Seasons of Love August 1, 2016
One thing can be said of most weddings regardless of size—there are a lot of details to attend to! Dates, venues, colors, flowers, attire, favors, food, cakes, showers, photography, invitations, oh my! One way to cohesively tie these details together and filter down the myriad options is to choose an overall theme for the event.
The word "theme" may scare some people, but a subtle or natural theme won't overshadow the nuptials. For that quirky couple, a 2016 "Star Wars" wedding will be fun and memorable, but for the bride and groom just looking for the key element to make all the smaller details fall into place, a theme drawn from the seasons may be just the ticket.
Here in Pennsylvania, we have the advantage of four seasons, each with its own lovely attributes. Brides- and grooms-to-be need not feel obligated to strictly adhere to the chosen theme, but they may find inspiration with a helpful starting point. Be inspired with these seasonal ideas!
"The spring season definitely inspired our wedding, particularly our colors. When we settled on a date in April, we immediately thought of pastel colors. We wanted something off the path of the typical light purples, blues, and pinks. Thanks to Pinterest, Jill became obsessed with the light peach and mint combination. The colors felt warm and calm, and they simply looked good together. We liked the combination of colors for flower arrangements and absolutely loved the way our bouquets and boutonnieres turned out. We got extremely lucky on April 18 when there was not a cloud in the sky, the sun was out, and it was 75 degrees. From our wedding party attire to the flowers and weather, we had the most perfect spring day." - Jill and John, Timonium, Md.
Rustic Chic/Garden Party
Spring colors lend themselves to a romantic rustic chic wedding. Light or faded pastel colors go well with distressed woods, lace, and other rustic and romantic elements, and many tend to be flattering bridesmaid dress colors, as well.
Bridal Shower - A late winter/early spring tea party bridal shower may be the perfect classy and understated prelude to a spring garden party wedding. Vintage floral teacups add an ideal shabby chic element.
Flowers - Early spring blooms like peonies, lily of the valley, hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils are readily available for use in bouquets or decor.
Favors - Hanging birdseed ornaments, small potted plants in tiny terra-cotta pots, or flower, herb, or vegetable seed packets may be given to guests to enjoy beyond the spring season.
Venue/Decor - There is always a chance of inclement weather, but late spring may be the perfect time for an outdoor wedding. Central Pennsylvania abounds with historic or rustic farm and homestead options that allow for indoor/outdoor mingling. Centerpieces and other decorations may include metal watering cans, chalk painted Mason jars full of spring blooms, a rustic birdcage card holder, or a cake topper decorated with birds or bunnies.
Photography - Outdoor shots with floral backgrounds and blooming blossoms, photos with umbrellas, and a shot of the couple's rings on the stem of a tulip or daffodil can make for colorful, beautiful photographs.
"I have always wanted a summer wedding because that is my favorite time of year. I love the warm weather! We picked the first Sunday in September because I knew the weather would still be warm, but hopefully not too hot. It turned out to be a beautiful day! Our nautical/beachy theme went along with my love for the summer and our venue. We got married along the Susquehanna River, so we had sand and shells as our centerpieces. We also had nautical knots around our flower bouquets. The groom and groomsmen wore gray suits with no jackets because of the weather and also because it looked less formal for the outside wedding. The wedding colors were coral and navy. The bridal bouquets had succulents in them, so as favors, we gave our guests a succulent plant in a small pot." - Cortney and Colin, Elizabethtown, PA
The bright hues of summer can paint a fun and festive atmosphere for a wedding. Whether planning a destination wedding to a beach or taking advantage of the backdrop of boats on the Susquehanna, couples that love warm weather have a host of options to capture the essence of summer in their wedding details.
Invitations - The classic white or cream wedding invitation gets a boost of color for summer wedding invites. Navy and coral, turquoise, pops of citrus colors, bright pinks and greens, as well as fun embellishments like anchors, starfish, shells, palm trees, and tropical flowers add some flair.
Fun Details - A sparkler sendoff, miniature tubes of sunscreen for guests, sunglasses, Adirondack chair place card holders, yard games, fans, and flip-flops can send the message that the day is indeed a celebration and that guests should feel comfortable and have a good time.
