Every bride-to-be has dreamed about getting married practically since they were little girls. Some brides remember drawing themselves with veils in crayon in preschool. Others remember practicing a new surname on the back of a a high school notebook.. No matter how you cut the wedding cake, every bride-to-be wants their wedding to be considered happy, special, and sometimes “THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE.” However, the reality is …dreams do not always unfold into reality. So, what exactly can a bride do to help her happy visions actually come to life?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
A wedding reception is like a research paper. To make for a great one, research has to be done. But before you do any research, you need to focus on finding the right questions, before you can try to find answers. First off, the bride and groom should identify “The Big Question” and then decide on a thesis (an answer) they are both comfortable with.
THE REAL QUESTION IS…
The only real way to be happy with your reception is if all the people around you are happy. The big question, therefore, then should not be “What do I want?” but rather, “What do I want for my guests?”
By formulating this question every time you plan an aspect of your party, you are planning from the guests’ perspective. Planning using the “Big Question” instead of something more selfish and meaningful to only you, will spawn a number of sub-questions that go along with it like, “what do I want my guests to say when they sit down?” and also, “what do I want my guests to say when they walk out the door?”
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
Demographics is everything. Thinking about who is going to be there before you actually plan, will make your reception “the best wedding of all time.” Different people like different things and you have to have a happy medium of what they will like and what you will like too.
BEING A GOOD WEDDING HOST MEANS BEING UNSELFISH –
Realizing that you are trying to accommodate all of your guests’ wishes from a great wedding reception is only the first step. Next, you have to do your research. Your homework is to find what really makes you happy, and also makes every guest attending happy as well. Because wedding receptions happen everywhere everyday, it is safe to say thousands of reception options have been created and your answers are out there. You just have to find them. Using this planning philosophy can work in every area including food, entertainment, music and even the overall look & layout of the decor.
THINK OF EVERYONE AT YOUR RECEPTION –
Don’t force eating restrictions on your guest. It causes friction.
Let’s apply this unselfish planning thinking from the guests’ perspective to one particular aspect of the reception: The Cake. While you may absolutely love the idea of a classy cream cheese carrot cake, Uncle Charlie may absolutely HATE IT. That doesn’t mean you have to be unselfish and not have carrot cake, it only means you have to think outside of the box. What would my guests like to see in a cake? How can I make everyone happy? In this case, why not TRY WEDDING CUPCAKES. Have you heard of this? You tier up a wedding cake display with many different types of cup cakes, in displayed in the shape of a traditional wedding cake. Everyone, including you and Uncle Charlie is now happy.
Same goes for the seating. Putting older folks close to the DJ is usually a bad idea!
As a wedding DJ specialist in Upstate New York, I tell my clients that if you really want to have your guests look back at attending “the best wedding ever,” keep them in mind as much as yourself. Happiness breeds happiness. Playing your favorite songs is important and fine, but remember to always involve some of your guests’ favorite songs as well-even when they might not involve the same types of musical tastes.
Find the happy medium, it is out there.
Speaking of the cake… Here is something else to think about: Try to make the cake as late as possible as this is often a point of exit for many guests. No matter what anyone says, dessert feels like the end and if your reluctant party-goer guests get this feeling, they may leave early!
Whenever I see something cool at a wedding that I am the disc jockey for, I feel the need to share. Are you looking for a fresh idea to dress up your tables at your wedding? Why not try jazzing things up with table sashes?
This new trend is an affordable way to really bring some color to your wedding reception.
I was the disc jockey at a wedding last week at The Franklin Terrace in Troy, NY and they had some really great sashes going on for their guest list of about 180 people.
Over black table clothes with dark pink napkin accents, their white table scarfs had black Oriental print running right down the center. This idea can really make your colors pop!
As far as the food is concerned, Waterford Banquets offers some really good prices and some great wedding favorites on their menu options. I believe their Prime Rib, which I would classify as medium-sized cut of beef, is somewhere around $23 a head, which really isn’t bad! Check out their website above for the menus options – or click here.
