Table of Contents The Secret Formula
Origins of the word ‘Honeymoon’
Tips for trying on Wedding Gowns
A Room with a View
Wedding Favor Ideas
Beat the Clock
17 Things you probably did not know
Make a Grand Entrance
Origins of Wedding Customs
THE SECRET FORMULA Suppose you’re at a wedding reception, and the guests are just not into it. There’s only a couple people on the dance floor, several tables are empty, and people seem more interested in standing around than busting a move. Other weddings you’ve attended seemed far more energetic. You may assume the DJ is just not very good. That is a possibility. Then again, it could be because . . . • •
The wedding party members do not know each other very well, and thus they are a little reserved about interacting with each other. The reception is scheduled from 3 until 9 and takes place at the end of June, when daylight hours are at their peak. There is beautiful sunshine streaming onto the dance floor through the reception hall’s floor-to-ceiling windows, making people feel like they are too visible to comfortably cut loose a bit. It is a beautiful day, so many of the guests have decided to go outside and sit on the patio and enjoy the weather or the view. Those who could be dancing are otherwise occupied. The bride and groom are not really party people and would rather just mingle with their guests. As a result, guests follow their lead. The couple has given their DJ a restrictive must play and do not play list (and that is why you keep hearing all of those unfamiliar songs, too fast for slow dancing, too slow for fast dancing). There are behind-the-scenes dynamics in play—maybe a divorce between the bride’s parents, who are still uncomfortable being in the same room with each other, or maybe the groom’s side of the family is not really sold on this whole marriage thing yet. When guests feel tension, they are less likely to enjoy themselves. Your initial hunch may be right: The DJ is inexperienced, and even though his iPad has 10,000 songs loaded on it and his equipment is top of the line, he has not figured out the right combination of songs and sayings to motivate this particular crowd.
There is a secret formula for shaping a good party into a great party. Think of Kool-Aid. If you’re making that age-old thirst quencher, you need the water, the sugar, and the little magic powder. If any one of them is missing, it’s just not Kool-Aid. Wedding receptions and other events are much the same. Your entertainment, your guests, and your wedding party all play a role in making the reception the memorable event you envisioned it to be. Throughout the pages of this booklet you will find tips and secrets, compiled from professionals in the industry, that will help make your wedding day extra special and enjoyable, plus other interesting wedding trivia and suggestions to make your journey to that day more entertaining as well.
ORIGINS OF THE TERM "HONEYMOON" It has become tradition for married couples to jet off on a post-wedding vacation. This honeymoon is a way for the bride and groom to enjoy quiet time together and start off their married life together on an intimate level. Although the word "honeymoon" has happy connotations today, the original meanings of the word may not be so blissful. There are varying accounts of the evolution of the word "honeymoon," but many believe it to be a Norse tradition deriving from the word "hjunottsmanathr." Northern European history describes women being abducted from their families and forced into marriage with a man from a neighboring village. This husband would take his new bride into hiding and stay there for a while until it was certain the bride's family had given up the hunt and retreated. It was also tradition for Scandinavian couples to drink a sweet, honey-infused wine known as mead for a month after getting married. This may be where the "honey," for the sweet drink, and the"moon," for the one-month period of time, originated. Others say "honeymoon" refers to a sarcastic quip that a marriage starts out sweet as honey, but then wanes much as the moon will each cycle.
TIPS FOR TRYING ON WEDDING GOWNS Many brides-to-be look forward to the day when they visit a bridal salon and are able to try on gowns for the first time. There are certain tips that can make the day go much more smoothly and potentially reduce the amount of time it may take to find the perfect gown. • Wear a supportive, well constructed strapless bra or corset in your correct size. If you will be wearing a petticoat, also have the right size available. • Go without face makeup when trying on gowns so they remain clean. • Try to wear your hair similar to the style you have in mind for your wedding. • Note that the size of the wedding gown you will wear is typically one to two sizes larger than your day-to-day clothes. Proper measurements can be matched to designers' size charts. • It's best to limit the number of people with whom you shop to 1 or 2 trusted friends or family members. An entourage can be confusing. • It's always better to order a slightly larger gown and leave room for alterations if you are between sizes.
