SUMMER weddings

So summer has begun and with it comes lots of fun times that transform into special memories. What do you have planned this summer? Are you spending it with family, friends, both? Are you staying home or going away?

Summer 1

With summer also comes wedding season! I know, personally, I will be attending a few weddings this summer. But why summer for weddings? In general, people tend to get married in summer as the warmer weather means less worry and less clothes (think: winter coats and boots). If you are planning an outdoor wedding, the sun and the flowers are at their biggest and brightest with their fragrant aroma floating along in the long summer nights. I love summer!

Summer also means beach season! And from experience, we know that people love to get married on the beach. There’s something about having the sand between your toes and the freedom to run free and scream loudly that attracts people to the beach… or it might just be the water and the bikinis – your choice.

Summer 2

You may be reading this and thinking, “Yes, that would be my dream wedding but it’s summer, it’s peak season. I can’t afford this.”

First off, I’d like to think that you either did your research or have common sense to know that, yes, summer is peak season; therefore it can get quite expensive. The season in which you decide to get married is often the first decision you need to make as a couple in deciding a specific wedding date as it will have a significant impact on your budget, your venue and your theme. Now before you decide you can’t afford a sunny summer beach wedding, have you looked at all your options?

You really love the feel of a summer wedding. What should you do? Should you just give up hope, deciding it is outside your budget range, thus out of your reach? Well, unless you have aerophobia (or fear flying), fear no more. In a previous post, going back to November for my loyal readers, the concept of a destination wedding was introduced and explained. You can read the full article here. In summary, I recommended destination weddings as they are less stressful, result in less drama over the details and are less expensive.

Summer 3

Other than the added cost of flying to your destination, almost everything else either costs less or has more value for the price you’re paying. It is definitely worth your while to research this option for your wedding as it may save you thousands of dollars that can go toward your first home as a couple.

Now you may be wondering where you should start in your selection of a wedding destination. There are many factors that should weigh into your selection such as the culture and your connection with the destination, but a major determinant has to be the legal requirements. Don’t do all the research only to find out it isn’t feasible for you to get married in a country due to the residency or religious requirements imposed upon foreign visitors travelling to get married in there.

I hope this helps all who like me love summer but may not be able to afford to get married in it at home. It is a beautiful season, a gorgeous season for weddings. So keep your options open, do your research, have an excuse to travel to an exotic place. Everyone, enjoy your summer!

[Image Credits: Gorgeous in Grey,Colin Miller Photography, Pixan Photography]

Flower Keepsake Ideas

I’m sure you’ll agree that no dream wedding is complete without the flowers. Flowers adorn the bride, the groom, the wedding party, the ceremony site, the reception venue, you name it. Often they are where brides begin when deciding a theme for their day as it is a reflection of her personal style. But have you ever wondered “What about after?” What about after the wedding? After you have spent hundreds or thousands on floral arrangements and décor, what do you do with it? Do you just leave it behind? Do you give it away? Do you take it home and let it fade away? Instead of letting such beautiful memories go to waste, why not preserve them, protect them and cherish them?

In the book Beautiful Wedding Flowers: More than 300 corsages, bouquets, and centerpieces, Diane Wagner shares several sentimental keepsake ideas for wedding flowers. We have picked our favourites to share with you. Which one is your favourite?

Preserve Your Bouquet

Flower Keepsake 01

Make the necessary arrangements prior to the wedding so that your bouquet can be packed and shipped right after the wedding. Send it to a company that will professionally preserve your bouquet so that you hold it close and smell the flowers whenever you desire.

Frame Your Invitation

Flower Keepsake 02

Ever wanted to have your wedding invitation on display, but never able to find the perfect frame? Well, here’s an idea: After the ceremony, have your flowers sent to a professional who will have them waxed. Now frame your invitation with the waxed flowers and bits of lace to add a unique personal touch to the invitation to your special day.