The Saratoga Elks, conveniently located near Northway Exit 15, has a bright and modern look with great lighting. It features a bar and a suitable wooden dance floor. There is great access to hall with a nearby back door, making things easy for decoration purposes.
250 plus guests banquet hall with spacious seating
Great bar/lounge area with seating for up to 100
Located in historic Saratoga Springs, near all activities
Patio and Gazebo area for beautiful ceremony
Overall, I would suggest that the hall is a great size; not too small and not too big. It seems ideal for weddings between 125-200 guests.
I would rate them about 8 stars out of 10, only subtracting a little for an unusable disco ball (people wanted me to turn it on as the DJ, but it didn’t work) and a few minor eye sores, like the Elks Logo sign in the banquet hall and what I believe was a bingo board on the wall covered by curtains.
(EDITOR NOTE: Since this blog in 2011, the disco ball is back in working order!)
LOOKING FOR AN ALTERNATIVE WEDDING HALL IN YOUR AREA?
If you are looking for a nice event hall for a small-to-medium sized wedding that allows outside catering, you probably know that your choices are limited. Many places today, have in-house catering, as this is a big money maker for the venues.
If you live in the Troy area, or nearby, and are working with a budget as many of us are, Petersburg might work for you.
LOCATION – “Petersburg, NY? Where the heck is that?” It’s funny. I’ve been a disc jockey for a number of years now and never heard of Petersburg Memorial Hall before, either.
I live in Wynantskill, off of Pawling. This is between Troy and Albany and I asked the same question. After I initially talked with the bride and groom about providing music for their special day, I had to run a Google map search to familiarize myself with a town that was less than 25 minutes away from me. (In case you are like me and are wondering, Petersburg is the next town down Grafton State Park.)
The reception I DJ’ed for was at a cute little place called “Petersburg Memorial Hall,” located conveniently on 71 Main Street. The venue is located right before the Petersburg Town Library. The hall provides plenty of parking and does work out to be a great little place for a great little wedding to take place.
AFFORDABILITY – Someone looking for a smaller wedding with the potential to meet affordability restraints can benefit considering this venue. While many halls in and around the Capital District that house wedding receptions also provide their own dinning packages, at the Memorial Hall, this is not the case. Here, you can book any catering service that you like and also make provisions to set up your own bar. This means an incredible amount of savings, as these two expenses are quite often the largest for any wedding.
SPECIFICS – The Memorial Hall can seat 80-100 people fairly comfortably. It has two side access doors to allow easy access for vendors and also any decorating purposes you may have. It has plenty of chairs and tables and a decent linen selection resource, along with seat covers. The hall also has very high ceilings and also a great little stage with draw curtains that could easily be used for your DJ or even a small live band.
There are a few little facility points to note. There is a decent kitchen, but it is not very large. It is probably, however, suitable for your outside caterer to make due with for what the hall can comfortably occupy. Also, it is import to note that there is only one shared bathroom. It is, however, handicap accessible, I believe.
On a technology note, the town of Petersburg is out in a rural area. It does not provide any Sprint cell phone coverage, but it does have Verizon cell phone coverage. Internet access is also provided to the hall through a wi-fi hub in the town library, nearby.
I would give it a three out of four stars for a good affordable wedding venue/hall option.
Here are my Top 10 Ways to Avoid Wedding Disasters, in music form. “Huh? How does that work?” Well, just think of these ten songs while planning your special day and you will have a safe and fun time for everyone. Each tip from this “playlist” (written by DJ Kenny Casanova) has a song that represents a potential “disaster-in-the-making” when you do not plan against it. HerAnd now for your Wedding Disaster playlist:
10. “Just The Two of Us” – Will Smith Make sure your wedding is a reflection of both of you; the bride and groom. Sometimes we forget to put in the personal likes and dislikes that make the event special. In the end, everyone should have some of the traditional wedding to make them happy, but also a mixed in balance of things that are important to the newlyweds.
