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December 2015 - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

Horrible Things Real Guests Have Done at Weddings

 Etiquette, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on Horrible Things Real Guests Have Done at Weddings
Dec 312015
Things to Avoid Bad Wedding Speeches

Photo: New Line/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

We've heard nightmare wedding guest stories, but these may be the worst yet. From a mother-in-law who quite literally stole the show to a drunken guest who nearly got the couple kicked out of their hotel, guests can make things quite disturbing at weddings. Here are the worst things wedding guests have really done and how each couple handled the unfortunate situation.

"My mother-in-law got remarried at our rehearsal. She made the request while we were practicing for our ceremony. So my sweet husband married his mom and her new husband before our actual wedding rehearsal. Yep, that happened." — Katie

"We had 450 people at our wedding, so it was a little hard to keep track of who was there. A woman had crashed our wedding and ended up finding a seat right next to my husband's best friend! He thought she was a good friend of mine, so he chatted with her through dinner. She ended up getting so drunk she threw up all over the table and him. The venue manager found us and told us what had happened, and we had her thrown out of the wedding. But that's not where it ends: On her way out she decided to steal a bottle of wine from the bar!" — Shreeda

"My guests suddenly became photographers for the night. There are guests taking pictures in the background of most of my professional photos, including pictures of me walking down the aisle. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of the problem until I received my professional pictures back. My advice would be to place a sign at the ceremony politely stating you would like to have an unplugged celebration with no cameras or cell phones." — Sara

See More: Who is Responsible for Guest Behavior at a Wedding?

"During the after-party, my sister's boyfriend got drunk, assaulted someone's car, and was subsequently arrested. My wife and I went to the police station while she was still in her wedding dress to find a bondsman and bail him out. We paid the bail, but left him in there overnight to let him sober up." — Stevie

"My wedding was held at a rental home, and most of the guests stayed at the house. After my husband and I had gone to bed on our wedding night, about three of the guests got drunk and jumped off the second floor deck into the pool below, while the rest of our friends sat in the hot tub and encouraged them! It was not a straight shot into the pool, and I was told that one guest almost missed the pool by inches. I'm glad I was asleep and missed the ordeal. I was mortified to hear this story the next morning." — Lori

"My cousin wore a white outfit and white shoes to my wedding. She danced the night away with her husband. She told me later that she knew the photographer and videographer would think she was special and keep her dead center, and she was right. For a long time after our wedding, I couldn't watch our wedding video without hurting inside every time she appeared on screen. I never knew she hated me that much!" — Martyne

"Our best man's girlfriend was so drunk she was throwing up before the reception started. Then, after the reception, she went around the hotel screaming because the best man and maid of honor had spent so much time together. We almost got kicked out of the hotel, but a friend got her back to our room, where she continued to drunkenly scream and cry. Finally, my husband told her to leave. I later threatened to behave this way at her own wedding, and I was never invited." — Stephanie

An English Garden Party Was the Inspiration Behind This Couple’s Fall Wedding in Carmel, New York

 New York, Real Weddings, Upstate New York  Comments Off on An English Garden Party Was the Inspiration Behind This Couple’s Fall Wedding in Carmel, New York
Dec 312015

Katharine Sullivan and Seth Dawes met in August of 2012 when their mutual friends invited each of them to join them for a weeklong vacation in Costa Rica. "There were other guests invited, but long story shot, they couldn't make it. Luckily, we got along from the beginning," Katharine says. As she explains, neither was looking for a relationship, but after a week-long double date in paradise, it was hard to deny something had sparked between them. "Seth declared his feelings for me in the middle of a Costa Rican discotech. It was so not how I thought I'd meet the love of my life, but it was so much better," she says. Just as their relationship had started in a somewhat unconventional way, so did their proposal. "I told Seth I wanted to marry him in January 2013, but he said he really wanted to propose the old-fashioned way," Katharine says. While on vacation in Greece in June 2013, Seth popped the question at the Theatre of Epidavros — the most well persevered ancient theatre in Greece, and a place that his bride-to-be, a freelance theatre producer, entirely appreciated.