Romantic Wreath

Flower Keepsake 03

Get a heart-shaped wreath and wrap it with the dried flowers from the bride’s bouquet and the lace used to wrap the original bouquet stems. There is definitely nothing wrong with reusing, especially when it looks so beautiful.

Your Wedding Shoe

Flower Keepsake 04

Another item that you put away after the wedding: your wedding shoes or heels. What a waste when you spent so much money on them and they look so elegant and still clean after your one-time use. So embellish one (or both) with an assortment of waxed flowers from your bouquet and put it on display: on your bookshelf, by your photo albums, in your room. Another cool idea would be to have both bride and groom shoes on display. Please do remember to clean the shoe first!

A Small Souvenir

Flower Keepsake 05So by the end of night, the bouquet isn’t looking too fresh or it got a bit destroyed when your best friend caught it, what now? Don’t despair. Save the remaining perfect blooms and dry them to fill tiny terra-cotta flowerpots, silver julep cups or mossy baskets. It’s pretty in a cute small way.

So what do you think? Which are you most likely to do?

[Image Credits: ABIA Weddings, 52 Flea, Plow Health, Dishfunctional Designs, Your Healthy Gardens]

Wedding Reception Catering Styles

Food is an important part of a wedding. It leaves a deep impression on guests – whether positive or negative – so it is no wonder that much time is spent on choosing a caterer, designing the menu and ensuring that everything tastes delicious. Now that you have the “who” (caterer), “what” (menu), “when” (wedding day), and “where” (reception venue) decided, don’t you think it’s time to put some thought into the “how”? How will the food be served at your wedding reception?

There are, in general, three catering styles that are used at weddings. These are buffet, seated meal, and finger food reception. Please read on for an overview of each catering style, some advantages and disadvantages, and pictures to give you an idea of how it looks.

Buffet

We all know what buffets are – ALL YOU CAN EAT! This means variety when it comes to your menu and no limit to the guests’ potion size. Food can be placed on long tables (beware of long lines and impatient guests) or strategically by stations (ie pasta, salad, etc). This style stimulates socializing and mingling among guests. You decide if you want to assign seating.

In regards to cost, this option is cheaper in terms of wait staff but, overall, it may be more costly. Why? Because people will naturally eat more (and hopefully not waste more) and they have the freedom as to what they eat. Depending on what you offer, guests will head to the higher end menu items. Caution is needed when choosing your menu to ensure you stay within your budget while providing enough for your guests.

Catering - Buffet

Seated Meal

The most traditional and formal of all serving styles, guests are seated in pre-assigned seats and served by waiters. Don’t assume that this is also the most expensive style as you must remember that unlike the buffet, guests can only eat what they’re served and nothing more, giving you control over quantity. Another way to save money is to decrease the number of courses.

What should you include in your entrees? Items that will have the widest appeal, therefore chicken is honestly the safest option. It is also the least expensive meat. If you really want seafood, farm-raised salmon is quite reasonably priced and popular among guests. Always have the option of a vegetarian entrée. If you have to cut corners even more, provide dinner rolls and other inexpensive sides to fill up your guests tummies. Whatever you choose to serve, ensure that it will not get soggy or cold while waiting to be served to all the guests.

Catering - Seated

Finger Food Reception

Really tight budget? This is the style for you; it is the most wallet-friendly and least stressful. Rather than hosting a full reception, at a finger food reception, the reception is shorter in duration as waiters circulate the room with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails to standing guests. On average two hours in length, this option is ideal for late afternoon to early evening receptions.

As a general rule, make sure all food is easy to eat using fingers or toothpicks. You don’t want any guests dirtying their fancy clothes. And how many appetizers should you offer? Another rule: Serve at least 6 different appetizers for a 2-hour reception and at least 9 if you choose to lengthen it to 4-hours.

