Checklists, Guides & Tools

These guides are designed to help you make the most of your event. Didn't find what you were looking for? Contact us!

How Much for How Many?
How Much Liquor Should I Buy?
Punch Recipes
How Much Skirting Do I Need?
Linen & Table Compatibility Chart
Seating Information
Napkin Folding Arrangements
Suggested Uses for Linens
Wedding Dining Etiquette
Finding the Right Wedding Photographer
Getting that Wedding Day Glow
How to Select Your DJ
Planning a Beach Wedding
Do You Need a Wedding Consultant?
What is a Couturiere?

How Much for How Many?

Typically the easiest way to prepare your shopping list is to follow the ingredients, however a number of party favorites are not prepared from recipes. Here is a handy table to help plan for non-recipe food items such as Appetizers, Sundaes, Tossed Salad, Fresh Fruit, Vegetables and other Miscellaneous items, including How Much Liquor should I Buy? and Punch Recipes.

APPETIZERS

FOR 12 SERVINGS

FOR 24 SERVINGS

FOR 48 SERVINGS

Dips, spreads and Pâtés

1½ cups

3 cups

5 cups

Nuts

¾ lb.

1½ lb.

3 lb.

Potato chips

2 (6 oz.) pkgs.

4 (6 oz.) pkgs.

8 (6 oz.) pkgs.

Corn chips

2 (9¼ oz.) pkgs.

4 (9¼ oz.) pkgs.

8 (9¼ oz.) pkgs.

Crackers

½ lb.

1 lb.

2 lb.

Bread rounds

2 (8 oz.) pkgs.

4 (8 oz.) pkgs.

8 (8 oz.) pkgs.

 

MAKE YOUR OWN SUNDAES

FOR 12 SERVINGS

FOR 24 SERVINGS

FOR 48 SERVINGS

Ice cream (1 large scoop per person)

2 qt.

1 gal.

2 gals.

Fudge or butterscotch sauce (1 oz. per serving)

12 oz.

24 oz.

48 oz.

Strawberry, pineapple or marshmallow sauce (1 ½ oz. per serving)

18 oz.

36 oz.

72 oz.

Whipping Cream, whipped (2 tbs. per serving)

½ pint

1 pint

2 pints

Chopped nuts (2 tsp. per serving)

½ cup

1 cup

2 cups

 

TOSSED SALAD OR SALAD BAR

FOR 12 SERVINGS

FOR 24 SERVINGS

FOR 48 SERVINGS

Iceberg or romaine lettuce

2 heads (2 lb.)

4 heads (4 lb.)

8 heads (8 lb.)

Boston or red leaf lettuce

4 heads (3 lb.)

8 heads (6 lb.)

16 heads (12 lb.)

Cherry tomatoes

1 lb.

2 lb.

4 lb.

Croutons

1¼ cups

2½ cups

5 cups

Cucumbers, sliced

2 med. (1½ lb.)

4 med. (3 lb.)

8 med. (6 lb.)

Green onions, diced

½ lb.

1 lb.

2 lb.

Radishes, sliced

4 to 5 (¼ lb.)

1 bunch

(½ lb.)

2 bunches

(1 lb.)

Mushrooms, sliced

¼ lb.

½ lb.

1 lb.

Bacon, cooked, crumbled

1 lb.

2 lb.

4 lb.

Hard-cooked eggs

3

5

10

Salad dressing

For tossed salad (1 oz. per serving)

For salad bar (2 oz. per serving)

1½ cups (12 oz.)

3 cups (24 oz.)

3 cups (24 oz.)

6 cups (48 oz.)

6 cups (48 oz.)

12 cups (3 qt.)

 

FRESH FRUIT FOR PLATTER OR WATERMELON BASKET

FOR 12 SERVINGS

FOR 24 SERVINGS

FOR 48 SERVINGS

Watermelon

1 small

(6 lb.)

1 large

(12 lb.)

2 large

(20 lb.)

Strawberries

1½ baskets (1 pint)

3 baskets

(3 pints)

6 baskets

(6 pints)

Pineapple

1 small

1½ medium

3 medium

Cantaloupe

1 medium

2 medium

3 medium

Honeydew or

casaba melon

1 medium

2 medium

3 medium

Grapes

1 lb.

