Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fun Guest Entertainment at Outdoor weddings

Hi! Hindsight Bride here again. I have to admit something to you: I sometimes find the standard wedding entertainment formula a bit boring. Don't you? You know, the cocktail hour followed by the reception, followed by some dinner, a little dancing, cake cutting and more dancing. OK, OK, it's true, the dancing *is* fun. But when you're going to wedding after wedding, and they all follow the same formula, they begin to feel they're all the same. Sorry.

But what is really, really fun...especially for outdoor when the guests have something else to do besides sit at their tables or dance. Something to bond over. Something to help break the ice among strangers. Something like--I'll come to my point here--yard games.

Image from 100 Layer Cake

Speaking in hindsight, yard games were a smashing hit at our outdoor wedding in Cashiers, NC. We practically planned an outdoor wedding just for the bocce factor. And guess what, the guests loved it. The kids were entertained, the men bonded, and I had visible evidence that everyone was having fun.

There are all sorts of yard games you can incorporate. Bocce and croquette are obvious and easy choices, but what about an old-fashioned Nerf football? We *are* in the South after all! Consider incorporating special games you and your fiancee played as children, or bring back an old-fashioned game that your parents or grandparents played. I know badminton was popular in my household and Californians, like the Hindsight Groom, love their volleyball.

Image from Once Wed

If you're not especially fond of outdoor games, look around your venue for other features to play up. Is there a swing around? Animals? An beautifully landscaped outdoor garden, or a museum exhibit? For example, the Hindsight Groom and I arranged for two historic house tours at the Zachary-Tolbert House, where we held our wedding.

Image from Style Me Pretty

The point is this: I am a firm believer in making every effort to ensure that your guests are comfortable and having a good time. That could mean making sure their are not too hot or cold; that they remain dry; that they have enough to eat and drink; that the band or DJ is awesome. Of course it could mean a number of things depending on the type of wedding you're going for.

Image from Two Ring Studio via Flickr

But if you're an outdoorsy bride going for a fun, laid back feel. Consider incorporating games into you entertainment options.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Father Daughter Dance...A Dance that Lasts a Lifetime

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

Growing up I specifically remember thinking that my father could do anything. He could fix anything, answer any question, move heavy objects, and, most importantly on my list as a child, he had an uncanny ability to predict when the traffic light would turn green! As the years went on and I came to know my father as not just a Herculean god but also a human being, we grew apart and back together again many times. Through tumultuous teenage years we ebbed and flowed like the tide just trying to get the job done. As I become more of an adult myself, however, I began to see him in a much different light and realized that I could learn much from both he and my mother. Married at just 17 and 21 my parents have been the ultimate example of a “good marriage”. The night I came home with a ring on my hand I remember wanting to see his face first. My fiancé (now husband) told me he had lunch with my dad weeks before and showed him the ring, but I wanted to actually see what he thought. Overcome with the joy that poured from both of my sisters and mom I did not have a chance that night to really hone in on my dad. However, when the excited had slowed a bit a few days later, he sitting in his chair having his customary after dinner Pop-Tart, said simply, “It will be great.” Those four words partnered by the fact that we were the only people in the room gave me just what I needed from him. Of course I did not need him to tell me I could get married; it was just the basic recognition that he not only knew about it, but was confident in the choices I had made.

