5 Things to Put in Your Wedding Welcome Bags

When planning your big day, there are many things and details that need to be considered. One thing that many couples tend to overlook is how they wish to welcome their guest when they arrive. A great way to do this is to create a unique gift basket. These bags can either be distributed at an event or at the guest hotel (so they can grab it before they check in). Many different things can be fit in a gift basket, and we have listed below some of our favorite ideas to get you started:

1. Custom Tote

You need something to pack in the basket and custom tote bags are no doubt the best to help hold everything together. IF you want to feel more splurging you can choose a customised tote that you can print your names on. If you are on a budget, you can go for a simple, solid-coloured gift bag.

2. Weekend Schedule and Maps

If you are having a destination wedding, then most out of town guest will likely be sticking around for some days and this is why it is essential you make sure your guests know where they should and at the right time. So, including a schedule, maps and any other relevant information will surely go a long way for them.

3. Drinks and snacks

Another great idea is to fill up the bag with bottled water, juice or some champagne. You can even print your custom labels on the drinks if you want to get a bit fancier. In addition to the drinks, you might want to add some snacks. Try to include both salty and sweet options.

4. Useful Items

We are humans, and we tend to forget somethings (especially when travelling). So, think of the things your guests may have forgotten, but they will probably need during their stay. Some of the items can include stain wipes, a sewing kit, wrinkle release spray, aspirin, lip balm, a lint roller, sunscreen, etc. Note that it's not a must that you include everything we’ve listed out, but adding some will be appreciated.

5. Postcards

Another inexpensive and fun addition to welcome bags is local postcards your guests can have some fun with. You can visit a local souvenir shop to pick out a few intentionally cheesy postcards or add vintage postcards. They are easy to find online or even at a local thrift store.

What To Expect From Your Wedding Planner

Congrats on your engagement. It's time to start planning your wedding right? S, where do you begin?Should you rent the venue first or get your wedding outfits? Perhaps why don’t you consider hiring a professional wedding planner?

Considering the fact that you and your loved ones will be excited and at the same time all become anxious as the day draws closer. A professional wedding planner will eliminate stress and anxiety, take care of details, and all you will have to worry about is becoming Mr. and Mrs. We have listed below five things you should expect when you hire a professional wedding planner:

• Timeline and Checklist

Your wedding planner will have a face to face conversation with you and talk about everything you might want to incorporate into your wedding and develop a plan that will help achieve this. When you hire a professional, they know the best way to approach the schedule as their expertise is invaluable. They can also help you come up with a timeline to make sure that your wedding day flows smoothly.

• Creating a Budget

You can create your wedding budget by yourself, but the involvement of a planner is dependent upon your needs. This can range from your planner developing a comprehensive budget based on what you need the most to providing you a template for you to complete with typical wedding expenses.

• Vendor Coordination

You don’t want to face the stress of coordinating people working at the venue on your wedding day when you should be with your spouse. A planner will help make sure that all contracts are received and confirmed by vendors. A planner will assist you with whatever minimal support you might be looking for. A planner can also provide customized vendor referrals if you would like more comprehensive vendor coordination. A planner will do the stress of contacting all vendors, negotiating and assisting caterers with negotiations and menu coordination.

• Day of Coordination

For a wedding to be memorable, there is a lot of coordination that needs to be to do for everything to be perfectly in place for a wedding. Enjoy your special day with your friends, family, and new spouse while you leave that coordination to someone else! A planner will help welcome the new guests to the wedding party and also manage the setup and tear down of the event.

• Additional Activities

There are many another service a professional wedding planner can provide you with that you might not have considered. Some of them include creating a custom planning checklist, assistance with wedding etiquette questions, how you can incorporate sustainability into your event, invitation and program guidance, and any other thing to be prepared for common wedding mishaps.

If you want to know more - ask your wedding planner. You'll be happily surprised by how down-right helpful they can be.

Tips to Plan Your Dream Honeymoon

Your wedding is just the beginning, and there is much more excitement awaiting you while planning your honeymoon as well. From choosing a destination, you are your other half will like to decide on what to bring along on the journey.

5 Unexpected Ways to Include Kids in Your Wedding

Do you have a kid with your partner already or if this is your second marriage and you already have a kid with your previous partner or your partner have kids from a different relationship, and you want them to be part of your big day but don’t know how to - read on.

