Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Wedding Tips - 9 Tips for a Great Wedding Slide Show

Today's tips come from Brides a la mode member, The Music Place, featuring DJ Sticky Boots

Did you know that nearly 80% of all wedding guests are bored out of their minds while watching a wedding slide show? Perhaps you’ve been to a wedding reception where the slide show went on and on and on and on……

The Music Place has compiled 9 proven tips that will help enhance your wedding photo montage. Here they are listed below in no particular order.

1. Keep it Short: The ideal length of a slide show should be no longer than 3 songs or 8 minutes in length. During this time you can generally show 75-100 different pictures. Most guests will have an attention span of 5 minutes top. Anything longer than 8 minutes should be presented as presentation. Longer slide shows will work better if you keep them running in the background. Placing a small plasma screen or digital photo frame by the bar generally works best.

2. Audience: Be sure to know who your intended audience will be. Since you’ll be showing your presentation at a wedding reception it would be a good idea to include pictures of your guests and not just images of you and your husband or wife.

3. Choose Quality Images: When projecting images with a projector you’ll want to make sure you have good quality images. Older images that have to be scanned should be scanned at the highest resolution possible. Anything less and you’ll loose a good chunk of the quality during projection.

4. Trigger a Response: Each photo in your slide show should try to trigger an emotional response. Whether it’s a photo of the groom’s funny haircut in 8thgrade or a photo of a grandmother who is no longer with us, they image should each make your guests happy, laugh or tear up. Now that doesn’t mean each picture has to be a tear-jerker but they should try to invoke an emotion response.

5. Chronological Order: Avoid too much artistic depth or complicated narrative structures. Chronological from birth to present generally works best.

6. Avoid Descriptions: Try to avoid using a lot of text. Dates and places are ok, but ditch the goofy captions. Captions will cause your guests to read and they may miss the actual image you’re trying to present.

7. Add Video Clips: Do you have any home videos sitting around? If possible, try to add a few 15-20 second clips into the show. It’s a great way to spice up your presentation and your guests will also enjoy it.

8. Add Motion: If you’re using PowerPoint to develop your slide show you probably won’t be able to do this, but adding subtle motion to your image can add depth and character to the image. It also brings focus to the important things in the photo. A movie editing program like Sony Vegas or Animoto can do these things for you.

9. TEST! This is definitely the most important tip. Do you remember the days when your math teacher used to struggle with the overhead projector? Don’t create a moment like that at your wedding reception! Be sure to have everything setup and tested before any of your guests arrive.

The Music Place offers the exclusive TextLive Video System to help enhance the traditional photo montage.

TextLive can be used to show your photo/video montage along with real-time text messages from your guests with their congratulations, song requests, advice, and more. After the reception you'll receive the transcript of the messages as a keepsake and be able to text all your participating guests with a thank you message.

Package Includes:

 Set-up / Tear-down and monitoring throughout the event

 state-of-the-art digital projector

 texting software

 laptop

 FREE custom design of the display with your picture(s) and color(s)

Available with any wedding package or as a stand-alone option without entertainment. Call The Music Place at 574.533.3992 or visit for more information.  Mention Brides a la mode when you call and The Music Place will take $100 of this package!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Fun Find - How Puzzling!

Looking for a fun favor for your bridal shower or wedding?

 How about a custom-made crossword puzzle!
{Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings}

There are several on-line sites that let you generate your own puzzle; you type in the words and clues and the site will generate a crossword puzzle for you.  I used this site to create a generic wedding puzzle.  For your wedding, you could include clues specific to the couple -- favorite places, unique facts, schools, etc.

Want to see what a do-it-yourself crossword looks like?  Click here to download the puzzle I created.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wednesday Wedding Tips - 5 Catering Trends for your reception

Today's tips come from Carrie Rogers, owner of Chic Eats Catering

Wedding receptions are often a sit-down meal with a portioned entrĂ©e, starch and vegetable beside it. Or a buffet with a carving station and an array of salads and sides. But ideas in what a wedding reception "should be" are changing.  Today's brides and grooms are more involved in the menu planning than ever thanks in large part to information available on the internet and TV networks like the Style Channel and the Food Network.
Here are the 5 top reception food trends I am seeing:

1. Multicultural – Bringing together diverse histories, ethnic backgrounds, & travels.

2. Swanky Cocktail Receptions – this type of reception includes action stations, tapas selection (small plates) & butler passed appetizers. A cocktail reception is not a new idea, but it has come back into focus a little more because of the economy.

