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The Soundtrack of Your Lives – Wedding Ceremony Music

From the moment your guests arrive at the ceremony, they will be serenaded by the sweet sounds of music – – as they enter the church, as you are accompanied down the aisle, and when you arrive at the reception.

Whether you’re planning an informal garden ceremony or a traditional church wedding, large or small, you can characterize the mood of the event through your musical selections. Most wedding ceremonies, civil or religious, call for music in at least three places: before the wedding (the prelude), during the bridal party entrance (the processional), and as you make your exit (the recessional). You may also include post-ceremony music (the postlude) and/or additional songs — interludes — during the ceremony.

Prelude music is light, ambient music that sets the mood while guests are being seated and waiting for the ceremony to begin. It usually begins when the doors open, or as early as 45 minutes prior to but no later than 20 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony. Traditionally, Baroque classical music is played during the pre-ceremony while guests are being seated. There are a number of standards to choose from, including Bach’s ” Air On The G String” , though you should feel free to consider alternative ideas to design a unique ceremony. Couples focused less on tradition may choose contemporary tunes that mean something to you and your fiancé — perhaps the first song you danced to, or the song that was playing on the radio when he proposed.

Next is the processional, which accompanies the entry of the extended wedding party — family, bridal party, and bride. The same song can be used for each, or you can change to another song when the bride enters to add drama and highlight her entrance. There’s no right or wrong way to choose your processional march. Whether you want something traditional, such as Wagner’s ” Bridal Chorus” (” Here Comes the Bride” ) or Pachelbel’s Canon, or something out of the ordinary, experienced musicians have extensive play lists that can help you make the perfect choice.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the recessional plays. As the name implies, this music accompanies you as you recess (that is, make your exit) and is traditionally bright and lively. The recessional tends to be more informal than the processional, thereby affording you even more freedom in regard to your musical choice. You’ve been officially declared husband and wife, so here’s your chance to be unique and really have some fun. Have someone play a violin, or even a set of bagpipes, as guests head toward the exit. You could even ask the musician to lead guests out of the ceremony in a parade like fashion.

When choosing pieces for the processional and recessional, keep the length of the aisle in mind. Longer pieces will need to be adapted for a short walk down the aisle, or as a combination of songs for a long aisle.

Many couples choose to add interludes or songs played during significant moments such as the unity candle lighting or the ketubah signing. When choosing ceremony music, take cues from your site’s architecture and decor.

When saying your vows in a place of worship, you’ll probably want (or be asked to choose) the traditional accompaniment of an organ, harp or string quartet. On the other hand, if your wedding will take place at an alternative site, you may have a variety of options to choose from.

Lastly, think about matching the musicians and musical selections to your wedding theme or style. For example, a bagpiper for a Scottish or Irish wedding, a New Orleans-style jazz band for Cajun-flavored festivities, or a harpsichord for a Baroque-inspired day. Since music plays a key factor, be sure to seek out the type of talent that will suit your wedding style!

Brides-to-be…What to do After the Bridal Show

Ok, so you went to the bridal show and talked to a lot of people, picked up a lot of literature, saw great fashions shows with the latest in wedding and bridesmaid gown design, awesome wedding cake ideas and so much that you are getting dizzy.  Hold on!  We made it happen, we will help you through it!  Great organization, follow through and planning can turn piles of brochures into a well thought out and perfect wedding day. 

1) Dump & Categorize

Dump your bag out and separate the brochures by category; DJs, cake companies, photographers, bands/live music, flowers, reception halls, etc.  Once you’ve done that, take each pile and pull out the company, or companies,  you actually had the opportunity to talk to.  These will be the first people to review.  From that group, chose one to three companies from each category, paying attention to any coupon or show pricing deadlines, that made the biggest impression on you when you spoke, i.e. personality of the representative, overall look of their booth – samples, photos, etc – and any offers they presented.  These will be the first people you want to consider for your wedding.