The pair decided on a fall wedding at the Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club in Carmel, New York. "We had been traumatized by so many New York City wedding venues, so we deiced to look just outside the city in the Hudson Valley area, which reminds Seth of his home in England," Katharine says. The pair found their gorgeous venue overlooking the lake and knew it was where they would celebrate with friends and family. But their one hang-up was finding a place to host their ceremony. When one of Katharine's work associates offered up their backyard (at a gorgeous home nestled right in Carmel!), the couple jumped at the chance to say I do outdoors. "It really worked out perfectly!" the bride says. With the help of Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies, the couple threw an upscale English garden party-inspired celebration on September 27, 2014. Keep reading to see all of the photos of their beautiful day, as captured by Dave Robbins Photography.

Katharine knew she wanted a wedding dress with lace and sleeves, so when she saw her beautiful Inbal Dror gown, she knew she'd wear it down the aisle. "I didn't even really care about trying on other designers or dresses, but I did for good measure," she says. "When I finally got a hold of that dress, I knew I was done." She loved how the understated silhouette looked both classic and sexy, but was still entirely comfortable.

The bride admits that choosing her bridesmaids' dresses was a team effort. "I've never been super traditional, so I wasn't keen on having my best friends line up in the same dress," Katharine says. "I wanted them to look like themselves on the wedding day and also wanted them to have a dress they could wear again." The four 'maids and the bride created a joint Pinterest board and began sharing ideas of neutral-toned gowns they loved. The end result was a coordinated look that felt anything but matchy-matchy.

Seth put plenty of thought into his big day look, too. "I had a custom made three-piece suit and white shirt created by Martin Greenfield Clothiers, the same tailor of American presidents!" he says. "I wanted my groomsmen to wear something similar, so each wore a three-piece dark gray suit with light blue shirts." As gifts, Seth gave his attendants the same Ralph Lauren tie he wore and silver tie clips from The Tie Bar.

Katharine wanted a bouquet that was big, incorporated plenty of color, and had a bit of a wild touch. The end result was a mix of garden roses, astilbe, zinnias, and greenery. For her bridesmaids, Katharine decided that each should carry a single King Protea. "Their dresses were so glamorous and detailed, so I liked the look of just a single stem," she says.

The couple's flower girl and ring bearer, Nova and Aedan, started the ceremony on a hilarious note. The adorable young attendants, who just so happen to be best friends, walked down the aisle first, with Nova sprinkling white flower petals and Aedan carrying a sign reading "here comes the bride." "Aedan was holding the ring box in one hand and decided he should put it in his pocket for safe keeping," Katharine remembers. "When he did that, he dropped the sign and Nova turned around to scold him, but he immediately picked up his sign and ran towards her with a devious smile. It was a really sweet and funny moment."

The bride walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with both her mother and father and met Seth beneath an archway dotted with English garden roses. There, the couple exchanged personalized vows and concluded the ceremony with their twist on a tree-planting ritual.

The party then moved to the Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club, where long tables where dressed with white and burlap tablecloths. Each table was then topped with a greenery runner and arrangements of mixed flowers. In an effort to minimize paper waste from their day, Katharine and Seth displayed dinner menus on mini easels that guests could all read. "We're vegetarians, so we didn't want any meat at the wedding," Katharine says. "We chose a really solid, veggie-heavy menu that was locally-based. Our guests didn't seem to mind, and everyone enjoyed pumpkin fettuccini with sage butter, local New York trout, and cheddar polenta."

Dessert was as delicious as it was meaningful. The couple sliced into a two-tiered vanilla cake that was filled with a surprise for their guests. "Inside was a six-layer rainbow cake. We called it our 'marriage equality cake,'" Katharine says. "Our LGBTQ friends loved it and, as an added bonus, the kids went crazy for it. What kid doesn't love rainbows?" The bride and groom also served gluten free cupcakes and seasonal pies.

Katharine and Seth, who honeymooned in Iceland, advise other couples to really think about what they want from their wedding day. "Think about what you want your ceremony to be and think of each element and what it will signify for you as a couple and for your marriage," the bride says. "Don't do something just because it's traditional, unless it has meaning for you both. Also, listen to your mother. You don't have to agree or include all of her ideas, but listen to her."