2 lb.

4 lb.

 

VEGETABLES FOR RELISH TRAY OR BASKET

FOR 12 SERVINGS

FOR 24 SERVINGS

FOR 48 SERVINGS

Carrots

1½ lb.

3 lb.

6 lb.

Celery

1½ lb.

3 lb.

6 lb.

Radishes

1 bunch (½ lb.)

2 bunches

(1 lb.)

4 bunches
(1½-2 lb.)

Cauliflower

1 med. head
(1½-2 lb.)

2 med. heads
(3 lb.)

3 lg. heads
(6 lb.)

Cherry tomatoes

1 lb.

2 lb.

4 lb.

Cucumber or zucchini

2 med. (½ lb.)

4 med. (3 lb.)

8 med. (6 lb.)

Mushrooms

1 lb.

2 lb.

4 lb.

Green beans

1½ lb.

3 lb.

6 lb.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

FOR 12 SERVINGS

FOR 24 SERVINGS

FOR 48 SERVINGS

Butter for spreading (1 pat per serving)

¼ lb.

½ lb.

1 lb.

Cream for coffee

1 cup

2 cups

4 cups

Sugar, granulated

¼ lb.

½ lb.

1 lb.

Lemons, sliced for tea

2

4

8

Cookies (3 per serving)

3 doz.

6 doz.

12 doz.

After dinner mints

¼ lb.

½ lb.

1 lb.

 

How Much Liquor Should I Buy?

NUMBER OF GUESTS

PRE-DINNER COCKTAILS

PARTY

4

8 to 12 Drinks (one fifth required)

12 to 16 Drinks (one fifth required)

6

12 to 18 Drinks (two fifths required)

18 to 24 Drinks (two fifths required)

8

16 to 24 Drinks (two fifths required)

24 to 32 Drinks (two fifths required)

12

24 to 36 Drinks (three fifths required)

36 to 48 Drinks (three fifths required)

20

40 to 60 Drinks (four fifths required)

60 to 80 Drinks (five fifths required)

25

50 to 70 Drinks (five fifths required)

75 to 100 Drinks (seven fifths required)

40

80 to 120 Drinks (eight fifths required)

120 to 160 Drinks (ten fifths required)

Champagne: 1 case (12 fifths) serves 50 people (82 drinks).

Liquor: Plan on approximately two drinks per hour, per person. There are 21 to 28 drinks per quart of liquor.

Punch: One gallon of punch serves approximately 24 people. (32 three ounce drinks with ice)

Cocktail Napkins: Plan approximately two or three napkins per person for a three hour party.

Coffee: One pound of coffee serves 60 to 80 cups.

Punch Recipes
(suitable for use in champagne fountain, silver or glass punch bowl)

Non-Alcoholic Punch
2 cans frozen Orange Juice
2 cans frozen Lemonade
8 cans plain water
2 cups Grenadine
Juice of three fresh Lemons
3 qt. (pre-chilled) Ginger Ale

Float orange slices on top. Add cherries.

Island Fruit Punch

(non-alcoholic)
1 (16 oz.) bottle Hawaiian Punch concentrate
2½ qt. cold water (10 cups)
2 (46 oz.) cans chilled Pineapple Juice
3 qt. Orange Juice, chilled
Ice to chill

Champagne (straight)
Chill with ice cubes in plastic bag

Champagne Punch
1 gal. Sauterne Wine
4 Bottles (qt.) Champagne
4 Bottles (qt.) Ginger Ale
½ pt. Sherbet
Ice cubes to chill

Gala Champagne Punch
1 (1 qt.) bottle chilled Champagne
1 (1 qt.) bottle chilled Chablis
2 (10 oz.) bottles chilled Club Soda
4 oz. Brandy
3 oz. Crème De Cassis
1 box (1 pint) fresh Strawberries
Ice to chill

Mix champagne, wine, club soda, brandy and crème de cassis. Add ice to chill. Place a strawberry in each cup. Makes 20 (4 oz.) servings.

