Wedding Planning

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

For pretty much all our couples, their wedding day celebration is by far the biggest party they’ve ever thrown, and the most intricate project they’ve ever tackled. Aside from the planning and logistics themselves, what is necessary to make the wedding celebration fun for everyone? What is it that sets an average party apart from an unforgettable one which everyone keeps raving about?

I’m not talking about over-the-top-glamour, Hollywood-worthy entertainment or other perks only big money can buy. I am talking about the little things, the personal touches that make everyone feel good and special and well taken care of. To me, that’s an integral part of the overall wedding experience, just as much as good food and music.

Making Your Wedding Fun For All

1.)  You, the couple, totally worry-free

Bride & groom celebrate

Let’s begin with the stars of the day: you, the Bride and Groom! Here at A Day Like No Other, our mantra is: Our couples have only ONE job on their wedding day, and that is, to celebrate! All our couples tell me afterwards that their wedding day flew by and that they can hardly remember all of it. We strive to maximize what our brides and grooms remember. We want you to be in the moment and to focus on what this day is about: committing your lives to one another. And that’s why we make sure that everything you might need and want on your wedding day has been meticulously planned ahead of time.

Plus, during Cocktail Hour, when most couples are busy taking photos, we make sure a platter of appetizers is set aside for them in a quiet side room with a chilled bottle of champagne, and once photo session is over, we whisk them away for a few minutes of well-deserved break before presenting them to their guests.

Guests celebrating

2.)  The couple is off-limits for anything but celebrating!

What else? We, the planners, make sure that nobody will bother our couples with anything during their wedding day. Another mantra, or rather our promise to our couples: If there is a glitch, you will not know! It’s true: we do what is humanly possible to keep our couples out of it. And if you don’t have a wedding coordinator, you should absolutely designate one point person for all logistical issues and whatever else might come up. We at A Day Like No Other are even wearing funny buttons identifying us as the wedding planners¦ and invariably, that does not only crack up everyone, they will also find us and ask us for assistance. No one interrupts the couples’ partying!

3.) Your parents

Bride Hugging Father On Wedding Day

For most parents, their children’s wedding day is at least as important as for the bride and groom themselves. It’s an occasion they have been looking forward to since bride and groom were children, hoping for them to find a soul mate and lifelong companion who will take care of them once the parents are gone. Giving a child away in marriage is a milestone in parenting. It’s also a day to look back on all the sweet memories of that now grown-up man or woman when they were little, when they had just entered the world, and also to think back to one’s own wedding day, one’s own parents. It’s definitely a day of memories. And that’s why we encourage all our couples to include such memories in their celebration, e.g. , as a gallery of family photos.

4.) Your older guests

Older couple dancing

Most of our couples invite quite a few older guests, grandparents and other relatives of that generation. Oftentimes, these feel a little lost in a crowd of young people. We make it a point to include them and make them feel an integral part of the couple’s family history. One unobtrusive way of making older guests feel good is to include music choices they are comfortable and familiar with, be it a few Frank Sinatra or Elvis songs or 80s top hits. Yes! It is possible to mix those in, and you should see those smiles on their faces! And in lieu of a bouquet toss, we often do a generation dance with the bride presenting her bouquet to the guest couple with the longest-lasting marriage.

Helping All Guests

Guests arriving

For many guests, attending a wedding means taking days off work, planning and paying for travel¦ despite the joy of seeing a friend or family member getting married, it’s also a lot of effort. Guests appreciate being well taken care of, they tend to remember that experience even more than the food! So, let’s make them feel special and well-taken care of. Here is what we recommend:

5.)  Keep Them Informed

Keep guests well informed, and the easiest way is a detailed wedding website. We recommend our couples to offer logistical help to their guests whenever possible, be it for accommodations, local climate and choice of attire. Plus, this is also a good spot to drop a hint regarding dress code¦ politely. Nobody wants to be seriously under- or overdressed for the occasion! The more the guests know beforehand, the easier it is for them to plan accordingly.

6.)  Help Them With The Logistics

The same holds true for the schedule of the wedding day itself. We recommend to include on the wedding website one page devoted to nothing but the logistics: Directions, parking restrictions, shuttle bus service, specifics about the property (e.g. walks over uneven terrain), cell phone reception, and when guests are expected to be where.

7.)  Make Them Feel Welcome

Welcome bag

Nothing makes guests feel welcome more than, Welcome Bags! Yes, we know, it’s a lot of work to assemble them (we do that for our clients¦) Include personalized bottled water), snacks, local specialties like small bottles of wine or olive oil, local chocolates; a walking map and/or brochures for local sightseeing trips. And then, of course, a personal letter from the couple expressing their joy to have all these guests from faraway locations together for their wedding day.

8.)  Keep Them Comfy

Punch for guests

And that’s why the pampering of guests doesn’t stop just there! For the wedding day, we recommend a welcome bar with chilled (nonalcoholic!) beverages; for outdoor weddings a sunscreen/bug repellant station; market umbrellas shading the ceremony area, fans (maybe imprinted with the ceremony program), personalized paper parasols doubling as a wedding keepsake; amenities baskets in the bathrooms, simple pashmina shawls or blankets for outdoors celebrations and a basket of flip-flops for beach weddings and long dance parties.