Wedding Tip A ROOM WITH A VIEW When most couples begin to plan their wedding, one of the first items on the agenda is securing a site for their reception. Some typical factors couples consider when doing this are (1) the site’s capacity, (2) the site’s décor, and (3) the site’s price. However, it’s also important to choose a banquet facility that will play into the type of party you want to have. Maybe you want a high-energy party. Maybe you prefer a warm, peaceful atmosphere. The banquet hall you select can actually have an impact. Consider the following issues when planning which site to choose: • What size is the room? Try to find a facility that matches your expected capacity. If you find a beautiful and affordable facility that seats 500 people and you are only expecting 125 guests, the extra space may make it difficult to build energy in the room. Emptiness kills a party. • A beautiful location overlooking the lake or the valley is a wonderful backdrop. However, be aware that your guests may decide to spend the afternoon/evening enjoying the view and socializing, which is fine unless you were hoping everyone would spend the evening on the dance floor contributing to a great party. It’s hard for the musical entertainment to motivate people to dance if the guests are out on the deck. A bride shouldn’t feel upstaged on her day by her banquet facility’s stunning view. • In general, drinkers are dancers. For this reason, it is a good idea to have your bar, dance floor, and entertainment all located in one area of the room. Some couples “split their crowd’ by having the bar at one end of the room (or worse, in another room) and their entertainment at the other. Even if you hire the best entertainment money can buy, it still may be no match for free beer! • Think of your guests as vampires who will disappear in sunlight. Keeping the lights a bit dim will make your guests more active. A beautiful location with floor to ceiling windows may be ideal for pictures and dinner, but if they are located along the dance floor the extra light they allow in makes people feel more visible, and thus more apprehensive to cut loose on the dance floor . Be sure to check if the banquet hall you are considering has controlled lighting so you can adjust the darkness, or if the lights simply turn on or off.
FEED ON THESE WEDDING FAVOR IDEAS Do you have a shelf or cabinet that's filled to the brim with wedding favors such as engraved ice cream scoopers, cake servers, cheese spreaders or tea light candle holders? If you do, you're not alone. As couples pore over guest favor options, many select trinkets or knickknacks that, while thoughtful, end up collecting dust in someone's home. Edible gifts also can be thoughtful -and flavorful! Guests may look forward to an edible favor because it's a memento of the special occasion and it won't become a permanent fixture in their homes. There are many edible favors from which to choose. They can also be customized according to the theme of the wedding. Chocolate—It's difficult to find an edible favor more universally beloved than chocolate. Rich and inviting, chocolate has long been given as a symbol of love and devotion. Chocolate candies and baked goods can work well for wedding favors, provided the favors are refrigerated to avoid melting. Ideas for chocolate favors include individually packaged truffles, gourmet brownie bites, candy-covered chocolates with an inscription, chocolate covered apples, chocolate coins, and other similar creations. Chocolate molded designs (much like those chocolate Easter bunnies) are another idea. Cookies—Sweet cookies also make good edible favors. Butter cookies are a favorite because they are sturdy enough to cut into different shapes. Professionally iced, these cookies can be a masterpiece to behold. Some couples opt for customized fortune cookies that express personalized sentiments to guests. Make-your-own—Sometimes it's less expensive to give guests kits that they can take home to create their own edible treasures. Options abound and can include everything from personalized packets of hot chocolate to tea bags. Other couples choose among mixes for making cookies or cakes. Candies—It has become popular to have a self-serve candy bar at many weddings. Guests are invited to step up to the display and serve themselves from a series of different confections. Autumn weddings could have Halloweeninspired candies or those in fall hues. It's easy to follow a color theme when you have a bevy of different candies at your disposal. Many discount stores sell inexpensive jars and candy dishes to house the candy. Designer Chinese takeouttype containers are available from craft stores and can be the perfect way for guests to make that candy portable. Other edibles—From cupcakes to maple syrup to personalized bottles of barbecue sauce, couples have so many options for guest favors at their disposal. 6
Wedding Tip BEAT THE CLOCK While a wedding should have a certain amount of spontaneity, it also needs structure. Photographers, caterers, guests—all expect certain things to happen at certain times. One of the best ways to keep things moving as planned is to create a timeline for your wedding day and stick to it. A good rule to follow is this: Running 10 minutes behind schedule is understandable, 20 minutes is excusable, but 30 minutes is intolerable. Working without a schedule leads to a lot of standing around and waiting, which creates a lot of antsy and/or bored wedding party members and guests. That starts the reception off on the wrong foot. Try to plan out everything you want to do and leave time for it. If you want to stop for a drink before the reception or have plans to gather at a special spot, arrange for the reception or meal to start a little later so guests are aware. That’s far better than having guests impatiently wondering where you are. Think of your wedding day as a train: It may start out slowly, but the longer it travels the more steam it picks up until it’s charging ahead full steam on its way to reaching the ultimate goal: arriving at the station on time. If the train comes to a stop at any point, however, it’s much tougher to get it moving again. In the same way, the relative quiet and time spent getting ready with family and friends in the morning will build throughout the wedding, the dinner, and finally reach full steam on the dance floor for a great finale. Avoiding unexpected “stops” can keep the momentum going. Slowly, steadily, keep pushing forward.