Ceremony Venue: Private Residence || Reception Venue: The Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club || Wedding Planner: Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies || Officiant: Anna Marquardt || Bride's Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror, purchased at Mark Ingram Atelier || Bride's Veil: Jennifer Leigh || Jewelry: Greenwich Jewelers || Shoes: Vince Camuto || Hair & Makeup: La Voila Beauty || Groom's Attire: Martin Greenfield Clothiers || Engagement Ring: Single Stone || Flowers: A Night in Bloom || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: Hank Lane || Catering: Harvest Real Food Catering || Cake: Maxine's Catering & Bittersweet Bakery || Rentals: Events Unlimited Party Rentals || Videographer: McKenzie Miller Films || Photographer: Dave Robbins Photography

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Can't get enough of Katharine and Seth's beautiful wedding? Then see more from their day in their real wedding video, below!

Should We Have a Second Wedding Reception?

 Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on Should We Have a Second Wedding Reception?
Dec 312015

Planning one wedding is already a lot of work, but if you and your spouse-to-be live far away from one (or both) of your families or are having a more intimate destination wedding, you might be thinking about planning a second one closer to home. So, is it worth the hassle? Here's what our experts have to say about whether or not you should have reception number two.

Keeping the guest list small is a great way to keep your wedding-planning costs down (and is usually the way to go if you're traveling to a far-flung destination to celebrate), but it does mean that there might be family members or friends who never made it off the B List who you still want to celebrate. If they all live in the same area (say, close to your hometown), a second reception is a great way to include them all in your wedding — as well as more easily cut down the guest list for the main event.

See more: 11 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Invite Someone to Your Wedding

If you choose to go for round two, there's no need to make it as intricate as your actual wedding day. A more low-key event, like a big dinner at a local restaurant or a cocktail reception at your favorite bar, is a great way to get everyone together. You might opt to wear your wedding dress again if you're hosting a more formal sit-down, or stick to the white theme and pick a shorter cocktail-style frock so you still stand out from the crowd but are a little more comfortable (and re-wear your wedding shoes, of course!).

When you're inviting guests to just the second reception, make sure your invitation wording is clear. Something like "Sarah and James invite you to a cocktail party in celebration of their marriage," or a more casual "Sarah and James are married! Please join us for a celebratory cocktail party," will let them know that the ceremony has already happened.

#TBT: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Secretive 1997 New Year’s Eve Wedding

 Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings  Comments Off on #TBT: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Secretive 1997 New Year’s Eve Wedding
Dec 312015
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith Wedding

Photo: Getty Images

This is a story all about how...the Fresh Prince of BelAir married his true love on December 31st, 1997. We're throwing it all the way back to 18 years ago, when Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith got hitched in an ultra romantic (and secretive) New Year's Eve wedding.

The couple met when Jada auditioned for the part of Will's girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Belair (she didn't get it), and had been dating for a couple of years when he popped the question that November. At the time, Jada told People that things got serious fast, "One day we got engaged, and the next day we found out we were pregnant." So the race was on for the bride, groom, and parents-to-be.

In what People described as "the most lavish and secretive celebrity wedding of the year," the Smiths went full out glamorous to surprise and delight their celebrity (and non-celebrity) guests.

Celebrity Weddings, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith

Photo: Daily Mail via Pinterest

He may be "west Philadelphia born and raised," but when it came down to picking a venue for the future Mr. & Mrs. Smith's nuptials, the bride-to-be got hometown rights. The couple selected the Cloisters, a medieval-style mansion near Baltimore, where Jada grew up, for the big day. The couple's wedding planner David Weinschel told People, "Jada wanted it simple but elegant." That being said, it took eight decorators 10 hours to make the venue up to the couple's standards.

Secrecy was the name of the game for the big day, the soon-to-be-Smiths didn't want any media leaks. No invitations were sent, guests were just told to arrive at their hotel in Baltimore and were given an envelope with directions to hand to their limo drivers.

See more: The Most Iconic Celebrity Brides

As for fashion — well the couple that dresses together stays together, right? Jada opted for a long-sleeved, high-necked, champagne-colored, velvet Badgley Mischka gown. The groom wore a matching Badgley Mischka suit. This was the '90s after all, decade of couple coordination (Posh and Becks, Britney and Justin we're looking at you), and Will and Jada were masters of the game.

