May 21, 2006

Unique Centerpieces for a Wedding

A couple wishing to really make a statement at their wedding may want to invest in truly unique centerpieces. Typically reception halls do not allow for a great deal of creativity in the decorations as they utilize standard table linens and place settings. However, utilizing unique centerpieces is one way that the bride and groom can make their reception truly memorable.

Incorporating live fish into the centerpieces is one truly unique centerpiece idea for a wedding reception. Simple glass bowls can be used and filled with a few colorful glass marbles along with some water and an exotic and colorful fish. You could even include a small amount of fish food at the table where children will be sitting with careful instructions on how to avoid overfeeding the fish. The children will have a lot of fun and will be less distracted then they would have been with a more traditional centerpiece on the table. This lively and interactive centerpiece idea is sure to be a hit with kids and will even keep adults entertained.

Another unique centerpiece idea is to arrange a collection of board games in the center of each table. This idea is not only unique but if the guests choose to partake in the games; it gives the guests at the table the opportunity and incentive to get to know those seated at their table if they don’t already know them. This is an excellent option for guests who don’t enjoy dancing because they won’t feel so left out of the fun of the wedding.

Cakes or cupcakes arranged on a serving tray and artfully decorated with fresh or artificial flowers also make a lovely and unique centerpiece. These cakes can be used in place of the traditional wedding cake. Using several small cakes as centerpieces is not only an extremely unique centerpiece idea but it also allows the couple the option of having several different types of cakes and fillings. These centerpieces can be collected by the wait staff and sliced in the kitchen for desert or they can be sliced at the individual tables for additional entertainment value.

An attractive journal that matches the theme of the wedding along with several pens can also serve as a unique centerpiece. This centerpiece will not only look lovely on the table but can also be used by the guests to leave messages of congratulations or words of advice for the couple. This way the couple not only had a unique centerpiece but they also have a treasured souvenir of their wedding day in the kind words recorded by their wedding guests.

Mirrors and candles can also be used to create unique centerpieces. An attractive round mirror could be placed in the center of the table with several lit candles resting on the glass. The flickering light of the candles reflecting on the glass makes for a very striking centerpiece especially if the light in the reception hall is kept dim.

Gift boxes of several sizes can also be used to create unique centerpieces. The couple could take gift boxes of three different sizes and wrap each box in a different but complementary piece of wrapping paper. Once the gift boxes are wrapped they can be glued together at odd angles to create very unique centerpieces.

Another unique centerpiece idea is to have puzzles made up from pictures of the couple. The pieces of the puzzle can be left scattered on the table. This unique centerpiece idea encourages the people sitting at the table to work together to try to put the puzzle together. This is especially useful if many of the guests do not know each other because it is a great ice breaker.

An eclectic assortment of Champaign flutes also makes a truly unique centerpiece. You can purchase an assortment of flutes of various shapes and sizes from a thrift store and clean them up to use them as centerpieces. The flutes can be arranged in an attractive but random pattern to create a unique centerpiece for any occasion.

The choice of the centerpieces is one of the only opportunities that a couple has to express their individuality and ensure that their wedding reception really stands out. While some unique centerpiece ideas may require more of an effort than the traditional centerpiece of flowers, a unique centerpiece is more likely to be remembered than a boring one.

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February 6, 2006

Ideas for Inexpensive Centerpieces

Traditional floral centerpieces can be expensive especially if you plan on having a large number of tables at the wedding reception. While floral arrangements have traditionally been the centerpiece of choice at many weddings there are many more original centerpiece ideas that are also very inexpensive. Depending on the theme and color scheme of the wedding, there are a variety of low cost options available.

A wedding with a light-hearted theme hosted by a fun loving couple might be a suitable opportunity to utilize candy to create festive centerpieces. Clear glass bowls can be filled with colorful candies such as jelly beans or M & Ms to create a lovely and very inexpensive centerpiece that reflects the personalities of the bride and groom. The candy and bowls can probably be purchased for a fraction of the price of floral centerpieces and create a lovely centerpiece that is easily assembled and can be enjoyed by all of the guests.

