Today we have a guest post to share with you from local photographer, and owner of Namu.Love, Namu Williams! This article is all about places to visit near Pismo Beach, CA. If you've ever wanted to visit the central coast or want to do some exploring around the area he has some great travel tips to share! Enjoy!
Date Written: July 31, 2021
Are you visiting the central coast in the Pismo Beach area and you’re excited to find things to do? Heck yeah, you are. I’ve written this list to help you organize – there are many more places to visit, but these will get you started. And fun fact: all of the places I’ve listed below also double as great photography locations!
Please note: some of these locations are dog-friendly, but because it varies from place to place, please check beforehand to make sure.
Photo by Namu Williams
The pier in Pismo has a nice, wide walk out to the ocean and there are even a couple of cute “Airstream” food trucks permanently stationed on the pier. The beach itself is relatively busy, but there’s always room, and when you get tired of swimming and enjoying the sun, Pismo has several restaurants and gift shops nearby. Oh, and there’s a bowling alley, too!
Pismo (like most of its neighbors) is relatively small, so if you run out of things to do and feel like exploring more, Pismo is part of “The 5 Cities” area, which includes (from north to south) Shell Beach, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Oceano and Arroyo Grande. Shell Beach is so tiny that I generally think of Avila Beach as being the 5th city instead of Shell, but no matter which town you go to, they’re all just a few minutes from Pismo.
PRO TIP: Check out the recently added 7ft tall “Pismo Beach” sign standing proudly in the center plaza in front of the beach and pier. It’s colorful and makes for a fun backdrop, plus it lights up at night and it even has a ruler built into the side so families can measure how much their kids have grown since their last visit!
More info: https://www.experiencepismobeach.com/
Photo by Namu Williams
Smaller than it’s cousin Pismo Beach, Avila nonetheless has several charming qualities that will draw you in. A quaint, colorful boardwalk fronts a few interesting businesses and restaurants The beach itself is small, but lovely. Avila has its own pier, though at the time of this writing it’s currently closed.
On your way to Avila Beach, you’ll spot Avila Farms, which can also be a great stop for families. Honeysticks, pies and all kinds of other treats await, all nestled in a downhome farm environment. You can feed goats, cows, horses, pigs and more…and don’t forget to stop inside the ice cream shop!
More info: https://visitavilabeach.com/
Photo by Kaila Dettman
Looking for some outdoor time with the fam? Head to Pismo Preserves, a sprawling 880 acre casual hiker’s paradise. There are 11 miles of trails of varying degrees of difficulty, but most are easy. You can walk or ride your bike, and I’ve even seen some 10 or 11 year olds riding their bikes near the top with their parents. Occasionally you may even see some horseback riders!
PRO TIP: If the tiny parking lot is full, you can often find parking just past the freeway overpass towards the ocean.
More info: https://lcslo.org/pismopreserve/
Photo by Namu Williams
If you’re interested in something a little more sandy, then the dunes might be the spot for you. You can drive your vehicle straight onto the beach, set up camping and can even have small campfires. Off-roading is also allowed in certain areas.
You can easily get to both Oceano and Grover Beach towns from the dunes. Oceano itself doesn’t have much in the way of tourism but does have some great small businesses – Quintessa Coffee Roasters, The Place: Art, The Great American Melodrama, Sylvester’s Burgers, Efren’s, Pier Street Deli, Chacho’s, Old Juan’s and the Rock and Roll Diner, among others. Also, Grover Beach is right next door and has a few interesting shops and food options, especially along Grand Avenue. Check out Yamato Sushi on Grand for some of Steve Shin’s delicious creations!
More info: http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1207
PRICE HISTORICAL PARK
With hiking, biking and historical buildings to check out, you can’t go wrong with a quick visit to Price Park. You can learn a little about Chumash culture and the California Mission system, along with some information about Pismo Beach history, as well. The house on the property was built in 1893 and the ranch feels like you’re stepping back into history.