17 THINGS TO CONSIDER HELPFUL HINTS FROM PSYCHOLOGIST, ENTREPRENE
• Don't cram your entertainment out of the way -- your entertainer should be seen. Powerful entertainers will work to get people on the dance floor but they must be seen as part of the action, not just some side show. • A party should end when it shouldn't end, not when it should. Ending a party before it dies down leaves everyone with the impression the floor was packed all night. It just feels better when people are left wanting more versus being completely burned out. •A "too small dance floor is better than one that is too big. The answer is simple as it creates the illusion whether real or not that the floor is full. People are more likely to dance when the crowd on the floor is dense than when they feel like the only ones out there. Take it from the trade that knows about dancing and crowd psychology not from the banquet manager selling you on why a huge floor is so important. If people end up dancing on the carpet then great they end up dancing on the carpet and the story of your floor being so packed people couldn't even fit on the floor only further reinforces my point. • Darker is better than lighter for dancing. People feel less of a spectacle, less "on stage" when they think they're harder to see. That is why crime increases at night as well -- and yes, when some people dance it is a crime. This one works along the same lines of psychology as tip 4. • Keep exit doors closed. Doors are inviting and you don't want to invite people outside of the main room. Having them open allows more light into the room which again works against the psychodynamics of the dance floor. Open doors invite people to their cars in the parking lot. You want to keep their focus in the reception room for as long as possible. • Brides and Grooms should never stand by the exit door unless they want people to leave. I have seen rooms drain guests one by one in a single file line. It is odd to explain but when the "guests of honor" stand by the exit door it draws people to them like a vacuum. Take my word for it keep away from the doors unless you want people to leave and don’t make a habit of saying good bye to people while you're on the dance floor. This too gets people in exit mode. • This is a very general statement - Nicer places, (country clubs etc.) actually make it harder, especially in the summer and fall months to get people up and moving because they are so pre-occupied enjoying the scenery. Think about it... would you rather enjoy a cold beverage on a breezy deck outdoors amidst the trees or a sweaty dance indoors? It isn't that the night can't be great but all things being equal nicer venues pull from the floor potential. As a deejay I love playing nicer events and usually do as that's my target market but it can't change simple human nature. If you're having your party/reception at a really nice venue then you'll just want to pay closer attention to some of these other factors to tip the scales in your favor. • Don't put the older guests next to the dancefloor/speakers. If you have to ask why, then you may want to hire a harpist all night.
TO CONSIDER SYCHOLOGIST, ENTREPRENEUR EXPERT AND MICHIGAN DJ DAN NICHOLS • Bars should always be in the main room. Preferably closer to the dance floor but not in the way of any lines to the bar. If a bar and/or desserts are put out of the main room then a huge percentage of potential dancers are unavailable. Bars are like kitchens and they draw people to them. If you can help it, don't make your dj wrestle with the draw of a bar. • If you are going to shut the bar down for 30 minutes of say 6 hours, do it during dinner. If you do it at say 11:30 then the party will more likely die out as people will feel that it's time to go. • Happy music keeps things going. Keep away from any negative vibes at all. Keep the mood up up up. • Respect the musical opinions of your local professionals. They do this for a living. Be careful not to cut out all the "cliche" wedding music as you'll find this will negatively impact the dance floor potential. People dance to what they know. A wedding reception is not the time and place to prove to your friends and family that you are into obscure music. You've got a lot of people from all over your family tree that want to have a good time so let your deejay exercise all his or her tools and really work his or her craft. • Consider NOT doing a dollar dance. Why? The reason is that when the bride and groom are doing this the guests realize they won't be seen slipping out the door and it definitely stops the momentum of a rockin' party. If you must do one, do it early on after the main dances and limit it to 3 songs maximum. • People tend to remember the beginning and the end of an event. That's why your deejay should do a strong grand introduction and play while your guests are enjoying cocktails early on. This helps him (or her) to build rapport early on and if done right it puts your DJ in a more powerful position to work your crowd all night. • It is best for any traditional events or speeches to be done and out of the way before dancing begins. In addition, it is important for pictures of the bridal party and bride and groom to be done, when at all possible, before the dancing begins. As a deejay I have seen more parties lose steam because the bridal party is having pictures taken after the bridal dance. Do all the pictures before. It may cost you an extra hour earlier in the day but it will save you from losing a good handful of guests early on. • Do all you can to arrange your rehearsal dinner 2 nights before, NOT 1 night before the reception. Why? I have seen many weddings where the bridal party was burnt out from the night before and this can (not always) play a big factor in building some inertia on the dance floor. • If you have to cut corners don't compromise on the entertainment. My clients never complain that they paid too much for my DJ services. Also, know that experience is king -- I am a better wedding DJ after every event I do.
