Rehearsal Dinner Planning Tips

The rehearsal dinner, traditionally hosted by the groom's family, is an opportunity for both families to meet and get to know each other. It is also an opportunity for the bride and groom to show appreciation to the bridal party for their time and effort. The rehearsal dinner can be either formal or casual depending on preference. The guest list should consist of both sets of parents, grandparents, siblings, bridal party members and their spouses or significant others. The officiant and special guests may also be invited. Trying to find a location, however, for the rehearsal dinner may appear to be the most challenging part of planning the dinner. It may appear daunting to try to find a location that will accommodate your family, their needs and still remain within your budget criteria. Here are a few places that you may want to consider for your rehearsal dinner from for all budget sizes:

High Budget: A restaurant is always a good choice as it requires minimal planning on your part. Restaurants such as Ruth's Chris, McCormick and Schmidt's, and Maggianos may offer you a private room equipped with your own bar and staff for your event. A restaurant will also offer you a variety of meal selections to accommodate your families needs and tastes. More importantly, hosting your event at a restaurant means less work will be required on your part. The restaurant will provide you with linens, tables, chairs, drinks, food etc. All you need to do is select your menu.

A private room at a local winery or vineyard may also be an elegant option for your event. A winery will provide you with a beautiful and quiet setting amongst the greenery and vineyards. It will also provide you with lots of tasty spirits as you and the bridal party will be making various toasts throughout the night. You will need to inquire about catering as wineries vary on this one. Some provide catering while others do not.
Mid Budget: Your wedding venue may offer you space to hold your rehearsal dinner. If your rehearsal dinner is on a weeknight, the venue may offer a reduced rate especially if they have not booked the space by the time of your event. This means that your bridal party will not have to travel far for the dinner since they will be in attendance at the rehearsal.

If your event is located in the same town as your Alma Marta, they may offer you rental space to meet your needs. Many colleges have meeting rooms, banquet halls and conference rooms that are frequently made available for public rental. Because you are a graduate they may even offer you a reduced rate.
Do you have a lot of out of town guests arriving for your wedding? Contact the hotel in which your sleeping rooms are blocked. Since you are patronizing the hotel they may offer you space for your rehearsal dinner at a reduced rate.

Small Budget: If you are working on a leaner budget you may still want to try a restaurant such as the Olive Garden, Red, Hot and Blue or Bertucci's. They may provide you with a private area for you and your guests at a less expensive rate. You can also trim down the costs by only serving drinks and appetizers instead of a meal. You can also trim costs by skipping the private room and just booking a table instead.
The most inexpensive way to host your event may be to utilize a private home. Hosting your rehearsal dinner at your home or the home of a relative is one means to minimize the costs. You will save by not paying for a facility rental fee. Another benefit to hosting your event at a private home aside from the cost is that you gain a cozy and intimate atmosphere for your family to mingle and become acquainted. Although this may require a little more work, it can still be as elegant and fun as having it at a public facility.

If the weather is nice you can bring your party outside by hosting it in a backyard, garden, or local park. You can even jazz it up by incorporating a fun theme such as a luau or garden party.

Regardless of your budget, the main focus of your event should be intermingling your families and celebrating the big day. Your rehearsal dinner also provides you with an opportunity to show appreciation and distribute gifts to your bridal party. More importantly it gives you an evening to relax and have a good time with family and friends before the big day.

A Fab Bridal Shower: Several Ways to Spice up Your Shower

So you are the maid of honor and now have the daunting task of planning the bridal shower. However, the bride wants something a bit different and is not interested in the standard games which typically accompanies your traditional bridal shower. What to do? What to do? Here are a few ideas to create a fab bridal shower without the boredom. So grab the bridesmaids and get ready to start planning

