Creating a Seating Chart that makes Everyone Happy

So you’ve invited all of your friends and family to your wedding, how exciting! Now, with all of the RSVP’s swarming into your mailbox, it’s time to get organized and find everyone a spot to sit!

To Number or Not to Number

We typically see that tables are numbered, and for good reason, it helps everyone understand the layout of the room, and you can easily find people when they say they’re at a particular table. However, you may want to consider not numbering your table and use cities, mountains, colors, or something special between the two of you instead.

Here’s why, when you number tables people automatically assume the lower the number, the better friends you are with the couple. This isn’t true! Sometimes, finding people seats with other people they like or would like means you’re seated at a higher numbered table. This can be especially hard if your parents are divorced and would prefer to sit in separate locations, what parents get the lower numbered table?

Family Tables

Typically the parents of the couple would sit opposite each other with the grandparents and other close relatives (the officiant too). However, as we mentioned earlier, some parents may be divorced so consider the option of each parent and their spouse to host their own table close to the front of the room to defuse any awkwardness that could have arisen otherwise.

Don’t Over Think Friends

Your wedding venue will typically tell you the table sizes they are using and the amount of people that can be seated at each table. Also, remember that people will only be sitting for a short while during dinner at the reception. Everyone will want to mingle during cocktail hour, and then it’s on your feet to dance the night away!

You just need to make sure that the people at the table will get along for that short window of sitting time. Most of your friends will get along with your other friends, that’s why you’re friends with them in the first place! Just don’t sit the two political talkers from each side at the same table for everyone else’s sake.

No need to stress though that every table has the perfect mix of people, just remember that people are most comfortable when they know some of their seated companions. Not even your most sociable friend will want to sit at a table full of complete strangers, so put acquaintances together when you can.

If you have a friend that may not know anyone else, that childhood friend from a different state that hasn’t met any of your buddies; then you could think of allowing them a plus one (even if you aren’t allowing them across the board) and seat them near guests with similar interests.

Don’t Forget the Kids!

If you’re allowing children at your wedding, try to put all kids 5 and up at a table of their own. If the child is under 5, consider placing them with their parents as they might not be comfortable at a table without them. If your flower girl and ring bearer are the only children present, most definitely seat them with their parents.

 

5 Reasons We Love Zola

You’ve made it this far, you can do it! We know planning a wedding is stressful and includes tons of components, one being a wedding registry. Why do you need one? Having a wedding registry allows guests to give you a gift you not only love but many times, need. Couples all have different circumstances. In fact, now of days it’s becoming more popular for couples to have already bought their first home together before they get married. That means that not every couple will be looking for a blender on their big day.

We love the idea of unique wedding registries, we’ve even written a blog post on it before! But we can’t be without a great wedding registry system that allows us to utilize the internet to its fullest. That’s why we were so excited when we heard of Zola!

Zola is an all-in-one registry for the modern couple. Unlike traditional registries, Zola offers the opportunity to register for the best products, experiences, and cash and honeymoon funds. There’s something for every couple regardless of their stage in the relationship! We also offer group gifting and price matching options which make it easy for guests to buy gifts. Once the gift is purchased, the Zola user has the option to ship it whenever they’d like, and even exchange items for store credit or transfer cash gifts.

Reasons We Love Zola

1. Easy to Sign Up & Register Gifts

Opening up an account is free and super easy! It took us only about 1 minute, then we got to start registering, just take a look at our account. The search results are perfect, you can choose the color, brand, price, etc. to find exactly what you want. They even explain why they love each product! They even have registry checklists custom to your needs and wants!

2. More than Just Stuff

One of our favorite parts about Zola, you can create a custom fund for a trip, buying a home, anything your heart desires! Your guests can either give fixed amounts, or they can give a personalized amount, it all depends on your preference.

A local bride, Emily, also raved to us about this feature saying,

The biggest reason we used Zola was that it was a universal registry. We didn’t have to just choose items from a few different stores. We could choose the exact item we wanted without having to register at like 10 places. It just made it easier on us because you can add an item easily to your registry with their Zola extension from your phone or laptop no matter what site you were on (Amazon, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Keurig etc).

3. Price Planning, Price Matching, & Free Shipping

Move over Amazon, Zola has your best features covered. Price matching is a staple in the digital world and this wedding registry didn’t forget it! But be quick, they give a 48-hour window for price matching. Free shipping is also available for items that ship by ground shipping.

Zola also include a planning feature that shows a chart of the price of your gifts and recommendations for how many gifts in each range! So much easier than taking it by ear.

4. Custom Web link

When you utilize a traditional wedding registry, you either have to go in store or try to find where the store’s online registry exists and sometimes information about the bride and groom you may not know. That’s why it is so convenient that you are given an easy to use web link for your wedding! Check it out, our is zola.com/registry/patspeak it will fit perfectly on any save the date!

5. Customized Shipping 

That same local bride, Emily, let us know about the hands down best feature to ever come from a registry:

If people weren’t coming to the shower or if a bride was having a shower away from her house, people could choose the option to ship to home but the bride chooses when they should be shipped. Just makes it easier rather than having a bunch of different shipments arrive at different times, I could ship them all at the same time. Or if I were traveling, they wouldn’t be delivered while I was away.