2) Contact them

Now that you’ve narrowed it down, the next step is to contact them and set up an appointment to talk about what you’re looking for, what your budget is for that particular service, availability on your date, etc.  The one thing we do not recommend is just calling up a company and asking what they charge.  That doesn’t give you a true idea of what that company can offer you.  Here’s something to think about, just because a company may LOOK expensive, i.e. high quality ads, brochures, booth displays, etc. doesn’t mean they are expensive, that they aren’t willing to work within your budget.  You’d be surprised how many companies can offer you their best work and still won’t break the bank.  Give them a chance. 

3)Research what you need to ask

After you set the appointment, print out  a copy of our wedding
planner  http://www.todaysbrideonline.com/planning_tools.phtml.  It contains great information and just about every question you should ask.   You may want to check out their website too.  Many companies will list their services and possibly a price list.  But don’t let that be the end of your research.  A true measure of a company is not necessarily what they look like online or what their brochure look like, it’s the people and how they interact with you.  Which brings us to the next step…

3)Get to know them personally

While talking with the vendor, make sure everything they will do for you will be written in the contract and that every aspect is covered.  Yes, they know what they need to do, but you need to know too!  They do this for a living and it’s second nature to them.  What you might assume will be included, often times is not and could be an issue later on down the line.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for it in writing!

4)  Time to Make a Choice

You’ve “interviewed” your top choices. Now comes the hard part, choosing that one company that will make your day perfect.  Review all of the information you collected when you spoke.  Take into consideration the personality of the person you spoke to, the atmosphere of where you met, any testimonials or recommendations from others that have used their service, etc and the choice should be obvious.

5) File It Away

Once you have made your final decisions and booked your wedding professionals, don’t throw away your research!  File it away for a future use.  You never know when you’ll need the services of a company you talked to or received literature from but didn’t use. 

Your wedding day is the most important day of your life and the companies you choose to help you celebrate play a big role in making it perfect.  Follow your heart, after all, it brought you to this point and hasn’t been wrong yet.

January is Bridal Show Month!

January is a very busy month for bridal show producers, including Today’s Bride.  We are the largest Bridal Show producer in Northeast Ohio for over 20 years, bringing newly engaged couples hundreds of wedding professionals all in one place!  It’s one-stop-shopping for all your bridal needs.

This Sunday, January 17th will be our largest show of the season at the IX Center in Cleveland.  Over 200 wedding professionals will be on hand, from florists to teeth whitening, Bridal gowns in Henri’s gown showroom to photobooths that will add additional craziness and fun to your reception.  It’s all here!  Beautiful fashions shows highlighting this seasons most sought-after gowns will be at 11:00, 12:30, 2:00 & 3:30pm, brought to you by Henri’s Cloud Nine with fashions from Henri’s, Expressions Bridal, David’s Bridal, Dora’s Bridal & Formal and more!  For the Mother-of, beautiful gowns from Peneventures will also be featured.  Don’t forget to check out the American Commodore Tuxedo dancers showing off the latest in formal attire for the groom too!  They are sure to rock the show!

Doors will be open from 10am to 5pm.  Admission at the door is $10 but you can get a $3 off coupon or buy tickets online for 50% off by pre-registering at www.todaysbride.com.  Parking is $8.

To help you prepare for the show, check out our bridal survival guid by clicking here.  Come to the show excited and prepared!

An Elegant Halloween Wedding Theme

halloween-weddingWedding Party Attire

  • Bride:
    A slim fitting dress in the Mortica (Addams Family) style would work nicely. You may also choose to have your gown choice died black or red. Add a black cape with red lining, black veil and long, sleek black gloves.
  • Bridesmaids:
    Slim fitting black, red, or orange dresses with matching capes or sheer long scarves. Instead of a regular neckline, consider having a seamstress add a high, stiff collar to frame their faces. Use tiara’s in their hair or matching ribbons.

Groom and groomsmen:
Wear black tuxedos with red cummerbunds. Another option would be black shirts, black slacks and a red-lined black cape with high collar and black top hat with cane (old-fashioned Dracula style).

Suggested Halloween Wedding Bouquets
Carry blood red or black roses. If you’ve decided to use orange as a wedding color, you may wish to opt for orange colored flowers such as: Orange Hawkweed, Day Lily’s, Tiger Lily’s, Orange/Yellow Freesia’s, Orange Roses, Orange Poppy’s. Remember that you can often get a variety of flowers dipped or dyed to suit your wedding colors.

