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Wedding Reception Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning
Oct 232016

Newsflash, brides-to-be: Gone are the days of just chicken or fish. "A wedding meal should be a narrative of you as a couple and the foods you love," says Hugh Acheson, the James Beard Award winning chef at Atlanta's Empire State South. So get hungry, brides, because no idea is off-limits when it comes to your reception food!

Obsessed with brunch? Surprise guests with breakfast for dinner. Was grilled cheese your favorite childhood snack? Serve a gourmet version as an appetizer. Now is the time to experiment. "The beauty of weddings is that guests are happy but hungry, so they're willing to try something new," says Acheson. "The reaction you want is 'Wow, this isn't typical wedding food.'"

Need a bit(e) of guidance? The first rule in menu planning: It's about you. "Start by choosing two entrees, using the proteins you and your groom love most," suggests Chris Huerta, executive chef at North Carolina's Old Edward's Inn. "If he wants beef, there's no reason you can't choose fish or poultry to accompany it." And don't feel like you have to change your entire menu or offer individual dishes to suit a handful of guests with food allergies (like those with gluten intolerance) or dietary restrictions (vegans and vegetarians). Rather, provide a variety of dishes to choose from, which is much easier to handle than many custom plates.

But what are the ultimate dos and don'ts of personalizing your wedding menu? Read on to find out.

DO Offer simply prepared dishes ideal for large groups, like stewed meats with grains and veggies or cured-meat and cheese boards. They can be total wedding budget savers.

DON'T There's no need to overdo it with labor-intensive (and expensive) entrees like individually temperatured beef tenderloin.

DO Set up interactive stations where dishes are made to order by a chef. Plan on one station for every 50 guests.

DON'T Ditch the fried foods, like french fries, which get soggy quickly. (You can always make a pre-honeymoon pitstop at In-N-Out!)

DO Go for fresh salads chock-full of local, seasonal veggies, like burrata with tomato, corn, and basil in summer.

See More: 3 Things Not to Do at Your Wedding Menu Tasting

DON'T Avoid choosing out-of-season produce. "Research seasonality in your area and ask the caterer to devise a menu using those ingredients," says Stephany Wilder of the Ace Hotel Palm Springs in California. "You'll save money and support local businesses."

DO Consider a vegetable gratin. "They can be pre-assembled, are cooked at the last minute, and are cheesy and beautiful," says Acheson. Don't offer risotto, which is hard to execute and tastes gummy if it sits too long.

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These Trendy Sweetheart Tables Will Make You Totally Want to Ditch The Head Table

 Wedding Reception, Wedding Style, Wedding Style & Decor  Comments Off on These Trendy Sweetheart Tables Will Make You Totally Want to Ditch The Head Table
Oct 222016

If your wedding party is too large or your reception space doesn't allow for a head table, a sweetheart table for two may be right for you. It's also a great option if you want to enjoy one-on-one conversation with your new spouse during dinner. But instead of two chairs, get cozy with your groom and share a loveseat or elegant settee. Check out these six romantic takes on this sweetheart-table trend.

Al Fresco (above): If your reception is being held outdoors, make your sweetheart table cozy by adding a loveseat along with loads of candles in lanterns and glass hurricane vases.

sweetheart table ideas

Photo: Jana Williams

Rustic: For a more natural look, opt for a rough-hewn wood table but skip the table linen. Just add a comfy loveseat, flowers, and a cute newlyweds sign.

sweetheart table ideas

Photo: Jasmine Star

Elevated: Make sure all eyes are on you and your new spouse at the reception by elevating your sweetheart table and settee on a platform or stage.

Lush Florals: Embellish your sweetheart table with a luxe damask table linen topped with an abundance of lush florals.

Mr. & Mrs. Pillow: This embroidered "Mr. & Mrs." pillow is the perfect touch to this darling sweetheart table.

Marquee Letters: Add whimsical marquee letters in your initials to liven up your sweetheart table.

