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Planning Tips: Behind the Bar

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Planning Tips: Behind the Bar

Let's talk about booze! Most people love a drink... or 6 every now and then!  But bar service can be an overwhelming topic for many of our couples. How much should they provide? What sort of drinks do they need to offer? Do they need a signature drink? The questions go on and on... So we thought it would be a great idea to help break it down for you, so there is no need to stress.

 Photography: The Nickersons  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

Photography: The Nickersons  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

What to Offer?
A lot of the time what you want to offer to your guests depends on where you are having the wedding and how much you can afford. If it is an outdoor tented wedding for example, we tend to err on the side of simplicity. No need to offer "apple martini's with a twist on the rocks" in that situation (or any situation really!).  It is absolutely acceptable to only offer beer and wine to your guests if you want to keep it simple. They should be happy to have an open bar anyway! Offering one or two signature drinks is also a great choice if you want to offer spirits in a more cost-effective way.  Remember that you are welcome to completely customize your bar service to suit your yourselves, your venue, and your guests. Most venues are happy to be flexible to your level of bar service as well, whether you want top shelf or just beer and wine. 

 Photography: Erich McVey  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

Photography: Erich McVey  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

How Much?
We find that it is super helpful to think of your bar service in zones: Cocktail reception, Dinner, and Post-dinner Party, are the 3 most common. You can offer different levels of bar service for each, with the most important thing being to make sure that whatever you are offering, is clear to your guests.   A typical wedding would expect approximately 6 drinks per person throughout the celebration, with 2 drinks per guest per zone.  So for example, Cocktail hour you could offer a glass of passed champagne and the rest of your portions would be split between beer and wine. Dinner is often wine service at the tables, and then the Post-dinner Party could be some more wine, beer, and add spirits if you so choose.

 Photography: Ameris  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

Photography: Ameris  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

 Photography: Ameris |  Planning: French Kiss Events

Photography: Ameris |  Planning: French Kiss Events

To calculate the amount you need you should remember:
- 750 mL bottle of wine = 5 glasses
- 750 mL bottle of champagne = 6 flutes
- 750 mL bottle of spirits = 17 drinks
- 1.14 L bottle of spirits = 25 drinks

It is always best to over-purchase your amounts to make sure you don't run out, because you can return any unused/unopened bottles as long as you keep the receipts!

 Photography: Ameris  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

Photography: Ameris  |  Planning: French Kiss Events

 Photography: Ameris

Photography: Ameris

 Photography: Ameris

Photography: Ameris

More Helpful Bar Tips:

  • Use a fancier bottle of wine for your dinner table wines, and a house wine for behind the bar.
  • Purchase a beer keg to save on recycling and get more bang for your buck!
  • Hire your bartender through your caterer to keep everything streamlined. If the bar get's busy then servers can step in and vice versa.
  • No need to put out a tip jar for your bartender, as you will be tipping your service staff through your caterer's service fee already.
  • Ask your venue to notify you when the bar bill reaches a certain amount to avoid any surprises!
  • Offer lots of water and non-alcoholic drinks as well.
  • Keep your guests fed! A late night snack is a great idea to prevent overindulgence and soak up some of that booze.
  • Make sure someone is in charge of bringing the ice, there is nothing worse than warm beer.
  • Don't forget about recycling! Especially if it is an outdoor wedding, make sure there are recycling bins so that nothing gets left behind.
 Photography: Christie Graham |  Planning: French Kiss Events

Photography: Christie Graham |  Planning: French Kiss Events

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Planning Tips: Beyond the Wedding Cake

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Planning Tips: Beyond the Wedding Cake

Dessert.  One of our favourite parts of wedding planning (cake tasting anyone?!).  These days though, there are so many different sweet treat options that you can consider, and many of our couples are opting out of a traditional cake altogether.  We know everyone loves a slice of good old wedding cake, but there is so much more to the wedding dessert world than wedding cake! And if you love cake as much as we do, then there are so many different styles of wedding cakes to consider (head on over to this cake dedicated pinterest board to get inspired!). So today, we wanted to share a few of our favourite cake styles as well as some other dessert trends for you to drool over...