Food/Drink - In addition to a number of in-season fresh vegetables for the reception dinner, summer receptions can include s'mores, fresh fruit, lemonade and sweet tea, signature blackberry cocktails, coconut icing on the wedding cake, or tropical or backyard cookout fare.
Favors - Honey, jam, herbs, barbecue seasonings, s'mores kits, flip-flop shaped bottle openers, infused sugars or oils in miniature jars, lavender soap, seashell- or watermelon-shaped cookies, or personalized beverage holders are just some of the possible favors for a summer wedding.
"We chose fall because of the cooler temperatures and the rich, warm, delicious colors. We had an outdoor wedding at Fort Hunter in Harrisburg in October to enjoy the backdrop of the changing leaves. The reception was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Harrisburg. The bridesmaids' dresses were a rich, chocolately brown, and our bouquets and boutonnieres had calla lilies and other flowers in shades of autumn orange that were also reflected in the centerpieces. We chose a chocolate cake frosted in chocolate icing adorned with the calla lilies for an elegant fall look." - Melissa and Chris, Middletown, PA
Country Chic/Haute Harvest
Harvest season has become an increasingly popular time of the year to get married, and it's no wonder. The often warm days and cool evenings of fall combined with the colorful changing leaves can provide an enticing backdrop for the big day. There may even be an added bonus in avoiding peak vacation and wedding time, as well as extreme temperatures, for the best guest turnout.
Attire - Fall wedding colors can range from warm neutrals and harvest colors to rich, saturated jewel tones. Plum, cranberry, and emerald are just as comfortable against the backdrop of changing leaves as red, orange, gold, and brown. Shawls, chic suede booties, or cowboy boots can add coziness to the look.
Flowers/Decor - The decor for a fall wedding may or may not include pumpkins and gourds. Certainly these items are readily available, along with hay bales and corn stalks, but woodsy floral arrangements that include hypericum berries, twigs, and seed pods, as well as flowers ranging from calla lilies, roses, and dahlias to sunflowers, daisies, and chrysanthemums, provide couples with many other options.
Food/Drink - Pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies can easily take the place of the traditional cake for a fall wedding. Apple cider and wine, a caramel popcorn station, and hot cocoa pair well with savory comfort food appetizers and entrees.
Photography - Fall outdoor photographs can be some of the most stunning around, if the weather cooperates. The changing leaves, brilliant colors, gorgeous sunsets, and soft light of fall provide a perfect setting for wedding photographs.
"We are very excited about incorporating seasonal details into our December wedding. As part of my bridal attire, I have chosen a pretty rhinestone headband that looks like it is made of delicate silver snowflakes. I plan to carry a bouquet of light pink roses accented with cranberries and pine branches for a wintry feel. For centerpieces at our reception tables, we are making snow globes out of Mason jars. We decided to name every table at our reception after a Christmas movie; my favorite table name/guest combination so far involves having some of our friends who are priests and nuns seated at a table named "The Bells of St. Mary's." I think it would be fun to have a hot chocolate bar and Christmas cookies and perhaps even a gingerbread house or two! I am also sure that a number of the songs we dance to at our wedding will have a Christmas theme." Julie and Keith - Lancaster, PA
Brides embracing the magic of the holiday season or the beauty of a winter landscape can have fun with elegant long-sleeved wedding gowns, faux fur wraps, and color palettes ranging from deep blue and silver or sophisticated black and white to woodsy neutrals or the more traditional seasonal colors of burgundy, gold, and green. Holiday doesn't have to mean Christmas, as New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day weddings can also provide seasonal inspiration.
Decor - A potential benefit to choosing a December wedding date is that many venues decorate for the holiday season, and twinkly lights, wreaths, Christmas trees, and other decorations may already be in place. Centerpiece options include glass ball ornaments, pinecones, berries, and evergreens, or couples may opt for winter white and silver decor with "snow"-covered branches, sparkly snowflakes, white hydrangeas, and the glow of candles in clear or frosted sconces. Some wedding decor may be able to be used as holiday home decor after the wedding, as well.
Music - Sprinkling a couple holiday songs into the reception repertoire can be a nice touch for couples who are fond of the Christmas season. The holiday stylings of crooners like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin will fit right in with other music over dinner.
