Tag Archives: Reception

peace out antiquated trends + traditions

Engagement, it totally changes the relevance of weddings for you as a guest.

All of a sudden you start scrutinizing the invitation of a dear friend, front to back, knowing exactly how much time and money went into it {Letter pressed, really? Girl should have gone without and saved the dough!} You start making a mental check-list of how yours is going to be better.

Then, when you actually get to the wedding, you find yourself picking apart every detail, sizing up the centerpieces, taking note of posture, examining the font size on the programs, and performing a Top Chef-worthy taste test on your free meal.

No joke – this is what being a to-be-bride turns you into.  Basically a wedding researcher {forget the “guest” part of it}.

On the other hand, you do learn to appreciate the little things that others may not notice or forgive. You know what it means to get that RSVP in the mail on time, understand that the slightest default on the address label doesn’t really matter and accept that the bride can {and inevitably will} go a little nutty at any point prior to the ceremony.

If you are not, or have not, been a bride, you may not understand. Brides – they make wedding planning their life for a year plus, and it’s too easy to judge others when you’re going through the exact same process.  Hence the phrase bridezilla – most often given to her by someone other than a current or recent bride. You may not understand ’til you are – simple as that.

My point is that it turns you into a very judgmental person.  And that’s not necessarily a negative inference {or positive for that matter} – you just change the way you observe how things go down.  TLC even picked up on this little character morph with their new series, Four Weddings.  The entire show is based on four brides attending each others’ weddings and judging them from best to worst. Winner gets a free honeymoon.

Anyway – I’m swaying from the point of my post, but you get the idea.

Having attended a friend’s recent wedding, there were details that I, of course, couldn’t help but focus on through out the night. And I’m talking intricacies – things normal people probably didn’t see at all. But it really got me thinking about antiquated traditions, wedding activities I don’t care for and certain events that seem a little odd – for us.

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and my opinions only. They’re not right or wrong.  Just because it’s a “tradition” though, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Remember – to each her own.

Traditions  I’ve observed/don’t like/aren’t including in my wedding day

{get out of there}

garter toss: Okay, I do love garters. I think they’re cute. I think they’re fun. However, my new husband crawling up under my dress in front of grandma is neither.

receiving line: This one can go. It takes up too much time and makes for a few awkward embraces among people you’ve only met for the first time.  Not to mention, those that want to chat will hold up the line, delaying dinner and making others a little grouchy.  In the Yakima heat, no less.

head table: I get that the bride and groom may want their dearest friends to surround them for their first meal as man + wife. I even get that they want them to “stand out from the crowd.” However, it alienates the significant other of a bridal party member and chances are, they don’t know many people there. Sure you can do a gigantic head table to accommodate for the significant others, but there are two alternatives I prefer:

1. Ask your best man and maid of honor (and their counterparts) to sit with you, making the head table a total of 6;


2. Make the head table a table for two and reserve the needed number of tables around you for the bridal party and immediate family – making room for all.

{how awkward. no dude lays like that.}

cheesy poses: I want to have fun in my pictures sure, but cheesy poses {see above} make me cringe.

a too choreographed first dance: I’m all for learning a few steps in favor of the middle school sway for our first dance, but if you get too technical, that special moment becomes stiff and concentrated, rather than natural and light. I’d like to really just enjoy this moment . . . not stare at my feet the entire time.

cake smashing: It took a long time for me to get my face to look like that. Please don’t mess it up before the first dance. This silly little tradition can fade away for all I care.

tight updos: Again, this seems a little more high school dance than romantic wedding to me. I don’t hate them, I just don’t prefer them.

an all rose bouquet: I like roses, but we’re at a wedding, not a funeral. I prefer an array of blooms.

{love this idea}

taking pictures after the ceremony: Much like the receiving line, the lull keeps your hungry guests waiting and un-entertained. However, I do believe in a few exceptions: entire family pictures (you really don’t need them all there pre-ceremony); an all guest group shot; grandparent photos; signing of the marriage certificate, etc.

Mr. and Mrs. his first, his last name: Yep, I am taking his name – his last name. What happened to my first name? I’m still here and you can present us as Mr. and Mrs. his first name and my first name then, our last name.

poor posture: Bridesmaids – make sure that invisible string on your head (the one mom showed you) is holding your shoulders up. Also, feet together . . . you’re in a dress and heels, not boots and jeans. Poor posture doesn’t make for pretty pictures.

tiaras: Ew. Unless you’re the homecoming queen, just don’t.

