Wedding Planning Essentials: The Reception Checklist

wedding reception essentials

If there’s one thing that’s essential to a successful wedding planning process it’s the habit of keeping lists. There are just way too many elements that go into planning a wedding to attempt winging it as you go or working from memory. Try it and you’re sure to get lost in all the details. Luckily there are plenty of monthly planning checklists readily available online  to help you work through the process. What’s harder to come by is a comprehensive list of the essentials you need to source to pull off the big party. But not to worry. We’ve got you covered! Here’s the rundown of the basics you need to consider for your wedding reception, along with some on trend examples of each. Happy Planning!

The Essentials Checklist:

  • Seating Chart, Escort Cards or Place Cards
  • Table Numbers
  • Guest Book and Pen
  • Wishing Well
  • Cake Topper
  • Cake Serving Set
  • Toasting Flutes

Seating Plan

Unless you’re having a very small and intimate dinner party style reception, a seating plan is a must. Guide your guests to their seats with either a creative seating chart fit to theme or beautifully displayed escort cards. Take it one step further by assigning seating at each table with the use of a place card in a lovely little holder.

custom guest sating chart

featured here: custom seating chart created using the open ornate vintage inspired frame and diy escort cards

reception seating ideas

featured here: diy escort cards created using burlap wrap by the roll and miniature ornate hanger clips

Table Numbers

A well thought through seating plan is for nothing without a well marked table. Most venues provide a standard table number option you can use, but check with them to make sure. To elevate the look consider using a custom table number, fit perfectly to your event design.

Guest Book

Some traditions are well worth keeping. Create an instant wedding keepsake by incorporating a guest book into your reception where all who attend can leave their permanent mark and well wishes.

Wishing Well

Want the sentimental keepsake offering a guest book provides but looking for a bit more creativity in the display? If so consider a uniquely designed Wishing Well where guest’s notes are marked on custom cards.

Cake Topper and Serving Set

Finish off your beautiful cake with an equally gorgeous cake topper. Pick something that either represents you as a couple, or go for something fit to theme. And remember a cake knife and server set for the sweet tradition of the cake cutting.

garden themed wedding cake

Toasting Flutes

Don’t forget one of the best reigning wedding traditions, the toasting of the two of you as the new Mr. and Mrs. Pick a stylish set of flutes that you’ll enjoy time and again after the big day.

Ready to Shop?

If you’re ready to get your reception essentials shopping started, we’ve compiled everything you see here (and more) into an easy to shop checklist. You can download your copy right here and when you’re ready visit the Reception section of weddingstar.com for 100s of accessory options.
toasting flute

xoxo.

kasia-signature

Wedding Planning Essentials: Outdoor Ceremony How-To

outdoor ceremony setup

No one loves an outdoor wedding ceremony more than I do. Natural light, a warm summer breeze, sweet smells of distant wildflowers, all come together to create something simply magical. If you’re an outdoor ceremony lover like me and are planning one for your own wedding, here’s the rundown of what you need to consider to pull it off to perfection. Happy Planning!

How-To Tip #1: Frame Your Area

It’s not called the great outdoors for nothing! An outdoor ceremony space is generally a big one. Create an intimate setting by creatively framing off your area with some ceremony staples. Consider an aisle runner for a pretty direct pathway to the top of your site. Greet the eye when it gets there with a unique Unity Ceremony setup, complete with an unexpected decorative touch like a lantern overhang.

outdoor wedding ceremony

unity ceremony tag

mini lantern ceremony decor

featured here: mini lanterns (hangers removed) and purple satin ribbon

How-To Tip #2: Less is More

Take advantage of all the natural beauty that surrounds an outdoor space and go with subtle complimentary decorative accents to finish off the look. Using simple design tactics like specialty ceremony seating, think Cocoa Chiavari Chairs, and gorgeously simple aisle markers, think birch and cotton bud diy arrangements, provides for a ton of impact without overpowering what’s already there.