6 Inexpensive Ways to Totally Impress Your Wedding Guests

 Planning Tips, Wedding Guests, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Reception  Comments Off on 6 Inexpensive Ways to Totally Impress Your Wedding Guests
Oct 202016
Ways To Impress Your Wedding Guests

Photo: Marcela Polo

In your 20s and 30s, the more weddings you attend, the more you'll feel like you are having a big ol' case of wedding weekend deja vu. The day and the night can start to feel repetitive for guests who have become frequent wedding attendees. So if you're looking for fun and unique ways to make your wedding stand out from the rest, here are six easy (and inexpensive!) ways to impress your wedding guests.

1. Cater Your Favorite Food
Skip the traditional wedding reception food and instead do a buffet or a side dish table with a type of food that you love. To make it even more personalized, perhaps cater your wedding dinner from your favorite local restaurant.

2. Create a Doughnut Display
Standard wedding cakes — while we love them — aren't a "must-have" for every wedding celebration. Instead, couples are serving desserts that are more in line with their personalities. One of our favorite trends is creating a doughnut display on the wall, which is a dessert trend that allows guests to pick and choose a sugary treat at their leisure.

3. Incorporate Live Music
If you can't afford a full-band, hire a DJ to provide the music for the wedding reception and hire one or two musicians to accompany his pre-selected music. It'll be a good dance floor surprise for your guests and will definitely get the crowd going.

4. Provide Interactive Games
Photobooths have become a standard tradition at weddings, but giving guests more activities will keep them from sitting down the entire night. Depending on the aesthetic of your wedding, providing lawn games, table tennis, or other interactive activities will keep the vibe enjoyable and light.

See More: 7 Wedding Rules Guests Can (and Totally Should) Break

5. Toss Out the Wedding Traditions
If tossing the bouquet, walking down the aisle, or even having a 45-minute long cocktail hour isn't your style, then skip it. Your guests will admire the uniqueness of your big day — and will be looking to the non-traditional surprises throughout the night.

6. Let Them Sit Anywhere
Toss out your seating chart woes and have your guests pick their own spots for the night. The major perks: they'll socialize more, feel more relaxed, and will enjoy their seating moreso than if you and your spouse pre-selected their seating arrangements.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

7 Sweetheart Table Ideas You’ll Fall Head Over Heels For

 Planning Tips, Wedding Reception, Wedding Style  Comments Off on 7 Sweetheart Table Ideas You’ll Fall Head Over Heels For
Sep 212016

As soon as you come back up the aisle as newlyweds, you're going to be swarmed by wedding guests hoping to give you a hug, a kiss, or their congratulations. And why not? You're married! But all that attention can get a little overwhelming, especially when you think about the hours of celebration ahead of you. Enter the sweetheart table. Step away from the madness for a few minutes with a wedding reception dinner for two and some peace and quiet, where you can talk (or not!) about how everything is going so far and revel in your amazing day. Not to mention the nearly endless design options! Sweetheart tables are a great way to accent your reception d&eactue;cor. Splurge on those rentals you really couldn't justify for over 100 guests — you'll only need two of those stunning chargers! — and open a special bottle of wine or champagne. After all, it's your day and you don't have to share with anyone else! Here are some wedding sweetheart tables that caught our eye and will look beautiful alongside the details you've chosen for your wedding day.

Bright and Bold
Bri and Phil had an eclectic and relaxed wedding celebration, and their sweetheart table was no exception. They added a gold sequin runner to a black linen, then flanked the table with marquee letters and a punchy arrangement of garden roses and ranunculus.

Flowers, Candles, and Fabric — Oh My!
When New Orleans Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe wed his now-wife Shevella, their sweetheart table was the focal point of the reception. Set above the guests on the landing of a dramatic staircase, they topped a stunning damask fabric with a mirrored tabletop, floating candles, and a totally lush arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, and roses.

Soft and Sweet
Rachel and Brittany's sweetheart table kept to their pale pink color scheme, with dahlias and hydrangeas alongside roses and tulips. We're in love with their graphic Mrs. & Mrs. signs, in an expertly coordinated shade of rose.

