Thursday, July 22, 2010

Help! How do we cut our Wedding Cake?

Wedding cakes are a traditional part of a wedding reception. Some couples really get into their cake and end up smashing it all over each other's faces - or the faces of their Best Man & Maid of Honour. Other couples cut a piece in order to feed it to each other. But the one small item that is often overlooked in planning this event is to think about HOW you are actually going to cut into this amazing piece of edible art!

At a one wedding that I coordinated, the bride & groom posed for the standard "first cut" photos with their cake - but then suddenly panicked when they realized that they didn't have a clue about how to actually cut out a piece to share! Across the hall, I heard the bride call to me: "Gayla - how do we cut this thing?!"

So - what is the best way to cut a piece of wedding cake for the two of you?
Here's a great video clip that will teach you how to cut it easily & effectively.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 Ideas for Your Wedding Ceremony

I've been thinking about wedding ceremonies lately and I've come up with some tips & ideas to make them just a bit more unique/special/personal for both the couple & their guests.

So, here's some of the ideas tumbling around in my head that might give you some "inspiration" for your ceremony....

1. I got a great tip from Officiant "Rev. Deb" Coleman from Hamilton.... don't have your officiant disrupt the flow of the end of the ceremony in order to make "announcements" for the guests. Instead, before the ceremony starts, have your Reception MC - or someone else who is good at speaking - get up to welcome guests, let them know the ceremony will begin shortly & then let the guests know what to expect after the ceremony. That way, all "announcements" are done & overwith even before the ceremony starts & the flow of the service isn't interrupted.

2. The other option for "announcements" is to include them in writing in the program, if you have one, which is then handed to guests as they arrive.

3. And speaking about programs... What's their purpose (besides the announcements)?! Programs are generally used as a means to communicate important things to your guests - such as: the order of service, a means of introducing the bridal party, provide the bride & groom's new address, a way to give special thanks to important people, and a way to acknowledge & remember those who have passed on. Programs can be an especially helpful to guests if your ceremony will be including traditions that are unique to your religion or culture if you explain in the program what each element of the service is about & its significance to you as a couple. However, if you choose to print programs, this is one thing that you don't have to spend a lot of money on because the reality is that after the ceremony, most of them will be left behind & thrown out. So, keep them simple & only print enough for one per couple/family - but be sure that YOU keep a copy for yourself!

4. Request that your officiant have his/her back to the audience (or have them stand off to one side) so that you & fiance are facing the audience during the ceremony, if your religion/location permits it. Guests don't come to a wedding to see the officiant's face - they want to see YOUR faces, your expressions, your tears, etc. So when possible - face each other or your guests.

5. Have a microphone available to use for your vows. Guests get very frustrated when you say your vows and maybe shed some tears, but they can't hear anything you are saying. While it is true that your vows are desigend for each other, everyone loves to be a part of hearing them - especially if you've taken time to write your own vows.

6. And speaking of vows... Why not take the time to write your own vows that can be said in addition to or instead of "traditional" vows. This is your one chance to very openly & publicly declare your love & commitment to your soon-to-be-spouse. Take some time to carefully think it through (give yourself at least a couple weeks) and make it personal, tender, from the heart and "you"! Don't want to memorize your vows? There are a couple options... print your vows on cue-cards that you read to each other - your officiant can hold them for you to read from if you don't want to hold them. When my husband & I got married 25 years ago, we had our vows written in calligraphy on parchment paper, rolled up & tied with ribbon. We each unrolled our "scroll" & read our vows to each other, then rolled them back up & exchanged them. Later, we had them framed and to this day, they hang on our wall with our wedding photo between them.

7. If you have young children in the wedding party, have a "back up" plan in place in case they decide at last minute not to cooperate with how you want them to behave! Children in a wedding are always somewhat risky - so be sure that you are flexible and "easy going" about them as THEY will be the ones who decide if they're going to cooperate or not. Also, its a good idea to plan to have them sit in the first or second row with a parent/grandparent or other adult they know well. Have a fabric gift bag (vs paper which is noisy!) placed at their seat with "quiet" toys to keep them occupied during the ceremony. Things like colouring book & crayons, stuffed toys, puzzle books, stickers, etc. are all great to keep little ones quiet & content - and finding the bag there waiting for them will be a special treat for them to find!

8. Think of special ways to honour the special people in your life - ie. mothers, grandmothers, etc. Why not have a few extra loose flowers held in your hand with your bouquet that you stop & give to your mom, mom-in-law, grandmothers as you walk down the aisle. OR, if you have been deeply touched by special women/mentors in youre life, do what my friend did.... have each person you want to honour be given a flower as they arrive & seat them along the aisle. As you enter the ceremony - don't have a bouquet. Instead, stop at each person along the aisle and collect your flowers from them as you hug them & thank them for being so special to you. At the end of the aisle, you will have 'created' your bouquet. Have your mother or other key person have a ribbon to wrap & tie the bouquet for you.

9. If you have children of your own, include them in special ways in the ceremony. Let them be in your wedding party. Have them walk you (or your mom) down the aisle. Create a special "family dedication" element of the ceremony. Use the "sand" ceremony idea which is the mixing of different colours of sand (one per family member) all together in a large vase. Make sure they feel that this day is also about including them in this new phase of your life, so that they don't feel left out or unimportant.

10. If you are doing the "unity candle" as part of your ceremony, don't have your mothers fumble with butane lighters, which can be very tempermental. Instead, a decorator friend, Marian VanGeest, taught me this trick - have a tea-light candle lit & "hiding" behind the main candles or flowers on the candle table. Then, when mom's go up to light their candles, they can just pick up the candle, touch the wick into the lit tea-light and voila - candle is lit & ready to be set back in the holder. (Just make sure its a good quality tealight that burns long & well.)

Hope these ideas might give you a bit of inspiration for your wedding ceremony. Make it unique. Make it personal. Make it YOURS!