The bride and groom can also opt for silk floral arrangements if they are intent on having flowers as their centerpiece. Many hobby stores sell a wide variety of attractive artificial flowers that can be arranged by the bride and groom to create attractive centerpieces for the tables. Using fake flowers gives the couple more of an opportunity to express their creativity. The hobby store also likely sells inexpensive vases so the couple may be able to purchase everything they need for the centerpieces in one location. Arranging the flowers in a vase is nice but long stemmed flowers such as calla lilies also look very attractive tied with twine or ribbon and simply laid in the center of the table. The couple could either choose seasonal artificial flowers or artificial flowers that fit the theme of the wedding and arrange them in inexpensive vases or tie them with attractive ribbons to create inexpensive centerpieces for their wedding.

Another inexpensive option for a couple wishing to utilize flowers for their centerpieces is to use potted plants. You can find a multitude of inexpensive potted plants at home improvement stores, greenhouses, and even grocery stores. The couple can choose plants that match the other decorations for the wedding or that will stand out amongst the other decorations. These plants could be repotted into festive pots to create attractive centerpieces for a relatively low cost.

Balloons can be another option for a couple looking to have fun yet inexpensive centerpieces. Balloons are relatively inexpensive and can be easily found in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The couple could choose solid or print patterns that match the colors of the table linens. An extra tip for these centerpieces is to weigh down the balloons with a piece of candy. This will encourage each guest at the table to take home a balloon as a souvenir. With a typical centerpiece only one guest has the opportunity to take home the centerpiece but using balloons makes it possible for each guest to take home a part of the centerpiece.

Another inexpensive wedding table centerpiece is a picture frame in the shape of cube that allows the insertion of a photo into each side of the cube. The couple may choose to include pictures of themselves during their courting or they may wish to include pictures of them with the guests who will be sitting at that table. This is a great opportunity for the couple to express their individuality and share a little bit of themselves with their guests. Artfully arranged photographs create fun centerpieces that are also very inexpensive.

Candles also create a very attractive yet inexpensive centerpiece. The couple may choose to purchase many of the same candle or candles of varying shapes, sizes and colors to arrange on the tables. Candles of the same size, shape and color can be arranged in a uniform pattern to create a beautiful centerpiece. Candles that vary in size, shape and color can be placed at random on the table to create an eclectic appeal.

With a little bit of thought and creativity a couple can find centerpiece options that are affordable, attractive and well suited for the couple. The traditional centerpieces of floral arrangements can be boring and also extremely expensive. Utilizing creativity and ingenuity to create centerpieces that are an accurate representation of the taste of the couple often creates a more appealing centerpiece at a very affordable price.

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February 17, 2006

Italian Wedding Traditions

Couples who are of Italian descent may choose to incorporate a variety of Italian traditions into their wedding even if they have never even set foot on Italian soil. This is a fun way to honor your ancestors with a nostalgic glimpse into the past. The religious aspects, dances and food at a wedding may all hold traditional values.

The dominant religion in Italy is Roman Catholicism. Therefore a traditional Italian wedding would also be linked to a traditional Catholic wedding and would include a full Mass with the ceremony. Although, not all Italians are also Catholics and if you and your future spouse are not Catholic you can still have a traditional Italian reception to celebrate your marriage. Immediately after the wedding ceremony the couple may release a pair of white doves. These doves symbolize the love and affection that the couple hold for each other.

There are a few other small traditions that apply to the ceremony. One of these traditions is to adorn each entry way that the couple will pass through with elaborately tied ribbons. These ribbons are symbolic of the unity of the couple. It is also customary for the groom to carry a small piece of iron in his pocket during the wedding ceremony. This piece of metal is said to ward off evil spirits and ensure a happy future for the couple. The bride may also rip her veil slightly. This is said to bring good luck to the couple.

The reception that follows the wedding ceremony is where the majority of Italian traditions take place. It is customary for the guests to assemble in the reception room before the bride and groom arrive. You should arrange for your guests to be served alcoholic beverages during this time. The women are traditionally served sweet liquors while the men are served stronger drinks. It is important that these drinks be served before the couple arrives at the reception because tradition holds that the guests offer a toast to the bride and the groom the moment that they arrive at the reception.