See more: 8 Easy Ways to Make Your Wedding Tables Look More Expensive

California Classic
For Melody and Kevin's sweetheart table at their morning reception, they kept things light with ivory linens and a garland of eucalyptus leaves studded with peach, pink, and lavender roses.

Warm and Wintry
Having a winter wedding? Veronica Mars star Kyle Gallner's sweetheart table, which he shared with his now-wife Tara Ferguson, featured cozy sheepskin-covered chairs, crystal goblets, and mismatched china.

Serious Shimmer
At Jordan and David's super romantic wedding at The Bentley Reserve in San Francisco, the couple cuddled up on a tufted loveseat and dined at a table draped in rose gold sequined linens and sculptural white orchids.

It's All About the Texture
We love Kristina and Joshua's sweetheart table number: "Table for Two!" Plus, the fluffy textured linens and the centerpiece overflowing with roses, blackberries, anemones, and pieris japonica are just divine.

The 3 Must-Know Tips for Hosting a Multi-Room Wedding Reception

 Etiquette, Planning Tips, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Reception  Comments Off on The 3 Must-Know Tips for Hosting a Multi-Room Wedding Reception
Sep 122016

Finding the perfect wedding venue can be a challenge. From fitting your theme and vibe to accommodating your guest list to working with your budget, there is a seemingly never-ending list of criteria to meet! If you're inviting a crowd, or are hoping to break your wedding up into a series of moments that takes guests through a few different spaces, you may find yourself with a wedding reception that spans multiple rooms. This can end up working in your favor, giving you more flexibility and creating a unique experience for your guests, but there are still a few key tips to keep in mind. Here are the three things you should know if you're having a multi-room reception.

When Will They Move?
When you're working on your timeline with your planner or venue manager, set a specific time to move guests — and then make it 10 minutes earlier. If the cocktail hour and reception spaces are separated by doors or a hallway, it will take guests a little longer to catch on that you need them to sit down because they won't easily be able to see that other guests have found their seats. Some buffer time will allow the staff to gently encourage guests to head toward their tables instead of trying to herd them all at once. Setting a time will also let your staff know when they need the tables to be set and when the bartender can head over to wine service.

See more: The 8 Things That Are Guaranteed to Make Wedding Guests Happy

Where's the Bar?
Speaking of bartenders, if your reception room isn't quite big enough for your bar and your cake, you may want to leave the bar at cocktail hour open throughout the night so guests can get drinks once the dancing starts. If they can't see the bar from their seats, though, they might assume it is closed. Have your band or DJ remind everyone (after wine service is over and once dancing has begun) that the bar is open and serving drinks, and have servers who are pouring wine also mention to the table that guests can get beer or cocktails in the next room.

Where Will People Sit?
Are you having dinner in one space and dancing in another? Make sure you set up a few seating areas around the dance floor where guests can rest their feet and still feel like they're a part of the party. Lounge furniture is a great option, but consider also having one or two regular tables (with linens matching the dinner tables) where a group can sit with a slice of cake and Grandma doesn't have to eat out of her lap.

How Can We Get People to Start Dancing at Our Reception?

 Etiquette, Music, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Reception  Comments Off on How Can We Get People to Start Dancing at Our Reception?
Sep 052016

After all the formalities (you know, walking down the aisle and taking seemingly endless pictures), it's time to get to the fun part of your wedding: The dance party! With the right band or DJ, a little mood lighting, and a glass of champagne, it's the perfect place to spend your reception, surrounded by your friends and family. The only hard part? Getting people to start dancing! Here are a few tips from our experts to let guests know all the traditions are over and it's time to get down.

As you're moving from dinner into dancing, a great way to transition is to schedule those remaining traditions back-to-back. Open with your first dance, followed by your father-daughter and mother-son dances. Then, head off to the side to cut the cake — a little bit of sugar will get you in the mood for dancing! As soon as you've shared that celebratory slice, have your band or DJ invite everyone onto the dance floor to join you.

