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Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Need Help Choosing My Bridal Party!

Family members and friends who are chosen to be a part of your bridal party should consider it an honor! At the same time, those you choose should be special to you in some way (e.g., friend from the 1st grade, sister, fraternity brother, etc.) Don’t take making the decision of who will stand with you lightly!

Characteristics to Consider
I believe all members of your bridal party should display these characteristics. The last thing you want to have to worry about is someone who is not:

Trustworthy – You are putting faith in people, in the hopes that they will be there for you! Don’t choose someone whose word you know is not good for anything!

Reliable – Is your cousin always late? Is your fraternity brother the type of person who changes his mind in an instant? You want to select people who are reliable, will show up when and where they need to, and will do what they said they would do.

Fun – Weddings are fun, and members of your bridal party should be fun as well. I’m not saying that each person must be the life of the party, but they should want to have a good time to celebrate your new life! Don’t pick someone who’s a killjoy!

Share in your happiness – Sometimes our friends and loved ones who are not married or not in a relationship may feel a bit of jealousy toward you. Don’t choose someone who’s a ‘hater’ and can’t share in your happiness.

Money and Bridal Party Members
Let’s be honest here…..it can be a bit expensive to be in a wedding, since bridal party members are responsible for their attire and transportation/lodging to the wedding. If you know someone is not working or may not have the means to handle these costs, don’t ask them to be a part of your wedding. If you do ask them, they may say yes, but then leave you in a lurch at the last minute (I’ve seen this happen TOO MANY times!) If you insist on having them as a part of your wedding, keep in mind that you may end up footing the bill for them (and this will need to be included in your wedding budget). The choice is yours….just be knowledgeable about the choice you are making!

I was in her wedding, should I ask her to be in mine?
Because you were in someone else’s wedding, it doesn’t automatically mean the previous bride must be in yours. Maybe you and your fiancĂ© have agreed to include only siblings, or you’ve decided to keep your bridal party small. Whatever your reasoning, you shouldn’t feel obligated to include someone because they included you.

What if my relationship with someone has changed?
You may have been close to someone a few years ago, but for whatever reason, you are not as close as you once were. Relationships can change over time and distance, and let’s face it, people can change too! You may have other friends who are now closer to you than she is. If you and your friend promised to be in each other’s weddings back in the first grade, but your friendship has transitioned, don’t feel obligated to include her in your bridal party. In this case, one option is to ask her to do something else for you (i.e., hostess, gift collector, etc).

Your Planning Assignment
The decision on who to include in your bridal party is yours! Don’t feel pressured to include people you don’t want, and stick by your decision. It’s your choice and your day! Happy Planning!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Importance of Planning Reception Seating

Planning the seating for your reception may not be the most exciting thing to do, but it will ensure your wedding guests fully enjoy celebrating your new life as husband and wife. Although it’s your special day, it wouldn’t be the same without your guests to share it with, and their comfort is important!

Why should I have reserved seating?
In my opinion, there is nothing worse than an unorganized reception. Your guests should be well-informed as to what to expect and where to go. If they have to make sure they have a seat by rushing into the reception room or saving seats for other people, your reception can be chaotic. Also, if you are having a sit-down or buffet-style dinner, it’s imperative that every guest have a seat (how can someone balance a dinner plate and a drink while standing?) This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at some who don’t plan to have seating for everyone! :-)

The importance of the RSVP
Besides letting you know who will be attending your wedding celebration, the RSVP helps you determine what your final budget will be for food, alcohol, and favors. Be sure to set a realistic deadline date and stick to it. If you are not getting responses in a timely manner, use your wedding website to send a friendly reminder to guests, or have family members follow up with a phone call to check on your guests’ status. You are not obligated to accommodate a guest who responds after the deadline!

When to work on your seating plan
You can lay the groundwork for your seating plan as soon as you know how your reception room will be arranged. One approach is to assign guests to tables as soon as you receive RSVPs. The downside of this is that if you do this too soon, and change your mind about where you want to seat someone, you may have to make a few changes until you have the final version. Any late RSVP should be seated wherever you have room (if you decide to try to accommodate them!) Check out wedding planning sites such as Wedding Wire (http://www.weddingwire.com) for great tools to assist you with your seating arrangements!

What are some things to keep in mind as you arrange your guest seating?
Again, the best interest of your guests is important as you answer these questions:

  • Will guests know each other?
  • Will a single person feel out of place sitting with married couples?
  • Are there guests who may not get along and should be seated separately (such as a divorced couple)?
  • Will a guest with a disability or special needs be able to maneuver in a particular area of the room?
  • Should an elderly guest be seated closer to the buffet?
Options for seating
Place cards – These are small cards that include a guest’s name and table number. Guests can pick them up during cocktail hour, or as they are entering the reception room.

Favors – A favor can double as a place card (such as a small picture frame with the guest’s name and table number, or piece of chocolate with a tag containing the seating information). Use your imagination!

Hostesses – Hostesses can check your guests in and inform them of their assigned table. You may even designate ushers to escort people to their seats!

Seating charts/scrolls – Guests’ names and table numbers are listed on a chart (usually in alphabetical order) so guests can determine where their seats are. See the picture above for just one way it can be done (picture courtesy of http://avasweddings.com )

Your Planning Assignment

Set your RSVP date so that you will have enough time to complete seating arrangements, as well as give a final guest count to your caterer, favor maker, and cake baker. Happy Planning!