To help make your next gathering as festive as possible we have gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas that are not only easy to do, but also help bring the beauty of the season indoors.
Click on any of the images to go directly to our online store for a recommendation of an item or items that would work great with any of these decorating ideas!
Wrap glass votive holders in textural flair for an easy candle accent. Tie raffia around three or four overlapping moistened corn husks trimmed to fit. The finishing touch of a spotted guinea fowl feather (available at crafts stores) adds a flourish.
Place these beautiful votives on your Thanksgiving dining table, mantel or coffee table. Just gather unshelled nuts and layer in a glass vase around a small candle. Save a few nuts to scatter near your display.
Make a pretty centerpiece or mantel decoration by layering seasonal materials in clear glass cylinder vases. We started with corn kernels, then added burgundy cockscomb celosia, orange bittersweet, pale green dried hops and brown oak leaves. Top off with a rust-color pillar candle. Change candles if the flame gets close to the dried material, or use a battery-powered candle for safety.
Footed glass containers show off ribbons, beans and nuts in fall hues. A copper tray adds shiny sophistication and makes the arrangement portable as well.
This super-easy centerpiece showcases the rustic, natural texture of wine corks inside a footed clear-glass candleholder. For more fall color, add leaves or berries among the corks. Make sure any flammable materials are protected from the candle, or use a battery-powered candle for safety.
Bring autumn to your table or mantel by showing off gourds in cylindrical vases. Use containers of different sizes, and stack varying numbers of gourds. Add a pretty curving touch with a length of fresh pumpkin vine or another fresh or artificial vine.
With only a week or so left until Halloween, we thought we’d dig up another ghoulishly good DIY decorating idea to help make your holiday spooktacular!
From Martha Stewart
We found this amazing terrarium inspired dessert that is not only delicious and stunning to look at, but it is extremely kid friendly and would make a great weekend family cooking project.
If this sweet treat doesn’t satisfy your creative needs, you can always try your hand at making a real terrarium!
Original recipe and cooking video can be found courtesy of TasteMade.com
Taste Made - Chocolate Pudding Terrarium!
Autumn is now upon us and this beautiful season of transition is synonymous with changing colors, pumpkin spiced flavored everything, brisk fall weather and warm & cozy outfits. Though spring and summer are oftentimes referred to as “wedding season”, the fall can be just as wonderful. Vibrant color schemes, the changing leaves and the cooler weather all contribute to this glorious season.
We have included some beautiful centerpiece ideas that could be used at any formal engagement or at your next holiday gathering. We hope that these pieces inspire you to go out and create your own masterpiece this season!
Feeling inspired yet? Give us a call (866) 678-VASE or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you find the perfect glass vase to meet your needs.
Back to school means getting back into a routine that helps students achieve success in the new school year. Start the year off right by making good nutrition part of your child’s weekly schedule. Multiple studies have shown that good nutrition, improved hydration and proper sleep play a huge role in academic success!
Mary Pat Turon-Findley MS, RD, LD, a clinical dietitian in the Division of Nutrition Therapy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, says multiple studies have shown that poor nutrition adversely affects school performance and overall achievement.
Turon-Findley says that the best way parents can help their children nutritionally is by making sure they have a healthy morning meal. Even though the meal is called “breakfast” it doesn’t mean breakfast foods must be eaten either. The overall goal is to have your child eat a variety of nutrient rich foods, such as high-fiber, nutrient rich grains, fruits and dairy/dairy substitute products. Not only is it important to eat breakfast every single day but parents should consider the quality of the foods being offered at breakfast. The following are some excellent ideas parents can try:
• Fiber rich and whole-grain cereals with low fat milk
• Yogurt and berries with low fat granola
• Whole wheat Toast, eggs and piece of fresh fruit
• Whole wheat bagels and cheese or eggs with low fat milk
• Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich with low fat milk
• Grilled Cheese sandwich with 100% fruit juice
• Whole Wheat Waffles or pancakes with fruit and low fat milk
Turon-Findley says parents need to make sure their children have a healthy lunch, too. Many studies have shown that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches aren’t just more alert throughout the day, they also earn better grades than those students who don’t eat healthy. Eating a balanced lunch also improves a child’s ability to concentrate in afternoon subjects and decreases their chances of overeating and making unhealthy choices with their after school snack. Many children also do not drink enough water throughout the day and should be encouraged have water along with meals and snacks.
Turon-Findley gives the following tips to parents on how to ensure healthy nutrition for your kids:
Follow the guidelines by making half the lunch fruits and vegetables, and at least half the grains whole grain. Remember to go easy on fats and sweets and always include a lean source of protein and low fat dairy.
Beat boredom with different foods. Instead of regular bread every day, make sandwiches using pitas, bagels, English muffins, crackers or tortillas. Include a variety of colors every day to make the food more appealing to the eye. Children may be more willing to eat foods of their favorite colors, shapes or sizes.