{sorry Ms. Abdul}

keeping your back to your guests: Kind of. During the ceremony, at the very least, I’d like to try to keep some of my face visible to the guests. They want to see the emotion and hear the words.  It may be a little awkward to stand sideways, but when you have your back completely to your friends and family, much of the ceremony can get lost. I don’t want that.

Hmm, I had a lot more to say than I thought.

Again, these are just my preferences.

Food for thought.

Make it you,


Filed under ceremony, Reception, tidbits, {advice}

Signature Sips

I love wine. Most love beer. Enough prefer liquor over both.

The first time I discovered the “signature drink” idea for weddings, I knew I wanted to incoporate this idea in the reception. And really, I can theme anything. I love themes. I think it’s the little Martha Stewart inside of me’s favorite thing to do. Plus, it can help with your budget {huge deal}, not to mention add a little oh-la-la  to your sips.

Let’s be honest, it’s sort of a treat when you discover there are actual drinks at a wedding – most often it’s just beer and wine. Which is fine, I’m not knocking anyone or anything.  However, actual drinks mean big bill and big bucks {which = breaking budget}. For me, anyway.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to use the sig. drink theme.  Guests get to walk around with cute-sy little colored drinks to match your wedding. They make for pretty rad pictures anyway. See below:


Aside from the cute factor however, you give your guests another option at the bar but keep costs under control by only offering one type of liquor. Which I suggest be vodka. Vodka is the most popular liquor and can be combined with a wider variety of mixers to achieve different flavors (not to mention, it can take on whatever color you want). Basically, you can’t go wrong with it.

Our drink consists of: 1 oz vodka; 0.5 blue curaco and soda water. If mixed correctly, it really tastes delicious and light, perfect for a hot summer night. The name of our sig. sip: TBD. Any ideas readers?

Not sure what to mix with what and how to get your signature color? Castle Brands Inc. has this wonderful little tool that allows you to search for cocktails based on color, complete with recipe and ingredient information. Too fun! If you don’t find what you’re looking for, resort to Google. It’s a no fail. And my best friend.

Once you find a recipe {or two} have a BM over for a taste test to figure out which one you like best. You have fun and get wedding stuff done at the same time. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone, for ya!

Anyway, since we are deciding to take  the three-drink-choice route {and our venue allows us to bring in our own alcohol}, we need to figure out exactly how much we need of what. Not easy. As I’ve mentioned before, Frugal McDougal’s Web site offers visitors a drink calculator.  You just enter in the number of people you think will be drinking, then the number of hours, and they do the math for you. Of course, the hard part is deciding who you think will actually gravitate towards which beverage for the night.

Tip: just estimate. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to be exact. Like I did.

My friend and event planner Brandi, of All Events Planned, also suggested (in her experience) to assume that out of 100 people, 25 will drink beer, 25 will drink wine and 50 will drink the cocktail. It’s at least a starting point – the counting is really up to you.


Keg Beer – if you decide to do a keg, check out Jack-Son’s Sports Bar for prices and flavors available {they’re whom we are going through}.  They include a keg cooler and pumps for each type of keg you rent .  Here is another list of a few places in the area that may be worth comparison shopping for.

Bottled or Canned Beer –  Costco. It’s no surprise their prices are great and you can return any unopened packages.

Wine – Again, check Costco. However, you may be limited on the types of wine available. If this is the case, you can also price check at regular grocery stores in the area; I think most places will give you “event discounts” if you buy a certain number of bottles.

Liquor – The liquor store. It’s worth asking if they do discounts on multiples but I really don’t know on this. My grandpa picked our liquor up on his way down to Reno this spring for cheap. Thanks grandpa!

Liquor License

If your venue does allow you to bring in your own liquor, you have to show proof of a banquet permit {in order to serve the liquor} in the state of Washington. They only cost $10, so make sure you get one. Here is Washington’s permit guidelines and rules. Read ’em. Learn ’em. Use ’em.



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Filed under Alcohol, Dining, Food, Reception

Wedding Rentals & What You Should Know – from Party Palace

The further I get into wedding planning, and the closer it gets to the big day, I find myself Googling more for actual planning information, insider info, instructions, etc. and less the frilly, pretty pictures that started this whole wedding-blog-obsession. 


