Entertain Your Guests With Wedding Activities

Let’s be honest, wedding guests can get antsy between activities.  To increase the fun factor at your wedding consider including a few of the following activities.  Let me be clear though, DO NOT do all of these, half of these or even a fourth of these.  Instead, choose only a few activities and do them well!  Too many activities will make your event about the games and not about your marriage.

Yard Games

There are so many options for yard games.  There is corn hole, ring toss, jenga, horseshoes, checkers, connect four, scrabble, beersbee, tic-tac-toe, lawn bowling, croquet, bocce ball and burlap sack races just to name a few.  Get creative and pick whichever ones you like the most. Here are even more ideas.

Interactive Games and Dances

  • The shoe game is a great way to give people as break from the dance floor for some laughs.  Bridal Guide describes it as follows, “Remove both of your shoes, then trade a shoe with your new spouse so that you’re holding one of each. Then, have a designated person ask a series of questions about the two of you and your relationship (i.e.. “Who will be doing most of the cooking?” “Who said ‘I love you’ first?”). After each question, hold up the shoe of the person you think is the best answer to the question.”  See their blog post for more details.
  • Get your guests involved in the shoe game by giving them something to hold up to weigh in on the questions.  Some people print the face of the bride and groom for their guests to hold up.
  • The dollar dance is a bit controversial to some, but it can be hysterical if you’re up for it.  Traditionally, guests contribute money to the bride and groom in order to dance with them.  The money can be for the honeymoon or whatever they want.  Luckily, The Knot wrote a post about etiquette for and alternatives to the dollar dance.
  • The anniversary dance gets guests of all ages on the dance floor.  Ask all married couples to come dance to a classic tune.  Then excuse couples in order of how many years they have been married starting with 1 year and working your way up.  This is a great way to celebrate lasting love!

Stations

Get your guests up and moving by creating stations spread around your venue with actives.

  • Have a table for guests to make their own party favor.  The can personalize their favor or select their favor from several options.
  • Food stations such as candy bars, s’mores bars and baked potato stations are always a hit.  Guests love options!    Here are more food station  and drink station ideas.
  • Depending on your crowd, you could do wine, craft beer or whiskey tasting stations.  We especially like the idea of a Kentucky Bourbon tastings here in Kentucky.
  • For the guys you could even do a cigar rolling station.

Photo Activities

Photographers capture the beauty of your day, but they don’t always get all the casual, candid and comical moments.  Photo activities can help you and your guests see your event from different angles in an entertaining way.

  • A traditional option is to hire a photo booth to set up at your event.  They provide all kinds of props and usually give you access to see all the photos afterward.  You can personalize your photo booth with a custom backdrop (ideas here).
  • Do a polaroid seating chart or guestbook to keep track of everyone that attends your event.
  • Print I Spy cards to encourage your guests to take certain pictures throughout the event.
  • Even without hiring a photo booth you can creative a fun photo backdrop for your guests to snag photos in front of.
  • I love the idea of doing a video booth to capture messages from your guests.  You can ask them to say something specific or let them be creative.

Table Activities

Consider table activities if you want to provide things for your guest to do that don’t require a lot of space or even for them to get up.  Mad lib sheets, advice booklets and icebreaker activities are always a hit if your guests are the type to give them a chance.  In the advice booklets you could ask for date ideas, anniversary ideas or even marriage advice.  Etsy has soooooo many options.

Creative Guestbooks

A standard guestbook is totally fine if that is your style, but their are so many way to jazz up this oftentimes dull task.  You can venture out from the norm by having one of the following as your guestbook.

  • Have guests sign pieces of a Jenga or puzzle set.
  • A Map or globe where people pin where they are from and sign their name.
  • Guests can leave a note on quilt square.
  • Ask guests to put their finger print on a canvas.  There are so many shape options for this and Etsy is a great place to see your options.
  • Have small pieces of paper for your guests to write a message to put in a bottle.  You could burry the bottle as a time capsule to be opened on 1st, 5th and/0r 10th anniversary.
  • Provide a giant color-in mural for guests to add to throughout the night, like a paint by numbers.  Guests can sign the portion they color.
  • Praise Wedding gives you 28 other guestbook ideas.

Kid Friendly Fun

There are so many activity options for keeping the kiddos busy at your wedding.  Know your crowd and choose games that are appropriate for the age and taste of the kids.  Consider: board games, custom wedding coloring books, I Spy with disposable cameras, holla hoops and/or glow sticks.  BuzzFeed gives you even more ideas.

Get Social

  • Have a custom wedding hashtag so you can easily find all the images your guests and vendors are taking at your event.  Be sure to post the hashtag where everyone will see it.
  • You could even do a custom Snapchat filter to make your snaps extra special.

We also love these 31 Impossibly Fun Wedding Ideas from BuzzFeed, these 30 Unique Wedding Ideas from The Knot and these 10 Wedding Games That Your Guests Will Love.

Branch out from Pinterest for Wedding Inspiration

Pinterest is a great resource for wedding and event inspiration, but it can be difficult to find new creative ideas.  As an alternative, blogs are the perfect place to find original content.  Here is a list of our ten favorite wedding inspiration blogs along with their description of what they do and how they do it.

Green Wedding Shoes

“At Green Wedding Shoes, we are truly. madly. deeply. head over heels in love with love. We love sharing weddings with our readers and believe that there is no “right” way to throw a wedding. Whether you’re dreaming of an intimate wedding on a farm, a weekend camping adventure or a handmade wedding in a loft, we love them all! I love showing couples how their wedding can be all about them and that it’s ok to break traditions to make the day their own. Since beginning GWS, our mission has been to help couples personalize their wedding day and make it truly about the two of them as a couple, because that is what the day is about, right?! We love great photography – because it’s the one thing you have to remember after the event! And we have lots of great artists to recommend in our GWS Wedding Artist Guide to help create a GWS wedding. Our site started with us sharing amazing weddings and has now grown to also sharing entertaining, lifestyle, DIY and fashion + beauty features – so there is really something for everyone!”

