The guestbook is a wonderful reminder of who helped make your wedding day special. It can come in many forms – from the traditional to the creative. Here are six ideas for those looking to forgo the traditional book.
Want some more ideas on how to personalize your wedding? Check out our Pinterest for more wedding inspiration!
Looking for the perfect location for your wedding? Visit us on Facebook:
Bon Appetit Weddings
Have a wedding theme? Incorporate it into your seating arrangements. In the past, we’ve had brides mark their tables using different beach wares such as shells and starfish.
Place pictures from big events in your lives: baby pictures, first day of school, high school and college graduation, etc. These images work as a conversation starter and help guests from the other side learn a little more about either the bride or groom. Another version of this involves generations – wedding photos of great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents.
You could also categorize your tables using the interests and hobbies of the bride and groom. Although this may end up being very casual and eclectic, it is a way to get to express the personality of the bride and groom.
Pick trivia categories and place cards at the table. This acts as an icebreaker and is a fun activity throughout the evening. Each table can be a different category about the bride and groom such as childhood, college years, hobbies and interests, their relationship, etc. Once dinner is done, guests can move from table to table to see how much they know about the newlyweds.
Each of these ideas can be used in addition to or in place of table centerpieces and go a long way towards personalizing your wedding reception. See more wedding ideas on our Pinterest.
It’s the big weekend and your guests are beginning to arrive – why not greet the out-of-towners with a fun, personalized welcome basket? This simple touch lets them know that you truly appreciate them attending your special day. Leave them with the check-in desk at the hotel where you have your room block so that when guests check in they are given the basket.
Let your out of town guests know that you appreciate them coming to your wedding by writing them a welcome note. Accompany it with an itinerary for the weekend listing starting times and addresses/directions to all events. This could also include important contact information, in case they have any questions as well as the information for your wedding app or website if you have one.
Personalized Door Hangers
These door hangers are great for guests for multiple reasons. First, they are a fun way to tell other wedding guests which rooms have other guests. They are also a nice alternative to the “Do Not Disturb” signs provided by the hotels. Just a few options for getting these include ordering them pre-customized, or trying your hand at one of these two templates from DIY Wedding Templates and Martha Stewart Weddings.
List of things to do in area
Highlight the wedding location by including a list of things to do in the area. There is usually time to kill during a weekend wedding. Guests who are unfamiliar with the area will appreciate suggestions on what to do any see. You can also include local snacks and bottles of water.
Picking a centerpiece that fits the theme of the wedding, the personality of the couple, and their budget can seem like a daunting task. One cost-effective option is always to make your own! These centerpieces are all DIY, beach themed options for your wedding on the water!
What’s the most unique centerpiece idea that you’ve seen? Want to know more about planning a wedding on the water in sunny Florida? Like our locations on Facebook to learn more and to join the conversation!
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again – there’s an app for that. More wedding apps are starting to pop up in the various app markets and there is one available for just about anything. I decided to take a look at four popular apps – all of which are free.
The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner (iTunes)
Most brides-to-be know about The Knot, a website for everything wedding. Their team has released a wedding planner app that syncs up with your account on The Knot.com, helping you stay organized and up-to-date on all decisions you’ve made. This app includes a wedding countdown, checklist, budget tool, wedding vendor locator, and thousands of inspirational ideas for everything from the dress, to cakes, and hairstyles.
Wedding 911 (iTunes)
Also by The Knot, Wedding 911 is a bride or groom’s hub for answers to any wedding-related question possible. The app provides answers to over 150 from multiple resources. You can also post your own question if you can’t find it in the list. Questions are categorized by topic.
WedPics (iTunes and Android)
If you’re looking for an alternative to dozens of disposable cameras, consider WedPics. Available online and as a smartphone app, WedPics allows your weddings guests to upload their photos from your wedding into one online album so that you don’t have to go searching for the images later. Simply create your album, and then give your guests the passkey to use it. The albums support uploads from digital cameras and smartphones.
Married App (iTunes and Android)
The Married App for your wedding is an all-in-one app for day-of information. Set up ahead of time, it is a place for guests to upload and take photos, request a song, sign a guestbook, view wedding details such as times and locations, and many other options.
Which smartphone app has kept you from losing your head while planning your wedding? Let us know and follow our wedding pages on Facebook:
Bon Appetit Weddings
Romantic Honeymoon Island
Weddings on Sand Key Beach
When many people picture a brunch, they think of quiche, Danish, juice and coffee. Sounds pretty boring for a wedding reception, right?? WRONG!!! The idea of “brunch” has changed a lot over the years. No longer does it have to be boring with basic breakfast offerings! As a matter of fact, brunch has become pretty “hip” in the last few years as chefs and catering coordinators are coming up with some pretty amazing ideas! A wedding brunch is a great way to impress your guests and save money at the same time. A ceremony earlier in the day also keeps you out of the heat of the mid afternoon, and frees you up to do something special with your new spouse for that evening…maybe even leave on that amazing honeymoon you’ve been looking forward to!