Party Punch
1 fifth Bourbon
8 oz. unsweetened Pineapple Juice
8 oz. unsweetened Grapefruit Juice
4 oz. fresh Lemon Juice
2 bottles (qt.) Lemon-Lime Soda

Pre-chill ingredients, mix in bowl, adding lemon-lime soda last. Decorate with fruit.

Honolulu Cooler
1 gal Pineapple Juice
6 oz. Lime Juice
2 bottles (qt.) Vodka
2 bottles (qt.) Lemon-Lime Soda
1 bottle (qt.) Brandy
1 bottle (qt.) Club Soda
Ice cubes to chill

Mai Tai Punch
½ fresh Pineapple
20 Strawberries
2 (4/5 qt.) bottles Mai Tai mix, without alcohol
1 (qt.) bottle light Rum
1 (qt.) bottle Brandy
1 qt. chilled Orange Juice
Ice to chill.

Cut pineapple into thin slices; thread on wooden skewers. Place a strawberry on each skewer. Refrigerate skewers covered overnight, if desired. Mix punch, place a skewer in each glass. Fill glasses with punch. (makes 20 glasses).

Planter’s Punch
1 gal. Red Wine
4 bottles (qt.) Champagne
1 bottle (qt.) Vodka
1 oz. Lime
Ice cubes to chill.

California Punch
½ gal. Orange Juice
½ gal. Pineapple Juice
½ gal. Lime Juice
2 bottles (qt.) Ginger Ale
2 bottles (qt.) light or dark Rum
½ lb. Sugar

Plenty of fresh sliced fruit floating in bowl (no pulp)

Hospitality Punch
3 oz. fresh Lemon Juice
8 oz. Cranberry Juice Cocktail
8 oz. Blended Whiskey
24 oz. pre-chilled Squirt

Mix in punch bowl; add cake of ice and decorate with orange and lemon slices.

Open House Punch
6 oz. can frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
6 oz. fresh Lemon Juice
2 - 6 oz. cans frozen Lemonade Concentrate
2½ qt. (72 oz.) pre-chilled Lemon-Lime Soda
2½ cups (20 oz.) Blended Whiskey

Mix in punch bowl, adding Lemon-Lime Soda last. Add drops of red food coloring as desired (optional). Add ice cubes or lump of ice. Garnish with fresh fruit.

Strawberry Wine Punch
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen sliced Strawberries in syrup.
½ cup sugar
2 (qt.) bottles rosé wine
1 (6 oz.) can frozen Lemonade Concentrate
2 cups chilled Pineapple Juice
1 (28 oz.) bottle chilled Club Soda
Ice to chill.

Combine strawberries, sugar and 2 cups rosé wine. Cover and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Before serving punch, add frozen lemonade concentrate and pineapple juice. Stir until lemonade is thawed. Stir in remaining wine and club soda. Add ice. Makes 24 (4 oz.) servings

Wedding Punch
2 fifths of Bourbon
12 oz. Lemon Juice
1 cup sugar
1 pint very strong tea
2 bottles (54 oz.) Club Soda

Mix thoroughly. Pour over large piece of ice (or 2 trays of cubes), adding soda last. Decorate with fruit.

Anniversary Punch
1 fifth Bourbon
3 cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1 qt. Lemon-Lime Soda
1 dash Bitters (optional)
2 qt. Champagne

Pre-chill ingredients. Pour into punch bowl over large piece of ice, adding champagne last. Decorate with slices of lemon and orange.

How Much Skirting Do I Need?

Perimeter = the distance around the outside
Circumference = the distance around the outside of a circle
Diameter = the distance across a circle

Rectangle Table P = (length x 2) + (width x 2)
For example: 8’ long x 2.5’ wide table
                        Perimeter = (8 x 2) + (2.5 x 2)
                        16 + 5 = 21 feet of skirting needed

Round Table C = 3.14 x diameter
For example: 5’ round table
                        C = 3.14 x 5 = 15.70 feet or 16 feet of skirting needed

For your convenience, the most often requested sizes are listed below. Always find out how far around the table the skirting is needed and how the tables is going to be set up. Although the list says 8’ and 13’ skirts, the true measurements are 8.5’ and 13.5’. Please remember this in your calculations.

