A Perfect Spring Wedding

Winter is nearly over, and wedding season is upon us! In 2021, Spring runs from Saturday, March 20th, through Sunday, June 20th. And did you know that Sunday, March 21st is National Flower Day? As the COVID vaccine becomes more readily available and infection rates decline, local municipalities are beginning to lift or loosen restrictions on social gatherings. Below we’ll cover New York’s new wedding rule, Spring holidays to avoid, and the top 21 Spring wedding inspirations to bring your 2021 wedding from end-of-winter drab to colorful-flowerful-fab!

On January 29th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that wedding guest lists could be expanded to 150 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity beginning on March 15th. All attending guests are required to receive a negative COVID test result in advance of the wedding. More details about this program are to be announced in the coming days, but this is extremely exciting news for Spring weddings!

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

🌼💐🌸🌺🌹🏵️🌻🌷💮

Colors

1. Bright and Bold Colors

With the bright pops of color that Spring flowers bring, it’s hard to dispute that Winter is over. If you want your Spring event to dazzle, consider vibrant colors paired with colorful linens. The fun vibe is party ready!

Photo Credit: marthastewartweddings.com

2. Dreamy Pastels and Watercolors

Tapping into this year’s Pantone Color of the Year, we have Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104) and Illuminating (PANTONE 13-0647). Basically… gray (silver/pewter) and yellow. This color combination is reminiscent of a bumblebee collecting pollen and is lovely for Spring.

Photo Credit: weddingomania.com

Décor

3. Colorful Glassware and Tablescapes

Some venues include generic and basic dinnerware, flatware, and glassware as part of the package, but not all venues have these items. If you have selected a venue where you need to rent these items anyway, then investigate fun color options. Don’t just select clear glassware because that’s what you’re used to. See if the rental company offers any rentals in your wedding colors. A colored glass can totally transform a table. And if you’re at a venue that provides these tablescape items, ask them if you rent elsewhere if they can reduce the price for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Maybe that cost savings will help to rent the products elsewhere and get exactly the look you want. Alternatively, you can price out rentals, and it may be cheaper to buy a full set that you get to keep after.

Photo Credit: Brides.com

4. Garden Chairs

A cross back (or X-back) chair will have a more outdoorsy garden vibe over the ever-popular chiavari chair which exudes a more elegant and formal affair.

Photo Credit: blossomfurnishings.com

Extras

5. Floral Confetti

Many venues don’t allow confetti unless it’s environmentally friendly or a compostable product. I’ve seen Fall and Winter weddings use colorful leaves and heart-shaped hole punchers to create compostable confetti. In the Spring, it’s all about flower petals. Consider using fresh or dried petals. If dried, you can DIY the project far in advance of your wedding day. If fresh, consider requesting your florist deliver them with the rest of the florals fresh on wedding day. Pile them into paper cones. Hand them out before the ceremony begins. And viola! A photo-worthy ceremony exit.

Photo Credit: vipsell.xyz

6. Floral Pet Leash and Collar

As a pet parent myself, I couldn’t imagine our special day without our sweet rescue dog. We purchased some white spray roses, succulents, floral tape and wire, and we DIY’ed a floral collar that matched the bouquets perfectly. Sure, our florist could have made this for us, but we spent five minutes making it and saved a bundle.

Photo Credit: socialandpersonalweddings.ie

7. Have Umbrellas on Hand

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Though this lush green and floral season is ideal for an outdoor event, it’s also rainy season in most regions of the US. If you’re planning an outdoor affair, then invest in some nice clear umbrellas in case a sun shower rolls through.

Photo Credit: theknot.com

8. Seasonal Favor

I’ve heard recently that couples are ditching wedding favors as they are believed to be an old tradition, and I’m here today to debunk that myth. Wedding favors are absolutely NOT out! That being said, the day of tchotchke trinkets is over. However, guests will always love and appreciate something edible or something alive. For a Spring twist, consider a seasonal local product such as an edible honey or jam. Or “let love grow” with flower seeds or a small potted plant.

Photo Credit: gardeningknowhow.com

Flowers

9. Botanical Braid or Comb

Nothing screams romantic, whimsical, bohemian, and Spring as much as flowers intertwined between locks of hair. This look is beautiful! You could make this a Bride-only look, or the Bride could have a larger more special piece and the Bridesmaids could have just a couple of sprigs laced in.

Photo Credit: brides.com

10. Floral Arch

I’m sure everyone saw the absolutely breathtaking floral arch over the chapel entrance at Princess Beatrice’s wedding this past July. I mean, how truly marvelous and over-the-top was that? That’s not your average wedding floral statement piece. It can be quite expensive to have such a lush and grand display. Though a floral arch is pricey, consider a piece that can be used during the ceremony, then relocated to the reception and placed prominently behind the sweetheart table. Or relocate it to the reception and allow guests to utilize the arch as a photo opportunity. Don’t let the beauty (and money) go to waste.

Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

11. Floral Wall

Flower and greenery walls are another great floral statement piece that will wow guests. You could allow the wall to serve a purpose by displaying place cards, then when all guests have removed their name and table assignment, the wall could serve as a photo backdrop for the remainder of the evening.

Photo Credit: brightlyeverafter.com

12. Flower Chandelier Installation

My favorite floral statement piece is a flower chandelier installation which looks like flowers are growing right out of the ceiling! Not every venue has the ability to hang elements from the ceiling, so you will need to speak to your venue if you love this look. If you can’t hang anything off the ceiling, then there are ways to bring in structures and hang florals off of that. I cannot stress enough that this is NOT A DIY PROJECT! These installations require hours of time to build on event day, and most florists are not capable. You’ll likely need to hire a flower designer for this type of job. A flower designer is an artist that uses plant materials and flowers as their canvas to create true one-of-a-kind floral pieces.