Style Me Pretty

“Your go-to destination for all things pretty, Style Me Pretty has been inspiring brides- and grooms-to-be with everything they need to plan the wedding of their dreams since 2007. From the best vendors around the world and the most beautiful real weddings to wedding planning tips and tricks and the latest trends fresh from the runway, Style Me Pretty is here to be every bride’s virtual maid of honor and wedding planning BFF.

And, after the “I do,” Style Me Pretty Living is here with the inspiration and tools every couple needs to entertain in style, DIY like a pro and create the chicest house on the block.”

100 Layer Cake

“100 layer cake is a creative collaboration between friends and fellow designers Jillian, Amanda, and Kristina. 3 women, 2 weddings, years working as designers (not to mention thousands of combined hours poring over wedding and wedding-related blogs), and many extremely excited conversations later, 100 Layer Cake came to be.

We are a unique wedding planning resource for and by thoughtful, crafty, modern women. Our vendors, projects, and weddings are hand-picked, and thoroughly researched with the hope that every single one is a truly unique addition to both your wedding and your planning process. But being discerning certainly doesn’t have to mean expensive or exclusive. Our vendors have been carefully selected for their stellar reputation, exemplary service and impeccable aesthetic. We hope that you can find a perfect mix of vendors, projects, and inspiration to layer your wedding in just the right way.”

Wedding Chicks

“Wedding Chicks are all about sharing wedding inspiration, bridal fashion, DIY tips to inspire and inform couples before their special day. We also have Free Printables, one super cute shop. Happy Wedding!”

Ruffled

“Ruffled started in August 2008 as a space I could share vintage-inspired and handmade idea for weddings. Back then – which seems like ages ago – there was little or no resource on the style. Today the blog grew into one of the biggest resources for engaged couples seeking inspiration for their weddings, blending their unique personal styles into one heck of a gorgeous fete that go beyond the nostalgic love for vintage tidbits.”

Once Wed

“At Once Wed, we delight in simplicity with a twist of modern innovation, infusing beautiful design with meaning and emotion. Our clean, organic images and compelling content is meant to inspire you to tell your own love story,to dream beyond trend and tradition, and to create a day that feels deeply symbolic of the love you share together.

Through this timeless online experience, we hope to enkindle a conversation: one that sparks artistically innovative, authentic ideas, and encourages you to shape aesthetics around the significance of your union.”

Inspired by This

“Everyday we are inspired by beautiful weddings, aspiring entrepreneurs, exquisite homes, working moms, and more. We desire to bring that inspiration to you through our site! From the things we shop, to the cocktails we create, to the babies we are bringing up, Inspired By This is a lifestyle site dedicated to delivering beautiful content to readers at every stage of life. Whether you’re embarking on marriage, career, motherhood, a trip around the world, or a home remodel, our site is tailored to you!”

Junebug Weddings

“As one of the world’s most popular online wedding planning resources, Junebug Weddings is well-known for editorial excellence, showcasing phenomenal photography, and providing the most trusted list of recommended wedding professionals found anywhere in the world. Dedicated to helping couples plan the wedding they’ve always dreamed of, we encourage our readers to find and celebrate their own personal wedding style. On top of all of these great things, we are a group of fun, outgoing, artistic, and passionate individuals striving to make Junebug better with each day that passes. “

The Perfect Palette

“Since its launch 8 years ago in 2009, The Perfect Palette has been the go-to color resource for couples who dream of a unique, creative, and meaningful wedding day. By featuring only the most thoughtfully curated content, and by bringing heartfelt advice and creativity to every post, The Perfect Palette is a place where couples can find ideas and advice for planning their dream wedding.  At it’s heart, The Perfect Palette is a blog dedicated to exploring the color palette possibilities for weddings and parties. From styled shoots, to color tips, The Perfect Palette is all about sharing creative and colorful styling ideas.”

“A self confessed wedding junkie since the age of 13, Maggie loves the romance and beauty of weddings. Passionate about the rustic style and eager to share her discoveries and ideas while planning her lakeside wedding at her family’s summer cabin in Northern Wisconsin she started blogging. With millions of monthly readers Rustic Wedding Chic has become the number one online resource for rustic & country weddings.”

10 Tips for Wedding Setup & Cleanup

Tips for wedding setup and cleanup, flowers by Fields in Bloom, photo by Brandi Potter Photography
Tips for wedding setup and cleanup, flowers by Fields in Bloom, photo by Brandi Potter Photography

Wedding setup and cleanup can be a major source of stress.  Even if you have excellent vendors and a solid team of helpers, someone still has to have a plan and execute that plan.  We have put together 10 tips for wedding setup and cleanup in an effort to keep all you soon-to-be brides sane as your wedding day approaches.

