It’s Time To Get Silly – National Mad Hatter Day

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Day - Weddings From The Heart
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It’s Time To Get Silly – National Mad Hatter Day (Alice In Wonderland)

October 6 is a day to get silly. Why? It’s National Mad Hatter Day, a day to celebrate the Hatter, an eccentric milliner for whom time is forever stuck at a tea party with his friends the March Hare and Dormouse in Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice in Wonderland.

Why October 6th, you wonder?

This date was selected based on the original drawing by John Tenniel of the Hatter in the book Alice in Wonderland. Take a close look at his hat. You’ll see a piece of paper with “In This Style 10/6” written on it. This is actually a price tag – 10 shillings and 6 pence.

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Day - Weddings From The Heart

How to Celebrate?

• Read Alice in Wonderland
• Watch the movies based on the novel
• Wear a hat the whole day
• Host an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party


• Read riddles to each other
• Write your own riddles – they can be real, or nonsensical like the Hatter’s (“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”)
• Be silly

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Day - Weddings From The Heart

Are you a fan of Lewis Carroll’s famous work who’s planning a wedding? Here are some fun Alice in Wonderland wedding ideas:

• Of course you can incorporate your Alice in Wonderland theme into any color scheme, but red, black, and white are popular Alice in Wonderland colors.
• Direct guests to the ceremony and reception areas with fun signage (“down the rabbit hole,” “turn around,” “this way”).
• Don’t forget playing cards. You can use cards that match your color scheme, or use a deck of Alice in Wonderland cards.
• Forget about plain vases. Use teapots and tea cups.
• Dance the night away on a black and white checkerboard dance floor.
• Place “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” signs and tags on the bar and food tables.
• White rabbits, time pieces, and hearts are a must.

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Day - Weddings From The Heart

Here are some décor pics from an Alice in Wonderland inspired wedding we had the pleasure of planning and designing.

A Mad Hatter Hat Atop The Gift Card Box
Mad Hatter Day - Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter's Hat Wedding Card Box

Custom “We’re All Mad Here!” Cake Topper and Wedding Cake with Clock Faces (Cake by The Cakery)
Mad Hatter Day - Alice in Wonderland We're All Mad Here Wedding Cake Topper

Sweetheart Table “Just Married” Swag Made Out of Pages from Alice In Wonderland, with Cheshire Cat Smiles, and Butterflies (a nod to the caterpillar after his transformation)
Mad Hatter Day - Alice in Wonderland inspired just married swag

“Who Are You?” Mirrored Guest Book Sign
Alice in Wonderland Who Are You Guestbook Sign

Groom’s Pocket Watch and Key Boutonniere (designed and created by the bride)
mad Hatter Day - Alice in Wonderland Pocket Watch Key Groom's Goutonniere
Photo credit (groom’s boutonniere): Prima Vista Photography

Did You Know…

    • …that even though this holiday is called Mad Hatter Day and that the Hatter is commonly known as the Mad Hatter, Lewis Carroll never refers to the character as the Mad Hatter? He refers to him simply as The Hatter.

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Day - Weddings From The Heart

  • The origin of the phrase, it’s believed, is that hatters really did go mad. In Victorian England, chemicals used by hatmakers included mercurous nitrate. Prolonged exposure caused mercury poisoning, and was referred to as Mad Hatter Disease and Mad Hatter Syndrome.
  • “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” The Hatter asks this of Alice. But when Alice gave up and asked him what the answer was, his reply was, “I haven’t the slightest idea.” He didn’t know because, as Lewis Carroll admitted, there was no answer.

Have fun and BE SILLY!

What do you think of our Alice in Wonderland inspired wedding décor?

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Day - Weddings From The Heart

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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Need planning help or looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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You’ve Got To Say “Yes” Before You Say “I Do” – Marriage Proposal Ideas

So you’ve found the one you want to share your life with, you may even have purchased the ring. But have you thought about where you’ll get down on one knee?

Take a knee on the waterfront of a historic landmark
Why not take a knee on the waterfront of a historic landmark?

A marriage proposal is a life-changing milestone in any relationship. Whether you’ve purchased the ring or not, you know that planning a proposal is an exciting yet nerve wracking time. You’ll want this moment to be memorable and one-of-a-kind.

For a simple proposal idea recreate your first date
For a simple proposal idea, recreate your first date!

