After the engagement, the first thing couples should do is to create their wedding guest list. Family and friends are key components for a couples’ big day, so it’s important to define who you want to be there. Because the budget usually reflects cost-per-head, it’s important to have an estimate on the number of potential guests. Plus, adjusting the size of your guest list is on of the fastest ways to reduce costs. A slight change in the number of guests can have a big effect on the budget.
1. Keep an updated contact list. Rather than scrambling to collect names and addresses at one time, work on it gradually. Texting with Aunt Sue? Confirm her address. Lunch with Mom? Get the correct spelling your cousin’s wife’s name. You’ll thank yourself later.
2. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of names and addresses. Use tabs to divide your spreadsheet by each side of the couple. Ensure that there are no duplicates by working on your guest list together. You can utilize Google Docs or Dropbox to access your spreadsheets on-the-go.
3. Ask key family members to provide their must-invite list. This ensures that there are no surprises later. But set expectations early by providing them with a set number of guests and offering examples of who you will be inviting.
4. Keep track of children and their ages. Kids meals are charged differently, by age, and will impact the budget differently. For example, children 3 and under usually eat free, while four- to 12-year olds are offered kids meals. Any children, from ages 13 to 21, will be charged for an adult entrée. However, they shouldn’t be included in the per-head alcohol costs. For various reasons (budgetary or otherwise), many couple’s are deciding to not invite children to their event.
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Vanessa & Amir had a beautiful wedding that blended two cultures, Hispanic and Persian. We were thrilled to have been entrusted with the task of setting up the Sofreh Aghd. The Sofreh is an elaborate floor spread set up for the Persian Ceremony (Aghd) that includes different kinds of food and decorations. During the ceremony, the bride and groom sit on a bench and face the Sofreh. Single women or female relatives of the couple hold a fine cloth, over the couple’s head. The women alternate grinding sugar cones over the bride and groom’s head, which is symbolism for adding more sweetness to their life together.
Items that are included in the Sofreh:
- Mirror and candlesticks: A mirror reflects what is before it, so symbolically it brings the couple abundance and brightness in their future. The candles bring passion and energy. As the story goes, the first thing the groom should see is the face of his beautiful bride reflected in the mirror, lit by the light of the candlesticks.
- Sweets and candies: for sweetness in life, and offered to guests after the ceremony.
- Decorated eggs and nuts in their shells: for fertility
- Gold and silver: for prosperity
- Fresh flowers: to bring beauty in the couple’s life together
- Fresh Fruit: for a joyous future
- Rosewater: to perfume the air and bring beauty
- Holy book: from whichever religion the couple follows
While guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizers, the couple went around Meadowlark Gardens with their photographer, (one of my favorite backdrops for wedding pictures). After cocktail hour the wedding party made their grand entrance, which set the tone for the reception, it was obvious that it was going to be a fun night!
Immediately after the couple is married, the bride and groom each dip one pinky finger in the cup of honey and feed it to one another.
The Atrium at Meadowlark Gardens set for a wedding reception
The First Dance
Venue: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Atrium
Photographer: Nuvoria Studios
Wedding Planner: Diamond Events
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