There are a few traditional dances that are typically performed at traditional Italian weddings. The Tarantella is one example of these dances. There are several different stories on the origin of this dance but most of the stories revolve around a spider bite. In just about every version of the story, la tarantella was a dance that was performed either to counteract the venom of the spider or as an uncontrollable response to the venom. In modern times this dance is performed as a way of wishing the couple good luck in their future together. La Tarantella is a group, circle dance where the participants dance in a clockwise direction until the music speeds up and then they reverse directions. These tempo changes occur several times and each time the tempos speeds up the group changes direction again. This continues until it is impossible to keep up with the tempo of the music.

No authentic wedding would be complete without a scrumptious feast featuring several courses. A traditional Italian wedding reception begins with an antipasto course that features olives, pickled sweet peppers, mushrooms and cheeses. That is followed by many other courses that include pastas, meats, soups, salads and desserts that are each accompanied by free flowing wine. There are certain foods that have symbolic meanings. For example guests are usually presented with an odd number of almonds. The almonds represent the fact that marriage is often bittersweet. They are presented in odd numbers that have different traditional meanings. For example three almonds wish the couple luck with children while five almonds wish the couple monetary wealth.

Another Italian wedding tradition is to have the couple break a glass or vase at the conclusion of the reception. The Jewish faith has a similar tradition where the groom will break a wine glass at the conclusion of the ceremony but these traditions vary in their intentions and symbolism. Jewish couples break a glass as a symbol of human frailty and the hardship that their ancestors have endured because of their faith. An Italian couple, however, breaks a glass or vase for a completely different reason. According to Italian tradition the number of pieces that the glass breaks into represents the number of happy years that the couple will enjoy together.

It is fun for couples of Italian descent to incorporate traditional elements into their wedding. Even if the couple only has distant relatives that originated from Italy and have never even been to Italy, it is still acceptable to follow these traditions. Couples of other nationalities may also choose an Italian themed wedding just for the enjoyment of trying something different.

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April 23, 2006

Planning Weddings with Themes

Planning a wedding with a theme can be a fun way to incorporate a specific interest that the couple shares into the wedding. Themes are a fun way for the couple to express themselves and share a little bit of their personalities with the guests. The theme of the wedding can be incorporated into just about every aspect of the wedding. From the couple’s attire, to the decorations, music, favors and even wording of the vows the couple can ensure that every aspect of the wedding reflects their chosen theme. While incorporating a theme into a wedding can be a lot of fun, it’s important to not go too overboard with the theme because the results could be extremely tacky. Below are just a few examples of wedding themes and how they can be incorporated tastefully into your ceremony or reception.

A medieval theme is a popular choice for couples who pine for the romance and tradition of earlier times. You could incorporate this theme by making your reception a costume party and suggesting that your guests dress accordingly. The couple could choose their attire to reflect the theme by wearing outfits that are indicative of the chosen time period. They can do this by either renting costumes or searching far and wide for attire that suits their needs. This theme can also be carried over into the food and entertainment choices. A couple may opt to have a multi-course meal that includes traditional medieval fare. They may also wish to provide entertainment such as musicians and troubadours to perform between each of the courses. Using medieval language during the ceremony and in the vows is another way to incorporate a medieval theme.

A fairly tale wedding is another popular theme for many couples. As many young girls are first exposed to the idea of a wedding in common fairy tales, it is understandable that many brides dream about a fairy tale wedding. This simple theme translates well to wedding preparations and can be incorporated into the wedding in a variety of ways. The couple’s attire is one of the easiest ways to incorporate a fairy tale theme. A form fitting bodice with a tulle skirt is very reminiscent of fairy tale weddings. Furthermore this style of dress is readily available in many bridal shops. In many cases it is even referred to as a “Cinderella Gown”. Simply letting the bridal shop attendants know that you are planning a fairy tale themed wedding will result in them producing a multitude of dresses for you to try on that will be very fitting for the theme. The groom may wish to opt for attire reminiscent of Prince Charming such as a white tuxedo with tails. The theme can be carried forward and included in the transportation that the couple chooses. Arriving in a horse drawn carriage is a very elegant way to include the fairy tale theme. The couple may also choose to perform their first dance together as husband and wife to a traditional ballroom medley. A careful choreographed ballroom dance will look elegant and further convey the fairy tale theme.

