Come Visit Me at Unveiled

Come visit me at the Unveiled wedding show at Mayo Civic Center this Sunday, October 22nd. The Wedding Guys from Minneapolis/St Paul are bringing the show here to highlight local vendors across the wedding industry. This is a great opportunity to meet vendors in person, and gather ideas on trends and options for all aspects of your wedding experience.

Some of the premier folks will be there: photographers, florists, reception venues, fashion providers, honeymoon/travel agents, caterers… and me. If you’re planning a 2018 or 2019 wedding this show is a convenient way to explore many options in one place and at one time. Even if you’ve booked some of your services already, this is a great place to check out the latest ideas, and to just get excited about your upcoming day.

Check out the show and order your tickets with the link below, and use the special offer to get a free ticket:
Buy One Ticket, Get One Free

This is the only wedding show I’ll be attending this season, so I would love to chat with you about your ceremony needs. I’ll have my calendar with me, and will be happy to schedule private consultation appointments with couples for the coming weeks. Stop by to say hi, and let’s talk ceremony.

Ensuring your Ceremony Hits the Right Note

Your ceremony hits the right note when your music is fully integrated and flawlessly performed. When that happens it sets the tone, highlights important ceremony moments, and transitions your guests on to the reception. But music can also hit a sour note, becoming a distraction, leading to awkward silences, and destroying the vision you had for your ceremony.

I’ve had recent experiences at both ends of the spectrum. At one wedding the couple wanted the recorded music played by a family friend. The problem started when they didn’t select that person ahead of time, and did not have the person at the rehearsal so they could see where the music fit into the ceremony. On the wedding day, the person played bits of all the ceremony music while the attendants entered, trying to get to the right piece. The bride actually came in to the recessional song, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”. Then at the end of the ceremony the device had locked up and the responsible person didn’t know the passcode. It was a quiet recessional, and definitely not what the couple envisioned. Note that if you are having a professional DJ play your recorded music, you don’t need to have them attend the rehearsal, but all amateurs need to be there.

A music disaster was barely averted at another recent ceremony. The couple wanted a piece of music that was special to them played during the ceremony. I included an introductory comment about the significance of the music in the ceremony and thought we were all set to go. When I was reviewing the cue sheet I had prepared for their professional DJ however, she was unaware of the song in the middle of the ceremony. Luckily, she was able to locate and download the music to her computer and insert it into her playlist for the ceremony. Everything worked out OK, but this is a caution to make sure you let your DJ know ahead of time about all the music you want as part of the ceremony.

And finally, the positive experience: This couple selected music that was particularly meaningful to them for both the processional and ring warming ritual. They shared the significance of these pieces with me, and I was able to draw the guests’ attention to it, and even wrap some of the lyrics into my opening comments. This kind of information sharing allowed the music and ceremony to be intertwined in a way that enhanced both.

So when you’re doing your wedding planning, remember to focus on the ceremony music you want and take steps to ensure that it hits the right note to start off your wedding celebration.

Taking Your Ceremony Space Up a Notch

Taking your ceremony space up a notch doesn’t have to be difficult or pricey. With a little thought, planning and creativity you can make your ceremony venue especially memorable. It can be a bit of a challenge to create a special ceremony space in an open area outdoors. You want to focus attention on the space without overwhelming the natural beauty that likely led you to choose the venue in the first place.

Here are some simple, relatively inexpensive ways to define and focus your outdoor venue:
1. If you don’t have a natural “wall” of greenery, stone or other natural material backing the ceremony space, consider creating the illusion by hanging fabric or picture frames from a tree branch. Then position your wedding party in front and you’re ready to go.

Picture frames and simple greenery decorate outdoor ceremony space

2. Inexpensive decor options that define space include satin ribbons or gauzy fabric tied to guest chairs, or ribbons hanging from trees or positioned in a simple large frame. Simple baby’s breath or greenery gathered with a ribbon, raffia or burlap can also be tied to chairs at a fraction of the cost of floral arrangements.

3. Another flexible idea is to use a freestanding door at either the back or front of the ceremony space. Positioned at the back, it can create an impressive entrance for the wedding party. Used at the front, it can frame the ceremony action.

Doors can define the front or back of your ceremony space

4. In a large area, consider signposts to direct your guests from parking to the ceremony space. A large sign or chalkboard with the order of the ceremony can be an attractive focal point at the back of the ceremony space and eliminate the need for ceremony programs.