9. Be careful not to waste… “Money” – The O’Jays
“Do we really need that extra decoration in the bathroom?”… “Do we really need a violinist in the hallway?”… The Wedding Industry is a big money maker. It is often easy to get caught up in all the options and wish for the very best of everything. This can get very costly, if you don’t pay attention to the little costs.
8. Plan out the ceremony and… “Have The Time of Your Life” – Greenday
The Ceremony is the most important thing. After all, the reception is actually the celebration of having had the ceremony. Spend a little time putting things together to make it memorable.
7. “I need Somebody to, HELP, not just anybody.” – The Beatles
Know who is running the show. This means if you hire a boring officiant for the ceremony, your ceremony will be boring. Also, if you hire a bad band, people will not enjoy themselves, or on the inverse, hire a lame DJ and get tons of hokey stuff like chicken dances and The Macarena.
6. “Singing in The Rain” – Gene Kelly Make sure to have a back up plan for everything that could go wrong. People often think, it could never happen to me, but they are the same ones who end up with ketchup all over the bride’s wedding dress. If you don’t keep this in mind, all your people could be stuck out in a rainstorm.
5. “More Money, More Problems” – Biggie Smalls
Stay to your budget. If you let them, the wedding professionals, caterers, and even your guests can end up costing you a fortune. Figure out what you want to spend and stick to it!
4. “I’m Here For The Party” – Gretchen Wilson It is not a good practice to get plastered the night before. Do you really want to be hung over on perhaps the biggest day of your life? If a bachelor / bachelorette party is set up for the night before, be careful you don’t spoil things for the day after.
3. Be a good host and think of… “Everybody” – Backstreet Boys
While it is your “day,” the reception will only be fun for everyone if you include everyone. That means perhaps playing some music you may not particularly like, or allowing something to happen for the good of the whole that you may not be particularly fond of.
2. “It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right” – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
Quite often, the bride takes over. Ladies, if you want the groom to enjoy himself, let him have a little fun in the planning as well. And if you have a groom that shows little interest in the planning element, give him total control of something. SOmetimes a theme wedding is a great way to get the groom in on the fun.
1. “Lose My Mind” – DMX
Don’t get stressed out and sweat the little things. If something doesn’t go exactly as planned, take a deep breath and move on. No one will care. We are all human!
An Irish theme wedding is a perfect way to make your wedding stick out and be memorable to all the guests attending. It additionally celebrates your heritage and Irish culture, and is a great way to start your marriage.
There are many things you can incorporate into your special day. Irish traditions can be fused into your decor, ceremony, clothing, food and also reception activities.
First off, the look of the reception hall is everything. When you purchase decorations, it s easy to go with anything Saint Patrick’s day, but I would stay away from the over-the-top cartoony stuff. You can get away with some of it, perhaps at the reception, if you absolutely want to go with leprechans and pots of gold, but you really shouldn’t have them at the ceremony. Those type of decorations can make your wedding look cheap.
CELTIC WEDDING TRADITIONS
The traditional Irish Wedding Bell – A hand held “Irish Wedding bell” is sounded by the new husband immediately after the ceremony. Decoration-wise for a modern Irish wedding, small bells can be distributed as favors to your guests. These are nice keepsakes, as they replicate the symbolic Irish Wedding Bell rung at the couple’s ceremony. Guests are encouraged to ring them upon departure from the church after the ceremony, much we throw rice here in the states, or blow bubbles.
The ceremony bell is not forgotten and left behind at the ceremony as a decoration, however, with the flowers. It accompanies the new couple to their home as a momento of their vows. In fact, whenever there is an argument, it is supposed to be rung to remind the couple of their wedding vows. (ONE DOWNFALL – Everyone knows when Mr. & Mrs. O’Reilly are arguing. They sounds like the Salvation Army by Walmart at Christmas time.)
Irish Shotgun Wedding /Add Gun Fire! – If you really want to start your married life out wth a bang, another Celtic tradition is for rifles to be fired to announce that the couple have been declared now, “man and wife.”