Halloween Wedding Centerpieces

  • Decorate hollowed out gourds or small pumpkins with black, red, orange and/or yellow flowers. Add a few props to the arrangement, such as small scarecrows, plastic pumpkins, small ghosts, gold stars or moon, etc.
  • You could also hollow out miniature pumpkins and insert a votive or pillar candle inside.
  • Create miniature tombstones from Styrofoam painted dark grey. Add a catchy epitaph and decorate the base with a miniature flower bouquet.
  • Orange and black pillar candles in varying heights placed on small round mirrors. Tie a coordinating ribbon bow around the base of the candle. Scatter a few fake leaves in autumn colors on the mirror.
  • Use wrought-iron style candelabras with taper candles.

Halloween Theme Wedding Decorations

  • Decorate doorways and the front of tables with black and orange, red or yellow crepe paper. Or drape with black netting and added contrasting bows where the netting is secured. You could also wrap your main tables in miniature twinkle lights under the tulle.
  • Get large dead branches (don’t cut live trees) and use as tree props. Add white, yellow or orange miniature twinkle lights to the branches. Secure in pots filled with sand and covered with shiny orange or black wrapping paper. Place around room.
  • As an extra added effect, hang strings of black lights around the bar area, rest rooms and doorways.
  • Make a large round moon from cardboard covered with shiny yellow foil paper and secure from the ceiling. Add a “flying witch” next to it. Create additional atmosphere with hanging bats and gold stars. If you could set this up near a wall that you’ve covered with black material, it would look awesome.
  • Place a coffin in one corner of the room (you can easily make one from large cardboard boxes and paint it black). Add Dracula to the coffin by stuffing a dark suit with a white shirt, adding a cape and placing a Dracula mask over a balloon. Then make a coffin for “Mrs. Dracula”. You could also make several tombstones from cardboard boxes, paint them in grey and/or black, add a funny epitaph and make a small graveyard.
  • Instead of your usual grinning jack-o-lantern, consider having pumpkins carved in unique designs. There are many patterns available and they would provide a unique touch to your wedding. Place the pumpkins throughout the room, but be sure if you are using candles that they are not near anything flammable and cannot easily be tipped over. Better yet, consider using a battery-powered light or one that can be plugged in nearby.
  • Cover the top of the tables in black or midnight blue tablecloths. Decorate these with gold sparkled fabric pens in the shapes of stars, suns and moons (use stencils that can be bought for stenciling walls with paint).
  • Place a large cauldron on the main serving table and add dry ice to create a smoke effect. (Do not use this to serve drinks from).

Creepy Entertainment For Your Wedding

  • Hire a fortuneteller to dress up as a gypsy and give short readings. You can opt to pay for this and come up with a set price for the evening or have guests pay for their own readings. Be sure they are kept short (5 to 10 minutes) and that the price reflects this.
  • Have the DJ play songs such as the Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, Thriller, and other suitable Halloween songs throughout the evening.

Halloween Wedding Party Favors

  • Use the traditional Halloween treat bags and fill with Halloween candy.
  • Give candles, such as novelty Halloween candles, orange/black votive candles in a clear holder, 2 tapered candles tied together with raffia ribbon. Spiff up the candles with small decorations such as plastic spiders, autumn leaves, gold moon and star stickers, etc.
  • Make homemade chocolates or iced sugar cookies in the shapes of ghosts, pumpkins, witches, sun, moon, stars, tombstones, etc. Package several together in cellophane or in Halloween decorated bags/boxes and tie with black and orange ribbon.
  • Fortune cookies make great favors. You can opt to use the fortunes found in pre-packaged fortune cookies or make your own cookies and fortunes, then insert them into the cookie.

You can find more ideas for Halloween wedding favors here.

Suggestions For Your Halloween Wedding GuestsInstead of requesting that your guests dress in costumes, consider asking them to find costumes and clothing that are more refined, but still related to Halloween. Basically, instead of dressing like the Wicked Witch of the West or some gruesome monster, they find one more fashionable and sleek.