Want to kick the party off on a high note? Choose a song the two of you love, whether it's "Footloose" or Pharrell's "Happy," and boogie down right away. The sight of you having a blast and totally grooving will inspire your guests to do the same. Are they reluctant to join you in the spotlight? Don't be afraid to grab someone's hand and pull them onto the dance floor! More will follow as the gang gets bigger.

See more: 15 Wedding Shoes Made for Dancing

If you really want to make sure the dance floor starts off packed, work with your caterer to time when the cake will be cut and served, and when any late-night snacks will come out. Try to schedule around 10 minutes between the cake cutting and when slices are available, which is enough time for three or four songs that will set the tone for the evening. When it comes to late night snacks, schedule them for the band's break or for about half an hour to an hour later, when energy may start waning. Nothing keeps a dance party going like extra fuel!

And of course, the most important thing to remember is that if you two are dancing, your guests will dance. So get out there and feel the beat!

BRIDES Florida: 8 City-Centric Tunes for Your Miami Wedding Playlist

 Florida, Local, Miami, Music, Wedding Music, Wedding Reception  Comments Off on BRIDES Florida: 8 City-Centric Tunes for Your Miami Wedding Playlist
Sep 042016

Brides all over the world know that the key to getting guests up and dancing at a wedding is fun, catchy tunes. Luckily, Miami brides have a variety of hits to choose from. These fun, beachy melodies are the perfect Miami-themed songs to make sure every guest at the wedding is having a wonderful time. From nostalgic fun beats like "Miami" by Will Smith to classic songs like "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin, the dance floor will be the place to be if you add any of these to your playlist.

"Miami" by Will Smith
Smith's 1997 single off of Big Willie Style brought us an infectious dance beat and a celebration of Miami's rich diversity. "Miami" won the MTV Video Music Award for "Best Male Video" in 1999. Play this popular hit at your wedding for a little nostalgia with girlfriends as you reminisce about your TRL years.

"Miami" by the Counting Crows
Another throwback, "Miami" by the Counting Crows, is a great low-key, laid-back song to play at cocktail or dinner hour as guests are sipping their drinks, eating, and mingling.

"Move Shake Drop" by Pitbull featuring Flo Rida
The ultimate merge of Florida rappers, this one should be played late in the night as it has quite the club feel. Listen to it once — and you'll be dancing in your seat. But let's be serious — any song by Pitbull is pretty fitting for a wedding in the 305.

"Miami" by Bob Seger
Previously heard on an episode of Miami Vice, this song celebrates the hope and optimism many have when they move to this vibrant city. A great pick for holding your glass high and toasting to the newlyweds post-speech.

"Only in Miami" by Bette Midler
This song is sure to please parents and grandparents alike. The tropical feel of the song has a true Floridian vibe, and the song — which tells the story of a girl who longs to be back in her native Cuba — was also previously featured on Miami Vice.

See More: Capture Everyone's Killer Dance Floor Moves with the Help of These Miami Wedding Videographers

"Kokomo" by The Beach Boys
The quintessential beach song, this one is sure to invoke memories among every wedding guest over five. The 1988 song from their album Still Cruisin' is one to be remember, that's for sure.

"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin
An ideal song to slow dance to, Darin's single was released in 1959 — just as swing style was fading. Little ones may remember the song from Disney's Finding Nemo, but after listening to the song, people of all ages will be excited to be in a city so close to the ocean.

"Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters
If your wedding guest list has a lot of native Floridians, this needs to be on your must-play list. Essential for a beach wedding, this popular summer song by will get everyone in a mellow vibe pre-ceremony.

Need someone to spin these Miami-themed tunes? Click here to see Florida's best wedding DJ's

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6 Chic Ways to Create a Cozier Wedding Reception Space

 Planning Tips, Wedding Reception, Wedding Style, Wedding Style & Decor  Comments Off on 6 Chic Ways to Create a Cozier Wedding Reception Space
Aug 142016

There's nothing we love more than a wedding reception space that makes your family and friends feel right at home. To create a space that's as comfy and cozy as your own living room (or scratch that...a living room in your favorite interior design magazine) we asked a few decorating pros to share their top tips.