Oh, and what about the tunes at the former half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's nuptials you ask? Will's 90s chart topper, Gettin' Jiggy With It, crowded the dance floor, natch. Ah, those were the days.

The couple capped the night off with a sweet New Year's Eve midnight-kiss and what looks like a Polaroid selfie, which Jada shared on her Twitter account.

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith Wedding

Photo: Courtesy of Jada Pinkett-Smith via Twitter

A budding family and 18 years later (20 if you count two years of dating), the Smiths, who are parents to Willow and Jaden and Will's son Trey (from a previous marriage), are still going strong and offering up nuggets of relationship wisdom whenever possible. "If there is a secret, I would say it's that we never went into working in our relationship," the Concussion actor recently said on the red carpet. "We only ever worked on ourselves individually, and then presented ourselves to one another better than we were previously."

Jada agrees. In a candid interview with Howard Stern earlier this year, the Gotham actress addressed rumors about her marriage to Will. "Here's the deal, Howard. You've gotta trust who you're with. And at the end of the day, right, I'm not here to be anybody's watcher. I'm not his watcher. He's a grown man," she told Stern.

We love a couple who can be honest about what it takes to make a marriage last!

6 Wedding Favors Your Guests Actually Want

 Favors & Gifts, Wedding Favors, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on 6 Wedding Favors Your Guests Actually Want
Dec 312015

How many times have you been to a wedding and conveniently "forgot" to take a favor because, well, you just weren't that into them in the first place? Guilty as charged! To ensure your guests don't do the exact same thing and throw your hard-earned money down the drain, invest in something they actually want and that won't go to waste. Here are 7 favors that fit the bill according to guests who've literally seen it all.

1. Anything edible (as long as it's high quality, that is)
"Quality is key! Nice chocolates would be my vote or something I can snack on that night or the next morning. If you're going to buy cheap candy for simply the sake of having a favor, just don't have one." — Catherine

2. Alcohol
"You can never go wrong with mini champagne bottles or airplane bottles of your favorite booze. Even better if you have his and her options so guests can pick their drink of choice. It's doubtful any will get left behind." — Marisa

3. Scratch off lottery tickets
"We gave everyone dollar scratch off lottery tickets, and they were a huge hit. I decorated envelopes with our name, wedding date and colors to put them in, and the total cost per person wound up being something like two dollars, including the ticket itself and craft supplies. They were really cute and so easy to do! You can always buy more expensive tickets for everyone or mix some of the $5, $10 and $20 tickets in with the dollar ones to make it fun for people to pick an envelope." — Caroline

See More: Out-of-the-Box Alternatives to the Traditional Wedding Guest Book

4. Mini plants and hanging terrariums
"I'd love to get a potted succulent or a hanging terrarium. I'm always looking for little things to spruce up my home and office so something like this would be perfect. Pretty much anything else I would leave at the table, unless it was food." — Jade

5. Something local to the area
"If it's a destination wedding, it's nice to get something I wouldn't be able to get anywhere else — a little taste of the culture or a souvenir of sorts. For example, we went to a wedding last year that had jam as one of the favors in a flavor that was native to the area and very well known." — Summer

6. Caricatures
"My friend and her husband hired a caricature artist to work their entire reception. There was a line all night, which was slightly annoying, however, all our friends still rave about their portraits today and a lot of them even have hung them up in their homes." — Andrea

Dec 312015

You'd never plan your wedding at work (cough, cough) — but your lunch break is a whole other story! For your weekly roundup, we picked gorgeous real weddings, pretty style details, and helpful tips from across the web.