ceremony seating

dried cotton and lavender aisle marker

ceremony aisle markers

featured here: glass cylinder vase

How-To Tip #3: All About the Details

You went for something out of the ordinary for your ceremony location, now keep the feeling of exceptional going with unique day of accessories that compliment your wedding day design. From a custom Welcome display to a lovely ring pillow alternative, the attention to detail will not go unnoticed.

rustic ceremony decor wooden wedding signs

vintage ring box

How-To Tip #4: First Comes Comfort

Having an outdoor ceremony means taking on the powerful sun. Do it successfully by keeping your guests comfortable. Beyond the most obvious necessities, like hydrating beverages and sunscreen, consider providing your guests with something both practical and pretty, like shade providing paper parasols. As an added bonus, think of all the great picture opps you’ll get out of them!

white paper parasols

featured here: paper parasols accented with purple satin ribbon

purple satin ribbon accents paper parasol

How-To Tip #5: Plan B

You simply cannot plan an outdoor ceremony without an indoor back up. Full stop. Before committing to your outdoor venue, ensure that there is an indoor option available. If you’re having your outdoor ceremony on the same property as your indoor reception, try to avoid using the area where you’ll be hosting your dinner as your Plan B. It makes for difficult logistics and impacts the experience your guests have moving from one great space to another during the ceremony to reception transition. Be open to creative Plan B alternatives, even something at another nearby location. And plan for an atmosphere just as lovely as that of your original space to ensure you and your guests don’t miss out on any part of the experience you planned for.

outdoor ceremony backup

Need More Ceremony Advice?

Come back and visit the blog this coming Monday when we outline the essentials to pulling together a Ceremony Program.

xoxo.

kasia-signature

Wedding Planning Essentials: Our Top Ten Favorite Summer Wedding Ideas

summer weddings

There’s a reason the summer months continue to collectively make up the most popular time of the year to get married. Although weddings by sheer nature are beautiful no matter when they take place, there’s just something extra special about warm weather nuptials. With this Sunday marking the first day of June, the number one month of the year to tie the knot, we thought now would be the perfect time to share our favorite summer wedding ideas. Focusing on little details that  guarantee to make a wedding day special and unique, these ideas are definite essentials for any summertime bride to consider. So grab your favorite summertime sipper, sit back and relax in your favorite patio chair, and get ready for some serious summer wedding inspiration.

#1 – Drinks All Around

birch print paper straws

Speaking of summertime sippers, keeping refreshing drinks constantly flowing is definitely one of the most important rules for any warm weather wedding. Go about it in a creative way by serving a signature drink unique to your event and finish it off in style with a theme appropriate decorative paper straw.

For more paper straw inspiration check out our ‘Stylish Sippers’ DIY post.

#2 – The Bright and The Bold

There’s no better time than the summer to get daring with your wedding color palette. Now’s the time to play with bright hues in bold combinations to create a statement look bursting with energy and fun.

#3 – Saying “I Do” Outdoors

Outdoor wedding ceremonies are always simply stunning. No exceptions. It takes very little to play up the natural beauty that an outdoor setting has to offer. Keep your decorative additions simple but full of impact by incorporating things like unique seating and subtly beautiful aisle decor.

#4 – Weatherproof Hair

If you’re taking full advantage of the warm weather with an outdoor event, be sure to weatherproof your hair. An updo is pretty much a must. but it certainly need not be boring. Enlist the help of a professional hair stylist to give you the ultimate outdoor wedding look.

#5 – Into the Wild

outdoor wedding ceremony ideas

OK, so maybe “wild” is a stretch when talking about doves! Point being, the classic dove release is one of those warm weather possibilities we can’t get enough of.

#6 – Keep ‘Em Comfy

As beautiful as an outdoor summer wedding can be, it also comes with unique challenges. Pesky mosquitoes, the bright sun and the sticky heat, just to name a few. Take care to ensure your guests are comfortable by supplying them with all the outdoor essentials they could possibly need, think sunscreen, bug spray and sunglasses for those who forgot a pair. Fill and creatively display personalized tote bags for a bit of decorative fun.