Cultures all over the world celebrate family ties and the role of a father figure in a woman’s life. A close friend of mine would often make comments growing up about her grandfather (who raised her) being the most intelligent person she knew. He passed away before she walked down the aisle but in her heart he was there and was just as proud as the day she first rode her bike without training wheels. Traditionally, the “daddy-daughter” dance at wedding receptions is one filled with tears and smiles as the little girl, now a grown woman, once again takes her place in the arms of the first man that held her. Memories of a child with pig tails, first dates and the occasional curfew breakage flash in the minds of those closest to them as the couple dance. As a planner, I am constantly reminded of the strength of this bond. Recently, needing to tie up a few loose ends on a quickly approaching ceremony, I called a bride to ask a few questions. The bride, who lives a few hours away from her hometown, was in town until the Big Day and I knew we could hammer away at some business as she is an all business type of woman. To my surprise, the mother of this fiercely independent and corporately successful bride answered the phone and informed me that her daughter was taking her last walk as a single woman on the beach with her daddy and she would call me back as soon as she could. Smiling, I hung up the phone and had a mini reflection session on the relationship that seems to transcend all personality types, income levels, education status and more. When I got married I remember seeing all my bridesmaids boohoo during my dance with my dad. In March, as a bridesmaid, I sniffed away tears as my best friend’s father gave her a locket engraved with the words, “Still my little girl”. What often sticks out most in my mind, however, was the reversal of roles that took place in yet another friend’s wedding about four years ago. As a child my friend and her father were not close. In fact, I would dare say that she and I both were a bit afraid of him. Ever the traditionalist she decided to stick to the plan of the father daughter dance for appearances and stuck to the world’s most appropriate song for any occasion, “What a Wonderful World”. We all smiled as the croaky voice of Louis Armstrong filled the air. Then suddenly something went terribly wrong; just past the ever so sweet words of “I see babies crying…” the father stopped dancing, clutched his daughter and began to weep-loudly. Completely unaccustomed to seeing this man show any type of emotion I was actually alarmed. Had she stepped on his foot? Was he having a heart attack? Had he been stung by a bee? Still confused any worried I rushed over after the dance and searched for signs of an injury. Dazed, but beaming my friend shrugged and said, “Well, he does love me after all!”

Marriage for a woman is a time of planning and fun for a daughter and mother. For a father it is a different scenario entirely. While he may highly approve of the match and while a mother will still miss her daughter when she is gone, I believe a father sees the ghost of the woman he married and all the newlywed mistakes that he knows his new son-in-law will bestow upon his bride. Ever practical, a father foresees financial hardships, arguments over the right way to load a dishwasher, and a little girl who is not so little anymore. So, while you are walking down the aisle remember these things about the man who escorts you. This is a fairytale for you but a bit of reality for him. He loves you and only wants the best for you as any good father would. Tread lightly for a few days; he will come around and you will be amazed at the man your father has become and you will continue to dance together for all his years to come.

“Hi Britt, I know you don’t have a signal in Mexico since you are on your honeymoon and all, but I just wanted to call. I am so happy for you and Travis; it will be great. I guess I just realized today that you are really married. Silly, huh? Mom says that I am a mushy man, but that’s what happens when you have three daughters, a wife and all female pets for 25 years. I hope you are having fun; I’m sure you are. I should take your mom some place soon; she would like that-….”

“Hi Britt, sorry, I ran out of message time. I have never done that before! I guess you still don’t have a signal. Well anyway, I love you. Tell Travis to watch out when you go out at night. Robbers can spot a tourist a mile away you know. Ok, I love you. Bye.”

-Messages from my dad three days after my wedding

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vintage Wedding Place card/Tea Light Holder

"Love Songs" Birdcage Tea Light/Place Card Holder
Reminiscent of an enchanting Victorian birdcage,  "Love Songs" Birdcage Tea Light/Place Card Holder brings classic elegance to any event. This fabulous favor is superbly crafted from wire, just like the beautiful homes of songbirds in a bygone era. The birdcage also serves as a place card holder and, with candles aglow, these tea lights become beautiful table decor only $4 each when you order 48 or more at with FREE shipping on order sof $50 or more.

Features and facts:

•Finely detailed, hexagonal, black-metal birdcage with pop-open door and "perch" for place card

•Place card with delicate bird design included

•Tea light candle included

•Birdcage measures 4 ¼ " h x 2 ¾ " in diameter

Friday, May 21, 2010

Unique WNC Places for Every Bride

Hi! Hindsight Bride here. I’m so excited to start writing for the Bride's Book Blog. By way of an introduction, let me tell you a bit about my neck of the woods, western North Carolina (WNC).

Image from Two Ring Studios

Western North Carolina is a different kind of place, and it's primary city, Asheville, is a different kind of city. I don't just mean the funky, urban, bohemian style that Asheville is famous for. And I’m not simply referring to some of the eco-friendly, green values that are popular in the area. Nor am I strictly speaking of the rustic charm of the surrounding mountains. I'm talking about all of it! You can basically find anything here. WNC is one of the most varied rural areas I've lived in. For engaged couples and their families, that adds up to a lot of fabulous wedding options.

