Category: Real Weddings

Ensuring a Fun Wedding Reception

Real Weddings

Ensuring a Fun Wedding Reception

When we ask couples what they are looking forward to, most say “the party.”  While everyone loves a romantic and meaningful wedding ceremony, most guests are really looking forward to a fun and memorable wedding reception! To help craft a dynamite wedding reception, we have come up with a few tips to help make planning a piece of cake.

Thoughtful Seating Arrangements

Most couples dread the idea of assigning tables, but trust me, it is a worth while investment of your time. Taking the time to ensure that everyone is accounted for, and surrounded by people they know and/or would really enjoy spending the evening with, with guarantee that folks feel relaxed, comfortable, and ready to let loose and party! For an easy to use tool, check out Wedding Wire’s seating chart maker.

Short and Sweet Toasts

Toasts can be one of the most memorable parts of your wedding reception, and depending on how you prepare for it, those can be good or bad memories. We recommend keeping the list of folks speaking to 4-6, and plan on allocating them about 3 minutes each. While your guests want to hear the sweet details of how you met, and how you support and compliment each other, they don’t want to hear a drunk family member ramble on forever.

Interactive Dinner Service

One of the best ways to get your guests mingling and having a fun time is to have an interactive dinner service. That could be family style, food stations, chef action stations or even a cocktail party vibe. Anything that ups the conversation and socialization is a win.

Music Everyone Can Dance To

This tip is where a great DJ comes in. A great DJ knows the songs that will get everyone up on the dance floor. You want to start the night with classics that everyone can comfortably dance to.  If you are looking for a DJ who will get the party started, and keep it going check out Stumptown DJs. You can read more about them here.

Unique Desserts

I feel like desserts are the secret weapon. Everyone loves a treat and we are so lucky to live in the culinary mecca that we do. While wedding cake is classic, guests love it when couples mix it up and have a fun, creative dessert. A few ideas to check out include:

Late Night Surprise

To end the night with a bang, consider throwing in a little surprise at the end. A few of our favorite ideas are:

  • A late night snack food truck
  • Fireworks
  • A scotch and cigar bar

While we know these tips will help plan a memorable wedding reception, we have saved the best tip for last. The best way for guests to have fun, is to have fun yourself. Ensure you have comfortable dancing clothes and comfy shoes. Also, be sure to hire a day-of-coordinator to handle details so you can relax, cut loose, and have a ball. Guests will take their cue from you. If you have a “dance like no-one is watching” approach to your wedding reception, your guests will too, and then you will have a wedding reception to remember!

Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Coordinator

Real Weddings

Venue Coordinator vs Wedding Coordinator

With wedding season arriving, we want to do our part to make sure all couples have a fun and relaxed wedding day. One of the best ways a couple can ensure this is by hiring a wedding coordinator. Day-of coordinators work hard to make certain couples and their friends and families are able to enjoy everything the wedding day has to offer by taking care of set up and clean up and by managing all the details of the day.

With there being so many  “coordinator” titles in this industry,  many couples end up confused about who does what! We wanted to take a few minutes and explain the differences between a venue coordinator ( or a “venue host” as we like to call them ) and a wedding coordinator to help avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

Very simply put, a wedding coordinator’s client is you, the couple. A venue coordinator’s client is their manager (the venue). A venue coordinator is there to coordinate anything that relates to the venue; where as a wedding coordinator is there to coordinate anything that relates to your wedding. Most importantly, a wedding coordinator represents you and all of your wishes on the day of your big event.

Both the wedding coordinator and the venue coordinator are very important, but they play very different roles. The roles may overlap slightly, depending on the venue and the wedding coordinator. Our biggest tip is to make sure you discuss specifics with your venue coordinator to guarantee that  everyone is on the same page and to avoid any surprises the day of your wedding.

