Wedding Seating Charts – What you need to know

Wedding Seating Charts – What you need to know

Wedding Seating Charts

We’re bringing in the experts for this one!  My good friend and stationery genious, Tifany Wunshcl of Gourmet Invitations shared these aweomse reasons why seating charts are a great alternative to place cards.  Take a look, and let us know what you think!  Tifany also does beautiful work with invitations, and works with clients all over the country.  Make sure to give her a shout when you’re ready to start, your designs!

Seating charts for weddings are more and more popular each year.  A perfect alternative to escort cards and place cards, here are the TOP 10 REASONS why you should consider a seating chart for your wedding or event.

*Please do remember that if you offered your guests a meal choice on the RSVP cards, you will most likely need to have an escort card indicating their meal choice so the waitstaff know what entree to bring.  Check with your catering manager to see how they prefer to recieve this information! 

 

10. Seating charts can enhance the overall wedding design

Seating charts just aren’t a simple list of names.  When properly designed, they are another source of decor for your wedding.  We always use our client’s invitation design and fonts to create our seating charts.  Once, we created a gorgeous seating chart had a hand sketched graphic of the Itallian villa where the wedding is taking place.  We can design your seating chart around any theme or inspiration you could ever want!

9. Seating charts make a great keepsake to hang in your home after the wedding

Many of our clients hang their seating charts in their home after the wedding.  They make a wonderful keepsake and a reminder of your wedding day and the guests.  

8. Seating charts are usually displayed on an easel making them at eye level and easier to read

Your guests don’t have to lean down to look at cards displayed all together on an escort card table.  Seating charts can be hung, placed on an easel or a top a table.  Simply by putting the list of the guests’ names in alphabetical order, a seating chart is a much more functional piece than escort cards.

*Added note from Kate – Unless you have a VERY small guest count, seating charts shoule always be done in alphabetical order by last name, NOT table number.  This will save your guests time and frustration of searching through row after row of table numbers.  

7. Place cards and escort cards can be a mess 

We often hear from wedding coordinators that guests pick up their escort cards, starting talking (or drinking) and leave the cards around the cocktail area.  Since the guest knows their table at that point, the card gets forgotten; leaving the staff and coordinators to pick up the left over cards. 

*Another note from Kate 🙂  If you choose individual cards and you are not working with a planner, you’ll have to make arrangements for someone to set set up your cards so they look nice.  This seems simple, but it can be a very time consuming task, especially if they are not in alphabetical order by last name! 

6. A place card table looks good only until the first card is taken

You see the photos all of the time.  The gorgeous place card displays and escort card tables with all of the cards lined up in a row.  But now imagine the table after half the guests have taken their card.  Now how about imaging it after everyone has their card and the few people that ended up not being able to make it, have the straggling cards left over.  Seating charts avoid this issue and looks good all night long!

5. Seating charts typically have larger fonts than place cards

It may not appear that way in these photos, but the font size on seating charts is typically 16pt to 24pt or larger.  Because the size of escort card tents is smaller, the font can typically only be 14pt to 16pt.  We often get asked if older guests can read a seating chart.  Our response is always that it can be read better than place cards.

4. Seating charts are more cost effective for larger weddings

When you consider that you have to pay for place cards on a per piece basis, seating charts are much more economical for a larger wedding.  With a one time design and printing fee, one chart is a better choice typically when your guest list is more than 125 guests.  With a seating chart for your wedding, you also don’t have to pay for flowers, linens, holders or other decor for using and displaying escort cards.

3. Seating charts eliminate the need for an escort card and a place card

Some of our clients still prefer to follow proper etiquette and have an escort card to direct a guest to their table and then a place card at their particular seat.  This issue with this is the fact that now your guest has two cards to deal with.  Where do you put the escort card?  Are you supposed to keep it, display it, give it to the wait staff to throw it away?  With a seating chart, the need for an escort card is completely eliminated, keeping your table design clean and uncluttered.

2. Seating charts are considered “green” – you aren’t wasting all of the cardstock for place cards and escort cards

This reason is a must for any environmentally conscious and green clients.  Why use a ton of cardstock that just goes into the garbage?  One large poster that can be kept is a better option that many pieces of cardstock.

