How to Make Your Wedding Reception Totally Unique

There are several ways you can personalize your wedding reception to your individual tastes, and provide some memorable moments for your guests. Here are just a few, for your consideration.

  • Children’s Activities If you’re going to have many children at your reception, arrange for a separate room with fun  activities like board games, crafts, coloring books, a clown/balloon/face-painting artist, or even a movie. That way, the children won’t be thrashing around the main dining room, knocking things over and tripping over your adult guests. Be sure to have adult supervision for the kids.
  • Love Songs to the Bride and Groom Typically, your reception guests will clink their glasses together, to get the two of you to kiss. Instead, some couples ask their DJ to make an announcement that anyone who wants the bride and groom to kiss, must sing them a line or two from a song with the word “love” in it. The guest’s entire table rises together and sings. Sometimes, they come up with some very creative songs that give everyone a good laugh.
  • Disposable Cameras Set a camera on each table, and let the guests take their own photos. Have someone from the wedding party collect all the cameras at the end of the evening. You’ll end up with some very memorable candid pictures.
  • Joann & Doug  0869Choreograph Your First Dance If you have the time and the inclination, you may wish to take ballroom dancing lessons together, and dazzle your guests with a rehearsed performance. Be sure the bridal gown is cut to accommodate such a dance. Start your lessons about 3 months before your wedding. Keep the song to 3 minutes or less if you can. Be sure your DJ has the right version of the song; and tell him in advance how you’ll alert him that it’s time to start the song. His cue can be something as simple as a nod of your head.  (Note: Music Box Invites are the perfect prelude to your wedding reception. If you send your guests one of our invitations with your wedding dance song in it, they will know they are in for a very special treat).
  • Dollar Dance The bride and groom begin a slow dance together, then the guests are invited to cut in and dance briefly with either the bride or groom, for a dollar (though a smart DJ will remind the guests that there’s nothing wrong with 10’s or 20’s). Sometimes it takes two or three songs for everyone to get a chance to dance with the bride or groom. People can either pin their money to the bride’s gown if someone provides straight pins, or the Best Man and Maid of Honor can collect the money. It’s a nice way to give the newlyweds a little slush fund as they head off for their honeymoon.
  • Anniversary Dance All married couples are invited to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. A slow song starts. After a few seconds, the DJ asks all couples who’ve been married less than 5 years to leave the dance floor. A few seconds later, all couples married 10 years or less must leave. Eventually, the couple married the longest remains alone on the dance floor, and a big cheer goes up as the DJ tells the newlyweds, “Here are your role models.”
  • “Soul Train” Two parallel lines of dancers form at opposite sides of the dance floor, and couples take turns dancing down the middle, just as they did on “Soul Train.” It’s a great way to get everyone involved in the dancing.
  • Conga Line The bride and groom lead the way, and the line forms behind them, with each person putting his/her hands on the waist of the person in front of him/her. Popular songs for a Conga line include “Hot Hot Hot,” “Party Train,” “C’mon & Ride It,” and of course, “Conga.” Always a nice photo op.
  • Line Dances People love dances that they know. And there are plenty of line dances that we’ve all seen a million times — “Electric Slide,” “Cha Cha Slide,” “Macarena,” “YMCA,” “Chicken Dance,” “Cupid Shuffle,” “Gangnam Style” and so forth. Even if you absolutely hate every one of them, please don’t spoil it for your guests. Even if they don’t normally like to dance, they’ll be on the dance floor for the line dances, and their inhibitions and spirits will be lifted. Remember, your reception is a party you throw for your friends. Let them have a good time, too. You can always tell your DJ not to play any line dances unless someone requests them. But putting them off-limits denies your guests some wonderful bonding moments.

– Guest blogger Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company since 1965.

Wedding Wednesday: Mariel & Milton’s Fairy Tale #Wedding

 Ceremony and Reception 
© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

Mariel Hernández married the love of her life, Milton Carrero, on May 27, 2012 in Moca, Puerto Rico. They wanted an outdoor wedding that was not at the beach so they chose the beautiful Palacete Los Moreau, a French-style castle turned museum.