Bon Appetit Restaurant has amazing Champagne Brunch options that are perfect for an afternoon reception. The packages are inclusive and still include everything from décor package, wedding cake and champagne punch. Still want that DJ and maybe Mimosas to start? We can add that on as well! It can be all that you want it to be and the good news is that it’s usually much cheaper than a dinner reception!
As for a menu? How about an Omelet station with a chef that cooks your omelets made to order, carved ham or Turkey with golden raisin glaze, Chicken Napoleon with Sweet Pecan Butter or Cheese Blintzes with Fresh Strawberry Sauce! (My mouth is watering already!!) These are just a FEW of the options you could choose! No more spinach quiche! (Unless you love spinach quiche of course!).
Bon Appetit Restaurant in beautiful downtown Dunedin, Florida has a waterfront location with a view that will make your event stand out. We would love for you to come in for a tour and to find out exactly what we can do to help create a beautiful event for your Wedding Day or any other special event. Just remember, don’t count out the brunch option. It can be an extremely elegant and classy event and save you money too!
Bon Appetit Restaurant
Kimberley Whittaker & Sarah Byrd
Banquet Sales Coordinators
150 Marina Plaza
Dunedin, Fl 34698
Phone: 727- 733-2151
I often find that some brides, especially the ones that want a traditional ceremony, have a difficult time thinking outside the box when it comes to a special way to personalize their union. These days with a “traditionally themed” wedding which may include blended families with children, different religions, and alternate lifestyles, personalizing the ceremony to reflect the tastes and personalities of the bride and groom seems to be a priority more than ever. So what can you do to make your ceremony special? Of course there are the very well known unity ceremonies which may include a unity candle or a sand ceremony – both which can easily include children and or parents, but here are a few more ideas that maybe you haven’t heard of that could bring that special touch and meaning to your wedding.
Water Ceremony: The couple each pours different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color with the water. The new mixture cannot be separated into its original halves, signifying a lifelong, irreversible bond.
Rose Ceremony: This is a simple unity ceremony where the bride and groom exchange roses.Other variations include the families exchanging roses, or even the bride and groom making a bouquet together using two different types of flowers- one for each of them.
Planting: A couple with at least one green thumb can plant seeds or a sapling. Its growth would be a reflection of their love and lives together.
Love Letter/Wine Box Ceremony: Prior to the wedding, you gather a strong wooden wine box, a bottle of wine and two glasses. Then, also before the ceremony, you both sit down separately and write love notes to each other, explaining your feelings on the eve of yourwedding day. Each letter then gets sealed in its own envelope. You do not read your beau’s letter.
At some point during the ceremony, your officiant explains the process, and the two of you seal/close the box.
You don’t open the box until your 10th anniversary (or really whatever anniversary you choose. Either way, on the day that you open the box, you both read the letters and drink the wine, remembering how you both felt just days before your wedding day.
As you can see, the ideas are really limitless! Get creative and don’t let traditional equal boring! Make your ceremony as unique as the both of you and you will have memories that will last a lifetime!
It seems that when a discussion comes up between brides and grooms one of the most common phrases is “How much is it going to cost for the…… (fill in the blank with your vendor and/or wedding option of choice)”? I believe most couples go into planning their wedding with what they feel is a realistic budget and idea of what they want and need for a successful and joyful event. Once you start the actual planning process it seems that budget gets quickly washed out to sea.
This is why it is so important and helpful when looking for a wedding and/or reception venue to work with a place that has cared enough about their brides and grooms to put together packages with as many inclusions as possible – negotiating with their preferred vendors to get not only the best prices for their couples, but also putting together packages to save time and stress for the couple. This is something we have worked diligently to do at Bon Appetit Restaurant.
Our Special Events Coordinators know how important this day is, and the packages they have put together save the bride and groom an average of 30% off of A-La-Carte prices for things that they need and want such as butler passed hors d’oeuvres , bar packages, wedding cake, linens and valet parking just to name a few. (You can check out Bon Appetit Wedding packages by clicking here.) Having a professional coordinator who can help manage these things and having one all-inclusive package price to figure out your bottom line is a huge relief for most couples. No more managing payments to a dozen different vendors for a dozen different services. Almost everything you need is figured into the package price and that means you are paying one location for many vendors and Bon Appetit will take care of the details. Whew! Now you can move on to more important things … like planning that honeymoon!!!
