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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Escort cards or place cards?

As brides get further along in the planning process they start to question how they will seat their guests at the reception. When the question is to assign seats or offer open seating to their guests we always suggest some structure. If you've ever been one of the last people into the lunch room in your high school cafeteria you can relate to the hustle and bustle that ensues with open seating. With structured seating your guests can enjoy the entire cocktail hour, and leisurely find their appropriate table in the reception without having to worry about whether or not they will even find an open seat for both themselves and a date.

So if you've decided on structured seating then the next question is how will you do it? Most brides choose to assign their guests to tables by using small cards with the guest's name and table number listed to let them know where to go in the reception area. It is not uncommon for a bride to refer to these cards as place cards, name cards, escort cards, etc. and to use those words interchangeably. These card names do not all mean the same thing though.

If you are assigning your guests to a table, and allowing them to choose their seat at that table then you would want to use an escort card. Your guests will pick these up during the cocktail hour and take the card into the reception with them.

We always remind our As You Wish brides to place the escort cards in alphabetical order to make it easy for the guests to find their name. Placing the cards in alphabetical order is also something that should be done prior to the morning of the wedding. It can take a lot longer than you would think!

An alternative to escort cards is creating a seating chart to put on display during the cocktail hour, allowing your guests to see where they are seated while saving them the extra step of picking up their escort card.

So now that we've covered the use of escort cards you're probably wondering why any bride would decide to use a different method of seating. Well, a place card is something that you would use in addition to an escort card or a seating chart. After a guest locates his or her table they will then find their place card already included in one of the table settings at that table. This option works well if you have family members or friends that you want to sit at the same table, but not next to each other. It also benefits the serving staff if you are having several menu options for a plated meal because a specific color or symbol on the place card can denote which meal your guest ordered. This can be done with the escort cards as well, but you can't always count on your guests to place the escort card in front of them after they sit down.

If you do choose to use a place card keep in mind that this seating option works best with an escort card or master seating list preluding it. Happy Planning! ♥As You Wish

Friday, January 14, 2011

We're engaged!!!! what?

If you are one of the many couples that got engaged over the holidays CONGRATULATIONS! December is the most popular month for engagement ring purchases and proposals! Now that you have your ring you are about to embark on an incredible journey! To get you started we've compiled a list of the first 5 things to do after getting engaged.

1. Spread the word. Tell your parents, first! If you can manage to take your eyes off your new ring to pick up a phone or hop in the car, your parents should be the first ones to hear the news. After telling your friends and making your new relationship status official on Facebook consider the tradition of publicly announcing the engagement. Before Facebook and Twitter there was this wonderful daily publication called a newspaper, delivered straight to your door with all of the news and advertisements you could possible want! Okay, so it may not be as technologically trendy as our modern day form of social networking and news, but people do still read the paper, and by publishing your engagement announcement in one you will have a nice memento to cherish for years to come.

2. Spending. Sit down with your parents and fiance, or whoever is contributing financially to the wedding and determine an estimated budget. If your budget is not being determined by a set amount of money that has previously been saved, and merely a guess of what you think your wedding will cost, understand that as you go along you may realize purchasing a wedding cake for 250 people for $100 may have been a bit unrealistic. Don't allow yourself to get too fixated on a price based on what your sister payed 5 years ago, or your cousin from Oklahoma paid.

3. People. Make a guest list. Your main guest list should be comprised of 3 separate lists: bride's parent's list, bride and groom's list, and the groom's parent's list. It might seem a little early in the planning process to be making a guest list, but could you imagine falling in love with and booking a venue that seats 100, only to realize your master guest list consists of a nonnegotiable 200 guests?

4. Vision. Start researching everything wedding related and compiling a list of images and things that really inspire you. Nothing is set in stone at this point, it's just good to start looking at your options and determine what you love and what you could do without on your big day. Determining a preferred wedding month or even date wouldn't be a bad idea at this point either.

5. Wedding Planner. If you really want things to flow smoothly from here on out hiring a professional planner/coordinator would be in your best interest. Sure, it's easy to breeze right through steps 1 through 4, but what about the remaining 1,256 steps (merely a guesstimate) up until your grand exit at your reception? By hiring a professional bridal consultant you are investing in their knowledge, expertise, and experience. You deserve to have a fun, stress-free engagement and wedding. We've had clients retain our services as a gift to their parents, so they wouldn't be the ones bogged down with setting up decor and dealing with instructing vendors on the day of the wedding. Not sure if you need a coordinator? At least consider having one solely for the day of the wedding so that you can enjoy your day to the fullest. Go ahead, be the guest of honor at your own wedding. You deserve it!

From all of us at As You Wish, congratulations on your engagement and happy planning!