3. Miniature Foods – Mini cheeseburgers, mini chili dogs, mini cones of seasoned French fries, & soup shooters served in shot glasses , mini ice cream cones or shakes“are quite the rage right now” All of the food is recognizable with a twist, but makes it fun and exciting for wedding guests.

4. Healthier Eating & Organic – Keeping the food as local as possible – offering your guests lighter and healthier options.

5. Comfort Food – Creating comfort foods, with a chic twist. Items like macaroni and cheese but made with gruyere and fontina cheese w/truffle oil, baked ziti w/sundried tomatoes and pancetta, mini meatloafs, wasabi mashed potatoes. Your guests will clean their plates.

Just as with all of the other elements of a customized wedding, reception menus reflect the bride and groom’s personal style and that is what Chic Eats Catering likes to capture. We will discuss the menu trends that excite and entice the modern bride & groom but also realize that it’s no news that everyone is trying to save money. Keeping the budget in mind at all times is not a new trend but is always be reinvented because of the economy.
For more information on planning your wedding reception food, contact Carrie at

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Spotlight - Arlene's Wedding Cakes

Brides a la mode is thrilled to have Arlene's Wedding Cakes as one of our Preferred Wedding Professionals!  If you're not familiar with Arlene, you should be! 

Arlene Hargis and her daughter, Beth Squires make some pretty amazing cakes and wedding treats in their Niles, Michigan bakery.  Check out some of their cake designs by visiting their website

Arlene's also offers a fairly new trend in wedding cakes - the "Dummy" Cake.  As Arlene says, you can  "Have your cake and eat it, too!" Dummy cakes provide the look of Fondant with a sheet cake to give you the taste of buttercream!

With a "Dummy Cake" you can save on cutting fees, delivery and setup charges;  dummy cakes can be picked up days or weeks before the wedding and sheet cakes can be picked up two days before the wedding.

Give Arlene a call at at (269) 683-3761 or email for more info!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday Fun Find - Flip Flops to Flip Over

Are you looking for a fun sandal to wear at your beach wedding?  Or maybe something for you and your bridal party to change into for dancing at the reception.  Check out these darling sandals from Oka b

This style, called "the Madison" comes with 4 interchangeable ribbons, including "just married" and"i do".  How FUN!

If you'd like something a little more "formal" in a flip flop, then rhinestone or pearl studded  might be for you:

Or, if you're looking for something a bit sweet and romantic, try "the Juliet", with a beautiful rose:

Best of all, Michiana brides, these sandals are available just a few doors down from Brides a la mode at Verandah Shoes  -- be sure to stop at Brides a la mode first for your 15% discount coupon!

Sandals not your style?  Maybe you're looking for a more traditional wedding shoe or something a bit funky to show off your style,  be sure to check out Verandah's wide selection of shoes for your wedding, your honeymoon or "just because".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Wedding Tips - Six Tips for a Heavenly Honeymoon!

Today's tips come from Brides a la mode member, Brooklyn Fell of All About Honeymoons & Destination Weddings:

{Zoetry al Paraiso Resort & Spa~ 5-star adult-only resort in Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. VERY nice! These are some of the beach bed palapas on their private beach. All rooms are decorated completely different from the owner's travels all over the world...also draws many celebrities to these properties. Very intimate and secluded, amazing food and wine cellar. Very upscale. }

1.   Plan early and plan ahead for your honeymoon!
One of the worst pieces of advice I read in modern bridal magazines is the proposed time-line for planning your honeymoon...most say to begin planning your trip of a lifetime 4-6 months out from your wedding date. WRONG!!!
Think about it. If you need to plan your wedding day and all the details involved at least a year or more out (which is just one day and a few hours of your life!), then why in the world would you not begin planning your honeymoon and all the details involved with travel...which averages 6 nights and 7 days!?!? It makes no logical sense. By the time you start thinking about your honeymoon, your budget has been eaten up by deposits to wedding vendors, and you don't have much left over.
My advice is to begin planning your honeymoon one year in advance, 9 months in advance at the latest. Flights are released approximately 11 months prior to a departure date, and waiting until the last minute does not gaurantee a good deal, but rather the bottom-of-the-barrel flight times, basically, what is left over from all the other travelers who beat you to the punch.