As the bride walked down the aisle, she shimmered in her Maggie Sottero gown, underneath which were Badgley Mischka bridal pumps. Not one to wear a traditional veil, her eyes were covered by a whimsical birdcage veilDidi Saldana was able to perfectly capture the hair and makeup look that she desired.


© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

One of their favorite elements were the Wish Lanterns.

At the end of the reception, guests were invited to light up the sky with a wish using White Eco Wish Lanterns. These wish lanterns are made with rice paper on a bamboo frame that will biodegrade soon after landing so that it keeps the beautiful venue green and healthy.

The couple also used biodegradable confetti.



  Guest Favors 
© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

To thank guests for coming, Mariel incorporated her love of fortune cookies into the wedding favors. Inside each takeout box was a colored fortune cookie with the message “As we start our new journey we want to thank you for coming aboard and celebrating with us.” Mariel used her innovation to make the tags on the custom takeout boxes using scrapbooking materials.



 Treasured Moments 
© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

© Glen Weisgerber, 2012

Friends and family who attended were involved in this special day more than once. During the reception they were invited to share their table cards which had the names of places where the couple shared special moments together, like their favorite beach, first kiss, first date, favorite restaurant, and the proposal.

The couple treasured many moments from their wedding, among them- their first night as a married couple at Villa Montaña Beach Resort and a custom music video featuring the couple by Fortaleza Mia Ministry.






Mariel and Milton loved their 24-day Mediterranean Romance Cruise aboard Ms. Nieuw Amsterdam from Holland American Line, followed by three days in Barcelona, Spain!





 Recommended Invitation 

We think that our musical invitation Amethyst Damask would have suited Mariel and Milton’s classy and conscientious wedding nicely.





Allow us to feature your wedding next! Send an email to and we will follow up with the next steps.

Journey to Wed: Five US Hotspots for Destination Weddings


Most little girls grow up dreaming about how to make their wedding the most perfect event in their life. Once upon a time, that may have meant wearing their mother’s old wedding dress and walking down the aisle at their local church. Much has changed, and many women want something completely different for their wedding day. Fortunately, there are many interesting and unique places that you can choose from to start your new life with your sweetie. Below are five US Hotspots for Destination Weddings.

1. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Come enjoy your wedding in this quaint Victorian village located in the gorgeous Ozark Mountains. Known as Little Switzerland, this unique little town is considered one of America’s most distinct destinations. Many wedding chapels are located here, and you can get more information at

2. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is believed by many to be a place of great healing energy. People travel from all over the world to pray, meditate and absorb the healing energy that is attributed to the area. Even if that doesn’t appeal to you, the fabulous red sandstone formations found there will be a beautiful backdrop for your wedding. If you have your wedding during the rising or setting of the sun, you will see that the formations glow in brilliant oranges and reds. You can plan any kind of wedding you want in Sedona, and this includes a traditional Native American wedding. Check out a site such as for more information.

3. Big Island, Hawaii

If you want gorgeous blue water, sun and sand, you couldn’t pick a better spot to get married than Big Island. Many places offer outdoor beach weddings overlooking the ocean. People have even gotten married while standing in the ocean. Whatever your wishes, they can be accommodated. Visit a site such as for more information.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

Running off to get married in Vegas is nothing new, but there are truly so many ways to make your wedding special in Vegas. Probably best known for theme weddings, you might choose to have an Elvis-themed wedding, Camelot-themed wedding or a Viva Las Vegas-themed wedding just to name a few. Of course, you can also get much more elegant weddings that cater to whatever your unique vision happens to be. Check out resources such as and Pacific Links International to learn more.

5. Boulder, Colorado


If you fancy a winter wedding in a snowy wonderland, plan your wedding in this lovely city located in the foothills of the impressive Rocky Mountains. The mountains will be a lovely backdrop for your wedding, and you can enjoy a nice ski trip too. Check out to learn more.

These are just a few ideas for some extraordinary spots to plan your wedding. It’s your special day, so get busy planning, and make the memories that will last you a lifetime.  And remember, once you decide on the venue – it is time to start working on those invitations. What better way to get your guests excited about a Destination Wedding (which is really a vacation for them as well) but to send them a gorgeous Musical Invitation that matches your venue’s theme.

Planning A Great Gatsby Wedding – Art Deco Style!