  1. Do as much as you can in advance.  Time to slip by since the wedding planning process is so lengthy, but if you plan on spreading out the tasks throughout your engagement you won’t be overwhelmed in the end.  If possible avoid doing any assembly, crafting or shopping the week of the wedding.
  2. Organize your STUFF.  It is really helpful to label boxes as to what they contain and where they go at the venue.  For example, use the general labels categories prep, ceremony and reception or use more specific labels like guestbook table, cake table, etc.  You can also print/draw pictures of exactly how you want things setup and/or inspiration images and put the images in the box so that anyone can handle the setup.
  3. Create an event floor plan.  It is much easier, for most point, to visualize the space from a floor plan with all the tables and chairs in place.  Putting lots of labels and descriptions on the floor plan can help eliminate a bunch of questions and thus save you time.
  4. Have a schedule.  Everything will take longer than you think so create a conservative schedule of what needs to be done when and who is responsible for doing it.  It is also a good idea to add an hour of cushion time for the unexpected. You want to leave plenty of time to relax and get ready before event starts.
  5. Be smart about delegating tasks.  Make sure you are assigning tasks that fit the person’s skills and abilities.  It is important not to ask too much of any one person since you want all your guests to be able to enjoy the celebration.
  6. Create an operations center.  Find a central location at the venue to keep commonly needed items (scissors, tools, tape, etc.), checklists, schedules and the floor plan.  All your helpers will know were to go to find what they need.
  7. Know the venue rules and expectations.  Read your venue contract, ask questions and get advice from the venue staff.  You don’t want to plan something only to find out that it won’t work at your venue or it isn’t allowed.  All venues have different rules on how the venue can be altered and how it is to be left at the end of the night.
  8. Don’t underestimate cleanup.  We find that our clients oftentimes don’t allot enough time to pack up all their belongs and don’t request enough help.  By the end of the night people are tired and the logistics of what goes where can be complicated.  Labeled boxes and checklists help with cleanup just as much as they do with setup.
  9. Coordinate the transportation of STUFF.  Plan how everything will be transported to and from the venue.  Provide adequate packing materials and overestimate the space you’ll need in order to prevent issues.  Remember, don’t count on your car if you are not staying to help clean up.  Also, you will have some items like flower arrangements and leftover food that came from vendors, but will need to have a place to go after the event.
  10. Take care of your team.  Food, fun and appreciation go a long way to show your vendors and helpers how thankful you are for their assistance.  Have snacks and water available throughout the day or even plan to feed them a meal while they’re working.  To keep the mood stress-free and upbeat play some tunes.  And last but not least, don’t forget to express your appreciation so how.

Find more tips on how to manage wedding weekend helpers in a previous blog post.

35 Unique Bridal Bouquets

Never underestimate the impact of a stunning bridal bouquet.  Adding a pop of color and a style statement, a bouquet brings a seasonal, fresh, creative vibe to all weddings.  These blooms oftentimes bring all the event colors and elements together to complete the look.  At Warrenwood, we love to see how the bouquets changes with the season, style and setting of the wedding.  The thirty-five bridal bouquets pictured below will give you some inspiration and eye candy.

** Scroll over each photo for florist and photographer information.  Feature image by Lindsey McDonald Photography, Flowers by Carol Lynn Originals. **

Winter Burgundy Bridal Bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Keith & Melissa Photography
Winter Burgundy Bridal Bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Keith & Melissa Photography
White Bridal Bouquet with long ribbons, Photo by Leah Barry Photography
White Bridal Bouquet with long ribbons, Photo by Leah Barry Photography
Yellow tulip and greenery bouquet by Carol Lynn Originals, photo by Brandi Potter Photography
Yellow tulip and greenery bouquet by Carol Lynn Originals, photo by Brandi Potter Photography
Red, pink and white bridal bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Daring Tales of Darling Bones
Red, pink and white bridal bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Daring Tales of Darling Bones
Vibrant mixed bridal bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Ben Keeling Photography
Vibrant mixed bridal bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Ben Keeling Photography
Soft white and pink bridal bouquet by Stems LLC, Photo by Grant Aumiller Photography
Soft white and pink bridal bouquet by Stems LLC, Photo by Grant Aumiller Photography
Organic mixed bridal bouquet with pink and burgundy by Natural Endeavors, Photo by Amy Wallen Photography
Organic mixed bridal bouquet with pink and burgundy by Natural Endeavors, Photo by Amy Wallen Photography
Burgundy and greenery bridal bouquet by Jeanie Gorrell Floral Design, Photo by Hilly Photography
Burgundy and greenery bridal bouquet by Jeanie Gorrell Floral Design, Photo by Hilly Photography
Pastel spring bridal bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Pastel spring bridal bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Wildflower mixed bouquet by Meadowview Farm, Photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Wildflower mixed bouquet by Meadowview Farm, Photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Pink, peach and blue mixed bridal bouquet by Carol Smith Botanical Styles, Photo by Jessica Moore Photography
Pink, peach and blue mixed bridal bouquet by Carol Smith Botanical Styles, Photo by Jessica Moore Photography
Pink, ivory and blush bridal bouquet with eucalyptus by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Meghan Thomas Photography
Pink, ivory and blush bridal bouquet with eucalyptus by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Meghan Thomas Photography
Fall dried bridal bouquet, photo by Erin Trimble Photography
Fall dried bridal bouquet, photo by Erin Trimble Photography
Pastel bridal bouquet with pink and peach garden roses, anemones and dusty miller by DC Blooms, Photo by Legacy Art Photography and Videography
Pastel bridal bouquet with pink and peach garden roses, anemones and dusty miller by DC Blooms, Photo by Legacy Art Photography and Videography
White and yellow summer bridal bouquet, photo by Daring Tales of Darling Bones
White and yellow summer bridal bouquet, photo by Daring Tales of Darling Bones
Coral, peach and white rustic country bridal bouquet, Photo by Rainwater Photography
Coral, peach and white rustic country bridal bouquet, Photo by Rainwater Photography
Tight white and pink bridal bouquet by Ellis Florists, photo by Emily Wakin Photography
Tight white and pink bridal bouquet by Ellis Florists, photo by Emily Wakin Photography
Cascade bridal bouquet with white roses by Ellis Florist, Photo by Becky Willard Photography
Cascade bridal bouquet with white roses by Ellis Florist, Photo by Becky Willard Photography
Organic peach, white and soft green bridal bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Brandi Potter Photography
Ivory and pink airy organic bridal bouquet by Warrenwood Manor, photo by Kaylie Plummer Photography
Ivory and pink airy organic bridal bouquet by Warrenwood Manor, photo by Kaylie Plummer Photography
Garden rose bouquet, blush and red bridal bouquet by Wild Roots, Photo by Blessed Bee Photography
Garden rose bouquet, blush and red bridal bouquet by Wild Roots, Photo by Blessed Bee Photography
Classic tight ivory mixed bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Honey Heart Photography
Classic tight ivory mixed bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Honey Heart Photography
Ivory and red loose organic bridal bouquet by Carol Lynn Originals , Photo by Lindsey McDonald Photography
Pastel mixed bridal bouquet, photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography
Classic winter white, red and blue bridal bouquet, photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Classic winter white, red and blue bridal bouquet, photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Vibrant pink, coral and ivory mixed bridal bouquet with roses, lisianthus, dusty miller, hydrangea, chrysanthemum and peonies by Jessica Byers, photo by Lace Heart Photography
Vibrant pink, coral and ivory mixed bridal bouquet with roses, lisianthus, dusty miller, hydrangea, chrysanthemum and peonies by Jessica Byers, photo by Lace Heart Photography
Organic greenery bridal bouquet with eucalyptus and herbs, photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Organic greenery bridal bouquet with eucalyptus and herbs, photo by Cassie Lopez Photography
Purple and Ivory cascading bridal bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Hilly Photography
Purple and Ivory cascading bridal bouquet by Doug Smith Designs, Photo by Hilly Photography
Vintage glam ivory bridal bouquet by Patriot Petals, Photo by Melissa G Photography
Vintage glam ivory bridal bouquet by Patriot Petals, Photo by Melissa G Photography
Pink and mixed greenery garden bridal bouquet by Molly's Flowers, Photo by Kristin Vermilya
Pink and mixed greenery garden bridal bouquet by Molly's Flowers, Photo by Kristin Vermilya
White, pink and blue rustic vintage bridal bouquet, photo by Honey Heart Photography
White, pink and blue rustic vintage bridal bouquet, photo by Honey Heart Photography
Vibrant Summer Mixed Bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Josephine May Photography
Vibrant Summer Mixed Bouquet by Fields in Bloom, Photo by Josephine May Photography
Soft pastel pink, blush and ivory with eucalyptus bridal bouquet by Swan's Landing, Photo by Christy Lee Photography
Soft pastel pink, blush and ivory with eucalyptus bridal bouquet by Swan's Landing, Photo by Christy Lee Photography
Pink peony and rose bridal bouquet by Stems LLC, Photo by Hilly Photography
Pink peony bridal bouquet by Stems LLC, Photo by Hilly Photography