Discuss healthy food options with them and how they can take responsibility of packing their own lunch. Set a family goal to shop on the weekends and complete as much prep work with fruits and vegetables. Meal planning and preparation is a great way to get kids involved and educated about why nutritious meals are so important.
Pack easy-to-eat fruit, such as grapes, apple wedges, strawberries or chunks of melon. Include a dipping sauce made of yogurt or peanut butter to make this healthy meal fun and easy.
Even 100 percent juice is loaded with sugar. Encourage children to drink low-fat white milk, or plain or sugar-free flavored water. Children should avoid drinks containing added supplements like herbs and caffeine. When you’re out school shopping offer to buy your child a special water bottle that will motivate them to choose more nutritious beverages.
Even if you decide to pack a lunch for your child, the school lunch program can be a great supplement to food brought from home. For example, buying a cheese stick and milk at school ensure lower the risk of spoilage in a brought from home lunch bag. Check out the menus from your child’s school to learn what is being served for lunch.
Pack plenty of fluids and easy-to-eat snacks for kids who have sports or other activities after school. Performance is improved and injuries reduceed with kids who have proper nutrition and hydration.
SOURCE: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
The Dallas Total Home & Gift Market is located at 2100 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207.
The Dallas Market Center is the world’s largest wholesale merchandise mart, showcasing apparel, gifts, home and garden furnishings, lighting, and floral and gourmet products.
We will be there on 9/15 - 9/17 from 8:30am-6pm. Please visit us at Showroom 2F133 located in the Plaza Building, 2nd Floor.
The Dallas Total Home & Gift Market is the premier destination for trending products. Access more than 20,000 gift and home décor lines within a convenient, easy-to-shop marketplace.
The true meaning of Labor Day is celebrating those who have given their time, best efforts and worked hard in their lives for this country. This Labor Day, we’d like to help you celebrate your hard work and efforts with a special store wide sale as well as sharing some of our tips for ways to save money on your Labor Day festivities.
Enjoy a Staycation Instead of getting away for a long weekend, enjoy a relaxing staycation at home. Tell your friends and family that you’re out of town for the weekend if you don’t want to be bothered. Start a book, rent some movies or just sleep the weekend away, you’ve earned it.
Fall Cleaning Use the extra time this weekend to finish up any projects that may have gotten away from you this summer or start something new for the fall – clean out the gutters, organize your pantries and closets or clear out the garage. Even if you spend your weekend working around the house, it’s an energizing diversion from the work world over the long weekend.
Shop Smart Labor Day weekend is a great time to do some shopping! Aside from our store wide 15% off sale, there are back to school promotions as well as summer clearance and new fall previews. Do some smart shopping this weekend and don’t forget to take advantage of our store wide sale this weekend!
Get Crafty If your family enjoys crafts, this weekend is a great time to make something amazing. Google is full of projects big and small, but here are some of our favorites from past posts that are sure to keep you busy this weekend.
There are so many ways to make floating candle decorations and we can provide you with some cool ideas. This idea is perfect for weddings, outdoor parties, and simple romantic dinners.
The basic idea behind making such centerpiece is to take a vase, a bowl, or any other glass vessel and fill it with water. Next, you need to put there some candles and flowers in it. That could be orchids, roses, lilies, and any other flowers you like. You can use as whole flowers as simply their petals. We also recommend adding some additional decor to your centerpieces. That could be pebbles, sea shells or even fresh leaves.
Enjoy all these centerpieces we gathered for you. We hope you’ll make something like that for a dinner with your beloved one for the next dinner. It’s really worth the trouble.
If you have ever tried arranging flowers in a wide mouth vase or bowl, then you know that the flowers tend to just fall to the side. if you form a grid with cellophane tape or any special tape that would blend well with the colors use it for all the flower arrangements! The tape will support your flowers and give you better control of your arrangement. just be sure that the rim of your bowl or vase is dry and your container is full of water before assembling your grid. The single downfall for this technique is that it is more difficult to change the water.
This is one of my favorite way to add a little pop of WOWness factor to any vase! Not only is it gorgeous, but the small vase inside of the larger vase makes it easier to assemble your bouquet. You can fill the outer vase with anything that fits the season: lemons, limes, oranges, large leaves. For this we used a mid sized 5×6″ cylinder glass vase and small 3×6″ block vase.
Floating flowers are a fun way to decorate for special occasions, or to simply create something different for your dining room table. Most flowers float pretty well on their own until they start to pool with water and slowly sink. For a longer lasting centerpiece, use bubble wrap to make little skirts for your flowers. Our high quality and affordable clear bubble bowl vases make a great unique centerpiece!
instead of traditional vase of flowers, think opposite of outside the vase, in this case inside. Choose one large flower of group of flowers to showcase inside of a cylinder vase or unique tapered glass as displayed in the photo. use the rocks to keep the flowers upright and add just enough water to keep the stems soaked. This looks so stylish and chic!
