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Brides Magazine October/November 2014 Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning
Feb 222015
 

If you've been dreaming of a gorgeous destination wedding but are unsure about some of the logistics, look no further! Event planner Michelle Rago, the queen of chic far-flung weddings, shares her tips on making your big day run like clockwork — even if it's in a different time zone.

Do Know Thyself: A destination wedding is great if you love to travel and your crowd does too. But if you're a micromanager or unsure that your pregnant MOH will be able to make the trek, save your wanderlust for the honeymoon and get married at home.

Don't Procrastinate: Unless you're inviting only a small crew, start planning at least a year out to make sure guests have time to make travel plans.

Do Visit Your Venue: Budget for one to three site inspections. You won't understand how the spaces flow together until you've walked through them yourself with your planner or catering manager.

Don't Play the Numbers Game: Assume that if you invite them, they will come, and keep the guest list down to the number you can actually afford to entertain.

See More: The Nitty-Gritty Legalities of Marrying in Another Country

Do Know Your Curfew: Even if you buy out a resort, you may not be allowed to play music late into the night — or even past 10. Find out about any noise restrictions before you sign that contract.

Don't Use Greenbacks: Since you'll be spending big sums in local currency, a bad exchange rate will set you back. Find a good one at a U.S. bank and arrive with cash in hand, or use a credit card with foreign-transaction frees, like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Quicksilver.

Do Deal Locally: Planning on bringing flowers, favors, or décor into another country? You'll need to declare everything — and if it exceeds the customs limit, you could get hit with taxes. Buying locally is often cheaper — though not always.

Don't Bankrupt Your Guests: Negotiate deals at hotels of different price points so guests can have fun instead of stressing out about the cost of their stay. And have your mom and bridesmaids spread the word that guests' presence is the only present you need.

Do Pick a Do-it-All Location: Keep your bottom line in check by choosing a resort that has ideal spots for all of your events. It will eliminate transfer costs, and hotels are more likely to negotiate if they get the whole food and beverage budget.

Whatever You Do, Do Not Follow These 10 Pieces of Wedding Advice

 Brides Magazine October/November 2014, Planning Tips, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on Whatever You Do, Do Not Follow These 10 Pieces of Wedding Advice
Dec 122014
 
Worst Pieces of Advice from Brides

Photo: Getty Images

Just like your most-fashionable friend will occasionally have a, "What was she thinking?" style day, your trusted bridal-publication can miss the mark when it comes to advice from time to time, too. While we pride ourselves on offering great tips for brides-to-be, when we gathered up our best pieces of advice from the past 80 years, we noticed a few dubious pointers we've offered in the past.

Forgive us for these cringe-worthy blunders, and don't make these mistakes for your own wedding day!

"A nice idea, and not too costly, is to have an accordion player who moves around among the guests playing their requested songs/" — Early Spring 1950

"You wouldn't give up the fun of sharing his name for all the Women's Rights in Waukegan." — Spring 1960

"Without a doubt, the most requested song right now is the 'Macarena'... If it's good enough for Al Gore, it's good enough for us." — February/March 1997

See More: The 50 Mistakes Brides Always Make

"Never, never, never act disinterested in anything your husband says or does from now until the day you die." — Spring 1938

"For a romantic wedding look that will last straight through the honeymoon, consider the beauty of a perm." — June/July 1990

"What to wear to the rehearsal dinner? Your 'Sunday best' would be appropriate, or if the dinner's less traditional, there's nothing wrong with good brown pants and your favorite turtleneck." — February/March 1980

"Reserve the first four months of [a bridesmaid's] pregnancy as possible dates that she might be in your wedding. After four months, you'd best ask her to pour tea. Nine months definitely is too late. Not only will she attract undue attention (and after all, you should be the central attraction), but she will be worn for a frazzle." — July 1970

"[An older bride] may wear white if it's her first marriage, but she won't choose a typical wedding dress, and of course, she won't have a real wedding veil." — Summer 1949

"Remember, men... have delightful illusions about the women they love. Such things as sloppiness and hair in curlers are death to dreams." — Late Spring/Summer 1950

"Did your best friend recently get engaged too? Consider a double wedding." — February/March 1980

Dec 042014
 
The Chapel at Palmetto Bluff

Photo: Perry Vaile

The last person Victoria's Secret Angel Lindsay Ellingson expected to meet at Jay Z and Kanye's launch party for Watch the Throne in 2011 was her future husband. "Someone bumped into me on the dance floor," says Lindsay. "I turned around and saw tall, dark, and handsome." That someone was Sean Clayton, and after the pair ran into one another again the next day, they knew it was meant to be.