Cheers! Let’s Create your Signature Drink

You’ve given your utmost attention to even the smallest of details throughout your wedding planning. Now, let’s talk about just one more! Creating a signature drink (or two) for you wedding will not only be memorable for your guests, but every year you and your husband can make that drink to celebrate!

What is Your Go-To Drink?

To create a signature drink that you’ll actually love, you need to start with looking at both of your standard order. Leanne Strickler, the head mixologist and signature-cocktail-crafting pro with Blue Plate in Chicago, places drinks in four categories:

  1. Strong like a Manhattan
  2. Sour like a Tom Collins
  3. Sweet like a French martini
  4. Low alcohol, with something like sparkling wine as the base

This will help determine the alcohol level of your drink and will start giving you a better idea of the flavor profile.

What’s Trending?

Looking at the latest trends can bring lots of new ideas to the table. We all know the seasonal trends, spices for the Autumn, lemonade for the Summer, and floral for the Spring, but you can also use the flavor combinations of the now! 2017 is the year of tradition and according to Vogue, rum is the new tequila and guests are looking for more Spirits.

You can also incorporate trending colors. However, we encourage you to stay away from trying to make the drink a different color and include the color through garnishes. Millenial pink is the color of 2017, but that doesn’t mean you should drink it! Try garnishing your drink with an edible flower link the Redbud instead of using food dye or making a drink just because of the color.

Bring in Your Style

This is your drink, drawing in your style can be one of the best ways to add your personality into this drink. This could be your personal everyday style of the theme of your wedding. If you’re having a rustic wedding, think about including a spin on old favorites; instead of just a Jack and Ginger, take a nice bottle of Jack Daniels, add in half teaspoon of honey with some fresh ginger and top the drink off with soda water.

Make a Party of It

If you needed an excuse to have a party, bring all of your friends in on it! Have a mixology party where you can all try and create the best cocktails that showcase the bride, the groom, the theme, and/or the overall style of you both!

How to have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Many of us have become eco-conscientious over the years and for a good reason. According to research, New Hampshire is the 9th most eco-friendly state but our two neighbors Vermont and Massachusetts are numbers 1 and 2 on that list respectively.

How can you stay eco-friendly? Let’s start with…

The Dress

Wearing a wedding dress for the first time can feel unreal, after all of those childhood wedding dreams it is finally becoming a reality! Many brides do have a problem with only being able to wear their wedding dress once then off to a sealed bag for the remainder of its life. Instead, try these options:

Wearing mom’s/grandma’s/auntie’s dress. This could be the same for any special person in your life. If you don’t love the dress exactly as it is, ask for a local seamstress to help modify the dress to your wants.

Renting a dress. Now, this option is becoming more popular as wedding dress prices have increased over the years. Look at a site like:

  1. Tradesy.com– Buy direct from other brides selling their gowns.
  2. PreownedWeddingGowns.com– You can find designer labels at 80% off!
  3. Newlywed.com– They have a “try before you buy” option, no commitments!

Buying from an eco-friendly designer. You can use a local designer or shop at up and coming sustainable designer Reformation.

The Invitations

Use recycled paper. Now, this is a must for an eco-friendly person but keep in mind that not only the paper should be recycled, but you could have a drop box at the wedding for those invitations.

Use seed paper. Everything from your save the dates to thank you cards can be made with seed paper from Bloomin.

At Bloomin our Seed Paper is made by hand in Boulder, CO. We take un-dyed, 100% post-consumer/ post-industrial recycled paper, break it down into paper pulp that started as FSC paper. We use old-school paper making techniques and handmade molds and deckles to handcraft each sheet. Bloomin Paper is packed with flower, vegetable, herb, grass, tree and many other varieties of seeds. Its easy to grow and cultivate! For consumers who receive seed paper, just soak the paper in water, plant under a thin layer of soil, and watch our seed paper take root and sprout in a few short days!

 

The Night

Make sure the flowers are organic. Ask your florist for all organic flowers that are in season.

Have the wedding outside. If possible, having an outdoor wedding will save on energy for the lights during the ceremony.

Have a recycle bin. We mentioned this before, you can help the venue if the do recycle or make sure all items get recycled yourself afterward.

Team up with another bride to share all decorations. This can be tricky since you both have to compromise, but you can help save the environment and costs with this option!

Wedding Insurance

Your wedding day is going to be an unforgettable event, but it can come with a hefty price tag once all is said and done. The average wedding in the Untied States costs couples $26,645; however, most couples can spend less than $10,000.

Here in New Hampshire, couples spend above average at $27,020. After reaching your necessary limits for guest counts at your venue, adding extra guests can add $180 to $220 per person to your budget.

Average Wedding Cost by Number of Guests

Number of guests less than 50 $8,917 – $14,861
Number of guests between 50 and 100 $13,578 – $22,629
Number of guests between 100 and 200 $21,684 – $36,139
Number of guests between 200 and 300 $27,966 – $46,610
Number of guests more than 300 $54,108 – $90,179

Wedding Insurance

That’s why couples are opting to use wedding insurance, just in case! Because, let’s be honest, no one wants to be out over $20,000!