More info: http://www.pismobeach.org/307/Price-Historical-Park
MONARCH BUTTERFLY GROVE
Love butterflies? This is definitely your spot. It’s not very big, but it can be really beautiful. From late October through February, you can sometimes see thousands of gorgeous orange and black Monarch butterflies clustered around branches and fluttering around the grounds. Parking is limited, so consider parking farther away and walking, or maybe renting a group cycle in Pismo and riding down!
DINOSAUR CAVES PARK
Photo by Namu Williams
Close to Pismo Beach, you’ll find Dinosaur Caves Park, which is an oceanfront park popular for its playground (replete with dino life!), picnics and walking. If you can figure out the entrance, you can hike down into the area where the actual caves are, although I’m not sure if the caves themselves are open to the public.
More info: http://www.pismobeach.org/288/Dinosaur-Caves-Park
VILLAGE OF ARROYO GRANDE
Photo by Namu Williams
Nestled on the far end of the city of Arroyo Grande, you’ll find the village of Arroyo Grande, which is a throwback to old-town America. A single street lined with businesses on each side will have you reminiscing about the old days. There’s a swinging bridge (although it doesn’t do much actual swinging, lol), lots of restaurants to choose from, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab and both a cool brewery and an old-school butcher shop. You’ll occasionally find music in the park and there are many activities to do nearby, like golfing, watersports and farmer’s markets.
PRO TIP: Drive about 45 minutes away and you’ll find Lopez Lake, a fun camping and hiking spot nestled in the hills. One note: cell signals are spotty out there, so keep that in mind!
MORE INFO: https://www.visitarroyogrande.org/
CHARLES PADDOCK ZOO
Photo by Charles Paddock Zoo
Even though it’s about a 40 minute drive away from Pismo, I’ve included the zoo because it’s the only zoo on the central coast. It’s not a large zoo and definitely won’t resemble what many city zoos look like, but if your children love animals, then it might be worth a trip!
MORE INFO: https://charlespaddockzoo.org/
Bonus for the adventurous: Avila Ridge (in between Pismo and Avila Beach) is a great hike, though a bit challenging for beginners. It does occasionally get misty and hazy at the top, but on clear days, it has gorgeous views of the ocean and nearby valleys! Experts will enjoy the steep vertical climb on the far end, but the intermediate climb on the end nearest the freeway will be a better choice for most. Once you get up on either side, the hike is mostly horizontal.
About the Author
Namu Williams is the owner of Namu.Love, a professional event and portrait photography company based in central California, serving the greater Los Angeles area, the central coast and the SF Bay Area. He has photographed the likes of Gwen Stefani, Sting, King Felipe VI and Vice President Al Gore. He has also covered events big and small all over California and provided beautiful portraits to both CEOs and families alike. You can follow Namu’s work on Facebook, Instagram and on LinkedIn.
Seating charts don't have to be complicated. Creating a simple seating plan for your wedding reception is a sure way to reduce everyone's anxiety, including yours! It shows that you are organized and have put thought into your wedding details. Not only that, but it also eliminates confusion and the need for your guests to play musical chairs when trying to figure it out on their own.
Why are seating charts important? Can't guests just sit anywhere they like? The answer is yes. However, it's not the most efficient way to do things and can create a lot of confusion. If you have a large guests count this is undoubtedly going to be a challenge and could interfere with timing and the flow of the evening.
Having a formal seating plan will also ensure everyone on your guest list has a seat at a specific table. It ads to the overall experience you want your guests to have, letting them know you put thought into your wedding details and had their comfort in mind. It also helps get people where they need to be faster so the rest of the reception can continue as planned without unnecessary delays.
Here are a few easy tips you can follow when creating your reception seating plan and table assignments.
1. Wedding Party Table
When it comes to your wedding party you have options. You can seat them at the head table together with their significant others or just keep it to those who are part of the wedding. The newlyweds generally sit in the middle in between the wedding party or at a separate table called a sweetheart table, which is generally a smaller round or half round table. The head table and and sweetheart table are the focal point of the wedding reception and should be set up in a place that is easy all guests to see.