Two years later, Sean proposed near his family's home on Thanksgiving morning. "A storm had just passed through, and there were two feet of snow on the ground," Lindsay remembers. "We went for a walk and got to a little wooden pavilion where his parents had carved their initials when they were in high school. I looked up and saw 'Lindsay will you marry me?' written in chalk!" The couple planned a wedding down south at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff. "Sean and I love it there," says Lindsay. "The first time we ever talked about getting married was during a trip there, so it was only fitting that we go back for our wedding."

Keep reading to see all of the rosy-hued details, photographed by Perry Vaile.

Gold Wedding Invitation

Photo: Perry Vaile

The cream-and-gold invitation featured the couple's ornate monogram and a soft pink belly-band, created by Emily McCarthy.

Rose Gold Jimmy Choo Sandals Pin and Lily of the Valley Bouquet

Photo: Perry Vaile

The bride chose rose gold Jimmy Choo sandals — to match her engagement ring, of course! Inside the strap of her dress, she wore a blue pin that belonged to her late grandmother. She carried a bouquet of sweet pea and lily of the valley. "I wanted something really classic, and every picture I pinned on Pinterest had them," says Lindsay. "My florist said we were breaking every rule by using them in July, but she got them for me anyway!"

Lindsay Ellingson in a Sophie Theallet Wedding Dress Lindsay Ellingson in a Sophie Theallet Wedding Dress

Photo: Perry Vaile

Having spent enough time on the catwalk to know what she likes, Lindsay commissioned a wedding gown by French designer Sophie Theallet for her July 12, 2014, nuptials. "It's so special to wear a gown no one else will have," she says of the silk-and-lace dress. "Sophie knows how to make a woman feel beautiful." Her favorite detail was the crisscrossed open back. Instead of a veil, the dress included fabric and ribbon draping from the shoulder, creating a veil-like effect.

Bridesmaids in Blush Joanna August Dresses Groom and Groomsmen in Tuxedos Lindsay Ellingson and Sean Clayton

Photo: Perry Vaile

Lindsay's bridesmaids were her two sisters, who wore pale pink wrap dresses to complement the color scheme.

Sean and his groomsmen looked sharp in classic black tuxedos. The groom's was a timeless Tom Ford design.

Aisle Decorated with Rose Petals

Photo: Perry Vaile

"The chapel is so beautiful on it's own, so we didn't want to add too much," says the bride. The aisle was simply lined with blush and white rose petals.

Wedding Ceremony at the Chapel at Palmetto Bluff

Photo: Perry Vaile

At 6 p.m., the bells rang and Lindsay headed to the chapel for the ceremony. "Sean and I locked eyes as I walked down the aisle," says Lindsay. "It felt like we were the only ones there."

Bride and Groom at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff Smoked Strawberry Margarita Cocktail

Photo: Perry Vaile

The couple's signature cocktail matched the color scheme, as well. Guests sipped on smoked strawberry margaritas, served with gold sugar rims.

Rose Gold Wedding Reception at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff Rose and Hydrangea Centerpieces with Glitter Table Numbers

Photo: Perry Vaile

The blush-and-gold reception featured soft pink linens, sequined runners, gold chairs, and lush arrangements of roses and hydrangeas.

Blush and Gold Wedding Cake Tuxedo Groom's Cake

Photo: Perry Vaile

The couple served not one, but two, cakes. The bride's cake was a pale pink confection of almond frangipane and white cake with key lime curd. The groom's cake, designed to mimic his tuxedo, was rum-soaked Bananas Foster, topped with a dog inspired by the bride and groom's pup, Carly.

Lindsay Ellingson and Sean Clayton at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff

Photo: Perry Vaile

A sparkler exit led Lindsay, Sean, and their guests to Palmetto Bluff's fire pits, where late-night s'mores and dancing awaited. "We partied all night with our friends and family," says the bride. "It was the best day of my life!"

Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Palmetto Bluff || Reception Venue: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, A Montage Resort || Wedding Planner: Ashley Rhodes of The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, A Montage Resort || Bride's Wedding Dress: Sophie Theallet || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Accessories: Wendy Nichol, Kwiat || Hair: Dominick Pucciarello || Makeup: Meredith Baraf || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August || Groom's Attire: Tom Ford || Groom's Wedding Band: Van Cleef & Arpels || Floral Design: em creative floral || Invitations & Paper Goods: Emily McCarthy || Music: ceremony - Hilton Head Entertainment, reception - Epic Charleston || Catering: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, A Montage Resort || Cake: Signe's Heaven Bound Bakery & Cafe || Rentals: Snyder Rental, La Tavola Fine Linen Rental || Favors: Corey Alston Gulla Sweetgrass Baskets, Emily McCarthy || Videography: Life in Rewind || Photography: Perry Vaile

The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Music

 Brides Magazine October/November 2014, Music, Wedding Music  Comments Off on The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Music
Nov 252014
 
The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Wedding-Music.jpg

Photo: Austin Gros

The only way you're going to get (and keep!) your guests on the dance floor is with great wedding music. Whether you're going for a DJ or a band, we've got your ultimate guide to the best dance tunes, so you and your friends and family will be on your feet all evening long.

Step 1: Book Your Venue
The site has a huge impact on your dance party's overall feel, so book it before you lock down your musicians. If you must have a certain DJ or band, pick a venue that you know can accommodate it. Either way, as yourself these key questions as you set your music strategy.

How big is the space?
A DJ can set up almost anywhere, but a big band requires more room and equipment than some sites can handle. Show potential musicians a floor plan, especially if they've never worked there before.

Do we have neighbors?
For an outdoor wedding, consider the noise. Make sure your venue has a tent that can swallow the volume your band or DJ will generate because if neighbors complain, the police could fine you or even shut down your party.

Will we have enough power?
Share your site's electricity specs with bands or DJs; they should know what kind of juice they'll need. If your venue can't support a huge act, find a group with fewer musicians or go for a DJ, since generator rentals start at $800.

See More: The Perfect Playlist for Your Wedding's Last Song

Step 2: Band or DJ?
Book a band if...
— You've got a big music budget. (Bands usually run $3,000 and up, while DJs cost around a grand.)
— You love wedding classics. (Nothing gets everyone on their feet like a live rendition of "Shout.")
— Your parents invited all their friends. (A wedding band is used to entertaining three generations and won't leave the 50+ set hanging while Tiesto brings down the house.)

Book a DJ if...
— You're a purist. (A brand brings its own sound to every song, so its version will never be exactly like the original track. If you need to hear the electronic mashup ruling your Spotify playlists, a band may not be the way to go.)
— You want an emcee. (DJs are more likely than bandleaders to coordinate toasts and direct guests to the dessert table.)
— You're in a small space. (A drum kit alone gobbles up as much space as a DJ's entire station.)

Skip the DJ and make a DIY playlist if...
— You'd rather spend your money on the flowers. (The only cost is renting a kickass sound system. If your venue has once you can use, you can it for $250.)
— You've got mainstream tastes. (You and your groom may live and die for death metal, but if your guests don't recognize the music, they won't dance to it.)
— A talented friend is willing to man the iPhone. (You'll need someone who can read the room and switch up the playlist without an awkward break in the action.)

See More: Ready to Party Like It's 1985? Listen to Our Ultimate '80's Wedding Playlist

Step 3: Plan the Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Soundtrack
Do your own thing, even at a religious ceremony.
Some churches ask you to use their in-house organist and music director. Buy them out for around $250 and use your own.

Don't feel obligated to go classical.
A quartet playing an acoustic version of your favorite song can be pretty and totally appropriate.

Book all your predancing music at once.
Ceremony musicians often charge for two-hour blocks, so they can stay through the cocktail hour at no extra cost.

Or choose a special cocktail-hour group.
Crowd-friendly options we love: reggae guitarists, a cappella groups, and dueling pianists.

Or make a playlist.
Love Belle and Sebastian and the Shins? Cocktail hour is your chance to cue up any slow-tempo must-hears.

But definitely fly your freak flag before the reception.
If you're in love with a not-so-mainstream band, hire it for cocktails — and stick to a party band or DJ for dancing.