9.)  Your Youngest Guests

Kids at wwedding

Let’s admit it: weddings are not for kids. Take that from a mother! The excitement about the decorations and the big white dress is wearing off after a maximum of ten minutes, and then kids want to do what kids always want to do: explore, play, do their own thing. Make sure that they get to do exactly that and have just as much fun during that wedding as their parents – just a different type of fun: their own area, their own babysitter(s) and their own activities. Activity bags, maybe even a kids’ entertainment company or a sleepover party with cartoon movies and pizza. Everybody’s happy!

10, ) Your Doggie

Newlyweds & dog

Well, same thing with dog as with kids. Weddings are just not the thing for them. Just imagine: they are brought to a new, exciting, and maybe upsetting environment full of strangers, their parents don’t have time for them, they are expected to be quiet instead of inspecting and, yes, marking the new territory; regular walk/nap/meal times are all out the window AND they are even not supposed to bark! That doesn’t sound right to me. And yes, you guessed it, I am a dedicated doggie Mom.

At A Day Like No Other, we offer a VIC (Very Important Canine) package, a dedicated dog handler on wedding day whose main task is keeping doggie happy, walking and feeding her, playing with her and chauffeuring her home as needed. But even if none of that is in the cards, you should plan for your dog’s well-being on their Great Day as you would for any other family member or guest.

At the very least, designate a person not directly involved in the wedding for doggie care (the Maid of Honor is not a good choice, as she will be busy during the ceremony and during photo time¦). It should not be a young child or a person unaccustomed to dogs. It should be someone who is willing to sacrifice part of the celebration time for this purpose, and gladly so. Provide an area where your darling can safely stay, protected, in the shade, and maybe in her familiar crate. Do bring her familiar food, treats, and toys. And should your fur baby get upset, your doggie babysitter can drive her home for a short while until her newlywed parents arrive, and the canine world order is happily restored!

Now, these were ten ways of keeping everyone I can think of at a wedding, happy!

Go celebrate!

When the party is done and you’re ready to celebrate by yourself, go on a great honeymoon. Having a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund help you finance the trip of your life.

Bio: A Day Like No Other is a full-service wedding coordination and design firm, and its name is its motto, its program, and its promise to brides and grooms. Founder, lead coordinator and designer Jutta Lammerts brings a unique combination of talents to this task. With her background in medicine, not only her interpersonal and communication skills, but also her organizational expertise and meticulous attention to detail are unsurpassed. And with her additional background in art history and interior design, she is the perfect fit for elegant, unique and refined design projects. She draws her inspiration from her love for art, classical music, and nature and of course from all the ideas her brides and grooms present to her.

What that means for her clients is complete peace of mind from the earliest planning stages on, Jutta will take care of it all! Together with her assistants and a network of preferred vendors, she’ll draw up a detailed roadmap from first meeting to wedding day, she’ll accompany her couples every step of the way and turn their ideas and visions into a design concept, décor scheme and finally, into the glorious reality of their wedding day, totally unique, totally personal and totally unforgettable. The couple will be able to enjoy and savor every moment of the Great Day without a worry in the world, because all the organizational details will be taken care of behind the scenes by a well-trained team.

Especially for those brides and grooms who wish to have their beloved dogs with them on their Great Day, A Day Like No Other is the perfect planning company. Jutta is the only wedding coordinator in all of Northern California specializing in dog-friendly weddings. With more than a decade of experience with and expertise in dogs of all breeds and sizes, she’ll make that day like no other even more special!

And as every couple is unique, A Day Like No Other offers various services to cover every couple’s needs,  Comprehensive or Partial Coordination as well as Wedding Month Coordination and customized A La Carte options.

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This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Love is an emotion of the heart, but that does not mean your wedding plan cannot be intentional, thought out, and arrived at in an analytical manner. In fact, every wedding deserves to (and must) be based on a solid plan which could even include a celebration of the bride and groom’s culture, as well as their unique personalities. Although a couple might share a culture with millions of people, they can still put their individual spin on the wedding. Even two cultures can be celebrated in a fusion event with aspects of each one incorporated into the ceremony and reception.

How the Bride and Groom Can Celebrate Their Culture and Uniqueness

 1.  Choose a Meaningful Date For Your Fusion Wedding

Military wedding

An engaged couple could honor their culture from the start of their wedding preparations. They can even begin with the choice of date. The bride and groom could select a date which has special significance for their culture.

Greg and Melanie chose June 6, 2015 – the 71st Anniversary of D-Day as the day for their spectacular vineyard wedding. Since Greg was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and Melanie had roots in England, remembering this special day of liberation when Allied Forces landed on Normandy Beaches held unbelievable meaning for this couple.

2. Send Memorable Invitations

Memorable invitations

A couple does not have to wait for their wedding day, however, to bring culture into the celebration of their love. They could start to introduce their roots with the wedding invitations. Use traditional colors and designs.

