Wedding Welcome Bags: 5 Tips for Making Guests Feel at Home (and Ready to Party!)

Hi lovelies, and happy Thursday!

One of the most amazing things about a wedding is that it can bring family and friends together from all over, near and far. It’s traditional wedding etiquette for wedding guests who are coming from out of town or destination wedding attendees to receive some form of a welcome gift. More likely than not, you won’t be able to meet all your guests as they arrive in town for your wedding, so a goodie bag is a perfect way to say, “Hello there, we’re so glad you made it!” A well-done welcome bag is useful, thoughtful, and memorable. From snacks and sweets to the schedule of events, each element inside is meant to make your guests feel at home and totally psyched for the days ahead. And the best part is, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of price and budget, you can curate a fabulously fun and unique little welcome! Here are our 5 tips for putting together the perfect wedding welcome bags!

Left: Corbin Gurkin Photography, Right: Allan Zepeda Photography

1. Local Loves

What better way to make your guests feel welcomed than by giving them a taste of where they will be spending the upcoming days? Welcome out-of-town friends and family with some local favorites. Think California wine, Hawaiian macadamia nuts, fresh Florida oranges, Wisconsin cheese, or a Paris baguette! This will just get guests feeling comfortable and excited to explore the new scene!

beautiful-day-photographyPhoto Credit: Beautiful Day Photography

2. Guest FYI’s

A definite item to include is the where-and-when’s guests should know about! Make a little timeline of the wedding events, and include all information needed for each. Clear directions, contact info, and dress code will always be appreciated! And if you know out-of-towners will be arriving a bit before festivities commence, include information on places to go, things to see, shopping areas, and good eats!

Left: James Christianson, Right: Marisa Holmes Photography

3. The Survival Kit

Wedding weekends away are nonstop fun, but too much fun can get plenty exhausting! When guests have the hankering for a late night snack, they will be beyond ecstatic to grab munchies from their welcome bag! Be sure to include something sweet, something salty, water bottles, maybe some fruit, and something to take the edge off. You want to give your guests an option other than the hotel minibar when that midnight craving hits!

Left: Love is A Big Deal, Right: KT Merry

4. Make It Your Own

Because a welcome bag will most likely be greeting guests upon arrival, it serves as that first exposure to the vibe of your series of wedding events. That being said, it should have your look! Make it to reflect the colors, styles, and details you’ve been implementing into your wedding day over the past months.

resized-for-blog-5Left: Tie That Binds Weddings, Right: Corbin Gurkin Photography

5. Special Delivery!

Now that you’ve put together an amazing welcome bag, figure out the delivery logistics. If you’re jet-setting to a destination wedding, shipping is going to be the easiest option. If you will be self-transporting the bags, great! Either way, just be sure they are secure and cushioned. When you arrive at the location, distribute bags to the guests’ accommodations. Welcome bags can either be given to guests upon check-in, or be waiting in their rooms. Most hotels will charge a fee for both services, so be sure to find out what that might look like. We think having a surprise welcome inside guest rooms is the most fun option!

Left: Max Wanger, Right: Corbin Gurkin Photography

Deciding what exactly to put in your welcome bags in a world of choices might seem overwhelming, but it’s truly just a matter of setting up your guests with the essentials! Focus on the basics (food, drink, information, and a little fun), and your guests will be sent swooning with sweet surprise!

devon-jarvisPhoto Credit: Devon Jarvis Photography

Wedding Vendor Etiquette: Making the Most of Your Vendor Experience

Hello lovelies!

ks-sweetheart-tablePhoto Credit: Chloe Moore Photography

If one thing is true about making a wedding come to life, it’s that the day undoubtedly rests in the hands of your vendors. From the enchanting florals, to the enticing eats, down to the exquisitely printed paperware, each vendor plays a fundamental and unique role in your wedding day shenanigans. That being said, making the most of your wedding day vendors is all based on having the best possible interaction with them. The goal is to leave both parties happy and optimistic to working together again in the future. We at Marisa Nicole Events strongly believe that you can always catch more flies with honey than vinegar… While dealing with vendors can be stressful, with the right know-how and a cheerful spirit to go with it, both parties will leave satisfied and smiling. So, here is our advice for getting the most out of your vendor experience!