Photo Credit: agardenpartyllc.com

13. Fresh Produce in Florals

In-season fruits and vegetables are a clever way to bring design on a dime to flower arrangements. Many exotic flowers come from overseas, making them costly to ship (raising the price per stem), but fresh local produce is crazy cheap! I am in love with citrus floral arrangements, but you could truly use any fruit or vegetable. Consider what your wedding colors are and then what produce would fit in with the palette.

Photo Credit: deavita.net

14. Wildflowers

For a super enchanted rustic boho vibe, wildflowers are where it’s at. I think there is a misconception that wildflowers will be cheap. Especially if you chose a florist that doesn’t usually source wildflowers, they may find it challenging to find you a deal on the non-popular varieties. However, if you happen to have a wildflower garden, you could save a bundle by using your own. Also, grocery stores like The Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s sell beautiful flower bundles that you can add in to supplement what you have.

Photo Credit: greenweddingshoes.com

Food

15. Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are a fun way to bring a little bit of Spring into every aspect of your wedding. Ask your caterer or baker if they know if any edible flowers that could be added to appetizers, signature drinks, deserts, or even the cake.

Photo Credit: weddingchicks.com

16. Elderflower Signature Drink

A few years ago, I attended a wine and food event and tasted elderflower liquor and really enjoyed it. The flavor isn’t a strong floral taste, but it has a light sweet floral taste that compliments many drinks. There are plenty of recipes that can be served as a signature drink at a wedding.

Photo Credit: craftginclub.co.uk

17. Floral Wedding Cake

Fresh flowers on wedding cakes are a cost-effective way to save on the intricate buttercream and fondant work. You can opt for a more basic buttercream, and then on wedding day have your florist add in fresh flowers that match your bouquet.

Photo Credit: weddingwire.com

Pattern Design

18. Floral Pattern Bridesmaid Dresses

Though solid color bridesmaid dresses are the norm, floral pattern dresses are very in right now. And nothing says garden more than a floral dress. Several prominent bridesmaid dress companies have begun offering patterned dresses, and it’s such a great look. Not to mention, a patterned dress is more likely to be reworn by a bridesmaid at a later occasion.

Photo Credit: greenweddingshoes.com

19. Floral Pattern Invitations

The invite sets the stage for what your wedding vibe will be. If you’re having a black-tie affair or a backyard bash, the invite should tell guests that without even using words. Consider options for paper choice, pattern, colors, and font. In just one example of the wide variety of invitation options, Minted.com offers 515 botanical specific wedding invitations. Good luck narrowing it down to just one!

Photo Credit: weddingchicks.com

Space

20. Orangery, Conservatory, Glasshouse

The most perfect Spring garden wedding venue is an orangery, conservatory, or glasshouse. You’ll most likely find a venue like this at a botanic garden, large park, or private estate. The bright glass environment will allow you to feel at one with nature while fully protected from the elements. An added bonus is that some of these structures may serve as active greenhouses so you can likely save on your flower budget as you’ll have built in greenery and florals.

Photo Credit: jjpixxphotobooth.com (The Palm House at Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

21. Tented Outdoor Garden Reception

Though being outside in the garden may be your dream wedding, I would urge you to have a backup plan in place. Yes, it’s an added fee to rent a large tent, but the peace of mind that you’ll have as you coast through wedding week will be worth it. Inclement weather is something you can’t control, but renting a tent is. If the weather is gorgeous that day, leave the sides open and use the tent as a shaded canopy. Guests can float in and out of the tent, and it won’t impede upon the garden view. And if it just so happens to be raining cats and dogs, then attach the sides of the tent to protect your guests from the elements. You can still dance the night away barefoot in the grass if you want! You’ll be dry and thanking your lucky stars you rented that tent!

Photo Credit: todaysbride.com

Bonus Ideas

Spring Holidays

Below I’ve outlined Spring holidays to keep in mind when scheduling your nuptials. These weekends could cause some potential hiccups. For example, on a Memorial Day weekend wedding, you and your guests might encounter upcharges for wedding fees, flights, and accommodations. Also consider the school Spring break schedule in both the area where your wedding will take place and where your guests may be traveling from (if that’s a different city). If your wedding is the same weekend as Spring break, then flights may also be higher in price.

  • Palm Sunday – Typically in March or April (Sunday, March 28, 2021)
  • Easter – Typically in March or April (Sunday, April 4, 2021)
  • Passover – Typically in March or April (Saturday, March 27 – Sunday, April 4, 2021)
  • Ramadan – Varies (Monday, April 12 – Wednesday, May 12, 2021)
  • Mother’s Day – Always the second Sunday in May (Sunday, May 9, 2021)
  • Memorial Day – Always the last Monday in May (Monday, May 31, 2021)
  • Father’s Day – Always the third Sunday in June (Sunday, June 20, 2021)

🌼💐🌸🌺🌹🏵️🌻🌷💮

Whether your special day is this Spring or next, I hope that the 21 tips above inspired you to plan your perfect Spring wedding!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

10 Ways to Have a Safe Event During COVID

Event safety is the most important thing in this nearly post-COVID *fingers crossed* world. As we progress into 2021 and the COVID vaccine becomes more accessible, it’s important to discuss how event hosts can cover their bases to provide guests with the safest, most enjoyable event possible. Whether you’re hosting a birthday party, conference, or wedding, all 10 tips below will ensure that you’re on the right track and thinking about every facet of event safety.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

🤧🧼💉🤒🌡🔬🦠😷

1. Follow the CDC/State/Local Restrictions

Firstly, and likely the most important, is that the guidelines from the CDC, your state, and your local municipality are followed. The only way to ensure a safe COVID event is to follow the rules. Sure, restrictions on event capacity can definitely put a damper on plans. But think of it like this: Those restrictions were decided upon by disease experts and doctors who have all the facts.

Following the rules lessens the liability risk, and not just for you, as the host, but also for the venue and the vendors at your event. I spoke to a lawyer recently who explained that only the host of the party signs the event contract. For example, the wedding couple would sign the contract with a venue and wedding planner. When a guest is attending your event, they understand that it’s a risk to attend, but they also assume that you are following all the rules. In the unfortunate scenario where someone does contract COVID and passes away, then close family members may want to sue whomever caused the unsafe conditions. Being that the guest of the wedding did not sign the contract with the venue or wedding planner, those vendors are not covered from being sued by the unhappy party.