1. The most important reason of them all!  Brides want their wedding to be unique.  A seating chart is very unexpected and different than the traditional place card

Seating charts can match the reception location, the invitations, a special theme or even have a photo.  But seating charts can be printed on so many mediums.  This 30 foot by 9 foot seating chart completely covered the front of this tent.  Seating charts on mirrors, printed on large canvas, hung from old bed frames, window frames and printed on plexiglass are just a few ideas.  If you can dream it, we can design and make it for your unique event!

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Wedding Invitations – 4 Tips to Getting them in the Mail

Wedding Invitations – 4 Tips to Getting them in the Mail

Wedding Invitations Tips

WAIT!  Before you drop those wedding invites in the mail, check out these quick tips for a smoother process! 

 

1. Take the wedding invitations with you.   

Before purchasing your stamps, take a fully assembled invitation to the post office with you.  Many invitations will require additional postage for weight, shape, or size.  You don’t want to find out the hard way when they are all returned! 

2. Don’t forget the RSVP card!          

Putting a stamp on the RSVP card envelope  makes it easier for your guests to pop them in the mail.  It also ensures that they don’t accidentally get dropped in the mail without a stamp!

3. Call about Hand Cancelling  

All mail is run through automated machines in the sorting process.  The machines can often mark up or even tear envelopes. Hand cancelling means that your wedding invites will be stamped by hand rather than by machine.  This ensures that even thicker wedding invitations arrive to your guests without being damaged by the processes.  

Some post offices will allow you to do this yourself, and others don’t allow it.  Make sure to call ahead to see what their policy is.

In order to get a positive response, I recommend going during off hours when they aren’t very busy.  Additionally, you can find a smaller post office, and avoid  busy times of the day (lunch time or right after work).  This should help your chances of success! 

4. Number your RSVP Cards                      

Before you seal those envelopes, make sure to put a number on the back of your RSVP cards.  This should corresponds with your numbered guest list.  It’s surprising, but without fail there is always at least one or two RSVPs that come back without a name.  This will allow you to quickly determine who sent in that nameless response!

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Sparkling Mint Cranberry Mocktail – Signature Drink

Sparkling Mint Cranberry Mocktail – Signature Drink

Sparkling Mint Cranberry Mocktail  

Are you having a winter wonderland wedding and need a signature drink? Then you have come to the right place! This Sparkling Mint Cranberry Mocktail is a perfect way to get your guests in the holiday spirit.  

This a great refreshing drink for all ages, but you can add a little vodka in to warm things up, if you’d prefer.   

Recipe from: Food Fun Family

1/2 cup Cranberries

3 Mint, fresh leaves

1 Mint, leaves

1/2 cup Granulated sugar

2 tbsp Cream of coconut

3 (12 ounce) can sparkling water

1/2 cup Water

Instructions: 

1.Add sugar and water to a small saucepan; stir and heat until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture starts to thicken slightly.

2.Remove from heat and stir in chopped cranberries, chopped mint leaves, and cream of coconut. 

3.Spoon this mixture into ice cube tray, dividing evenly among the ice cube sections. Freeze.

4.Just before serving, divide ice cubes among individual glasses and pour  sparkling water over the fruit cubes. The cubes will dissolve on their own, but you may want to stir a little before serving. Garnish each glass with a mint leaf.

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Hiring your Wedding Vendors

Hiring your Wedding Vendors

How to Hire your Wedding Vendors 

Hiring your wedding vendors is one of the most important things you will do for your wedding.  Here are some tips to hiring your wedding vendors, but make sure to check out this post for a more thorough review! 

Every event is different, but most couples will find that they need: 

  •      Caterer/Venue
  •      Musician
  •      Photographer
  •      Videographer
  •      Florist
  •      Planner
  •      Hair & Makeup
  •      Transportation

Prior to meeting with your vendors, we encourage you to take a look at these tips so you know what to expect during vendor meetings.

1.)   Know, Embrace, and Stick to Your Wedding Budget

Before you hire your wedding vendors, PLEASE make sure you know what is budgeted for that category.  I’d hate for you to meet with and fall in love with a photographer, just to find out they are out of your budget.  Request pricing information via email or a phone call first, and only set up appointments with those in your price range.  

2.)   What is Your Wedding Style?

Do you want a photojournalistic photographer, or someone with a more traditional style?  Are you picturing a rustic chic look, versus something with a bit more bling?

