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Do Out-Of-Town Guests Come To My Rehearsal Dinner? Put Us In Summer And We Are….Happy Planners! Why It’s Important To Fully Understand What A Day-Of Planner Does

March 2014 Archive

Do Out-Of-Town Guests Come To My Rehearsal Dinner?

Photography by Echard Wheeler Photography, Planning by Emily Weddings

Do all of my out-of-town guests come to my rehearsal dinner? Well, this is a question we frequently answer so we thought we would share with all of our readers what we share with our couples. The number of out-of-town guests can vary at each wedding so our response is usually tailored to each couple, but we will give you our general rule of thumb to help navigate this area of planning.

First, let’s talk about the rehearsal dinner and why couples have them. Rehearsal dinners (by the way, they can be brunches or even breakfasts. There is no hard-and-fast rule that says it has to be dinner, but for all intents and purposes, let’s call it a rehearsal dinner for this post) are usually held after the wedding rehearsal and before the wedding day. It is a great way for the families of the couple to get to spend some time together in a relaxed atmosphere before the big festivities begin. It’s a way to say thank you to those who are taking part in your wedding ceremony. The rehearsal dinner is a time where you have those closest to you together in one place to express your gratitude for their influence in your life, and for their support on this next journey in your life as a married couple.  Emily Post explains the details well here on her site.

Typically, those invited to the rehearsal dinner are your immediate family members, the folks that are participating in the wedding ceremony, spouses or dates of those participating in your wedding ceremony, and the officiant and officiant’s spouse. So this is where it can get tricky…

The average cost for a rehearsal dinner is $30-$70 per person. That can get pricey if you are inviting many out-of-town guests. All of your out-of-town friends and family do not need to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. We agree that you should take time to greet them and show your gratitude to them for making the long distance trip, but it does not need to be the rehearsal dinner. So how do you do that, you ask?? Here are a few thoughts…

2 Options to Greet Out-Of-Town Guests

We encourage our couples to list out local activities, attractions, restaurants etc. on their wedding website as well as on the note added in the welcome bag left at the hotel desk for your arriving guests. This way guests can find places to eat that are special to the area where the wedding is taking place.

Ok, Option 1-  Reserve a small room (like a boardroom or small meeting room) at the hotel where most guests are staying for a small welcome gathering after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (you could choose to have this at a house, but let’s face it, not all of our friends and family are respectful of time and may make it hard for you to leave and get your beauty rest. A hotel makes this departure easier because you have no choice but to leave the room after a certain block of time). The bride and groom can add this welcome gathering information to their wedding website as well as in a little note that is in the welcome bag for guests at the hotel. The bride and groom can specifically designate one hour to meet their out-of-town family and friends for a hug and a drink before they call it a night. This way those guests feel like they have had some quality time with you before your big day.

Option 2- If you aren’t leaving for a honeymoon right away, have a breakfast or brunch the morning after the wedding at the hotel where most of your out-of-town guests are staying. You can simply have muffins and coffee, but the guests will just love the extra quality time they have with you.


Now if you just have one or two couples coming in from out of town, by all means, invite them to the rehearsal dinner. If your extended family would be extremely hurt (and never speak to you again) by not being invited, then make sure you have clear cut guidelines on who gets invited e.g., out-of-town family, but not out-of-town friends etc. This will keep it from getting too messy.

It’s hard trying to include everyone and you never want hurt feelings. By having a special time to greet your out-of-town guests, you help them know how appreciative you are that they took the time to be there for your special day while at the same time saving the rehearsal dinner for the intimate time it is meant to be with those you have specifically chosen to take part on your wedding day.


Lesner Inn Wedding

Photography by Echard Wheeler Photography, Planning by Emily Weddings



The Pros And Cons Of Pinterest For Your Wedding

We LOVE Pinterest. We can start pinning and before we know it, hours have passed by. From yummy food and cocktails, gorgeous home design ideas, to DIY projects, what’s not to love?

Pinterest also helps out in the wedding planning world. When you allow us to see your wedding boards, we have constant access to what is inspiring you. It helps us move in the right direction for your wedding day. Some brides may not fully understand what they like or be able to put  into words want they want. When your wedding professional’s eye views the boards you have pinned for your wedding, we can understand what it is you have fallen in love with (we can see the common design element in each picture). This gives us great insight into our your dream wedding, as well a great direction to head in the planning process. With all of that said, we have to also warn y’all of the cons that can come along with pinning on Pinterest for wedding inspiration.

First, let us clearly state the Pros of Pinterest in Wedding Planning from a planner’s perspective (because there are many):

  1. Gives us insight into what a you love and what inspires you.
  2. Helps us with out-of-town brides because most of the planning is done at long distance.
  3. Helps inspire a vision (especially if you have not been one to always dream of your day, and if you don’t have any ideas coming into the planning process).
  4. Helps you locate wonderful sites that make or sell fun detailed items that you would like to incorporate into your wedding day.
  5. Inspires you with creative ideas and DIY things for your event.
  6. We really could go on because we adore Pinterest and find that it has tons of Pros!

Ok, So let’s move on to the Cons of Pinterest in Wedding Planning from a planner’s perspective:

  1. You can start to overpin ending up with so many ideas all pointing in a different design direction that you can become overwhelmed with inspiration.
  2. You can become so inspired by such luxury weddings that you become depressed about your own wedding because you feel it may not measure up to the pictures you have pinned.
  3. You can find something you completely love and try to copy it, and it ends up looking like an elementary school project (you know what we are talking about…it has happened at least once to all of us).
  4. You can start moving in a design direction for many months, all of a sudden get inspired by a new favorite picture, and feel you have to completely start over in order to get the wedding day you REALLY want now (this has happened to one of our couples). It sure is a lot of work to start over!
  5. Here is the big one, y’all…ready for it?? Sticker shock from your favorite Pinterest picture inspiration!

