Food & Drink:
Wedding Reception Alternatives to Dancing
When I speak to couples about planning their wedding reception, most assume that the night must play out like a great night at a dance club. A lot of the couples I speak to don’t even want the dancing to go on all night, but don’t believe there is an alternative. I think this mind set comes from multiple reasons, the 2 main ones being:
1. The couples is afraid to stray from tradition.
2. The couple doesn't know how else to entertain their guest.
If a couple mentions that they don't think they'll have a traditional reception, they are then overwhelmed by the number of gasps from friends & family who think no dancing at a wedding is the worse decision the couple can make. And so the couple plans a wedding, with dancing, even though they hate to dance and will feel forced to dance the day-of since after all, it is their wedding day.
There are two types of guest at a wedding reception: the Macarena-Moonwalking-Wiggling guests and the “there is no amount of money that can get me on the dance floor” guests. I’ll admit that I am part of the second group I mentioned. It’s not that I’m not a bad dancer or that I don't think it's fun ... it's just that the act of dancing, mostly in front of others, is simply something I dread. I guess you can say I’m a “silly dancer” - you know, when a song I like comes on, I’ll do a little shake. I do appreciate dance as an art form (my best friend is a dancer!) and I truly admire people with slick moves, but it’s not something I look forward to.
So, in honour of all fellow non-dancing couples, I’ve compiled a list of ways to take out the dancing at your wedding reception, but still have a great wedding that's fun for all (I apologize to all traditional wedding reception lovers in advance, xoxo):
#1. The Lounge
Set up the dance floor with cocktail tables and comfy seating. Hire a musician to play Jazz tunes while people mingle. You could even rent a foosball and air hockey table. Dedicate a section of the night to show a slide show or a "short film" that focuses on your relationship, as well as friends and family. you could also arrange your venue to have an area for the first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, and cake cutting. An evening wedding would be perfect here. Similar to Keri & Dave's wedding we did back in July of this year (see photos below!);"I do" strictly at sunset ... fireworks to follow.
#2. Board Game Wedding
If you’ve ever been to Snakes & Lattes in Toronto, you know that even those who are not familiar with the fun and intensity that comes with playing a board game, can get insanely into it. You can set up benches or long tables with specific games around your venue, or have a giant game of trivial pursuit with each table number as a team. The beauty of this idea is that you can still have a dance reception for those who love dancing. You'll be catering to the "two types of guests" I mentioned earlier in this post. If you're curious about this idea, but aren't sure how it will play out, go downtown with your partner and friends and test it out. This is also a great idea for those of you having a second reception because your wedding was strictly family & close friends.
#3. Karaoke Night
This one can be tricky as some people hate singing as much as others hate dancing. However, if you know that the majority of your guest love karaoke then go for it! You can set up a stage and allow guest to sing their hearts out. Some guest might need a shot or two before they do this so start out the night with a shot toast instead of a champagne toast! I would suggest that you and your partner start the show. You can wing it or rehearse something fun & special. also, you can give out prizes and throw in a photo booth to help add to the mood.
#4. Formal Brunch/Dinner
There’s nothing wrong with simply having a nice meal with friends and family for your wedding reception. Some couples are extreme "foodies" (a term I learned teaching high school students, haha) who say that the food they serve at their wedding is the most important aspect of the reception. You can do a brunch buffet or a 5 course dinner with a menu that you & your partner designed. Allow time for funny and loving speeches. It's also a good idea to set up tables in an intimate way, such as a “U” shape or rectangles, so that everyone feels included.
#5. Unique Venue
Think about a pastime or subject that you & your partner love, then work your wedding reception around it! You could rent out a bowling ally, the aquarium or zoo, take your guest to a chocolate-making workshop or a paint nite!
I hope you find these ideas helpful. I hate seeing couples stressing out about having to dance at their reception (it happens more often than you think!). Remember, if you are taking a spin on the traditional reception make sure to notify your guest. Work with your wedding planner to come up with a creative timeline of events. the possibilities of your wedding reception are endless. There no "real rules" other than enjoying yourself and celebrating your marriage.