Following Baz Luhrmann’s opulent re-imagining of classic ‘The Great Gatsby’ 1920s style is back and the opulent Art Deco style of the period acts as the perfect inspiration for the ultimate wedding party.

Whether you love the art, fashion, music or decor of the period there is a way to incorporate these elements into your big day. Here are our tips to get you started planning a Great Gatsby Wedding.


The first step in introducing your wedding guests to your theme is with your invitation. If you want your guests to wear 1920s themed outfits make sure you send the invite out early so they can get shopping. Choose a 1920s tune for your musical invite to set the tone; Music Box Invites can create beautifully embellished 1920s inspired musical invitations for you.


If money is no option you could hire a stunning Art Deco building for your wedding day to really set the scene, such as Claridge’s ballroom with its beautiful hand engraved mirrors and elegant pillars. If you are looking for a country setting, Devon’s Huntsham Court is also just the ticket, with a range of grand rooms and antique furniture for your guests to enjoy.

This is not going to be an option however if you are working with a more modest budget, but this doesn’t have to stop you creating a space nearly as effective. Wherever you hold your wedding you can add Art Deco touches to the decor of the room to keep your theme consistent.

Decorate your tables with 1920s vases and ornaments sourced from the period and place names in an Art Deco font such as Broadway or Busorama. A dramatic fresh flower arrangement will finish it off beautifully – just think about the scene in Luhrmann’s film, when Gatsby fills Nick Carraway’s house with flowers in a romantic gesture for Daisy.

If you are able to decorate the room itself consider finding some dramatic, ornate mirrors from the period – you shouldn’t have a problem finding these in an antique shop. Cocktails in beautiful antique glasses and 1920s music blaring will all add to the theme.


There are few eras with more stunning wedding dresses than the 1920s. With their ornate prettiness you are sure to dazzle your guests, and the Miucca Prada designs in ‘Great Gatsby’ were certainly to die for!

But where to find them?

You can try scouring antique stores and specialist vintage dress companies to find an original 1920s creation. Avoid voluminous styles and stiff fabrics; this is all about showing off your silhouette in slinky beaded numbers with open-back detail.

Beaded head pieces are key to this look. Carey Mulligan’s Tiffany headband from the Gatsby film might be the ideal, but there are many cheaper alternatives and Etsy is a good place to start looking. Pretty T-bars are the perfect dancing shoes; take a look at the sparkling beauties created by former Bottega Veneta designer Emmy Scarterfield.


Guest Blogger, Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of Antiques to Vintage, a newly launched website that brings antique dealers and buyers from around the world together in one place.






Choosing the best date for your wedding

imagesIf you have recently decided to marry that special someone in your life, there are many important things to consider. You want the wedding to be very special and memorable, an event that will last a lifetime. Although choosing the appropriate place to have the wedding is very important, along with everything else that goes with planning for a wedding, one of the most important things to consider is choosing the best wedding date. Let’s take a look at a few considerations that every bride and groom should consider when choosing the best date for their wedding.

Time enough to plan

Do you realize how long each wedding item can take? Most bridal gowns can take up to 5 months to come and then you have the fittings and alterations. Custom wedding invitations can take up to 6 months to make. Don’t choose a date until you review a wedding timeline. You can find free timelines on all of the wedding sites and most of them suggest a minimum of one year for planning! So look that list of items to do over before choosing a date or schedule an appointment with a wedding planner first. peacock-purple

Choosing The Best Month

The month that you decide to get married in can be determined by considering a number of different factors. For instance, if you live in an area that is traditionally cold during the winter, you will probably want to choose a warmer months to get married. Spring is traditionally the best time to get married because the longer days, and warmer temperatures, will make it perfect, especially for an outdoor wedding. It’s also a good idea in case people have to travel long distances for this special event. If they get stuck in a snow storm, or their flights get delayed, it can ruin your wedding very easily.

Getting Your Favorite Reception Site

If you are having your wedding in a church, climate and weather will probably not be a problem. However, booking your preferred reception site might be a bit of a problem. Some popular reception sites are booked most of the year, requiring you to be flexible. Therefore, the date of your wedding might be dependent upon the availability of the reception site, especially if this is an important part of your wedding. And remember that if you choose an “off day” like a Friday evening or Sunday, you might be able to get the venue you want at a lower price.

