The Parents Dance, Is it right for YOUR wedding

The parents dance at a wedding is such a special moment between the family so why is it that many couples are opting not to go ahead with this traditional part of a wedding. You may ask your self is it right for us or do you have mixed feelings about it.

Traditionally, the bride dances with her father immediately after the first dance, although some couples choose to wait and hold their dances between meal courses.. The groom can dance with his mother at the same time, or immediately after the father-daughter dance. Parents and grandparents on both sides of the family should be invited to the dance floor next. This is also the perfect time for the groom to share a few moments with his new mother-in-law.

Now I can see why it’s easier to just skip this part of the formalities, there are a lot of different options to go with on top of an already long list of wedding planning ticks and crosses.

When I ask couples if they are doing a parents dance I normally get a few different reasons like:

  • They dont think its important
  • We aren’t traditional
  • They are unsure what or when to do it
  • Or they think it will be awkward.

If you are still interested in doing this traditional dance in a non traditional environment then I have added in some options below to help get you thinking about where in the evening would be a good opportunity to take part in a loving parents dance.

The End Of Entrés

You are able to have the dance after the last table of starters have been served. This is a moment in the evening where you have everyone’s attention inside and the bar hasn’t been abused yet. More than likely your guests will have had some food and some beverages by this time and the mood of the evening will still be light and fun.

By doing it at this time you could be doing something nice with the parents but not making it a huge event by doing it right before or after the first dance.

In Between Courses

Dance in between the starters and mains, This is an in between period that your guests will use the washroom and make good use of the bar tab. This would be a perfect time to add in a traditional dance in a non traditional way. It doesn’t have to be a big spectacle but your parents will love the special moment.

End Of Dinner Service

No doubt your guests are ready to have a bit more fun and are up and around socialising getting ready for the dancing and letting loose. By doing it at the end of the main course you are putting a nice moment before cutting the cake and going to the first dance.

I often see the parents dance as an awkward not sure what to do next situation that can take a lot of attention off of the first dance, this is not something that a lot of couples want. To get rid of an awkward feeling move it away from such a big part of the evening. This also scales down the traditional aspect and takes a bit of pressure off keeping everything smooth sailing for the first dance and dance floor.

Whenever I get asked about the order of events for the evening I try to recommend keeping the flow or movement going. Meaning don’t have a break after cutting the cake, don’t have a break between the first dance and parents dance if you are having them one after the other. All these little intermissions cut into the fun time. If people are standing with attention on you then keep it that way and roll through the remaining formalities. cutting the cake then going straight into the first dance while the majority of your guests are up standing is a great way to entice them to be a part of the dance floor.

There are so many different ways you can plan your wedding day time line and keep it traditional while also dimming it down a bit to keep it fun

Planning your Winter Wedding, Don’t Get Caught Out In The Cold

Planning your winter wedding on the Central Coast is still going to be a lot of the same processes and suppliers as your summer wedding. Everything from venue, photographer, entertainment to attire, cuisine and make-up. It’s all there but the elements around the planning is what you need to consider

The Central Coast is a beautiful place for a wedding all year round, beaches and headlands or mountains and bushland. It does have it’s weather patterns and changes through the hot to cool months but with the right light at the right time of day it can create a magic backdrop for your day all year round.

The following are some things to consider that you may not think about until it’s too late so don’t be caught out in the cold and start your winter wedding planning with the following tips.

The Venue

The availability in a typical wedding season is quite competitive during the warmer months so with less competition for popular dates, you will find more venues are available on your chosen date.

You may find that the venue will be discounted down as they will want to fill up their calendar, don’t be afraid to ask them for a special or discount

Accommodation rates in the local area for you and your guests will be less expensive during the Winter months. Many accommodation locations will also offer Group Bookings discounts.

Physically view the spaces that you are hiring, so you can see how many people fit into the venue, especially for the ceremony. If you are planing an outdoor Ceremony you should also plan a ‘back-up’ space (indoor or undercover) in case the weather turns, make sure that the space is big enough for all your guests. It’s also a great idea to make sure that it has ventilation and heating if possible as sweaty nervous people and wet clothes can become an uncomfortable space very quickly.

If you are insisting an outdoor ceremony, keep an eye on the weather forecast in the weeks leading up to your wedding. keep in touch with the venue and vendors as it will work best for you if you keep in contact with everyone involved.

Choosing a venue where you can hold your ceremony and reception in one location is a great idea, it will be easier for your guests while you are having your photos taken, they can stay warm and dry close to the reception area ensuring they are happy to get the party started.