Wedding Catering Tips

Every wedding celebration deserves to be the best thing that ever happened to the couples, and it should be a memorable event of a lifetime. This is why when planning a wedding event, everything needs to be done with perfection to ensure that both the host and guests have a perfect celebration. Imaging a wedding ceremony where bad food is served – worst right? Wedding catering is undoubtedly a significant responsibility any couple should put more focus now. However, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Listed below are some surefire tips to consider when catering for a wedding:

5 Unexpected Ways to Include Kids in Your Wedding

Do you have a kid with your partner already or if this is your second marriage and you already have a kid with your previous partner or your partner have kids from a different relationship, and you want them to be part of your big day but don’t know how to - read on. If you and your partner already have kids together, or if this is your second marriage and you or your partner have kids from a previous relationship, then it's a no-brainer that you'd want them to be a part of your wedding day. Ask your kids how they'd feel most comfortable taking part and find an age-appropriate way to include them. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to include your kids in your wedding (try one or combine a few!).

1.    Junior Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

If your kid is a bit old, then you can create a new role for him or her: to be the junior groomsman or bridesmaid. This will even make your wedding pictures looks excellent as they will dress like the rest of the bridal party, and also walk down the aisle. The only difference between them and the full-fledged bridesmaids and groomsmen is that they won't be able to be part of the pre-wedding celebrations or contribute financially.

2.    Let Them Help Pick Out The Ring

This will make them feel special and part of the plan, and it is also a simple, and fun thing to do.

3.    Ceremony Ushers

If you have a kid that is old enough to communicate and understand sit arrangement and you also have a larger venue, then you can assign them to be an usher and guide guests to their seats. Making use of them means they won't be running around while the program goes on and they will also feel important and appreciated. Other things you can have them do is to hold handwritten signs guiding guests to each section of the ceremony.

4.    Tiny Dancers

How about spicing things up during your first dance by allowing your littlest guests do a mock first dance? Everyone knows the newly married couple’s first dance is the highlight of the event. So, you can invite your little youngster to dance before or after your dance.

5.    Ask them to walk you down the aisle.

Well, this might be coming last, but its more of the first thing you can think of when planning to include your kids in your wedding ceremony. Especially if your child is older, have him or her walk you to the altar.

Weddings are all about family. It's your day! If you're not concerned with breaking tradition or if you're open to being a little creative, you can include your small ones in your special day.


Five Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographers Before Hiring Them

Meeting with your potential wedding photographers should be your next move so you can clear out all your queries. This will give you the opportunity to get to know the photographer and also conclude if you are comfortable with them. Doing this is very important, and you need to be very careful when doing this.

This is the person that will capture the best of your day, and they will be around throughout the wedding event. You need to make sure that his presence does not make you feel uncomfortable; because you might not get good shots if you are not enjoying the company of your photographer. Here are a few questions that you might ask your wedding photographer before hiring him for the special event:

1.    What is their photography style?

Every photographer has their unique style of taking shots, and this is why you need to start asking your potential photographer about their own unique and exclusive style of capturing beautiful moments. This will help you get an idea about the clicks you will be arriving in your album making this question very important.

2.    Do you shoot black and white, color or both?

We no longer live in a world where photographers carry many cameras to capture good moments in black and whites. Due to technology advancement, everything can be shot on a single camera, both black and white and color. Currently, with digital photographs, everything could be shot within color, then converted to black and white.

3.    Ask Him About His Previous Projects

Asking questions is not a crime, so ask your potential photographers on how many events they have covered till date and also ask how many events they cover weekly. IF your photographer is a little busy, then that is a sign that they are good with what they do. You can also ask about samples of his work, such that you get too little idea about what you are going to get after hiring them.

4.    How much is the whole wedding photo coverage?

The next thing is to ask your potential photographers about the price of their service (unless the photographer is your relative or friend). Try to haggle if possible so you can get a lower rate.

5.    What are the inclusions?

Some photographers will only take shots during your wedding and give you raw pictures while some would give you more than this. Some of the inclusions in the wedding package are the pictures with effects, digital and hardbound album, and so much more.

If possible, take the time to know your photographer. Ask for references, because the more connections you have, the more beautiful the outcome would be. It'll all rest on the pre-wedding preparation with your photographer that will make all of the difference.


The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Speech

It’s a no-brainer that one of the most stressful and daunting parts of preparing for a wedding party is writing a wedding speech. Especially if this will be your first time giving a speech, the idea alone can leave you confused – it doesn’t matter if you are the groom, bride, the father of the bride, the best man, or a bridesmaid. However, before you throw that paper into the dustbin or put off your PC, we are here to tell you that you can write a perfect wedding speech without issues.

One reason why you should take this part seriously is that many of your guests will be a good listener; they want to laugh, so don't put too much pressure on yourself. Keep that in mind, and everyone will be happy it went smoothly, this is why we've put together these wedding speech tips to help you on the right track to speech success.

•    Make Your Speech Personal

How do you know or meet the bride or groom? What is so special about that person, it’s very important to make things personal, as this make your speech unique. The guest will sure like and appreciate the love and connection from doing that. 

•    Add A Touch Of Humor

Just as we stated earlier on, people love to hear speeches with humor and wedding speeches are not excluded. It is okay to add a joke or two when giving your speech because a saying goes that, the best speech balances funny with heartfelt. Also remember to balance the two, so you won’t have guests falling asleep.