Contact us today to set up a time for a personal tour of our banquet rooms and to go over the special details of your event. Your expectations are important to us and we would love to help you create beautiful wedding memories.
It seems that I run across a lot of brides who are frustrated and/or confused on planning their ceremonies. They seem to feel that the Ceremony and Reception are tied together as tight as the knot they are about to tie themselves! They ARE two different aspects of your wedding day and can be planned and treated differently depending on your preferences.
Some bride’s dream of a small, intimate ceremony on the beach or in a romantic chapel. The problem is the ceremony location is best suited to seat about 50 guests and the guest list is running around 150 to 200 people! There are also those bride’s and grooms that simply have stage fright, and the thought of standing in front of a hundred or so people reciting some of the most important words they will ever say to their beloved sets them into immediate panic! Don’t worry. There is a way to have it all.
If you want to keep your ceremony small with only your nearest and dearest family and friends followed by a larger reception, it can be done. They key is in the invitations you send. Your main invitation should have your reception information as the main attraction. It could read something along the lines of:
Ms. Jane Bride & Mr. John Groom will be married in a private ceremony on (insert wedding date of your choice).
They invite you to join them for the celebration following at
(Reception Location, Reception Time and any other Reception information you would like to address such as valet parking, cocktail hour, etc..)
The guests that you would like to invite to your ceremony will receive an additional small “ceremony card” in their invitation with the details of the ceremony and your request to have them join you to witness your union.
This is appropriate from an etiquette standpoint. All guests receive the same invitation, and nobody seems to question your desire for a private ceremony.
This could also save you money on your ceremony site as you don’t need to accommodate as many people for seating and decorations can also be kept at a minimum. This allows you to consider many different ceremony venues as well, like that lovely gazebo in the park or that perfect beach location. See? You can have everything you want!
So now that I have played dress-up in bridal boutiques, tasted treats and sweets, sipped rose with a sommelier, and picked the perfect peonies for my bouquet. And confirmed the ceremony site, reception location, and first song? Check, check, and check. But even though I feel I have the details down, there is still one part of the planning that requires more a bit more attention. The seating chart!
To help me on my way, I have made a storage box to help organize incoming R.S.V.P. cards and made a checklist which includes the invitees’ names, plus spaces to fill in their replies and any comments. So now that I am organized I need to think about those last minute details.
What do I do if a couple of friends show up with dates even though they weren’t invited? What if they bring their children? What can be done about the crashers? The Banquet Sales Manager has assured me that they will prepare enough for the unexpected additions to our party. So we can welcome the last minute guests to our reception with open arms.
As far as where everyone will sit, I have worked out a flexible seating chart. I had to take into consideration the wedding party, the families and the very good circle of friends. At first I wanted to have the bridal party sit with us to show them how much we appreciate all they’ve done. Then I started to think about the bridal parties significant others and where to seat them….
In traditional etiquette, it’s absolutely acceptable to split someone from their date. But, allowing your bridal party to dine with their dates is a foolproof way to keep them happy and to keep the bash lively. I saw somewhere that occasionally Brides & Grooms will opt to seat the best man and his date and the maid of honor and her date with the bride and groom at the head table and sprinkle the rest of the bridal party at tables around the room to be “ambassadors”. We have decided to have a sweetheart table for the two of us and have the bridal party sit between two or three other tables.
As for the rest of the guests, I have started my flexible seating chart. We are doing a buffet style dinner, so place cards are not required for each guest, but I am working on escort cards and a table chart for the lobby entry. Escort cards will simply reflect the table number each guest is assigned to, but then give them the freedom to choose who they sit next to at the table. Another benefit in designing a seating chart is that it allows me to separate people/family members who may have friction — without anyone being the wiser.
So I didn’t have to think about this, but I did read about a few considerations for the guest list and rsvp’s that I wanted to pass along to anyone who is planning a party/wedding/special event. Here is what I found from a few wedding sites: If many of your friends have kids, and you’re determined to have a grown-up event, be proactive & take charge. Don’t mention children’s names on the invitation. You invitation card could read “Children are welcome to the ceremony. During the reception we have arranged a children’s’ hospitality suite”. You can also talk with your guests in advance - If you know them well enough to invite them, most likely you know them well enough to give them a call. You can also suggest babysitting services in the area if it’s a destination wedding.
So I hope some of this info comes in useful to any other brides out there. At two weeks to go, the thing I learned so far is no matter what, have fun – this is your Wedding!
Only 1 more week to go!
Belle (bride to be)