#7 – Seasonal Treats

There’s nothing more charming than a pint-size ode to summer. Get crafty and incorporate yours by way of a cleverly displayed guest favor.

#8 – Backup Footwear

summer wedding shoes fun summer wedding inspiration

You never know what Mother Nature might have in store for the great outdoors. Be prepared for just about anything, including unruly terrain, with some backup practical footwear. And with a pair of Coach rain boots, practical never looked so stylish!

#9 – Light the Way

Nothing adds ambiance to an event like candlelight. Kick things up a notch by lighting them up with the use of unique and trendy candle holders.

#10 – All in the Name of Fun

fun wedding inspiration

Last but not least, regardless of time of year, a must do for any wedding is making sure to take the time to fit in a bit of fun!

xoxo.

kasia-signature

DIY Wedding Wednesday: Stylish Sippers

sippers

The official start to Summer is just around the corner and with it will come a flood of gorgeous summer weddings, so we figured it’s time to start featuring some appropriately swoon-worthy and warm weather worthy posts. Today we’re kicking off our Summer series with a DIY paper straw feature that infuses a wedding staple, the delicious signature drink, with both style and personality. We’ve pulled together three varied looks but with just a simple change in straw or ribbon color, charm accessory or tag, the looks are limitless. DIY Wedding Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week, regardless of what’s being featured. But when the feature involves a little cocktail mixing and champagne toasting, let’s just say it makes the day that much enjoyable! Cheers!

Stylish Sipper #1 – Simple & Sweet

birch paper straws

The Supplies

diy brich paper straw

The Look

diy woodland theme straw green paper straw flags birch print paper straws birch straw

Stylish Sipper #2 – Colorfun

diy candy striped straws

The Supplies

diy sipper straw supplies

The Look

retro style sipper straws blue polka dot sipper straw mini wooden button pastel pink sipper straws pink candy striped sipper straw yellow polka dot sipper straws diy yellow paper straw pastel-paper-straws candy striped and polka dot paper straws

Stylish Sipper #3 – Sophisticated Spin

metallic silver print paper straws

The Supplies

metallic silver paper straw supplies

The Look

metallic silver chevron print paper straws silver crown jewel charm silver-paper-straws diy chevron paper straws

xoxo.

kasia-signature

Wedding Planning Tips: Welcome Table How-To

welcome table

First impressions are everything. And weddings are no exception. Start your reception off on the right note by greeting your guests with a well planned Welcome Table for your cocktail hour. Not sure what to incorporate? Follow this simple ‘How-To’ for your foolproof tablescape layout.

Cheers to Good Times

Arguably a cardinal rule for any wedding, a signature drink is the perfect way to set the tone for your wedding reception. Impress your guests by making it subtly fit to your theme and color scheme. Get original with your choice of glassware and accessorize wherever possible.

retro wedding ideas

red wedding ideas

featured here: oval plastic tub personalized with a candy colorful design diecut label

Downtime Fun

If not planned properly a ‘cocktail hour’ can feel like a ‘cocktail never-ending night’! Help your guests pass the time by keeping them occupied with conversation starting eye candy. Consider featuring a creative guestbook alternative where guests can leave you their well wishes.

wedding guestbook alternative

Keep the Momentum Going

Never leave your guests unsure of what to do or where to go next. Guide your guests to their dinner seats with a well laid out display. If logistics permit, use a seating chart for its ease of reference.

retro theme seating chart

Send Off

You started things off with a great first impression, now end them off on a high note with a thoughtful gift for guests. Skip the expected boxed chocolate favor and give them something they’ll enjoy long after your day is done.

retro themed wedding ideas

Want More?