Wedding Centerpiece Inspiration

Get inspiration from a gallery of different floral centerpieces
Get inspiration from a gallery of different floral centerpieces

You’ve come to the right spot if you need some inspiration for how to dress up your wedding reception tables with floral centerpieces. Here we round up some of our favorite looks from Warrenwood Manor weddings. You’ll see different styles, different budgets, different seasons, and different florists.  Enjoy!

*Feature image by Daring Tales of Darling Bones & flowers by Fields in Bloom

Pink, peach, white & coral floral centerpiece in wooden box. Ben Keeling Photography, Doug Smith Events
Pink, peach, white & coral floral centerpiece in wooden box. Ben Keeling Photography, Doug Smith Events
Pink, peach, white & coral floral centerpiece in wooden box. Ben Keeling Photography, Doug Smith Events
Traditional centerpiece, white & green, in silver pitcher. Emily Wakin Photography
Traditional centerpiece, white, green & peach , in silver pitcher. Emily Wakin Photography
Fall wedding, gold compote centerpiece with white, blush and burgundy. Hilly Photography. Jeanie Gorrell Floral Design
Fall wedding, gold compote centerpiece with white, blush and burgundy. Hilly Photography. Jeanie Gorrell Floral Design
Greenery garland on blush linen with gold accents at head table. Hilly Photography. Jeanie Gorrell Floral Design.
Bud vases on wood slice for cocktail table centerpiece. Cassie Lopez Photography.
Peach & coral garden roses in wooden box for banquet table centerpiece. Cassie Lopez Photography. Doug Smith Events.
white, rose gold and coral glam floral centerpiece. Keith & Melissa Photography. Stems, LLC.
Rustic wildflower centerpiece on sage linen. Grant Aumiller Photography
Minimalist centerpiece, greenery only, eucalyptus. Cassie Lopez Photography
White, red and pink floral centerpiece, rustic glam. Photo by Daring Tales of Darling Bones
Vintage centerpieces with old books, bud vases and crochet doily. Hazelfield Farm. Erin Trimble Photography.
Vintage centerpieces with old books, bud vases and crochet doily. Hazelfield Farm. Erin Trimble Photography.
Greenery garland with pink blooms and gold accents down banquet table. Doug Smith Designs & Events. Honey Heart Photography.
Clear & purple bud vases with white & purple booms centerpiece. Doug Smith Designs & Events. Hilly Photography.
Simple wooden box centerpiece. Doug Smith Designs & Events. Hilly Photography.
Vibrant centerpiece with pink & orange flowers in ball mason jar. Fields in Bloom. Josephine May Photography.
Greenery garland with pink blooms and gold accents down banquet table. Doug Smith Designs & Events. Honey Heart Photography.
Vintage vibes centerpiece with white lantern and soft florals. Christy Lee Photography. Swan's Landing Flowers.
Vintage vibes tablescape with soft florals. Christy Lee Photography. Swan's Landing Flowers.
Aqua, navy & gold tablescape. DIY Flowers. Sarah Katherine Davis Photography.
Spring pastel floral centerpiece in mason jar. Purple, pink & white. Honey Heart Photography.
Simple centerpiece with bud vases and candlesticks. Leah Berry Photography.
Eucalyptuc garland on runner down banquet table. Meghan Thomas Photography.
Simple lantern centerpiece with eucalyptus. Meghan Thomas Photography.
Vibrant tablescape with cobalt blue, pink and white. Jessica Moore Photography.
Unique floral arrangement in wooden box, great texture & color, Photography by Jessica Moore.
Simple summer tablescape. Burlap runner with bud vases. Cassie Lopez Photography. Meadowview Flower Farm.
Bourbon barrel candle holder centerpiece on banquet table. Emily Wakin Photography.
Rustic centerpiece, yellow and white flowers in jar on wood slice. Daring Tales of Darling Bones Photography.
Rustic centerpiece, yellow and white flowers in jar on wood slice. Daring Tales of Darling Bones Photography.
Pink & ivory tablescape by Bryant's Rent All and Stems LLC. Photo by Keith & Melissa Photography
White and soft pink floral centerpiece with eucalyptus. Kaylie Plummer Photography.
White and soft pink floral centerpiece with eucalyptus. Kaylie Plummer Photography.
Garden inspired floral compote centerpiece. purple, green, burgundy and white. Stems LLC. Keith & Melissa Photography.
Rustic country mason jar centerpiece, burlap runner and wood slice. Rainwater Photography
Refined rustic tablescape with lanterns and copper vessels. Bryant's Rent-All, Stems LLC and Keith & Melissa Photography.