leanneandmattwedding-1458Photo Credit: Booth Photographics

Getting Started

Three words… Plan in advance! Before you even think about contacting vendors, be sure to know what your budget is, both overall and specifically for the service the company you are meeting with offers. Once you do start connecting with potential vendors, let them know your price point and ask them what services they can include while staying true to that. Many brides worry that presenting a strict budget means vendors will shy away from giving her everything she wants for the wedding, but it is in fact the opposite! When vendors have an honest, clear budget to work with, and a straightforward idea of what you have in mind, each will do what they can to make it happen within your price range (and if they can’t, you’ll save a lot of time not communicating with vendors you can’t afford). As always, throughout the research process with potential vendors, kindness is key!

tracy-adam-wedding-4Photo Credit: Iris and Light Photography

Booking & Negotiations

Hooray! You’ve decided on a vendor to book, now you just need to solidify details and make things official! Here is where the precedence is set for what your relationship with each vendor looks like moving forward. Through all the planning, design, or what have you, remember that each vendor plays a massive part in making your day everything you want it to be, so treat your vendors with respect. In other words, don’t be that client who is a pain in the booty during this part of the communication and negotiation process, because you don’t want to end up paying top dollar simply because vendors think you’re a pill. When the potential vendors present you with their fees, understand that if you have been consistently specific and kind, it is their honest price. Trying to haggle a price point or talking them down can give off vibes that say you’re feeling as if the vendor isn’t worth what they think they are. Constant kindness from you means when it comes down to it, vendors will bend over backwards for you!

mel-and-andy-19Photo Credits: Ronca Productions

Wedding Logistics

As you approach the date of the event, don’t forget to communicate with your vendors! Don’t assume they’re off doing their job and don’t need to hear from you anymore. Ask for each vendor’s collaboration by sending your contact the working day of flow. See if what you have planned is setting their team up for success. When your contact gives you feedback, actually take it into consideration and try to work it into the day of plan. If what he or she is asking for just isn’t possible, be sure to communicate why, keeping the lines of communication open and allowing each vendor to feel as if his or her expert opinion is valued. If your vendors don’t feel heard, they are much less likely to give you their all on the big day. Just be clear and interactive.

ks-401-of-1130Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography

Execution

When the big day arrives, the most important thing to keep in mind with vendors is to never, ever treat them like they are ‘the help’ (sorry if this sounds uncouth, but there just isn’t a better way to put it). Each one of wedding team members has shown up to make your special day even more wonderful, and should be treated as kindly and with as much respect as one of your guests. The key is to remember that although your vendors are providing a professional service on your wedding day, they are still people too, just doing his or her best to make your celebration fab. Oh, and please, please feed your vendors in a timely manner. We suggest having the vendors eat at the same time that your guests do, as you wouldn’t want them to have to miss a minute of the action once speeches and dancing commence (the photographer can’t snag photos of your bestie’s Maid of Honor rap if the vendor meal is served at the same time and a hungry band won’t able to perform their best with tummies rumbling).

haelydavid-452Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian Photography

Post-Wedding Etiquette

In the same way that our mothers taught us to say “please” (see the “booking & negotiations” section above), they also taught us to say “thank you.”  We at Marisa Nicole Events truly believe that showing your hard working vendors how much you appreciate them is a must if you want your vendors to feel like you are happy with their work. This is where tips (and a kind note) come in. Which vendors should you tip, you ask? Our rule of thumb is that you tip the team members who are actually present during your wedding, pouring their blood, sweat and tears into making your day a success (whether or not the person on-site is an employee or the owner of the company)! If your vendor did a fantastic job and played a part in making your wedding as perfect as you had hoped, then put your money where your mouth is and give them a tip and a nice note to thank him or her for their service! If they’re not tipped, vendors will take it as a hint that they didn’t do a good job. Tip them, write thoughtful thank you notes, etc… Just give them love if they did their job well.