And finally, there are a couple of things I see at ceremonies that can probably be eliminated altogether: bubbles and bells. These props are supposed to be used to celebrate the couple as they leave at the end of the ceremony, but are usually forgotten, ignored, or intentionally avoided. I suggest you save your money on those items and use it elsewhere in your wedding budget.

The Recessional Song Puts an Exclamation Point on your Ceremony

The Recessional song you select can put an exclamation point on the end of your wedding ceremony and transition you and your guests to the party that follows. While processional, or opening, music tends to be slower, more romantic or stately, you want your recessional song to start strong and upbeat – to carry you down the aisle as a married couple, and get the party started.

You can personalize your recessional song by choosing your favorite music genre and by paying attention to the message the lyrics convey. Here are a few suggestions across the musical spectrum:

Classical (instrumental): “Water Music, Suite 2” – Handel, “Spring” – Vivaldi, “Brandenburg Concerto, Number 1” – Bach

Country: “Feel Again” – One Republic, “Home” – Phillip Phillips, “Love You Out Loud” – Rascal Flatts

Classic Rock: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” – Stevie Wonder, “All You Need is Love” – The Beatles, “This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)” – Natalie Cole (start 30 seconds in)

Rat Pack: “Come Fly With Me” – Frank Sinatra, “Fly Me To The Moon” – Frank Sinatra

Contemporary: “Best Day of My Life” – American Authors, “You Are the Best Thing In My Life” – Ray LaMontagne, “Lucky” – Jason Mraz/Colbie Caillat, “Heaven” – Los Lonely Boys, “Marry You” – Bruno Mars

Contemporary Instrumentals: “Lucky” – Vitamin String Quartet performs Jason Mraz, “Waterfall” – The Piano Guys (Jon Schmidt Original)

Whether you choose live or recorded music, instrumentals or versions with lyrics, the music you select to close your ceremony will be remembered. Let it reflect your style, your feelings, and your joy on this important day in your life. If your guests are humming along, tapping their toes, or dancing in their seats, you’ll know you’ve hit the right chord. Your recessional song will mark the end of your wedding ceremony with a joyful exclamation point.

Small Wedding Parties – Pros and Cons

Small wedding parties seem to be increasingly popular option, especially for couples who are over 30 and who have already established their life together. They may already own a home together, may have even started their family together, but are definitely focused on the wedding day being about them as a couple.

If any of these characteristics describe you, or if you are simply looking for a simpler kind of wedding day, opting for a small wedding party may be the way to go. I define small wedding parties as zero to two attendants (bridesmaids, groomsmen, whatever) for each of you, and no children (flower girls, ring bearers). Admittedly, this is a somewhat arbitrary definition, but if you’re going to achieve the benefits of a small wedding party, I think it’s a pretty good definition.

So what are the benefits of a small wedding party? Here’s a brief list:
– lower cost: fewer gifts to buy, fewer cars to arrange to transport the wedding party, fewer bouquets and boutonnieres needed, smaller rehearsal dinner expense, smaller salon bill (if you’re paying for the women’s hair and makeup for the day).

– less stress: fewer people to get in the right place at the right time – think pictures, ceremony line-up, more pictues, grand entrance, wedding party dance, more pictures.

– less drama: fewer people by definition means fewer emergencies, fewer wardrobe malfunctions (or ill-fitting tuxes), fewer last minute illnesses, and few hurt feelings.

– more meaningful time with your wedding party: as a group of two, four or six people (you plus one or two attendants each) you become an intimate party unto yourselves, rather than a small herd you’re just trying to keep together. Quick conversations and shared moments can become lasting memories of your wedding day.

– more focus on you as a couple: with only a few of your closest relatives and friends standing up with you, the focus will naturally stay more on the two of you. They will be honored to be part of the party, but are more inclined to be focused on helping you have the day of your dreams.

Couple with no attendants

OK so with all these benefits, what are the down sides to small wedding parties? Well, you’re going to have a smaller number of people surrounding you all day (you get to decide if this is a plus or minus). If you are a real extrovert and love a crowd, a small wedding party may not be the right choice for you. And if you’re looking for lavish showers, bachelor or bachelorette parties, you’ll need to include friends outside the wedding party in those festivities, too. And the most common driver of large wedding parties is the desire to not pick among friends, to favor some over others when selecting your attendants. But a truly small wedding party – only a single honor attendant for each of you, or no attendants at all – may be a great solution to that problem, too. Give some thought to your personalities, to your wishes for your day, and what the right size wedding party meets your vision, and only then start inviting people to stand with you on this very important day.