For unique shaped containers, use floral foam to help create shapes that would otherwise be impossible. floral foam helps with any vase of container that is not transparent to create height and drama to flowers that would otherwise perhaps fall to the side. make sure to soak the foam for about 20-30 minutes before arranging the flowers on it.
LA Mart is located at the Reef :1933 S Broadway 409, Los Angeles, CA
It is Southern California’s most comprehensive collection of regional & national showrooms.
We will be at the show from 7/20-7/25 9am-5pm. Please visit us at #305 booth.
At LA Mart, thousands of product lines showcasing a wide array of lifestyle merchandise including gifts, furniture, tabletop, decorative accessories, stationery and paper products, seasonal and holiday items, gourmet, floral, fashion accessories, linens, bath and body items, jewelry, pet, books, personal accessories, apparel, baby and kids, floor coverings, lighting and home décor.
We have three showrooms across the United States and our headquarters in Los Angeles have teamed up with Google to upload a full 360 view of our showroom to share with the whole entire world!
You can view the full 360 tour right below by clicking on the arrows.
If you’re not new in the craft world, then you’re probably aware of the fact that actually the most popular DIY projects are those that are made from materials you have used in the past. There is really something special in those moments when you’re transforming some used glass vases into whole new things, which will be perfect decor for your home. Glass vases are so versatile that you can use them for many other things besides for just flowers. It’s time to express your creativity and make some of these great ideas that you can gift or keep for yourself.
Turn your vase into a terrarium. Fill the container about a third of the way with sand. Choose succulents from your local nursery or garden store. Succulents need very little water to survive, so they make great plants for those who don’t have a green thumb.
Coins just make your purse heavier to carry around. Create a home base for these loose coins and use the vase as a modern day piggy bank. If you have a lot of pennies, use the vaseful as a copper-colored decoration. It works great with an old-world look or muted color scheme. Check out this antique-feeling piece.
Marbles? Billiard balls? Seashells? Wine corks? Whatever your collect, put it in a vase. The vase acts as both a container and a pretty way to display, making your collection into a work of art.
There is nothing more disheartening for the bride than when she comes in with her heart set on yellow peonies for an August wedding, only to find out that yellow peonies are just not naturally available in August. There are a ton of flowers available year-round, like roses, hydrangeas, carnations, callas and orchids, just to name a few. Knowing just this one piece of information can make your flower plan go much more smoothly.
Flower colors are never exact. Rely on your florist to help you understand the undertones of different varieties; for example, red ranunculus have orange undertones that stand out when paired with cool colors. Also remember that many of the photographs you see online or in magazines can be misleading; when the photographer is color-correcting for skin tone and lighting, it may adjust flower colors beyond what is realistic.
Your colors may be purple and white, but mixing two colors contrasting colors without any shading can look like polka dots in pictures. Instead you might want to add in lavender and gray green foliage to give it a softer look.
Never skimp on your bridal bouquet. It is the most important floral accent of the night because all eyes are on you during the walk down the isle. It is the one floral design that will be on your mantel, your bedside table, at your mother’s house, your in-laws’ house and on your desk at work in photos for the next 50 to 60 years—you had better like it!
If you are on a limited budget, go monochromatic for a bigger impact. A monochromatic color scheme looks more organized and really gives your ceremony and reception a pop of color that is sure to wow even in the smallest amounts.
One way to save money on your flowers is to make your flowers do double duty. You can design ceremony flowers in such a way that they can be redistributed for display at the reception. Including vases for the bouquets to decorate the head table is a great way to reuse the bouquets that you have already paid for. Once photos are completed the bouquets are often left lying about anyway.
The most difficult and least productive meetings are the ones where no budget is given. You wouldn’t go to buy a car without telling the salesman in advance if you are in the market for a Ferrari, BMW or a Toyota. We request in our very first phone conversation that a budget be provided at the meeting.
If you aren’t planning a traditional wedding, then your flowers certainly don’t have to be traditional either. And there’s no need to limit yourself to roses and peonies. I personally love succulents and work with them whenever possible. I also pull in fruit and vegetables like pomegranates, kale, apples—whatever speaks to the wedding and a bride’s vision.
If you are on a tight budget, remember, it’s your day—not your bridesmaids’. Make your bouquet perfect. Theirs can be smaller and simpler—and therefore less expensive. And keep your bridal party to about 4 people.
Make sure that you get a detailed proposal from every florist you meet with and if possible, ask them for the exact count of each flower that will be included. This helps you to understand what is driving the cost since flowers are expensive. Also, it eliminates disappointment on your wedding day when you expected a large, lush arrangement as described but instead got a minimal amount of blooms and lots of filler. If you don’t like or want greenery say so!