1. Pick a theme or color scheme: In planning a bridal shower, you want to start with a theme or color scheme. This will be your focal point for decor, invitations, gifts and favors. As you are deciding on the theme , you should consider the bride's personality and tastes so that you incorporate them into your theme. Several examples of fun bridal shower themes for brides with various preferences are:
  • Tea party- This is perfect for the bride that enjoys a more formal fare. Typically a tea party can be held on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Guests may want to dress a little more formal for this event. Tea cups, saucers and porcelain kettles decorate the tables accompanied by delicious tarts and finger sandwiches served on tiered trays. This event can be held at any location from a tea room, garden or home.
  • Cocktail Party: A cocktail party is perfect for the bride that wants to chat and mingle with her guests without spending a lot of time doing the typical bridal shower activities i.e playing the traditional shower games. This event can be held almost anywhere. The bride's favorite cocktail can be served on cocktail tables dressed in colored linens that can be spread sporadically throughout the venue. You can even make it more "trendy" by making the cocktail shower a coed event.
  • Desserts Shower: Imagine a room full of desserts, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, tarts, fudge etc. Imagine the centerpieces are cupcakes in various fun filled flavors or cakes in the shape of items commonly found at a wedding such as a tiera, chapel etc decorating each table. The decor features candy filled containers to match the linens and color scheme. The bride's favorite dessert is packaged to go and sent home as favors. This can be a fun way to shower the bride that has a sweet tooth. A desserts shower may also be less expensive than a shower with the traditional fare and a fun event to plan.
  • Spa Day: I call this one martinis and manicures or mimosas and manicures depending on the time of day. If the bride is genuinely bored of the typical bridal shower and she enjoys the occasional pampering then you may want to book a room at a spa for the shower. The bride will have a blast as she opens her gifts while getting a relaxing facial or a pedicure. This makes for great girl time chatter. Ask your spa if they will supply food or if you can bring your own finger sandwiches and drinks.
  • Open House: If you have a bride that does not enjoy being the center of attention and prefers something a bit more low key, an open house maybe just the thing. Invite guests to come and chit chat with the bride. You can specify a specific time frame in which guests can come out and shower the bride. This is a very casual event that does not require a lot of fuss, just a few hor' dourves and the bride.
3. Games: There are a ton of games out there for bridal showers. you may want to select games that focus the attention on the bride and really get the guests to laugh. We have asked several brides to share with us games that were a hit at their shower. Here is what they said:
  • Newlywed Game Show: If you are throwing a coed shower you can play a version of the newlywed game. To play the game, you ask the women questions about their partner and vice versa. As each couple enters the shower, each partner is given cards with questions. For example, a question that could be asked is "What would you say your husband is most like: a roaring lion, a cuddly teddy bear, a devoted dog or a funny monkey?" The questions can be funny or serious but have a mixture so it doesn't get repetitious. The partner writes the answer of the question on the card. during the game, the other partner has to guess what the partner wrote. The couple with the most correct answers wins a prize.
  • Gifts on Timer: Very simple game but can be a lot of fun. During the opening of gifts, a timer is set. Every time the timer goes off the person whose gift is being opened wins a prize.
  • Naughty Toys: For mature audiences, buy several pieces of naughty toys such as a teddy, a feather boa or a whip. As guests enter the shower they will each pick a number from a hat. The number is then placed into another hat as the guest has to remember the number they selected. During the shower numbers are picked according to the number of naughty toys purchased. The guests with the selected numbers has to demonstrate with the naughty toy what the bride should do with it on her honeymoon.
  • Another suggestion for adult audiences is a pole dance lesson. There are also many other exotic classes that may make for bridal shower fun (strip tease, fellatio lessons etc.). Please consider the bride and the guests prior to planning. However, these will be sure to give the bride and her guests a shower they will never forget.

3. Divide the Tasks: Don't stress yourself with handling all of the details. You may want to divide the tasks between yourself and the bridesmaids. For example, someone should find the venue, another person can be the leader of the games, someone else may want to send out the invitations, etc. You can even get the hostesses involved. It's much easier to have everyone pitch in then all of the responsibilities being placed on one person.
Assure that you keep the bride at the center of your plans. Have fun and I'm sure she will have an awesome shower! For questions about any of these ideas or to provide us with feedback feel free to email us at:

Make Your Party Resemble a Grand Event on a Small Budget

Many people and businesses have a need to throw a party, gala or some form of festive event. Others simply enjoy entertaining. Nowadays it is difficult to do in a gloomy economy. Even though you may be fiscally challenged, you can still throw a lavish event with a lean budget. Here are several simple tips to help you plan a fab event without breaking the bank:

1. Selecting a Venue: Instead of choosing the traditional venue that may cost you big bucks (such as a hotel, restaurant or ballroom) search for non traditional venues such as a museum, park, or city recreational facility that you can rent. A college within your town may also have space that you can rent at a reasonable rate. You can also check your local newspaper want ads for commercial space. Due to the economy, there are many commercial realtors that may be renting space in various buildings by the day to cover the mortgage. These venues may save money and offer you more flexibility.