Most venues and event vendors are already looking at the available guidance and requesting that events reduce size to fit within the limits. If you’re in the predicament of reducing your guest count, then understand that your guests know that it’s nothing personal. Of course, you wanted them there, as you invited them in the first place. Just explain that the occupancy is no longer in your hands. Perhaps offer them the ability to livestream the ceremony portion so they can still feel a part of your day. We wrote a blog post about just this solution here: How to Livestream Your Wedding Amid Coronavirus Social Distancing

Some states or local municipalities have lesser restrictions than the CDC guidelines. I would suggest that you stick to the strictest of the available guidance. Again, an expert came up with that guidance, and even though it would be nice to have as big an event as possible, I’m sure you don’t want to be the reason for a super-spreader event.

2. Promote the Vaccine

As the vaccine becomes more readily available, encourage eligible family and friends to get vaccinated. Right now, it’s still new, so you can’t successfully enforce that everyone be vaccinated to attend your event. However, as the vaccine opens to the general public, encouraging your guests to receive it can’t hurt. That’s just one more additional layer of safety for your event and loved ones.

Consider assisting the older generation who are not as tech-savvy. Most states are requiring online registration and appointments for the COVID vaccine. Navigating the digital platforms may be impossible for those without computers or internet. Getting the vaccine just might be the deciding factor on Grandma or Grandpa attending your event.

Note that the vaccines, no matter the brand, do not protect you 100% against COVID. It is imperative that even if guests are receiving shots, they still wear a mask and follow the rest of the rules at your event.

3. Offer Testing On-Site

At an additional cost to the event host, you could offer guests a rapid test upon arrival to the event. If you plan to hire a medical company for this service, then there are several factors to consider:

  • Space – On-site testing requires additional socially-distanced non-event space. Consider zones where guests wait to be tested, receive their test, and then wait for results. In addition to that, you’ll need a space where the medical team run swabs through rapid testing machines.
  • Timing – When considering the timeline for your event, you will require additional time added to the schedule if testing is taking place on site. If a ceremony begins at 5:00pm sharp, then you can ask your private medical provider how long it would take for 50 tests to be completed by 4:45pm. They’ll be able to provide you with an idea of the necessary start time. Ensure guests are aware that testing is taking place between X o’clock pm and Y o’clock pm. Also let them know that early arrival is strongly encouraged, as there is no guarantee that they will see the ceremony if they arrive late.
  • Testing Policy – You’ll want to decide on a testing policy and inform your guests of this before they arrive to your event. When a guest is cleared with a negative test, at that point they can enter the event site. However, if a guest tests positive, there are likely a few policies you could go with.
    • Do you turn away the singular guest and supply them with ceremony livestream details?
    • Do you turn away the entire household even if only one person tested positive? This is a very difficult decision. But it is possible that the rest of the household has been exposed, and their results are false negatives because the exposure is too new.
    • Do you allow the positive-tested guest to stay in the testing area for a retest? Sometimes the rapid tests are not 100% accurate, and it could have been a false positive.
  • Budget – Individual rapid tests on-site at your event could cost a pretty penny. I recently heard of an event host paying upwards of $150 per test. If offering testing on-site is important to you but budget is a concern, then consider cuts somewhere else. You could easily cut welcome bags at hotels, party favors, candy bar (which is discouraged during COVID anyway), or professional transportation services. These, among others, are small elements that no one would really miss. Consider the peace of mind that a negative test will provide them as their gift.

4. Test on the Morning of the Event

Alternatively, if testing on-site is just out of the cards due to budget, space, or another reason, then you could require guests to produce their own COVID test results. It would cost nearly nothing for you and in many cases your guests either, as many states are offering tests for free or covered under health insurance. It would take a minimal amount of time from your guests’ day, as most rapid test results are available in 15 minutes.

Guests would be directed to receive a rapid COVID test on the morning of the event. Result paperwork should be dated with the event date to ensure the results are new. Instruct guests to bring their negative test results with them to the party. They will present the paperwork to gain entrance. Just as you would assign an Usher, you could assign someone from your bridal party to manage the check-in process. Guests who received a positive COVID test should be instructed to stay home and watch the ceremony on your livestream feed.

Photo Credit: hackensackmeridianhealth.org

This also prevents the COVID-positive guest from being in further contact with any additional party guests. Keep in mind that the above-mentioned testing policy should still be in place, whether you offer the test or the test is guest-provided. As long as the testing policy is transparent to the guest and on your event website, ticket, or with the invite, then guests should be understanding of your wishes.

5. Verify Temperature Upon Arrival

Contactless forehead thermometers are readily available online and reasonably cheap. For example, the one pictured below is a best-seller on Amazon.com, 4.5 star rated with over 31,000 reviews, and normally sells for $25.99 (though at the time of writing this post, it’s on sale for $21.62).

Purchase one contactless forehead thermometer, and assign someone from your bridal party to manage the temperature check-in process. As guests arrive, the check-in manager will hold up the thermometer to scan them. If a guest is running a low- or high-grade fever, then you would refer to your chosen testing policy. Anything over 100.4°F is an actual fever.

6. Wear a Mask

As a wedding planner, I encourage all of my couples to require that their guests wear a mask. However, no matter how many times you tell people, there will always be guests who said that they didn’t know and show up sans mask. It’s important to have a small amenity table at the entry to your event that includes disposable masks. I think the black option below will look classy paired with formalwear. As the rule goes…. only the Bride wears white 😊

As the happy wedding couple, you too should be setting an example and wearing a mask. However, it doesn’t have to be a boring black disposable mask. Get creative! After all, it is your party! The set below is made from material with “Bride” and “Groom” stitching (though it’s also available in Bride/Bride and Groom/Groom). There are also masks with clear windows so guests can see your beautiful smile on your joyful wedding day and read your lips during your vows.