So, how can you make it yours? To help you find inspiration, ProFlowers has put together a generator featuring some of the best marriage proposal ideas.

Use the Proposal Ideas Sharable Guide below for quick inspiration, then browse through their entire collection of over 60 swoon-worthy proposals. You can scroll through them all, or use the helpful filters like ‘creative,’ ‘simple,’ ‘beach,’ and ‘city’ to easily find the ideal proposal idea that fits your style.

proposal ideas

A big Thank You to Taylor Poppmeier with ProFlowers for this fun, and inspirational, Marriage Proposal Ideas Interactive .

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If you have questions or are looking for unique ideas for your wedding contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credits:
(historic landmark): Samonot Photography
(recreate first date): Sarah Olfelt Photo

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Catering ‘Service Charge’ Explained

This weeks blog, “Catering ‘Service Charge’ Explained,” comes from Chef Doug Brown with Beyond the Box Catering and Wedbites

catering service charge explained by Chef Doug Brown

It is the most commonly asked question – what DOES the service charge include? It doesn’t always mean servers, which we know can be confusing. Most catering companies (and venues) have a lot of odds and ends that cost them money to make your event happen, and in turn, will apply a percentage to your event in order to cover those costs. In lieu of sending you a 4-page breakdown of every single item they are charging you for, the end result is the service charge line on your invoice. Typically this percentage ranges between 18–20% for offsite catering, and 21–23% for exclusive catering at a venue.

Your service charge includes the following:

• Serving Items
This includes things like chafers to keep the food hot, large salad platters, bowls for dressings, large serving spoons and other items at the buffet line. Some caterers will also bring stands to elevate displayed food – not only does it look cool, but it is actually practical in making the most of the table’s space. Passed hors d’oeuvres need something to be set on when they are moving around, such as platters and trays. All of these extra items can really add up, so instead of listing every single spoon, tray, and pan, they are included under the umbrella of the service charge.

• Large Equipment & Delivery Vehicles
When your food is prepped at the catering kitchen it still has to travel to you and most times your event isn’t around the corner. Large warmers/ovens and refrigerated trucks keep your food at the appropriate temperature so it tastes just as fresh as it did the second it came out of the oven. This equipment requires purchasing and maintenance, just like your daily driver, our trucks need gas and routine oil changes/maintenance. The service charge contributes to these costs, ensuring your caterer is able to afford to properly execute your event. No one wants to eat a wilted salad or ice cold chicken parmesan!

• Behind the Scenes Staff
Before your event, operations staff prep and load the trucks with all the rentals and equipment needed to execute your event. They are loading dishes that were cleaned by dishwashers and food prepped by prep cooks. It takes 6–8 hours of pre-production before your caterer even arrives at your event. Before you, your family or your wedding planner see the caterer set foot at your venue, there have been at least 10 people already involved in the making of your event that day. Once the event is over, staff unloads the equipment, sends the dishes, silverware, and glassware to the dishwasher area and it starts all over again the next day. These staff members receive a wage just like any other job and the service charge contributes towards these pre and post event production costs.

• Event Staff – MAYBE

This one depends on the caterer and venue to the fluctuation in venue layout, dinner style etc. The floor plan/number of floors at the venue, number of event hours, travel time, style of dinner, rentals, and other extras like wine service influence the off-site labor calculation. In this scenario, they charge on the lower end for service charge. When a venue has an in-house caterer, they may only charge for EXTRA staff, such as security guards, or additional chefs, bartenders or servers if the event’s menu or special services require it. A lot of venues include a certain time frame for your event time with your rental (ie: 4 hours of the event included in rental, $250 per additional hour). This helps them balance the costs of staff with the service charge alone and they don’t need to charge anything more than the 21- 23% service charge. When they are the exclusive caterer, they are able to store things at the venue as well, which eliminates the back and forth transport of many items that your offsite caterer has to bring every time.

So there you have it, the mysterious service charge line in your quote or invoice explained. Every caterer may do things slightly different so it never hurts to ask them about all they include in their catering quote. No matter what the case, there is A LOT that goes on behind the scenes of your event. We understand you don’t do this every day, and we expect questions so don’t be afraid to ask!