Okay - here's the thing with Kate Spade. I'm obsessed. Why? Classic style, with a fun, modern, unexpected twist. I cannot wait for the day that a bride asks me to plan a Kate Spade themed wedding. In the meantime, here's some inspiration from real-life Kate Spade themed weddings and events. Click on the photo for a direct link!
one night, As I was looking through my instagram feed, i noticed this gorgeous (and i mean beyond gorgeous) engagement ring. i found myself going back to look at that ring several days in a row. i had to learn more ... so i did, and now i share the story of this beautiful couple, their proposal, and that ring.
jessie & kristen
"it's weird to say, but I have known I was going to marry this boy from the time I was 10 years old. He was my first crush, my first boyfriend, my first kiss, and my first love. Every
childhood/teenage memory I have involves him. We may have spent time apart for a few years after high school, but we both knew that wouldn't last long. He is my soulmate." - Kristen
"We had a trip planned to California. We were staying in LA, but we were going to drive to San Francisco for a few days. Once we got to San Francisco I was exhausted so I took a nap and told him to look up places for dinner because I was going to be starving when I woke up. Little did I know he had bigger plans then dinner!
After we got ready we left and sat in traffic for what felt like an eternity! He told me to close my eyes because he had a surprise at the restaurant and didn't want me to see just yet. I didn't think much about it so I closed my eyes while we drove for a few more minutes. We pulled into what I thought was the restaurants parking lot. He then backed the car in so I couldn't see the view or where we were.
When he opened my door and I got out of the car I immediately realized what was going on. There were pictures of us from when we were 10 in gold frames on the ground overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. I will never forget how happy I was in this moment. Seeing Jessie's teary eyed face as he promised me forever was one of the best moments of my life. Everything was perfect." - Kristen
custom made ring
davalle jewellers in chicago
round diamond set in a yellow gold band
1.5 carat centre; .25 carats on diamond band
g in colour, si in clarity
Congratulations Kristen & Jessie!
Spring is here and we couldn't be happier! In celebration of this fabulous weather we've put together our favourite spring 2015 go-to items. Items range from home decor, to beauty and more. Click on the photos to get to the direct link. See below for more information! We hope you like our picks!
Mother's Day Gift Guide 2015
I truly believe that mom's make the world go round. There are many different types of mom's in the world and it's important to remember all of them on mother's day. There's your mom, your mother-in-law, your best friend's mom who you call mom, your sister who is pretty much your mom, the soon-to-be mom, the new mom, the 10-children mom, the fur-baby mom, the school teacher mom, and the list goes on.
Top Tier has compiled a list of favourite items that we hope helps you to pick out the perfect gift! Click on the photo to find out more information. Remember, your siblings if you're short on cash (haha!), or try a DIY mother's day gift.
Etsy Engagement Rings
Oh, the beauty of the internet. In this day and age we can look at beauty from all over the world from the comfort of our house. Etsy is an e-commerce website which focuses on selling homemade, handmade, vintage items and supplies ... including engagement rings! Here are some of our favourite unique and classic looks. Click on the photo to get more information about the ring and seller.
A Gentlemen's Guide To ...
"Buying 'The Ring'"
"Getting On One Knee"
"The Bow Tie"
"Wearing A Suit"
The Ultimate Prize
It's difficult to give a timeline as to when a couple should get engaged. So much depends on when you met, how you met, how well you know each other, your families, and where you both are in your life professionally, mentally, and emotionally. Some couples are engaged after a year, others after two years, others after five, and others after ten. How long you choose to wait is up to you and your significant other. All couples are different and your expectations can never be compared to the oh so commercialized wedding business. Holding your relationship against those standards can only lead to disaster. It really is all in the timing.