Catering - Finger Food

[Image Credits: Wedding Engagement NoiseWedding BuffetYelpCarter CenterAnonymousKiss My TulleColorado CateringPull Up A SpoonMartha Stewart WeddingsIt’s A Bride’s LifeHostess With The Mostess, C Web News]

destination MALAYSIA

OVERVIEW

Malaysia – a multicultural country, where many ethnic groups live and interact in peace and harmony. A country filled with contrasting landscapes, this is where you can find rugged mountains, rainforest-clad slopes, sandy beaches and rich mangroves. A wide array of traditional handicrafts can be found here, ranging in size and price, but all delightful and enjoyable.

Malaysia 1

REQUIREMENTS

If you plan on getting married in Malaysia, be ready to spend at least a month in the country or be prepared to book two (or three) separate trips. You will understand why after reading the following requirements:

  • Notice of marriage must be given to the Registrar of the district in which the marriage will be held. This can only be done after the couple has been residing in said district for seven days.
  • Both parties must declare in writing that they are legally free to marry and submit a letter of Confirmation of Marital Status from their country of residence or Embassy. They must also declare that there is no impediment to their marriage.
  • Once the necessary fees have been paid and 21 days have passed, a certificate of marriage is issued and a wedding ceremony date can be arranged with the Registrar. This day must take place within six months of the date of notice and two witnesses are required.

The following paperwork is necessary to register your marriage:

  • Passport with photocopy front page containing personal information and page showing date of arrival in Malaysia
  • A colour photograph against a blue background for each person (32 mm x 38 mm)
  • The Decree Absolute if one of the applicants has been divorced
  • The Certificate of Death of a Spouse if an applicant has been widowed

Please note that forms may be completed in English but the forms are only available in Malay. They are available for download from here.

Malaysia 2

ENTERTAINMENT

With the variety of ethnic groups living together in Malaysia come a variety of entertainment options. More traditional selections include the Tarian or Candle Dance (women perform a delicate dance while balance candles in small dishes), the Kompang (arguably the most popular Malay traditional instrument) and the Gamelan (a traditional orchestra that plays ethereal melodies using an ensemble of gong, percussion and stringed instruments) – all pretty unique and cool!

Malaysia 3

I had to include this! Pulut Kuning = rice wedding cake! I imagine the Canadian equivalent would be a wedding cake made of mac and cheese. Either way, why not give it a try?

BEST TIME

Overall, Malaysia is a year-round destination as the country experiences hot and humid weather throughout the year. If you would like to avoid the steamy heat, it would be best to go between the months of May and September, when the temperature is slightly cooler. Beware of monsoons! If you are planning an outdoor wedding, it would be best if you avoid the months of October to January when it tends to rain quite heavily. Daily afternoon rain is quite normal. When it does fall, it is heavy but short; the sun will start shining again before you know it.

Malaysia 4

 Sources:

Embassy of the United States (2013). Marriage in Malaysia. Retrieved from http://malaysia.usembassy.gov/marriage.html

Tourism Malaysia (2013). Malaysia – Truly Asia. Retrieved from http://www.tourism.gov.my

[Image Credits: Keristuah,Iron Iris,A Cupcake Project, DeeLaPeNa]

TIMER favours

WTimer 1hile flipping through more wedding books from the library, I came across a DIY wedding favour that looked easy enough for me to do without messing up. I tried it out over the weekend, customizing it with a friend’s initials and her actual wedding date, and the finished product looked amazing. Why don’t you give it try? I promise you this is easy and budget-friendly. If you’re interested in more wedding craft ideas, check out Donna Kooler’s book, Great Wedding Parties: Penny-Wise Ideas For Parties With Sparkle (available online for $21.95 CAD + tax or (hopefully) at your local library). You’ll find more ideas that “sparkle.” Below, you’ll find my variation of her DIY Timer Favors.

