In no certain order….
Gigantic boutonnières are a no. Please note how dapper and sophisticated Mr. Middleton looks with his diminutive boutonniere.
Sleeves are always stunning, and surprisingly original, given how popular the strapless white wedding gown is.
Wedding parties look fabulous in white.
You don’t always have to wear your hair up, despite what your mother might say. And, by your mother, I mean my mother. ; )
Classic always wins: green and white flowers, lily of the valley, white wedding shoes, weddings with decorum, and on and on…you get the picture.
And, other things, for which I don’t have pictures.
*Be on time! British punctuality warms my heart.
*Simplicity is elegance.
*Don’t raise your glass when people toast to you. Did you note that the Queen did not taking part in singing “God Save the Queen?” That’s because it was being sung to her.
Before you set a guest list, choose a date, choose a location, fall in love with a gown, you must craft a budget that is informed by costs in your market. You may begin planning with a total budget of $35,000 and a guest list of 300, with dreams of a seated dinner and open bar. That is not possible in Richmond; trying to force fit your dream reception into an unrealistic budget is a recipe for disappointment. Food and beverage tend to represent 40-50% of total spending. If you know the cost per head for both (because you’ve spoken with your planner, caterers or reception site managers), you can get a general idea of total budget just by knowing what your total spend on food & bev will be.
photo by Don Mears for Ashley’s derby day wedding
Monograms are a staple in the south. You’ll see them on cars (yes, cars), pillow cases, embroidered cocktail napkins, and, of course, at weddings. But, did you know that it is a breech of etiquette to use a “duo-gram” (a monogram that uses the bride and groom’s first name initials and the initial of his last name) on any printed materials prior to your marriage? A duo-gram should be reserved for printed materials following the ceremony (cocktail napkins at the reception, like above, or thank you notes). If you’d like to use a monogram on your invitation or programs, it is most appropriate to use the initials of the bride and groom’s first names (see the wooden stirrer above for an example).
Organizing your day of deliveries is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your wedding weekend, especially if you’re having a large event with lots of moving parts. When we work with clients, we create a detailed production spreadsheet that lists each item coming into the event. Each and every single item that is needed for the ceremony or reception is captured on our spreadsheet along with all pertinent details. For smaller events with less production, you don’t need an elaborate spreadsheet, but you do need to communicate who is responsible for all items during their life at the reception so there is no confusion during installation or at the end of the night.
Three things that will make your party a success (and they have nothing to do with pretty details, although I’m a fan of those too)
1. Your guests and their experience are paramount. Keep your guests in the forefront of your mind as you plan. That means keeping cocktail hour to an hour; starting the ceremony on time; anticipating your guests’ needs — if it’s going to be hot during your outdoor ceremony, have cool drinks waiting for your guests.
2. Edit, edit, edit. Style does not come from adding on. It comes from editing and being true to your vision.
3. Don’t establish a vision for your event and a guest list before you know what things cost in your area. Do educate yourself on what things cost in your market and establish a budget and a guest list based on that information.
One of the chicest ways to add personality and personalization to a very standard event rental — the white table cloth — is to commission a seamstress to create runners for your dining tables. My favorite local sources for fabric in interesting prints and patterns are U Fab and the Williams & Sherrill Outlet.
Save the dates can be so much fun. Because they deliver just a little bit of information, as opposed to a wedding invitation, which has much more responsibility, you have the freedom to be just as creative as you want to be! The image above isn’t meant to be a save the date, but it could be — such a sweet + simple design. Below is a design by Cheree Berry. And, beneath it, two from the new Martha Stewart Weddings, which is full of fun save the date ideas.