Marquees in Winter are actually still a excellent option. The marquees of today are incredibly structurally sturdy and a clear glass marquee would be amazing in a storm. The dance floor in your marquee also makes the perfect spot for a back-up ceremony – it’s dry underfoot and large enough for all your guests.

If you are wanting to have your ceremony and reception in different locations, then allow for extra travel time. Rain, traffic and road conditions will definitely add to your travel time.

 Ask your venue what photographic areas they have on site, this will save you time and stress on the day. Consider some of the inside vignettes that will make your photographs unique to the season. Imagine photos against a roaring open fire or looking out from a bay window with a storm rolling in.

Wedding Suppliers

The best part of winter is the availability of suppliers, most will have more availability in the off season. Although it is important to note that a lot of wedding suppliers use the down time to have a holiday. Contact them as early as you would for a peak season wedding to make sure that you can book their services.

Some wedding vendors will also be cheaper during the winter month’s. Ask them as it can’t hurt to enquire about prices during these months. I drop my prices of my packages during these months so come have a chat 😉

Find wedding suppliers that are happy to be flexible with the changes that will undoubtedly occur due to the weather like moving ceremony decoration or adding extra lights inside due to darkening storm clouds.

Read the terms & conditions, once you have paid a deposit, under normal terms & conditions you will not be refunded if you decide to cancel. Bad weather will not alter these terms & conditions.

Styling

You have access to styling pieces that are unavailable at every other time of the year.  Items such as grapevines and seasonal flowers that aren’t available during the warmer months. I’m sure you stylist and florist will jump at the chance of using something unusual and seasonal.

Having a Winter wedding definitely does not mean you have to choose a Winter theme. All your fresh flowers and greenery will be vibrant right through the day and evening.

You will get far more use out of any lighting that you have, with the sun going down earlier festoon lighting can be a great mood setting in trees and around gardens along walkways.

Cusine

Winter gives you so many wonderful opportunities to try something unique that includes the cuisine. You could try 24-hour roasted lamb shanks on a bed of mash with red wine jus!

Talk to your caterer or venue chef, to see what amazing seasonal produce is in and serve something truly warming and memorable to your guests.

Time Of The Day

Days are a lot shorter in Winter. For instance a Summer ceremony normal starts between 3-4pm. However in winter, daylight is completely gone by 5pm which will be exacerbated by any cloud cover and the sun will definitely be set by 6pm.

The best person to talk to about the timing of your wedding, is your wedding photographer. They  are the professionals and could have great suggestions. Some photos could be taken before the ceremony or they may know a close by location for the sunset.

Will your guests be comfortable between the Ceremony and Reception, while they wait for you are they out in the open or comfortable in a warm room? Don’t make them wait for you out in the cold as the sun goes down.

The sunlight during Winter is vastly different to Summer light. The sun is lower, the days are shorter and we are further away from the sun so the light is actually less intense.

The Weather

Keep an eye on that weather app on your phone, if any major weather changes are forecast, then keep in contact with your suppliers.

Quite often venue staff will pitch in to help when weather turns sour . . . just ask them as they won’t want to watch everything get ruined.

If the weather forces you to shift locations at the very last minute, make sure that one of the contingencies that you have is a group message of guests and a seperate one for other vendors, so that you can let everyone know the new location keeping everyone up-to-date.

Attire

One of the greatest advantages to a winter wedding is being able to wear something different that you can’t at a Summer wedding, faux-fur stoles, a coutured coat or a fitted jacket. The men will also be more comfortable in their suits.

Be aware of the need for this extra layer of comfort, you don’t want bare-shouldered bridesmaids hunching over in the cold and straining to even smile for the photographer so stay warm and comfortable when outdoors

On a more sensitive topic – headlights. If your bridal party (blokes included) are cold, then your gorgeous photos may be ruined by glaring ‘headlights’. So dress warm!

Hair & makeup will also need careful consideration . . . makeup will last a lot longer, however hairstyles will be quickly decimated in the winter wind. Talk carefully with your hair and makeup stylists to get their opinion and advice.

Your photos will have far less squinting guests and far less sunglasses.

You’re Guests

Many guests may already have a wedding or two to attend in the Summer, along with BBQ’s, long weekends and general Summer activities, it can be quite exhausting traveling to all the events. If you offer them a winter wedding, they will be far more likely to have not only the time to attend but also the desire.

Having your wedding in the Winter will also make your wedding far more memorable to your guests.