7. Sanitize

There are several ways to provide hand sanitizer to guests while at your event. You could purchase one travel-size sanitizer per guest and place it on their ceremony chair. You could also have place cards with name and table number attached to each bottle. This would be theirs to keep and use as they like. The Germ-X pack below is sold in bulk on Amazon.com and would look lovely with a ribbon in the wedding/event colors tied around the neck of each bottle. At around $1.10 per bottle, that’s an affordable and functional party favor.

Alternatively, you could set up communal hand sanitizing stations with these large Germ-X hand sanitizer pumps from Amazon.com. Consider strategically locating a bottle at the entrance into the ceremony, entrance into the reception, guest book signing, photo booth, bar, etc. Any high-touch zone or entry into a new space would be ideal.

8. Reduce Table Size to Households

Gone are the days of large 60” round banquet tables that seat 10 people from different households. As eating requires you to remove your mask, the safest way to dine during COVID is to have tables spaced far apart, and for each table to only seat one household. The only time during the event that masks are off should be when dining. Other times of the day during ceremony and dancing, it would be fine if guests are in closer contact.

For example, your aunt, uncle, and two cousins that all live under one roof would have a small table for four. If one of those cousins was away at college, but they have had recent exposure to their immediate family, it would still be acceptable to put all four of them at the same table. If you have two friends that are married, they would be at a small two-top. This rule only becomes challenging when you have singletons attending your event. Most parties delegate a table to those that are single, young, and ready to mingle… however, COVID is not the time for that. I would suggest you ask approval from those guests before you seat them alone or in a compromising dining situation with others. Their safety preference should be the most important thing.

9. Implement a Red, Yellow, & Green Safety System

The red, yellow, and green safety system helps alert guests of the comfort preference of other guests. The system is entirely based on the preference of the wearer, and each guest should decide the level of contact they would like to receive at the event. The premise is that this is something the guest visibly wears throughout the night so others can respect their wishes.

I would propose that this system be introduced to guests before they enter the party and be placed at the small entry table with the disposable masks and hand sanitizer. You could have three picture frames to explain the color system, then three bowls of rubber bracelets or glow stick bracelets or stickers for guests to wear. Be sure to have enough of each colored item, in case everyone at your party picks the same color.

  • Green means happy with hugs and handshakes. Maybe a green person has been vaccinated or has no underlying health conditions.
  • Yellow means OK with talking, but don’t get too close. Perhaps a yellow person has an autoimmune disorder or other underlying health condition.
  • Red means you’re keeping your distance and will wave but remain socially distanced from everyone. A red person would be high risk or perhaps elderly.

10. Rethink Food Service

Now onto the final and tastiest part of this post… the food! It’s important to talk to your caterer and see how they are changing their offerings since COVID started. The most important thing is how it’s served. Most caterers are no longer offering help-yourself appetizer stations and dinner buffets. You can certainly still have a dinner buffet, but by allowing servers to man those stations, that saves every guest from touching the serving spoons. This format knocks out the two-sided buffet options which allows guests to serve from both sides of the table and be back at their tables dining faster. Inform the DJ if you are doing a buffet with servers, because it could take more time between announcing up tables.

The safest form of dining service right now is passed hors d’oeuvres and a plated dinner. This allows guests to be more stationary, alleviating closeness in lines, touch points, and cross flow. Additionally, if a passed appetizer experiences a cough or sneeze in close proximity, they can toss the small portion of contaminated food. If your caterer will allow passed hors d’oeuvres and a plated dinner offering, take it!

🤧🧼💉🤒🌡🔬🦠😷

MintyPaperie.com is not a sponsor of this post, but I stumbled upon their website and am simply floored by the variety of “COVID-19 affected event” wedding and event templates. I hope you enjoyed their featured images and punny references in the post above. Check out their website to see more products like these!

And that’s it folks… 10 ways to have a safe event during COVID. Just to recap: follow all the federal/state/city guidelines, recommend the vaccine, offer testing at your event or require guests be tested the day of the event, provide temperature checks, require masks and provide masks for those who don’t bring them, have hand sanitizer everywhere, keep the dining tables household size, allow guests to choose their comfort level with a red/yellow/green color system, and consider alternate food service options. If you can confidently check off all 10 items on our list, then you are on your way to having a safe event! Good luck, happy planning, and stay healthy!

Epic Holiday Charcuterie Boards

Today, I’m bringing you a holiday dining idea that is totally out of the box! Being that we may be having smaller holiday gatherings this year, you might already be rethinking your regular annual menu that could feed an army. Well, look no further!

Start by throwing away everything that you thought you knew about charcuterie (pronounced “shar-coo-tuh-ree”) boards. They are not just appetizers and snacks served with wine at an evening with friends and family anymore—The new charcuterie board can be an appetizer, snack, side dish, main dish, or even dessert! Today, I’m hoping to inspire you with the basics of a charcuterie board, picking alternative food items, and dressing it up and down for any time of day or themed occasion.

In French tradition, charcuterie literally means the art of preparing and presenting cured meats. As an Italian myself, a traditional charcuterie board is one of my absolute favorite meals because it encompasses all my favorite things: delicious breads, meats, and cheeses. Sprinkle in a few fresh and dried fruits, and something pickled, and I could literally eat that kind of meal for the rest of my life and be satisfied (emotionally if not nutritionally haha).

On holidays, my family usually serves antipasto (basically the Italian version of the French charcuterie), and then we’re often nearly too full for the main course holiday dinner. Every year it gets me thinking, “Why are we going crazy cooking the traditional main course? We all enjoy charcuterie the most… why not just expand upon that?”

🧀🥓🥖🍓🍇🥨

Presentation

I feel the most important aspect of charcuterie is the presentation. This is one of the primary reasons you could serve a charcuterie as a holiday meal: the presentation is supposed to be very Instagrammable. It’s taking everyday foods and presenting them in a way that is impressive, photogenic, and holiday-worthy. Just because the phrase is “charcuterie board” doesn’t mean that you have to serve it on a board. You could… but if you didn’t have a large and traditional wooden board, then you could still wow your guests with a large platter, paper, or a whole table or kitchen island.