Wedding Tip MAKE A GRAND ENTRANCE Here is an interesting fact: Teams that score the first touchdown in the Super Bowl go on to win the game 75% of the time. How, you might ask, does that relate to your wedding? Simple answer: Start fast. There are many ways to make an entrance, from simply announcing the couple to a hushed room to choreographed routines set to a pulsating dance beat. Choosing the right grand entrance shares a little of who you are, and is essential in getting your party off on the right track. For example, a party rocking song will not only build energy in the room, it will also draw your guests in and keep their attention. That will help your wedding party feel much more at ease during their introductions. A quick check of YouTube shows many wedding couples who have decided on a unique grand entrance like a choreographed dance or a sports-themed introduction. You can modify one of these ideas, or create something of your own. Maybe you want to be introduced to the same theme music that the groom’s favorite sports team is introduced to, or the theme from a certain movie or popular TV show. Maybe you simply want to walk in as your name is called, or create a human train or tunnel, or do something truly unique. What’s important is to have your guests’ attention from the start. Your ceremony is a formal event, but your reception is a party. The grand entrance you choose starts it off with the right atmosphere.
WEDDING MUSIC POINTERS Brides and grooms have a few options when it comes to the music played at their ceremony and reception. Live musicians or deejays are often the entertainment of choice. When hiring the entertainment, there are some important things to keep in mind. The music of the wedding will set the tone for the event and keep guests entertained during key moments of the day. Musicians will often work in conjunction with a the banquet manager to be sure the reception moves along smoothly and sticks to the schedule. Music will be played while guests are dining and when there are opportunities for dancing. It's essential to listen to or meet with musicians or deejays before hiring anyone to ensure what they're offering will fit in with your wedding. Provide the musical entertainment with some information to further help the wedding go off without a hitch. This may include but not be limited to the following: •Names of all wedding party participants so they can be properly introduced. Name of the married couple, including pronunciation of the last name, if necessary. • The title of the couple's song. • The titles of songs to be danced with mother/son or father/daughter. • A listing of any preferred songs. • The title of a "spotlight dance" song. • Any music that is off-limits at the reception. • Special announcements that should be made, such as mentioning a guest's birthday or another special event involving guests. • Whether a bouquet and garter toss will take place, and which songs should be played during these traditions. In most cases, wedding musicians are professionals who have handled many weddings and are very accustomed to what should be done to make the night a memorable one. Trust in the expertise of the musicians, and provide guidance where necessary.
Wedding Tip THE TOAST Depending on whether you are hearing it or giving it, the wedding toast may be a treat or may be tricky. People can make toasts at any point before, during, or after your reception dinner—when is not really important. What is important is that anyone who gives a toast does it with style. At some weddings, the parents stand up, welcome everyone, and then deliver the most emotional speech or the funniest stories that register with everyone. This is a far more effective ice breaker than anything the DJ might come up with. On the flip side, there are weddings where people try making a clever toast and get little more than painful winces and silence in response. Tom Haibeck, a public speaker and toastmaster, has written a book, Wedding Toasts Made Easy (www.weddingtoasts.com), that is chock full of great information to prepare anyone expected to give a toast. Among the basic tips Tom provides: • Make it personal. Telling an anecdote about how you met the bride or groom might help guests who are just meeting them for the first time that day get to know them as well. In addition, a story about growing up together builds a connection that otherwise wouldn’t be there. • Keep it simple. When giving a toast, less is more. In most cases, a 3- to 5-minute speech is good. If you fall outside that range, keep it on the shorter side. Speeches that ramble lose everyone’s attention. • A little humor is a good thing. Nothing draws a crowd in like a funny bit, done in good taste. Don’t simply tell jokes—often the funniest things come from everyday events. The more original your presentation, the better. • Keep the embarrassing stories at home. A wedding toast is not the occasion to ‘punk’ someone. Inside jokes are also a no-no. It makes your audience feel uninvolved and it will lose their attention. Remember, you should laugh with the bride and groom, not at them. • Don’t forget the toast! Many times a speaker will have the audience captivated with a great speech leading up to a toast, but will sit down without ever saying, “Now, let’s raise our glass for the new Mr. and Mrs. . . .” • Hold the microphone up to your chin! Sometimes speakers create a great toast or a hysterical punch line, but the guests can’t hear them because the speakers hold the microphone down near their chest—or lower. Or, caught up in the moment, they wave their arms around while holding the microphone. Your belly button cannot talk. The closer the microphone is to your chin, the better guests can hear you. Feel free to share this page with your maid/matron of honor, best man, or anyone else that will be handling the microphone at your wedding reception.