A Horseshoe Bouquet- The bride’s bundle of flowers can hold a horseshoe inside it, to bring the couple good luck as tradition. (Just make sure to remove it before the flower toss, as getting hit with one brings bad luck and a hefty hospital bill.) A twist on this tradition is that some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe into the hem of their wedding dress in Irish weddings.
CLOTHING OPTIONS FOR AN IRISH THEME WEDDING
The Harvest Knot – Many years ago, the men of Ireland gave their brides-to-be an accessory called harvest knots which were weavings of straw. Usually, a Harvest Knot is trimmed with flowers and worn in their hair or around your neck. You can put a harvest knot also in the flower bouquet along with the lucky horseshoe to symbolize Irish pride.
Add Irish Flare – Okay. Okay. I know this sounds cheesy, but as a twist on the Horseshoe Bridal Bouquet above, some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe onto the hem of their wedding dress for Irish weddings. Try it! It is like bedazzling for your future good fortune!
Adding Irish Lace – A great way add Irish to your wedding attire is to mix in some Irish lace. Authentic Irish Lace is always loaded with intricate patterns and great quality. You can add lace to the veil to really bring the Irish out.IRISH FOOD OPTIONS
The Dinner – The way that the wedding guests would feast in celebration, back in old Ireland was to have a potluck meal hosted at the bride’s family’s house. Traditional Irish dishes include coddle, stew soda, Irish bread, and of course everyone loves cornbeef and cabbage.
The Wedding Cake – The Irish wedding cake is typically a heavy fruit cake with white icing. Tradition says that one of the bride’s sisters or bridesmaids is actually the one to cut and serve it. But they location of the actual cut is the strangest part of this cake cutting custom. Tradition actually has the bride seated while the groomsmen held the cake over her head while her sister or best friend cut it.
MUSIC OPTIONS WITH CELTIC APPEAL & THE MUST-HAVE IRISH PLAYLIST
Irish Bag Pipes – Rock out at your ceremony or for your introduction into the reception hall with the belting melody of the Irish pipes. Although bagpipes have Celtic roots, they are often today played by the Scottish. However, with a little research, you can find a real Irish uillean piper play at your wedding.
Celtic music can be played wherever appropriate during the ceremony and reception, as there are many varieties. I particularly recommend Celtic harp music for the ceremony for the atmosphere it sets. There are many CDs on Amazon, if you are not having a live band or musician.
Reception Dancing – Learn and perform a real Irish jig to traditional Irish music at the reception. The actual steps of Irish folkdances are called ceilidh.
Here is a good playlist of must hear Irish songs for your wedding reception:
Andres Segovia – Henry Purcell
A 12 Year Old Irish Girl In All Of Us – Flogging Molly
A Walk in Irish Rain – Irish Descendants
Ave Maria (Schubert) – The Irish Tenors
Barrett’s Privateers – Irish Descendants
Black Velvet Band – Irish Rovers
Catch The Wind (Folk) – Irish Descendants
Come on Eileen Dexie’s – Midnight Runners
Danny Boy – The Irish Tenors
Dublin in the Rare Old Times – Three Irish Tenors Farewell To Nova Scotia – Irish Rovers
Give Ireland Back To The Irish – Paul McCartney
Haste to The Wedding (Celtic) – The Corrs
I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen – Three Irish Tenors
Irish Heartbeat – Van Morrison & The Chieftans
Irish Jig – Various Artists
Irish Medley – Dixie Chicks
Jump Around – House of Pain
Mother Machree – John Gary
Old Irish Blessing – Sprague Choir
Peg O My Heart – Jerry Vale
Riverdance Soundtrack – Irish Diddy
Shipping Off To Boston – Dropkick Murphies
The Biplane Evermore – Irish Rovers
The Irish Washerwoman – Celtic Bagpipes
Tim Finnegan’s Wake – Celtic Connection
Toora-Loora-Looral Three – Irish Tenors
Traditional Irish Folk Song – Dennis Leary
Unicorn – Irish Rovers
Waltzing Matilda – The Irish Rovers
Wasn’t that a party – Irish Rovers
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – Bing Crosby
Wild Irish Rose – Country George Jones