For example, Pakistani invitations would display vibrant shades. If your country of origin is a tropical destination, such as Puerto Rico, choose images of ferns, palm trees, or sea shells.

3.  Wear Cultural Attire

Cultural attire

The bride and groom can wear cultural fashion for all or part of their special event. For example, at Russell and Carol’s fusion wedding (American + Vietnamese), the bride dressed in a stunning gown for the ceremony, and the groom wore a dark suit.

The handsome groom also posed with his lovely bride as he proudly wore his U.S. Air Force Uniform. During the Vietnamese tea ceremony, the couple changed into traditional garb to honor this age-old practice.

4. Plan an Unforgettable Ceremony

Unforgettable ceremony

The entire wedding day will be filled with special moments, but the ceremony is the ultimate peak of the celebration. This period is more than just a formality. Indeed, it is the reason for the whole event.

Whether a religious or secular occasion, if the couple is going to introduce their culture with just one part of the day, then the ceremony is the place for this celebration. In the photo above, Poonam prepares for her Punjabi wedding ceremony to Vikram.

There are several ways in which the bride and groom can add culture to their ceremony. They could include significant rituals, personalize readings, or share their love story through wedding details such as traditional music, special flowers, or other creative touches.

Of course, not everyone who attends an event will be familiar with all the traditional activities which take place at a cultural wedding. Therefore, the couple should provide print-outs explaining the practices. This shared material helps to promote more understanding and knowledge of different cultures.

5. Decorate with Culture

Decorate with culture

Show your cultural preferences in wedding décor. Moroccan style (as shown above) would call for exotic design and rich color.

Wedding decor

Wedding decoration can show the traditional representation of a culture or include more contemporary symbolism.

6.  Serve Ethnic Dishes

Ethnic dishes

The wedding menu can include all cultural dishes, or there can be a mix with mainstream items. The perfect balance will reflect one’s culture and please the guests. Of course, certain wedding rituals involve traditional foods.

The South Indian wedding of Avanti and Sunil followed customs from the Telugu and Tamil traditions. During one part of the ceremony, ten married women (Sumangaḷi) accompany the bride. Six women hold plates containing sacred rice (a mixture of rice and turmeric powder). The other four have small lit lamps on their plates. The rice represents abundance, and the lamps symbolize light.

7. Entertain With Purpose

Entertain with purpose

The prime goal of entertainment is for fun and entertainment, but it still does not have to lack purpose. A couple can make a thoughtful decision to have wedding entertainment which reflects their culture.

When Joey and Juhana married in a fusion celebration (Spanish + American), Peruvian dancers performed at the event as a nod to Juhana’s roots. The couple also arranged for traditional food to be served at the celebration, and the bride’s mantilla-style wedding veil portrayed Spanish style.

Indian-African culture

Nitin and Fanta celebrated their marriage in an African-Indian fusion wedding. African drummers/dancers performed to perfection at their cultural celebration. The group’s astounding energy and fast drum beats made for a thrilling show and excellent entertainment.

8. Celebrate the Honeymoon

Celebrate the honeymoon

With wedding décor, the newlyweds can celebrate the honeymoon destination at their marriage celebration. Bringing the honeymoon and wedding together creates a unique connection for the couple. Utilizing symbols of the honeymoon location with the wedding details, fashion, or photography is a recent trend for contemporary weddings.

A couple can introduce a hint of their homeland or another country in the wedding décor. Gregory and Melanie planned to honeymoon in Italy. Therefore, they displayed an Italian touch in the venue and décor with their rustic vineyard event.

If you plan a honeymoon to your native land, a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund can make it much more affordable.

9. Long Distance Messages

Long distance messages from abroad can lend double the cultural influence to a wedding. When loved ones who cannot be at the event send best wishes in messages or videos, they impart their culture, as well as the flavor of another country. Videos are a very effective tool for conveying wedding greetings with a cultural twist.

 10. Tell Your Love Story

The bride and groom can choose to tell their love story at the wedding in different ways. Some couples let the person who officiates the wedding relate precious moments (whether the silliest or the most loving) to their family and friends. Others ask a relative to share memories of their courtship and engagement.

Many couples blend it into the wedding décor with a framed picture of their proposal story, collection of photos throughout the relationship, napkins with interesting “Do You Know” facts about them, customized favors, or varied ways limited only by their imagination.

It is impossible for a bride and groom to tell their love story without sharing their individuality and culture with wedding guests.

Bio: With their passion for weddings, attention to detail, and easy-to-work-with approach, Seven Ivory Brides, an expert team of fusion wedding planners and event organizers in the Washington DC/Virginia/Maryland area, has excelled in the wedding industry. Seven Ivory Brides was chosen by couples as a “Best Local Vendor” in the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards 2015. These experienced wedding planners are your “go-to” source for organizing the most exquisite and unforgettable cultural and fusion celebrations. A social conscience ranks as a top priority for Seven Ivory Brides whose Pay It Forward project is one of their proudest accomplishments.

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