Preserving the wedding dress and bouquet can give the bride nostalgic pleasure in future years, especially if they are cared for right after the nuptials.
The Wedding Dress.
Get the gown to the dry cleaner as soon as possible-no longer than a month after wearing-so stains can be removed before they become permanent.
Stains should be hand-treated, and those from sugar need special treatment, since regular dry-cleaning fluid cannot dissolve them.
Be sure to ask the dry cleaner to clean the gown individually and to turn it inside out to protect beading and embroidery.
If the dry cleaner packs it, choose an acid-free storage box with acid-free tissue paper. The window of the box should be acetate, not plastic. And because the glue, rubber and metal parts in a headpiece can brown the dress, have it stored separately.
Before it’s packed inspect it carefully. Check it yearly so stains that emerge can be treated.
If you’re packing it yourself, remove padding in the bust or shoulders after dry cleaning and wrap the dress in a clean white sheet or muslin. The dress should be laid flat, not hung, in a dry area with an even temperature. Avoid attics or basements, which can be too hot or damp.
Begin the drying process right away, before you leave for the honeymoon. Turn the bouquet upside down and hang it in a dark, dry place. In two weeks it should be completely dry and ready to decorate a wall or shelf. If you prefer, cut fresh flowers close to the base and place inside a large book
Your Wedding Day
Private Clubs, Hotels, or Restaurants:
• These locations are probably the easiest to consider. They offer complete service and facilities and they will coordinate all phases of your reception.
• Make sure you see the actual room or location where the reception would take place.
• Discuss the menu selections and the costs per person of each. Does it include the cake?
• Make sure to check liquor and beverage fees. What is the charge per drink for an open bar? Is there a corking fee if you provide your own champagne? Do they charge extra to pour coffee with the cake?
• Find out what equipment is included, what will be extra and what will be rented-dance floor, microphone, etc.
• Check on music restrictions.
• Know exactly how long you may have the facilities.
• Make sure they have adequate serving people. Most commercial places add a service fee. Be sure to find out what they will be.
• See if decorations and flowers are handled separately or if they are provided.
The advantage with these locations is that the people are experienced, and relieve you of the burdens of coordinating the reception.
The disadvantages are that you must conform to their time schedule, and many times, to pre-established menus which allow little or no flexibility.
Home or garden
Private homes and gardens can offer more flexibility with regard to personal desires and time schedules. However, the burden of coordinating is on you and may require the assistance of a wedding coordinator.
• Make sure the location can accommodate all your guests.
You can prepare the food
• Depending on the type of reception, with the help of family and friends. I don’t advise this unless for budget reasons you have no choice. This is one party you, your family and friends should enjoy. You will have enough to worry about.
• Discuss your desires with a few caterers to determine what costs are involved.
• Make a detailed list of all the equipment that will need to be rented, and determine the costs.
• Arrange parking. Is it adequate, or will you need valet service?
• Check the kitchen and bathroom facilities. Are they adequate or will portable stoves and toilets need to be supplied?
• Survey the lighting that is available. Is there sufficient electricity for outside lights or heaters?
• If planning a garden reception, make sure it can be moved inside, the area can be tented, or you have an alternative location in the event of bad weather.
Planning the Reception
There are a number of things to consider when planning your reception. Whether it is to be large or small, formal or informal, it is always best to have your reception immediately following the ceremony and to select a style that complements your wedding theme.
Other things to consider, besides your personal preference, are the number of guests you invite and your budget.
Send a note letting your neighbors know that a wedding reception will be taking place, especially for an evening reception with a band.
This may prevent any problems that might otherwise occur.
Reception Location Ideas:
• Church or Synagogue halls
• Private club facilities
• Community centers
• Elks or Women’s Club facilities
• Condominium or private estate clubhouse facilities.
• Art galleries
• Historical buildings or mansions
• Public beaches and parks
• Public gardens
• Zoos or amusement parks
• Movie studio lots
• Private homes and estates for rent
• Wineries, ranches or orchards
• Banks or larger lobbies of grand old buildings
• Civic or private theaters
• Bed and breakfast inns
• Romantic restaurants
• Hotel ballrooms
• Yachts, boats or barges
• University facilities
• Military club facilities
• A romantic resort
• Your home or a friend’s home
• Any place beautiful, interesting or romantic in your area.
Types of Receptions
If you have determined the time and style of your wedding and considered the number of guests and size of your budget, you probably have a good idea of the type of reception that will suit your needs and desires. There are various types of receptions.
A breakfast or brunch reception is nice following a morning wedding at 9 or 10 a.m. This may be served buffet style, or the guests may be seated at specified tables.
If you choose buffet style, an assortment of fresh fruit, croissants, rolls and quiches, with a variety of cold cuts and cheeses are nice. Hot coffee, tea and fresh juice should be served.
With a sit-down breakfast you may want to start with fresh juice and fruit, then serve an omelet or eggs benedict with toast or rolls for the entrée. Hot coffee and tea are a must.
