Monthly Archives: April 2016

7 Ideas that Bring the Outdoors into Your Wedding

outside rennaissance place a beautiful wedding venue for spring weddingWe all have visions of a beautiful outdoor spring wedding with perfect weather (not too cold, not too hot), blooming flowers, sunshine, and comfortable guests beaming at the soon-to-be-married couple. Then reality sets in.  This is the Midwest, people, and spring tends to be INCREDIBLY unpredictable.  One day it’s snowing, the next it’s pouring.  One day is 70, the next 40 degrees.  And that’s not even counting the bugs, mud, and other realities of a Midwestern spring.

It’s enough to make even the most optimistic couple shy away from an outdoor spring Midwestern wedding, but don’t completely brush that vision away.  Instead choose a loft, rustic or elegant wedding venue (depending on your preference) that sets the perfect back drop for your special day (and keeps your guests comfortable).  Once you’ve chosen the setting, bring all those outdoor touches into your wedding venue for a really special indoor and “outdoor” wedding.

Natural centerpieces

spring wedding idea: baby breath arrangements for tablesDon’t understate your love of the outdoors in your wedding decor.  Use centerpieces with natural touches that really make a statement.  Think flowers, baby’s breath, branches…anything natural that gives your guests the natural feel—and fits with your wedding venue.  You don’t want to have centerpieces that have a rustic feel in an elegant wedding hall.  If you need ideas that fit with your big day, ask your venue staff or florist for recommendations.

Floral back drop

A free-standing wall of flowers makes a BIG statement.  Use the back drop to accent your buffet table or in your ceremony.  Make sure that the back drop is anchored and doesn’t damage your wedding venue, which could incur extra charges later.

Go birch or go home

birch containers for an outdoor feeling weddingBirch bark containers and accents are one of our favorite new natural touches, and they look fantastic no matter what wedding venue you choose.  Ask vendors about using them in the décor—and even in your food presentation for a comprehensive natural feel.


Make your wedding day feel like a garden, even when the weather won’t cooperate.  Consider floral or sculpted topiaries for a beautiful, and elegant feeling, wedding décor throughout your wedding hall.  Add topiaries to your front porch (if your venue has one), in your entryway, around your ceremony aisle, and in other strategic places for a comprehensive garden look.

Flower petals

flower petals on cake table: spring wedding idea that bring the outdoors inThere are so many different ways you can use flower petals: scattered across the tables, on your runner as you walk down the aisle, floating or submerged centerpieces…the sky’s the limit.  Flower petals are a perfect, and natural way to bring the outdoors in.  With the right idea, you can give your wedding a natural feel, romantic, and soft feel that a blooming flower can’t.


Get those pictures of glittery Christmas garland out of your head.  Instead picture soft floral garland draped around the tables or across a balcony.

Floral (and green) hairpieces

floral bouquet on table with sparkling back drop: outdoor touch for spring weddingFor a true outdoor feel, don’t just incorporate flowers and greenery into your décor.  Go over and above with floral or green hairpieces that coordinate with your bouquets and décor.  Floral crowns, clips, and hairpieces can accent the bride’s and attendants’ dresses, while enhancing the feel of having a wonderful spring wedding.

wedding venue with outdoor touchesDon’t underestimate the importance of a wedding venue that creates a beautiful setting for your outdoor touches.  No matter how many beautiful décor pieces you add, your wedding venue sets the atmosphere—and takes care of your guests needs (i.e. parking, accessibility, comfort, etc.)  If you have a particular decor vendor in mind, choose a wedding venue with an open vendor policy so you can use that vendor.  For more ideas, ask your wedding venue about ideas they’ve seen in the past or locations in the wedding hall where you can add more outdoor touches.  They know their wedding venue, and can give you the insight you need to make your indoor wedding feel like the outdoor spring event you’ve always pictured.

10 Tips for an AWESOME Wedding Reception

bride and groom dancing at awesome wedding receptionDon’t let your wedding planning stop at the end of the wedding ceremony.  From your wedding dinner to the last minute of your wedding reception, there are steps you can take to take your wedding reception to the next level—for you and your guests.

Select a wedding venue that fits everyone—comfortably.

The term “sardines”—as in “we’re crammed in here like sardines”—should not be used at your wedding, unless to describe delicious appetizers.  When searching for a wedding reception venue, ask your prospective venues about the amount of guests they can hold comfortably—as well as these other questions that can help you find the perfect wedding venue.

Don’t make your guests pay an arm and leg for parking.

If you want to be a gracious host, don’t make your guests worry about finding parking or paying a lot for parking.  Select a wedding venue with free parking.  If you do hold your wedding reception at a location with limited parking, or there is a fee for parking, include the information and parking information in your invitations.

Roll out the red carpet for your guests.

place cards to welcome wedding guestsSet the scene for your wedding reception with welcoming touches for your guests (we’ve suggested a few in our recent post).  Start by giving your guests all the information they need on your invitations or wedding website, and continue with decorations, signs, and gifts as they enter your wedding venue.

Create the “awe” in awesome.

From your décor to your first dance, add unexpected surprises throughout your wedding reception.  A change in uplighting as the night goes on, a choreographed first dance, an unexpected entertainment act, a fun transition after a meaningful dance that gets everyone out on the floor—it all adds up to a fun night that keeps your guests on their toes.  Pick surprises that are uniquely you!

Plan a fun (and flexible) time line.

No one likes to be kept waiting, including your wedding guests.  Plan out your wedding reception so the events keep moving, such as from the dinner to cake cutting to dance.  If you are holding your wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, choose a venue that can host both seamlessly so your guests don’t have to wait for tear down and set up.

Keep the toasts and speeches to a minimum (or at least minimal time).

We all love to hear from the maid-of-honor, father-of-the-bride, best man and….but don’t let the list of your toasters get too long—and ask them to keep their speech length to a minimum.  You don’t want to tax your guests’ patience, or interrupt their good time, because of endless speeches.

Plan entertainment for your youngest guests.

wedding venue with centerpiece lights and guests at wedding receptionKids need to be entertained too, so make sure you include them in your wedding planning.  Coloring books, bubbles, children entertainers, face painters…the sky’s the limit when it comes to options to keep your youngest guests amused (and make their parents very grateful).

Entertain, entertain, entertain.

DJs, bands, photo booths, interactive food tables…the options for wedding reception entertainment are endless.  Seize every opportunity to entertain your guests, but don’t overdo it.  Just have fun!

Make sure the food doesn’t stop at dinner.

If you want your guests to keep going all night, fuel them up with appetizers and small meals throughout your wedding reception.   Discuss your options with your caterer during wedding planning; many caterers offer dishes specifically for later courses.

Don’t be afraid to lean on experience.

To capitalize on best-use practices and ask for wedding reception ideas, choose a wedding venue with a wedding planner on staff.  At the very least, ask your wedding venue staff for ideas.  Their suggestions can turn your vision for an awesome wedding reception into an awesome reality.