Once you’ve selected whether you’re using a board, platter, paper, or the whole table, then you need to figure out placement of everything on that base. You’ll likely need some bowls of varying sizes for the wetter food items. I use all white serviceware and everyday dishes in our household, so I have an abundance of crisp white items that match. You could go with all-white, clear, metallics, mix-and-match, or holiday-themed.

Utensils are important when it comes to a charcuterie board. Though it’s finger food, no one wants sticky fingers by the time they are ready to eat. You may need to include some spoons for the dips, a honey dipper, tongs for fruit, knives to cut cheese, etc. But get creative here! I wouldn’t go out and spend a fortune on utensils. Look around to see what you have in the house first, then maybe supplement with a few add-ins if necessary. The food itself should be finger food, so your guests likely won’t need many regular utensils to eat, just to serve themselves. If you do provide one dining utensil, then it could be a regular fork, cocktail fork, or a toothpick.

Placing the food on your board can seem intimidating, but there is no right or wrong way to do it. Just begin placing the largest items, bowls, or staple foods first, and then fill in around that. Layer and build up, until you fill in the gaps.

Credit: Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Finally, to finish off the topic of presentation, I want to introduce you to personalized dining boards with a wine cup holder. If you wanted to go totally extra and over the top, you could purchase each person their own wooden board instead of offering appetizer or dinner plates to eat from. This is perfect for a party atmosphere where everyone is walking around and mingling. Each guest would receive their own board that they can take home at the end of the night. It’s a practical favor. This also works wonderfully for a holiday party, because it’s a built-in gift! And check out the price… Home Depot sells the gorgeous trays shown below. They are made from a sturdy quality acacia wood in a set of four for only $27.11 ($6.75 per person). What a cheap and unique gift!

Sweet or Savory

While we’re thinking outside the box, let’s consider the fact that though traditional French charcuterie is savory meats, that doesn’t mean that a modern take on this type of dining always needs to include meat. If you don’t eat meat or dairy, or if you have other dietary restrictions, you can still enjoy a scrumptious charcuterie without those ingredients.

Your board doesn’t have to be only sweet or only savory, as people often enjoy a mix of the two. Even the traditional meat and cheese board still includes fruits. My suggestion would be to include both sweet and savory, but to also consider textures. It’s important to entice the senses and include soft, hard, mushy, crunchy, smooth, chewy, and lumpy.

Additionally, who decided charcuterie is for evenings only? Why not breakfast charcuterie, lunch charcuterie, and dessert charcuterie? You could also prepare a charcuterie board themed for a game night or family movie night. The possibilities are truly endless.

What to Include

My absolute favorite thing about a charcuterie board is that it’s a bit of a catch-all, and there is something for everyone. Your guests are bound to be wowed by the variety and assortment available. I usually begin by rummaging through my fridge and pantry to see what I have in the house that can work on my board. It helps to know what time of day you’re serving your board, and for what occasion. For example, if I was preparing a breakfast board, I would definitely be looking for different items compared to a Christmas dinner board. Below are some ideas of boards and the types of foods that you could consider including for each one.

Credit: Joshua Weissman

Breakfast – Pastries, muffins, bagels, donuts, croissants, cinnamon rolls, waffles, pancakes, French toast, cheese blintzes, bacon, sausage, smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt cups, syrup, jam, and whipped cream

Lunch – DIY sandwiches, tacos, deli meat, deviled eggs, quiche, cheese, pickles, olives, fresh fruit, spinach artichoke dip, caponata eggplant dip, hummus, pitta bread, and crackers

Dinner – Steak, shrimp, wings, lamb chops, meatballs, warm dips, grilled vegetables, baked potatoes, couscous, tortellini, rice balls, bread, and crackers

Dessert – S’mores, chocolate and strawberries, chocolate fondue, cookies, hot cocoa, and rice krispies treats

Game/Movie Night – Popcorn, soft pretzels, crunchy pretzels, cookies, crackers, chips, dip, cheese, gummy candy, chocolate candy, sour candy, fresh fruit, fried fruit, and nuts

Portion Size

I would suggest serving everything in finger-food-sized portions.

Let’s use breakfast as our first example: If your waffle maker makes humongous waffles, then cut them down to make waffle sticks. Same for French toast. Guests won’t want to fill up on a whole slice of French toast when there is so much variety on the board, so cut them down to stick-size, and then they can try everything.

Now let’s use dinner as an example: You can absolutely serve steak on a charcuterie, but you’ll need to precut it into bite-sized strips. Lamb chops, wings, and shrimp are a great idea because they are already fairly small cuts of meat. Avoid serving food that’s so large that it requires a fork and knife to eat.

The recommended serving size for a meat and cheese platter is 3 ounces per person as an appetizer and 6 ounces per person as a main course. However, I’d suggest you up the ounces by a few per person when it’s a holiday dinner. My reasoning behind that is that sometimes people are busy on holidays mornings/days and don’t have time during the day to eat, or they hold out in anticipation of all the yummy food that’s about to come, so they may be very hungry by the time they arrive for dinner. It’s best to increase to maybe 8-10 ounces per person of protein. Don’t forget that there is much more on the board than meat and cheese, so no one will leave hungry.

🧀🥓🥖🍓🍇🥨

I hope this post today has inspired you to come up with a new offering for the holidays this year. A charcuterie board is extremely fun, a conversation piece, a complete meal full of nutrients and includes loads of variety. It’s time to elevate the appetizers into a proper course of its own.

Happy holidays everyone!

How to Work on Your Wedding To-Do List During COVID-19

Whether you recently postponed your wedding due to COVID-19, or your wedding is several months away, social distancing orders shouldn’t derail your to-do-list. While we’re at home without the daily interruptions of commuting, shopping, or hanging out with family and friends, we have plenty of found time to get our to-do list done! Today, we’ll discuss some creative ways to complete those normally in-person tasks and some benefits to doing them now.