2. Family Tables
Seat immediate family at the tables closest to the head table and wedding party. If you are numbering your tables, the family tables are where you want to start numbering (one, two, etc). Seat parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and their significant others together along with other immedite family and/or close friends. If you have family attending the wedding that you are not close to or they are not part of your immediate family, seat them at tables three, four and five so they are still close to the head table and other family members.
3. Friends and Acquaintances
Close groups of friends will likely want to sit together with people they know. It's ok to mix in acquaintances with some of your close friends but keep in mind they may feel awkward in this setting so it's best to be selective when you do this and consider everyone's personality and comfort level in social situations. The same goes for your single friends. Having a singles only table nowadays is somewhat frowned upon. Instead, mix in your single friends with other couples. If you have a table of eight, you could easily have two couples and four singles at one table to accomplish this.
If you have more than five children attending, or you prefer to have and "adults only" dinner, seat them at their own table away from the main reception area. This works well for children who are are age four and up, however, very young children and infants should sit with their parents. It's important however to let your guests know ahead of time that you will be seating children at their own table and get their approval. If the parents prefer to sit with their children, try your best to accommodate or explain the circumstances.
It's best to talk about your seating plans before the wedding day to avoid any misunderstandings or confusion. If you have a children's table, have some age appropriate activites to keep them busy and entertained such as coloring books, stickers, or non-messy crafts. If you need help coming up with fun ideas or want to hire a professional service to look after the littles, consider companies that specialize in this area such as @the_kidzz_table who design custom experiences and provide care and entertainment for your youngest guests.
5. Create a Seating Chart
A beautiful seating chart placed near the reception area is a great way to let your guests know what table they need to go to. Names are typically arranged by table number and in alphabetical order to make them easier to find. Seating charts are generally large and placed on stands, tables or easels so they can easily be seen. It's a great idea to also have a digital image or print out of your table assignments to refer to or to give your wedding planner so he or she can assist in helping guests get to their tables.
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Are you a bride or groom planning a wedding on a budget? Does it feel like everything costs more than what you expected? Maybe you've already gone over your budget trying to have the wedding you've always dreamed of and getting concerned about all the extra charges on your credit card statement.
If you can relate to any of this you are not alone. I have spoken to many couples who are facing the same dilemas.
One problem I have noticed is that most couples set a budget but don't have any idea how much weddings actually cost. Once they start researching venues and getting quotes for other services they soon realize costs add up very quickly.
Another problem I see is that most couples don't understand how to identify wants vs. needs. It is easy to get caught up in thinking you need to have a Pinterest worthy wedding. With so many images flooding the internet and social media, many couples try too hard to imitate what they see online by putting money towards little details that are not actually necessary. Doing this will guarantee you go over your budget.
Everyone's wants and needs will be different. This is how I look at it.
If it doesn't enhance the overall experience of the wedding day you don't need it.
Your guests will remember a few things about your wedding - the food, the music, dancing, and spending time with friends and family making memories. They won't remember the cute handmade sign you spent hours on, or the personalized cocktail napkins, or individual favors you left at each place setting.
Here is a general list of wants and needs. When determining your budget start making a list of the things you actually need to make the wedding happen. Then make a list of wants which are the extra items that you can consider adding if your budget allows.
Ceremony arch or backdrop
Gifts/welcome bags for out of town guests
Guest book cameras/film
Unnecessary lighting (monogram/gobos/pin-spotting)
Multiple forms of music/live entertainment
Excessive amount of candles or other decor
Elaborate dessert displays
Late night snacks
Bartender/ Service Staff
Hotel or House Rental
Hair and Makeup
Shoes, Jewlery and Accessories
Cake / Dessert
Notice I included flowers and videography under the wants section. I don't believe they are necessary in some cases. Sometimes just a photographer is sufficient. A videographer is a nice addition if it's within your means but isn't necessarily a must have.