Perhaps that's what makes it so popular as a destination wedding spot. We have something for just about everyone. Modern urban vibe? Check. Grand hotels and estates? Check. Stunning outdoor scenery, complete with two National Parks? Check. You'll fit right in whether you're a city girl, country girl, outdoorsy girl, or strictly-ballroom kinda girl.

Image from Two Ring Studios

So here's my own personal deal. I am constantly thinking about weddings in hindsight. I imagine what type of wedding I'd have if I were to do it over again, and all sorts of themes and ideas run through my head most of the time. So in hindsight, if I were a:

Elegant and Romantic Bride I'd have a grand, formal, spring wedding at the Biltmore Estate. I love spring in the southern mountains. There are tons of spring flowers that heighten the of air romance. I would wear a vintage lace gown and offer my guests mini historical postcard books detailing the history of the area.

Modern, Urban, or Funky Bride I'd totally get married downtown. Asheville has fantastic Art Deco architecture, fun street scenes, and funky little nooks and alleys that are perfect for bridal shoots and wedding portraits. I think I'd have the reception at one of the great restaurants that serve delicious, locally grown food.

Rustic Bride The southern mountains aren't anything if they aren't rustic. There are more farms, pieces of antique barn wood, and mason jars here than you can shake a stick at! I imagine a sweet outdoor wedding, perhaps by a lake. Guests would play bocce and croquet on the lawn, and take canoe rides on the water. Mason jars with candles hang elegantly from trees, sparkling with the fireflies.

Eco-Chic Bride The University of North Carolina began offering couples it's Asheville Arboretum in as a wedding venue in fall, 2009. I very much wanted to get married there, but our wedding was about six months too early. In my do-over Arboretum wedding, guests would enjoy strolling through the gardens. The best part: it's already decorated. Choosing fabulously pretty venues like this helps you save on decor.

Image from Two Ring Studios

What kind of WNC bride are you? What are your plans? Your ideas? Your Inspirations? Your venues?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thanks A Bunch! to our soldiers and vets

The Bride's Book just partnered with a great charity thanking our soldiers for their service. check them out! is a non profit that works with local restaurants providing gift cards to our local heros and disabled vets to say Thank you! for serving and keeping us safe! Want to get involved? Just visit

Bride's picking up more Bridal magazines than ever!

New survey shows Bridal Magazine use by brides is on the rise.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe..Picking the Perfect Vendors will Show: 4 Steps to Choosing the Best Wedding Vendors for Your Big Day

A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb
Honesty, which most agree is the best policy, is a character trait valued far above many others. In the wedding world, having a reputation as an honest and trustworthy vendor can skyrocket a company leaps and bounds above other less savory companies. If you are “in the business” it does not take long to know which vendors can be trusted; however, as a bride, it can be difficult to see past the flashy wedding magazine ads, free promotional gifts and the smooth persuasion of a professional shyster. As a wedding planner I have heard countless stories of lost deposits, less-than-desired service quality, and magically disappearing caterers. Nothing distresses me more than a bride in distress and clearly a missing deposit is not the way to begin a happy planning experience! When planning a wedding for someone I tend to stick to a group of vendors (florists, rental companies, caterers, DJs, etc) that I have come to not only know but also respect. This trusted pool of people has been built on years of observance, teamwork and word of mouth; all characters which a bride simply does not have time to gather. Leaning on the knowledge accumulated by both myself and other trusted vendors, I have compiled a short list of tips to help insure your wedding is one filled with promises that come true…

· Seek the help of family and friends…When it comes to choosing vendors do not be afraid to ask around. Just because a photographer has a lovely website or a bakery’s cupcakes are to-die-for does not mean they are the right fit for you. Ask previous clients about the prospective vendor’s timeliness. Did the wedding cake arrive on time? Was the photographer able to engage the wedding party in some unforgettable poses? Check not only with other people that have recently gotten married, but as their family and friends as well. A vendor may be all smiles to a wedding couple but then show a different side to the “lesser” people. Keep in mind that one bad opinion cannot truly represent someone’s reputation, but take everyone’s comments to heart and make then a part of the ultimate equation.

