Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Friday, February 17, 2012

Skip the Shots at Your Cocktail Hour and Reception

Filed under: Cocktail Hour — Larry James @ 8:00 am

The cocktail hour is fun and a great transition period from ceremony to reception. It is a nice chance for guests to mingle and chat, as well as a good time for the bride and groom to have their photos taken. Don’t skip the cocktail hour as your vendors need time to prepare for dinner, and this can take up to 45 minutes, sometimes an hour.

NOshotsSkipping shots is a good idea. Shots are easier and quicker to get bombed on. It prevents uncle Louie, the groomsmen, and others, etc., from over imbibing.

“If you’re hosting an open bar, ask the bartenders to adhere to a ‘no shot’ policy. Enthusiastic revelers often order rounds for their entire table, some of which go unconsumed. Eliminating that option helps keep down the added costs of late-night trips to the bar.” ~ Megan Weisberg, Wedding Consultant, San Francisco.

Make it clear to your bartenders in advance that although you want your wedding guests to have a good time, you are equally concerned about their safety and that the bartenders should monitor consumption and alert you if a guest has exceeded his/her limit. Professional bartenders have the experience to track individual consumption, recognize signs of intoxication and to tactfully slow an individual’s consumption when needed. You should take the responsibility for the overall safety of your wedding guests and intervene when necessary. You can always request that the bartender WATER DOWN drinks for specific people who you know tend to drink too much.

shrimpGuests imbibing on an empty stomach equals a recipe for disaster, so you’ll not only want to have plenty of munchies – finger food – on hand, but also make sure they work with your drink mix.

Consider closing the bar during dinner to allow people to eat and fill their tummies with something other than booze. Then reopen the bar when dinner is over. That way people aren’t drinking the whole night through. And closing the bar early – the last hour – means people have a chance to sober up before driving home. Serving coffee is a good idea.

From a wedding budget cost and handling perspective, it is best to keep your drink selections basic. Since you do not know what specific type of beverages your guests will consume at your wedding reception, by minimizing the number of overall selections you will be able to stock sufficient quantities of each beverage type – and within a reasonable budget – to make sure that you do not run short of any individual selection.

drinksNon-alcoholic beverages are always an essential offering. A selection of soft drinks like cola, diet cola, a lemon/lime soda like Sprite or 7up, and sparkling water with lemon and lime twists will pretty much take care of the soft drink selection.

If you have hired a beverage service or caterer who has a liquor license to provide bar service for your wedding reception or if your wedding reception is being held in a facility that provides bar service, their liquor liability insurance should cover the liability of service of alcoholic beverages. It is advisable to obtain a copy of both the liquor license and the certificate of insurance for the beverage service. It is also advisable to check the local regulations pertaining to “cash bars” to make sure that you are in compliance with local laws unless your wedding reception is being held in a liquor licensed facility, i.e. hotel, restaurant, etc.

Tip: If you will be taking your formal and group photos immediately after the wedding, be careful not to take too much time taking photos while your guests are at the cocktail hour. If you give your photographer a list of what photos to take after the ceremony when you meet with them, the photos should not take more than 45 minutes. If cocktail hour is for one hour that still gives you 15 minutes to freshen up before you make the grand entrance.

Some couples are choosing to take most of their photos before the wedding so they can enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests. Seeing you at the cocktail hour doesn’t make it any less dramatic or exciting for the guests when the new Mr. and Mrs. are announced.

BONUS Articles: Cheese it! Have a Cocktail Hour Cheese Table!
Booze: To Serve or Not to Serve
Cash Bars at Weddings: Tacky or Thrifty?
Beverage Selections for a Toast

heartcupcakeCopyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cheese it! Have a Cocktail Hour Cheese Table!

Filed under: Cocktail Hour,Receptions,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 9:00 am

This may be a bit cheesy. . . but having a cheese table available during your cocktail hour or reception (or even after dinner) is a very “gouda” idea! 😉

CheeseTableAnd now for something completely different. . .

Instead of finger foods or heavy appetizers, eg., petit franks in sauce, sweet and sour meatballs, and hot chicken wings at your wedding, try something new, fun and flavorful to excite your guests. Let them eat. . . Cheese – with all the unique shapes, textures and sizes!

Who in their right mind doesn’t love a good cheese spread? A cheese and fruit spread would be a attractive addition to any wedding. Cheese, in its blocks and wheels, is such a beautiful thing and provide for an attractive tablescape. Whether your love for cheese is subtle, or you’re an advanced cheese connoisseur, just select what you love best, provide bread and/or crackers and some fruit, arrange it prettily and you’re ready!

Have your caterer set up a table with a large variety of fruit and cheese. Have them use cheesecloth as the tablecloth. Chose your varieties of cheese to suit you from the supermarket or your local farmers market. Cheese selections can include cheddar, swiss, pepper jack, colby, muenster, smoked gouda, havarti, edam and more. Choose cheeses that create visual variety.

A small fruit selection can include: strawberries, grapes, pineapple, blueberries, and raspberries. Your guests can use skewers and have fruit and cheese before the reception or after.

A cheese table is also great for DIY (Do-it-yourself) brides or high end wedding planner events who can mold this idea to fit any budget. Cheese and fruit are very affordable. Create or buy small signs to identify the cheeses.

Another idea to consider: If you would prefer not to have a cheese table, how about individual cheese plates for your guests, perhaps as appetizer before the main course.