I have the layout of my wedding figured out.  I know how I want it to look. My brain is chalk-full of pretty images and ideas to incorporate into the day.  What I don’t have, is someone telling me what I need to look for with vendors, last-minute things to consider, what I really need and how it holds up to what I really want.  You know – all the little things first-time brides may not consider.

Because I’ve found a shortage of this through my Google searches, I’ve decided to start sharing more of this information I have been able to dig up with you brides-to-be.  Sure, I’m a little A-type, and most of you may not worry about half as much as I do, but it can’t hurt to know and be prepared.

Anyway . . . below is a wonderful inside look into wedding rentals, what you should know, do and think about.

Read on. 

How long have you been in business?

Party Palace has been around for about 30 years. 

What is the busiest season for rentals?

Our busiest time is from the beginning of May until the end of September.

What wedding rental seems to run out the quickest?

We run out of canopies, tables, chairs and round linen the quickest.

What is your cancellation policy?

Our cancellation policy states that as long as you cancel 30 days before your event you will not be charged a fee.  If you cancel within the 30 days we charge a 15% cancellation fee.  This does not include cutting back, however.  You can cut back on quantity up until the week-of without charge.

What is the biggest misconception about the event rental industry when it comes to rentals?

That everything is brand new.  They are rental items so they’re not perfect, but we do take care and pride in everything we have.  Little imperfections your guests will more then likely not notice.

What things should a bride consider when selecting their venue?

There are lots of things that need to be considered.  First, does it fit with you and your groom’s vision of you want for your wedding.  Is there enough parking for all of your guests?  What kind of kitchen facility does it have?  If you are having a canopy, is the ground flat, are there power lines overhead? Underground sprinklers?  Last, does the price fit what you are getting?

What is one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?

Some brides rent double the amount of chairs so they have enough to set up for the ceremony AND the reception.  You can rent just the amount you need and have either your guests grab their chair or have the groomsmen and ushers move them, while your guests go through the receiving line.  Also, the style of chair makes a difference in cost.  You can choose the style that is cheaper to save money.

What is one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?

For an outside wedding I would say a canopy.  It provides shelter from rain and sun. 

What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone has made in your industry?

The worst thing I’ve heard of was being overbooked.  There was a time when a venue overbooked on a weekend luckily it was a large outside area so it all worked out.  Also, there have been times when other rentals companies have overbooked themselves on items. 

What are a few things a bride should review in contracts with you and with their venue?

First of all make sure you understand our cancellation policy.  Also, understand that if anything is broken, missing, or damaged, it is your responsibility to pay replacement charges.  As far as the venue goes, if you are having things delivered, make sure that you have a place to store the items until we can pick them up.  Also, make sure your venue is okay with our delivery and pick up times. 

What is something you wish all your bridal clients knew or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?

Not to worry about the little things; everything will come together in the end.

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Filed under ceremony, Reception, rentals

Victory #11 Rentals

Wedding rentals – check!

Okay so the rentals aren’t the most fun or even the prettiest part of the wedding, but I’d say, they’re the most necessary piece to the puzzle. You know – chairs, tables, plates . . . not much of a wedding without them.  For some time now, my mom has been working with the wonderful people over at Party Palace  to figure out how many we need of what, and I can tell you, they’ve been very patient with us!

Mom put our linens on hold awhile back and since then, we’ve been adding things (e.g., plates, cups, etc.) to our order,  increasing the numbers, getting rid of some things altogether, etc. Not only that, it’s a confusing process to go through. Not only are you guessing on the number of guests that will show up to your wedding, but you have to calculate the amount of flatware (forks, spoons, knives), stemware (wine), glassware, plates, bowls – everything – you need.

Do you need salad plates? Cake plates? Are you having separate silverware for the dessert than for dinner? How many guests will drink the cocktail as opposed to the wine drinkers? Are you having water glasses and a carafe at each table?  How many guests at each table anyway?

See – freaks you out a little bit, huh?

Like I said, a lot to think about and a lot scary when this whole wedding thing is new to you. Just ask me and my mom how much this stressed us out.

That is, until my wonderful wedding planner friend Brandi, over at All Events Planned, swooped in and saved the day with her words of wisdom.