Resorts, coveted room categories, and excursions also sell do not delay!
Your honeymoon is the first adventure you will embark on together as husband and wife, and making it everything you've always dreamed of is possible with ample planning time.

{One of the lovely garden gazebo's at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Resort in Jamaica. Soooo pretty! Huge property, adult-only. Sandals is a great value!}

2) Make sure you set aside enough money out of your wedding budget for a spectacular honeymoon!
Travel is not cheap. The misleading advertisements you see on tv and the internet are not what the bottom line is. A good, realistic budget for an entire week in the Caribbean or Mexico (the two biggest hot-spots for honeymooners), at a quality all-inclusive resort, round-trip flights from the Midwest, a good room category, 1-2 excursions to fully experience the destination, taxes, gratuities, transfers, and trip insurance will cost you approximately $3,000-4,000. Depending on what matters most to you, this price will fluctuate. Set this money aside and promise yourselves you will not spend it on anything except your honeymoon! Your wedding day will fly by, filled with wonderful memories for sure, but your honeymoon will last for days and days...and the memories you make on your trip of a lifetime will be exceptional and worth every penny you invested. No one ever regrets spending a couple hundred dollars more to receive something of real value...but they do regret not spending it if their trip was below par in expectation!

{One of the wedding gazebos offered at the El Dorado Royale Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Just a gorgeous, romantic, breathtaking location! Adult-only property that we send couple to all the time....amazing place. Love it. Top notch.}

3) Get your!
You can get a passport photo taken at any CVS Pharmacy for less than $10. Then grab your fiance's hand, your photos, and your birth certificates and journey into the downtown post office together, where you'll find a passport office. You'll also need your social security number. Applications for passports cost approximately $100 each, and are valid for 10 years. Make sure, brides-to-be, that you apply for your passport in your maiden name. This name must match exactly what is on your valid driver's license, and since you most likely will be whisked away to a tropical paradise right after becoming a brand new "Mrs.", you won't have time to change your name and all your travel bookings will be in your maiden name. Passport, booking names, and all spellings must match exactly...or you aren't going anywhere! Do not delay in applying as passports take a few weeks up to a few months to process, depending on the season.

{This is the Garden Wedding Gazebo, at night, set up for a real wedding we witnessed in December at the Melia Caribe Tropical Resort & Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Had a couple elope in this very gazebo this January. Just gorgeous!}

 4) Go somewhere neither of you have ever been before!
Nowadays, many couples live together and also have taken vacations together. There are many times when clients tell us, "We want to go here because we've been there and had so much fun and just loved it!" That's wonderful, and we are so happy that you found a fantastic destination together...but this is your honeymoon, not an annual vacation. It's completely different. Let us recommend some amazing destinations you've never been to and open your minds to experiencing somewhere new. The memories you will create together in a new locale on this trip of a lifetime will never compare to anywhere you've ever been together before. The feeling of a honeymoon is entirely different than any other's all about the two of you, beginning your lives together, romance, adventure, being alone, exploring a new destination and culture, and just letting it soak in that you are now your own family unit...a brand new husband and wife team!

5) Consider the All-Inclusive Resort experience, especially Adult-Only!

If you've never been to a quality, high-end, adult-only all-inclusive resort in an exotic international destination....your honeymoon is the perfect trip to do this. You will be blown away by the choices we give you, and your options are endless. There is nothing quite like being pampered and waited on by your private Butler or Concierge, eating as much you want anytime you want at your choice of several restaurants, drinking to your hearts content at the swim-up bar, enjoying daily and nightly entertainment, having many water-sport activities to choose from and more....and all the while your wallet was locked up in your suite safe! There are many benefits from not having to deal with any families, crying babies, screaming toddlers, and teenagers requesting blaring hip-hop music at the pool all day as well. At an adult-only property, it's all about romance, intimacy, and quality service with staff members who understand that you are there to escape the reality of everyday life.

{Stunning, lovely wedding gazebo at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Once you step inside the gazebo, you are overlooking a cliff and nothing but's really awesome. I have a large destination wedding group getting married in this very gazebo this December! So pretty and romantic.}

6) If planning a wedding in your hometown is stressing you out....ELOPE!
About half of our clients come to us, stressed out to the max once they realize what wedding planning is all about. So many brides have broken down and cried with us as they tell us their horror stories and how they just wish they could have "scrapped the entire thing, gotten away and done something else!"