About Chef Doug Brown, the author:
After graduating from New York’s renowned Culinary Institute of America, I chose to further my education at Florida International University, where I attained a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. After finishing my education, I obtained my first Executive Chef Position at the age of 23. Since then, I have worked several Executive Chef Positions all over the United States until eventually making the decision to create my own business. In 2003, I opened Beyond the Box Café, which shortly after, was followed by Beyond the Box Catering Company. Thanks to the success of Beyond the Box Catering, I now also operate The Orion Ballroom, The Carlisle Room and The Pads at the Aloft Hotel in Dallas. These venues are used to each host hundreds of weddings a year. With over a decade of experience, I have decided to bring my knowledge to you in order to help make your wedding planning experience a little easier!

Photo credit: Rafael Serrano Photography
flourish

Hope you found this helpful.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Do you have a wedding dilemma or question you need answered? I’d love to help. Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

wedding
Looking for ways to save money without sacrificing the overall feel of your wedding? Check out these tips.

Decor

Greenery and candles are still one of the best ways to save money on centerpieces. It’s elegant and cost effective.

Want something with big impact, but not the big price tag? How about a graceful candelabra,
Tall silver candelabra
or a large, elegant vase or candle holder? Gorgeous, but costs a fraction of a large floral arrangement.

You can also add some pizzazz by easily dressing up plain glass candle holders with adhesive rhinestones, ribbon, lace, glitter or paint.

Word of caution: If you do use real candles, get the unscented kind. When you get a room full of candles, a scent will get overpowering, can aggravate someone’s allergies, and (believe it or not) will affect the taste of the food.

Not All Money Saving Ideas Are Good

Dessert

Serve cupcakes or cake pops rather than a traditional tiered wedding cake.

Chocolate and pink wedding cake pops, wedding cake alternative, wedding dessert
You’ll save money per serving (cupcakes & cake pops are often .50 – $1 less per serving than cake). You won’t be paying a cake cutting fee (that most venues charge).

And you’ll be able to order just the amount you need.

For example, if you have 100 guests, you’ll want 100 servings. For a tiered cake, you’ll end up with at least 118 servings as an 8″ tier serves 24, a 10″ serves 38, and a 12″ serves 56. Not that there’s anything wrong with having extra leftover cake, some couples do so on purpose, but if you need to shave something off your budget, this is an easy way to do so.

Fun Stuff

Photo booths are still popular. And with good reason – they’re fun, a great activity for your guests, people can be silly or or serious . . .

However, many couples whose budget doesn’t allow for a traditional photo booth are changing it up.

Wedding photo booth

Ok, DIY Photo Booths are a bit more effort on your part than having a professional photo booth, (not to mention that there won’t be the fun extras that the pros offer, such as a custom logo, booth attendant, professional equipment, and on-site prints). However the DIY route can be relatively easy. Get a digital camera on a tripod, and guests can snap away. You’ll have to wait until after the event to load up all the photos online for you and your guests to see.

A relatively new service is perfect for use with a DIY photo booth. Veri is a photo and video sharing product which was created specifically for weddings. Before your wedding day, your guests will get a link for the Veri app. Then any photos and videos they take at your wedding will be shared instantly. Unlike a hashtag where the photo has to be uploaded, with this app your guests won’t have to do anything other than snap the picture. Be sure to check out www.veri.com for more details.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For more money saving tips, or unique ideas for your wedding, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Your Engagement – The First Thing to Do When You Get Engaged

diamond engagement ring in a red rose

Congratulations to all the couples who got engaged over the holidays.

The next thing you should be doing is . . .

. . . enjoy your engagement and being an engaged couple.

I know you’re excited (and rightly so!), and probably want to dive in with all of the fun of planning your big day.

But, I repeat,

Enjoy being engaged!

Getting and being engaged is a once-in-a-lifetime experience so for right now savor this time and . . .

. . . show off your ring

. . . lose yourself while gazing into your beloved’s eyes

. . . relish being a “fiance/fiancee”

Of course it’s normal to want to start working on your wedding plans, and some folks even wonder why it’s recommended to just enjoy this period without doing any actual planning.

  • It will give you a little breather before you get knee-deep in the plans and details.
  • If your honey spent a lot of time and effort on the proposal, give him (or her) a break from another round of planning.
  • It’s very likely that the two of you haven’t even talked about how you’re envisioning your wedding day to be. So how can you really start planning it?
  • Once you do start in on your wedding plans, you may experience “wedding overload” – where you’re thinking about wedding stuff 24/7, everywhere you turn someone is asking about your wedding. If you do, you’re going to thank yourself later for taking this “newly engaged period.”