In the course of wedding planning, you’ll probably come across a guest or two whose inappropriate actions, odd requests or rude behavior seems appalling. Don’t be shocked—while you may know the ins and outs of wedding etiquette, some of your friends and family members may not be aware of what’s acceptable. What can you do? Be proactive. Here’s how.
What they did: Anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows the importance of a punctual RSVP—from plotting your seating chart to giving the caterer a final head count—it’s hard to proceed without a firm grasp of who’s coming. Unfortunately, some of your guests may treat the RSVP as a novelty rather than a necessity.
How to deal: Give it a week. After that, it’s time to give them a call. Recruit your maid of honor to help you with phone duties if you’re really struggling with missing RSVPs. Or, better yet, send out a group email (use a blind CC) saying you need to know by [insert deadline] if they’re planning on attending. Keep the tone nice, but firm. Then, you only have to call those who don’t reply to the email (which really is a double-duty foul).
Stop the cycle: Make the reply-by date as early as possible, say, two weeks from the date you intend to mail the invitations. That way, when your guests see the deadline is quickly approaching, they’ll (hopefully) stick the reply card in the mail right then and there.
What they did: The good news is the guest has returned the RSVP. The bad news is she’d love to attend—with a person you never invited, maybe never even heard of. Whether she believes every invite bestows the right to bring a date, or a child, adding a name to the RSVP puts everyone in an awkward position.
How to deal: To avoid potential hurt feelings, you need to establish a no-exceptions guest list policy (significant others only if engaged; no children under 18). Then, call the misguided guest to explain the circumstances. Apologize for the misunderstanding and tell her that unfortunately the limitations (a small reception space or a tight budget) require a strict guest list. The person most likely didn’t intend to thwart your list with the addition of another guest and will gladly come to the wedding solo.
Stop the cycle: Tell your parents, wedding party, and other close relatives and friends, so they can spread the word when asked. And, of course, address your invitations in a direct manner (don’t write “Smith Family” unless they really are all invited). The earlier a guest knows who’s actually invited, the less painful the conversation will be.
What they did: As soon as they received the invite to your wedding, the phone calls began. Guests are treating you like their personal concierge, with questions about transportation, accommodations and fun things to do while they’re in town.
How to deal: Make sure every guest has all the info they need by creating a wedding website. Include a link to the hotel where you’ve reserved a block of rooms, local museums and restaurants, and driving directions. Put together a welcome basket for out-of-towners with the weekend’s itinerary, so no one feels the need to ask you about the wedding game plan.
Stop the cycle: Some technophobes might still pester you with questions. Go over the guest list with both sets of parents, and decide which key invitees, if any, are not likely to check your website. Print out a copy of the info listed on the site and mail it to them.
What they did: Some guests feel that buying a present from the registry is impersonal. Instead, they go and purchase a gift with a little more, er, imagination.
How to deal: Shopping off the registry can result in a pleasant surprise, or leave a couple cringing. But you cannot be anything but gracious for any gift you’re given. While they’re typically expected, wedding gifts are technically not required from a guest. If someone has eschewed the registry and bought you a present you know you won’t use, check whether they sent it with the receipt. If so, they may have realized their gift might not be your style, and it’s fine to return the present. Otherwise, write a thank-you note for the thoughtful gesture, and keep the gift for as long as you can stand having it around.
Stop the cycle: Register at an off-the-beaten path store, like a local museum shop or a boutique home store, that offers unique gift options. That way, the guest can get you something a bit more personal that you’ll actually love.
What they did: You know how some people show up late to movies because they know there’ll be 20 minutes of trailers? Some guests may have a similar notion for your ceremony. (We’ve all seen at least one late guest stroll in directly behind the bride walking down the aisle!)
How to deal: For those who are really late, ask an usher or your day-of coordinator to hang out near the rear of the ceremony site so they can make sure your processional goes undisturbed, and to have them help any late guest quickly and quietly find a seat.
Stop the cycle: Give yourself a slight buffer for your friends and family who are never quite on time. If your invites say the ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m., plan on walking down the aisle about 15 minutes after that.
What they did: It doesn’t sound so bad: Someone brought a huge gift to the wedding. While you really can’t complain about receiving presents at your reception—or at all for that matter—it can be a pain to lug them home.
How to deal: Ask one of your attendants to store all the gifts in one place—preferably a locked, separate room in your reception space—so nothing gets left behind. At the end of the evening, that attendant can account for all the gifts and then take them to the most convenient location (probably someone’s home rather than your honeymoon suite).
Stop the cycle: Online registries have made it easier than ever to send gifts wherever you want. Promote this gifting tool by including links to your online registries on your wedding website.
What they did: Weddings can be emotional events, and the toasts are an opportunity for your closest friends and family members to share sentiments with the rest of your guests. Those same emotions (and maybe too much alcohol) can do funny things to an otherwise reliable guest, and some may feel compelled to grab the mic when they weren’t asked to toast. Embarrassing stories, offensive anecdotes and rambling rants have all worked their way into wedding toasts.