Travel Plans Of Friends And Family

You also want to consider any travel plans that your family members, or close friends, might have throughout the year. Make sure to check with everyone that you want to invite to the wedding and make sure that most of them can arrive. The last thing you want to do is schedule your wedding during a time when these important people will not be around. By planning your wedding with other people in mind, it can ensure that loved ones and best friends will be able to attend.

Sentimental Reasons

Finally, you might want to consider planning your wedding on a date that has sentimental value. You might want to get married on your grandmother’s birthday in honor of her passing. Perhaps you would like to say your wedding vows on the same day that you originally met your spouse to be. If you have a particular date in mind that is very important, you will want to find out if it is possible to have a wedding on that date before planning anything else.

Planning a wedding is something that can be a fun filled time for both the bride and groom. By considering the time of year, availability of facilities, availability of friends and family, and choosing a day that will be meaningful for both of you, you can eventually choose the perfect day to be married to that special someone, hopefully, for the rest of your lives.

Guest Author : Aria Meyer is a freelance write and an active blogger. She writes mainly about fashion and technology, but she also writes about other topics too. She is currently working with several ecommerce websites to help them with content. Aria got her Bachelor Degree from Cal State Long Beach and currently living in Walnut, CA. Right now, she is working closely with Wallao to help them grow the marketing department.

Over the top Weddings

As many brides are using spreadsheets and calculators to create their wedding budgets, I am sure a few have them have wished that money was no issue and only the sky was the limit. So what kind of wedding do people have when that is the case? Here is one wedding that was unbelievable …

downloadJames Stunt (Businessman) and Petra Ecclestone (Racing Heiress) –  So what does $19 million buy these days?  Well a fairytale wedding for one. The August 2011 wedding of 22 year old Petra to 26 year old James Stunt took place in Odescalchi castle ( £310,000 to rent)  , a spectacular 15th-century Italian fort. Each invitation was hand delivered  and presented in a beige suede box containing three different-sized scented candles each embellished with the Ecclestone family monogram. An estimated 250 guests flew to Rome for a three day event documented by Hello Magazine. The Castle overlooks Lake Bracciano, and the guests were welcomed by an extravagant dinner in the armory the night before the ceremony. The bill for this celebration dwarfed the six-figure sum her father Bernie paid for Petra’s engagement party at Battersea Power Station where 300 guests were treated to vintage Cristal champagne and pop star Rihanna was paid £250,000 to perform for the couple.

Wedding day, the medieval town of Bracciano ground to a halt, the cobbled piazza closed off as fleets of cars taxied 250 VIP guests (including Royalty) for the twilight ceremony inside the castle whose grounds had been transformed into what was described as a ‘magical world’ themed setting, with air-conditioned, flower-filled canopies to keep guests cool. They were greeted by an 18-piece string section from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which cost more than £100,000, led by renowned conductor Nigel Short, who performed a 40-minute selection of classical music. Accompanying them was the 20-member Tenebrae Choir, described as ‘one of the greatest choirs in the world’.

MoS2 Template Master

A team of ten make-up artists, including celebrity specialist Gary Cockerill, a close friend of Tamara’s, were flown out to help prepare the wedding party and family and guests were put up in £2,300-a-night Hassler Hotel suites. Petra, dressed in a £80,000 couture wedding gown by designer Vera Wang, set out from her suite in Rome 30 miles away in a white Rolls-Royce Phantom, before switching to a vintage Rolls Royce and her driver was F1 star Jean Alesi. She was accompanied by sister Tamara, 27, and two bridesmaids, close friends Skye Mellar and Ines Raddock.

The hour-long service, held outdoors, was also accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Once pronounced man and wife, Petra and James, and their guests were serenaded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who performed his worldwide hit Time To Say Goodbye, then Somos Novios, ending with Can’t Help Falling In Love.