Bridesmaid Dresses Made Easy

I’m pretty sure that 9 out of 10 bridesmaids hate their bridesmaid dress.  That’s right, they hate it and say terrible things about it, but grin and go with it to appease the Bride.  (I totally made that statistic up, but I’m pretty sure it’s legit.)  Everyone has a different style.  Everyone has a different body type.  And everyone likes different colors.  It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the way it is.  Luckily there are a few things every bride can do to be considerate of their bridesmaids’ wishes. And the good news is, I hear more and more brides talking about how they want to let their bridesmaids select their own style or color within a few options!

It can be a tall order to find a bridesmaid dress that is both affordable and universally flattering.  You want your bridesmaids to look and feel beautiful as well as fit within the vision you have for your wedding day.  There are several ways to go about selecting bridesmaids’ dresses and a multitude of places to buy them.  See below for some suggestions on both topics.

General considerations

First and foremost, decide how much input you want from others on the dress selection.  There is a continuum of positions you can take, all the way from taking total control to giving your bridesmaids total freedom.  You’ll probably want to be somewhere between these two.  If you get input from others make sure they consider your event as a whole instead of just the dress.  Share event design pins and describe the venue and vibe so they can make educated suggestions.  It can also be helpful to narrow your search to a few options then ask for input.   Know that a consensus may be difficult to reach when you get the input of your bridesmaids.

Be practical and rational as you narrow your search.  Your bridesmaids’ dresses should go with the look and feel of the rest of your event.  Refer to your event color palette, flower selections and venue details for inspiration.  Consider the activities, weather, venue/setting, schedule and event vibe as you decide of the length, color, fabric and style of the dress.  For example, if you’re have a summer wedding choose light-weight, airy fabrics and a short length dress.  As another example, have your bridesmaids wear wedges or flats and a short dress if you will be in the grass, walking on uneven surfaces or climbing stairs much.  You want your bridesmaids to be comfortable and their dress to be hassle-free.

The bride who knows what she wants

Some brides know exactly what they want their bridesmaids to wear, and that is totally fine.  It actually makes it easier for those of us who are indecisive and aim to please, but just aren’t sure how. For your wedding day you will want to make choices based on what you want to see in your wedding pictures for years to come, but please don’t make your favorite girls in the world pay for or wear something you wouldn’t want to pay for and wear yourself. So ask yourself:

  • Would I wear this dress?
  • Would I wear this dress more than once?
  • Is this dress style and color going to look good on each of my bridesmaids?
  • Would I mind spending this much money on a dress if I were a bridesmaid?
  • Would I be comfortable in this dress throughout this event?

Navy bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Grant Aumiller PhotographyCoral bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Rainwater PhotographyTeal bridesmiad dresses, photo by Melissa G Photographynavy one shoulder bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Daring Tales of Darling Bones

The bride who wants to give her bridesmaids some freedom

If you want to give your bridesmaids some freedom with their dress selection you can let them select the color/pattern, cut/style, fabric, sleeve length and/or skirt length of their dress.  You can give them complete freedom or give them some parameters.

Same Color – Different Styles

This is a great option if you have a lot of different body types among your bridal party.  Everyone can find a flattering style that they feel good in.  Be sure to be as specific as you can in order to get the color that you want.  There are a million shades of pink and saying light pink, for example, may not be enough detail.  Companies like J. Crew, David’s Bridal, The Dessy Group and Two Birds offer lots of options to mix styles with the same color.  Ordering through one of these companies will ensure everyone matches.

Burgundy bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Cassie Lopez PhotographyLilac Purple Bridesmaid Dresses, Photo by Becky WillardLight blue bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Becky WillardBurgundy bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Darling Tales of Darling Bones

Same Style – Different Colors

For a more eclectic look, you can go with the same style dress for all of your bridesmaids only in different colors.  You can let them choose what color from your color palette they prefer or you can assign colors.  It is usually best to have all different colors or a balance of a few colors.  For example, two two red and two blue or alternating colors in the processional line. This provides balance to your photos.  I have also seen brides choose to have their bridesmaids all wear the same color expect for the maid of honor.