A venue coordinator will:

  • Give you a tour of the space
  • Book your date
  • Answer questions/explain rules of the space such as “no candles”, or “music off by 11”
  • Create a floor plan
  • Set up table and chairs (this varies greatly depending on the venue and what is included)
  • Organize a tasting, if there is an on-site catering company
  • Provide you a list of vendor partners the venue prefers
  • Unlock the doors
  • Be present during set up, ceremony and/or reception to make sure that all venue regulations are followed
  • Take care of any emergency issues with the venue such as overflowing toilets or blown fuses
  • Ensure that the event ends at the time indicated on the contract
  • Lock up the venue at the end of the evening

A wedding coordinator will:

  • Provide trusted vendor recommendations tailored to your style and budget
  • Partner with you to make sure you stay within your budget
  • Assist with your décor vision, tailoring it to your venue and your budget.
  • Assemble a master timeline and make certain that it is understood and followed by all vendors
  • Review contracts, identify any potential, and ensure all vendors follow through with contractual obligations
  • Answer etiquette questions
  • Keep you on track with your to-do list throughout the planning process
  • Order your rentals
  • Organize and run your dress rehearsal
  • Decorate your ceremony and reception area to your specifications
  • Line up and cue the bridal party and musicians/DJ for your processional
  • Direct and assist guests through ceremony and reception
  • Attend to the needs of the bride and bridal party
  • Distribute final payments and tips to vendors
  • Set out personal items (guestbook, escort cards etc)
  • Coordinate your grand entrance and exit
  • Ensure your photographer knows when all of your special moments will take place
  • Adjust the timeline as necessary and communicate with all of the vendors
  • Coordinate all of the special announcements with the DJ
  • Create a seamless wedding by being your liaison between your family, friends and vendor
  • Clean up your décor and pack up your personal items
  • And most importantly, a day of wedding coordinator will take care of any last minute changes and emergencies that come up on your wedding day

We hope that this break down of responsibilities helps you understand the differences between a venue coordinator and a wedding coordinator and most importantly we hope it helps you prepare for a smooth and picture perfect wedding. And of course, if you find that you would like the benefits and peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a team of professionals there to ensure your plans are executed perfectly, reach out to a local wedding coordinator. Some of our favorites are: Your Perfect Bridesmaid who was featured recently in a Vendor Shout-out  as well as Blush Bridal Events and Soeil Bliss Event Productions

Rooftop Wedding in Portland Oregon

Ceremony Couples Inspiration Real Weddings Reception

Rooftop Wedding in Portland Oregon

This classy and intimate rooftop wedding is the summer event we all hope to be invited to! One of the best things about living in Portland, is this city’s beauty. The Desoto Rooftop Terrace is the perfect location to highlight the beauty of our city, and treat your guests to a night they won’t soon forget.
Local Portland wedding photographer Brittany Lauren did a fantastic job capturing the musical vibe and floral details of this dreamy urban affair. The dress and bouquet, alone, make us swoon.
In Brittany’s words, “Sarah and Alex were married in downtown Portland on the DeSoto Rooftop Terrace. Their wedding was elegant and intimate. Sarah looked stunning in her form fitting gown and Jordan from Blum  Floral Design did an amazing job transforming the space with her beautiful floral creations. Sarah and Alex are both professional musicians for the symphony down in Texas and it was important to them that they have quality music. They trusted Dan Balmer Quartet to deliver and they 100% did! They provided the perfect soft music for the ceremony and kicked it up during the reception while everyone was dancing.” Check out these gorgeous images captured by Brittany Lauren Photography. And see a list of all vendors below.
A few of our favorite details about this stunning wedding are the colors and textures Blum used in the bouquets. It really gave the floral styling a lush, modern vibe, perfect for this urban affair. We are also so in love with the ruffles that accent the back of this dress. Such a unique (and stunning) detail.
Wedding Coordinator: Blush Bridal
Florist: Jordan Gladow of Blum Floral Design
Cake: Helen Bernhard Bakery
Do you have a real Portland wedding you’d like to see featured on our blog? Contact us at!
Questions to Ask a Photographer Before you Book.

Real Weddings Tip & Ideas Vendors

Questions to Ask a Photographer Before you Book.

Photo Credit: Katy Weaver

Your photographer is really the keeper of your memories. For many couples, their wedding day is a blur of emotion. It is through your pictures that you will be able to re-live the happy day. Because of that, you want to be sure to pick the best photographer for you. Here are a few questions to help you narrow down the list.

1. Have you shot at my venue? What did you love? What was challenging?

2. Do you bring a second shooter? Is that an optional add on?

3. Are your packages flexible? Can we work to create a customized package?

4.What is your turn around time? When can I expect my images?

5. Do you work from a shot list? Am I able to request a specific shot/pose?

6. Will you put together a photography timeline of the day to ensure everything we discussed is captured?

7. Should a tree fall on your head (or you are not able to shoot the wedding last minute), what is your back up plan?

8. What is your refund policy should you not be able to shoot my wedding or should the wedding be cancelled or postponed?