How to deal: Unfortunately, you need to just grin and bear it. If the toast seems like it will never end, have the best man signal the band or DJ to carefully cut in. The other guests will appreciate the gesture too.
Stop the cycle: Head off unexpected toasts by making sure the emcee of the evening (your DJ or bandleader) has a list of approved toasters. Tell them not to give the mic to anyone who’s not scheduled to speak, no matter how persistent their plea for the microphone.
What they did: You’ve worked with your band or DJ to put together the perfect soundtrack for your evening. All of a sudden, your ambiance is interrupted by the sounds of “Y.M.C.A.” and it seems that your Aunt Margie is behind it.
How to deal: Requests from your guests may be inevitable, and if your band or DJ thinks it’s appropriate for the atmosphere, they might give requested songs a play. And it might be okay—you can’t control everything about your wedding or reception. But if you’re still fuming from the faux pas, talk to the bandleader or DJ immediately afterward and tell them that you would prefer to avoid group dance songs.
Stop the cycle: To avoid any playlist pitfalls, give your band or DJ a list of songs that you absolutely don’t want to hear at the reception. If you’re worried your strictly Motown playlist will be disrupted by someone’s insistence on hearing his favorite Bon Jovi tune, it’s okay to let your band or DJ know that guests’ song requests should be politely declined.
What they did: A few too many signature cocktails turned one of your guests from the life of the party into a bit of a mess.
How to deal: While it’s not your responsibility to babysit your guests, you can’t turn a blind eye to someone who’s had way too much to drink. If there’s any risk that the guest will try to drive, ask your planner, a responsible attendant, friend or family member to call a cab, and to make sure they take the ride. It’s not much fun to send someone home early, but making sure everyone gets home safely is incredibly important.
Stop the cycle: You can’t limit the number of drinks each guest consumes, but you can grant the bartender permission to cut off anyone that’s has had one too many. Other than that, make sure there’s plenty of water on the tables and enough delicious bites to satisfy any guest—big drinker or not.
What they did: In the middle of your perfect party, you notice a few unfamiliar faces in the crowd, and wonder, “Who invited them?” Your wedding has been crashed.
How to deal: Don’t freak out! With tasty food, fun music and free drinks, it’s no wonder some fun-loving people might want to get in on the action. But as long as they’re not indulging in these perks, or causing any conflict, try to ignore them. Otherwise, have the site manager discreetly escort the crashers out.
Stop the cycle: If you’re marrying at a hotel or club that hosts multiple parties in one night, there might be wedding wanderers. Unless you hire a security guard (which is a bit extreme), there’s no way to prevent it. If you’re really worried, tell the catering manager (and the waitstaff) to keep an eye out for possible crashers.
Let’s enjoy something fruity shall we? I would like to share colorful fruit centerpieces solely for your inspiration. Whether it’s from the florist or just your love for fruits, these fruit wedding centerpieces should make your centerpieces stand out. These centerpieces are perfect for all events, especially during the spring time. Personally I’m a fan of fruit centerpieces, because many of them are useful even after the event. But not just that, I believe when done right they are just gorgeous!
The trick to these fruity centerpieces is that you put a smaller vase inside the outer vase to keep the fruit slices in place. We recommend our cylinder glass vase and rectangular glass vase for this design.
The common fruits used for centerpieces are apples, oranges, lemons but do not limit yourself to just those. Think of your wedding color palette and if you are fruity girl, find the perfect fruit to display on your tables. Some people even go as far as painting the fruits to fit the theme. I’d rather stick to using fruits just as they are, planning the perfect event with those natural fruity colors.
Almost every guest expect to enjoy great food and possibly a drink at your wedding. You can anticipate spending about half of your wedding budget on catering, so it’s crucial that you know where you’re spending your money and what you can do to save more. Here are the main factors that will have the most impact on the amount of your catering bill.
Aside from your food decisions, there is no other choice that affects your catering budget more than your guest count.
Be sure you understand your caterer’s policy for changes and guarantees from the start. Most brides will overestimate their guest counts, as you will inevitably have guests who say they will be there and then not show up as well as the couple who say they won’t be there only to arrive unexpectedly. Just be conscious of your guest count—your decision could possibly save you a lot of money.
If you need a little help in this area, ask your bridesmaids to call guests who have yet to RSVP. Feel free to blame the caterer by telling guests that you need to know as soon as possible if they will be in attendance so you can provide an accurate head count.
In many cases, a sit–down meal could be more costly than a buffet, since a sit–down meal requires additional staff to prepare food and serve it. Caterers charge a fee per staffer, and each table typically needs one or two servers managing it. The fewer servers needed, the less money you will need to spend.
However, having a buffet doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save money. Buffet meals require linens, serving pieces, and a lot more food (because people tend to eat more food when they serve themselves). Plus, you’ll still need to pay staff to man the buffet, and waiters to serve water and wine to the tables.