440-seaton-warehouse-event-venues-los-angelesPhoto Credit: Leif Brandt Photography

The bottom line is, always be as sweet as possible to your vendors! As we said earlier, you will always catch more flies with honey. Kindness is the the key to having the most productive interactions, getting the best price, and having the best overall experience. Just remember that it’s your day, and your vendors are there to make it phenomenal! Happy booking!

beccarillo_20151204_5223Photo Credit: Becca Rillo Photography

Post-Wedding Etiquette: Your Way to Thank You Card Success

Happy Thank-You Thursday, Lovebirds!

Sophie Epton Photography

Photo Credit: Sophie Epton Photography

Your big day has come to a close, but your wedding duties have not quite ended yet… Hang in there because there is only one more small but important action item that is still on your to-do list: thank you cards! Your loved ones have poured tons of love and support into your wedding planning process and have showered you with gifts. It is extremely important to take a moment to show your gratitude. A huge part of proper wedding etiquette is to always appreciate your guests! So today, we wanted to help you with four simple rules to reach thank you card success…

Virgil Bunao

Photo Credit: Virgil Bunao

Rule #1: Branding

Consistency is key, especially when it comes to your wedding details. We suggest that the design of your thank you cards match your overall wedding branding to your wedding look, so that way it all flows together. If at all possible, choose the same style or design as utilized for your invitation suite. If this is not possible, just make sure the colors and overall vibe coordinate with the look and feel of your wedding.

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Photo Credit: Ronca Productions

Rule #2: Timing

Guests that give you gifts (which ideally is all of them) needs to receive a thank you card. You will likely receive gifts prior to your wedding day. Be sure to write out notes for these and send them within two weeks of each gift’s receipt. For gifts received the week of your wedding, be sure to send out a thank you card within six weeks of the big day (people will understand that you probably went on a honeymoon and will need time to settle back in once you get back).

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Left: Le Hai Linh Right: Michele Beckwith

Rule #3: Content

Make sure to keep it personal by writing first names in the message, specifically thanking the guest for the gift they gave you and include a sentence on how you are going to use the item or how excited you are for the gift. An example, “Thank you so much Linda for the mixer! I can’t wait to make cookies with this! We are so excited you got to share this wedding with us!” These messages don’t have to be long, three to four sentences will do the trick, but each note does need to be customized.

Nicole Clarey Photography

Photo Credit: Nicole Clarey Photography

Rule #4: Addressing

As with your wedding invitation envelopes, wedding etiquette requires you to handwrite your guest’s name and address on the envelope… Labels are not your friend! Don’t forget to put your return address on the back flap just like you did on your wedding invites. Finally, it is important that both members of the happy couple sign each and every note.

Katie Stoops Photography

Photo Credit: Katie Stoops Photography

You are now ready to tackle writing your guests’ thank you cards! We hope we have helped you gain both inspiration and practical ideas on how to write a personalized thank you to everyone who has shown you love on your wedding day. It’s always important to give back!

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Photo Credit: Ronca Productions

Wedding Processional Procedures: Options & Etiquette For Your Walk Down the Aisle!

Hello lovelies!

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Photo Credit: Becca Rillo Photography

Summer is here and we are smack in the middle or helping our fall couples work out their detailed day of flow! Part of this process is walking them through their processional options and all the wedding etiquette that goes with it! Two items that are absolutely central to how the rest of the processional will flush out is for the couple to decide who they want walking down the aisle in general (think bridal party plus immediate family members) and who they would like to walk in with, specifically. There are a number of different orders and ways to get everyone to the party, so we are here to give you a couple options as to how to do it (but don’t be afraid to mix and match however you would like!). To keep the flow of options going, we have given a general view of the processional, so don’t feel as if you can’t go off book and, for example, have your best guy friend as your Man of Honor instead of having a Maid of Honor.