It seems that our society today puts so much emphasis on planning the wedding day, that we have lost our way in remembering what the heck the day is all about in the end.

It's about YOU and YOUR MAN, period.

It's about the amazing moment when you say your vows and commit to loving, cherishing, and taking care of each other for the rest of your lives. It's about all the years that follow where you learn how to fight, resolves your issues, start a family, and grow together, while continuing to love and cherish each other for better or for worse.

Unfortunately, it seems that too many details tend to get in the way of this simple fact, and the "wedding day" starts to become about impressing and pleasing everyone else but you!

This amazing commitment is just as legal, and perhaps even more meaningful when the bride and groom get back to basics, scrap their plans to please everyone else, and book a wedding far far away! Eloping is by far the most romantic and wonderful thing you could ever do, and you can still invite family and friends so as not to offend anyone. However, the feeling of a destination wedding is far less about "the wedding day details", and way more about "love and loved ones".

Every single wedding we've helped plan has been incredibly special, filled with love and de-stressed brides. I've yet to meet a mother or father of the betrothed couple who didn't approve once the idea was laid out on the table. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. Every single parent was overjoyed and very supportive (much to the relief of the bride and groom). Making this announcement to your parents is the first step to de-stressing! Don't be afraid to do'll never regret it.

And, it always helps when they understand it will cost them thousands less to host a destination wedding! ;-)
We are All About Honeymoons &  Destination Weddings, a full service travel agency located in South Bend, Indiana. We specialize in creating the ultimate luxury travel package for you, and go to great lengths to make sure every last detail is taken care of for you! We do not charge service fees, and will be there for you from the beginning planning stages to when you return home from your honeymoon or wedding. We will help you with any guests you may wish to invite for your destination wedding, and will set you up with your on-site wedding coordinator. We are here if anything goes wrong on your trip and will do whatever we can to make it right.

We are the only experts in romance based travel you will ever need to call!

...may the honeymoon never end!

Brooklyn Fell

President & Romance Travel Planner
All About Honeymoons & Destination Weddings ~ South Bend, IN

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Wedding Tips - Choosing your photographer

Today's tips come from Kaity Fuja at OMG Photography

There are a ton of things to think about when planning a wedding and no doubt, your photographer is one of those things. In almost any wedding magazine you can find a list of questions to ask your potential photographer, so I'm going to keep it simple. Here are three things you should definitely be thinking about when meeting with your potential photographer.

1. What is your budget?
This is the most basic thing you need to think about before contacting photographers. There are a ton of photographers out there... each with their own style and pricing list. With the economy the way it is, it's important that any couple getting married really think about how much they want to spend and then stick with it! Knowing how much you want to spend will also prevent you from 'falling in love' with a photographer that is out of your price range resulting in you being disappointed (or overspending) later.

2. Once you have an idea of how much you want to spend, start thinking about what you want.
Do you want an album? Prints? Digital files? How long do you want your photographer to be there on the day of the ceremony? Do you want them to be there while you're getting ready until the last guest leaves? Because photographers can vary so drastically in price, what they offer can vary just as much. You don't need to know it all and your photographer should be more than willing to sit down with you to figure out these details, but having a vague idea of what you want from your photographer is a very good place to start.

3. Are you comfortable with you photographer?
This is the MOST important thing to think about when hiring a photographer. This is the one vendor that you will be spending the majority of your day with... you definitely want to get a long with them and feel as though you can be yourself! One of the best ways to test out the client/ photographer relationship is by doing an engagement session. This way you can see their style and really get a sense of how you and your partner will interact with your photographer on the big day. If an engagement session is out of the budget or you are opting to not take engagement photos, then ask to grab a coffee with your potential photog or at the very least talk with your photographer on the phone.   Just be sure that you feel comfortable with them!

Okay, I know I said I'd stick with three tips, but as Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City once said, "sometimes a girl just needs a half". I've already told you that photographers vary in price and the services they offer... but they can also vary dramatically in their style of photography. Traditional, posed, editorial, photojournalistic... these are just a handful of styles you will run into when looking at photographers. Once you've found a photographer with a portfolio you like, make sure you ask to look at a sample wedding, beginning to end, to make sure that their style matches what you are looking for. After all... this IS one part of your wedding that will last forever.