Announcing the Engagement!

Brides ask us about the best way to announcement their engagement. It is happy news and you'll want to share it with everyone. Here are some helpful guidelines.

The first people to be told should be the bride's parents and both of you should be present to tell them in person. If they do not live nearby, an excited phone call from the bride to her parents is acceptable and then tries to schedule a time for them to meet the groom if they have not met him. If the groom has not discussed his plans with his parents, they should be the next to know the big news.

Both sets of parents should get together for introductions, either in a home or a restaurant. This gathering can be a time to talk about some of the wedding details like the number of guests and kind of wedding you two are planning After parents are informed, next you'll want to let close friends and relatives know. You may write or call them individually or you may wish to surprise them all at once and announce your news at a family gathering or party.

Engagement parties have traditionally been hosted by the bride's parents though you and your finance may elect to host the party yourselves. Once the date and some details have been agreed upon, an announcement, usually by the bride's parents may be published. Newspapers provide a form that is to be completed and submitted with an engagement photograph. The engagement is normally not announced prior to one year before the wedding and not later than six weeks ahead of the ceremony date.


Rental Items

In an ideal world, each place you use for the ceremony and reception will have everything you need for a perfect event. However, things are rarely exactly how you wish them to be. Brides usually ask us for recommendations for rental businesses that can supply additional items that may be needed. But before we recommend any other business we try to help the bride deter- mine exactly what may be needed and sources for those items.

Before you rent anything, be sure to check with your wedding ceremony site, wedding reception venue, caterers, beverage providers, décor company, florist, entertainment, audiovisual, staging and lighting companies for items needed. It is hard to believe that one could need something these services couldn’t provide, but if there is, a reputable rental provider is your answer.

Once you have identified the items you think you’ll need, have a conversation with two or more rental services to check the quality of the items provided as well as the rental costs.  Your ceremony or reception venue may be able to refer you to a reputable service that comes with strong references from previous customers.

To help you with discussions about rental items, there are some questions you will want to ask them.
Ask the agency to be specific about the services they will supply. Will they merely deliver the items to your site or does the price include set up and tear down?

Ask if the items are insured against theft and/or damage and is that included in the rental fee. If it is not included, ask for the amount of insurance you may need.

Bear in mind that a full service décor company will likely be able to handle all or part of your décor, floral, table settings, glassware, tables, chairs and chair covers, linens, and lighting requirements. In addition to the usual items, the décor company may be your best source for any unusual items you decide you must have to complete the theme of your celebration. How much “extra” you want will likely be determined more by budget than lack of resources.

Cutting Wedding Costs Tips

When we first say "yes", we usually have no real idea about what the dream day will cost; of course many of us are surprised at how quickly expenses can add up. Keep that happy smile and joy in your heart because there are lots of ways to cut costs and still have Your Dream Wedding. This is a series of tips for cutting costs based expert strategies and recently married brides and grooms.

Are you really saving by stocking up on sale items you might need? Absolutely Not! Don't get carried away thinking you are going to save money by stocking up on gadgets you see online or elsewhere. By all means, if you have a real need for seventy-five do-hickies, then buy them, but don't buy with a vague plan in mind, it is wasteful and eats at your budget, and creeps you closer to going over budget and not having the funds you need for that centerpiece.

Every cent counts! Start saving change in a jar, you will be pleasantly surprised and how quickly the loose change grows. I once started taking all my change (small and large bills and coins) and put in a jar. The goal was to buy a new phone and wanted to see how much I could save. I was quite surprised when I tallied up the bills and coins in a short 6 month span; over $130! Start your change savings.

Must you invite your best friends, sister's uncle's cousin that you have not seen since you were five? You may not know what the person look like. A wedding is about sharing your special day with family and friends, usually people you socialize with frequently. However, if you have platinum dollars, invite them, if not, consider a small guest list. On average, ten percent of guest invited do not attend. Use the money to splurge on reception favors or whatever you like.

Vera Fernandes
Owner, Certified Wedding Specialist
Weddings Simply Unique LLC

Member Weddings Beautiful
A Division of National Bridal Service


Have A Seat

The best way to describe the changing nature of receptions is to notice that they have evolved into more than just a formalized event as the term “reception” implies. More and more couples are choosing the term “celebration” to describe the party atmosphere and events they are planning for themselves and their guests. Instead of having the day slip away in a blur, brides and grooms want to have a good time at their party and take away wonderful memories. This is one of the biggest parties that most couples will ever give. They want everyone to have fun – themselves included.

Whether the celebration will be in a church basement or outdoors, one thing that is changing is the seating of guests. Reception “rules” have had the bridal party sitting at formal head tables, lined up according to one’s role in the wedding. But more and more couples are choosing not to have a head table and instead seat themselves with special family members or friends in the center of the eating area. Sitting in the middle of things – among family and friends – not apart from them, will help the couple to better enjoy their first meal together as husband and wife.