Many men say that they propose because they just knew it was time. This can be extremely frustrating for their significant other, but popping the question is largely instinctual. So why do we get married in the first place? Well, of course the reasons vary, but in my opinion as we age we realize the importance of companionship and the beauty in creating a life with somebody else. I don't only mean literally creating a life (babies!), rather creating happiness with somebody until the very end. I think that Creating a future with somebody else is one of the most remarkable experiences one can have.
One may argue that marriage is not necessary in order to do this. This is true. But as I spoke to married couples before writing this post they all told me that life does change after you say "I do" for the better. It might not always feel that way (marriage is work!), but at the end of the day, it's worth it. Couples told me that the relationship itself (after marriage) takes on a whole new level of respect. That your sense of commitment only strengthens the love you have for one another, and the beauty of being family (whether it be just you two, or more) is the ultimate prize.
Wedding Budget Advice
With Pinterest, reality TV shows, and live celebrity weddings, planning for your special day may seem impossible in terms of budget. Of course, you can have a fabulous wedding without blowing your budget, but you first need to ignore all the false expectations around you. Yes, you may find an awesome wedding account to follow on Instagram, but that's all it is ... an Instagram account, not reality. And yes, you may still pin away on your Pinterest, but don't forget that the images you see are probably not what many can afford. Remember, you are about to start a life with the person you love, and you probably plan on using your money for other significant milestones besides your wedding day.
The most important thing to do before starting to plan your big day is to assess your finances. Figure out how much you have in the bank, then decide how much you can spend. If you have any debt, it's best to pay that off first. Now I'm talking about credit cards, student loans, etc. not a mortgage or your monthly car payments. If you can't pay off your "smaller" debts in time for the wedding, it's best to keep a savings account separate from your wedding purchases to ensure that debt is being paid off, and is not being postponed due to your wedding day. I cannot stress how important this is. It's important to understand that a wedding is a day for your families to come together, and celebrate your love, and life together. It's the celebration of a promise. It is not your job to ensure that everybody is happy with your choice of colours, decorations, flowers, etc. If you want to apply for a loan in order to pay for your wedding, make sure you check interest rates and put a plan in process while planning your wedding so that you can pay off that loan as soon as possible. This might mean that every week, you and your fiancé contribute $800 ($400 each) while planning for your wedding.
Next, talk to your parents about your budget. Figure out who's contributing to any of your wedding cost, and how much they are willing to spend. These days many couples pay for their weddings themselves, however a lucky few do you have parents, grandparents and other relatives who are willing to contribute a little something for the new couple. Once you know how much money you can spend, and if anyone is going to help you pay for your wedding, it's time for you to set your priorities. Figure out what's most important for you and your fiancé. If you both think pictures and music are more important than the venue, plan your money accordingly. If you do not know your priorities, you will not be able to budget properly, and may regret not booking your preferred vendor in time.
It's also important to decide how you will track your expenses. I always suggest to consider creating a separate bank account for your wedding expenses. That way you know how much is going in and out at all times. Also, consider signing up for a credit card that provides some type of reward - but don't open a credit card if you know you can't keep up with payments. You can also always switch one of your credit cards to an award credit card so that it could help you possibly pay off other expenses. For example, many banks offer an Aeroplan Visa which could pay for your honeymoon flight. However, before signing up for any credit card make sure to do the research and read the fine print.
Before you start the budget, come up with a guest list. Your first list should include anyone and everyone that you both would like to invite to your wedding. Then take a look at the list again and try to narrow down the most important people you want to be there. Family first, then friends. Please do not give into the pressure of parents asking you to invite their friends as well. They might have known you since you were a baby, but if you haven't communicated with them in a year (Facebook likes don't count), then cut them from the list. The biggest expense of your wedding is the headcount, as most venues and catering vendors charge per person. They will quote you around the amount of people you plan on having at your wedding. It's important for you to know how many people will be there because almost all vendors will ask you how many people are you expecting. Those who are not invited to the wedding can still be invited to any pre-wedding ceremonies such as the engagement party, bridal shower, etc. if you don't plan on having any pre-wedding ceremonies then don't sweat it.