 

Size and Shape

Skirting Needed

4’ x 30" rectangle

(three sides only)

one 13’ skirt

4’ x 30" rectangle

(all four sides)

one 13’ skirt

6’ x 30" rectangle

(three sides only)

one 13’ skirt

6’ x 30" rectangle

(all four sides)

17’ needed

8’ x 30" rectangle

(three sides only)

one 13’ skirt

8’ x 30" rectangle

(all four sides)

21’ needed

card table

(all four sides)

Skirting doesn't work well, we recommend a 90" round tablecloth (reaches the floor.)

24" round

One 8’ skirt would work, but we recommend a 72" round tablecloth (less bulky, reaches the floor.)

36" round

One 13’ skirt would work, but we recommend a 90" round tablecloth (less bulky, reaches the floor.)

42" round

One 13’ skirt would work, but we recommend a 90" round tablecloth

(less bulky, and almost reaches the floor.)

48" round

One 13’ skirt would work, but we recommend a 108" round tablecloth

(less bulky, and almost reaches the floor.)

54" round

Two 8’ skirts needed

60" round

Two 8’ skirts would work, but we recommend a 120" round tablecloth

(less bulky, and almost reaches the floor.)

72" round

One 13' & one 8' skirt needed

5’ serpentine (three sides)

One 13' skirt needed

5’ serpentine (all four sides)

Two 8’ skirts needed

7’ serpentine (three sides)

One 13' skirt needed

7’ serpentine (all four sides)

17’ skirt needed

Quarter Round (all sides)

One 8' skirt needed

Half 60" round (all sides)

Two 8’ skirts needed

Half 60" round

(curved side only)

One 8' skirt needed

Linen & Table Compatibility Chart

(Use this chart to match the correct linen size with the table.)

Standard table height is 30".

 

STANDARD TABLE SIZES

 

LINEN SIZES

72" Round

60" Round

54" Round

48" Round

36" Round

132" Round

to floor

120" Round

24" drop

to floor

90" Round

9" drop

15" drop

18" drop

21" drop

27" drop

72" Square

decorative top to edge

decorative top 6" drop

decorative top 9" drop

decorative top 12" drop

decorative top 18" drop

60" Square

decorative top table center only

decorative top to edge

decorative top 3" drop

decorative top 6" drop

decorative top 12" drop

21’ Table Skirt

full table w/2’ overlap

17’ Table Skirt

full table, 1’ overlap

full table, 2’ overlap

full table, 4’ overlap


8’ Banquet

6’ Banquet

60" x 120" Banquet top w/square corners

front and back 15" drop

front and back 15" drop

21’ Table Skirt

full table all sides

17’ Table Skirt

three sides

full table all sides

13’ Table Skirt

three sides

Seating Information

 

Aisle Distance Per Seating Style

Banquet Seating (Round) Banquet Seating (Oblong)

A = 2’ between chairs

B = 5’ between tables

A = 5’ between tables

B = 2.5’ between tables

C = 2.5’ between chairs

Classroom Seating Theatre Seating

A = 3’ between tables

A = 3’ between front of chairs

 

Seating Capacity Per Banquet Table

Round Tables Persons Seated Oblong Tables Persons Seated
30" diameter 2 48" x 48" 4
48" diameter 5-6 30" x 72" 6-8
60" diameter 8-10 30" x 96" 8-10

 

Estimating Seating Capacity

Estimating Per Square Foot

For Banquet Style seating

  • When using round tables, divide the room area (sq. ft.) by 10.
  • When using oblong tables, divide the room area (sq. ft.) by 8.

For Classroom Style Seating

  • Divide "student" seating area (sq. ft.) by 8.

For Theater Style Seating

  • Divide "spectator" seating area (sq. ft.) by 6.

These figures are for maximum seating. If space is available for more comfortable seating, allow an additional 2 sq. ft. per person.

This above seating methods allows for chair and aisle passage ways, it does not allow for problems caused by wide traffic aisles, column locations, service doors or unusual room shapes.

