Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cake toppers that match your style and make you smile

Choosing a cake topper for your wedding cake gives you an opportunity to further personalize who you are as a couple. Whether you want a traditional, ethnic, whimsical, contemporary or one designed to express the uniqueness of your union, there's a cake topper for you.

Having a beach-themed wedding? There are a variety of beach style toppers that will suit your seaside theme.

If you're an ethnic couple, select a style that honors your heritage. Interracial couples or same sex couples are also available. In fact, there are a variety of interchangeable figures so you can choose the race, sex and look to match who you are. Religious symbols come in a number of versions when you want to display your faith.

If you live in one of the more rural areas or are more likely to throw a western wedding when you get hitched, select a topper that's a little more country.

Maybe you are the sporty type or share a passion for a particular sport, you can choose a topper that tells the world that athletic passion.

You'll score a touchdown with guests with this football topper.

Did you score a hole-in-one when you met your golf buddy for life? You won't need a Mulligan if you choose this one.

Is your love of baseball going to make your marriage a home run? Show the world that you'll always be on the same team.

There's an auto racing design that says you've won the checkered flag.

You'll get a kick out of the soccer topper. Or maybe you just want to celebrate that you reeled in a whopper with a fishing cake topper.

Whatever your athletic or hobby pursuits, there's a fanciful wedding topper for you.

Are you the traditional, modern, whimsical, or romantic type, you're surely able to find a topper that will suit your style. And many of them are so beautiful that you'll want to display them long after the cake has been eaten and your flowers have lost their bloom.

These will more than top your cake because whatever your style these will always make you smile.

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to learn more about wedding and party-related products, services, etiquette or just fun stuff to know, click on the FOLLOW button.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Avoiding the wedding brawl blues

At a recent Tampa Bay wedding a brawl broke out after the groom, Markeith Brown, began to throw money on the reception hall dance floor for the attending children to gather. A guest objected and soon fists were flying, a grandmother was put into a choke hold when she tried to break up a fight, arrests were made and what was designed to be a fairy tale wedding turned into a nightmare.

Here's how to avoid this situation happening at your wedding.

1) Ask bartenders to monitor guests' alcoholic intake. If they think that someone is overdoing and perhaps becoming belligerent, especially if they think they may have to cut that person off, ask them to alert one of the ushers or someone you may have asked to act as security or, perhaps, even a well-dressed and discreet security guard you hired to handle such situations. Off-duty police often can be hired if you think that you might have a guest or two who will potentially cause a problem but you have to invite them anyway.

2) Be proactive. If you know that an ex (girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.) or an estranged, uninvited relative or other hostile person may try to crash the ceremony or reception, alert your security, your wedding planner, reception hall manager, ceremony site personnel or some imposing and authoritative figure that someone may try to ruin your wedding day. If possible, supply a photo so that they can be on the lookout for the intruder and can handle the situation before it becomes a problem even if it requires that they dial 911.

3) While money dances are common in many cultures, a money pinata or similar activity is never a good idea. Tossing money around is just going to be too much of a temptation for someone to behave badly, no matter how good your intentions.

4) Ask whomever is assigned to make a toast to be discreet. This is not the time to bring up past relationships or past bad behavior no matter how funny that person thinks it will be. And if someone does start to say something inappropriate, ask your MC to interrupt them. A trained DJ or MC, if given prior permission, will know how to diffuse the situation with humor, music or other distraction.

5) Avoid tacky behavior yourself. It's really not necessary for the groom to dive under the bride's gown, especially for a prolonged period of time, to retrieve the garter or for you to decide that the honeymoon can start at the reception.

6) The "Wedding Crashers" was a funny movie but your wedding isn't the time for someone to try to "score" with a lonely guest or to have uninvited guests. Use your instincts. If someone looks out of place, they probably are.

As the devastated bride and groom, Tasha Johnson and Markeith Brown would likely attest of their Tampa Bay nuptials, paying a lot of money for a wedding doesn't necessarily translate into ideal behavior by guests. Take a few simple steps to avoid having your fairy tale wedding story turn into a nightmare tale by the Brothers Grimm.

For more wedding tips, vendors products, and info for your wedding or any party or special event, visit my website, and and subscribe to my wedding blog and party blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

VIDEO: How to Make Inexpensive but Beautifully Unique Summer Centerpieces

Ideas for Summer Outdoor Weddings -- powered by

Although this video was designed to offer centerpiece suggestions for summer outdoor weddings, the principles will work for any summer or beach-themed party whether it's held indoors or outdoors.