Trying to figure out your plans for New Year's Eve is almost like trying to find the perfect wedding dress — so many options, so little time, and lots of push and pull. So what's a girl to do? If you hope to ring in the new year with your sweetheart, here are 22 fun date-night ideas that range from cozying up on the couch and toasting to a night of Netflix to a romantic picnic at sunset (with a bottle of bubbly of course!). Whatever your pick, these options are a surefire way to add a dash of romance to end the year. —POPSUGAR

If you're at a loss for what to wear for your friend's NYE nuptials, we've got a few standout ideas. Whether you're looking for an elegant gown in head-to-toe sequins or a classic little black dress with a flirty twist, these killer outfits will having you toasting the new year in style. —Brides

See more: 5 Reasons to Love a New Year's Eve Wedding

Hosting a simple outdoor reception? Get inspired by this intimate real wedding, featuring soft, romantic details, greenery installations, and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The couple's classic color palette blended seamlessly with the earthy outdoor elements, combining elegant and natural details for a truly one-of-kind affair. —OnceWed

With the new year around the corner, there comes a host of upcoming wellness trends that our friends at Well + Good are anticipating. From the emergence of "Seaweed is the new kale" motto, to a movement towards "athleisure" and "anti-diet" trends, we can say that 2016 will be a truly mind, body, and soul changing year for brides-to-be! —Well + Good

This fun-loving couple traded flowers and DIY décor for sparklers, confetti, and champagne for one ultimate New Year's Eve wedding bash. See all the glitz and glam details come to life and watch this epic dance-filled night unfold long after the clock hits midnight. —100 Layer Cake

Goldie Hawn Reveals the Secrets to Her and Kurt Russell’s 32-Year Relationship

 Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings, News  Comments Off on Goldie Hawn Reveals the Secrets to Her and Kurt Russell’s 32-Year Relationship
Dec 312015
Goldie Hawn Reveals the Secrets to Her and Kurt Russell's Relationship

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to the word "relationship" in Hollywood, it's not often that you find it paired with the pre-fix "long-lasting." The successful A-list love club contains only a few key members, including the 32-year relationship between Oscar-winning actress, Goldie Hawn, and her actor beau, Kurt Russell. The 70-year-old blonde bombshell is revealing her golden rule in maintaining her milestone relationship...and it's really simple!

The former First Wives Club star, who first locked eyes with her triple decade long love on the set of Swing Shift in 1983, recently told People the key to managing the "ups and downs" of being in a successful Hollywood relationship. "In relationships, particularly love relationships, people are impatient...they don't listen," admitted Hawn. The gorgeous mom, who shares almost identical looks to her famous blonde daughter, Kate Hudson, went on to express how important communication is to any couple's accomplishment. "You have to want to stay together, and really want to. Therefore you work to be together."

But even successful Hollywood love stories have their own set of flaws. "We don't have a perfect relationship," admitted the talented actress, "Sometimes I get mad and sometimes Kurt gets mad. It's normal," Hawn told the magazine. "Continuing to listen and grow is important because we get into bad habits in relationships. We're cognizant of these things in our relationships, being mindful and caring and listening."

See More: Hollywood Marriages That Have Stood The Test of Time

Even this experienced couple has realized that sometimes it's the little things that stage the trickiest battles! Russell's latest movie role, The Hateful Eight, left the actor with a set of extreme facial hair, which wasn't the biggest win in looks with his longtime partner. "She understood [with] this one we were going to have to muscle through it," Russell recently revealed to the Today show.

This December interview brought back flashbacks of a previous Today show appearance back in 1986, when the new couple spilled their key to happiness. "We're so happy now, why tamper with perfection," Hawn said, "It's like Kurt and I say, I hope to be with him forever, but maybe that won't happen either. There's no way of knowing these things." It looks like they are still going strong!

The Ultimate Power Couple Match for Your Zodiac Sign

 Relationships  Comments Off on The Ultimate Power Couple Match for Your Zodiac Sign
Dec 312015

You see them. You know ... that couple. The couple that's been together for so long that you don't recall a time where they weren't together. That couple whose personalities are either too similar or too different. That couple that, from the outside looking in, don't look like they fit but they just ... do.

One way to get the answer to this million dollar question is to look at their zodiac signs. Our zodiac signs influence our personalities, so it's natural for us to be attracted to other signs of a similar or opposing personality. Curious to see which sign is compatible with yours?

Taurus (April 20 - May 20) and Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Taurus and Cancer are loyal, caring and kind to others. Thus, they will be loyal, caring and kind to each other. They're the kind of couple that are so passionately in love with each other that it makes the other signs jealous.