When planning seating, certain questions must be answered, such as: Does a certain size table make the best use of the room space available? or, Does the number of people possible at a certain size table make it easier or harder for the food servers?

Napkin Folding Arrangements

Napkin Folding Arrangements are a simple way to add just that extra little something to your dinner time celebrations. Below are eleven napkin folds and instructions on how to create them.

Bird of Paradise

Candle

Cardinal Hat

Crown

Flame

Goblet Fan

Opera Fan

Peak

Rose

Tri-Fold

Tuxedo

 

Bird of Paradise

  1. Fold the napkin in quarters with the four edges toward you.
  2. Fold the edges up to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the left and right points of the triangle to the center and then fold the extended points under.
  4. Lift the center and hold the base - pull the four napkin edges out of the center to create the bloom.

Candle

  1. Fold napkin in half diagonally forming a triangle.
  2. Fold one-fourth of the base edges of napkin up forming a cuff.
  3. Turn napkin over. Carefully roll left to right.
  4. Tuck the remaining corner inside the cuff to hold the Candle firm.
  5. Position the Candle with the highest point of the napkin facing you.
 

Cardinal Hat

  1. Fold the napkin in diagonally forming a triangle.
  2. Fold the left and right hand corners of the triangle to the top.
  3. Turn the napkin over so that no fold are visible.
  4. Fold up the bottom tip of the triangle and fold in half.
  5. Fold the right side over the left making a circle.
  6. Tuck one end of the triangle into the other.
  7. Place the Cardinal Hat in an upright position and flare out points slightly.

Crown

  1. Fold the napkin in half diagonally forming a triangle.
  2. Fold the left and right triangle to the top forming a square.
  3. Turn the napkin to form a diamond. Fold the bottom point 2/3 of the way to the top point and fold the bottom point back again to the base line.
  4. Turn napkin over and tuck the far corners into one another forming a round base.
  5. Stand a napkin upright and flair out the two top corners to form a Crown.
 

Flame

  1. Fold tall four corners of a flat napkin to the center.
  2. Fold the bottom half under the top half.
  3. Fold the right half over the left half.
  4. Turn the napkin clockwise to create a diamond.
  5. Roll the top layer toward center forming a band.
  6. Turn the second layer under to form a second band.
  7. Fold the left and right hand edges under.

Goblet Fan

  1. Fold napkin in half with the edges at the bottom
  2. Accordion pleat form right to left.
  3. Fold the bottom third up.
  4. Insert into goblet and spread pleat to form fan.
 

Opera Fan

  1. Fold napkin in half.
  2. Fold width into accordion fold leaving last four inches flat.
  3. Fold accordion in half with folds on outside; four inch flat will protrude from the center.
  4. Create a stand by folding the four inch flat toward the base of napkin letting the folds fan out.

Peak

  1. Fold the napkin toward on end into quarters.
  2. Fold the right and left edge under and towards you creating a triangle at the top of the napkin.
  3. Roll the right and left edges up into the base edges of the triangle.
  4. Turn the fold over standing the triangle point up with the open edge facing you.

Rose

  1. Fold all four corners of a flat napkin into the center: then fold four points again to the center.
  2. Turn the napkin over and fold four points again to the center pressing all folds tightly.
  3. Turn napkin to form a diamond. Using one hand to hold two points at front center of the napkin and with the other hand reach under that point and pull up flap.
  4. Repeat at three other points.
  5. Holding center points, reach between petals and pull out additional flaps.

Tri-Fold

  1. Fold the napkin in half diagonally form a triangle with the long point facing you.
  2. Fold the far left and right had corners of the triangle toward you to the bottom point.
  3. Fold the napkin in half bringing the bottom point under to meet the top point.
  4. Left the napkin at the center to stand upright on the two side edges.

Tuxedo

  1. Fold napkin in quarters
  2. Roll the first layer of the napkin toward you to the center
  3. Fold the second layer toward you and under the first - Do not Roll.
  4. Leave the same width of the napkin as the rolled edge.
  5. Fold the next layer of the napkin away from you and under the second leaving the same width as other two folds.
  6. Fold under the right and left side edges to center back.
 