A reception followed in the castle gardens, where guests were served vintage Louis Roederer Cristal champagne and £4,000-a-bottle Chateau Petrus wine in an air-conditioned white marquee, while acrobats performed beneath hot-air balloons amid the first of the evening’s two fireworks displays (£100,000). It was the beginning of a night of opulent celebrations, which next saw Eric Clapton – a friend of the Ecclestone family – providing the music for the couple’s first dance, free of charge. Clapton was followed by The Black Eyed Peas (£1.5 million fee), and DJ David Guetta,  £500,000 (for a DJ!!! – maybe the Philharmonic is in the wrong business)

I know most of us can’t afford such an event but still want an “over-the-top” wedding. Short of winning the lottery (or a spot on the  David Tutera Wedding show); here are some suggestions:

Hay_steps_sm1. Pick an Historic Venue – all of us can’t fly people to Rome for a wedding in a castle, but in most cities there are some great Historic Places. In New York City, people can get married at the NY Public Library for example, and in Macon, GA there is a lovely place called The Hay House. When you choose a historic plantation or home, you don’t need to spend much on making the room pretty so you can save on linens/flowers/etc. Check out this link for a way to search for great places.

2. Choose a venue that is beautiful outdoors – Consider a Vineyard for your wedding. If the scenery is beautiful, again, you don’t need tons of decorations to make the event special.

3. Order very unique Save the Date and Wedding Invites – there is nothing more elegant than when a guest receives an over-the-top invite. If you are very crafty you can make them yourself or consider having a custom couture company do it for your. Music Box Invites creates MUSICAL invitations that your guests will talk about for years!

4. Hire a STAR to sing – Not everyone can afford the Black Eyed Peas but there are tons of “cover bands” who can do your favorite performer’s music. Some even dress up like the performer, we are not talking the cheap Elvis impersonators here but real singers who can make your event sparkle.

5. Fireworks? While fireworks can cost thousands of dollars and most places won’t allow them anyway, the sparkler exit is truly magical and beautiful and very photographic!

A sparkler exit is not extremely expensive but very memorable

A sparkler exit is not extremely expensive but very memorable



Exciting New Song List on Music Box Invites featuring Hollie

Hollie your Wedding Singer Black & White optimisedMusic Box invites is so excited to be teaming up with sultry singer – Hollie Kamel.  Hollie, Your Wedding Singer,  as she is know in London is a classically trained professional singer featuring a  vast and varied vocal range and style that works harmoniously with virtually any song choice.  Whether it’s a rip-roaring rock song or an emotional ballad, Hollie has an uncanny ability to find just the right mood and approach in her vocal performance to compliment the song perfectly. She is able to quickly understand what the songwriter is trying to achieve and by using a balance of her exquisite tone and perfectly honed technique she is always able to come up with exactly what is required.

Now, Hollie’s incredible talent will be featured in the most unique place — on YOUR wedding invitation! That’s correct, Music Box Invites has access to Hollie’s recordings and since Hollie’s wedding song list is over 100 songs – covering virtually all genres of music including: Pop, Jazz, Soul, Country, Swing, Contemporary & even Musical Theater; we are certain we can find the perfect song for any bride’s wedding invite. Or we can even ask Hollie to custom record a song for us if you don’t see the one you want!  Hollie joins our other incredible talent, Michael Andrew.  Hollie and Michael’s songs can be chosen as premium music for your invitations for $150 plus $1 additional for each invite. We can also record a song of your choice as custom music, for $250. Check out our new song list now.Hollie your Wedding Singer main head shot optimised

We spoke to Hollie about her career and how she decided to go into the “wedding” business.  She answered “I have a heartfelt passion for performing and knowing that every song I sing can hold a special place in someone’s heart adds that magical sparkle and edge! Creating the perfect Soundtrack to any event will make sure that every musical moment is a treasured memory and as a trained singer & dancer I have the experience and understanding of what ingredients are needed to add ‘Star Quality’ to all my performances!”

She started singing at a very young age & had her first ‘on stage solo’ performance at about 10 years old. She went on to become a Grade A student in Music & Drama, landing numerous roles within musicals and on the radio.  She then embarked on  ‘classical’ vocal training and was taught by the best; in fact her teacher had performed with the likes of Pavarotti. In addition to her singing career,she is also a qualified Dance teacher that specializes in Salsa, Bachata & Merengue.  And in her early 20’s she ran and part owned a Live Music Venue in her home town of Essex. Her past also includes being a School Musical Vocal Director and having an extensive corporate background in Media, Admin and Marketing. She also has a HND’s in Child Development, Behavioral studies which probably helps her when dealing with demanding brides and mother’s there of. This busy performer is also married to an amazing man (who is a former world hip hop dance champion and a celebrity choreographer and dj) and has a simply gorgeous little girl called Jasmine Lila, who is nearly 4.

