, it happens when it happens," says wedding planner Emilie Duncan. That's not to say there isn't a timeline for the day, but if the cake is cut 10 minutes late, chances are no one will notice. If dinner is 15 minutes late, hungry guests will. "And make sure there's enough food," Duncan says. "If you're doing appetizers only, great. But let guests know before time."
Keep 'em cool: If it's an outdoor summer wedding, think about how you can keep guests cool and comfortable, says Quenetta Gordon of Something Blue Weddings and Events. Offer programs that double as fans or parasols to keep the sun's hot rays at bay. Or consider a comfort station with water, juice and lemonade. If it's cold, have heaters on standby.
Table talk: "If it's a table that seats eight to 10, seat eight to give people elbow room," Gordon says. And think about the height of your centerpieces-either high or low so guests can see over or under it to the other side of the table.
Good favors: "Make favors functional," Gordon says. And don't make them overly personal (as in giving out glasses with your name on it). Think of something edible, such as candy or coffee, or even plant or flower seeds.Fitting florals
Romantic bride: Instead of classic roses, think garden roses, ranunculus, peonies and gardenia. Or consider parrot tulips-white with green veins. "Think diversity. You want to look soft and feminine, but not boring," says Amy Music, owner of Posy.
Whimsical bride: Music's top picks for that little extra fun factor: Billy balls, eucalyptus pods and blue anemones.
Modern bride: You are all about orchids and lilies. Good news-there are more varieties than we can count. If you like calla lilies, consider the green goddess. "It's bigger, and is green and white and very botanical," Music says. Add texture with the nerine lily. "It's feminine but spiky, so it's got cool texture."
Reception: Judy Wood of The Daisy Basket is seeing more structural pieces taking hold of table centers. "The vessel is becoming really important. It's a wow factor," she says. The mindset is shifting from what's on the table to the entire room's feel.
Boutonniere: Pick a flower with a flat back, such as a mini calla lily or orchid, Wood suggests. Buds, such as roses, are too bulbous and don't lay as nicely.Set the scene
The Finer Things' planner Jennifer Kontomerkos shares five things to consider when choosing a venue.
Does it meet your look?
Are you having your ceremony and reception in this space?
Think of yourself as a guest. Will it be comfortable and flow from point A to point B? Does the size make sense?
Get all fees and pricing. How will they work with outside vendors?
Where will guests park?Good tunes
Adding personality to the dance floor starts with the right music. Here's how to get the sounds you want by hiring the right entertainment.
Start by asking for references, says DJ Steve Ransom of Night Music. Ask recently married friends if they loved their DJ. Talk to vendors you've developed relationships with, such as your photographer, who see a lot of wedding receptions.
Meet in person to get a good sense if your personalities fit with the DJ's. "It's important to do a no-obligation 20- or 30-minute meeting," says Mark Dantzer of Mark Dantzer Productions. "Couples should come away saying, 'I like that person.' "
You should feel like they listened and that you can trust them.
Think about what you want. "How important is it to you that your dance floor is full?" asks Dantzer. "Who is going to dance?" Do you want your parents and grandparents dancing? Or just your friends and guests closer to your age?
Don't feel you need to be cookie-cutter to please the crowd. "Don't be influenced by what you think you are supposed to do," Ransom says. "Use that as inspiration rather than looking so far outside yourself that music has no meaning to you." A good DJ will know how to incorporate the music you love with the tunes that will please all ears.Liven it up
What ceremony ensemble, outside of the classic quartet, should couples consider?
"The trio is the sweet spot. It's still a very rich sound," says Paul Hoy of Class Acts Entertainment. Some brides add a trumpet before walking down the aisle for an extra punch. Or for a more contemporary sound, consider a flute and guitar duo. To guarantee you get what you want, book six months out for the ceremony.
What should they play?
"People tend to stay traditional with music, but I always tell them they don't need to," Hoy says. He's had couples ask for instrument renditions of Cold Play to U2, The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix.
Should they book live music during cocktail hour?
"Book that last," Hoy says. "More often than not the band they hire can offer a small ensemble or a soloist for cocktails and dinner that introduces less moving parts to the reception."
How can they know the band will be a good fit for a wedding crowd?
"Weddings are one of the toughest engagements for any musician to play because there are so many ages and musical tastes in the room. The best performers are very chameleon-like," Hoy says. To ensure your band has the right qualities, see them play an event similar to yours-a fundraiser or wedding-not a local bar gig.
"Bands really do differ from one venue to the next," he says.Good taste
In some way, guests will eat at your wedding. What you serve plays a big part in shaping the feel of your day. "It shows your guest who you are," says Carly Ziemer of Two Caterers Contemporary Cuisine. So venture away from that standardized menu and add a little personality. Here are seven ways how.
Food Favorites: "I try to find out their favorite food or place to eat, and what they get there," Ziemer says. Share a list of favorite foods, restaurants and even family recipes with your caterer-most can use those recipes in a dish to honor family.
Add Color: Think of the presentation of the food as décor on your buffet, Ziemer says. "Think of foods that have your colors in them." For example, if your colors are pink and green, serve a watermelon salad. Or set up food stations by color. Have one with all red dishes, one with all green, and so on.
Go Small: You love burgers and fries or mac-and-cheese, but it won't do as an entrée. Maybe that item becomes your appetizer or late-night snack. "If you want something that won't fit, let's shrink it," recommends Melissa Johnson, director of catering at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.
Add Signage: Whatever you personalize, make sure your guests know it. "All it takes is a sign at the bar or buffet," says Selena Vazquez, catering manager at Made From Scratch. Let guests know that dish is inspired by your first date, or the cake is grandma's famous recipe.
Late Night: Afraid serving a personal dinner menu won't please guests' palates? Add your favorites as a late-night treat instead. "We're seeing a lot of personality in the late-night bites," Johnson says. Couples with out-of-town families will serve treats from their hometowns (such as cheesesteaks or a hot dog bar). Or a couple who loves breakfast may do a doughnut buffet.
Food Favors: "Everybody in Columbus does buckeyes," Vazquez says, "so maybe you do your favorite Christmas cookie … or grandmother's jam or jelly? Bring a feel of your heritage and family here."
Offer Options: "Just because you love it, doesn't mean that the 200 people attending will," Vazquez warns. Get creative, yes, but don't forget to offer a few crowd-pleasers, too.Creative service
Think past the typical sit-down or buffet dinner. A few thoughts from our pros:
Serve dinner family-style for a communal feel
Offer a tapas dinner, with lots of smaller courses
Set up food stations for a wider variety, as well as themed options (dishes from family heritages or cuisines around the world)