Many of my couples ask me if having a videographer is worth it, and my answer is an overwhelming, “YES!” For some couples, it’s just not in the budget and photography comes first. And I agree with that, wedding photos will always be #1. However, hiring a videographer provides a history of the wedding – a visual heirloom – that pictures are unable to capture. As you age, you’ll start to lose family members and friends, and the first thing you’ll forget is the sound of their voice and laughter. Their body language and fun gestures also fade from memory fast, and video can capture those memories forever. In a 2005 nationwide study that looked at brides’ attitudes about videography before after their weddings, less than 50% of brides listed videography as a Top 10 item of wedding priorities before their weddings. But after their weddings, that percentage changed to 79%! So if your budget allows, hire a professional videographer. You’ll be glad you did!
One of the most common questions I receive is, “What should my mother wear to the wedding?” The answer is easier than you think. First, her dress should never upstage yours! Second, once you’ve determined your wedding and bridesmaids’ colors, the mothers (bride’s and groom’s) should choose a complimentary color. For example, if you select ivory with blue and yellow, suggest they look for a gown in the blue hues. You can either accompany them to shop for a gown or provide them with a few color options, and let them make their own choices. I always recommend that the mothers communicate so they don’t purchase the same gown. I actually had that happen twice, but we caught the mistake early enough, and one of the mothers was able to exchange her dress! So either you, as the bride, or your mother should provide the mother-of-the-groom with a head’s up in advance…she’ll appreciate it!
Gaining in popularity, especially for destination weddings, is hosting a post-party brunch. Usually held at the hotel where the bulk of guests are staying, and paid for by the couple or either set of parents, this gives the newlyweds the opportunity to visit with their guests and thank them one last time before departure…and a way for family and friends to provide a warm send-off for the bride and groom. To keep the cost down, opting for a continental breakfast in one of the suites with champagne, coffee, and juice will fit the bill. Be prepared to extend the event over a couple of hours so guests can stop by on their way out of town. A post-party brunch is a delightful way for the bride, groom, and guests to mingle in a more relaxed atmosphere before saying their goodbyes!
In biblical times, blue was the color of purity, changing to white when Queen Anne wore a white gown to her marriage to Louis XII of France. Prior to that, both the bride and groom wore a band of blue at the bottom of their attire, denoting love, modesty, and fidelity, thus spawning the garter belt with its blue band accent. Brides usually wore flowers but didn’t carry a bouquet until the 14th century, when the tradition of tossing the garter got out of hand with drunken guests trying to remove the garter ahead of time! The bride switched to carrying a bouquet, which she tossed so that one lucky lady who caught it would be the next to wed…and this custom has remained in place.
The history of the wedding cake dates back to the Roman Empire. Small wheat or barley cakes were crumbled up and thrown over the bride’s head as a measure of the bride’s fertility. We now throw rice or petals as the couple departs the wedding. In the 15th century, under the reign of King Charles, a French baker started to stack the cakes and iced them white sugar. From this tradition spawned the wedding cake as we know it today. The color of the cake is typically white, symbolizing purity. Cutting the cake represents the first joint task in married life, while feeding the cake to one another signifies the commitment the bride and groom are making. Keeping the top portion of the wedding cake to eat at the couple’s first anniversay is said to have originated as a sign of wealth. Whatever the tradition, the wedding cake has evolved from a tasteless white cake to a visual work of art and culinary delight.
The tradition of having a best man originated from the days when a man would literally kidnap his bride. “Captured” marriages were legal in England until the 13th Century. During the middle of the night, with his “best warrior” (i.e., “best man”) by his side, a man would kidnap the woman he desired. If the family tried to rescue her from capture, the “best man” was there to help his friend should a fight ensue. At the wedding, the best man continued his duties…standing to the right of the groom, he was ready to draw his sword again, in case any family members tried to rescue her prior to the vows being confirmed. Once she was married, the family had to accept the marriage. The best man was a trusted friend whom the groom could rely on and so the tradition continues to this day!
Over the next few weeks, my blogs will address wedding traditions and how they originated. The first tradition, the wedding dress, has its roots in royalty. The Royal family has led the way when it comes to bridal gowns trends, from Lady Diana and Princess Grace Kelly, to Wallace Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor…brides all over the world have simulated their designs.
Until the 15th Century, wedding dresses were primarily blue; however, in 1499, Anne of Brittney married the King of France, and she wore a white gown. That tradition became solidified in 1840 after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert. Victoria wore an ivory gown so as to incorporate some lace she owned. The official wedding portrait was widely published, and in honor of Queen Victoria’s choice, future brides opted for the same style dress. Today, the white dress is the most traditional and popular choice for weddings.
A thoughtful way of saying “thank you” to your guests for attending your wedding is by providing a guest room bag or basket. A courteous and fun surprise, a gift basket could include not only local visitor information for those extending their trips, but popular Wine Country inclusions – besides a bottle of wine – could be maps, brochures, and magazines of all the fabulous attractions available in the Wine Country and surrounding areas…hot air balloon rides, bike and hiking trails, canoeing, fishing on the coast, visits to the Redwoods or San Francisco, enjoying the local spas, or our most famous attraction…wine tasting! You could also include snacks, directions to/from the venue, restaurants, and a personal note thanking your guests for making the special trip to attend your wedding. Dress up the bag/basket with personalized labels and a beautiful ribbon. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and the gesture alone with make your guests feel welcomed!
The food doesn’t end with the last bite of cake! One of the recent trends sure to become a classic is to offer your guests a late-night snack. It could be elaborate desserts such as brownies, cookies, lemon bars and chocolate-dipped strawberries…or savory snacks such as warm potato chips, nuts, mini pizzas, or sliders and fries. Display the small bites on a station or arrange for servers to hand-pass trays with warm milk and an array of cookies. Pairing dessert wines or ports always makes the concept more interesting and pleasing to the palet. Should you decide to opt for a bar or station, be sure to have a menu that lists the options. Also, it’s safe to guess that half of your dinner guests – normally the younger adults – will stick around for the late night fun, so plan accordingly. Your guests will be thrilled when the late-night snacks arrive and leave with a smile on their faces!
More and more couples are opting for a more casual feel when it comes to their rehearsal dinner. An emerging trend that replaces the traditional sit-down dinner for the families and bridal party is offering a casual “welcome reception” where the entire guest list is invited! It could be as simple as a happy hour in the hotel bar where out-of-town guests are staying, at a local park, or even a pizza parlor. Hosting a wine and beer reception with passed appetizers or stations is a popular way to keep the party social and a nice way for your guests to meet and catch up before the big day. Just be sure to add the RSVP to your main invitation so you can get an accurate count for the caterer. Greet your arriving guests and express your appreciation for traveling to your destination to see you walk down the aisle by treating them to a fun and casual welcome reception!