Sunday, January 31, 2010

5 Important Ways to Make Your Guests Feel Welcome...

... so you are throwing a party. Your wedding. It's gonna be BIG. Perhaps the most important celebration you'll ever plan. You have lots of friends and family attending. Some from afar. You love your guests.

... OMG your guests.

... You've been so focused on the ceremony, the dress, your bridesmaids, the food, the cake, the first dance, the invitations, that you almost forgot about how your guests will feel coming into town for your big day.

... Now that you are thinking about it, the thought of how you are going to be able to talk to all of your guests during the reception is making you break out in a cold sweat. How will you ever have the time to spend with all of them?

... Well, you can sit back, and take a deep breath, because it is not as overwhelming as you might think, your guests do not expect you to be able to devote hours of time to them at your wedding. BUT,  it IS important to make your guests feel welcome. You want them to know you are happy that they are there to celebrate this most important part of your life. But how to do that? Well, one popular way is to provide a little gift or goodie bag they will find in their room upon arrival. Great, check, you've got that down. You have bags, bottles of water and tissues all ready to go.

... Whoa! Wait, it's a little more involved that that. If you really want your guests to feel special, take a look at these 5 tips:

  • PERSONALIZE! Sure, it's going to take a little bit of extra time, but providing your guest with a gift bag that actually has their name on it lets them know that you are acknowledging their presence and the lengths they have traveled to be with you. You can make fun tags to tie to the bag or basket. You can incorporate your wedding colors or theme.  

  • A GOOD, OLD FASHIONED NOTE. In this day and age of technology, the art of the note has been somewhat lost. Remember when you'd come home from school or soccer practice and there was a note from your mom, telling you she loved you, she'd be home at 6, and by the way could you put the cassarole in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes? Well, I'm not saying you have to go so far as to HAND write a note to your guests, but type up a note welcoming them into town. Tell them how thrilled you are that they are in town. Tell them to relax and enjoy the goodies you've provided. Tell them how much fun the celebration is going to be!

  • GIVE THEM A PLAN, STAN! Nothing is worse than feeling uninformed. Especially in a place you may have never been. Although we have access to the web pretty much everywhere we go and can get information quite readily these days, it is nice to give your guests an itinerary of the weekend's events. Note where the rehearsal dinner is going to be, what time the ceremony starts, oh and what about that brunch on Sunday morning? You can also include information such as shuttle pick up times and places and notes, and any info on transportation you might want to include. I always like to format this in a size that can easily be slipped into a suit jacket inside pocket, or maybe fit into a cocktail purse. That way, your guests can take it with them when they head out for the weekend's events.

  • WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO? You, as the bride (or groom!) know the area of your wedding better than anyone. Gather brochures or make a list of your favorite restaurants, spas, golf courses, and shopping areas to give your guests a real flavor for the area. You can do this via a list, or you can bundle the brochures with a fun ribbon or string. Include a fun tag telling them these places are your faves. When guests travel for weddings, they sometimes like to make a mini vacation out of it and want to explore the city or town when not involved in wedding activities. Show them how fun and cool your area is!

  • NO JUNK IN THE TRUNK! Be thoughtful when gathering items fill your welcome gifts. Your guests might not want a bedazzled foam coaster in the shape of the Space Needle just because you are getting married in Seattle. Let your guests know that these are things that you think they'd like, and also show a little bit of you. Water and tissues are a staple your guests will appreciate. How about a piece of gourmet chocolate from that little chocolatier you love? I had a client who had her wedding in the wine country. Knowing her guests might go out wine tasting upon arrival, she included fresh baked bread from a local bakery, local gourmet cheese, almonds, and fruit in her welcome bags. Her guests loved that they had something yummy to nosh on after all that wine, and didn't have to rely on the vending machine down the hall for a snack. Be thoughtful, incorporate the weekend's theme, or fill it with usable, practical things that are a reflection of you as a couple.

... Whew! That sounds like a lot! Well, it's really not, if you just plan it out. Make a mock up, and see how you like it. Make a plan for writing the note, making the gift personal, and how you will purchase the ingredients of the bag. Then, it's assembly time!

... Happy Planning!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Random Things...

... ok, so Martha has her "Good Things". In my life, I have a series of "Random Things". I know what you are thinking, "Um, yeah, so does everyone!"Well, that is true. However, as my good college friend Liz said, I often have these really odd coincidences and small world experiences. Particularly when it comes to college people (which, you have to understand, is significant because I went to school with only about 2000 people and it was in  the middle of nowhere in New York state).

... That being said, it is not often that you see people with St. Lawrence sweatshirts or see a sporting event on television. It is even more rare, PARTICULARLY in San Francisco, that you SEE anyone that you might have known at school walking down the street.

... Anyway, as you know, I was back east for a good long visit with family over the holidays. I went to the grocery store in my sister's town to get some food for New Years Eve. Now, since I probably have adult ADD, I got distracted when walking by the magazine section. I wanted to see if the latest issue of Brides magazine was on the shelves (that is a whole other story I will tell in the coming months). Alas, it was not there. However, being in Massachusetts, and not in San Francisco, there were some magazines on the shelf that are not available in California. My eye landed on Southern New England Weddings. I thought I'd take a look to see what is "in" in New England weddings these days, and to maybe get some inspiration for gifts and favors to try out.

... As I was flipping through, I noticed that they did a series of "Real Wedding" features in the magazine, highlighting weddings from Rhode Island, Cape Cod, Boston, etc. I was looking at it and thinking, "wouldn't it be funny if I knew one of these couples" (I am from New England, after all, and have lots of friends still in the area). Well, I turned the page, and sure enough, staring back at me from the page was a girl with whom I graduated! It was such a small world!

... Why am I writing about this? Well, I just thought it was a funny story, and I also thought that her wedding was really beautiful. It had some beautiful details and the bride looked really happy. I thought any of you out there who are planning a wedding or in the wedding business might find it interesting to look at.

... Although I don't think that she will ever see this blog entry, I just wanted to tell Tiffany congratulations on her beautiful wedding, and how exciting to be featured in this publication. Best wishes for a happy and healthy life to Mike and Tiffany!

... to check out her big day, see the link below:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

... Happy 2010! All about the family...

 Happy New Year everyone! It hardly seems possible that we are already at 2010!

...well, this new year has started with a real celebration! On January 1st, we welcomed my baby nephew into this world. I was thrilled to be able to be there and meet him in person. It was an exciting day and everyone is really happy. I was also very happy to be able to take care of my nieces while mommy and daddy were at the hospital with "Baby Brother" as he was affectionately named while in the womb. We had a great time, playing, doing art projects, and having a special lunch at Friendly's (believe me, it was special for them, but the food isn't the greatest, I was more interested in the ice cream!)

...speaking of my nieces, while I was at my sister's, I finally was able to get a picture of the invitations I made for Amelia's birthday party in December. Amelia just turned six and has a great interest in both science and history. She is particularly interested, at the moment, in history of colonial America. It's good for my sister that they live in Massachusetts -- lots of historical stuff all around! Therefore, this year, she decided that she wanted a pilgrim/colonial themed birthday party. Of course, I volunteered to make the party invitations! create the invitations, I found an image of a pilgrim girl and used it to model a "paper doll", layering the different papers and pieces of clothing. I chose the font because it reminded me of old fashioned calligraphy done with a quill. Finally, I lined the envelopes with a matching paper that made me think of old block printed wall paper. is the invite for her "Colonial" birthday party. (I blurred out the RSVP before posting this image) Enjoy!