The wedding setting, along with the date and time is the next thing to consider. Depending on where you want to have your wedding, your cost will vary. Some venues seem expensive, but offer other services that may be beneficial to you, such as in-house catering. Check out at least three venues before deciding on one. Do not be afraid to negotiate with vendors, but be realistic. You do not want to insult them, and you still want them to do a good job. This is why it's important to consider your wedding date and time. If you plan on having your wedding in the summer, keep in mind that venues almost double their price, especially on a Saturday. If you plan a wedding outside of wedding season you can be save a lot of money as venues are looking for people, as opposed to the other way around. Furthermore, some couples believe having a backyard wedding will save them money, when it can actually cost more than a venue, especially if the backyard is not suitable for a larger event. When planning an outdoor wedding you must consider comfort along with the weather. Costs can add up as you install a platform (grass won't work), tenting, rent tables and chairs, hook up music, and paying a liquor fee if your city requires you to do so. There are many rules to follow in regulation with city bylaws, even if it is your own backyard. The last thing you want is to be charged a fee that could pay for a whole other wedding.
Although you may find many websites that offer an average wedding cost, you can't really rely on those statistics as every couple is different. Some couples may spend $5000, others $30,000 or more. If you feel like you have no idea what you are doing, consider booking a few appointments with the wedding planner, or a finance advisor. You will have to pay a fee upfront, but they'll keep you on the right track, and save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Although this is not a complete list, overall cost to consider include: Wedding planner, ceremony (officiant fee, location, accessories), reception venue (rentals, taxes, tips, service charges), catering, bar, cake and other sweets, flowers, decorations, music and other entertainment, transportation, accommodations, photography and videography, invitations and other stationary, favours and gifts, attire, hair and makeup, other grooming, and wedding rings.
For more information, send us an email! We're more than happy to answer your questions (click the button below).
Anna Sheffield is a genius.
This American jewelry designer creates the most unique, beautiful and exquisite pieces of art one could every own. Along with stunning engagement ring designs, Sheffield seems to do it all; necklaces, bracelets, cuffs and, earrings. I stumbled upon her designs on Pinterest, and now feel the need to share some of my favourites.
Spring 2015 Brides have spoken. As couples are putting on the final decor touches for their spring wedding, this coming year's trends are becoming more prominent. So what's the most popular theme for the upcoming season? Royalty, aka: high tea. This theme has been on the rise since Kate Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge, and as Downton Abbey made its way to North America. Garden parties, lush flowers, the greenest greens and lace material are key components to this look. Personally, I think this theme works well with bridal showers, baby showers and birthday celebrations. With a touch of class and the unbelievable amount of tea flavours these days, this theme can be decorated in so many ways. Here's some of my favourite photo inspiration:
High Tea Infographic
Interested in these photos? Take a look at these links [Sources]:
I love anything "Marie Antoinette" themed - especially bridal showers and weddings. I love the theme's colours and textures as you can incorporate so much under this broad, yet focused theme. It's fun, flirty, and romantic. Below are a combination of my favourite photos for a "Marie Antoinette" themed event.
This Week's Favourites
Taylor Swift's New Album 1989
A great album with many versatile beats and beautiful lyrics.
Favourite love related song on the album:
You Are in Love
A [first dance?] song which depicts a realistic image of falling in love.
"You kiss on sidewalks.
You fight and you talk.
One night he wakes,
strange look on his face
you're my best friend
And you knew what it was, he is in love."
Coffee Mug Proposal
Proposal's don't have to take place at night, in candle light or under the stars. That's not what makes them memorable. It's the thought put into a proposal which is important. Such as this one:
A boyfriend made this for his name future bride-to-be, since she starts each morning with a cup of tea. Knowing that she savours every minute of this moment, and usually doesn't say a word until she's done - he knew it was the perfect, sentimental surprise. First thing, Sunday morning, after her cup of tea, she reads this message at the bottom of her cup. If you ask me, that's a great way to start the day!
You can buy these mugs on www.etsy.com from different merchants. Simply search: "proposal mug", "engagement cup", "marry me mug" or you can make it a DIY project.