Since there isn’t always a significant difference in price, your decision should come down to the wedding style you desire. For a more formal experience, a sit-down dinner might be best, while the buffet style is more casual and relaxed. If you want to combine the formality of a sit-down dinner with a lower budget, go for a family-style dinner where guests can serve themselves from platters while seated at tables.
If you’re going to knot in a rural location (e.g., a vineyard, ranch, or farm), expect sub par kitchen facility or none at all. The less your venue has by way of ovens, prep stations, and equipment, the more it will cost to bring in these items.
In such situations, you’ll need a mobile kitchen which can include tents, generators, and a water supply. These equipment rentals can cost equal to or more than your entire location in rental fees.
The same goes for a private residence wedding, which may also be a huge financial undertaking since the kitchens in most homes are not designed to accommodate large events.
A cocktail hour can take up a huge portion of the budget. If you want an extravagant cocktail hour with various food stations, gourmet chefs, tons of finger foods, and endless top-shelf liquor; the cost of food, setup, and servers for even just one hour can totally exceed your budget.
To create the most cost–effective cocktail hour, consider having a few passed finger foods along with some food stations that feature less expensive foods. For example, if mini crab cakes are left out on a station, guests may snatch 6 or 7 mini crab cakes, but they’ll take only two or three if it’s passed.
Our suggestion is to have just 3-4 types of passed appetizers, and budget for about one or two pieces per guest. This gives guests a nice variety, but doesn’t require you to hire too many additional servers.
If you’re interested in unlimited drinks, you may be charged a fee “per hour, per person,” which is a great option for a drinking crowd since you will know the total cost upfront.
On the other hand, you could be charged “by drink,” which is a less predictable option but preferable if you’re not dealing with a crowd of drinkers. You may incur extra expenses by hiring additional licensed bartenders or renting glasses and bar accouterments. In this case, additional expenses could add 20 to 25 percent to your entire catering bill.
Alcohol is the easiest expense to lose control of in the wedding budget, but you can balance that idea with the fact that there is no other wedding element a guest will complain about more if denied.
To balance out affordability and unsatisfied protests, serve wine and beer along with a signature cocktail instead of a full bar. If you have a VIP guest who only likes one kind of liquor, have a bottle available for that person.
Many people spend a ton of money on the bar for their wedding reception–sometimes two or three times the amount they spend on food. To save money, some venues will allow you to purchase and serve your own alcohol. Just make sure you have a licensed and insured bartender!
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of providing your own alcohol, set ups, cups, ice, etc., you may be able to serve drinks through your caterer, which will still cost less than if you purchased drinks directly from the venue.
Also, your caterer will probably serve any kind of beverages you supply, so think about bringing non-alcoholic beverages such as sodas and bottled water along with your alcoholic drinks.
The reason guests are asked to select a dinner option (“chicken” or “fish”) on their RSVP card is because costs get jacked up when guests order at the wedding. Theoretically, the caterer would have to prepare enough of each entrée to guarantee that all guests get their first choice. This would increase your food costs and is potentially very wasteful.
The other option is to serve everyone the same entrée, like a duet plate of filet mignon and grilled lobster, so that ordering is not an issue.
When it comes to wedding cakes, the possibilities are endless, which also means the choices can become a little overwhelming. If you want to get the wedding cake of your dreams, it’s key that you speak with your cake baker and ask lots of questions. Use the list below as a reference to help you decide on the best cake designer to bring your vision to life.
1. Is the baker licensed and insured?
This may seem like a trivial question, but you should definitely confirm that you baker is licensed by the state health department. Also, many venues will require all involved vendors to provide proof of insurance coverage.
2. What do you do if the cake gets damaged on the way to my reception site? Will you personally deliver the cake?
If your cake will be delivered, ask if the baker or cake designer will be present to assemble or to touch up decorations at the venue.
3. Will you provide cake stands?
Most bakers offer cake stand options you can rent the day of your wedding. Request pictures beforehand to pick a stand that best matches your cake and décor.
4. How long before the wedding will the cake be baked?
Since many bakers have multiple clients and the process is labor intensive, your baker may create your cake 3-4 days before the wedding. Of course the closer to your wedding date, the better, but a few days before the wedding day shouldn’t affect the taste or look, and may be necessary if you want an intricate design that takes more than a day to accomplish.
1. How are your wedding cakes priced? Do you have a minimum cake cost?
Most bakers charge a basic per-slice price—the price increases as you add on extra elements, like a more sophisticated design or more premium flavors and/or fillings.
2. Does the wedding cake price include the top tier?
Some couples like to freeze and preserve the top tier of the cake for their first wedding anniversary. Bakers may or may not include the top tier in the overall price, so find out their policy and whether a top tier will increase the overall price.