•    Thank Everyone Who Deserves A Thank You

It's essential that you take some time and appreciate the relevant people and if you are not one of the couples ask around for those who help plan the wedding. Also, thank the couple's families, the bridal party and anyone worth acknowledging.

•    Write A Strong Speech Opener & Closer

The moment you grab the mic you need to get people’s attention immediately. That means your speech should have a strong opener and a strong closer. The simple idea to help you achieve this is to give wishes and sum up the talk with a toast.

•    Practice Your Speech Before The Big Day

Most importantly, you need to practice and prepare for the big day, because practice and preparation make perfect. When giving a speech, you need to make eye contact with the gues, so you won't look like you are afraid. You need to prepare because looking down at what you wrote every moment can make you go off the cut, so you need to prepare and rehearse. A simple way to practice is standing at the front of the mirror and rehearsing until you are comfortable and confident.

6 Ways To Keep Your Wedding Guests Happy

Considering your guest or let's say people that will be attending your wedding ceremony is just as important as your dress, cake or perfect venue when it comes to planning. You will want to make sure that your guest feels like they attended the best wedding yet. Below are some of the great things your guests want from a wedding.

1. Direction

Well, your guest might not tell you this directly, but most of them will want you to tell them what to do. No one wants to stand around the corner wondering where next to turn. Whatever plan you have been it a sign pointing to where they should be or a seating chart for them to hang their jackets, this will assure them that you have them in mind when preparing.

2. Help With Transportation

If you will be having your wedding out of town or your wedding reception will be located at different venues or your guest are staying in one particular hotel, then it will be advisable that you rent a shuttle or bus for your wedding guest. This will take out any transportation problem and will also make your guest get lose with the champagne.

3. Passed drinks at cocktail hour

Your guest don’t want to wait in line to get a drink – so getting servers to serve your guest water, wine, beer and signature cocktails when needed is very important. This means there won't be logline an at the start of your reception and your guest will also enjoy drink service without having to take constant trip to the bar.

4. A variety of food.

When preparing for your wedding menu, make sure you make varieties options because not everyone would like to eat meat or stomach tofu. Your guest will never forget that they were hungry at your wedding or you provided food options that were not appealing to them. When you plan your menu, cover all food options like chicken, fish, steak, and at least one vegetarian item.

5. The Right Music Mix

You might be a fan of rap music, but your grandmas won't be a fan. SO, for you to get everyone dancing both young and old, you might want to stock your playlist with timeless beats. You should also pick tunes that span the generations and appeal to every taste because the music is what will ultimately create that party atmosphere.

6. Surprise your guests

SWD reader Karen once said, “we had a tribal pipe band burst into the room before our meal began.” “It charged up the room and meant that everyone was talking and laughing by the time dinner was served.” This means you need to go more lent to indeed wow your guest.

5 Top Tips To Help You Find The Perfect Winter Wedding Venue

If you ask couples that decide to hold their wedding during the winter season the reason behind their decision, some will tell you because summer weddings is a bit pricey. But there is more to it…

Winter is the season that lends itself to some unbelievable ideas and details that completes a wedding – the winter white photos hoot to warm wedding dress – winter sure has more to it's sleeves.

Winter weddings can have just as beautiful decor as any summer event (when you choose the right venue). Check out our tips for finding the perfect winter wedding venue below:

1. Ask Venue How They Handle Winter Weather

Garden wedding is very common during the summer season, but couples who plan to hold their wedding during the winter period can enjoy a gorgeous indoor wedding. However, different venues have different options for the winter season, so you should ask how they handle winter weddings. Here at Val Vista Lakes, the winter weather only beautifies the scene!

2. Protect Guests from Winter Chill

One thing you will want to make sure of is if your guest is protected from the winter chill. You can choose a warm area at the venue as your receiving line. The reason is that you don’t leave your guest to stand in the cold when the line starts to bottleneck because you’ll want to greet your guests inside the venue.

3. Find Out When Sun Sets

Call to ask the venue when the sun sets for their location especially if you are planning a destination wedding in another state. For example, the sun sets around 5:00 pm in Michigan during the winter. So you should also remember that it gets darker sooner during the winter months if you wish to plan a ceremony and reception around sunset.

4. Ask about Decorations

If you are having a problem with flowers decoration for your wedding, don’t worry. Reach out to the venue and ask if they have any Christmas decoration – if they do, you don’t have to worry about organizing every last detail yourself. Here at Val Vista Lakes, Holiday Mountain is one of the most festive place to take winter photos.

5. Ask about Winter Rates

So, ask the venue you are about to choose if their winter rates are different from the one of their peak season. However, keep in mind that some of the best wedding venues may not offer special winter rates because they are in high demand year-round.