Blush and seafoam bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Erin Trimble PhotographySame Dress Different Color bridesmaid dresses Same Dress Different Color bridesmaid dresses - two pieces Same dress different color bridesmaid dresses

Different Styles – Different Colors

To give your bridesmaids a little more creative authority, you can ask them to wear a dress of their choosing in a particular color or color palette.  This will give an eclectic look, but allows for each of your bridesmaids to choose something within their price range in a style and cut they like.  Chic Vintage Brides provides some addition inspiration and Brides.com gives some rules for pulling off a mismatch look.

mismatch bridesmaid dresses, Photo by Ben Keeling PhotographyMismatch Bridesmaid Dresses, Photo by Hilly Photography

Vibrant Mismatch Bridesmaid Dresses, Photo by Christy Lee PhotographyMismatch Bridesmaid Dresses, Photo by Leah Barry Photography

Final Thoughts

No matter what you decide on for bridesmaid dresses consider these final reminders.

  • Many bridesmaid dresses will require alterations.  These can be pricey so factor in an additional $50 on top of the dress purchase price for the cost of alterations.
  • Bridesmaids will also need jewelry and shoes.  Since expenses add up for bridesmaids, think about giving your bridesmaids jewelry to wear if you have something specific in mind.  As for shoes, let them wear what works for them.  Matching shoes can look great, but be very uncomfortable for some people.  Blistered or swollen feet could keep a bridesmaid from dancing the night away with you.
  • If price is your main concern you could consider renting dresses.  This Oprah article discusses several dress rental vendors.  In particular,  we like Union Station, Rent the Runway and Vow to be Chic because they offer variety and convenience.  Union Station and Vow to be Chic even offer the option to try the dress before you rent it.
  • Don’t forget to consider undergarments.  When considering dress options think about what undergarments would be needed to make a dress look good and whether that will work with your bridesmaids’ body types.  Make sure all of your bridesmaids have what they need.  It sounds trivial, but no one wants to see bra straps or striped underwear.
  • Order your bridesmaid dresses at least 6 months before your wedding.  This allows for shipping and alterations.  It also leaves time for shoe and jewelry shopping.
  • If you don’t give directions on an element of the bridesmaids’ look, don’t be surprised or event upset when something doesn’t look as you had anticipated.  Encourage your maids to run their final look by you before the big day.

Ultimately, you want your bridesmaids to be comfortable, feel beautifully themselves and create a cohesive look with your event.

The D.I.Y. Dilemma

Weddings are complicated.  I know we’ve said it a million times, but it’s still true and until you have planned one you probably have no idea how much goes into this single day.  As a guest, you show up, have a good time then go home.  As a host, you plan for a year then work your tail off to make it a success.  Along the way you have to make the decision over and over again as to whether to do something yourself (D.I.Y.) or hire someone to complete the task for you.  The food, flowers, favors, photos and so much more can either be put on your to-do list, the list of family and friends or handed over to a hired professional.  Here are some considerations and cautions to think about as you decide who will do what for your event.

D.I.Y. Considerations

I’m sure you or someone close to you CAN do all the tasks associated with hosting a wedding.  That isn’t the question.  Instead, the question is whether you WANT or NEED to do it yourself.  It may be less expensive to do things yourself, but it does come at a cost.  I have seen first-hand the stress, exhaustion and sometimes even disappointment associated with doing everything yourself.  You and your guests should be able to enjoy your wedding day with as little stress as possible.  This is why I suggest hiring wedding professionals for as many tasks as you can.

Professionals in the wedding industry exist for a reason.  They offer a valuable service and must be good at what they do for their business to survive.  The product of an experienced and well trained vendor is usually higher quality, more reliable and less hassle than that of D.I.Y.ers.  Paid vendors can advise you on what choices you have based on your budget, venue, season and style so you can make educated decisions.  Their established supply chain can also provide more options or better prices for certain items.  You can trust that wedding professionals will provide what you ask for, when you ask for it.  That being said, there are still low risk tasks that you can delegate to family and friends.

If you’re thinking about asking a friend or family member to do something for your wedding be sure to consider the skills required, the scale of job and the importance of the outcome.  Match each task with those who have the skills, facilities, time and resources to do the job.

D.I.Y. Cautions

Somehow everything ends up being more complicated and taking longer than you thought it would.  Beware that when you do something yourself there may be last minute costs and stresses due to your lack experience.  Be realistic with your time and talents so that you don’t have to deal with the cost to fix a problem or repair damages.

You and everyone around you will want you to be happy with your wedding day, but unpaid helpers also have their own interests to consider.  They may not be as prompt, particular and professional as paid vendors who are passionate about their work and business.  If you decide to have a friend or family member do a task traditionally done by a professional, you may need to be flexible and adjust your expectations.

Show appreciation for your wedding helpers regardless of how much or how little you have asked of them.  I’m sure they aren’t helping you for a gift, but your helpers should feel appropriately appreciated.  You never want a friend or family member to feel used or annoyed by your lack of consideration for their time and energy.  Be sure to cover all the expenses related to their task and give them a thank you note at the very least.

4 Things To Leave To The Professional

From our experience, these four tasks should be done by professional if at all possible.

  • Catering  |  Catering isn’t just cooking.  It is planning, storing, preparing, transporting and cleaning up food on a large scale.  Professionals have the experience, equipment, and employees to make sure delicious food is safely prepared, served in a timely manner and presented beautifully.  This allows all your family and friends to enjoy the event without having to replenish trays or worry about washing dishes.
  • Photography  |  Good wedding photos preserve the memory of your wedding day in a beautiful way.  They capture the look and feel of the day for you to revisit and share with others for years to come.  Professional photographers catch once-in-a-lifetime moments and all the details that make your day unique and worth remembering.
  • Floral Design  |   Flowers play a huge role in the overall aesthetic of your event.  Florists have access to a larger variety of quality blooms at lower prices than the average person.  Good florist are also equipped to properly handle and arrange flowers, a perishable material, so they will look their best for your event.
  • Day of Coordination  |  It takes a very organized and authoritative person to manage an event.  When emotions are high and so many elements are coming together, a professional event coordinator is able to control the chaos.  It is a lot to ask of a friend or family member to take on this task. And we never, ever recommend that the bride be the point person for the wedding day.