Wedding Cake Trends

Naked Cakes

 Mallory Renee Photography

Mallory Renee Photography

Metallic Cakes

Ombre Cakes

 Photography: Karen Buckle

Photography: Karen Buckle

Drip Cakes

 Photography: Lou O'brien / Cake: Ideas in Icing

Photography: Lou O'brien / Cake: Ideas in Icing

 Photography: Loredana La Rocca / Cake: Ebru's Kitchen

Photography: Loredana La Rocca / Cake: Ebru's Kitchen

Donut Walls
Is there anything more fun? This idea is not only delicious but creates a beautiful backdrop perfect for a photo-op.  

 Krispy Kreme Donuts / Photography: lilelements

Krispy Kreme Donuts / Photography: lilelements

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Milk & Cookies
This is sure to be a crowd pleaser at the end of the night (whether you are a "dunker" or not)!

 Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

 Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

S'more Station
This is perfect for an outdoor west coast wedding! Guaranteed to be a mess, but totally worth it.

 Source: Brides.com Catering: 24 Carrots

Source: Brides.com Catering: 24 Carrots

 Source: Southern Weddings Magazine

Source: Southern Weddings Magazine

Macaron Towers
Not only are they picture perfect, these french delicacies are super tasty and nice and light after a big wedding feast.

 Source: Bodas Y Weddings

Source: Bodas Y Weddings

 Photography: Carey Sheffield

Photography: Carey Sheffield

Ice Cream Bar
Everyone loves ice cream so why not treat your guests to an ice cream station!? Perfect for a hot summer wedding day.

 Source: Style Me Pretty / Photography: Ruth Eileen

Source: Style Me Pretty / Photography: Ruth Eileen

 Source: Brit & Co.

Source: Brit & Co.

"Cheese" Cake
And finally for the couples with more of a savoury tooth.. consider an incredible "cheese" cake that will impress and delight your guests all night.

 Photography: Stephanie Couture

Photography: Stephanie Couture

 Source: Pacificweddings.com

Source: Pacificweddings.com

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Planning Tips: The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation

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Planning Tips: The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation

Spring is here, and that means a lot of couples are knee-deep in wedding invitations ('tis the season, right?!)  Understanding the etiquette around traditional wedding invites can be quite a daunting task, but modern couples can easily customize them to be minimal, extravagant, traditional or however they please! Many of the components in an invitation suite could alternatively be added to a wedding website (our favourites are via Riley & Grey), but for those who love stationery as much as we do, we thought we'd help out by breaking down all the different components that can go into an invitation suite.

 Photo via: Pinterest | Invitations:  Rachel Marvin Creative  | Photography: Kristina Adams Photography

Photo via: Pinterest | Invitations: Rachel Marvin Creative | Photography:Kristina Adams Photography

The Envelope - An obvious staple of the invitation! Typical wedding invitations fit in a standard A7 envelope (fits a 5" x 7" invitation). The guests names and address are written on the front and the return names and address are often on the back flap. You can handwrite on the envelopes, hire a calligrapher, or have them printed in a design of your choosing from sites like Minted.com. Don't forget you can also add a fun envelope liner to integrate design elements into your invitation.  When thinking about how to address the envelopes, here are a few rules you should consider: 

  • List all the names of the guests invited, so that there is no room for misunderstanding.  If you are inviting all the members of a family, "The Smith Family" will work great.  But if just the parents are invited, then you should indicate so, like this: "John and Sally Smith"
  • If you are having a fairly formal wedding, proper titles should be used (Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms. etc.).  Otherwise, it is fairly common to address the guests without their title.
  • Start collecting your addresses asap.  This always takes longer then you think it will.
 Photo via: Pinterest | Source:  La Happy