1. Offer multiple lounge areas
According to interior designer Anna Kohler, founder of My Chic Nest, one way to make a reception space feel more intimate and approachable is through creating different seating areas for people to carry on conversations. "Often at receptions there is one large space for everyone to mingle in." Try placing sofas in different corners of the room to create conversation zones, she advises. "Sofas are a beautiful addition to tables and chairs and are another great opportunity for a photo opp." Oh, and don't forget the throw blankets and pillows!

2. Lay down rugs
This living room inspired décor instantly brings warmth underfoot and subtly establishes distinct zones within an open floorplan, just like at home, note the editors at Wayfair Registry (launching this fall). "Define a lounge area, highlight several small conversation spots or showcase your sweetheart table simply by bringing in a rug or layering on a couple. High-pile (fluffy) options in crisp neutrals will convey a classic, traditional look, while oriental styles create an eclectic, bohemian vibe."

3. Go green
In other words, use a lot of potted plants! When it comes to decorations, wedding planner Kelli Corn of Kelli Corn Weddings & Events says it's best to add plants to corners and empty walls to give the room a more natural, homey feel.

See More: For the Offbeat Bride: Chic Alternatives to Traditional Bridesmaid Bouquets

4. Set up a coffee and tea station
Sometimes it's the simplest of touches that makes all the difference, and trust us, your guests will be gravitating toward this table more than you'd think, point out the Wayfair Registry editors. "Introducing a self-serve element to your reception helps make everyone feel at home and gives guests the flexibility to indulge in a caffeine boost whenever they crave it without the awkwardness of having to ask or wait it out. Hot chocolate (plus s'mores) and other warm beverages are always a big hit too!

5. Go overboard with candles
Because we're a sucker for soft lighting and so is everyone else. Candlelight is undeniably enchanting and romantic, which is exactly why the editors at Wayfair Registry recommend going beyond the boundaries of your dinner tables. "Decking out your venue with an abundance of soft, flickering light casts your evening in a happy, welcoming glow. Cluster candlesticks on your seating card table, gift table or side table in a lounge area. Line windowsills, fireplace mantels or the bar top with votives and group lanterns together on the ground in out-of-the-way but still visible spots." String lights for an outdoor wedding are another cozy chic option.

6. Do use draping
Fabric has the ability to completely transform a space and make a large room feel more warm and cozy, notes Kohler. "At my wedding, for example, we tented the entire space and had the cocktail room separated from the reception by a large drape lined with florals. This made for a grand entrance as well as way to divide the two large rooms in a beautiful and soft way." Consider using soft textures for all your fabric options, including the lounge furniture you rent (think velvet and suede over leather) and your table linens too.

6 Secrets for Throwing the Most Epic Wedding Your Friends Will Ever Attend

 Planning Tips, Wedding Planning, Wedding Reception  Comments Off on 6 Secrets for Throwing the Most Epic Wedding Your Friends Will Ever Attend
Aug 102016

Of course we want you to have fun at your own wedding. But as Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group, points out, making your wedding a fun experience for guests is a major component to pulling off a successful wedding. "There are probably 50 to 250 more people who are also choosing to spend five-plus hours with you, so it is important to keep their comfort and enjoyment in mind," Nichols said. So here's how to ensure that yours is the most fun wedding reception your guests will ever attend — trust us.

1. Keep your guests comfortable.
The No. 1 enemy of fun? Discomfort. Case in point: If your guests are sweating to proverbial death at your outdoor reception or getting eaten alive by mosquitos, they might not enjoy the signature cocktails or epic dessert bar you so carefully crafted. Consider what your guests will go through at your wedding, Two Little Birds Planning owner Jaclyn Fisher says, and then go from there.