9. Approximately how many images should I expect to receive?

10. How much post production editing do you guys do?

11. What is a “perfect” wedding for you to shoot?

12. What can I do to ensure we have amazing pictures?

13. How do you coordinate with videographers and make sure neither of you are in each other’s shots?

14. If we run late on time, and need to extend your hours day of, is that possible? What are the costs associated with doing so?

15. Do you provide your own lighting equipment?

16. Would you like a meal provided for you? Any notes or dietary restrictions on that meal?

17.Do you need to take any additional breaks that should be factored into the timeline?

18. Is there an extra cost to go to additional locations on the day?

19.Do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors?

20.Is there an extra cost to receive my images on a flash drive? Am I able to receive all the images?

Just remember, you are making a significant investment. Take the time to ensure your are investing in the right company.

Hope this helps!

Seaside Inspiration: Beach Wedding Ideas to Make Your Guests Feel Extra Special

Ceremony Real Weddings

Seaside Inspiration: Beach Wedding Ideas to Make Your Guests Feel Extra Special

When you’re planning a wedding, you want to ensure that your guests are as comfortable as can be. Easy to do, if your wedding is in a classic cathedral and you hold the reception at a nice comfy venue. Keeping your guests comfortable and at ease at a seaside wedding may take a bit more creativity. Here are some of our favorite inspiring ideas that will make your beach wedding guests feel (almost) as special as the bride and groom.

Guest comfort from toe to head

When you hold your wedding on a sandy beach, there’s an excellent chance your guests will want to take their shoes off. Provide some sort of “shoe station” along the path where guests will approach the beach wedding. A simple grass mat held in place with heavy pebbles can suffice. For a larger wedding with more guests, consider a portable shelving unit with legs planted firmly in the sand. Make a sign that invites guests to go barefoot and offer three baskets of brand-new flip flops in small, medium and large sizes. Somewhere at the shoe station, offer a new soft painter’s brush that guests can use to whisk sand from between their toes before putting their shoes back on, recommends Exclusively Weddings.


Daytime seaside weddings can be bright, sunny events, especially on hot summer afternoons. Provide an assortment of cheap sunglasses that guests may use to deflect ocean glare and take home later as a beach wedding favor. Go all out and offer cute straw hats and woven fans, too. Thoughtful brides and grooms want their guests to feel the love, not heatstroke.



Food and drink, beach wedding style

Take a tip from the Tradewinds Island Resort, and present individual servings of crudites and dip. Peel carrots and cut them lengthwise into five-inch sections. Do the same with stalks of celery. Poke a peeled, halved radish with a toothpick and place an assortment of veggies into unbreakable cups with an inch or so of ranch dressing inside. Individual servings of shrimp or crab cocktail are always welcomed at beach weddings and offer a taste reminiscent of the nearby sea.

Decorate a picnic table with white linens. Hot-glue metal washers every few inches along the hem of the tablecloth to prevent it from flapping in the beachy breeze. Lay a pretty spread of beach-friendly foods such as sushi, iced oysters on the half shell, coconut shrimp and sliced crusty bread, and don’t forget the napkins.

Have a canoe? Scrub the inside, haul it to the beach and fill it with ice and canned beverages or drinks in plastic bottles. Many beaches disallow glass containers, so you might have to keep the champagne in a bucket in the car and serve in plastic glasses. Be sure to have a recycling receptacle handy, too.

Of course, the most important part of a beach wedding is the love and delight you share with your beloved, your families, and your friends. Make everyone feel as special as you do on your once-in-a-lifetime day.

Rebecca Francis works in a bridal boutique and has been a bridesmaid 5 times but is not a bride herself yet! She writes about wedding dress choices online.

Foe & Dear Wedding Jewelry

Real Weddings

Foe & Dear Wedding Jewelry

We love being the first to know about new collaborations. Especially when they are as fabulous as this pair. We are also big fans of supporting local & small business. Take a moment to bask in the beauty of this delicate wedding jewelry that will make any bride feel extra special on her big day. Be sure to shop their online gallery link below to learn more!