Video Conference Calls: Any in-person meetings you had scheduled with your venue, wedding planner, or other vendors can be changed to video conference calls. This will allow you to continue with the meeting as scheduled, discuss time-sensitive items, and not worry about social distancing orders. Your venue can do a virtual walkthrough of the site, your florist can show you flower options and bouquets, your baker can show you mock-up cake designs. You name it, and it can be achieved through video.

E-sign Contracts: You may have not signed a contract yet, or your wedding professionals may be sending you amended contracts with date changes due to your COVID-19 wedding postponement. Either way, to get those contracts confirmed ASAP, request that your vendor email you the contract. You can either print, sign, and scan to email it back to them, or you can e-sign by pasting in your digital signature and then email it back to them. Likewise, your vendor can do the same and then send you back the final countersigned contract. Presto, you’re confirmed! It’ll take five minutes from your day and one big item will be checked off of your to-do list.

Credit Card Payments: Often, vendors prefer if you can pay for services in cash or check. However, you would probably have to be in-person to pay with these methods, or you would have to mail it to them, which may require a trip to the post office. In order to stay socially distant, ask if you can pay by credit card. Vendors may like this option, because they could receive payment faster. Note that your vendor may have you pay a minimal credit card transaction fee. If paying by credit card, ensure your card has a points system so you can benefit from every transaction. For example, we paid for most of our wedding on our credit card that gave us points to spend on travel. We charged every high-ticket item (venue, DJ, photographer, etc.), and with three points per dollar on hotels, the points added up fast! We ended up using those points towards our incredible six-week honeymoon to five countries around the world (my Amarvelous Honeymoon blog posts can be found here). Pro tip: I highly suggest you pay off your card each month so you never pay interest rates. If you are paying interest, then you aren’t traveling for free.

Plan your Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties: With travel bans still in place, the travel industry is hurting. Hotels, airlines, and cruises are all offering incentives to purchase travel for future dates. If you were originally planning a local hometown day/weekend bachelor celebration, then this is an affordable time to switch things up and book a travel weekend instead. If you were always planning a travel bach-bash, then lucky you, because your rates may now be cheaper! Companies are offering additional incentives upon purchase. For example, some cruise lines will offer free drink packages with your booking, or if you book a group rate with enough people, they may give you a big discount off the top of everyone’s fees, or the bride (or groom) can cruise for free. Side benefit, literally nothing makes me happier than planning vacations. If you are in a slump with these stay-at-home orders, could you think of anything happier than planning a vacation with all your favorite people?

Plan your Honeymoon: Similar to the ideas above with accruing credit card points and leveraging discounted travel rates, this is a fantastic time to begin the honeymoon planning. You may get more bang for your buck booking during COVID-19 if your one-week vacation could potentially be stretched to two weeks for the same price. Take advantage of this. For those who postponed their wedding, already had their honeymoon booked, and now it’s cancelled, you should be reaching out to all hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and excursion companies requesting either a date change, credit, or refund. If you already booked, and the trip is not affected by COVID-19 cancellations, then you can just honeymoon before the wedding! Hubby and I actually had a trip planned for early May that was cancelled. Our airline provided us a full refund, and our cruise line provided us a credit towards a future cruise. Tours and excursions that we booked are also issuing refunds. We are already dreaming of our next vacation. And like I said above, that brings us joy. Don’t let a cancelled honeymoon bum you out—plan the next one bigger and better (or the same but cheaper)!

Online Shopping: Sitting at home, socially distancing, is the perfect time to get in some online shopping! The fantastic news is that since stores don’t have anyone shopping in person, they are offering amazing online deals. You may still need items for your bridal party gifts, parent gifts, fiancé gift, décor, honeymoon… the list could go on forever. If you postponed your wedding, you have the luxury of time. Don’t jump online and purchase everything full-price. Spend some time, peruse the offerings of several stores, and save your money by buying it when it’s on sale. Hubby and I had a long engagement, so when planning my own wedding I was able to use this discount purchasing method. We found incredible discounts on bridal party day-of gifts, hotel welcome bags full of goodies, and all the items for our candy buffet. Without the discounts, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do these extra items. Finding the sales not only allowed us to do them, but to do them all-out.

Online Shop Bridesmaid Outfits: Many dress companies offer online shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Kleinfeld Bridal Party is a favorite of mine, because the brand is trusted and the quality is hands-down the highest. They offer bridesmaid dresses in solids and prints. They also have mother-of-the-bride/groom and flower-girl dresses. Most of their dresses are under $200, plus if you use my discount code: TBSAME you’ll receive 10% off plus free shipping!! For a small fee, they also offer try-on-at-home options. I don’t think you can beat that during COVID-19 social distancing. The video below will explain how to measure at home so you purchase the best sizing needing the fewest alterations.

Online Shop Groom and Groomsmen Outfits: The online shopping doesn’t end with the ladies. For the men, we have Generation Tux as an excellent option for online shopping. I’ve actually written a full blog post on why Generation Tux is so great, which you can find here. For $139, you can have a handsome suit rental that fits like a glove. Plus, if you use my discount code: BSAMARVELOUS you’ll receive free color swatches, 25% off rentals, and free delivery 14 days prior to the event. As an added bonus, if the party has five or more renting, then the groom qualifies for a free rental! At-home-try-ons are also available, and the groom’s is always free.

At-Home Cake Tasting: The first time I saw a COVID-19 pick-up and DIY box was from a pizzeria. Each box contained a ball of dough and containers of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Everything is perfectly portioned and allows the buyer to make a single pizza at home. It was such a creative way for the pizzeria to make business, and it becomes a fun cooking project for adults and children. After that, I saw some bakeries join in and create DIY cupcake and donut decorating boxes. Using the same idea, bakeries include plain cupcakes or donuts, and containers of different frostings and sprinkles. If you have an upcoming cake tasting that is now cancelled due to COVID-19 social distance orders, ask your baker if they would do a similar concept with a pick-up cake tasting box. They would include a slice of each flavor cake, then a small container of each filling and frosting flavor option. Be sure to ask them to label each one so you aren’t guessing what the flavors are. Now that’s a tasty date night in!