DIY Instructions: A sharpie (any colour) and a porcelain dish (even one from the dollarstore, Target or Wal-Mart will do). Simply draw or write on your message, then bake cup for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow cup to completely cool before using and washing. Avoid microwave use.
These Bride/Wedding T-Shirts
A great congratulations gift if you're the future husband or friends of the bride. And they're inexpensive! Ranging from $15.00-$30.00.
Found on: www.lookhuman.com/search/wedding.
A Thoughtful Bridal Bouquet
I love these tiny photo frames pinned to the bride's bouquet. It's like having those you love walking you down the aisle when they cannot be there on your wedding day.
Beautifully Painted Cakes
Delicately painted and tasty. 'Nuff said.
Top 6 Mistakes Newly Engaged Couples Make
1. Choosing a date too soon
Keep in mind that the date you have in mind might not be available for specific venues. Venues are usually booked a year in advance, especially if the wedding takes place on a long weekend or Saturday. If it's popular, well-known venue, come couples wait over a year. Moral of the story: Pick the venue before you set the date. Once that is set in place, go ahead and create or shop for your save the date cards.
2. Social Media Announcement
Your family and close friend deserve to hear about your engagement before anybody else. If you cannot tell them in person, then make a phone call. They should not stumble upon it while checking their Facebook notifications or have it pop-up on their newsfeed. I know you’re excited and want to tell the world that the one you love has popped the question - but a wedding starts with the two of you, then your families ... the rest of the world can wait. It's a good idea to wait a couple days or weeks before “updating” your social media accounts. Keep in mind, you don’t need to update anything if you don’t want to.
There is nothing worse than starting off a marriage in debt. You already have your car, house, student loans, etc. to pay for … don’t add a wedding to that list. Be realistic. How much can you spend? How much should you spend? Will parents be helping? etc. The average wedding cost about $26,000 - $30,000 (not including honeymoon). I know couples who have spent no more than $10,000 on their entire wedding. For some couples, due to culture and family sizes, a "small, intimate" wedding does not exist. Get all the important factors out of the way first: venue, ceremony, guest list, date, bridal party, etc. before you jump into planning the reception. Consider a consultation with a wedding planner to help you come up with a realistic budget in regards to your finances.
4. Pre-Wedding Ceremonies
Keep any pre-wedding ceremonies low key. In other words, only close friends & family. If it’s a bridal shower, consider inviting those who cannot make it to the wedding. Do not over extend invitations. This can mess up your budget and have you stressing closer to the date, when you should be feeling prepared.
5. Hiring Vendors
I have seen so many couples regret their decision when deciding on a vendor. This is usually because they have not shopped around and get sucked into a vendor’s promises as opposed to falling in love with their work. Bridal shows are a great place to gather information, but i highly suggest - no matter which offer is being made, do not book a vendor on the spot! When you have booked your vendor(s), read the contract carefully, never make verbal agreements and NEVER sign a vendor contract before consulting with the venue. Some venues have rules and regulations you would have never thought of. Never book a vendor if you do not have a venue.
6. Sending out save-the-dates to everyone you know
When you’re engaged you want the world to know - however, sending out save-the-dates to ALL your friends & family without thinking about your guest list and cost can quickly become a disaster. Everyone who receives a save-the-date card should receive a wedding invitation. The last position you want to be in is telling a friend they cannot bring their plus one, or even worse, they can’t come due to space, money, etc.
For more information and suggestions please refer to: http://www.shefinds.com/2014/11-mistakes-brides-make-right-after-getting-engaged/engagement-ring-8/
Planning a wedding is like producing a play. A lot happens “behind the scenes” before you can say, "lights, camera, action!" Soon after picking a date, you must start "casting" your bridal party. Some get the role without an audition whatsoever, while others take a little more thought.
Mother of the Groom
Father of the Groom
Mother of the Bride
Father of the Bride
Maid/Matron of Honour
Extras (help with readings, guest book, gifts, envelopes, etc.