Plate and Flatware Tips + Calculations

No one should ever be asked to reuse glassware at an event . . . if you must, have the catering staff re-wash glasses for reuse

Rentals are expensive – something to consider when picking your location/venue to see if they offer any freebies

Go with the basics if you’re on a budget, they’re cheaper and no one will notice

Make sure you have plenty of everything

Silverware – if you preset your tables (even with a buffet), people won’t take more than one of each and may cut down on the number that is actually used

Order about 10% over your highest guest count so that you don’t run out. There is nothing good about running out of plates.

e.g., Buffet plates and flatware = 2508 * 10% = 275

Glassware/Stemware Tips + Calculations

This depends on the drinks available to your guests. We’re having beer, wine and one signature cocktail. These are Brandi’s basic calculations based on 100 people.

Half your guests will drink either beer and wine and half will drink the signature cocktail.

Guests tend to drink three drinks the first hour and an additional drink for each hour after that, that the bar is open.

**base these numbers on your guests and whether they’re light/heavy drinkers**

100 people

25 – beer

25 – wine

50 – mixed drinks

Calculate how many hours your bar will be open and add/subtract based on whether you think your guests are light or heavy drinkers

Consider using the same glasses for soda, beer and mixed drinks instead of specialty glasses

Other things to consider


Water glasses for the table?  Or water from the bar?  The problem with no water at the table is that you will have the bar congested with people just wanting water, but at the same time, if you have it at the table you are paying for 250 water glasses for people who might not even drink the water or show up.

What we’re renting

Linens – lots of linens

Wine glasses

Cocktail glasses

Plates – Party Palace has newer ones and they’re very chic and simple, perfect for my style!

Linen Napkins

Champagne flutes for the wedding party

So what about the beer? We’re going a simple route and using clear plastic cups. We’re not too fancy and I’ve seen them used at weddings and haven’t thought twice! Soda – we’re having a soda fountain and will also be using small clear fountain cups. 

I hope this information helps you brides and grooms who have yet to step into the rental territory, just remember to keep breathing and use this wonderful formula Brandi has provided us with.

Thank you Party Palace for your wonderful patience and pretty plates and thank Brandi, once again, for your wonderful advice!

You saved my butt 🙂

Party Palace

2011 West Lincoln Avenue
Yakima, WA 98902-2412
(509) 453-0048 Party Palace


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Filed under planning, Reception, rentals

Thrifting Bride

{ignore the writing on the blue bag – the pic was cute so whatev}

I’ve definitely developed quite the thrifting skills since I’ve been engaged. For the past year and a half I’ve scoured the shelves of Value Village, Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul’s.  Oh, and yard sales – when applicable. The vintage fluff and knick knacks you can find really are amazing, so whatever preconceived notions (e.g., thrifting = grungy) you may have – get rid of them.  Secondhand stores are quickly becoming the new fad, don’t you know? Plus, it’s green, saves YOU money and allows the DIY bride to do her thing (I really wanted to put thang, but then realized I wasn’t 14).  And there is definitely an art and a skill set to develop when taking on this endeavor, though consistency alone will get you far.

Anyway, my current thrift obsession right now: vases. 


I’ve mentioned before how I love the look of multiple vases and minimal flowers.  And from all the budget + wedding blogs I’ve rummaged through (much like my resale stores), there tends to be a consensus that says it’s the cheaper way to go. Oh yeah – and I need vases + jars for my candy bar. Perfect.

My top two reasons for the large amount of vases + jars for my wedding:

1. Flowers die so you don’t need to spend an outrageous amount of money on them to get a cool look for your reception tables. 

2.  The thrifty vase idea is chic + trendy. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to sell them as a package via Craigslist.  Ah the beauty of a virtual yard sale!  You’d be surprised at the stuff I’ve searched for and found on that site – vases, mason jars, left over wedding candles, Chinese paper lanterns . . . you get the drift.

Below are a few links and some tips for the newbie thriftier bride (hint: also take this into consideration for flea markets):

Thrift shops in Yakima – my favorite is The Olde Lighthouse Shoppe, which didn’t make that list

A few more on the outskirts

Flea Markets

Virtual Yakima yard sales

Real life Yakima yard sales 


10 Tips for Shopping at Thrift Stores via The Bargainist

 1. Don’t be afraid of used. If you’re not a veteran of thrift shops and garage sales, you might be someone who only buys new stuff. Break free from that predjudice, because even if it’s been owned before, an item can be perfectly good (sometimes great) — and more importantly, it costs much less.