Nov 222014
 
Beach Bash Destination Wedding Locations

Photo: Reams Photo

Always dreamed of tying the knot on a romantic island, filled with white sand beaches? Your ideal destination wedding is easier to plan than you think! These romantic retreats fulfill your barefoot-in-the-sand fantasy and then some. But one note, if you want to literally exchange vows barefoot on the beach, ask your planner to roll out an aisle runner so you don't burn your feet!

Pick one of these five islands and get planning the perfect seaside nuptials.

The Bahamas
Why here: Few places can compete with the Bahamas' 700 isles for beauty — or big-day options. Choose between bustling Nassau or one of the super-chill isolated Out Islands. They're all a puddle hop from Miami.
Where to wed: At Atlantis on Paradise Island, your part can play at the sprawling water part before watching you say "I do" by a waterfall or at the picturesque Ocean's Edge pavilion, easily transformed into a chapel. (Doubles from $385, Atlantis)

British Virgin Islands
Why here: You won't find any megaresorts on this chain of emerald isles, but you will find a serious sailing culture and bars to hop to by boat. (Hello, welcome party!)
Where to wed: Built on a hushed cover in Virgin Gorda, Rosewood Little Dix Bay feels magically away from it all. Marry at Bougainvillea Point, lush with fuchsia blooms, then stun your crowd with stilt dancers. (Doubles from $420, Rosewood Hotels)

See More: 10 Questions to Help You Decide if You Should Throw a Destination Wedding

Jamaica
Why here: Pick any postcard-perfect location: the cliffs of Negril, the waterfalls of Ocho Rios, the lush peaks of the Blue Mountains. Plus, reggae and jerk barbecue are major reception crowd pleasers.
Where to wed: Not only is Half Moon Bay 10 minutes from the Montego Bay airport, it has 400 acres of wedding-worthy sites, from beaches to ballrooms to Caribbean-view lawns. Groups can bunk in the hotel's villas, all with private pools.(Doubles from $209, Halfmoon, a Rock Resort)

Los Cabs, Mexico
Why here: Take the drama of the desert, throw in haute hotels and celeb-packed beaches (Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo got married here), and you've got a gorgeous setting for you're a wedding. Bonus: The weather is predictably perfect.
Where to wed: At Capella Pedregal, you can have a tequila tasting for the rehearsal, a bonfire at your after-party, and décor by Anne Hathaway's planner, Yifat Oren, for the main event. (Doubles from $750, Capella Hotels & Resorts)

Riviera Maya, Mexico
Why here: This stretch of Caribbean coastline south of Cancun offers turquoise waters, Mayan culture, and ruins on the beach (Tulum!). How many brides can say they were married by a shaman?
Where to wed: Set on one of the world's prettiest beaches, Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun has fire dancers on call for the reception and a trained eagle to act as your ring bearer. (All-inclusive doubles, $744, Secrets Resorts & Spas)

Nov 162014
 
Makeup Picks to Upgrade Your Beauty Routine

Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook

Achieving a flawless bridal beauty look starts with what kind of makeup you use. To put your best face forward, we suggest upgrading your makeup bag well before the big day. To help you find the best cosmetics for your wedding-day look and beyond, we came up with an extensive list of editor-approved beauty products. Get shopping, brides!

Liquid Foundation: Too much glow can look shiny in photos. Try a matte foundation to stay picture-perfect all day.
We recommend: Perfect Matte Foundation, $67, Dolce & Gabbana

Sponge: Use it to diffuse your base for a natural finish.
We recommend: Makeup Sponge, $20, BeautyBlender

Shimmery Pencil: Smudge it on the inner corners of your eyes to add subtle sparkle.
We recommend: Highlighter pencil, $17, Jane Iredale

Nude Lip Liner: Put it on before lipstick for more staying power.
We recommend: Precision Lip Definer in Beige Satin, $29, Chanel

Pressed Powder: Get an oil-free T-zone without cakiness.
We recommend: Stay-Matte Pressed Powder, $23, Clinique

Bottom-Lash Mascara: Softly darken your lower lashes for an extra hit of definition.
We recommend: Pointilliste Mascara, $26, Surratt