For additional creative reception ideas come back to the blog this coming Wednesday for a simple and super pretty paper straw DIY feature. 

xoxo.

kasia-signature

Wedding Day Essentials: Top 5 Cake Topper Styles

cake toppers

Weddings, in every which way possible, have changed dramatically over the last decade. From unique venue selections to a focus on infusing personality into every aspect of the event, today’s couple wants something different and special for their wedding day. Yet a few staples continue to reign in popularity. A classic example, the tradition of a Cake Topper. That said, gone are the days of cookie cutter options. Now it’s all about personalized, thought through pieces that reflect the personality of the bride and groom. So from swoon worthy porcelains to quirky fun felt, today we’re sharing our top five cake topper styles.

Style #1 – The Modern Back to Basics

This one’s all about scaling things back and connecting to the beauty of all that Mother Nature has to offer. Presented in clean white porcelain and resin finishes these classic natural motifs are given the perfect modern twist.

Style #2 –  Classic Contemporary

A classic design staple for any modern event. Acrylic, no matter how it’s featured, always brings with it a sleek and contemporary feel.

acrylic cake topper

gold and acrylic cake topper

Style #3 – True Romance

Because your true romance is made up of the loveliest personal details. Mix and match a variety of bride and groom combinations to find the one that perfectly reflects who you are as a couple.

bride and groom porcelain cake toppers

Style #4 – Puppy Love

Many are those that consider their canine as a member of the family. Easily incorporate your puppy into your event and your topper with one of these sweet mini options.

Style #5 – No Ordinary Love

For the couple whose event design has to be as quirky as they are, these sweet perfectly imperfect homespun felt birdies are a must have.

homespun cake topper

Want More?

Shop over 100 additional unique cake topper options on the cake topper section of weddingstar.com.

xoxo.

kasia-signature

DIY Wedding Wednesday: Pattern Play – Mini Vase Sets

diy vase favors

A while back we did a post on DIY glittered tea lights that was a big hit with our brides. Because we can’t resist a repeat fan favorite, and because we love what a touch of glitter can do, we’re re-applying this simple to-do concept on one of our mini white vase sets. Whether used as a guest favor, or as part of your wedding day decor, these small stunners are sure to have a big impact with your guests. And for those of you looking for a simplified approach and look, we’re giving you another combo that’s just as lovely. Here’s how to pull together the two looks.

Look #1: Glitter Galore

diy glitter vase favors

The Supplies

mini glitter vases - diy supplies

  • mini favor vases in white
  • spray adhesive
  • spreadable glue {we love mod podge!}
  • glue dots
  • masking tape
  • paint brush
  • glitter
  • spray roses

The Step by Step – Pretty Polka Dots

large polka dot diy glitter vase large polka dot diy glitter vase how to

Step 1: stick on your large glue dots, spacing them out all over your vase.

Step 2: dust on your glitter.

Step 3: using a clean paint brush, brush off all excess glitter.

large polka dot diy glitter vase

small polka dot diy glitter vase small polka dot diy glitter vase how to

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 using small glue dots.

small polka dot diy glitter vase

The Step by Step – Stripes and Solids

single strip diy glitter vase single strip diy glitter vase  - how to

Step 1: wrap a strip of masking tape three quarters of the way down your vase.

Step 2: apply a thin even layer of glue.

Step 3: sprinkle on the glitter.

single stripe diy glitter vase

thick stripe diy glitter vase thick strip diy glitter vase - how to

Step 1: wrap a strip of masking tape at the base of the vase,  and just below the base of the bottle neck.

Step 2: apply a thin even layer of glue.

Step 3: sprinkle on your glitter.

thick stripe diy glitter vase

diy gold glitter vase diy glitter vase how to

Step 1: apply spray adhesive glue all over the outside of your vase.