Figuring out what your wedding style is will help you narrow down what vendors might be a good fit for you.  While you don’t need to know every single detail, it’s important to have an idea of your likes and dislikes at this stage.  

The importance of this will vary depending on the vendor, of course.  But start pulling together some inspiration images for each category, Pinterest is an amazing resource for this!  Floral images for florists,  photography shots for photographer meetings, and even wedding song lists for entertainers.  Having an idea of your wedding style before your first meetings with vendors will be very helpful! 

3.)   Do Your Research on wedding professionals

Doing your research about a potential vendor prior to meeting with them is important. This will give you a general idea of what services the vendor provides, and what you can expect from them. Research prior to meeting with your vendor allows you to see the possible package offers that the vendor provides (and the prices!).

I also highly recommend you look at vendors online reviews.  Sites like WeddingWire and The Knot are the most popular, most vendors will have reviews posted there.  

4.)   Come with Questions Ready

You’ve already done your research.  You’re only going to set up meetings with vendors that are in your budget and compliment your style.  The next step in hiring your wedding vendors is the actual meetings!

Most vendors are used to holding consultations in person, over the phone, or with a service like Skype or Zoom.  There is typically not a charge for these first meetings, it’s just a part of the inquiry process.  

Make sure to come to your initial consultation prepared, but don’t feel like it’s a formal job interview.  Think of it more like meeting a new friend for coffee or a cocktail!  

Have a list ready, you can find some great questions to ask wedding vendors here.  Also be ready to take notes, you’ll want to remember the details after you’ve met with several vendors.  

5.)   Listen to your gut

Don’t feel pressured to sign anything at the initial meeting.  It won’t be uncommon for you to want to go home and talk about the options afterwards.  No vendor should make you feel pressured to sign a contract on-sight.  

Don’t be afraid to ask your potential vendor for referrals, especially if they don’t have many reviews online.  

Finally, there is an emotional component involved when choosing your vendors.  Therefore, if you do not seem to click with them, that’s okay!  

On the otherhand, you might feel that strong connection at that first meeting,  and sign the paperwork right then.  Because you’ve already done your research, you know they are already a great fit for you, and the meeting can be just a formality.  

*A quick side note of caution that I would pass along to all of my clients.  Pricing for many wedding services will vary greatly.  Though it can be tempting to be attracted to a good deal, keep in mind that phrase “is it too good to be true”?  Cutting corners by hiring a cheap vendor can often result in a less than desirable end product or service.

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Tips for the Perfect Engagement Photos

Tips for the Perfect Engagement Photos

Many couples opt to take formal engagement photos, and we highly encourage this practice!  Not only does it provide you with great everyday photos for your home, but it also give you an opporutnity to practice being in front of the camera.  We always recommend that you have your wedding photographer take these, it helps you to get to know each other, which will make you feel more comfortable on the wedding day.  

One of our favorite photographers, Brian Weitzel from BTW Photography, shared some of his tips for perfecting your engagement session.  Take a read, and post your enagement photos in the Collective for us all to see! 

  1. Wait until mid-to-late May before you schedule your engagement session.

If you are from Michigan, you could argue there are several signs spring has officially started: Tiger’s Opening Day, Oberon is launched, or the temperature breaks 50 degrees and we all run outside wearing shorts in March! Trust me, I feel your excitement. However, from a photographic standpoint, you want to wait until mid-to-late May before you schedule your engagement session, for several reasons. First, you want the ground to be dry. Whether the bride wants to wear heels or maybe there would be a great romantic shot of you and your fiancé laying down somewhere, doing so on soggy ground isn’t an option. Secondly, May’s weather is perfect for various wardrobe choices. Think dresses, sport coat, jeans, light sweaters, and layers. You can’t pull off some of these looks in the middle of the summer. Lastly, by the time mid-to-late May rolls around, the trees are in full bloom and the yellow hue to nature has turned to lush greens, offering us a variety of beautiful backdrops. On the flipside of the calendar, I try to squeeze in all of my “nature” engagement sessions by the second week of October, while colors are in their peak. Couples need to be flexible in October as sporadic rains can cause shoots to be rescheduled. If you are shooting in the city, couples can still shoot comfortably into November.