3 Things to D.I.Y.

Any wedding task may end up being a D.I.Y. task, but it really depends on what skills you, your family and your friends have.  Here are the top three things we think you could consider doing yourself.

  • Hair & Makeup  |  You may not need to hire a hair and makeup artist if you are a bride wanting a simple, natural look.  Everyone has family or a friend that is obsessed with hair and makeup and would love to help out.  Just make sure you do a trial run a few weeks before the wedding so that you look exactly how you want on your wedding day.
  • Music  |  For some people music at their wedding is a big deal, but for others, it isn’t.  If you fall into the latter category then maybe you could get away with not hiring a DJ.  There are plenty of places that rent sound equipment and tell you how to use it.  All you’ll need is a playlist and someone you trust to control the microphone and timing. Particularly for the ceremony.
  • Cake  |  Right now it is common for couples to have a small cake to cut then serve other desserts (cupcakes, sheet cake, cookies, etc.) to their guests.  I think it is a great idea to have a D.I.Y. cake if you want something simple and small.  Go with a professional though if you want a bigger, more elaborate tiered cake.

We love hearing from you!  Comment below with other D.I.Y. tips.  If you’re planning a wedding with the help of lots of family and friends, you may also find it helpful to read our post on Wedding Weekend Helpers.

*Feature image by Cassie Lopez Photography

Kentucky Proud Events

How to host a Kentucky proud event
How to host a Kentucky proud event, Photo by Daring Tales Darling Bones

In honor of the upcoming Kentucky Derby festivities, we’re celebrating everything Kentucky proud on the blog today.  We are so luck to live in a state with great people and rich traditions.  I believe every event, year-round, should have a healthy dose of Kentucky culture.

The Food

Benedictine Tea Sandwiches
Benedictine Tea Sandwiches

When you think of Kentucky cuisine think southern soul recipes meets farm fresh

ingredients.  A stereotypical event in the Bluegrass state should start with beer cheese, pimento cheese and/or benedictine spread.  Other signature menu items include the Kentucky hot brown, fried chicken, country ham & biscuit, green beans and cheesy grits.

To do these menu items justice, you will want locally produced ingredients.  Use the Kentucky Proud Producer website to find all the produce and products you need.  Many Kentucky caterers are willing to find local providers if you’re going with a caterer for your event.

Don’t forget the sweet treats.  You can never go wrong by serving Derby Pie, but Kentucky has so many tasty options when it comes to locally produced candies and chocolates too.  Some of my favorites are Ruth Hunt Candies, Old Kentucky ChocolatesMom Blakeman’s Candy and Sharp’s Candies of Kentucky.  For your event, you could give a combination of your favorites as a party favor or do a candy bar where guests can try what all sorts of yummies.

This Kentucky Candy Bar was done by Sassy Spoon Catering for a Warrenwood Wedding.
This Kentucky Candy Bar was done by Sassy Spoon Catering for a Warrenwood Wedding.

The Bar

Kentucky is blessed to be home to the rich tradition and thriving market of bourbon distilling.  As a result there are countless distilleries in Kentucky that

Bourbon Tasting Bar
Bourbon Tasting Bar via the Celebrating at Home Blog

make the best bourbon money can buy.  Therefore, a Kentucky proud event would be incomplete without a bar stock with the likes of Maker’s Mark, Four Roses Bourbon, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Bulleit, Michter’s, Booker’s, Knob Creek, and Blanton’s. 

Mint juleps are a staple when it comes to Kentucky mixed drinks but, you could also include the lesser known Oaks Lily or Mint Julep Sweet Tea.

If you are more of a beer connoisseur, Kentucky has a budding craft beer industry lead by West Sixth Brewing, Country Boy Brewing, Against the Grain Brewery, Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. and Falls City Beer.  To figure out what beers you want to have at your event head over to The Casual Pint in downtown Lexington to taste all the best Kentucky options.

The Decor

Bourbon isn’t just for the bar.  You can use bourbon barrels in place of cocktail tables or for your cake table.  You could even collect bourbon bottles to use as centerpieces.  There are also a million (that is only a slight exaggeration) other re-purposed barrel products that can be purchased or made for your event.

Buy local blooms. Three Toads Farm, Black Rooster Farm, Meadowview Flowers, Bellaire Blooms, and Falling Springs Flower Farm grow high quality flowers here in the Bluegrass.  Take the Kentucky vibes up one more notch by arranging your local blooms in a vintage trophy cup, stoneware crock, mason jar or mint julep cup.

Blooms from Black Rooster Farm in Ball/Mason Jar
Blooms from Black Rooster Farm in a Ball/Mason Jar
Farm Fresh Flowers by Three Toads Farm
Three Toads Farm flowers in a vintage trophy cup arrangement
Meadowview Flowers at Warrenwood Barn Ceremony
Meadowview Flowers in a vintage crock on a bourbon barrel

 

 

 

 

 

Include equestrian inspired details.  Think stirrups, bits, horseshoes, vintage competition ribbons and leather accents.  Use these items to create character, not clutter.  You don’t want to over do it so be creative in how you use these accents to make a statement.

Stirrup Candle Holders from Horse & Hound
Stirrup Candle Holders from Horse & Hound
Equestian Inspired Styled Shoot by Rustic Wedding Chic
Equestrian Inspired Styled Shoot by Rustic Wedding Chic

Embrace all things vintage.  Find and use old books, vases, platters, china and anything else tastefully vintage you can find.  These items add interest, character and charm to the look of your Kentucky proud event. With such a rich and diverse history, there are so many

Keep it natural.  Kentucky is naturally beautiful, so let it speak for itself at your event.  Choose a natural color palette, embrace elements from your surroundings and host your event outside if the weather permits.