So let’s talk about number 5 on the Cons of Pinterest…

We desire that you know about this so that you can prevent the problems that come along with your favorite all time inspiration picture and the my-wedding-has-to-be-this-exact-picture feeling. We have all seen that one wedding picture on Pinterest where you think “OH MY GOODNESS….THAT’S IT!!” So you head to the florist (you can actually put any wedding vendor in this spot and the story will come out the same) and you show them your inspiration and say please draw up a proposal around this picture. You don’t really give the vendor a budget because you think you can wiggle around that bottom line once you get the proposal (cut here, pull from there in other wedding categories to make it all work) because you just have to have this particular look at your wedding. You leave the floral meeting and start dreaming about how it’s going to look…you can barely sleep at night out of sheer excitement and wish your wedding day would be tomorrow so that you could see it all! (That’s excitement, y’all) A few days later the florist gets back to you with a proposal and has done everything you asked. Drumroll, please….HOLY MOLASSES that one centerpiece inspiration from the picture is $1000 and you were thinking that would be the cost of the flowers for your entire wedding! You are left depressed. UGH! We hurt for you…that is an awful feeling, and it can be prevented.

Below you will find a few ways to protect yourself from the cons of Pinterest pinning for your wedding day. These tips also help the wedding professional better serve you. It will save the vendor’s time and energy preparing a proposal that will never work, as well as save disappointing you on the vision you have for your wedding day. All wedding professionals want to see a smile on your face. They never, ever want to see you disappointed because you can’t get what you want…it really does break our heart…so we are going to say it…ready?…help us, help you…yep, we said it!

Here is how:

  1. Go into planning your wedding knowing a firm budget. It will also help knowing that the average wedding in Virginia Beach is about $30,000.
  2. Here is a great website with a wedding calculator to help guide your budget. This site helps with any location by using the zip code for your wedding destination.
  3. We recommend hiring an wedding planner (of course we would!) because they can send you to the most reputable, creative wedding professionals that will work hard for you. This way you don’t have to fear if all of your money is well spent by that particular vendor.
  4. Be open with your wedding professional on the budget you would like to stay in. This gives them a jumping off point for your vision and cost. They can be open with you right away if it will even come close to your inspiration picture because of your where you would like to stay monetarily.
  5. Be flexible to other options when showing your wedding professional your wedding inspiration Pinterest picture. Hold loosely to the pictures you find. Be open to trying different ideas they may offer. They really do want to help.

Pinterest is AWESOME! Use it wisely in planning for your wedding. Let it guide, but not define. Let it inspire you, not lock you in. Let it be a creative outlet, not a rule book. Happy planning and happy pinning.

Put Us In Summer And We Are….Happy Planners!

With daylight savings just around the corner (it’s this Sunday, y’all!) , we are pulling out the flip flops and sunscreen….too soon? Well, ok, but it still has us dreaming about the upcoming months of wedding planning, warmer weather, and longer summer days. Sigh.

Sunset pictures are some of our favs. With the longer days, it’s easier to have a sunset ceremony! SO PRETTY! If you get married later on in the summer (because the days keep getting longer) then you can have your ceremony in the late afternoon, and the photographer can take you and your new spouse out right as the sun is setting for romantic pictures. Both options are gorgeous.

EWT outdoor ceremony

Photography be Eleise Theuer Photography. Officiating by Susan Turner. Planning by Emily Weddings, Inc

With the longer summer days comes hotter weather. Always remember to keep your guests in mind when planning and outdoor ceremony or reception. A drink station at your ceremony site is always nice. Your guests can get a cool refreshment and break from the heat before the processional starts. Programs in the shape of fans can serve double duty for your big day and can look super cute. A basket of parasols are a creative option for shade if your ceremony location is in direct sunlight. You can even provide sunscreen in cute soap dispensers for guests.

Bugs and mosquitoes love the warmer weather just as much as we do, but, just like crazy Uncle Arnie, they are not invited to your wedding. To make sure they stay away, we recommend spraying the lawn before your big day. Some companies offer both an all-natural solution and a synthetic solution. The synthetic spray can last a few weeks while the all-natural spray has to be done several times a month. We love the idea of the all-natural solution, but make sure it is done just days before your event so you can get the full effect of warding those pests off.

Bugs in your food? ICK! No, thank you! Some great ways of getting around this is to definitely spray the lawn (but we already talked about that). Another option is adding herbs to your centerpieces for the food tables and guest tables. Basil, mint, lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, bay leaf, clove, tansy, and wormword are a few great herbs that help the flies and mosquitoes stay away. A must!

Make sure you chat with all of your wedding vendors and get their expert opinions on their services and the wonderful, summer heat. The baker will most likely recommend fondant (it can be SO good if you find an awesome baker!), The florist will have great flower recommendations so your flowers don’t wilt too quickly, the photographer will have great advice for sunlight and timing. With proper planning and experienced wedding vendors, your outdoor wedding can be simply outstanding!

There is SO much to love about summer: longer days, extra warmth, stunning sunsets! Make sure you can enjoy every moment of your outdoor ceremony and/or reception by following some of these simple steps. Happing planning!


Photography by Zoe Grant. Cake by Jamie’s Bakeshop. Planning by Emily Weddings, Inc

EWT first look pic Macy wedding

Photo by Echard Wheeler Photography. Planning by Emily Weddings, Inc



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