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Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Standard Processional in the Non-Denominational or Civil Ceremony Tradition

In the common standard or traditional processional, ladies generally go on the left and fellas go on the right. In this case, important family members and your bridal crew are the ones to walk down the aisle. There are a number of ways of doing this and even though we gave you two options, don’t be afraid to mix and match from A & B. For example, you can have all the grandparents start in the front row and also have both parents walk the bride down the aisle.

A:

  • All grandparents start in front row
  • Officiant takes place by alter
  • Cue Music for Processional – Song Name by Artist
  • Parents of Groom walk down aisle
  • Mother of Bride walks down aisle escorted by TBD (close family member or friend)
  • Groom and crew come in from side and take their spots at alter (best man closest to groom)
  • Cue Music Change – Song Name by Artist
  • Bridesmaids
    • Insert names starting with person farthest from bride, ending with Maid of Honor
  • Ring Bearer walks down aisle
  • Flower Girl walks down aisle
  • Cue Music Change for Bride – Song Name by Artist
  • Bride walks down aisle with Father

The wedding of Irene Legaspi and Chris Josol was photography by Hannah Arista for Docuvitae at the Carondelet House in Los Angeles, CA on September 27th, 2014.

Photo Credit: Docuvitae

B:

  • Cue Music for Processional – Song Name by Artist
  • Grandparents of Groom walk down aisle
  • Grandparents of Bride walk down aisle
  • Parents of Groom
  • Officiant, groom and best man
  • Cue Music Change – Song Name by Artist
  • Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
    • Insert names starting with person farthest from couple
  • Maid of Honor walks down aisle (alone or with Best Man)
  • Cue Music Change for Bride – Song Name by Artist
  • Bride walks down aisle with Father & Mother

FineArtTemeculaWedding-258

Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian

Standard Processional in the Jewish Tradition

In Jewish tradition, ladies are on the right and fellas are on the left. The options we have listed depict option A as an example of a more strict, traditional Jewish wedding and option B as a more relaxed version.

A:

  • Cue Music for Processional
  • Chuppah brought in by cousins
  • Rabbi or Cantor walks down aisle
  • Grandparents of bride walks down aisle
  • Grandparents of groom walks down aisle
  • Siblings and other significant others
  • Groom walks in with parents
  • Bridesmaids & Groomsmen walk down aisle
    • Insert names starting with person farthest from couple
  • Cue Music change for Bride
  • Bride walks in with parents

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Photo Credit: Iris & Light

B:

  • Rabbi or Cantor positioned at front
  • Cue Music for Processional
  • Chuppah brought in by cousins
  • Grandparents of bride walks down aisle
  • Grandparents of groom walks down aisle
  • Siblings and other significant others
  • Bridesmaids & groomsmen walk down aisle
    • Insert names starting with person farthest from the couple
  • Cue Music Change for Groom
  • Groom walks in with parents
  • Cue Music Change for Bride
  • Bride walks in with parents

FineArtTemeculaWedding-273

Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian

Same Sex Wedding Processional

For same sex couples it seems the B option for the Jewish wedding makes the most sense to use. This way the couple can both walk in with their parents.

  • Officiant positioned at front
  • Cue Music for Processional
  • Grandparents of bride/groom walks down aisle
  • Grandparents of bride/groom walks down aisle
  • Bridesmaids & Groomsmen walk down aisle
    • Insert names starting with person farthest from the couple
  • Cue Music Change for bride/groom
  • Bride/groom walks in with parents
  • Cue Music Change for bride/groom
  • Bride/groom walks in with parents

SteveKelley_531

Photo Credit: Chloe Moore Photography

Music & Final Thoughts

What about the music cues, you ask? You can have as many or as little music changes as you would like! If you have live music, then we would suggest one song for everything before the bride and if you have a DJ, then feel free to switch it up as often as you would like. We know this could be an overwhelming amount of options to choose from.  Remember, this is your wedding, so you can have whoever you want walk down the aisle and whatever you choose to do will be the right decision for you big day.

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Photo Credit: Dennis Kwan Photography