Suggested Uses for Linens

 

Table Skirt with 72" Square Overlay
Select top cloths from any fabric to create the desired appearance and match your theme or decor.

Banquet Rectangle With 72" Square Overlay on a 6’ Table
Use primary colors to accent your food or beverage presentation.

Banquet Rectangle With 90" Round Overlay on a 6’ Table
Use Moiré, Lame and Pattern overlays for a custom designed look.

120" Round With 90" Overlay on a 60" Round Table
This design can be utilized on any size round table.

120" Round With 110" or 120" Round Overlay on a 60" Round Table
This design can be easily created using pins to secure the top cloth.

120" Round With 72" Square Overlay on a 60" Round Table
Any size round table with the matching overlay can create this look for seated functions or displays.

 

Wedding Dining Etiquette

There are a lot of little details that the bride will have to coordinate when finalizing the details of her wedding reception. One of the most important ones is the seating arrangements of the "parents' table."

Making sure that proper seating protocol is followed is a must during a wedding reception. If you decide to go with a "parents' table" the seating should be as follows: the mother of the bride, would have the father of the groom sitting to her right. The father of the bride, or whoever is accompanying the mother of the bride, would sit across the table having the mother of the groom to his right. The seat to the left of the bride's mother is usually reserved for the person who performed the wedding ceremony. The mother of the groom has the bride's grandfather (or other male relative) on her right side and the seating arrangements go on alternating family members or close family friends.

For everyone who participates, in a wedding reception, it is important to know what part of the place setting belongs to them and what belongs to the people sitting to their left and to their right. As a rule of thumb, all glassware for a place setting, are to the right of that place setting. The bread and butter plate is always on the left of a place setting. Any utensils on top of the place setting are to be used for the dessert.

The napkin can be in a lot of different locations and knowing which one is yours is vital, as it could leave someone on the table without a napkin. Usually napkins are placed in the center of the place setting, but you can also find them next to the forks on the left of the place setting, in the wineglass or the coffee cup if set on the table. Another place where the napkin can be found is on the bread and butter plate. Observe the place setting before using the silverware, glassware and napkin.

A very important part of both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception is toasting.
Usually the best man will begin the toasts and the other people can also give toasts.

A toast is a very special honor for the person receiving it. Throughout the course of the meal people will start toasting the wedding couple. The person giving the toast stands. The couple that is being toasted remains seated holding their glasses, but they do not raise them or bring them to their lips to drink. One does not drink a toast to oneself. It is appropriate for the person who was toasted to rise and respond to the toast, to which he/she may drink. Other guests may then propose toasts.

Becoming aware of all these little details will take the guesswork out of what to do the day of your special event and will let everyone enjoy the celebration.

Finding the Right Wedding Photographer

Make certain you have the opportunity to meet and see the work of the actual photographer who will be doing your wedding. This will allow you to see that you are comfortable with this person, that they are interested in your plans and ideas, and that you like their style of photography.

If possible, view an album of one complete wedding. See how the story flows from beginning to end, and if there is a good variety of sizes of photographs. Does the album hold your interest, capture the feeling of the day, and make you feel like you were actually there?

Rather than base your decision solely on the number of photographs you will receive, look for craftsmanship, and particularly the beauty and emotion the photographer is able to capture.

Make certain the coverage you choose will allow adequate time for all of the festivities of your reception to flow at a fun, relaxed pace.

Enjoy yourself! Make this a time to get ideas. Great photographs will excite and inspire you. Don't settle for less!

Getting that Wedding Day Glow

3 to 6 Months Prior

  • Book your Initial Facial and Consultation
  • Your beauty consultant will evaluate your skin condition and skin care products and will personally design a maintenance regimen for you to follow according to your life style and goals. Continue with professional facial treatments every 4-6 weeks.

3 Months Prior

  • Custom Brow Design
  • Your beauty consultant will shape your brows to accentuate your own natural beauty and frame your facial features. Maintain every 3 weeks.
  • Lash Tint/Lash Perm
  • Start tinting the lashes in advance to ensure deep, dark color that is cry-proof, and will last through your honeymoon! Maintain every 3 weeks.
  • Wedding Day Make-up Preview
  • Trial run to discuss and apply the perfect colors to accentuate your own beauty. Book wedding date to insure availability.