Step 2: sprinkle on glitter, plugging the opening of the vase with your finger to avoid glitter entering the vase.

diy gold glitter vase

Look #2 – Keep it Simple

If you love the look of the vases but want a simplified version, go au naturel by eliminating the glitter. Mix and match the vase color options for your bit of pattern play and a lovely end result.

mini decorative vase favors

The Supplies

mini decorative vase favor supplies

The Look

mini decorative white vase favor mini decorative lavender vase favor mini decorative vase favor

xoxo.

kasia-signature

 

DIY Wedding Wednesday: The Simple & Sweet Chair Banner

diy bride and groom chair banners

What happens when canvas flags meet wood veneer pennants? A DIY bride’s dream is what! If you visited the blog last Friday and read our Top 10 on Trend post you know that custom signage is a major trend right now. From ‘Welcome’ guest greetings to sweet messages perfect for photo opps, personalized signs are a simple and charming way of adding both your personality and a touch of decorative flair to your wedding day. With the coupling of two great textures, fabric canvas and wood veneer, today’s post brings you yet another way of pulling the custom sign concept into reality, the irresistibly sweet and sentimental {and super easy to do} bride and groom chair banner. Here’s how to make the look yours.

The Supplies

diy chair banner supplies

The Step by Step

diy chair banners - step 1 and 2

Step 1: put a drop of hot glue on the reverse side of each of the three points of your veneer pennant.

Step 2: promptly position onto the canvas flag.

Step 3 (not shown): repeat steps 1 and 2 for all your letters and symbols.

diy chair banners - step 4 and 5

Step 4: prior to gluing, mock up your banner and map out your positioning by laying out all your pennants against your craft twine. Try to keep consistent with the amount of space you keep between each letter and symbol.

Step 5: run a thin line of hot glue along the back of each flag and position your twine.

Step 6 (not shown): repeat step 5 for all your letters and symbols.

diy chair banners - step 7

Step 7: pull and cut several strands of ribbon for your banner trim. Create two bundles, one for the bride’s chair, one for the groom’s. Consider using varying but complimentary colors for each bundle.

diy chair banners - step 8

Step 8: string your completed banner onto your chairs.

diy chair banners - step 9 and 10

Step 9: tie your ribbon bundle into a simple knot to the outer side of your chair and tuck away behind your banner.

Step 10: Repeat on the other chair.

The {Sweet} End Result

diy mr and mrs chair banner

Want to See More?

For additional burlap banner concepts, check out those featured in the Burlap Chic inspiration shoot in the weddingstar e-catalog.

xoxo.

kasia-signature

Wedding Design 101: Mastering the Wedding Tablescape

tablescape inspiration

We’re a week away from Canada’s first official long weekend so naturally I’ve got parties top of mind. My favorite kind? A proper dinner party complete with great food, even better wine, and loads of fantastic friends. Having planned a few in my day I know that one of the cardinal rules to a great bash, and incidentally a great wedding, is a well set and styled table. Dining tables are where your guests spend most of their time, and in the case of a wedding where table settings are in the double digits, the visual becomes all that much more important. So today I’m breaking down the five basic essentials behind a successful tablescape. And considering practice makes perfect, you’ve got an excuse to plan a few parties to test out your own skills before your big day. Bon fete!

The Essentials – #1: Show Them to Their Seat

Rule number one to being a pro hostess: manage the guest experience from start to finish. Make it carefree and effortless for them, right down to where they’re meant to sit. Marking their spot with a theme appropriate place marker not only gets the job done, it also works as an added decorative touch. To get them to their table, use a seating chart or escort cards, greeting your guests upon arrival and guiding them to where they need to go.

diy seating chart

featured here: custom diy seating chart made with equestrian love stationery collection large rectangular tags accented with horse hose charms and tied with satin ribbon in deep plum

rustic wedding tablescape

The Essentials – #2: Greet Them with a Treat

Make your guests feel special and incorporate some instant eye candy into your design with a little surprise gift waiting to greet your guests as they settle in. Repeated over every place setting it makes for the perfect finishing touch and a fantastic first impression.

rustic mini pitcher favor

The Essentials #3: Layers of Goodness

From chargers to trimmed napkins, designing your place settings using multiple layers adds dimension and interest to your tablescape. Complete the look with a dried or fresh flower in your color scheme for an unexpected touch of pretty.

rustic place setting rustic gold charger plate crochet border handkerchief

crochet border handkerchief gift

featured: crochet border handkerchief (can be personalized)