3. Will there be any additional rental fees? When will these items need to be returned?
Bakers may offer you a choice of cake-cutting knives, display plates, cake stands, toppers, platters, etc., which will likely require a deposit that you can get back when you return the items. Ask how much time you have to return them.
4. Is there an additional delivery fee?
Having your cake delivered to the reception venue is ideal. However, many bakers will charge a delivery fee, so find out beforehand and factor it into your cake budget.
5. Can I set up a cake-tasting appointment? Is there a fee?
Standard flavors will likely be available for a cake tasting, but probably not the specialty flavors. (Most bakers have the most requested flavors on hand.) For cake tastings, many bakers may charge a small fee that can be credited to your balance after booking your wedding with them.
6. How far in advance should I order my cake? What is your refund policy for cancellation? What if I’m not happy with the cake?
Ideally, you should place your cake order 6-8 months before the wedding. Keep in mind that smaller bakeries may limit the amount of wedding cakes they create every weekend, so they will likely book up very fast around the more popular wedding dates.
When it comes to cancellations, most bakers will also have a very specific policy that you should review prior to signing a contract. In some cases, you may be able to retrieve some or all of your deposit or receive a credit toward another future order.
If you’re not pleased with the final product, it’s your right as a consumer to ask for a refund. From the start, just be sure you have all the details about your cake in writing to use as a reference when speaking with your baker about any inconsistencies.
1. Can I see pictures of cakes you’ve made recently? Do you customize wedding cakes or do I select from set designs?
You can show your baker a picture from a magazine or Pinterest, but seeing the types of cakes he/she makes most often will give you a better idea of his/her skills.
2. What cake and filling flavors do you offer?
Whether you’re looking for a fruity filling, like strawberry or raspberry, or a rich mocha or chocolate, the kind of ingredients used will profoundly effect the taste and cost.
3. Do you frost the cake with buttercream or fondant?
While bakers specialize in fondant, others prefer buttercream, and some offer both. If you have your mind made up on one type of frosting, verify that your baker can make it.
4. What if I’d like real flowers on the cake? Will you work with my florist?
If you want to adorn the cake with fresh flowers, find out if your baker will work directly with your florist (most will) and the best way to coordinate getting the flowers from your florist to the baker.
Often the florist will arrange the flowers for you. Just make sure the flowers are free of pesticides, and provide the baker with a sketch or a photo of the flowers as soon as possible so that she/he can incorporate them into the design.
5. What kinds of ingredients do you typically use? Do you offer organic, vegan, and gluten-free options?
If your cake designer is not able to bake a gluten-free, vegan, or organic cake, she/he may work with another local bakery that does.
Planning a wedding is infamous for being a being a tad bit overwhelming and chaotic. There will be late nights optimizing your wedding to-do list, weekend appointments making decisions alongside vendors you’re paying a lot of money to, and of course, the occasional cry-fest because the pressure of throwing the party of your lifetime has caught up to you. It can be a very unhealthy time, filled with lack of sleep, quick bites to eat, and enough stress that you start to feel weak. But like they say, you are what you eat! So, in order to stay healthy during your wedding planning process, here are some super foods you should add to your diet. One of the best super meals you can have is a clean acai bowl or a fruit and vegetable packed smoothie. Also make sure to include your good proteins in order to help flatten your tummy! Also these super antioxidant packed foods are fantastic for your skin!
Throw them into a smoothie, your morning yogurt, or just eat them by the handful. They are a great source of fiber and antioxidants that help keep your mind
Whether you like them sunny-side up or just scrambled, eggs are a great source of protein and something you can eat quickly, as a snack or part of a meal.
Keep a bowl of these things close by. They are a great way to boost your immune system and something simple and easy you can snack on when drafting emails to vendors or your bridal party.
These funny-shaped things are known as the healthiest vegetable in the land. They are great for your immune system and a great swap for the traditional baked potato.
You remember as a kid always being told to eat your broccoli, well, now it’s time to hear it again. Broccoli is packed with vitamins C, A, and K. If you’re not a fan of the taste, add them to a stir-fry or even roast them in the oven.
Swap out the soda and coffee for a glass of tea. Freshly brewed tea has a lot of health benefits and is known to help strengthen bones, and you guessed it, reduce stress. With so many flavors to choose from, you can try a new tea flavor every day until your wedding.
Spinach is known as the super food of all super foods. It has a ton of vitamins and calcium in it and will not only make you feel more energetic but will also help cleanse your body.
Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids to help your skin glow on your big wedding day. This is a perfect source of protein as well! If you are vegetarian I recommend that you incorporate flax seeds or hemp seeds. These are great alternatives for omega-3 source.
Think you can’t pull off your dream wedding on a budget? Think again. It’s easier than you think to stretch your budget without giving up the things you love. Want a delicious menu and the venue of your dreams? Or a designer dress and a five-tiered cake? It’s possible to make it happen - the key is compromise.