To work with brides, she told us that she mainly LISTENS what they want for their special day and then she fills in the gaps and creates a customize soundtrack to fit her client’s needs.  This means she is interested in their wedding style (formal, casual, modern, funky), their color schemes, so as to make sure her attire compliments the occasion and not clash, what songs are important to them and why and basically connect with that magical sparkle that creates each and every beautiful wedding. She feels that she is creating personal memories that couples and guests will keep for years to come.

“Let me be the ‘Soundtrack’ to your Wedding Day!” says Hollie,  “My voice is my gift and my guarantee to you, as your Singer, is to deliver a professional performance above any other that will leave you & all of your guests amazed!”

2013-04-07 11.37.14And now, that passion can be heard BEFORE your wedding day on the invitation you send to your guests. Only Music Box Invites offers customer, couture MUSICAL wedding invitations that are so exquisite, your guests will think they are attending the event of the season. Like a red carpet designer made gown, these invitations are something that you will treasure forever.  Invitations begin at $20 for a semi custom suite (3 layer invitation with ribbon and buckle, RSVP card/envelope, box in assorted colors and standard music chip) or Custom Couture where the sky is the limit. We work with you to create the perfect invitation to match your theme and desires.

For more information on Music Box Invites; contact Joann.








Wedding Day: 5 Must-Dos When Planning A Wedding Reception Party

A wedding reception is normally the largest and most expensive party you and your significant other will have to plan. It is the most exciting and enjoyable part of the wedding. The event should be a very happy occasion for the married couple and their guests, so it is crucial that everyone has a wonderful and memorable time. Different variables have to be attended to, such as a date, timings, location, catering, photography and entertainment.

1. Date and Time

Getting married and holding the reception on the weekend or a holiday would be a great idea. This would be more suitable for all the guests to attend. Try to avoid late-night functions. Instead, let the ceremony take place in the morning, afternoon or early evening. Keeping a time line for each ritual and event in the wedding is important. That will help to avoid unnecessary confusion.

2. Reception Location

Picking the right location is a major factor in the overall success of the big day. For those residents in the “Beehive State”, if you plan to have your reception in one of the Utah restaurants, make sure it is warm and impresses as you enter. Restaurants with outdoor patios or verandas with views are always pleasing. Once you have chosen your venue, date and time – start looking at invitations because the nicest ones can take 3-6 months to come in. Consider something really over the top like Musical Wedding Invites to really WOW your guests.

3. Catering

Finalizing the menu for the important occasion and hiring an expert caterer would be beneficial. Many Utah catering companies are dependable and do a wonderful job. A top-notch caterer can be costly, but their food and service is usually great. In addition, all the extra amenities are included in their prices.

4. Top Shelf Photographer

Selecting an experienced photographer with a high rating is very important. You want someone who is professionally dressed, with an efficient and relaxed manner. If possible, make sure the photographer is hired until the reception ends. This may guarantee the special moments, whenever they occur, will not be missed.

5. Entertainment

Try to hire a DJ who knows how to beat mix a two or three song set. Most songs played at receptions are three to four minutes long. Most couples have enough energy to dance ten to twelve minutes. Once the three to four minute song is over, everybody is ready to leave the floor. A DJ who is skilled at beat mixing songs is more likely to keep everybody on the dance floor and keep the energy of a reception going.

Planning a wedding reception way ahead of time is very important for making that special day smooth and happy. Most couples will get reception advice a variety of ways. The tips included above may help them plan their special event so that everyone enjoys it.

DIY Wedding: Five Ways To Incorporate Fun Material Into Your Wedding

Once the wedding proposal has been made and accepted the fun begins. Your wedding day will be a labor of love that is sure to incorporate childhood dreams and a grown-up wish list. And here are some ideas for a DIY wedding!

If you are a bride who leans to the wild side, consider a non-traditional aisle runner for your wedding ceremony. What’s wrong with using a fun leopard print fabric to glide up the aisle on? Leopard print can be purchased in a variety of shades and you can buy extra fabric for pew bows and to embellish candle stands and reception tables.