Working with like-minded brands has become an annual project for Truvelle, and now the Vancouver bridal designer is ready to launch their first 2017 Maker Collaboration. While it may seem obvious for a wedding dress designer and jewelry brand to partner, the designs resulting from this particular collaboration with local maker Foe & Dear are anything but conventional. With quality metal sourced from a supplier in the city, and naturally-occurring moonstones used in place of diamonds, these dream-worthy pieces bring a unique option to the table for the simple and effortless bride. Even more, the subtle iridescence of these stones gift brides their little something blue. 

For all of the conscious consumers out there, this collection is designed and handcrafted entirely in Vancouver by F&D Founder Katherine Huie, and can be found exclusively in Truvelle’s online shop and Gastown Showroom. 

Image Credits:

Jewelry : Foe & Dear

Creative Direction : Truvelle

Photographer : Gillian Stevens Photography

Hair & Makeup : The Artistry Collective

Model : Shereen Jupp 

Location : The Wild Bunch

Unmissable Pieces Of Advice You Need To Hold The Perfect Wedding Reception

Real Weddings Tip & Ideas

Unmissable Pieces Of Advice You Need To Hold The Perfect Wedding Reception

You might be surprised to know that the wedding reception can make or break a wedding. After all, it’s the main part of the wedding that guests look forward to. And it’s what they will remember from your big day. Therefore, once you have sorted out your ceremony, it’s time to switch your attention to sorting out your reception. After all, you want your wedding to stand out from the rest. Therefore, here are some unmissable pieces of advice to hold the perfect wedding reception that your guests will absolutely adore.

Choose a beautiful location with lovely grounds

First things first, you need to pick somewhere to hold your wedding. And one of the main factors that you should be considering when you are choosing a reception venue is the location. After all, the location is what will help your wedding stand out from the rest. And your wedding photographs won’t look spectacular if you don’t have a beautiful location full of photo-worthy spots. Therefore, hunt down a fantastic location which has lovely grounds which will be perfect for your photos. And if you pick somewhere wonderful, it will definitely get your guests ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ when they arrive at your venue; a reaction every bride is looking for!

Pick somewhere that is exclusive to your wedding party

When you are holding your wedding, it can be impersonal if other hotel guests are walking around amongst your guests. In fact, it can make your wedding feel less special if you keep bumping into people you don’t know! Therefore, you can make your wedding extra special by getting an exclusive venue. That way, there will be no one else aside from your guests during the big day. It can make your guests feel more comfortable too if they know they don’t have to be concerned about offending strangers. And with an exclusive wedding reception venue, you know that all the staff will be focused on your big day so it can make you feel like you and your new husband are VIPs.

Opt for a venue that has plenty of room for your guests

It’s also important that you have enough room for guests at your wedding venue. After all, there’s nothing worse than everyone being cramped in one room. In fact, it can make it a nightmare when your guests are trying to get a great shot of the first dance. And it can be hard for everyone to get their groove on with limited space. Therefore, to ensure your wedding reception is fantastic, you need to pick a spacious venue. With more than one room, it can be good if people want some time away from the loud music. After all, it can be hard for older guests to handle hours of listening to loud tunes!



Make sure that the food is to die for at the venue

Another thing that can help your wedding reception to stand out from the crowd is the food. After all, everyone can’t wait to try the wedding breakfast. And you want to leave a lasting impression. The best way you can do this is to make sure the catering is top notch. Ask for samples before the big day so that you can check out the food for yourself. And you can then make changes before your wedding day to ensure the food is cracking. As we said before, remember to ask your caterers if they can do a custom menu for your big day. That way, you can make the food extra special and delicious for your wedding day!

Image Credit

Keep surprising your guests during the wedding reception

It’s also important to make sure your guests are entertained throughout the day. After all, it can be a long day for guests, especially for people who don’t know many other guests. Therefore, you need to keep surprising them during the day. For example, you might want to hire some magicians to come and keep guests busy in-between wedding breakfast courses. And you could consider doing some fireworks in the evening. These little extras can help your big day to stand out from everyone else’s.

Don’t leave too much time before the disco begins

After the wedding breakfast, it can be a long wait until the disco starts. And it’s easy for some guests to get bored during this time. However, you can ensure you have the perfect wedding reception by timing the day out properly. It’s best to not start the day off too early. Otherwise, there will be a lot of sitting around for guests. You should consider having the ceremony at 1 or 2 pm, and then sit down for the meal at 4 pm. That way, you should be finished by 6.30pm, and then you can start the disco at half 7, so there is only an hour wait for guests. It means they won’t be bored and will enjoy your wedding reception.