The Music

A Kentucky event would be incomplete without the sound of a banjo, fiddle, washboard and the like playing some traditional bluegrass songs.  Get back to the roots of what makes Kentucky, Kentucky with a live Bluegrass band or a DJ who knows their way around the classics.  Your playlist should include musical legends like John Prine, Bill Monroe and Loretta Lynn as well as current Kentucky artists such as Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton.  You could also add these 13 songs about Kentucky to your playlist.

Have fun hosting your quintessential Kentucky event!  Comment below if you have suggestions to add.

Wedding Weekend Helpers

Bridal Party at Southern Farm Wedding, Photo by Christy Lee Photography
Bridal Party at Southern Farm Wedding, Photo by Christy Lee Photography
How to organize your wedding weekend helpers, Photo by Becky Willard Photography
How to organize your wedding weekend helpers

Tips for Making the Most of Wedding Helpers

Weddings are complicated. Emotions are high and there are just so many elements and people that have to come together to make the event a success. It is easy to get lost in the details, but always remember that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. If hiring everything done isn’t in the budget, don’t worry! Friends and family will be more than willing to step in to help if you are organized, considerate and appreciative.  Here are some pointers to help you make the most of your time with your wedding weekend helpers!

Get organized

  • Make descriptive to-do lists that give clear directions.  Be sure to include who, when, where and how to complete each task as well as a realistic estimate of the time it will take to finish.
  • Make sure someone is in charge.  Hire an event coordinator if possible, but if not find someone who is good at managing people and understands the vision you have for your wedding day.
  • Post your event timeline, to-do lists and the contact information for whoever is in charge in a public place so everyone can see who is doing what and what still needs to be done. We recommend getting everyone on Google Docs in advance and then having a command center at the venue.
  • Provide the proper resources and tools for your helpers to complete their task.  It is always helpful to include pictures or sketches so people can visualize what you’re asking of them.

Be considerate

  • Allow your volunteers to pick how to contribute to your wedding. It may be best to make suggestions based on their skills, but ultimately let them decide. AKA don’t give uncle Bobby the power lifter the job of tieing tiny ribbons on favor bags.
  • Let people know in advance what they’ll be doing and practical details about their task, like what to wear, what time to arrive and how long they’ll be working.
  • Respect your helpers’ time by not having too many or too few helpers. No one wants to just sit around because there isn’t enough work and no one wants to be stressed that they won’t be able to finish their job. But, for your sake error on the side of too many helpers.
  • Make it fun for your helpers.  Play music or have contests to keep the mood light and stress-free.
  • Have drinks and snacks available for your volunteers. They are probably coming early for setup and staying late for cleanup so keep them hydrated and happy NOT hangry!

Show appreciation

  • There are so many ways to show your appreciation for the work your helpers did.  You’re probably going to know the most appropriate and fitting option, but you could:
    • Mention your helpers in speech or on the program
    • Give them a special gift (doesn’t have to be anything big)
    • Reserve prominent seats for them at your reception
    • Host a dinner party after the event
  • Don’t forget to return the favor or pay it forward.  Be the first to volunteer to help when a friend or family member is planning an event or in need of help in any way.

Your goal should be for you and your helpers to stay as calm and stress-free as possible.  You will want to be able to relax and enjoy your day.  So, make the effort to be organized, considerate and appreciative before, during and after your event.

*Feature Photo by The King’s Daughter Photography

Wedding Cakes Worth Celebrating

See 20 Beautiful Weddings Cakes
See the Warrenwood Manor blog for 20 beautiful wedding cakes

Warning:  Viewing these beautiful wedding cakes may cause intense sweet treat cravings.  You’ve been warned, but I promise it will be worth it because these cakes are gorgeous.  Enjoy!

d Wedding Cake with ivory ranuculus
Three-tier textured ivory wedding cake with eucalyptus and roses
Three-tier ivory wedding cake with navy ribbon and bright florals
Textured three-tier ivory wedding cake with soft pink flowers
Rosette textured single-tier wedding cake with wood laser cut cake topper
Pale pink and ivory two-tier wedding cake with spray roses
Two-tier naked layered wedding cake with laser cut topper and berries
Two-tier naked layered wedding cake with farm fresh flowers
Two-tiered textured ivory wedding cake with pennant banner cake topper
Two-tier ivory cake with love birds on top
Single-tier textured wedding cake on wood slice with copper wire cake topper
Three-tier ivory wedding cake with light pink ribbon, laser cut cake topper and roses
Three-tier ivory wedding cake with pink spray roses and greenery on a gold cake stand
Three-tier ivory textured wedding cake with burgundy flowers on gold cake stand
Ivory two-tier textured wedding cake with laser cut cake topper and pink flowers
Ivory three-tier textured wedding cake with laser cut cake topper on sliver cake stand
Ivory naked layered wedding cake on wood slice
Ivory three-tier wedding cake with silver initial cake topper and silver cake stand
Blush and Ivory four-tier wedding cake with rosette texture on silver cake stand
Ivory three-tier wedding cake with gold topper and cake stand with lots of flowers
Rustic ivory two-tier wedding cake with flowers

The central Kentucky area has so many talented bakers.  Sweets by Cindy, Martine’s Pastries, Sweet LiLu’s, Tinker’s Cake Shop and Confused Confections Bakehouse have all provide cakes, cupcakes and/or desserts at Warrenwood Manor.  I know we have not given every baker proper credit for their above cake(s) so if you made one of these cakes please comment below with your information.  We want to make sure to support all the vendors that make our events possible.

Cake photos were taken by the following photographers (top to bottom, left to right):