Having your wedding on a Thursday or Friday  means that guests can make a whole weekend of your wedding. It will give them time to visit wineries, go for hikes in the foothills or even walk around the small towns helping out the community by visiting cafes and restaurants. 

A final tip would be to book a venue that can handle severe weather as cancelling a wedding will cost you thousands of dollars. Obviously I don’t recommend this if people’s safety is at risk, but if you have done your research, your venue will provide safe parking, safe inside seating and dancing areas, adequate drainage for heavy rainfall, and climate control.

Most venues and wedding suppliers will not refund in the case of bad weather. Even if you cancel it still costs them money because they haven’t been able to schedule other customers due to their commitment to you.

So please do your home work and don’t get up in competing for the summer months when winter is just as beautiful and will save you some serious dollars.

If you would like to find out about my prices for the winter months click the link bellow to get to my home page where you will find an enquiry form.

Happy winter wedding planning.

Cake cutting in the year 2020 and onwards

The cake cutting, you are either looking forward to it or dreading the all eyes on you moment, you may be wanting to avoid or modify the cake cutting as its a point in the evening that is a little traditional and can be very awkward if you aren’t 100% into it.

Cake cutting is one of the most iconic wedding photo ops. Traditionally the cake cutting is the first task you complete together as a couple so It’s more of a symbolic task than it is a functional one. You as the new couple will stop after just a single cut or two and the caterers take it from there. The newlyweds feed each other a bit of cake as a gesture of their commitment to care for and support one another and then you exit stage right after the photos are taken by the photographer and then your guests.

Traditional

you will no doubt have picked a song that the DJ will play and the catering team will have a knife at the ready. Make sure that the knife is there before the song starts. A hint from experience. There can also be two glasses of champagne for you to share with one another for a great photo op.

As the MC announces that the cake cutting will be taking place it is important that they also mention to the guests to allow the paid professional photographer to get their shots before guests dive in with their smartphone. Being a traditional part of a wedding it is a traditional photo to have.

What can make this awkward is how you approach the cake cutting and what you do after.

Non Traditional

In the age of DIY weddings, it’s perfectly acceptable to let go of certain traditions if they don’t resonate with you. If you’re one of those couples who have been resisting the cake-cutting then there are plenty of other ways to go about it and plenty of other options to serve for desert.

If you are looking for something different to bring some fun to the cake cutting then a few of the options below might be the sweetness you are looking for.

  • Do a walk up dance or skit
  • Include the speeches around the same time
  • Have a small cake for photos (a cutting cake) and have the dessert served right after the cake is cut.
  • Serve each other a piece of cake with interlocking arms like champagne flutes. 
  • Strike a super fun silly pose for the photographer, (representing your personality)
  • Use a sword to cut the cake for added dramatic effect
  • Have a themed cake

With the restrictions forcing us to think about how we operate a wedding differently it will never hurt to shake things up a bit and be unique in the way you include different aspects of your wedding day.

There are more and more D.I.Y. styled weddings taking part so it is no wonder that the cake cutting is one of the first traditions to be modified or even completely brushed to the side.

With the restrictions forcing us to think about how we operate a wedding differently it will never hurt to shake things up a bit and be unique in the way you include different aspects of your wedding day.

There are more and more D.I.Y. styled weddings taking part so it is no wonder that the cake cutting is one of the first traditions to be modified or even completely brushed to the side.

Spotify or a DJ For Your Wedding Entertainment?

There has always been a discussion about Spotify or DJ for wedding entertainment.

A big option on saving money on your wedding can be to do lots of D.I.Y.. These do it yourself projects can definitely be a great opportunity to add some personalised touches to your day and yes it will save you some money and keep your budget tight.

When thinking of areas where you could do it yourself you may be thinking. Your table settings, the food & beverage catering and the entertainment.

When I mention D.I.Y. I don’t mean that you are running around solo but more enlisting the help from friends and family that may have experience in that particular field.

Before we get too far into this article which of the images below do you invision the tail end of your wedding reception to be. A or B?

Dance floor A

Dance floor B

The particular field that I work in is the entertainment and in my opinion, yes you definitely can go either way with this and before you think to yourself that I will list no benefits to having a spotify playlist then just continue reading and you will see this is not a blog to shine light on how great a DJ will be but a comparison as to what your expectations are for the entertainment.

What Type of Wedding Are You Having?

If you start off thinking about the type of wedding you are having, if it is a backyard close family affair or have you hired a venue with family and friends that have travelled great distances to be there with you. 