The remaining people in their wedding party and families are scattered at tables with other guests to encourage the celebration tone. They can talk about the wedding and events leading up to it that other guests may not know. It can make good mealtime conversation and is a way to involve guests more intimately with the event. You may still choose to have special place cards/table numbers for guests. For some brides and their mothers, trying to engineer the “perfect” mix of guests at each table is the hardest thing they do for the party. Others give up and let groups find their own places. Whether you are having a formal sit down dinner or a buffet, the best bet is to select round tables. These always allow an easier flow of conversation among guests. Providing a centerpiece for each table also places each guest at a decorated space at your party.

If you can’t have round tables and must use rectangular ones, request that they seat no more than six per table. At least with this number, everyone can hear everything that is said and conversation can flow. There is more space for each person to enjoy his/her food and beverage. For more celebration ideas, stop in and talk with one of our experienced consultants. We have party plans we know you’ll love. Ideas on music, cakes, decorations and favors can help you plan a party to remember.

Vera Fernandes, Owner, CWS
Weddings Simply Unique LLC

Member Weddings Beautiful Worldwide
The American Academy of Wedding Professionals


Guest Seating

Guest Seating

Here at Weddings Simply Unique, LLC our brides ask lots of questions about how certain wedding traditions came into being. We are happy to share the source for many of the unique and time-honored customs all of us have come to know. A recent bride asked us why her parents/family/friends were to sit on one side of the church and the groom’s family/friends sit on the other. She asked us “Does it matter?” The answer is that while the seating “rules” are generally followed, many couples choose to provide balance to the church seating arrangements rather than adhere to the guidelines that have been in use for a very long time.

Here’s the history of that tradition. Brides can decide if they wish to maintain it. In ancient times, brides were often abducted or stolen or sold. To marry for love and by mutual consent is a relatively contemporary idea.  When warring tribes decided that they would no longer battle, peace was generally arranged through intermarriage. That act made them family and they would not/could not fight and cause bloodshed.  Members of both tribes would attend the marriage to witness the joining, but they maintained a little distance between groups so that a fatal interruption to the ceremony could be avoided.

Now when the bride’s family sits peacefully on the left hand side of the church and the groom’s on the right, you know the origin of the tradition.

Vera Fernandes, Owner, CWS
Weddings Simply Unique, LLC
Member Weddings Beautiful Worldwide.


To Toss of Not To Toss

We know it has long been a tradition for the bride to toss her bouquet and allow her garter to be removed by the groom and tossed to his bachelor friends – or even auctioned off. These traditions came from our English cousins, where long ago spectators at the wedding would attempt to tear off the bride’s clothing, believing it allowed them to share in the couple’s happiness. While the bride was fleeing her attackers, she would toss her flowers to the on lookers to placate them. Tradition says that those catching the bouquet and garter will be the next to marry – though not necessarily to each other. This tradition is changing. A modern version of this is to ask their attendants to sign the bottom of the bride’s shoes. The last names to be erased will be the next to marry. Today’s bride often opts to present her bouquet to the grandparents or to the couple in attendance that has been married the longest. She may also reject having her leg exposed, garter removed and tossed to a group of men. For couples who still wish to follow the tradition, an extra garter is purchased. We have many more ideas for couples that would like contemporary versions of old traditions that they can use.


Ceremony Ideas

Once you have secured the site for your ceremony and have met with the officiant and/or his representatives you should have a good idea about ceremony requirements and guidelines. Working within those guidelines, you should be able to add your own personal touches with the goal of creating a beautiful setting that helps to create the mood for your ceremony to come. As guests arrive, the setting – candles, lights, flowers and music can create an impressive atmosphere. Instruct ushers to make friendly small talk with guests as they arrive and as they are escorted to their seats. This will help to put guest at ease. If yours is a small wedding, ushers can present a single flower to female guests along with a note from you welcoming them to the wedding. This welcome flower can also be presented with the programs. Consider having ceremony hosts greet guests at the entrance doors. Choose one from each family who is likel to recognize many of the guests as they arrive. Choose host couples to welcome your guests. Your parents may be mingling with guests at this point or may be needed with the wedding party. Guests hosts can welcome people in their name. If you have music playing as guests arrive and are seated, change that music – tempo or volume or both so that special music plays as the parents of the bride and groom are seated. More and more couples are choosing to have a card or note from them along with a single flower or small wrapped gift waiting in the pews for the parents as they are seated. Consider having a special song played as the groom and his best man take their places. As the processional begins, the music should break between the ceremony and the reception to allow for travel time. Arrange for a pre-cocktail hour at your reception site so that guests arriving early for the reception have a place to gather. You may wish to serve champagne or have a coffee bar set up. Stop in so we can discuss even more ceremony ideas that will make this most important day uniquely yours.