· Ask for references…Never be ashamed to ask a prospective vendor for references. A good vendor will ask you upfront if you would like any additional information on them or the company. Any that act offended by the request to speak to others that have worked with them in the past is probably not someone worth working with any way. I actually enjoy providing references to prospective clients as it ultimately ups my credibility in their eyes a assures them this it not my first rodeo so to speak. Letters of reference along with phone calls or emails are a quick and easy way to find out more about a vendor and what impression they have left with others.

· Take them for a test spin… You may be surprised to find out how many vendors will let you sample their wares. For example, a transportation company may allow you to not only view their available vehicles, but may also agree to a short ride around the block so you can get the feel of what they have to offer. Most all caterers and bakeries offer samples and of course you want to hear a band or singer before the Big Day. Even if a company has not blatantly offered a “sample” of some sort, they are more than likely willing to arrange anything they feel may help them seal the sale. Wedding planners such as myself, as well as floral designers and photographers often carry photo books of past projects and may even invite you to see an upcoming event. Take advantage of offers from prospective vendors; getting to know their work on a different level will only make you more confident about your decision in the end.

· Remember who you are…As most women would agree Carrie’s dress in Sex and the City the Movie was stunning…feather and all. However, if I myself had tried to pull off that look for my own wedding, I would have not only been the laughing stock of the event, but would have also been immensely uncomfortable the entire time. When sitting down to choose your vendors never forget who you and your fiancé are and what you want to accomplish during your wedding. For some, a wedding is a sacred event accompanied by a six course meal and a jazz trio. For others, a lovely garden and violinist are all they need to achieve wedding bliss. Remember who you and your fiancé are, the life you have already created together and what you want your guests to remember before you launch into signing contracts. Just because a particular vendor worked well for a friend does not mean they are the best fit for your day. Do your homework by not loosing yourself in over-the-top ideas and you will remember your day with fondness for years to come.

In truth there are many more steps to weeding through the sea of vendors available to you for your Big Day; however, the most important thing to remember is to trust your instincts and of course do not forget to share your thoughts with your partner. Ladies, you may be surprised at how perceptive a man can be when he knows how much money is being spent! Work together to find the vendors that not only can produce a beautiful product, but can also make you feel like the most important couple they have ever worked with. Do not be timid about putting them to the test. Vendors are there to work for you and should be prepared to prove their worth.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Platinum Limousine: An Exquisitely Elegant Ride Fit for a Queen

Decadently outlined by the excitement of events to come, there is no treat quite as special as being chauffeured to your wedding ceremony. Wrapped in a cocoon of white lace, a bride sits comfortably in the plush seats of a limousine as her bridesmaids make their way down the aisle. Not a care in the world as she sits hidden behind the luxuriously tented glass of the car. She is a movie star, the queen for the day about to make her debut. Her father opens the door and escorts her out to greet her public. Slowly, as the woman makes her way towards her future, the driver pulls silently away to wait for the moment the newlyweds return together for a ride into their future…

Sounds lovely, does it not? This care free pampered bride could be YOU…if you contact the right company. Operating since April 2001 (as the first Coastal Carolina company to offer the Lincoln Navigator Stretch Limousine), Platinum Limousine provides elegant and dependable service. Owner Wes May and his team of qualified drivers guarantees a memorable experience for all their clients. Wedding parties can expect red carpet treatment complete with complimentary bottles of water and an impeccable reputation for safety.

Although based in Wilmington, NC, Platinum has the ability to cater to those in surrounding states as well. “We are Fully Licensed and Insured In and Out of State, where as not all companies are. We are also USDOT regulated where as all companies are not. We are also permitted by the City of Wilmington in which our Vehicles are inspected by the City Inspector annually and we are members of the North Carolina Limousine Association, “states the owner. Costal Carolina brides in both North and South Carolina can enjoy a ride in Lincoln Town Car Sedans, Stretch Lincoln Town Car Limousines (8 & 10 Passengers) and Stretch SUV Limousines (14 Passengers). With a wide variety of vehicles to choose from, a bride can be treated to this luxurious service during her bachelorette party, on the way to the ceremony and as she is being whisked away to her honeymoon. Prospective clients are encouraged to “tour” the vehicles before deciding the best choice for their needs and may set up an appointment to do so with the owner.