Required supplies:

  • 3 ½”-high egg timers in wooden holders (available in craft stores in packages of 6)
  • Black glossy acrylic paint
  • Small round brush
  • 5 ¼” of 1” ivory satin ribbon
  • 18kt.-gold leafing pen
  • Scissors

Since I was only making one “favour”, I used whatever I could find in my house. When it’s your turn, you will have to head to the crafts store. In my case, I got a really old wooden egg timer from my washroom (from years ago when I timed how long I spent brushing my teeth), I used purple paint (or really any colour to match your theme), I personally like sponge brushes so I used that, I cut some 1/8” blue satin ribbon (what I had on hand) and I used a black marker instead. As you can see, liberties can be taken. Using the supplies that you have chosen, it is time to transform your egg timer.

Instructions:

  1. Paint the wooden holder with the acrylic paint. To avoid the plastic, if possible, take apart the egg timer. Allow to dry. Continue until all wood is the desired colour. Reassemble the egg timer.
  2. Personalize the egg timer using the marker. The book suggests that the initials of the couple are written on top. I added more by also putting the wedding date on the bottom. The choice is yours. If your hand is really steady, you can write around the rim if you so desire. (Remember though that you will be mass-producing this for all the guests so maybe simple is best?)
  3. The final step: Tie a bow with the ribbon around one support bar of the timer. Use the scissors to trim the ends off at an angle (you see the difference when the ribbon is thicker).

Timer 2

All done! A simple and elegant DIY wedding favour for you to try. May your marriage withstand the test of time!

MINI CAKE favours

Last time I explained what wedding favours are (little take-home gifts the bride and the groom give to their guests) and I wrote about a wedding favour that marks the beginning of a new chapter for the couple. This time, since I have just eaten dessert, I will write about a sweet wedding favour – the mini cake.

Mini Cake 1

I have yet to see this at a wedding though it has gained immense popularity in the recent years. This is an elegant and luxurious favour you can gift your guests that is becoming the latest trend in weddings. The cakes are individually decorated and boxed to give to those in attendance. Another idea is you can also use them as a table centerpiece as they are just that fancy!

Mini Cake 2

Other than being fancy, they are also oh so cute. They are small and easy to manage and you can order them in various flavours and designs. So let your guests have the opportunity to choose their own mini cake.

Mini Cake 3

For the brave brides out there, you can do it yourself (DIY) by making batches of your own mini cakes. This is a cost effective way to add variety as many shops that specialize in cakes for weddings and special events require a minimum order of favours which may limit your options. For a fun evening, why not invite your bridesmaids over to help with the decorating? Just don’t taste them all! Oh and save one for me please.

Mini Cake 4

[Image Credits: Bobbette & BellePerfect Wedding DayWeddings By LillyPerfect Wedding Day, Weddings By Lilly]

BOOKMARK favours

To start off, let’s define what wedding favours are. Wedding favours are the little take-home gifts the bride and the groom give to their guests as part of the wedding reception or ceremony. This is given as an expression of their appreciation to their family and friends. The giving of gifts to guests is quite common today in weddings all around the world. This is especially the case in North America.

What can be given as a wedding favour? The options vary, but, more often than not, they match the theme or season of the wedding. They can also be personalized with information such as the couple’s names, initials or the wedding date. The current popular wedding favours include candy in pretty glass containers, a photo of the couple in a fancy picture frame or the ever classic candle with their initials on it.

THE BOOKMARK

About a year ago, at a second-cousin’s wedding (which I chose not to attend for the simple reason that I haven’t talked to her more than three times in my life), bookmarks were given as a wedding favour. They were quite plain and honestly I found them boring until it was explained to me why they chose bookmarks. Can you guess the reason?

Bookmark

Bookmarks mark your place in a book. And for the wedding couple, their wedding marks the beginning of a new chapter in their life. Awww… that is so sweet. The only question that remains unanswered is why they chose snowflakes? (Possible reasons are that they complement the theme or the couple met in winter, winter has a special meaning to them, they love snow.)

With a short explanation, these bookmarks went from plain and boring to simple and sweet. So, when you chose your wedding favours, don’t just pick something that matches your budget (though that should be a factor). Pick something that connects with you, your wedding, your story. And there are many options out there for personalizing wedding favours. Take the time to research them because the wedding favours are what guests bring home with their memories.