Your guest list will give you an insight as to what type of crowd is going to be present and you will know if they are going to want to dance or are the more drinkers and talkers type, so step 1 is look at your guest list and evaluate.

A playlist would work fine for a backyard wedding but would be more difficult in a traditional wedding venue.

 

Emotional Music

The next area that you might like to touch on is the emotional connection you have with music. Do the songs that you have requested take you back to the days of going out on weekends with friends, music on repeat while prepping for the evening and then hearing your jam on the dance floor and dancing your ass off. Is it that type of emotional connection or is the music more sentimental to you for helping you through teenage years of awkward fashion and haircuts.

Everyone listens to music for their own reasons and will have their taste in music on their playlist that resonates through the years of friendships, step 2 would be is that emotional connection of the music being played at your wedding going to be giving you that same connection that you desire.

A Dj can emulate a dance floor and keep the energy to keep a crowd dancing, a playlist will play songs back to back in a set or random order.

Personally I would pick a DJ to keep a live evaluation of what the dance floor needs through out the evening.

Guest List Expectations

You will no doubt have a list of friends on there old and new and if they are on your guest list then you should know what type of person they are. If you know they will want to party and dance well then enough said. 

Think about your guest lists expectations of the evening. Yes this is your wedding and your decision but you don’t want to be rocking the dance floor on your own. You will be putting great thought into the music choices and if you want your friends dancing with you the music will no doubt resonate with them and relate to your friendships together. 

Bringing this into the topic of comparing a spotify playlist to a DJ. Is a spotify playlist going to be able to keep the atmosphere of blending song after chosen song to keep the energy levels up. Will spotify be able to see when R&B is getting old and some grandparents want some soul and disco. How do you mix that in with out loosing the younger generation?

To me step 3 is clearly a winner for the DJ if you want to remember those times with friends and get a taste of those memories.

Is Music a Priority?

A main concern you will have is that you want your guests to have a great time and keep them entertained so that they stay for the duration. If you are playing music that you “just want people to dance if they want to” then a DJ or a playlist will do fine, if you just want people to have a good time and not feel obligated to dance then a DJ or a playlist will do fine. 

The last thing you want is karen taking over the Spotify player and putting on a song that she thinks “will get everyone dancing”. Instant mood killer!

If going for the Spotify playlist because music is not your top priority then your D.I.Y tip is to ask someone to be in-charge of the music and monitor it for the evening so you hopefully don’t run into the problem of hearing the first 40 seconds of 30 songs in a row.

Step 4 goes to both, depending on the priority that the music sits within will determine which option works best for you.

There are so many ways that you can look at the positives and negatives on each side so it really is up to you as to what you would like your outcome to be.

Being a professional that provides entertainment to guests of all different demographics, the following points are worth a read.

  • A Spotify playlist will NOT control the atmosphere and mood, A DJ will
  • A DJ will cost more if budget is a concern
  • If you hire a DJ for $200 then you should just go with Spotify
  • Will your bluetooth speaker be able to fill the room with enough sound?
  • Equipment hire is part of the DJ package and its normally well spec’d gear.
  • Everyone can request music with Spotify where a DJ has the choice to knock back a song request that they know will kill the mood
  • Spotify gives you ultimate freedom to put on what you want when you want and a DJ is getting paid so you can sit back and enjoy the night and not worry about changing music throughout the night.
  • Spotify doesn’t have kick ass lighting that emulates a dance floor

There are so many points to make and I’m not going to continue list more, but for the purpose of this debate I will say that a Spotify playlist is not a bad idea but a professional DJ is a better one.

All the things to save money on entertainment is a risky one that if goes wrong people will notice and it will bring down the vibe and have peoples memories of your wedding, Good food, bad music, we left early.

Talk to your entertainment providers that you have received quotes from and see if they have a smaller package that is more tailored towards your needs. You will be surprised at how flexible some vendors can be, all you have to do is ask.

be wary though if you are asking them to drop prices down 50% then you may be pushing the relationship too far too soon.

See you on the dance floor party people.

Have you considered these basics when getting your wedding planning started?

Wedding planning can be so confusing on where to start and how to approach it. When you do get to the start of planning these basic tips and ideas will shine some light on some of the confusing aspects

A Budget

will be relevant for almost all of your decisions, this should be one of the first things you agree on. If any family members will be contributing, talk to them about what they’re comfortable helping with. If you’re funding the day yourself, Be prepared for a reality check when it comes to costs involved. Once you’ve got that magic number, stick as close to it as you can.