Pick somewhere with accommodation close by

There’s nothing worse than having to drive for miles after a wedding. After all, it tends to mean you have to leave earlier. And as for drinking, it has to be out of the question. Therefore, to ensure you hold the perfect wedding reception, you should pick somewhere that has accommodation. That way, people can shuffle to bed once the party is over. And if you can’t find a venue with bedrooms, you should at least pick a venue which has several hotels within five miles. That way, your guests can just get a taxi back to their hotel after the wedding reception and collect the car the next day! Your guests will look back on your wedding reception much more favorably if they can enjoy themselves without worrying about accommodation and transport!


Make sure you accessorise the venue well

Decor is also another way you can make your wedding reception perfect. After all, adding cute touches like special photos of you and the groom, and beautiful flowers around the venue can make your wedding extra special. Therefore, get some great accessories you can use to dress your venue before the big day. The more personal, the better as this will help to make your wedding unique. You can find further help in this article on planning the decor for your venue.

  Public Domain Pictures


Don’t make it too formal for your guests  

With a lot of weddings nowadays, they are skipping traditions. After all, things like receiving lines can just make the day feel even longer for guests. And long speeches can also be painful when the guests just want to get merry. So if you want to hold the perfect wedding reception, you need to ensure your wedding isn’t too formal for your guests. Skip traditions which are past their sell-by date and focus on ensuring your guests have a fab time.

Be careful when it comes to your seating arrangements

Sorting the seating plan leaves many couples shuddering in horror. After all, it can be a nightmare sorting out who is sitting where. But if you want to hold the perfect wedding reception, you need to make sure everyone will be comfortable in their seats. After all, you don’t want for your guests to feel uncomfortable next to someone they don’t like. Therefore, spend time getting the seating arrangements right. And if you can’t please everyone, let people sit where they want and have no seating plan! That way, you can’t be blamed for any awkward seating arrangements.

And remember if you need some help holding an amazing wedding reception, you can hire a professional wedding planner to organize your day. They will be able to think of small touches which will make it extra special.


Perfect Wedding, Different Brides

Real Weddings

Perfect Wedding, Different Brides

While everybody knows what getting married means, the idea that each one has of the perfect wedding is different from a person to another. In truth, everyone has their own notion of perfection and of what would make the ideal wedding location for them. What matters, when you are getting married, is, after all, to be the star of the day. This starts by choosing the right wedding location for you.


#1. The Romantic Bride Who Wants It All

Often, the wedding day is the only day in a woman’s life when she gets to indulge the dreams she cherished as a little girl. That is the reason why many women choose a romantic wedding, with a princess type of gown that they will remember forever. For these, the best way to make the dream come true is to find a castle, such as the one from Chateau Polonez that you can enjoy if you decide to get married in Houston.

#2. The Modern And Elegant Bride Who Understands The Value Of Practicality

Modern-thinking brides have a tendency to move away from the royal type of wedding for something that will be a little more simple. While they will still be wearing a white dress in most cases, they will pick a venue that is practical in term of location but also in terms of administration. They are more likely to be looking for hotel venues, that are equipped to receive and serve their guests during the day, but also that can offer rooms to those who want to spend the night there.

#3. The Bride Who Lives In A Dream From The Past

Vintage weddings are a hot trends since the past years, and therefore brides who are looking to get married in a vintage-like dress and within a décor from the past, prefer country estates which can offer an intimate and homely atmosphere very close to a story of Miss Marple. Often country houses are decorated in a way that enables the bride to pick themes from the first half of the past century without any trouble.

#4. The Bride Who Wants To Celebrate Her Love With A Few Chosen Ones

What makes a perfect wedding day count is not the number of guests who are present, but the amount of love in the room. For the brides who are sentimental and deeply attached to their family roots, a wedding at home is an attractive option that lets them choose only a few lucky ones to celebrate the big day with. The ambiance is caring and intimate during these, but there is another advantage to them. Weddings at home celebrate love above expenses and preparations, and they also make sure that the newly wed couple becomes an immediate part of the family life.

#5. The Original Bride Who Is Full Of Imagination

Some brides want their special day to be as unique as they want their life to be. Alternate venues, such as botanical gardens or theaters, can now be easily hired for weddings. You might want to get in touch with professional organizers to get things sorted out and discuss your wishes as there are plenty of locations around that can give your perfect wedding the touch of uniqueness that you are looking for.