Below is a little bit more of a description of what I did, how much the centerpieces cost, where the items can be purchased and additional ideas not featured in the video.

Buy inexpensive, small individual vases from your favorite discount or dollar store. I bought these at Dollar Tree. Group enough of them to give away as guest favors. Add your favorite flowers and some greenery - just a few in each vase will do the trick - and then group them in the center of your table. You'll have the look of a fancy bouquet without the expense. Depending on the flowers you choose, you can make this centerpiece for around $10.

If you live near the beach and want to do a beach-themed wedding, these next few ideas will also only cost a few dollars but will look much more expensive.

Choose a tall, plain glass vase. Fill the bottom quarter to one-half with seashells you've collected at the beach. Fill the container up to about two inches from the top with plain or colored water. Float a candle. You can place the vase on a bed of sand and/or surround it with additional seashells and votives or tealights in holders. The centerpiece featured used a vase and tealight holders and candles found at Dollar Tree and the shells were collected from my local beach. Many Dollar Tree stores also sell baskets of shells or you can find shells at many local and online stores. This centerpiece was under $10. But if I had to purchase the shells and sand, it would have still cost under $15.

A giant piece of coral or a large sea sponge can be the base of another inexpensive centerpiece. Because they come from nature and no two are alike, each table will have a unique look.

If you wish, you can spray paint the sea sponge, which naturally comes in beige. Although in its natural habitat coral comes in a variety of colors, the dead coral you will purchase will invariably come in white. Therefore, you can paint that too to match your wedding colors. Adorn the coral or sponge with pretty shells or dried seahorses. Depending on your location and size of the piece, sea sponges and coral will start at around $10 and go up. Check out online shell shops or eBay for great deals.

Here are some additional ideas not shown in the video but will work very well.

Another option is to buy goldfish bowls. Depending on the size, these will range from $1 to $20. Place a tall pillar candle in the center of the bowl. Or, for an outdoor wedding, choose a shorter pillar candle so that the glass will protect the candle's flame from going out. Surround the candle with seashells. Again, you can place this on a bed of sand, sea glass or surround the bowl with shells. Highlight these with votives or tealights in holders or with battery-operated tealights.

If you want a beach or tropical theme and you don't live near an ocean, sand can be purchased from your local gardening supplier or home improvement store. Sea glass or colored stones can be purchased from many dollar stores or craft stores and will give additional color to your arrangement. As noted above, you can find most of the decorative items at Dollar Tree or other local dollar store. If you shop wisely, you can make these centerpieces for $5 to $20.

Large conch shells will also make a beautiful, unique and totally seaside centerpiece. They all have distinctive and individual markings. Place a shell on a bed of sand. Colored sand can be purchased online or at craft stores if you want to add a bit more of a specific hue to your arrangement. You can stabilize the conch shell in the bed of sand or on a specially-designed shell stand made for this purpose available at craft stores or where shells are sold. Place the shell so that the opening is on the top.

If the shell is completely sealed (no small holes or cracks), you can add water and float a candle in the opening if it is large enough. If not, surround the shell with tealights or battery-operated tealights, sea glass or colored glass beads to add sparkle and glow.

Conch shells can be found on ocean beaches in many parts of the country or can be purchased at some specialty stores or online and will start, depending upon their size, at around $15 each for a fairly large shell.

As you can see, you don't need to spend a lot of money to have the beautiful summer wedding or party of your dreams.

Thanks to Panache, a Classic Party Rental Company, for the use of linens and rentals in the video! Classic Party Rental stores can be found in many parts of the country and they ship worldwide.

VIDEO: The etiquette for how to set a table for a wedding or dinner party

How to Decorate Tables for Weddings -- powered by

Although the ideas I showed in the video were designed for a fairly simple wedding dinner, the same principles would work for any formal dinner party.

Below you will discover what you would need to do for a more complex dinner.

If you were serving bread with the meal, a bread plate would go to the top left of the plate in alignment with the glasses.

If salad is served, the salad plate would be put on top of the dinner plate. After the salad was finished, the salad plate, salad fork and dinner plate would be removed and a new dinner plate would be placed when the entree was served.

When soup is on the menu, the soup bowl is placed on a smaller luncheon plate which is then placed on the dinner plate. Bowls are never placed without another plate under them. The soup spoon would be placed to the right of the teaspoon. Once finished, the bowl, luncheon plate and dinner plate and soup spoon would be removed.

Whether the charger plate remains in place for all of the courses is a choice you and your caterer can make. It is always removed, however, before dessert is served and, in fact, generally after the first course.