Photo via: Pinterest | Source: La Happy

The Invite - The most important part! The invitation should include the who-what-when-and-where. It must include your names, the date, and the ceremony time and location.  This is also the perfect place to set the tone for your wedding, and to give your guests a sense of whether your wedding will be formal, casual, off-beat, adventurous (you get the idea...).  There are a lot of rules to wording your invitation, many of which you can find here, but here are some of the most important ones: 

  • Whoever is paying for the wedding should be listed first.  If both sets of parents are contributing, a wonderful way to phrase  the start of the invitation is: "Together with our families".  
  • The Bride's name is traditionally listed first.  For same sex couples, there are no rules as to who should be listed first, so go with whatever feels natural!
  • List the actual start time of the Ceremony.  Some couples are inclined to list an earlier start time, to ensure that nobody is late.  This however can backfire, as most people know that the wedding time on an invitation is the start time, and so they arrive 15 - 30 min's ahead of time.  If you list the time too early, you will have guests arriving an hour before the wedding, which nobody likes. 
  • If you would like your guests to follow a particular dress code, indicate it on the invitation.
  • Do not include any information regarding your registry on the invitation.  This should be communicated to your guests either via your website or on a Details card.

Some couples opt to send electronic invitations, but we always encourage our couples to still send an invitation, even in its simplest form.  It is something physical that they can put on the fridge and be in their face, reminding them that they have to mark the calendar and save the date! 

 Source:  La Happy  | Photography:  The Nickersons

Source: La Happy | Photography: The Nickersons

The Reception Card - The reception card is typically used if the reception is held at a different location than the ceremony. Therefore, it would list the the start time and address of the reception, as well as any additional information your guests will need to know.  If the reception is at the same location as the ceremony, the invite often will include a line that reads "Dinner and dancing to follow" or "Reception to immediately follow", so a reception card would not be necessary.  You can also combine all this information on the main invitation if you prefer.

 Source: Minted.com

Source: Minted.com

The Response Card - Traditionally, this is a card that guests fill out to indicate whether they can or cannot attend your wedding. They can also fill out the details about who will be joining them if they have a plus one, and their meal selection. It is very common these days to ask guests to RSVP online at your wedding website.  Either way, make sure to include a "please respond by" date, and give yourself enough time before the wedding that you can follow up with any guests that have no responded. If you do decide to have a physical Response card that your guests will be mailing back to you, make sure to include a return envelope with your address already written, and astamp to make it easy for your guests!

 Source:  La Happy  | Photography:  The Nickersons

Source: La Happy | Photography: The Nickersons

The Directions Card - If the wedding events are at separate spots,or if the location is hard to find or complicated to get to, a directions card (with or without a map) for out of town guests can be a nice touch. You can also include useful information about the area and the accommodation information.  This is not necessary, but for those couples who just love all things paper, it can be a fun addition to the suite!

 Photo via: Pinterest | Stationery:  Elizabeth Baddeley Design  | Source: Brit + Co.

Photo via: Pinterest | Stationery: Elizabeth Baddeley Design | Source: Brit + Co.

Other - To tie all your beautiful pieces together, there are a lot of was you can do this, so get creative!  A belly band, ribbon, or sting are quite common, and will help make all the paper pieces feel complete.  

 Source:  La Happy

Source: La Happy

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Planning Tips: Perfect First Dances

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Planning Tips: Perfect First Dances

Music.  The soundtrack to your wedding.  It is one of our absolute favourite parts of a wedding, and has the power to instantly change the vibe of any space. There is always a lot of excitement around a couples First Dance song, and we love seeing what our couples come up with, hearing the story behind it, and knowing that it will forever be "their" song!  We decided to share some of our tips for picking out a first dance song, and some of our all-time favourite real FKE couple choices. 