Photo Credit: Sprinkles.com

Decide the Seating Chart: The seating chart can be one of the most challenging tasks. There may be a family grudge that prevents you from sitting some folks together, or you could not want to alienate a friend on a table of people they don’t know. Whatever the case may be, this is not an easy job. Your venue will tell you how many people fit on each table (usually around 10), and then it’s your job to split up the party into those groups. Once all RSVPs come in, I highly recommend you begin this daunting task. Table shape and size will dictate how many people can sit comfortably around the table, and the shape and size will be needed to decide on the floor plan. You can’t wait until the last second to do seating arrangements, otherwise your whole floor plan will be decided last minute as well.

Photo Credit: somethingturquoise.com

DJ Song Selections: Something most couples don’t realize is that there is more to do once you have selected your DJ, and your pre-wedding decisions aren’t done once the contract is signed. Your DJ will need a list of music selections. I am not referring to the six-hour playlist for the reception. I am referring to all the sound clips that will play throughout the day. For example, walking down the aisle for parents, bridal party and bride, cocktail hour music, walking into the reception for parents, bridal party, and couple, first dance, parent dance, cutting cake, speeches, final song of the night, etc. There are a bunch of songs you need to hand-select. Create a date night at home with your fiancé where you jam out to your favorite tunes and decide these final music details.

Photographer Picture Selections: Similar to a DJ, your job continues once you sign that photographer contract. You will need to supply your photographer a list of all mandatory photos you want captured throughout the day. Your photographer will use it as a checklist to ensure they are taking all of the photos you envisioned. They still have creative freedom to take the rest of the photos as they want, but ensuring the couple gets their expected photos makes for a happy couple! Don’t just think about getting ready photos with the bridal parties, immediate family portraits, full family portraits, full reception party photo to end the night, etc. Those are important to note, but it’s also important to get super detailed and request photos like “all girls sitting on the bed in hair and makeup prior to getting dressed”, “bride putting on lipstick”, “lay flat detail photos of flowers, invite, and jewelry”, “men showing off their matching socks and cufflinks”, etc. These are the kinds of special detail photos often forgotten about. In order to decide your top list of photos, I suggest perusing Pinterest. There is a lot of wedding photography inspiration to be found on this platform.

Photo Credit: Rebeccayalephotography.com

Break In Your Wedding Shoes: This is a simple one, but if you plan to dance at your wedding and not take off your shoes halfway through the night, then don’t forget to break in your shoes first. Only you and your spouse will know you were walking around your house rocking PJs and gorgeous bedazzled shoes, and your feet will thank you for it!

Finish Up All DIY Projects: It’s important to finish DIY projects early. The weeks leading into the wedding are so stressful. A million little things pop up. The last thing you need on your plate is random DIY projects that you left to the last minute. Often these projects will get dropped because you simply ran out of time, or other things that popped up took priority. If it’s a DIY you really want, complete it early.


As you can see, there are many ways you can keep your to-do-list going during COVID-19 social distance and stay-at-home orders. I hope this has inspired you to get to work and continue planning! Just because your wedding was put on hold, doesn’t mean the planning has to be delayed.

DISCLAIMER: Amarvelous Event is a member of the Kleinfeld Bridal Party Representative Program and Generation Tux Partner Program. By clicking on affiliate links above or utilizing our discount codes, Amarvelous Event may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

How to Postpone Your Wedding or Elope Amid Coronavirus

On Sunday, March 29th, 2020, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be “extending our [social distancing] guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread” of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, Amarvelous Event published a post on How to Livestream Your Wedding Amid Coronavirus Social Distancing. That article highlighted many different platforms to livestream from, as well as some tips and tricks for how to safely go ahead with a marriage during a social distancing order.

However, perhaps livestreaming your nuptials isn’t for you. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing how to postpone your wedding or change to an elopement due to a pandemic.

Full Postponement

Photo Credit: wjtv.com

Coverage and Flexibility: If you’ve been planning your special day and just can’t envision it any other way, then don’t be afraid to pull the plug and go for a full postponement! First, consult with a professional. Call your wedding planner to see if your contracts or wedding insurance cover a scenario such as a pandemic or government-issued executive order. If your venue or vendor contracts have a clause that covers you, then they will likely assist you in finding a new date, and sometimes at no additional cost to you. If your insurance has a clause that covered you, then perhaps a portion of your monies lost can be reimbursed through the insurance company. However, be understanding if the contracts don’t cover you, and be prepared to pay additional fees for any changes made.

Speak With Your Venue: If they are closed for business, then they are most likely allowing all affected couples to select a new postponement wedding date. If this is the case, then have these conversations as soon as possible. Their schedule for 2021 may already have many dates selected, and if you are just one of their many 2020 couples affected by this pandemic, then you are all competing for the few dates available. To put this into perspective, there are only 53 Saturdays available a year, so if the venue already confirmed many 2021 weddings, then you may be limited, and you may not be able to have a Saturday wedding after all. You may need to be flexible and switch to a weekday or Sunday. And if you were interested in a particular date because of the number (such as Sunday 02/21/2021), then those unique dates may also be filling up quickly.

Announcing to Guests: Being that this is a huge change from original plans, you’ll want to give notice of the change as soon as possible. Announce the change to immediate family and bridal party members. It would probably be best to do these over video or voice phone calls to be more personal. Then move on to informing the rest of your wedding guests. You can do this via call, text, email, your wedding website, or social media. Tip: If you make personal phone calls to everyone, it will give you the opportunity to check in on folks and see how they are doing during the virus and social distancing.