Favors - Mugs, ornaments, fuzzy socks or mittens, reusable hand warmers, and a host of scrumptious sweets like cookies, candies, and cocoa are all reminiscent of the season. Or, because Christmas is the season of giving, some couples may choose to donate to a charity in lieu of a traditional favor.
Honeymoon - Winter can be a great time to enjoy a ski resort or a popular vacation destination like Disney World or the Napa Valley off-season, with fewer people and cooler temperatures.
Wedding Showers That Break From Tradition January 5, 2015
Though the concept may be steeped in tradition, today's bridal showers continue to veer off the beaten path. The following are some key trends incorporated into modern bridal showers.
*Couples' showers. Couples who like to be all-inclusive are now planning showers that cater to mixed audiences. Dubbed "couple showers," these parties include female and male friends and relatives. Gifts are still the main focus of the event, but they're varied and include guy-friendly items within the mix of household goods.
*Power showers. Many are familiar with the terms "man cave" and "bromance," but few may know that there are now wedding showers geared entirely around the groom. Known as "power showers," these events focus on the groom-to-be, who is showered with a bevy of gadgets and power tools that are certain to stock his future garage. The parties are decidedly more testosterone-friendly and can include golf outings, poker nights or action movie flicks as possible themes.
*Destination/activity showers. Rather than having guests hang around a restaurant or other venue watching gift after gift get unwrapped, some bridal parties opt to throw an activity shower. These showers are focused around a particular activity. For example, ladies may be treated to a day at the spa. Other ideas include horseback riding at a stable or a day at the ballpark. Because hosting an activity shower for dozens of people may get expensive, these types of showers may be reserved for only your closest friends and family members.
Fun Ideas for Pre-Wedding Celebrations October 16, 2013
Need ideas for pre-wedding parties, such as bridal showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties? Here are some fun options for themes that will put a unique twist on your celebrations. Pick a theme and incorporate it into the event's decor, food and beverages, and activities.
High Tea - Serve a variety of fancy teas, as well as petite pastries and finger sandwiches.
Wild West - Have guests don cowboy boots and hats and enjoy line dancing and barbecue.
Foreign Influences (London Calling, Love in Paris, Oktoberfest, etc.) - Draw inspiration for party decor and food from the couple's favorite cities.
Mardi Gras - Decorate with beads and masks and serve up a spicy Cajun menu.
The Great Outdoors - Use natural decorations and outdoor sports equipment to celebrate an outdoorsy couple.
Carnival - Offer versions of classic carnival games for guests to play while they nosh on cotton candy, popcorn, corndogs, snow cones, and other fair food favorites.
Holidays - Celebrate the bride- or groom-to-be's favorite holiday...no matter what time of the year it is. (Thanksgiving in July, Christmas in May, Halloween in March, etc.)
Favorite Books, Movies and TV Shows - Send attendees into a real-life version of the guest of honor's favorite book, movie, or show.
Luau - Everyone loves an opportunity to pretend they're in Hawaii by sipping tropical beverages and enjoying island foods.
Decadent Desserts - Skip the main course and set up a buffet that features desserts only.
Brunch - Serve up pancakes, quiche, French toast, bacon, and other breakfast favorites.
Step Back Into Time - Look to a distinctive decade or time period for party ideas, and encourage guests to dress accordingly (flappers for the 1920s, flower children for the 1960s, military uniforms for a 1940s-themed USO dance, etc.).
Bridal Shower and Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Alternatives:
If a bridal shower or bachelor/bachelorette party just isn't your style, no matter what the theme, go for an untraditional option instead. Wedding party members and close friends and family members can celebrate with the happy couple in a variety of different ways.
Go to a sporting event, concert, or theatrical production.
Take a road trip to explore a nearby town or attraction.
Visit a spa.
Go for a hike or bike ride, try kayaking, or check out a zip line course.
Have a crafting afternoon, with attendees helping to create decorations, centerpieces, bouquets, etc., for the wedding.
Enjoy some wine tasting at a local winery.
Visit a zoo, museum, or amusement park.
Take a cooking class or attend an art workshop.