Venue Or The Date

What is more important. Talk with your partner and determine what will be the priority. Prioritize those details and be willing to compromise on the rest. Locking in certain vendors can come after a date and venue are booked.

Choose A Few Ideal Dates

 and try to be flexible if possible, so you’re not constrained when attempting to book the wedding venue and vendors. Take into consideration external factors like how popular those dates might be with other couples and seasons.

Off Site or On Site

An off site wedding is one where the venue doesn’t have a commercial kitchen and where you need to bring everything in, places like a rustic barn or a hall.  Having an on-site wedding would be somewhere like a dedicated venue or restaurant. On-site simplifies the planning as they will have a range of catering offerings available, as well as access to the basics like chairs and tables, and possibly even an on-site coordinator to assist you.

Booking Wedding Vendors

don’t rush unless it is 100% the vendor you want. Consider a few different options and make sure these vendors understand your vision and can also work to your budget. Wedding vendors are key to ensuring your day is memorable and everything runs smoothly, make sure they’re a team of people that you really vibe well with.

Consult With Your Partner

because their opinion is going to be invaluable and it makes wedding planning that much more fun when you can make decisions together. Working towards a common goal not only further your relationship but also helps you grow as a couple with every issue you tackle as a team.

The Best Resources

 are often friends and family. If you have attended a wedding that you really enjoyed, ask that couple for advice and insights. They probably have some great tips and tricks that they learned along the way.

Your Wedding Party

is a joint decision with your partner and you will both decide what size wedding party works best for you. The friends and family you ask to join your wedding party are there for support throughout the wedding planning process and on the big day. keeping in mind the expenses that come along with a large wedding party.

 

“Prepare or order some food and drinks for the bridal party to enjoy while they’re having photos taken with you. These usually are taken between your ceremony and reception, so your bridal party often misses cocktail hour especially if you go off to locations, by this part of the day everyone is hungry”

Wedding Transportation

Has a few categories to take into consideration. you may require transportation for yourselves and the wedding party to and from the ceremony.

You will then need a vehicle to take yourself, your new spouse and the wedding party to the reception via some locations for photos.

If your venue is in a remote location or you have guests attending from out of town, it is thoughtful to also book group transportation to take them from the reception at the end of the night

Invitations

 Save the date cards can go out nine months before the wedding date for a destination wedding. Wedding invites can be sent as soon as you know your style and have a venue confirmed. 

Invitation can follow two to three months before the big day. You should request that RSVPs be returned no later than one month before the celebration so there are no last-minute hiccups.

DIY wedding décor elements

can be cost-effective and will add some incredible personal touches. Don’t go overboard or you’ll end up with more work than you should handle. Plenty of DIY projects can be done well in advance. 

For things like wedding day florals or food, professional help is best.

Set Up

as your date approaches, check in with your venue to find out when your vendors can arrive for setup. The earlier the better in some cases, venues may have other events going on the same day. Be sure to pass along the information to your vendors so everyone is on the same page.

Traditional Aspects

Can make you uncomfortable or simply aren’t your style, then don’t include them on your wedding day. Traditions are lovely, but only when they’re meaningful to you.

Your Music & Playlists

Regardless of if you are having a live band, DJ, or manning the Spotify playlist yourself, you will need to outline all of the key songs that absolutely must be played during the nuptial festivities. Just as important: Don’t forget to also create a list of the songs you definitely don’t want to hear.

To Stay Organised

Use checklists, spreadsheets, Word, Excel, Google Docs. Anything, as long as you can gather all your thoughts, budgets, figures, etc., in one place. Keep it organised and keep it up to date with deposits, contact details and due dates.

Create A

wedding day schedule ensures everyone is on the same page about timing and location and helps to make sure the day’s events run smoothly. Include things like: 

  • Hair & make up appointments
  • when vendors will arrive
  • timing for transportation to arrive at the ceremony location
  • timing for the couple’s arrival to the reception
  • speeches 
  • first dance 
  • when the cake will be cut

Print out (or email) copies to your MC, photographer and anyone who will have a hand in the running of the evening.

For anyone tech savvy you can avoid getting endless emails and text messages from guests by putting up a simple wedding website or group message where they can check out the details of your wedding. Include important information like dates, times, locations, dress codes, registries, transportation and lodging, and a day-of itinerary.

So there we go, some super easy topics to consider that you may not have thought about to help make your wedding day more relaxed and more personal to you.

There are some other blogs on my website to help with planning music or atmosphere to really make your day pop at the right moments.

Remember to have fun, you are essentially throwing a huge party and what is a party without the fun. 

See you on the dance floor party people!!