Although it is unusual to place the dessert fork and spoon on the table at the beginning of the meal (often because of space constraints), if you choose to do so, they are placed at the center of the place setting about four to six inches above and perpendicular to the dinner plate and charger. The fork's handle would face to the left while the teaspoon's handle would face to the right. The spoonwould be placed directly under the dessert fork. This way the fork and spoon can simply be grabbed by their handles and placed to the left (fork) and right (spoon) of the dessert plate.

With these simple steps you can set a table that would impress any etiquette maven (and your mother-in-law!).

Many thanks to Panache, a Classic Party Rental Company, for use of their lovely linens and other rentals. You can find a Classic Party Rental Company in many parts of the country.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

VIDEO: How to Make Sweet Wedding Favors

How to Make Party Favors for a Wedding -- powered by

In this video I used a pretty, pink Chinese takeout box that I bought from a dollar store. I used chocolate kisses because I liked the idea of using a "kiss" to thank the guests. But you can use any type of container, candy or other gift you like.

The colors used here were pink and green but you can purchase plain favor boxes in a variety of styles in stores or online. The Dollar Tree chain, where I bought the takeout box, carries an impressive line of favor boxes in a variety of styles that come in packages of eight or more so they're very affordable. Plain ones can be adorned with clip art, stickers, paint pens, ribbons and more to make them truly personal to your wedding or party.

Just a word of caution. If you are folding the boxes from these packages, be sure to glue or tape the bottoms so that if you put in something with weight to it, the packages won't come undone.

While I might have normally used some filler for the box, because of the type of candy I used, I chose not to use it. But if you want to fill up your container to use less candy or to make it more fanciful, paper shreds can be purchased in a variety of colors including shimmery foil.

Thanks to Panache, a Classic Party Rental Company, for use of their beautiful linens and rentals for this video.

Video: How to Make an Affordable but Spectacular Wedding Centerpiece

How to Make a Centerpiece for a Wedding Reception -- powered by

Of course there are as many ways to make a wedding centerpiece as there are weddings. In this video I am showing you a way to make a centerpiece that's just as dazzling but that doesn't require a lot of flowers or skill. Just a few buds and some inexpensive tealight and pillar candles and a pretty container is all it takes.

Use the techniques shown here to give yourself inspiration to come up with your own centerpiece design.

This centerpiece was created for under $15. The most expensive part of the centerpiece was the silver-plated bowl. A bag of tealight candles can be purchased for a dollar at most dollar stores and tall pillar candles can be purchased for around $5 depending on where you buy it.

Thanks to Panache, a Classic Party Rental Company, for use of the linens and rentals seen in this video.

VIDEO: How to Give and Wrap a Wedding Present

How to Wrap Wedding Presents -- powered by

Gift giving at weddings varies by culture. In some cultures, traditional gifts are rarely given. Instead money in the form of a check or a gift card to a store or a multi-use pre-paid credit card is given in a greeting card to the couple. This gift is given when the couple goes from table to table to greet their guests. The envelopes are generally then turned over to a trusted family member for security.

For other cultures, traditional gifts, often from gift registries, are given.

If possible, traditional gifts should be sent to the bride's home before the wedding so that the couple or someone else from their family or bridal party isn't required to have to transport the gifts from the reception site to the couple's home or a parent's home to await the couple's return from their honeymoon.

However, it's also not unusual for a gift table to be placed in a secure area of the reception venue. When setting up a gift table, but sure that it is placed in an area where a passersby can't just wander in and steal one or more presents.

It's also possible to send the gift to the couple after they are married and back from their honeymoon.

While etiquette says that you have up until a year to give a gift, in reality if you wait any longer than a week or two after the wedding to send a gift, you are putting the couple in an awkward situation should they start unwrapping presents and writing thank you cards. They won't know if you gift was lost or misplaced or if you simply didn't give one.

Gifts can be decorated in many ways, of course. This video shows just one way. Just try to put as much care into how you decorate your package as you did in choosing the gift.

The most important thing, however, is that the gift card either be securely affixed to the gift or it should be enclosed in the gift box itself so that there is no way that the gift card and the gift can become separated. It would be wise, in fact, to put a gift tag both on the outside and inside the package to ensure that the couple knows that the gift came from you.

Whether your gift is fanciful or practical remember that being a part of the couple's wedding and always being there for them and loving them is the greatest gift you can give.

Thanks to Panache, a Classic Party Rental Company, for use of their beautiful linens and rentals seen in this video.