For example, if you're hosting an outdoor fête with a chance of serious heat on the side, consider greeting your guests with cold lemonade or tea. Conversely, winter wedding guests would love a cup of hot cider or cocoa when they arrive, she says. "A basket of flip flops near the dance floor is a much appreciated gift for your guests' tired, dancing feet," she adds. "And be ready with amenities in the restrooms full of items that your guests might need including mints, safety pins, and a sewing kit. These little extras will make your guests feel well taken care of."

2. Keep the party moving.
Almost as important as keeping the party going is keeping it moving in the right direction, Nichols says. "Sitting around and waiting is a buzz kill," she warns. "So work with your planner to ensure things happen at the right pace. Cocktails should be no more than one hour. And guests shouldn't wait more than 20 to 30 minutes between courses. Guests notice when things drag, and ultimately they want to get on the dance floor."

3. Get your guests on the dance floor ASAP.
According to Fisher, "The key to a super fun reception is a lot of dancing, but waiting until the end of the night to get your guests on the dance floor could be a mistake." Rather, she says, open up the dance floor the second you finish your first dance. "The focus is already on the dance floor and guests will be excited to join the couple for a few songs," she explains.

4. Add in some unexpected entertainment.
Guests come to your wedding expecting to eat and dance. What they don't expect? A salsa performance or palm reader, says Fisher. "Lawn games such as oversized jenga, giant chess or checkers, bocce ball, and corn hole are a great way for guests to have some good old-fashioned fun," she adds. "Or a tasting station with beer, wine, and your favorite spirit, complete with an expert, offers a unique interactive experience."

See More: Watch This Groom Totally Surprise His Bride With an Epic Wedding Dance

5. Make sure there is enough food.
According to Nichols, "A fed guest is a happy guest!" That means making sure there is ample food for every guest to have his or her fill. "There's nothing worse than arriving to a reception where the hors d' oeuvres have already been wiped out by other guests," Nichols says. Plus, she adds, you'll want to talk to your caterer to make "sure that the flow of the food service will be efficient and timely so that guests will have more than enough to meet their needs."

6. Offer a late-night snack.
Your guests may have the nibbles after an intense workout on the dance floor. If you feed them a snack in the wee hours of your wedding, Fisher says, they'll be forever grateful. "Treat guests to some of your local favorites with a late-night food station guaranteed to give everyone the extra energy needed to keep the party going," the Philadelphia-based planner suggests, adding that, "Philly soft pretzels, Philly cheesesteaks, and Federal Donuts are among the favorites of my Philadelphia couples."

The One Item Your Tented Wedding Reception Desperately Needs

 Wedding Reception, Wedding Style, Wedding Style & Decor  Comments Off on The One Item Your Tented Wedding Reception Desperately Needs
Aug 032016

Hosting a tented wedding reception? Bring the outdoors in by decorating your tent with beautiful trees and branches. Doing so will help the tent seamlessly blend into its outdoor surroundings. Plus, filling the space with elegant, towering trees is a great way to emphasize the tent's height. Here are six of the most stunning takes on this back-to-nature-inspired idea.

Trees in Planter Boxes (above): Help create a focal point in the tent by flanking the dance floor or bar with live trees in clean, white planter boxes.

Tent Poles: Disguise some of the tent's support poles by installing tall, leafy trees throughout the reception space.

wedding tent decoration ideas with trees

Photo: Aaron Delesie

On the Dance Floor: Help bring the outdoors in by decorating with trees the tent with live trees (these are aspen). Continue the tree motif on the dance floor by painting branches and leaves.

Tree Centerpieces: Instead of live trees, create a similar effect by decorating reception tables with tall, sculptural branches in glass containers.

Tabletop Trees: Deep-green ficus-tree centerpieces look beautiful set against a chic, all-white reception tent.

Woodsy Setting: Create a magical woodland setting within your tent by adding faux tree trunks to obscure the poles. This couple's event designer then attached real tree branches to the poles and added twinkly lights.


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