Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Rehearsal Dinner

WEDDING NOTES - The Rehearsal Dinner
The sense of relief and relaxation at the rehearsal dinner helps to make it special.  You've been to the church or ceremony venue.  You've been "on stage" and all the actors know where they are to stand and what they are to do and when they are to do it.  Your costumes are ready.  You know your lines.  The decorations are due the next day and someone will see to them.  Now it is time to relax and enjoy the good company of family and friends at your rehearsal dinner.  As one consultant terms it, "The rehearsal dinner is the perfect informal foil to the formal wedding day."
With good food and conversation, some toasts and some surprises, you can have your rehearsal dinner wherever you wish.  Traditionally it was hosted and paid for by the groom's parents, but as with many wedding related activities, traditions change.
·         The invitation list for the rehearsal dinner includes the "must haves" - the wedding party and their spouses, all parents and the officiant plus his or her spouse.  If your budget allows you may include some "maybes".  Some couples include out of town wedding guests if the numbers work.  Remember, it is about thanking those who help to make the wedding day special.

·         While they aren't required, assigned seats at the dinner are helpful.  Guests don't have to wonder where to sit and with whom, and you can assure that everyone feels welcome and relaxed.  It also insures that some guests are not left alone at a table.

Here are some budget saving ideas for that informal gathering.
·         Hold the dinner at home instead of a restaurant.
·         Serve a more relaxed menu like pasta instead of a formal meat course like the one planned for the next day at the wedding reception.
·         Serve wine and beer instead of cocktails.
·         Serve home baked desserts instead of the chef prepared goodies being served at the reception.
·         If the dinner is at a home, and the weather is nice, move it outside and think about using paper plates and plastic utensils instead of china and silver.
·         This is a perfect time to give favors to all in attendance.  They should be seen as a way of saying thank you.  Likewise with toasts.  A toast is about caring and it should be shared not just directed at the bride and groom.  A rehearsal dinner is all about saying thank you.

One other thought:  You don't have to have a rehearsal "dinner".  You can have a rehearsal brunch, or lunch or breakfast.  Organize your rehearsal day any way you wish.  If a morning rehearsal works better for the church, for you and your families and attendants, do it and follow it with a picnic lunch.

For more ideas phone 605.348.8816 or email

Guys Night Out

WEDDING NOTES - Guys Night Out
We are learning about some alternative ideas for the bachelor party thrown for the groom.
There are stereotyped groom's parties that we see on TV and in films, but there are alternatives that can be fun for the groom and his friends without the specter of having to claim "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".
·         Instead of bar hopping to the same old favorites, why not try an evening exploring tap rooms?
Whole phenomenon of craft beers and their popularity offers an evening of "something new"
and still fun.  Arrange for a limo to drive the group or an absolutely trusted "designated" driver.
The best man can organize the evening of craft beer tastings, spicy nibbles topped off with a late dinner.  Check with tourist information centers in your town for possible tours that are all planned and waiting for the groom and his guests.
·         Many groom's parties have been built around major league baseball, soccer or football.  But more and more we are seeing groom's parties built around their own "game" day.  A round of golf is a logical choice, but what about doing miniature golf, followed by an hour or two at batting cages, followed by bowling, brews and supper.
·         Instead of heading to Vegas what about a weekend of fishing or camping closer to home?  Many areas in the country are also close to an Indian owned casino that could arrange a fun evening of dinner and blackjack or slots.
·         A few brides have suggested that instead of separate bachelor and bachelorette parties, that they combine them.  Both groups can play 9 holes of golf or attend a concert or amusement park if there is one close by.

For more ideas phone605.348.8816 and

Consider Brunch

If you have a dream venue for your wedding in mind but find out that it is already booked for your choice of wedding date, consider making a time adjustment and rather than a sit down dinner at 7 PM ask about availability of brunch at 11 AM.
A brunch wedding is perfect for the smaller wedding.  It usually starts at 10 or 11 AM and runs for about four hours as opposed to the typical evening wedding that can go for 6-7 hours. 
You'll pay less for food and for cocktails and if your wedding includes a plane trip to the honeymoon destination, you can easily fit it all in.
Menus are easily planned, the decor /flowers are simpler - no less elegant - just simpler.  Table linens, silver, china, can be chosen with care to reflect your color theme.  Consider the brunch buffet with waffles, custom omelettes, quiche, ham, bacon.   Instead of wedding cake have the caterer construct towers of doughnuts or mini caramel rolls.  Some brides choose French toast sticks with maple syrup.  Consider hors d'oeuvres like mini "pigs in a blanket" or toffee-dipped bacon kabobs.
It is unlikely that you will host an open bar at a brunch but you can do personalized bloody Mary bars or mimosas and champagne.
As one bride said about her brunch wedding - "it's more about the guests and a lot less pressure".  Everyone likes breakfast foods, and a daytime celebration can be very special.  For many couples, brunch is the answer.

For more ideas phone 605.348.8816 or email

An Unforgettable Date

WEDDING NOTES - An Unforgettable Date
Here's an idea that guarantees that no one will ever forget your anniversary.  Plan your wedding for New Year's Eve!  Think about it!  There are plenty of pluses to consider.  Everyone you know is in the mood for a party - it is almost impossible to get through the holidays without someone or several some ones asking you about your plans for New Year's Eve.  A wedding invitation takes the pressure of planning off everyone.  Six - nine months ahead of time they know where they'll be on NYE- Celebrating with you!
Know that it is critical that you book your venue early.  It's a big party night for most restaurants, hotels etc.  Some places will require booking a year in advance.
When you plan your budget, consider upping your bar allocation.  People will drink more on NYE than they are likely to do at a June wedding.  It is after all the biggest party night of the year. 

Plan more food than you normally would.  Plan heavier appetizers for your cocktail hour.  Plan late night snacks like sliders and fries and be sure to send guests home with a small bag of treats or nibbles like doughnut holes, cookies.  Champagne is the order of the day.

It would be ideal to schedule your reception at a hotel and block a group of rooms for guests who don't want to drive home that night.  For those guests who prefer to head home, arrange for a fleet of cabs to be on call to insure your guests reach home safely.

Since NYE is the "glitzy" night, your decorations will be a no brainer.  Balloons, sparklers, hats and horns will take care of the party's shine.  Your guests are more likely to dress up for the event.  It is the one night that guests think of wearing something special.  

Picking out bridesmaid's dresses will be easier - glitz, bling and shine should be the theme for each of them

Consider having a different twist on the guest book.  Add a space for guests to write New Year's resolutions or special wishes for the new couple.

It's your party, your wedding and your new life together - all reasons to really celebrate.

For more ideas phone 605.348.8816 or email