A few dollars here and there doesn’t seem like a lot when you’re shelling out thousands total. But a few hundred bucks will make a major difference. Find a few places where you can trim half a grand from your budget, and suddenly that gorgeous destination wedding venue you’ve been obsessing over will seem a lot less out of reach.
Love the look of hand-painted invite but not the steep price point? Have a graphic artist create a digital design that you can print at home instead. The final result will look just as pretty but cost half as much.
Have guests RSVP on your wedding website or app instead of on a reply card. You’ll save tons on paper and postage, and you’re more likely to get responses from the majority of your guests. Be sure to include your phone number or home address for elderly guests who may not be as tech-savy.
Instead of ordering completely custom invitations, order a DIY printable from wedding websites. You’re able to customize certain aspects of the invite while still keeping costs low.
Posting one large program at the entrance of your ceremony site is way less expensive than printing one for each person. Trendy options like calligraphic chalkboards or mirrors are budget-friendly and totally chic!
Forget the photo booth and buy a Polaroid camera instead. Set up a photo station with a elegant backdrop and ask your guests to leave you a snap with a note. This can double as your guestbook or a favor for friends and family to take home.
Instead of shelling out big for a favor for each guest, give one to every couple. Just make sure it’s something sharable, like a bottle or another treat! Guests will appreciate the late-night booze or snack.
Consider a tasty family-style dinner, like a gourmet pasta bar, in place of a three-course plated meal. Select several choices guests will love, including meat and vegetarian options, for a substantial and crowd-pleasing dinner.
Have your florist create arrangements that work for both the ceremony and the reception. Enlist a trustworthy friend or family member to make sure the blooms get safely from place to place.
After the vows, combine bridesmaids’ bouquets to make one large centerpiece. They’re great for the bar or escort table. It’s also a way better use of the blooms since your ‘maids will likely ditch their bouquets once it comes time to dance.
Have your florist provide a mix or short and tall table arrangements. Smaller centerpieces are more cost-effective, but a few towering displays will help fill in any gaps. Bonus: The pretty mixes are super trendy since they’ll lend your party an eclectic vibe. WGV International’s Trumpet Vase, as displayed above, is one of the most popular styles for center pieces.
Invest in a florist for the most-photographed flowers (your bouquet, the head-table arrangements), and DIY the rest. Consider taking a class or lesson on floral arrangements and practice your centerpieces in advance. Make sure to pick a display that won’t be too time consuming and enlist family or friends to help.
Carnations have gotten a bad rep as being cheap and overused. But mixed with other blooms, they create the same lush, fluffy texture as peonies, which are four to five times more expensive. Use them to bulk up your centerpieces and bouquets for that romantic look you love without breaking the bank.
Wedding dresses are a huge expense, especially if you have your heart set on a designer gown. Look around for sample sales, where you’ll be able to purchase your dream designer dress at a steep discount. Or consider an off-the-rack option, which can be tailored to look custom-made without spending a fortune.
Have you always dreamed of a violinist or harpist playing as you walk down the aisle? A professional musician can be quite costly. Luckily, local music schools have teachers — who can play quite well — that will happily perform at weddings for a fraction of the cost. Sit in on a lesson to make sure they know their stuff.
If your guests aren’t big drinkers, ask your caterer if you can pay for alcohol à la carte. That way, you’re only charged for what guests drink instead of their flat rate, which covers enough alcohol for the entire reception.
Skip a big tiered cake, which can run in the thousands, and serve simple single-tiered cakes instead. You can have your caterer provide single layers for each table or create a cake buffet where your guests can sample different flavors. You’ll still be able to have a cake-cutting moment without the huge cost.
Dessert buffets are quickly becoming a wedding staple and can easily be created on a budget. Challenge competitive relatives to a bake-off and serve the delicious results. Think cupcakes, cookies, and other mini treats that guests can sample.
Replace your dessert table with a sweet candy buffet on WGV International’s popular apothecary jars. You can buy treats in bulk at a wholesale warehouse store like Costco and provide pretty bags or containers for guests to fill. Plus, these goodies bag can double as a favor.
Leftover wedding desserts often go to waste. Plan to pack extra sweets in cute boxes and give them to guests. Instafavors! Or ask your caterer to send any remaining treats back to your wedding suite for a late-night snack.
Give up the hard stuff after cocktail hour and serve only beer and wine through the rest of your reception. They pair better with dinner anyway and are half the price of a full bar. Worried your guests won’t be happy with the selection? Offer one or two signature cocktails they can choose from for the rest of the evening.
Don’t feel compelled to create over-the-top welcome bags for your guests. A handwritten note and a bottle of wine (which you can buy it in bulk for major savings) is more appreciated than a bag stuffed with knickknacks your friends and family will likely never use.
Instead of mailing paper save-the-dates, email guests a fun video you and your future husband made yourselves. You’ll save on printing and postage, plus it’s a great opportunity to show your personalities!