Blush: Brush it on the apples of your cheeks, and dust highlighting powder right on top.
We recommend: Contouring Cheek Color Duo in Stroked, $77, Tom Ford

Satin-Finish Lipstick: You can't go wrong with a classic soft pink or peachy coral.
We recommend: LipPerfection Lipcolor in Darling, $7.49, CoverGirl

Blotting Papers: For on-the-go de-shining, these babies work like a charm.
We recommend: Oil-Absorbing Blotting Papers, $10, Tarte

Primer: This simple first step locks makeup in place.
We recommend: Beautifully Matte Primer, $10, No. 7

Eyeliner and Brush: Applied with a brush, a "cake" formula looks soft and pretty.
We recommend: Tightline Cake Eye Liner, $24, Laura Mercier; Brush 11, $26, Trish McEvoy

Mascara: Lush lashes ensure your eyes stand out in photos.
We recommend: Definicils Waterproof Mascara, $28, Lancome

Illuminating Concealer: It gives light coverage for dark circles plus radiance to brighten.
We recommend: Touche Eclat, $41, Yves Saint Laurent

Nov 112014
 
Bridal Eye Makeup Tips for Your Wedding

Photo: Bela Adler

Smoky eyes are great for a night on the town, but for your ceremony, skip the heavy stuff in favor of an ultra-soft style, like the look seen above. You'll be surprised how easy it is to recreate the pretty, barely-there vibe on your own. To help you get it right, we enlisted celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt to break it down into six simple steps.

1. Pat concealer on your eyelid, lower lashline, and tear trough. This creates a base for eye shadow and helps it last.

2. Add a drop of water or Visine to black or brown powder liner, then use an eyeliner brush to wiggle it into the spaces between your top and bottom lashes. It will make them look super lush, Surratt says.

3. Apply champagne shadow on your eyelids and a white shimmery shadow around your tear ducts. "Blend it until it almost disappears," Surratt says. "It will pick up the light and give you an ethereal twinkle."

See More: Ask Drew: Drew Barrymore Answers Your Bridal Beauty Questions

4. Curl your upper lashes and brush on two coasts of mascara, starting at the roots. Then add a coat to your lower lashes too.

5. Run a clean disposable mascara wand through your lashes from root to tip to ensure they're all feathery, fluttery, and clump free.

6. Using a tweezer and a dot of glue, start at the outer corners and apply individual fake eyelashes between your upper lashes. Places them a couple of millimeters apart until you reach the center. "It will give a bit or lift and create that doe-eyed effect," Surratt says.

Big-Day Beauty Countdown: Get Picture-Perfect Skin in Time for Your Wedding

 Brides Magazine October/November 2014, Hair & Beauty, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on Big-Day Beauty Countdown: Get Picture-Perfect Skin in Time for Your Wedding
Nov 042014
 
Beauty Countdown: Get Great Skin for Your Wedding

Photo: Arthur Belebeau/Trunk Archive

Whether you have two months, 30 days, or one week, we're here to help you get picture-perfect in time for your wedding! And one of the most important steps to loving your wedding-day look is to put your best face forward — literally! We've already revealed how to get great wedding-day hair and nails, but now we're tackling your skin.

At 60 Days: See a Skin Specialist
Phase one of complexion perfection: Visit a derm or aesthetician to tackle any major issues. Here's what to ask for, how many visits you'll need, and what it will cost you.

Gylcolic-Acid Peel
Best for: Fading leftover red acne marks or brown spots and patches to even out skin tone. Have sensitive skin? Opt for a gentle lactic-acid peel instead; it doesn't penetrate as deeply.
Number of treatments: One to two per month, and the last one can be performed two weeks before the wedding.
Price: From $150 per visit, but ask about bridal discounts. That goes for all treatments!

Microdermabrasion
Best for: Smoothing texture to give you baby-soft skin. "It's a great way to remove the top layers to reveal a flawless complexion without downtime or discomfort," says New York dermatologist Judith Hellman.
Number of treatments: A total of six at a spa or derm's office, spaced out every two weeks. The last one can take place the week before the wedding.
Price: Starts at $150 per treatment.

Spa Facial
Best for: Getting your glow on — both physically and mentally. A series of professional treatments will deep clean clogged pores and provide some well-deserved pampering. You can also boost results further by adding a peel of microdermabrasion at your session.
Number of treatments: One per month. Finish with a calming, hydrating facial three to seven days before the wedding.
Price: Around $120 per treatment.