Then, when you do start in on your wedding plans, give me a call so we can create a “game plan” that allows you to enjoy the next phase of your engagement.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Have questions or looking for fun ideas for your wedding? Contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net and schedule your free, initial appointment!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Photo credit: dragon_fang | 123RF Stock Photo

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Themes and Centerpieces

fall theme centerpiecePlanning a wedding can be fun and exciting. We love to help brides plan all parts of their upcoming wedding, but wedding themes and centerpieces are among our favorites.

Selecting the flowers and other interesting pieces to decorate your celebration can be a daunting task, but carefully chosen centerpieces can be a dramatic way to pull together the theme of your wedding.

If your wedding is around a holiday, the theme and its expression is obvious. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day all suggest certain colors and elements.

Other themes require more thought but are just as fun to create.

Is your wedding and reception near water? If so, use ship’s lanterns or bowls with tropical fish swimming over shells and sand in the bottom.

Is your reception in the country at a farm house or barn? Use checkered tablecloths and make a ceramic or straw rooster the center of each table. Add miniature bales of hay and/or summer flowers and greens in milk bottles or canning jars.

Flower Talk – The Language (and Meaning) of Flowers

Incorporate seasonal fruits in centerpieces. Big bunches of strawberries in the summer, gingham tied baskets of apples in the early fall, pumpkins and gourds with fall leaves would also work.

Celebrate your heritage with national colors, flags, patterns and fabrics. Oriental poppies, tartan plaid table linens, silver trays piled high with Mexican wedding cakes all make a statement.

Create a circus atmosphere with balloons, candied apples, popcorn and candy floss.

If both the bride and groom are teachers, the school house theme is perfect with paper chains, chalk boards, posters, report cards and lots of numbers and letters.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 for ideas of how to make your celebration special.

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Guy’s Night Out

bachelor party

There are several alternative ideas for the bachelor party thrown for the groom.

While what we see on TV and in films are often stereotyped groom’s parties, there are alternatives that can be fun for the groom and his friends without the specter of having to claim “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”.

  • Instead of bar hopping to the same old favorites, why not try an evening exploring tap rooms? Whole phenomenon of craft beers and their popularity offers an evening of “something new” and still fun. Arrange for a limo to drive the group or an absolutely trusted “designated” driver. The best man can organize the evening of craft beer tastings and spicy nibbles topped off with a late dinner. Check with tourist information centers in your town for possible tours that are all planned and waiting for the groom and his guests.https://weddingsfromtheheartblog.net/2014/01/28/the-stylish-groom-formal-wear/
  • Many groom’s bachelor parties have been built around major league baseball, soccer or football. For a twist on the sports theme, build the groom’s party around their own “game” day. A round of golf is a logical choice, but what about doing miniature golf, followed by an hour or two at batting cages, followed by bowling, brews and supper.
  • Instead of heading to Vegas what about a weekend of fishing or camping closer to home? Many areas in the country are also close to a casino that could arrange a fun evening of dinner and blackjack or slots.
  • A few brides have suggested that instead of separate bachelor and bachelorette parties, that they combine them. Both groups can play 9 holes of golf or attend a concert or amusement park if there is one close by.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more fun ideas, contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586.

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Your Second Job

planning a wedding is like having a second job

Planning a wedding is the stuff of dreams, but in reality, preparing for yours can be like having a second job.

Planning a wedding is real work. It requires phone calls and meetings, contracts and negotiations, purchases and coordination. It must have great communication and clear cut deadlines.

It is estimated that the average wedding ceremony and reception will require 250-300 hours of time invested. How will you handle this second job while you are still gainfully employed at your regular job?

The best advice is to treat the upcoming nuptials like a business. You need to get your tools together. Get organized.

Set aside a work space related to wedding only projects – maybe a basket on the kitchen counter or a special notebook/binder. Just make sure that all the information related to your upcoming wedding is kept together in one place.

Get an organizer or planner and keep it up to date. Keep track of all names and phone numbers of every person who is in any way related to your wedding. Take careful notes of any conversations, plans, and promises made and by whom.