First Dance tips & tricks:

  • Take one of your favourite songs and have it performed acoustically
  • Find a song that both you and your partner love! Think about songs that mean a lot to you both lyrically and melodically.
  • If you are nervous to be hitting the dance floor, make sure to pick a song that isn't too long! Find a song 3 minutes or less, or see if your DJ or band can cut it down for you.
  • Don't think your first dance song has to be slow and sappy. Upbeat songs are just as great!
  • Consider having your first dance before dinner, alongside your grand entrance to the reception. It's a great way to get a picture perfect moment and also get over any nerves.
  • Hire a dance instructor to show you how to properly dance to your tune. We're not talking a perfectly choreographed performance, but instead learning the basics of how to lead and follow (so you can be like Fred & Ginger on the dance floor!)
  • Practice with your wedding shoes on.
  • Make sure your wedding dress bustles so you aren't tripping over extra fabric.
  • Don't be afraid to try something fun and different.  Your guests will love it!

Over the past 6 years of weddings, we have had the privilege of witnessing countless beautiful first dances.  There are a few that stand out though, and still give us chills when we think back to them.  Below are some of our personal favourite first dances from past FKE weddings.  Give the songs a listen, close your eyes, and we promise you'll end up having a huge smile on your face! 

Catherine & Patricio: Sunday Kind of Love by Etta James

 Taylor Roades Photography

Taylor Roades Photography


Brad & Nicole: Cheek to Cheek by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

 Jennifer Ballard Photography

Jennifer Ballard Photography


Lauren & David: A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Louis Armstrong

 Jenna & Tristan Photography

Jenna & Tristan Photography


Mica & Nate: Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You by Lauryn Hill

 The Nickersons Photography

The Nickersons Photography


Barb & Nick: You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne (Acoustic Cover)

 Ameris Photography

Ameris Photography

And just for fun here is our prediction for the #1 first dance song of 2017...

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Cocktail Hour with Cahoots

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Cocktail Hour with Cahoots

 We were so excited when Cahoots reached out to us blah blah

I don't know about you guys, but I love a good cocktail. Nick & I have been serious cocktail lovers for years now, and even ensured that at our own wedding, the cocktails got as much attention as the rest of the decor (proof: here).  So when Cahoots, a "small-batch" simple syrup company based out of Vancouver, got in touch with us, we jumped at the chance to try out their products!  

I love that all of their syrups can be used to instantly elevate a drink, and when used while hosting (either at your home or large scale event), help to avoid all the mess & extra work that is normally involved when mixing drinks. Their site has a ton of fun cocktail recipes, with some of my favourite being the Lavender Gin Sour and the Aged Rum Old Fashioned.

One of the recipes that they sent over to us was the Cahoots Lavender Mojito.  Nothing sounded more refreshing, and so we did the tough task of trying it out....tough day at the office, right?! lol!  And I swear I'm not lying when I say that for this particular round, the drinks were made sans liquor.

Cahoots Lavender Mojito

2oz White Rum
3/4oz Cahoots Lavender
Half Lemon
Handful of Mint
Soda
Crushed Ice

Slice lemon into quarters and muddle in a shaker. Add the remaining ingredients with a small handful of crushed ice and shake gently just to incorporate. Pour ingredients into a double highball glass, fill with crushed ice, top with soda and garnish with a mint bouquet and/or lavender flower.
IMG_7433.JPG

The cocktail itself was incredibly easy to make!  The Lavender Simple Syrup added a lovely light sweetness to the drink, and I completely devoured it (#noregrets).  Such a great way to elevate the average Mojito, and definitely a drink that we will be making regularly around here!  

So often at weddings, couples chose to offer signature drinks, and I honestly love how easy these syrups make that (and the bottles would definitely elevate the styling of the bar! lol!).  Thank you so much Cahoots, for introducing us to your products, and we highly recommend hoping over to their site to see where you can buy some yourself.  

Cheers!

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