2. Be willing to spend a little time looking. Thrift shops can have some real gems — but sometimes they’re buried in piles of stuff you’d never consider buying. You’ve got to search, to sift, to rummage, to be patient. In fact, you may have to go through several thrift shops before you find what you’re looking for, if you’re picky. Think of it as a journey, not a quick stop, and you’ll find many more great things.

3. Sell your old stuff for credit. Before you go to a thrift shop, pull a bunch of old clothes from your closet, old books and magazines, anything you don’t need anymore. Put them in some boxes, and sell them to the thrift store for credit. You’ve purged a bunch of clutter while allowing yourself to get some great used stuff for free.

4. Bring cash. Most thrift stores don’t take anything but cash, so if you’re used to using plastic or checks, be sure to remember to stop at an ATM and get some cash.

5. Shop outside of cities. If you live in a city, you might find that most of the thrift shops closest to you have been picked through thoroughly. Many times the thrift shops in cities don’t have much to offer. But drive a few minutes just outside the city, and you’ll find many more great things. It may be wiser to wait until you’re going outside the city, and take advantage of that trip by stopping at thrift stores in the area.

6. Go with friends. Make it a fun outing. Hunting for great stuff in thrift stores with friends can be a real blast. Even if you don’t find anything, if you’ve spent a good afternoon with friends, making jokes and making fun of the stuff in the stores… well, it’s not a wasted day.

7. No dressing rooms. Most thrift stores have no place to change. So be willing to eyeball it and alter the clothes later to fit better. Or wear a tight-fitting tank top so you can try shirts on over it.

8. Look beyond the surface. Furniture, especially, can be scratched up, but still be a great find. Instead of paying attention to the nicks and scratches, consider how it’ll look if you sand and varnish, or give it a fresh coat of paint. Sometimes an hour of work can make it as fresh as new.

9. TheThriftShopper.com. Enter your zip code on this site and you’ll get all the thrift shops in your area, ratings and reviews of each, and tons of great info.

10. Test things out. If you’re buying electronics, insist on testing them. For toys with batteries, open up the battery case to see if there’s corrosion. Look closely at other items. A few defects are OK, but you want to look closely, because you don’t want to take it home and find that it’s useless.

 Thrift it. Find it. Love it. Own it.

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Filed under Budget, candy bar, centerpieces, decor, green, inspiration, Reception, {budget resources}

Life’s Details

“Art is beauty, the perpetual invention of detail, the choice of words, the exquisite care of execution.”
Theophile Gautier

I’m very detail-oriented and I find it severly irriates me when people fail to notice the little things – whether it be my matching pillows and drapes (not that I have them yet – but I would if I did); the special touches on a birthday card; or the extra frosting I put on the cupcake . . . just for you. 

I believe details make all the difference, and my wedding day will be no exception — it’s how we distinguish between a special day and a party, between your wedding and long lost Uncle Eddie’s – after all, it’s a celebration of you.

I want to include everything that makes us, us in our big day.  A childhood favorite, family photos strewn about, the words he he tells me everyday weaved into our vows, mom’s barbecue bean receipe, the pretty little flowers on my dress which is the sole reason why I chose the dang dress in the first place . . .

Well, the rest is a surprise so I stop there with examples.

But anyway, why not? This is when you really get to show off your relationship.  These particulars tell your guests what you’re about, what you like to do and who are you in a different light.  Why not let them in on it?  Transparency is charming.  After all, they are there to witness this special union – you don’t need to keep that 6th grade picture – full of braces and pimples – a secret anymore ;).

Deatils – they’re also that stolen kiss from your new husband, the tear drop that falls during your father’s speech or the shared look of love and admiration as your mother prepares you for the first kiss of the rest of your life.  Those little tiny moments are what make this day live forever in your heart and mind. The ones that will make you smile and make you remember when you see them in the photographs . . .

These elements are defining.  They’re fun. Enjoyable. Unique. It’s definitley worth the extra effort to incorporate those splashes of you throughout the day.

Show it off,


See, details. How awesome.

aaron delesie











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Filed under ceremony, decor, Reception

DiY Chandelier

I found sunshine on this cloudy Seattle day . . .

I am in love with this crafty, handmade chandelier from Sunset Magazine!

Shoot – it’d be beautiful in a garden or as a part of your home decor!

All you need is a wire basket, some votives, pretty jewels to string and a chain to hang it from.

You could even add flowers to make it more appropriate for a garden-style wedding.

Hmmm, where can I put this at my wedding?

Directions here.

🙂 makes me smile



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Filed under decor, DiY, Reception