Photo Credit: Alex Johnson

ChooseCheeseCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Booze: To Serve or Not to Serve

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Cocktail Hour,Receptions — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Amina Michele, Guest Author

Okay… here we are, the ongoing dilemma I see with a lot of Brides: “What type of bar are they going to serve if any?”

We all know booze can be expensive and can really take from your wedding budget. As a wedding coordinator – here is my advice:

cocktailhourFor the Brides that don’t drink any type of alcohol and their wish is to not have alcohol at their wedding because they don’t want to drink so want to make everyone else endure the evening with no booze – my advice – suck it up… just this one time.

Why so harsh Amina Michele? I want your guests to stay the entire night and walk away from your wedding feeling like you had all the components of a perfect wedding. Those that drink alcohol socially enjoy alcohol at weddings, and if they don’t leave before the cake cutting, they will certainly leave after, and your party will be cut in half if not more.

Bottom line – chances are 85% of your guests like a drink to wind down, or with dinner, or just need a little something to dance. So serving, even if it’s just beer and wine should always be an option.

For the Brides that don’t have enough money to serve a premium bar, no biggie, go call, or just serving beer and wine is perfectly acceptable. If you can’t afford anything at all, at least offer a cash bar so your guests can decide for themselves… I will say however… this is the last resort, it is always nice to host a bar at least for a certain period of time.

For the Brides that are worried about mayhem at your wedding reception – all you have to do is express to your banquet captain and bartenders that they need to regulate their pours – “DO NOT OVER POUR!!

ClassicLOGOMost of your guests will know to behave, but if you expect people to get a little rowdy, make sure the staff is prepared to control this so you don’t have to!! Enjoy the fun… it’s your special time to celebrate!!

BONUS Article: Cash Bars at Weddings: Tacky or Thrifty?
Beverage Selections for a Toast

Photo Credit: (Upper left) Peacock Photography.

AminaCopyright © 2011 – Amina Michele. Amina Michele began her career in corporate and charity event planning in 2002. She fell in love with weddings two years later and since has built one of the most sought after wedding planning companies in the West. Some Like It Classic – Wedding & Event Design was founded in 2006, and in only its first year of business was awarded a total of 4 different industry awards, and since has quadrupled that number and been featured in every major wedding publication and blog. Amina Michele and her excellent staff serves the Greater Phoenix area and beyond! Amina Michele’s bio. Visit Amin’s Websites: http://www.SomeLikeItClassic.com and http://AminaMichele.com.

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Cash Bars at Weddings: Tacky or Thrifty?

Filed under: Cocktail Hour,Receptions,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Cori Russell, Guest Author

Savvy couples are looking for any way to cut wedding costs – and rightfully so. Shelling out nearly $30,000 to host a party in these tough economic times just feels frivolous and wasteful. Sorry brides and grooms, a cash bar is never an acceptable money-saving solution.

Think about it this way: would you ever charge your pals three dollars every time they grabbed another beer at your Superbowl party? People at your wedding reception are still your guests, even if the event is not held in your house (like said Superbowl party), so they shouldn’t be asked to pay for anything while there. Also keep in mind that, unlike the Superbowl party, many guests will have likely traveled and paid for a hotel room – not to mention a wedding gift – in order to attend your wedding.

signature cocktailWhile the wedding ceremony is all about you, the wedding reception is about thanking your guests for celebrating in your nuptials.

Some couples think providing non-alcoholic beverages gratis while charging guests who wish to upgrade to an alcoholic beverage is perfectly acceptable, but here’s another analogy: Imagine serving all of your wedding guests free soup for dinner at your reception. Now imagine offering optional lobster tail, but forcing those who wish to eat lobster instead of soup to shell out $30 for their meal. Surely you can see why this shouldn’t be done.

You should never offer anything that you can’t afford at a party you’re hosting – and then expect your guest to purchase it.

If a four or five-hour open bar is not within your budget, there are plenty of less-costly alternatives that won’t offend your guests:

• Offer beer, wine, and soft drinks only.

• Offer a full bar for cocktail hour, then switch to beer and wine.

• Decide on one type of drink to serve – either a specialty cocktail, champagne, or one type of beer or wine. Most venues will charge significantly less to serve only one type of alcoholic beverage.

• Choose a wedding venue that allows you to bring in your own alcohol. Believe it or not – there are plenty of venues that do not have liquor licenses and will allow couples to bring in their own. Anything unopened can be returned for a full refund after the wedding. You may need to get a little more creative with your venue with this option and choose a mansion, museum, or a facility who’s main business is not generated from weddings and special events.

• Cut back on other wedding expenses. Lose the expensive designer wedding dress and shoes, do your own hair and makeup, consider less costly alternatives to floral arrangements, drive your own car rather than renting a limo.

Cutting some of these expenses will free up enough of your budget to serve your guests properly. We’ve seen too many brides waltzing down the aisle in a Vera Wang gown carrying a bouquet of imported orchids with newly manicured nails – all while her guests are hitting up the ATM in the back so they can enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

• Invite less people to your wedding. This is the most effective way to cut wedding costs across the board. The significant savings you’ll experience with a smaller guest list will allow you to treat those who you do invite with courtesy and respect.


Copyright © 2010 – Cori Russell. Cori Russell is editor for Elegala.com and Gala Weddings Magazine. Elegala.com is a complete weddings and wedding planning resource with a national directory of wedding venues and services, how-to guides, expert advice, checklists and photo galleries to walk brides and grooms through every step of the planning process. Visit the Elegala.com site map for easy access to everything you need for your wedding.

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