For example, women could wear dresses in black with orange or yellow accessories, dress up like Morticia Addams or Elvira, be a sassy devil, an enchanting sorceress or a Victorian vampiress. Men could dress as Dracula, 1920’s gangster, Jack the Ripper, a medieval cleric or monk, an evil wizard or a werewolf dressed to go to a wedding. You get the idea. Keep it fun, but more in keeping with a wedding, rather than a typical Halloween party where anything goes. And remember to take lots of pictures and videos. This is one style of wedding that is sure to bring lots of laughter and fond memories over the years.

An Elegant Halloween Wedding Theme. © 2003-2007, Rose Smith.

Bridal Shows – One Stop Shopping

2009-10Facebook Image-2Planning a wedding can be fun and exciting, but with so many plans to be made you’re going to need all the help you can get. Don’t sweat it Bridal Shows may be just what you need.

If you’ve ever planned a wedding before, you know the budgeting and myriad of details involved can be overwhelming. And if you’ve never planned a wedding before, you’ll soon discover the pressure of contacting and contracting with the church, the reception site, the caterer, the florist, the photographer, the videographer, and the musicians – – not to mention ordering invitations, sending thank you notes and finding gifts for your bridal party.

Feeling stressed yet? Well don’t – – whether you are newly engaged, almost ready for the big day, or planning a second wedding, attending a bridal show will save you an abundance of time and significantly reduce the amount of stress you may experience. 

Bridal shows are an inexpensive and timely way to meet and speak directly with a vast variety of wedding professionals from your hometown at one time, in one location! They can help you to get started planning or help you acquire those last minute services to make your event special and unique. 

If you are an encore bride (planning your second or third wedding), don’t hesitate to attend a bridal show. So many new wedding ideas have emerged since your first wedding and a show is an ideal venue to soak it all in.

With shows being a one-stop shopping experience under one roof, a bride can virtually plan her entire wedding in just one day if she is prepared ahead of time. Here are some helpful hints to benefit the most from your bridal show experience:

Establish your wedding budget ahead of time. Make a list of what you need the most and what portion of your budget you wish to allocate to each service/product. 

Plan to spend half of the day there.  Allow enough time for parking, registration, watching the fashion show (usually it lasts approximately one hour), and time to view exhibits before & after the fashion show.  When you get there, go to those businesses who have what you need the most first.

Pick up any information available.  Take some time to look over what you’ve collected once you get home.  Make notes on the literature at the show while it’s fresh in your mind.

Be prepared to make decisions and put deposits down on services. Bring those people who are vital in helping you make decisions, or at least bring someone to bounce off ideas.  Wedding dates fill up quickly once an exhibitor participates in a bridal show.  If you know you definitely want to book with a service provider at a show, they’ll probably require a deposit to hold your date.  Each exhibitor will have its own requirements for payment be it cash, check, or credit cards.  Read contracts carefully and inquire about refund policies before giving any money.

Bring color swatches of the material and ribbon in the colors of your wedding, and even photos of your wedding gown.  This will assist bridal shops, bakeries, florists, and many other professionals in generating ideas to complement your wedding theme.

Bring printed address labels and a pen. Some shows have multiple prize drawing opportunities through the show producer and/or offered by the individual vendors.  To avoid having to write your name, address, phone number, and wedding date 50 times, consider bringing some address labels with all the information on it, or make up your own computer labels that include your phone number (which is usually required for all drawings). If you do print your name on entry forms, write neatly and legibly.

Bring a calendar or date book to help you schedule appointments with potential service providers after the show.

Arrive early regardless of which fashion time you choose, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours before the fashion show.  Fashion show seating is typically first come, first serve.

If you can’t attend personally, send your mom or a friend to pick up information for you. You may even still qualify for prizes at some of the shows.

Grooms-to-be are always welcome!  Bridal shows are not just for brides, there are plenty of wedding plans that may require the groom’s input. 

By all means, ASK QUESTIONS! The vendors are there to help you. You are under no pressure to buy from them, so find out everything you need to know.