See more: 50 Love Quotes We Simply Adore (And You Will Too)

Gemini (May 21 - June 20) and Aries (March 21 - April 19): Gemini and Aries are independent in nature, but also enthusiastic. Aries' sense of adventure is indulged by Gemini, so moments with each other are never lacking in excitement. They're more likely to try new things because they have a partner-in-crime.

Leo (July 23 - August 22) and Leo: Yes, a Leo's perfect partner is someone as confident and ambitious as themselves. Since Leos are naturally encouraging, this is the couple that will motivate each other in anything. They will treat each other as kings and queens, and will never settle for less when it comes to each other's happiness.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22) and Virgo: Much like Leos, Virgos find comfort in other Virgos because they match their logical and analytical mind. They both take comfort in plans and schedules. Although they may not show each other their affection as openly as other signs, they don't have to; they already know each other's feelings.

See more: 10 Brutal Truths About Being Married To Someone Who's Bipolar

Libra (September 23 - October 22) and Capricorn (December 22 - January 19): Libra and Capricorn are a classic example of opposites attract that work. Libra loves being social and around people, while Capricorn prefers solitude and independence. Libra is easygoing and talkative, but lazy; Capricorn is stern and distrusting, but hardworking. This is exactly why Libra's upbeat nature can loosen up Capricorn, and Capricorn can encourage Libra to work harder. They balance each other out.

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21) and Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21): Independence is a trait that Scorpio and Sagittarius both have in common, and it ends there. Scorpio is grounded but Sagittarius is restless. Scorpios tend to feel their emotions full force, whereas Sagittarius contain them. But when it comes to love both are wary and protective of their hearts. This is the couple that isn't attached to the hip; they give each other enough space to be on their own.

See more: Quotes To Share With Your Long-Distance Lover

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18) and Pisces (February 19 - March 20): Even though Aquarius is independent where Pisces is dependent, their creativity and imagination brings them together. Pisces, though guarded at first, love to talk about the subject of their interest, and Aquarius love stimulating conversation. Aquarius are also spontaneous, which Pisces secretly love.

BRIDES Southern California: How to Throw an Unforgettable New Year’s Eve Wedding in L.A.

 California, Holidays, Local, Los Angeles-Orange County, Planning Tips, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on BRIDES Southern California: How to Throw an Unforgettable New Year’s Eve Wedding in L.A.
Dec 312015
How to Plan a New Year's Eve Wedding in Los Angeles

Photo: Getty Images

A New Year's Eve bride is a special type — one that loves excitement, celebration, and of course, champagne! So, what better way to ring in the New Year than with a New Year's Eve wedding in the exciting city of Los Angeles? It can be the perfect way to end the year and start your life together in newlywed bliss. However, if you're going to commit to the 31st as your wedding date, you need to make sure you set the celebratory tone of the wedding event at the beginning. Here are some tips from LA wedding expert and event planner, Cristina Burns, for throwing an unforgettable New Year's Eve wedding in Los Angeles!

Save the Dates
The save the dates for a New Year's Eve wedding should embrace the holiday aspect of the wedding. Get your guests excited! You don't want them to think, "Ugh, I have to go to a wedding on New Year's Eve." Instead, they need to say, ''Let's Celebrate!'' after they receive them. Save the dates for an NYE wedding can be elegant, but a great option is to incorporate metallics and champagne for the colors and design. Send them out as soon as you have your date secured; it doesn't matter if the wedding is a year away, guests will need to plan accordingly and make travel arrangements.
Find Los Angeles Wedding Stationers Here!

Because of the midnight celebration, your wedding will need to start later than a traditional start time, so consider having your ceremony begin later in the evening at around 7pm. A later dinner ceremony and reception is crucial on NYE because it gives your guests a good amount of time to battle Los Angeles traffic (and still get to the wedding on time!). If your venue allows it, end your reception at least an hour past the midnight toast. Most LA wedding venues and hotels will be okay with the later end time because of the holiday, but make sure to double check before booking. Find L.A. Venues to Host Your New Year's Eve Bash Here!

Be sure to secure a room block right away for your guests. 75 percent of your guests will stay the night and because it is LA, hotel rooms will book fast! You can be sure that many hotels will have other NYE-celebrators making reservations, so it's important to make this a top priority on your to-do list.