The Essentials – #4: Keeping Focus

With all the things going on with a tablescape, it’s important to have a focal point that pulls it all together. Given its central positioning on a table, a beautiful floral centerpiece is a natural choice. Use height or eye catching decorative accents to create the focus. Where budget allows, expand on the concept by creating a table length runner made of bountiful floral arrangements.

rustic wedding centerpiece

need some added inspiration?
for gorgeous simple to create diy centerpiece ideas check out our springtime centerpiece post

rustic wedding centerpiece rustic wedding flowers

The Essentials – #5: The Finer things

For a really impressive design consider setting aside some budget for lovely little unexpected details. Upgraded flatware, delicate chair backs or custom table overhangs are all surefire ways of pulling together an unforgettable and unique event design.

gold wedding flatware lace chair back

mini white lanterns

featured here: mini white lanterns (comes with stand and hanger, removed here)

Want More?

Looking for more wedding reception decoration ideas? Shop all the options by theme, color, or category in the Reception section of weddingstar.com.

xoxo.

kasia-signature

Product Spotlight: Top 10 on Trend

mustache stainless steel flask

We’ve just returned from our annual buying trip, where we searched and shopped for the best of the best new products for you, our brides. And you can’t imagine how excited we are to release all the new additions to the lineup this coming December! To hold us over we’re recapping our Top 10 favorite 2014 additions, all in line with what’s hot and trending in the world of weddings right now. From the prettiest of favor boxes to the most stunning bridal and reception accessories, we’ve got it all covered. Now it’s your turn to shop!

#1 – Lovely Lace

One of the top trends for 2014, and 2015 for that matter, is arguably also the most romantic textile around. And we’ve got a couple of the loveliest and effortless ways to incorporate lace into your wedding day look. OK. So we’re cheating a little by featuring two products here. But they really do go hand in hand so we simply couldn’t resist!

#2 – Leave a Message

Custom unique signage is all the rage these days and we’re thinking this reusable chalkboard is definitely a top option. Whatever message it shares, it’s the intricate details that will have your guests swooning.

shabby chic greeting table

#3 – With this Ring

There’s nothing like a perfectly set table to please the eye and get the appetite going. Finish off your place settings in style with this gorgeous jewel accented napkin ring.

vintage place setting

#4 – The Forever Bouquet

Any woman who has lived the wedding day experience will tell you that keeping special mementos to remember the day is a must. What better way of remembering how you looked and felt than by keeping your bouquet, especially when it’s as beautiful as this couture brooch stunner.

wedding gown and accessories

#5 – Beautiful Burlap

Far from the unrefined. Complete with fabric flowers, lace trim and a subtle touch of bling, burlap never looked so good.

#6 – Take a Seat

Boxed sweet treats may not be a new guest giveaway concept, but these stylish pretty little chair boxes provide the perfect contemporary twist on a tried and true classic.

transparent chair favor boxes

#7 – The “Toss Me Not” Garter

Do yourself a favor and buy a toss away back up because you’ll definitely want to hold onto this lovely.

vintage bride

#8 – Smart Table Trim

There’s nothing like a wedding accessory that serves double duty. Not only does this self-standing wooden table number guide your guests to their seats, it also makes for a great decorative accent. And it comes complete with a top slit ready to hold anything you want it to. So in fact, we’re talking triple duty!

#9 – Bringing the Outdoors In

Want something new and unique for your centerpiece? Look no further. These super cool and super pretty faux birch trees are about as unique as it gets. Perfect for the Rustic or Woodland themed wedding, or for any couple looking to incorporate a bit of nature into their event’s design.

#10 – Animal Instincts

With Woodland weddings increasing in popularity on a daily basis, we’d be remissed not to add some animal motifs to the line. And what’s more synonymous with woodland animals than a great set of antlers.

woodland themed wedding place setting

Want More?

If you like what you see here then check out the full suite of 2014 products featured in the New Arrivals section of weddingstar.com.

xoxo.

kasia-signature