Common wedding insurance claims involve vendors who fail to appear, venues that back out of hosting the event, extreme weather, and injury or illness. Wedding insurance costs generally start around $100 for minimum coverage and can exceed $1,000 for lavish ceremonies.

NOTE: Before buying a new policy, check your current homeowners or renter insurance, they may cover liability for your wedding. 

What wedding insurance covers…

1. Vendor failures, like the venue going out of business or a mistaken double booking, make up 30% of wedding insurance claim dollars. Wedding insurance policies will often reimburse you if you have to book a last-minute vendor or reschedule the wedding.

2. Getting injured, “As you might expect, we do see many injuries that occur on the dance floor,” says Steve Lauro, vice president at Aon Affinity, the parent company of WedSafe, a seller of wedding insurance. Among claims to WedSafe, 28% are from injuries or accidents that occur at weddings.

3. Extreme weather such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, etc. this typically doesn’t include a rain shower or a cloudy day. 16% of wedding claims to Travelers are due to extreme weather.

4. Medical emergencies, if someone close to you falls ill before your wedding day, cancellation policies typically cover the costs to reschedule. These represented about 6% of wedding cancellation claims to WedSafe in 2016, Lauro says.

5. Lost or ruined attire, we may not be as lucky as the bride in #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, and having the wedding dress delivered just in time to walk down the isle. Attire represents 2% of wedding claims paid by Travelers.

Note: Tuxes and gowns are such an important part of weddings that they are commonly included in wedding cancellation policies.

What wedding insurance does not cover…

1. Cold feet or a change of heart, with few exceptions.
2. A rainy day, rather than extreme weather.
3. Theft or loss of engagement ring. 

NOTE: You can purchase ring insurance separately, or your homeowners insurance may cover it!
Deciding to switch to a different vendor, such as a caterer or florist, once you’ve already paid a deposit.

Make sure to always read the fine print! If your wedding includes fireworks, bounce houses, live animals or other attractions insurers find risky, you could be declined for a wedding policy. Some insurers may still offer you a policy but exclude problems involving these types of attractions.

The Best and Worst Wedding Advice

Asking for advice is an important part of planning a wedding. Many people have never done it before, so we turn to our family and friends to help us make our special day perfect. Even though they are trying to help, some advice isn’t always so helpful.

The Worst

The necessary rituals. The worst advice any bride gets is that something is “necessary”. Whether it be your MIL telling you the candle ritual is necessary, or your wedding planner insisting on ‘the DJ everyone uses’, your wedding day is just that: YOUR wedding day. There are so many details that I thought were absolutely necessary (programs, favors, 3 menu choices) that ended up going unnoticed. I wish I would have known that those things didn’t really matter, and instead focused more on the things that my fiancé and I truly cared about. -Chloe, married October 2015

The details don’t matter. Someone told me that “the details and the look of our wedding didn’t matter”. While I recognized that our marriage was THE most important part of the day, the details, flowers, favors and the overall feel of our wedding was important to me; both because I am a designer and desired a beautiful day for us to remember for years to come, and also because I wanted our guests to feel loved while they were there celebrating alongside us! While the details of your day are secondary to the promises you’re making to one another, they are still important. -Michaela, married September 2016

The must & need. I came to learn that anytime someone started a sentence with “You must” or “You need to” it was most likely going to be some very unhelpful advice. We received plenty of odd looks and various comments when we told people we weren’t going to have bridesmaids or groomsmen but I’m so glad we didn’t let that affect us; it was personally a fantastic decision. Dismiss any of those “musts” and “haves” and focus on what feels right to you! -Liz, married June 2015

The Best

Don’t make any drastic changes to your appearance. You may want to try a new hairstyle but try to wait until after your wedding day. You have to ask yourself, “Would I be happy on my wedding day even if I hated this new style?” Having your classic beauty shine on your wedding and memorialized through the photos may be the best option.

Always ask for help! We know planning a wedding is time-consuming and a lot of work, that’s why leaning on friends and family while delegating tasks will be a lifesaver on your stress levels!

Make sure to schedule a time to be with your guests. We know this is your day and we encourage you to do what makes you the happiest on this day but don’t forget all of those that came to celebrate with you. Take some time and thank your guests at their tables and don’t forget those thank you cards!

Always have an open line of communication with your vendorsFor your photographer, make sure you have a timeline on your wedding day for photos and a list of photos you want the photographer to get. They, of course, will take more photos, but they might not know you desperately want a photo with just you and your Great Aunt Kathy. For your DJ or band, make sure they know your taste in music and even give them a list of songs your want them to play and a list of songs you don’t want them to play.

Check your stress levels! We know you’ve put in countless hours of time into your wedding day but if something does go wrong, take it in strides! Ask for help to fix the problem and just keep moving on, the small stuff isn’t what’s most important today!

Eat and be married! You picked out the perfect selection of appetizers, dinner, and dessert; you deserve to eat it! Take time to enjoy dinner, the good music, and be with your new husband.