2 Weeks Prior

  • Sunless Body Bronze and Skin Polish
  • This process exfoliates and smoothes your skin, adding a sunless glow from head to toe. Maintain daily with home product until wedding day.
  • Final facial before the wedding day

5 Days Prior

  • Bikini Wax
  • Final Brow Design, Lash Tint, and Beauty enhancements before the big day!

How to Select Your DJ

Do I genuinely like him or her? Is this someone that you would invite to your wedding if you weren't paying them? Are they friendly, well dressed, likeable, and fun? Or are they obnoxious, geeky and self centered? Meet with them in person and spend a half hour getting to know them before you decide. Use your "gut feel".

Is this the person that will actually DJ my event? Many DJ companies will send you a different DJ instead of the person you first interviewed. Be sure to get it in writing. Most will charge you extra for the person you want.

Are they professional and experienced? Please don't settle for "a good friend or relative who likes to DJ". Make sure they are an experienced wedding DJ with at least 100 weddings under their belt. Ask for and check references. Do you want to trust your most important day to an amateur?

Will they also provide reception planning and coordination services? If you cannot afford a bridal coordinator, your DJ should help you plan and run the event. As quoted in Premier Bride, "for peace of mind there should be a designated person to keep your reception running on schedule".

Is their equipment and music library up to date? In this new millennium, they should be using CDs and professional CD players, amps, speakers and mixers. Do they have a wide variety of music and the latest hits? Do they offer a lighting package? Do they have back-up equipment? Be sure to find out.

Do they offer group dance instruction and entertainment to help kick start your reception if necessary? Sometimes guests feel timid to get out and dance and a veteran DJ will lead them in easy to learn dances that will break the ice.

Planning a Beach Wedding

Sun, Sand, Surf and "I Do's"

Many couples are enticed and thrilled by the prospect of a lake front wedding, and you can't get much closer to that dream than by having your wedding ceremony on the sand. What better way to say "I Do" in Lake Tahoe? But before you send out your invitations think about what it really takes to pull off a surf and sand wedding celebration.

Planning for Your Lake Front Celebration

  • Casual or Formal: Getting married on the beach is really best suited for a casual affair. For a more formal affair, select a lake front home or special event venue with a lake view.
  • Find the perfect sand space: Call the Parks and Recreation Department or Special Events Department in the city you wish to get married. These offices will be able to discuss what is necessary for a sand wedding in their particular city.
  • Watch out for those special events: Ask the Parks and Recreation, Special Events Department, and/or Chamber of Commerce about other public events are taking place. The beach is host to many volleyball tournaments, surf competitions, and street fairs.
  • Check into restrictions: Do you need a permit or is the beach available on a first come first serve basis? Can chairs be set out? Ask these and other questions before you proceed with the planning.
  • Call again: Before invitations are ordered (3-4 months prior to wedding) call the city again to reconfirm rules, regulations, and schedule of public activities.
  • Have a back up plan: Rain, wind, or an unexpected (public) special event scheduled can upset your plans. Ask your reception site if they have back-up space.
  • Crowds and Uninvited Guests: You will attract passerby's who like to be distant witnesses to your special wedding celebration. Also, try not to plan a sand wedding on a holiday weekend.
  • Be clear on the invitations: Indicate your wedding site on your invitation. Make it clear to your guests that the ceremony takes place on the sand.
  • Parking: Secure a parking lot and/or hire a shuttle service for guest transportation.