An under the sea theme is another common wedding theme. A couple choosing this type of theme may want to consider holding their ceremony and reception on a beach. As always the attire can be incorporated into the theme. If the wedding is held on a beach, the bride may choose to adorn herself in a simple white dress and may opt to be married without shoes. The groom could choose a casual linen suit and may even consider shorts with a lightweight sports jacket. He too could choose to not wear shoes. The decoration possibilities are limitless with this theme. One very popular and appropriate centerpiece idea is to fill glass bowls with sand and seashells. This simple centerpiece is an excellent way to incorporate the theme into the decorations. The couple could also cover the tables in a blue table cloth that is similar to the color of the ocean and layer fishing net over the table. A simple favor idea is to present each guest with a collection of seashell shaped soaps. These are relatively inexpensive and readily available.

While it’s not required for a wedding to have a theme, choosing one can be an excellent way to tie the different elements of the wedding together. The attire, entertainment, decorations, favors and food are all elements that can be used to reflect the theme. Subtle hints at your theme are nice touches but it is possible to go overboard with a theme and the results are often tacky.

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April 20, 2006

Inexpensive Wedding Gifts

A wedding gift does not have to be expensive to be well received and appreciated by the couple. While the extravagance of some weddings may compel their guests to purchase pricey gifts, it is not necessary to do so. Many people are invited to a number of weddings each year and it’s not feasible to purchase an expensive gift for every wedding you attend. While you may want to splurge on an extravagant gift for a close friend or relative, you are not required to invest a great deal of money in a gift for a casual acquaintance. Even if you are very close with the couple you may be able to create a very inexpensive gift for their wedding. The following are just a few ideas for inexpensive wedding gifts that are sure to delight the couple without breaking your budget.

One inexpensive gift idea is to fill a mixing bowl with a variety of kitchen utensils. This is both an inexpensive and an extremely useful gift. Many couples are starting their life together and will need a few basic utensils and kitchen gadgets to get them started. This gift is thoughtful and useful without being detrimental to your budget.

Another inexpensive gift idea is to create a basket containing elements for a romantic dinner. You could put this basket together by yourself and include items such as dry pasta and sauce as well as a bottle of wine and two wine glasses. You might also want to include a non-perishable desert such as biscotti to complete your meal. You could even include a recipe card with one of your own personally tested recipes. This inexpensive gift idea will be greatly valued by the couple because it essentially giving them the gift of a romantic night alone.

Picture frames can also be an inexpensive wedding gift idea. The couple will likely have a wide variety of photos that they will want to display in their home and providing them with a few simple frames is an inexpensive way to give them a truly useful gift. While many picture frames can be expensive, you could find simple wooden frames in a craft store and paint or decorate to suit the couple’s taste. You could also shop at closeout stores for these items and may find quite a few bargains available. Picture frames are an inexpensive and useful wedding gift idea that is likely to be cherished by the couple.

The couple’s registry could also be another source of inexpensive wedding gift ideas. Many couples will register for an assortment of items that span a large price spectrum. You may find that the couple has included many inexpensive items in their registry that may fall within your budget constraints. Choosing an inexpensive item from the couple’s registry ensures that you are giving them a gift that they will truly like and appreciate because they picked out the item themselves.

If you are a close friend or relative of the couple you may be able to make a very inexpensive wedding gift that will also be unique and greatly cherished by the couple. If you have many pictures of the couple, you might consider arranging these pictures in a unique way in a photo album to give to the couple as a gift. You could also use the photos to create a scrapbook or even a video presentation set to music that features the couple. These gifts will be greatly appreciated by the couple and can be created for a relatively small cost.

Candles are another inexpensive wedding gift. Newlyweds often incorporate candles in their decorating and also use candles to create ambiance during dinner or on other occasions. Just after they are married is the time when couples are most likely to enjoy candlelight dinners frequently and for no specific occasion so a wedding gift of candles is bound to be used often. Candles come in a great variety of colors, sizes and scents so it should be easy to find an assortment of candles that will be appreciated by the couple.

A wedding gift does not have to be expensive to be useful and appreciated by the couple. Many wedding guests spend a great deal of money on fancy china or glassware that is only used on special occasions while inexpensive gifts such as candles and kitchen utensils are used by the couple on a daily basis.

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