5 Engagement Planning Tips Detroit

 

  1. Know what you are going to do with the photos.

Are you looking for a few photos to keep for yourselves and use one for save the dates? Perfect, all you need is one location, one outfit, and about 30 minutes for your engagement session. Are you looking to use the images in a Signature Guest Book or as part of your wedding day décor? Sounds good; plan on two or three locations, outfit changes, and two hours of shooting. Not sure how you will be using them? No problem; do something in between and talk to your photographer beforehand so they can explain some of your options. Knowing how you plan on using your engagement photos is critical in planning your engagement session. Too little time paired up with too big of plans could lead to a lack of options when it comes to fulfilling your plans. Keep reading for more engagement planning tips.

5 Engagement Planning Tips Ann Arbor

 

  1. Your location should reflect your relationship.

The first question I ask a couple when planning their engagement session is, “What do you like to do in your free time?” followed by “What are you envisioning for your engagement session?” The answers to these questions do two things: it opens up lines of communication to allow us to collaborate on the planning of the engagement session and it gives me about 80% of everything I need to plan or suggest locations for your engagement session.

Are you huge sports fans? Let throw you in some Red Wings jerseys and take a few shots in front of the Joe (so sad this was our last season there.) Notice though, I said a “few” shots. As much as you love hockey, you also want to capture some of those classic, timeless portraits.

5 Engagement Planning Tips

I would say the most common combination of locations I photograph on an engagement session is part city-part nature. This gives couples two distinctly different looks and allows them to plan outfit changes appropriately. Speaking of which…

 

  1. Dress stylish, appropriately, but not trendy.

I could write a whole blog on what to wear to an engagement session.  In short, everyone’s style is different; however, there are some general rules to help you pick outfits that photograph well.  Here is a link

  • Too complicated patterns are distracting.
  • Don’t match colors. Compliment! Nothing looks worse or more dated than matching white and khaki outfits. (The fact that I am even typing this is making me cringe.)
  • Be stylish but not trendy. Don’t believe me? Anyone want to look at their awkward teenage years photos? Me neither. Fashion changes and trends change even faster. There are some classics that are both stylish and timeless: jeans with dress shoes, a tailored sport coat with a button down and pocket square for guys; a dress with heels, jeans with boots, a skirt and blouse for women.
  • Add a touch of style with accessories. A rancher hat, chunky necklace, scarf, sweater, or jacket give an outfit a whole new look without having to change the entire wardrobe. It also gives you an opportunity to make your look modern. Again, just don’t overdo it. Only incorporate those accessories in a few of your engagement photos.
  • Match your outfit with the location. Don’t show up to a nature shoot wearing a shirt and tie. That looks silly and out of place. How many people do you know walk in the woods wearing a shirt and tie or skirt and blouse? Me neither.

5 Engagement Planning Tips DIA

BTW Photography specializes in engagement planning tips. 

  1. Get awkward. Get cozy. Get comfortable.

If you are anything like me, I am not a huge fan of having my picture taken. What I am a fan of though is hanging out with fiancée. There isn’t anything that makes me as happy as making her laugh. During our engagement session, I focused more on the experience and less about my picture being taken. And you know what? I loved the photos!

5 Engagement Planning Tips 1

When I work with clients on their engagement session, we try to plan something fun and active into part of the engagement session; something that allows couples to focus their attention on the moment and less on the images being created. We have planned picnics, champagne toasts with macrons treats, ball games, boat rides, even ski trips. The more unique and “you” your engagement session is, the more comfortable you will be and the more you will love your images.  Keep reading for more engagement planning tips.

 

Bonus: Consider connecting your vacation or proposal to your engagement session.  This is the best engagement planning tip I can offer. 

Maybe it is because I am still relishing in my latest Paris vacation, but photographing your engagement session while on vacation could be a great idea. There were so many gorgeous and unique locations for beautiful and intimate portraits while I was in Paris. Whether it was the Lovre at night in formal wear or quietly sipping a coffee in a café, my mind was seeing potential for portrait, engagement, and wedding images everywhere! You don’t have to go to Paris either for your engagement session; there are plenty of unique locations within a day trip or quick plane ride from Detroit.

Engagement session in Paris

 

So there you go! From a photographer’s point of view, these are the things I consider when helping my couples plan their engagement session. The more “you” and the more fun the engagement session is, the more you will love not only the photos, but the entire experience.