Clear and Brilliant Lip Laser
Best for: Antiaging. This 30-minute procedure — a dermatologist favorite — stimulates collagen to reduce fine lines, brighten dull skin, and minimize the appearance of large pores, says New York dermatologist Diane Berson.
Number of treatments: One per month. "You can finish as late as two weeks prior to your wedding day," Berson says. "I love this as a pre-wedding treatment because it gives you the benefits of a rejuvenating laser with much less downtime."
Price: $400 to $500 per visit.

See More: Ask Drew: Drew Barrymore Answers Your Bridal Beauty Questions

At 30 Days: Derm It Yourself
No time to see an MD about every single little complexion concern? Pick products with these power ingredients and watch your issues disappear.

Acne
Salicylic acid: It prevents blemishes, refines pores, and exfoliates.
Retinoids: A family of antiaging rock stars, battle acne, dark spots, and wrinkles by improving cell turnover (that means dead skin sloughs away faster), so everything looks clearer, glowiest, and all-around better.
Benzoyl peroxide: It zaps acne by killing the bacteria that cause it. Use a 10 perfect cream em a spot treatment or a 5 perfect formula all over to prevent future breakouts.

Dark Spots
Hydroquinone: A strong bleaching agent, lightens the skin by inhibiting the enzyme that triggers melanin. It's available at up to a two perfect concentration over the counter.
Soy protein: This gently evens tone and smooths texture.
Vitamin C: It prevents excessive melanin formation and is top-notch for overall brightening of the skin.
Kojic acid: This is a milder alternative to hydroquinone that's derived from mushrooms, impedes melanin production to reduce spots.

Rosacea
Niacinamide: It strengthens the outer layer of the skin and reduces inflammation, calming redness. (Bonus: It's a great antiager!) >
Bisabolol: A chamomile extract, has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-irritant properties. It soothes on contact and works nicely in a moisturizer or as a spot treatment. Keep in your bag for emergency flare-ups.
Green tea: It is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, whether you drink it or apply it via a moisturizer. Tip: Look for a formula that's beige or brown. "If it's white, the green tea could be low in concentration and not as effective," says dermatologist Judith Hellman.

Dryness & Fine Lines
Hyaluronic acid: It attracts and absorbs moisture, keeping skin plump and hydrated and improving elasticity. Use it in a serum or lotion and apply it directly after cleansing, when your skin is damp and most receptive to soaking in lots of water.
Glycerin: It pulls in water, then seals it into the skin, and its barrier-protecting properties prevent irritation. Use it in cleansers or moisturizers to leave skin smooth and supple.

At 7 Days: Zit Control
A pimple is bound to pop up just before the biggest day of your life. If this happens reach for cortisone says dermatologist Diane Berson. "You can get an injection three to four days before, but not the day of. Got a doozy on the big day? Ice it for a few minutes, then dab on redness-reducing eye drops. Avoid spot treatments, which make it tough for makeup to adhere. Instead, apply cream concealer and powder. No one will be the wiser.

Wine-Country Wedding: 5 Breathtaking Locales to Consider for Your Big Day

 Brides Magazine October/November 2014, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on Wine-Country Wedding: 5 Breathtaking Locales to Consider for Your Big Day
Oct 302014
 

Looking for the perfect destination wedding location? Consider wine country! These bucolic backdrops deliver sensory satisfaction, with rolling hills and perfect food-and-wine pairings on every reception menu. Just remember that many wine regions, including Napa and Willamette, don't actually host weddings on winery properties. Consider getting hitched at a resort or inn nearby and enjoying the views (and the juice) from there.

Finger Lakes, New York
Why here: Eleven lakes. Four wine trails. More than 100 vineyards. Guests have tons to do during their downtime in New York's biggest wine region, four hours outside of NYC.
Where to wed: The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars (Doubles from $119, Glenora) on Seneca Lake has 30 rooms overlooking the vineyards. Wed under an arbor draped in vines.
Insider tip: Serve wine from jeroboams (the equivalent of four bottles) with your names splashed across the labels.