Digital Announcements: I know a bride that made a really funny postponement music video with her fiancé that explained the world we live in today, all the stress they are going through, and why they decided to postpone. When they posted it to social media, it nearly went viral. It’s pure gold. So if you or your fiancé have a passion for film, editing, or photography, then you can create a video notice instead of paper. It’ll take some time to conceptualize the film, actually film the clips, and edit, but we have plenty of time on our hands these days. Added bonus is that guests will love it, and it’ll be free versus buying additional paper options.

Paper Invites: You can follow those communications with a formal mailed postponement notice, or just move ahead with sending invites for the newly selected date. Minted has added a brand-new offering on their site specifically for save-the-dates for postponements. They have a full page of nice postponement invite options to choose from that will match the original invites you selected or perhaps already sent out. I have also seen couples send out kitschy COVID-19 postponement cards (followed by a formal second invite). These can be super fun with photos of the couple with masks, Corona beer bottles, or even toilet paper. I am sure you can think of a dozen images that would make your guests giggle upon opening the card. Hey, we’re making lemonade out of lemons over here. Might as well be cute while we do it. Minted and other paper invite companies have had sales to help out couples who are going this route.

Photo Credit: Minted.com

Date Stamped Décor: All is not lost when it comes to pre-designed décor items you have already purchased with your initial wedding date on them. Utilize these printed materials (welcome signs, programs, menus, etc.) by hiding the old date. You could put a new date sticker over the old date, cover it with a different sticker (custom logo, flowers, geometric shapes), cut off the date, hide the date with a frame or matting, or even hide it with foliage. Or, leave the old date and make it something that you can laugh about with guests. Everyone knows that you postponed, so no secret there. Maybe you and your fiancé get a photo pointing at the old date on a welcome sign. That could actually be really cute. Point is, don’t waste money on reprinting. There are so many workarounds, and reprinting or redesigning can be very costly. Work with what you have.

Colors: Don’t worry about colors not fitting in with the newly selected season. Perhaps you were planning a summer wedding and are now postponing to winter or spring. If you selected a very summery color, think of ways to make it work. It’s more work and expense to change all the bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits than it is to add in another color to your color board that will help everything look the season. Say coral was your initial summer bridesmaid dress color, and you planned to have dried citrus mixed into your florals. You could easily have the same coral dresses and infuse either a burnt orange or cranberry shade into other aspects of the day and it will give the coral a warmer feel. Think of changing rentals that may not have been locked in place yet such as linen selection, ties for the groomsmen, and florals. Maybe in that scenario you cut the dried citrus fruits and instead have cranberries mixed in with the flowers. Just think of your original color, pick a hue in the same color family that is a little darker (for winter) or lighter for spring/summer, and add that to your color palette.

Accessories: Don’t worry if originally purchased dresses were cut for summer with sleeveless or strappy. Add a scarf or shawl on top, and it will warm up the ladies. Going with the tip above, you could have the scarf be in the darker shade to join the dress and scarf with the new floral selection. Or go with a faux fur shawl to practically warm up the dresses.

Photo Credit: Shelterinteriordesign.com

Celebrate Your Day Regardless: Just because you changed your date doesn’t mean that you can’t still do something just for you and your fiancé on the day that your wedding would have been. You could order cupcakes from your baker in your wedding cake flavors, buy some nice flowers for the house, relax together and play board games or watch your favorite movie, or if possible visit the spot you got engaged or had your first date.

Elopement

Photo Credit: Jessicaschillingphotography.com

There could be a whole slew of reasons why you no longer want to have the big day and decide an elopement is right for you. A few that I have thought of are as follows:

  • Considering these never-before-seen circumstances, maybe all of your vendors are providing refunds. This would be dependent on the contract language as well as the kindness in their hearts. But if you are lucky enough to have this as an option, then this is the easiest out because it is at no loss to you.
  • Maybe most of your vendors are giving you refunds, and the minor sunk costs are still a better pill to swallow than the cost of the whole wedding.
  • Maybe sometime during the planning process, you and your fiancé looked at each other and agreed that this was no longer the day you wanted. It somewhere along the way spun out of control into this vision that was other people’s, not yours.
  • Maybe the stress is eating you alive and you just can’t handle it anymore. You are beginning to think your mental health is more important than this single day.
  • Maybe COVID-19, or the loss of a significant family member or friend, or another big life event has caused you to feel differently about the big public wedding.
  • Maybe by the time this quarantine is over, you are going to be craving a vacation so badly that you want to bump all wedding funds to the most epic elopement and honeymoon vacation of your dreams.

Whatever the reason may be, don’t forget that this is YOUR DAY. You will never make everyone happy, and sometimes you just gotta do you. The goal of the day is first and foremost to marry your soulmate, and all you need to accomplish that is you, an officiant, and one witness. Follow your hearts with this one.

Contracts: You’ll definitely want to verify those contracts and speak to your vendors. Cancelling may be more challenging to do than a postponement. Think of how some of these vendors may have already put hours into planning for your wedding. If you cancel on them, then that doesn’t change the fact that they have already worked those hours and should be paid for it. So you wouldn’t get a full refund of the fees paid.

Photo Credit: Rencenter.org

Announcing to Guests: You’ll want to again personally inform immediate family and your bridal party, then follow with a notice to all remaining guests. You can do this in any of the ways listed above: video or voice call, paper invites, digital videos, etc.

Photo Credit: Minted.com

Future Plans: You could go ahead and do your intimate elopement ceremony and then later down the road host a full-on party. Really, that call is yours. Maybe you go low-key with a backyard BBQ, or maybe you do a full-on hall rental. But you can elope now and worry about all the rest later after COVID-19. No need to send out immediate invites with new dates. Just don’t worry about it for now. Enjoy the excitement of eloping and going against the grain!


Ultimately, this day is supposed to be about you and your fiancé. Remember that whenever or wherever your wedding ultimately takes place, it will be perfect for the two of you. Until then, try to soak up being engaged to the love of your life for just a little longer.

Disclaimer: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.