When used to the fullest extent, you can plan your entire wedding with the help of just a few shows and without having to fight traffic and drive all over town.  How many shows you decide to attend is up to you. If you only have time to attend one show, try choosing a show that is either produced or sponsored by professionals that specialize exclusively in weddings. However, the more of them you can attend the more time and money you can save. And who knows, you might just win a valuable prize!

What is the order of activities during the reception?

scroll1Which comes first, the throwing of the bouquet or cutting of the cake?  Everyone does it different but having a plan as to how everything should be done during your reception helps keep the event running smoothly.  Usually your DJ will help you plan out the order of events but here is a basic guideline to go by.

Your wedding reception is a time to celebrate the beautiful union of a husband and wife and also a time to celebrate that the stress of planning and pulling off a wedding is finally over! While there is a suggested order of events that has been used traditionally, you can certainly choose to customize any portion of it to fit your personal circumstances, but keep in mind that this order has worked successfully for countless couples and is likely what your guests will expect.

Suggested order of events at the wedding reception:

1. The guests arrive at the reception. They may be there for a while before the wedding party arrives due to wedding photos being taken so you will want to have drinks and hors d’oeuvres ready for them to enjoy.

2. The wedding party arrives. You may wish to have the DJ announce the Bride and Groom only or the entire wedding party.

3. Toasts. This time honored tradition allows kind words of encouragement to the Bride and Groom and sets the tone for the reception. The Best Man offers a toast first and may be followed by the Maid of Honor and possibly other family members such as the Bride’s father, but you will want to consider how long to leave the guests waiting before dinner.

4. Blessing of the meal. The DJ should ask everyone to take their seats for dinner before the blessing. The blessing can said by the Bride or Groom’s father or Grandfather or other special person that the Bride and Groom choose.

5. Dinner is served. Whether this will be a buffet or sit down meal, the Bride and Groom are served first followed by the wedding party and parents. Then the DJ may want to call tables up one by one if it is a buffet, otherwise the guests should be served at this time.

6. The Bride and Groom’s first dance. This is the time your song is set for life. You will always remember this first dance together.

7. The Daddy-Daughter dance and any other special dances. Daddy gets his “last dance” with his little girl. You may want to make this just the first part of a song and then the DJ can announce the wedding party as they enter the dance floor, or you can do two separate songs. After this you want all the guests to join in on the dance floor as soon as possible so they don’t become lethargic after dinner and want to leave too early.

8. The tossing of the bouquet and garter. The bride tosses the bouquet over her shoulder to all the single ladies, keep in mind that single means “never married” and not divorced and the groom tosses the garter to all the single men. The lucky guy who catches the garter then gets to place it on the leg of the lucky lady who caught the bouquet.

9. Cutting of the cake. Now the DJ can announce the cutting of the cake. The Bride and Groom make the first cut together and then serve each other a piece with their fingers. This is a great photo op. Someone else, even the kitchen help, can then cut and serve the cake to the guests or place the slices on the dessert table for people to eat when they want or wrap up and take home.

10.  The money dance .  Guests make an offering for the opportunity to dance with the bride or groom. This gesture is a way of wishing good fortune upon the newly married couple as well as helping them out financially. Attendants may help by organizing the line-up of guests and signaling when it is time to change partners. They might also help by pinning the money on the bride and groom before each dance. Children as well as adults of all ages can enjoy the money dance. Once the money dance starts, it is best to let it continue until everyone who wants to has had a chance to participate. When the dwindles down to zero, the bride and groom may finish the last song by dancing together. The DJ will then often open the dance floor to everyone.

It is best to have the money dance immediately after any other special dances, earlier on in the party before open dancing — and before your guests leave!  

11. Dance until they drop. Now guests should feel free to dance and party until their hearts content. The Bride and Groom are free to dance or leave early if they have a plane to catch or just want to get the honeymoon started.

By the way it is best if toasts and cake cutting, bouquet and garter tosses take place before the special dances. It’s not effective to interrupt open dancing to go to cake cutting and return to open dancing. This causes a loss of momentum. It is best if one event flows smoothly and quickly into the next.

Once again, this order is just a suggestion because this is your big day and everything should be planned to make it feel right for you. The most important thing is to just enjoy yourself and take some time to remember what is really important about this day-you got married. Everything else is really secondary to that.