2. Hiring a Caterer: Instead of hiring a catering company, contact a friend or relative that has a desire to become a chef or caterer. Allow them to cater your event in exchange for a reference. All you may need to purchase is the food. This is a great way for your event to have the look of professional chef and for your friend/relative to gain some exposure and experience.

3. Food: Instead of serving a three to four course meal, serve appetizers and finger foods that can be eaten throughout the event. Serve less expensive foods like chicken, wraps, and mini sandwiches instead of seafood and beef which can be pricey. Stores such as Costco and Sam's Club sell prepackaged frozen hors d'oeuvres at a very inexpensive rate. Once they are heated and placed on a nice serving tray your guests will think they were freshly prepared.

4. Hiring Staff: All grand events have staff but you do not need to pay a fortune for a professional serving company. Post an add on craigslist or a flyer at a local college for servers. Once you make a decision on who will work for you at your event, ask them to wear something simple like black slacks and a white top and provide them detailed instructions for the event. Set a small fee to be paid at the end of the night. Adding staff will allow you time to mingle with your guests and give a glamorous appearance.

5. Bartender: Can't afford a bartender? Create a signature cocktail, premake them prior to your guests arrivals and arrange them neatly around the room. Not only will this save you dollars from purchasing tons of alcohol for various mixed drinks but they also make for a beautiful arrangement. In addition to your signature cocktail you can also serve beer and wine as well.

6. Music: Many local high schools or colleges have ensembles that will play for a small fee or for practice. If you can't find the local college ensemble, you may also download some good tunes to your ipod and let it play all night.

These tips will allow you to have the party and atmosphere that you want. They may also save you tons of dollars while making your guests think you spent a fortune.

All you Need to Know about Event Lighting

Blue Uplighting Behind a Headtable

Blue Color Wash with Uplighting

Lighting design is a feature that has been used by large entities, celebrities, and corporations to add flare to a party or special event. Recently, lighting design has become more common and is now used in weddings and special events on a much smaller scale. Lighting can set the mood for your event and can drastically change the look and feeling of your venue. Some use lighting to reinvent their venue. Others use it as an accent. Regardless of the reason it is chosen, lighting is a high tech method of adding pizazz to your event and gaining the "wow factor" from your guests. Here are a few ways to incorporate lighting into your event:

1. Uplighting- Probably the easiest way to incorporate event lighting. Uplighting can be used to highlight specific features of a venue such as walls, columns, draping or a specific area. It is simple in installation and adds a stimulating feel to an event. You can use as little or as much light as you want in almost any color.

2. Gobo Lighting- A method that allows patterns to be projected into light. Many images can be projected by gobo lighting such as a name, monogram or logo. Gobo lighting can be projected onto surfaces such as walls, ceilings or dance floors.

3. Pinspot Lighting- Focused lighting that shines directly onto smaller objects. Pinspot lighting can be used to highlight smaller features such as centerpieces, table tops and cake tables. This is a simple method but can add a touch of class to an event.

4. Color Washing- A mixture of light fixtures that creates a "wash of color" in a venue. Color washing can change the color of the entire space. This effect produces the most drastic change.

Gobo Lighting Between Two Clear Uplights
Lighting design varies in price depending on your desires and how much light is needed for the space- the more lighting you require, the more costly it can be. If you choose to add lighting, be creative but do not go overboard. You want to make sure your event is stylish yet classy. Ultimately, if you are looking for a way to wow your guests, lighting design is a great method.

Unique Wedding Tip #2: Wedding Parasols

Looking for a way to add a touch of class to your event and save money? Send your bridesmaids down the aisle in style with a parasol. These classy accent pieces are another great way to add color and uniqueness to your wedding.

During a time of economic flux, parasols will also save you money. Instead of spending big bucks on expensive bouquets, give each bridesmaid a parasol as they walk down the aisle. You can buy parasols in your wedding colors or with your monogram on it that can be easily seen by your guests. They will save you half the costs of fresh flowers. Parasols also make for a great conversation piece for your guests.