See More: Haven't Found the Dress of Your Dreams Yet? Browse These Los Angeles Bridal Boutiques!

If you choose a venue that is not at the hotel where the room block is located, it is essential to arrange transportation for your guests from the wedding site to the hotel. A New Year's Eve wedding should be a fun night for everyone involved (with lots of champagne), and there is no reason to end the evening with unsafe driving. Encourage your guests to use the transportation so all are safe and sound at the end of the night! Find Los Angeles Wedding Transportation Options Here!

You've already set the tone with your save the dates, so be sure to carry that theme throughout the planning process with wedding invitations, stationery, flowers, and linens. Since it's a celebratory night, it's perfectly acceptable to embrace flashy accents in an elegant, formal, and fun (non-tacky!) way. While going all-out metallic may be a bit too extreme, incorporating silvers, golds, and other eye-catching color palette accents are fun ways to add to the party vibe. Charger plates, centerpieces, and a metallic balloon and confetti drop at midnight are great options to spice things up a bit. Find Fantastic L.A. Favor Vendors Here!

Midnight Toast
Every New Year's Eve wedding needs to have a midnight celebration! Coordinate a countdown with your band or DJ prior to your wedding, since the MC will play an important role in pumping up your guests and getting everyone excited for the countdown. In addition to a countdown, plan something special that will surprise your guests. Balloon drops are fun, sparklers are always exciting, and who can say no to New Year's hats and glasses!

Click here to find hundreds of other L.A. vendors — from fabulous florists to scrumptious caterers — to bring Your New Year's Eve wedding life!

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Common Mistakes Brides Make When Choosing Their Wedding Caterer

 Food & Drink, Planning Tips, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on Common Mistakes Brides Make When Choosing Their Wedding Caterer
Dec 312015
Wedding Caterer Mistakes

Photo: Pat Furey

The caterer is probably the most important vendor at your wedding, other than your wedding planner. Responsible for feeding and watering your guests in a timely and satisfactory manner, they have a huge challenge in front of them for every wedding they serve. Keeping that in mind, it's amazing how many brides and grooms jump into catering contracts (with non-refundable deposits) without considering all the important aspects.

Here are four mistakes couples frequently make when choosing their caterer:

1. Being Too Busy to Do the Homework
The decision about which caterer to use can be daunting, and some brides and grooms will skip the homework they should do simply because it's a lot of work to reach out to former clients for references, and do a lot of searching on the Internet for genuine testimonials and feedback from clients and guests about how good — or how bad — the food was at any given wedding.

2. Forgetting to Ask About Additional Charges
The caterer may have bid your wedding reception food at $80 per person, but there are almost always additional charges that you have to take into consideration for your budget from the very beginning. Most charge some sort of dish rental fee. If you're doing food stations or a buffet, there may be additional charges for station chefs to do the service. Bartenders and servers don't come cheap either. Plus, you need to plan ahead for gratuities if they're not in the contract.

See More: Can You Ask Your Wedding Venue's Caterer to Tweak Their Signature Menu?

3. Trying to Take Every Guest Preference into Consideration
It seems like half the world has some sort of food allergy or intolerance, nowadays. It used to be that your only worry was whether you needed to accommodate vegetarians and children, in addition to the regular menu. Now you have to deal with lactose and gluten intolerance, and children who can't even be in the same room with something that contains nuts. It's simply not possible to choose a wedding menu that will accommodate every individual dietary need that exists, so you have to draw the line somewhere. If you're offering a couple of dinner options, try to have one that is gluten-free, but don't make yourself crazy over it. People who can't eat gluten won't — they know what isn't good for them. If you know you have vegans, make sure your vegetarian option is vegan, and that will also satisfy the lactose intolerant folks. Offer one option for the children and if there are any with serious allergies, their parents should have enough experience dealing with it to bring something for the child to eat.

4. Overspending on the Bar
Brides and grooms usually want to serve the highest-level bar they can afford, including signature drinks and champagne toasts. Serving top shelf, instead of rail level drinks, can actually double your bar bill for every guest, something that is completely unnecessary. Make sure you have plenty of tasty, cold beverages for your guests and nobody is going to complain about the lack of pricey booze. After the third drink, they don't usually care what's in it anyway.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

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