ORIGINS OF BRIDAL CUSTOMS Chances are those who have attended a wedding have witnessed some popular traditions take place. The bride wears a veil, a court of wedding attendants accompanies the bride and groom, and birdseed, rice or flower petals are tossed. But have you ever wondered why? The wedding customs are ripe with tradition and harken back to days when superstition and myth often ruled the day. • Bouquet: Nowadays, the bride carries a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But the purpose of the bouquet held different meanings in the past. Saracen brides carried orange blossoms for fertility. Others carried a combination of herbs and flowers to ward off evil spirits with their aroma. Bouquets of dill were often carried, again for fertility reasons, and after the ceremony, the dill was eaten to encourage lust. • Bridesmaids: There may be arguments over dresses and how many bridesmaids to have in a wedding party now, but in ancient times it was "the more the merrier." That's because bridesmaids were another measure to keep the bride safe against evil spirits. Essentially the bridesmaids were decoys for the spirits -- dressing like the bride to confuse the spirits or maybe help deter them to leave the bride be. • Wedding rings: Wearing of wedding rings dates back to ancient Egypt. The round shape of a ring symbolizes eternal love. The ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it is believed this finger has a blood vessel that goes directly to the heart. • Wedding cake: The traditional wedding cake evolved from Roman times when the cake was originally made from wheat. It was broken over the bride's head to ensure fertility. All of the guests eat a piece for good luck. Single women used to place a piece of wedding cake under their pillows in the hopes of finding their own husbands. • Father accompanying the bride: This tradition symbolizes that the bride's father endorses the choice in husbands and is presenting his daughter as a pure bride to that man. • Kissing the bride: In older times, a kiss symbolized a legal bond. Therefore, the bride and groom kissed to seal the deal on their betrothal. There are many traditions surrounding a wedding that people simply accept. But understanding their origins can make the ceremony more meaningful.
Wedding Tip IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS
People point to many things that make a wedding reception stand out: the food, the music, the guests, the decorations, what people are wearing. But there’s a secret, an essential ingredient that makes an ordinary wedding reception extraordinary. And the secret is this:
It’s all about The Dress. The Dress (code for the bride and groom) is a magnet for attention on your wedding day; wherever it goes, the guests’ attention follows. If The Dress is outside enjoying the view, so are most of the guests. If The Dress decides to leave the reception for a while, so will the guests. But if The Dress is on the dance floor, the guests will follow. At some weddings, The Dress doesn’t arrive until two hours into the reception. When that happens, guests get bored or antsy, because The Dress isn’t there to guide them. At other weddings, the photographer wants to spend an extra hour or so after dinner getting more photos. Again, those in attendance are expecting The Dress, and if The Dress is absent, soon they will be, too. The most memorable weddings happen when The Dress is present and taking part in many of the activities. Granted, your musical entertainment (DJ or band) is primarily responsible for packing the dance floor. That is, after all, the main reason you hired them. But when The Dress is working with the entertainment to ensure the guests get the most out of the reception, it truly makes the milestone moment a memory forever.
MUSICAL RECOMMENDATIONS The following lists include some basic standard songs to use at various points in your wedding celebration, in case you’re having any trouble coming up with a song on your own. Your DJ or band will also be able to assist you in picking out the ideal music to fit your style. First Dance • You Are So Beautiful
• At Last
• I Won’t Give Up
• Only You Can Love Me this Way
• Unchained Melody
• Wonderful Tonight
• Marry Me
• Have I Told You Lately
• Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not
• Simple Man
• I Loved Her First
• What a Wonderful World
• in my Life
• Stealing Cinderella
• You Are The Sunshine of My Life
• King of the World
• Through the Years
• My Little Girl
• Girls Just Want To Have Fun
• Ladies Night
• Oh Yeah
• Single Ladies
• Sexy and I Know It
• This One’s for the Girls
• Lady Marmalade
• Another One Bites The Dust
• It’s Raining Men
• Mission Impossible Theme
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