Pastries or a wedding cake should be served. Serving alcoholic beverages is optional but may include champagne, champagne punch, wine, screwdrivers or bloody Marys.
These are similar to brunch receptions and may be either sit-down or buffet style. They generally follow a late morning or high noon ceremony and are served between 12 and 2 p.m.
Buffet luncheons may include a variety of salads, such as, potato, fruit, chicken, pasta or vegetables with dip. Poached salmon and shrimp are popular, but also expensive. Sandwiches, cold cuts and cheeses are often served, and are relatively inexpensive. Your reception coordinator or caterer will have suggestions, according to your budget.
Serving champagne, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres while guests go through the receiving line may start sit-down luncheons. Once the guests are seated, a white wine may be served with soup or salad to start.
Then boned breast of chicken crepe or beef entrée with rice and vegetables is nice.
Serve coffee or tea with the wedding cake. Having an expresso/cappuccino bar, or offering chocolate cups filled with cordials adds a nice touch.
Tea or Cocktail
Tea receptions are generally held between 2 and 5 p.m., usually starting not later than 3:30.
Coffee, tea or punch, both with and without champagne or wine, is generally served. Tea sandwiches or other finger food, along with wedding cake, is the basic requirement.
This type of reception is the least expensive to have and perfect when there is a large guest list and a small budget. If held in a home or garden, this type of reception will cut down on rentals.
Cocktail receptions are held between 4 and 7:30 p.m. If only cocktails are being served, with no dinner to follow, the reception should start by 5:30 or 6 p.m. at the latest.
Usually champagne, wine, punch, or beer is served and in many cases there is an open bar, depending on the budget. Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres may be passed or set out on buffet tables.
A dinner reception is usually started sometime between 6 and 9 p.m. In many cases cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served in the first hour, with a sit-down or buffet dinner following.
Cocktail service will add to your expenses. (to keep expenses down, offer wine and beer, rather than a full bar). A cocktail hour of some kind gives people time to go through the receiving line and mingle with friends, especially when a sit-down dinner follows.
Sit Down Receptions
As mentioned before, and quite obviously, this is a party where the guests are served at the table. It usually, but not always has a more formal feeling, and most of the time is preceded by a cocktail hour so the guests can mingle.
A sit-down reception provides for more organization. It is easier to get the guests attention when the traditional ceremonies, such as cutting the cake. On the other hand some people feel the sit-down service tends to quiet a party down, and discourages people from mingling.
A buffet reception is one in which the guests serve themselves. They may choose to sit at a table of their choice, or seats may be assigned.
The buffet table is arranged with a variety of food, and can be either round or oblong, with the food placed around the edge. It may also be rectangular with food served from behind one side, or with food displayed along both sides.
The way the tables are arranged will be determined by the area available and the number of guests. Try to avoid making the guests wait in a long line. For a larger number of guests have two buffet tables, one at each end of the room.
Food Station Receptions
Another idea, which is unique and adds to the décor of the area, is what is called food stations. They are smaller buffet tables, which are set up around the room, or in different areas of a garden. It is especially nice when each food station has a different theme and type of food. Decorate them with floral displays and unique serving pieces.
They will not only look beautiful, but are a fun way for the guests to eat, and will increase the mingling of the guests. Try a beautiful display of cheeses with breads and fresh fruits displayed in baskets, or an ice-carved boat filled with jumbo shrimp and crab legs. Or you may add to this eating adventure a chef carving a roast, serving hot won tons from a wok, or a chicken crepe made right in front of the guests’ eyes.
All perspective brides and grooms want to have wonderful lasting memories of their big day. One-way almost every couple commemorates their wedding is with a big album full of photos of family and friends.
But what about the couple that wants a different spin on the usual wedding mementos, something that will be a truly unique-and with so many details to remember, so many things to do and so many people to see, it’s hard for you and your guests to get a full picture of all of the day’s events, to create a wedding CD.
Talking with your photographer about taking some digital photos at the wedding, or have a friend or family member do so as their gift to you.
Making sure the digital photos you use are 450-600 pixels in dimensions to fit most people’s monitors and 72 dots per inch (dpi) for monitor resolution.
After the wedding, plan out how you want the CD to work. Sketch a flowchart that shows how you want to group images and information together. Do you want to group items in chronological order as they happened that day? Do you want to group items by specific events, such as one page for the rehearsal dinner, one page for the ceremony, one for the reception and so on?
Using multimedia software, such as Macromedia Flash or Director, to create the CD. This type of software allows you to easily combine text, graphics, sound and video.
As you gather your photos, make sure you remember to properly title them within the CD. Years later when you look back on this, you’ll be thankful that names and dates are mentioned for the photos.
You can even add special captions that truly personalize the photos and capture the emotions of those moments. Whether you have professional photographs, a mix of professional and amateur shots, or snapping photos yourself on the big day, there are ways to make your photos look great. “Watch what is in the foreground of the photo and avoid anything that is distracting such as glasses or plates.