Anything goes when planning a wedding, so don’t be afraid to embrace a daring theme including lace accents. Bridesmaids can don leather sashes to accent their lacy gowns. Leather and lace touches would be lovely on bouquets, boutonnieres and reception centerpieces. Pair these materials with darker wedding colors like chocolate brown, deep magenta and black.

Lots of brides utilize tulle in their wedding decorations, but consider bumping it up a notch! Purchase three or more colors of tulle for a festive and colorful event. Use the rainbow of tulle to make pew bows, reception table runners and chair accents. You will have instant wedding joy using small layered squares of tulle for candy favors tied up with twine and colorful tags thanking guests for attending.

There is a growing trend of cowboy themed weddings featuring easy cotton wedding clothes, wildflower bouquets and fun calico prints with leather accents. Have crafty girlfriends help make calico print table runners, napkins or place mats for each guest. Top your tables with mason jars, simple flowers and a scatter of buttons for the perfect touch. Using leather products by Rustico, wrap silverware bundles in leather bows and make candy-filled leather pouches as wedding favors.

Let burlap be the unexpected star of your wedding reception. It is lovely to work with, affordable and adaptable. Use it for a wedding aisle runner trimmed with rose petals, as well as for the ring-bearer pillow and chair bows. You can stitch drawstring bags filled with spa products as gifts to wedding attendants.

When planning the perfect wedding it is a wonderful idea to incorporate fun materials as they add interest, rich texture and unexpected touches. Be creative and a little daring and you are sure to be pleased with how your memorable day comes together.

How To Find The Best Photographer For Your Special Day

You’ve already decided on tablecloths and little shapes for your napkins. Choosing a wedding photographer, however, is a bit more time-consuming. With so many studios and freelancers clamoring to capture your big day, how do you look past the lens and know which one is right for you?

Here are a few tips for choosing a the best photographer for your wedding day.

Choose A Photo Style

The easiest way to find a good wedding photographer is simply to flip through portfolios until you see something you like. But what if you don’t have time for that?

Start by narrowing your search and focusing on a particular style. Different photographers specialize in different areas, like outdoor weddings versus traditional settings, black-and-whites versus color photos, etc. Some studios like Lasting Expressions do them all. It doesn’t really matter what you decide to focus on so long as you have that focus: Construct a detailed vision of what you want your wedding photo album to look like, then search for a portfolio that matches it.

Know Your Limits

Once you’ve found your niche, you can eliminate more options by setting a price range and deciding the extent of your required services. How much of your wedding budget can you set aside for the photographer? Will you be asking for physical prints or just a CD/film roll? Do you only need someone for a few wedding portraits, or do you want them cataloging every step of the rehearsal, reception and ceremony? Can you afford it?

Meet The Photographer

Be sure to actually meet your photographer in person before committing to their services. They’ll be sticking to you like glue during the most important day of your life, so you’ll want your personalities to mesh! You can also take the opportunity to really hash out the details of their employment and re-negotiate any complicated points.

Know Who To Avoid

Don’t ever hire a relative! Not ever! Just don’t do it!

You should also watch out for anyone who has an insanely busy schedule. They’re either overworking themselves, which means they won’t be at their best for you, or they’re handing off events to assistants and associate photographers.

Seek Unbiased Opinions

A good way to vet any potential photographers is to figure out what previous customers have to say about them. Don’t trust the reviews on their personal website; look for third-party ratings and rankings. The best review anyone could give goes something like, “I was having (X) problem but my photographer managed it efficiently and got my portraits back on track in a minute!”

You should also be wary of photographers recommended by your venue or wedding coordinator. They may, in fact, be great at their job, but chances are high that they’re paying to be networked and endorsed by other industry professionals.

100_2018Trust Your Instincts

You can’t be sure how your pictures will turn out until you actually have them in your hands, so choosing a photographer is by necessity an act of faith. Once you’ve browsed, classified and analyzed all your options, all that’s left is to go with your instincts.

They led you to your spouse, after all. They can lead you to a wonderful wedding photographer as well.

And once you have found the perfect photographer, make sure to give him a list of the shots you want him to take. One great shot is a picture of your wedding invitation bring it to your engagement session or have some at the wedding venue.

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