See More: Wedding Style Ideas for a Vineyard Wedding

Napa Valley, California
Why here: With a sunny Mediterranean climate, fresh local everything, and vintages that rival the best in France and Italy, Napa is an epicurean's dream.
Where to wed: Meadowood (Doubles from $650, Meadowood) resort planners specialize in food-centric soirees, both on site and off, so you can do your rehearsal at a winery and I do's on the hotel's croquet lawn.
Insider tip: Ask hotel beverage director Scott Beattie to create a signature drink with ingredients from the organic garden.

Willamette Valley, Oregon
Why here: This pastoral enclave just outside Portland has plenty of idyllic wedding spots — and some of the world's best pinot noir.
Where to wed: With lush gardens and its own grove of grapes, the Allison Inn & Spa (Doubles from $350, The Allison) is the only high-end resort in the valley. Chef Sunny Jin, who honed his skills at French Laundry, plans menus around what's growing in the garden.
Insider tip: Treat your girls to mimosa manis and pinot pedis. (You sip while you primp!)

See More: Check Out Other Great Wine-Country Wedding Venues

Tuscany, Italy
Why here: Filled with tumbledown churches and historic villas, Tuscany is a feast for the senses — and your photos. (That golden light Those cypress trees!)
Where to wed: Party like it's 999 at Castello di Casole (Doubles from $550, Castello di Casole), a 10th-century estate where you can exchange rings on the Limonaia Terrace's lush lawn, then retreat to the working winery for dinner.
Insider tip: Instead of throwing a bridesmaids lunch, gather your girls for a pizza-making class and wine tasting.

Mendoza, Argentina
Why here: The charming winemakers in this burgeoning destination adore entertaining. Tango dancing, mountain biking, Andes views — what's not to love?
Where to wed: Get hitched poolside at the Vines resort (Doubles from $850, Vines Resort), then bring your bash to a thatch-roofed ramada (shelter) for an authentic Argentine barbecue. On tap? A wine custom blended for your party.
Insider tip: Send your guests on a sunrise horseback ride led by an authentic gaucho (cowboy).

How to Pick the Right Entertainer for Your Wedding Reception

 Brides Magazine October/November 2014, Music, Wedding Music, Wedding Reception  Comments Off on How to Pick the Right Entertainer for Your Wedding Reception
Oct 292014
 
Tips for Picking the Right Reception Music

Photo: Robert Fairer

It's no secret that music hugely influences the overall vibe of your wedding — pick the right band or DJ and your guests will be on the dance floor all night long, but with the wrong choice, and you can bet your party will die down instantly. To help you get the right entertainer for your bash, keep these tips in mind when meeting with talent and creating your contracts.

Vet the talent.
Whether you're looking for a string quartet of a nine-piece band, sample online demos before you set up meetings, and check out DJs' pages on SoundCloud.com. You can also seek out music by asking your venue for recs, going to a live gig, or searching YouTube for videos of potential groups. And when you're interviewing acts, don't forget to ask these questions.

Do you do this full-time? If not, you might get your bandleader's voice mail 10 times the Friday before your wedding because of an all-day meeting at his "real job."
Have you played our venue before? A veteran will make the day go way more smoothly, since he or she already knows the site's set-up and unloading procedures.
Do you have references? Former brides can tell you if the band kept everyone dancing for hours — or misread the crowd and killed the vibe by 10 p.m.
Can you learn new songs? Musicians should be able to pick up a few special requests with four to six weeks' notice at no extra cost.

See More: The Perfect Playlist for Your Wedding's Last Song

Get it all in writing.
Once you're ready to book, negotiate an airtight contract, then check it against your venue's contract. It should include:

• Start and end times including loading and unloading times.
• A "key man" stipulation. This means the singer (a.k.a. the reason you chose the group) can't be swapped out with no notice.
• Rough must-play and do-not-play lists. You can finalized them later, but give the group something to start with.
• The cancellation and refund policy. If you cancel and your band or DJ rebooks your date, you could get your deposited back.
• The total fee and overtime rate, plus extra charges. Duh.
• Food-and-drink policy. Most venues will offer vendors a buffet dinner at half the price of a guest's meal.

Read the fine print.
Bands and DJs have been known to charge extra for these. Avoid surprises by making sure they're covered in your contract:
• Wireless microphones for the officiant and toasts
• Emcee services
• Additional equipment or speakers
• Taxes and gratuities

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