Set goals and give yourself deadlines. Then stick to them. Make lists of upcoming tasks and check off as completed. If you let some deadlines slide, think how that would go over at work.

Hire a professional consultant. Businesses do this all the time. If they have a special project that requires special attention within a specific time frame, they bring in a specialist or a consultant whose sole focus will be that special project. A wedding consultant can help you bring in the project on time, on budget, and with a trunk full of memories that no money can buy.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

To see how Weddings From The Heart can make your wedding day stress-free, enjoyable, and just the way you want, contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net and schedule your free, initial appointment!

Photo credit: Got Credit via photopin

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Looking Good – Tips on Formal Wear

formal wear tuxedoMost people would agree that there is something special about a man in a tux. They just look good.

But they would look even better if they took the time to ensure that the tuxedos they wear fit. There are some tips for insuring that tuxedos (or for that matter any suit) fits properly.

  • Buttons – For men’s jackets on tuxedos or suits, the simplest rule is to follow the “always-sometimes-never” rule. For all occasions, always button the top button, sometimes the middle button, and never the bottom button.
  • Sleeves – Some formal wear shops don’t pay attention to sleeve length. Granted a rental suit won’t fit like a tailored or custom fit jacket, but attention to the sleeve length makes a huge difference. It always looks best if about 1/4″ of the shirt cuff peeks out below the sleeve when the arms are at his side and relaxed. More than that or an “ocean” of cuff peeking out can end up looking sloppy.https://weddingsfromtheheartblog.net/2014/01/28/the-stylish-groom-formal-wear/
  • Jackets – The best length for a jacket is when arms are relaxed at the man’s side the bottom of the jacket hits about an inch above his knuckles. The shoulder seam should hit exactly where his shoulder ends. More than that and the jacket looks too big with the seam sliding down the arm. Less than that it looks like his jacket is a size too small.
  • Trousers – Hem length on trousers can be hotly debated and individual men have their own preferences, but what you want to avoid are pants that are obviously too short or too long. The best rule of thumb is hem the pants so that there is a slight break (if any) and the hem should just touch the shoelaces.

Be sure to have the men in your wedding party order their tuxes from a reputable dealer. This gives the shop plenty of time to get merchandise in, and you have a better chance of having a suit that fits well

Also, have the men pick up their tuxes as soon as the formal wear shop allows, and remind them to try on the tux and check that all accessories (cufflinks, studs, tie, etc.) are there before leaving the store. That way there is still time to make any adjustments if something is missing or doesn’t fit properly.

Photo credit: red150770

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If you have questions or are looking for fun ideas, Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net.

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Common Guidelines For Wedding Ceremonies In A Church

church wedding ceremonyWe find that many couples are not always aware of the church ceremony guidelines that most churches have in place regarding what can and cannot be done at a wedding ceremony.

While your individual church will have its own rules and regulations, in general most churches have these guidelines in place.

  • Some policies are “no brainers” that most people wouldn’t even consider – such as not allowing permanently attached furniture to be moved, and no thumbtacks, nails, or tape can be used to secure any decorations to wooden surfaces (usually pews or walls). Also, it is expected that no trash or personal belongings be left behind in the building.
  • Saucers or mats must be placed under all palms, greenery or floral arrangements that rest on the floor/carpeting or are not in waterproof containers.
  • All arrangements for music, ceremony and decorations must be submitted in advance and are subject to the approval of the officiant or the wedding coordinator for that particular church.
  • The best rule to follow is that decorations should be kept to a minimum so as not to detract from the dignity of the sanctuary.
  • The church may require that you use their organist or music director.
  • Common policies regarding photography are no flash photos are to be taken during the ceremony. Some churches may also restrict any photos taken during the ceremony.
  • Some churches may restrict flower girls from dropping petals, or will allow petals to be dropped only if an aisle runner is used.
  • Other churches do not allow the use of an aisle runner.
  • While tossing petals or blowing bubbles after the conclusion of a wedding is still popular with many couples, some churches don’t allow this practice, or will restrict it to outside only, or fake petals only.

If you have not received a set of guidelines for your ceremony location, be sure to ask for clarification. That way you won’t have spent time (and possible money) on something that you won’t be able to use, or will have to make sudden last minute changes on your wedding day.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If you have questions or are looking for fun ideas, Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Photo credit: Photo #267 – December Wedding

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