Mr. May suggests booking a vehicle early to avoid missing an opportunity, “Weddings… need to book at least 3 to 4 months in advance depending on which Vehicle they choose. We operate on a First Come First Serve basis, therefore if there is a particular vehicle of interest the clients should call ASAP. Some of the vehicles book in year or more in advance so it is best to call as soon as the need arises.”

Keeping in mind that “cheapest” is not always best, be sure to properly research any company you reserve for transportation. Pricing may reflect the quality of service or the age of the vehicle. “We keep our vehicles in pristine condition and detail them before each job. Our goal is to keep our clients safe in ways that they may not have even thought of.”

For more information on the wide array of services and vehicles that Platinum Limousine can provide, visit their website at Wes May can be reached Monday-Saturday 8:00am-8:00pm at 910- 232-7475 or anytime by email at Platinum is also proud to serve Wilmington International, Raleigh/Durham International, and Myrtle Beach airports making them the perfect choice for destination weddings to the Carolinas and an excellant option for out-of-town guests.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mi Familia...The Long and Short of Dealing with Family while Remaining Sane

You are engaged! You are thrilled, you have the perfect venue, a stunning dress, and you have the photographer. You also have a constantly intoxicated uncle who tends to have a penchant for wedding toasts. What do you do? Do you make sure he is kept busy during speech time (even if this means a stint in the broom closet)? Do you hire a guard simply to avoid your uncle commandeering the microphone or, do you just “forget” to mail an invitation all together knowing that family Christmases from here on out will be uncomfortable? Given the circumstances none of these options will leave you unscathed and could possibly leave you embarrassed, frantic and stressed on your big day. Dealing with family issues is an activity that most save for holidays and special occasions. However, the more prepared you are beforehand, the better chance you have of escaping that dreaded moment when the champagne kicks in your uncle suddenly remembers how much he loves you!

Enlisting a wedding coordinator to assist with family issues may seem far fetched, but you may be surprised at the tasks a professional is willing to take on in order to ensure your happiness. Discussing possible problems ahead of time with your coordinator is an excellent way to not only prepare for the possible disaster, but is also an important step in securing your own mental well-being. In my personal experience, reassuring the bride that I am aware of the situation and giving specific examples of what I can do to help, are the two best ways to guarantee less stress on everyone involved. While wedding coordinators are not bouncers, we are a lot that thrives on seamless transitions, color coordination and wedding guest harmony. Pretending that nothing bad could ever happen on your wedding day is a step towards disaster; however, handing the reigns to someone you trust can be the best thing you do for yourself.

Families are bound by emotions, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and involving yourself in the “fixing” of a problem could lead to a roller coaster ride that you do not have time for. Wedding coordinators and their staff are often masters of persuasion and with your best interest at heart can create an action plan designed specifically for your perceived issue. As careful and tactful as they may be, however, even professionals cannot always avoid the dreaded moment of impact that occurs when a family member realizes they are being ushered away from a destination. As a bride it can be difficult to understand that your day may turn out to be a sore subject for some, but the truth is that not all your guests will be pleased and unfortunately an incident could permanently alter your relationship with the people involved. Although this outcome is avoided at all costs, accepting the possibility is important in once again realizing that this day is not just another family gathering, but the day you are committing yourself to another. Family should be on board to give you a sound send-off, but remember that some are there for the open bar and have plans to partake until the night is over.

Also keep in mind that there is no bigger problem than the one you have dreamed up in your mind. Often times, the issues you may perceive as being possible on the big day are not nearly as potential as you may think. Possible or not, be sure to mention your concerns to your coordinator who should take them seriously no matter how outlandish they may seem. Creating an environment conducive to your happiness should be the first priority of a coordinator, even if it means personally serving apple juice to on particularly vocal uncle…