"Do's and Don'ts" - Helpful Hints from the Experts

DO: Be aware of special needs of older or disabled guests
DO: Provide some chairs for family and older guests (10-12 chairs may be adequate)
DO: Acoustical guitars, flutes, and other "portable" instruments work for beach ceremonies or have a friend operate a (battery operated) CD player
DO: Keep the décor simple...Pre-decorated arches and aisle markers and a few chairs for older guests and/or family
DO: Hold off bringing out décor until 30 minutes prior or have a friend watch over your items
DO: Hire a Wedding Coordinator
DO: Stake out your spot with towels & sheets to reserve your space in the sand
DO: Have water with plastic glasses and emergency kit available to your guests
DO: Have a basket of towels available, post-ceremony for wiping off feet
DO: Think about umbrellas for shade (especially on hot days)
DO: Use walkie-talkies and cellular phones for Strand to sand communication
DO: Have the photographer/videographer bring a sand wagon to carry and secure their equipment
DO: Have a person to secure all the shoes that are left on The Strand (sidewalk that lines the beach throughout the South Bay).

DON'T: Keep guests waiting without seats in the sun. Start the ceremony on time
DON'T: Hire a keyboardist, harpist, or DJ's to provide music or sound for the ceremony
DON'T: Use candles (i.e. a unity candle)
DON'T: Use a (fabric) aisle runner
DON'T: Plan a ceremony longer than 20 minutes

DO: RELAX, TAKE IN THAT FRESH AIR, AND ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF THIS AMAZING DAY!

Do You Need a Wedding Consultant?

With so many of today's engaged couples holding down full time jobs and maintaining complex social schedules, a wedding consultant is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Couples with large or modest budgets can benefit from the services of a professional wedding consultant.

The professional wedding consultant is a planner, organizer, financial advisor, and negotiator. Their expertise will guide you through your planning from the selection of invitations to booking your reception location, maybe even your get-away transportation.

Following are some of the benefits of hiring a wedding consultant.

  • Expert knowledge and advice in wedding planning, etiquette, and budgeting.

  • Referrals to and coordination with other reputable, quality wedding professionals.

  • Able to offer suggestions and advice to help you throw a fabulous wedding, while staying within the reality of your budget.

  • They will coordinate and confirm all of the details involved in your wedding celebration.

  • They will be your eyes and ears on your wedding day, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special day!

What is a Couturiere?

How Do I Know if I Need One?

You've looked and looked for your wedding dress, and nothing is what you had in mind. Or perhaps you never had anything in mind, but what's in the stores definitely is not your style. Or perhaps you'd like to wear your grandmother's beaded dress, but she was not the svelte size 6 you are, and the beading is damaged.

So you've decided to have your dress made or the heirloom refurbished.

What you need now is a gifted couturiere to translate what is in your head or hanging in your heirloom closet into the wedding dress of your dreams. Unlike a dressmaker, a couturiere owns her atelier (her shop), designs the gowns and makes the dress herself. A gifted couturiere will help you in numerous ways, creating the special dress you'll wear on this very special day.

For those of you who had never considered having a dress designed and made, we have a few reasons you might choose a couturiere:

You can't find what you're looking for… Your couturiere should be able to listen to your desires and translate the conversations into sketches of what you want. She will then work with you to find the right fabrics for your design and shades of each fabric to be used. With a fine couturiere, you don't have to know a lot about fabrics. She knows and can show you about the best fabric choices for your needs. She should create a sample of the dress in muslin (a working version, so to speak), giving you a chance to make modifications to the overall design prior to working with the dress material.

We're not all models… (and even models have special design needs) An able couturiere will discuss with you what physical traits you wish to highlight and which you might prefer to hide. Wondrous design tricks can "accentuate the positive" and make you comfortable in your wedding dress. She will also make design modifications for any special needs you may have, from specific religious considerations to season and time-of-day needs.

Your heirloom needs an overhaul… A talented couturiere can repair and even redesign your heirloom articles. When choosing someone to work on these treasured pieces, be sure to inquire if she has experience in working with museum quality heirlooms and if she has the resources to match the condition of the original garment. She should be able to assess the condition of the fabric have an excellent knowledge of design and alterations in order to reconstruct the gown. With these qualities your couturiere will bring your heirloom back to life.

Don't let the French words scare you...a courtier dress can be surprisingly affordable. Depending on the fabrics, design and detail you choose, you can control the price as well as the look. When comparing to bridal salon couture dresses with equal workmanship - and then adding alterations- a truly quality dress won't be a bargain, but will be valued at much more than you paid for it.