Adding flowers to the overall aesthetic isn't always necessary depending on your venue. Personal flowers such as bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids should be included in your budget, however, flowers for your centerpieces can be optional. If your venue is already surrounded by a beautiful landscape you may not need them.
Wants and needs can be tricky. It's important for you and your partner to discuss what the most important aspects are to making your wedding day truly special and unique to you. Taking time to identify your own wants and needs now will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
If you need help with your wedding budget or want to discuss wedding planning services, contact us!
Be sure to check out our blog page for more ideas and inspiration!
Floral Design & Styling; @emmarosefloral
Specialty Linens: @luxe_linen
Coordination & Styling: @gatheringsforgoodevents
Recently I was invited to collaborate on a venue showcase for an up and coming wedding venue in Los Olivos appropriately named Wine Trail Weddings. This sprawling private estate sits at the head of the Los Olivos wine trail, and is one spectacular property that is a must see if you are on the hunt for an outdoor wedding venue in Santa Barbara wine country.
This gorgeous property is home to owners Chris and Carisa Blasman who also own and operate local winery Four Brothers Wine Co., located on Grand Ave., in the heart of downtown Los Olivos. And when it comes to weddings and providing you with the ultimate guest experience, it's clear that this is the perfect pairing.
The lush green gardens, lawns, and trees transport you to a private oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the quaint little town just down the road. Quiet, calm and tranquility is what draws you in to this scenic place. When it comes to your wedding, the options are almost endless. You have many choices when it comes to setting up your ceremony space. Looking around it's easy to imagine the wedding of your dreams.
Like a blank canvas you are able to design your wedding however you like and make it your own. No two weddings are alike here. Once you see the space yourself you are able to envision your perfect wedding day. On-site Event Manager, Jenifer Sanregret will give you the full tour which includes an intimate casita next to the main house which can be used as a bridal suite for the happy couple and their wedding party, perfect for getting ready on the big day.
Honestly, I couldn't have been more excited to not only participate but take the lead on the planning and concept, bringing the event to life. With only 5 weeks to pull it off, I got to work right away contacting local vendors, meeting with the venue owner to conduct site visits, design the layout and manage all the important logistics that needed to come together in a short amount of time. Stressful? Yes! But also so much fun, and working under tight deadlines is actually something I thrive on!
In the end everything came together perfectly. I was incredibly proud of what I had accomplished, and equally proud to be part of such an amazing event and wedding community here in Santa Barbara County. Everyone who joined in was as excited as I was to be involved in this event and really helped make it the success that it was.
All those amazing people and businesses are all listed at the end of this post. Please check them out and consider hiring them for your next event because they are absolutely incredible at what they do and go above and beyond for their clients. We are so lucky to have them here in this community.
This venue is truly one of a kind and the photos are not enough to tell the whole story. To really see what this venue has to offer we highly suggest scheduling a tour.
Thank you SO MUCH to all the participating wedding vendors who donated their time and talent for this fun event! We appreciate all that you did to help make this event a success!
Venue: Wine Trail Weddings
Planning, Design & Logistics: Gatherings for Good
Planning, Social Media & Advertising: Santa Barbara Wedding Style
Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals
Florals: Santa Barbara Floral Artistry
Florals: PacWest Blooms
Florals: Antheia Floral & Design
Ceremony Backdrops: Backdrop Boutique SB
Grazing Table: Snack on my Snacks
Charcuterie Cones: The Grazing Place
Catering: Plenty on Bell
Cake Bites: The Cakery
Wine: Four Brothers Wine Co.
Picnic Set-up: Picnics & Posies
Music: JSH Music Productions
Beverages: Riviera Sips
Beverages: Mixed Events 805
Staffing: Central Coast Party Helpers
Signage: Susan Silverberg
Shuttle: Next Adventure 805
Restroom Trailer: Major Event Trailers
Videography: Patrick Ang
Photography: Danielle Honea
Before having kids, photo shoots were so easy! Pick a date, find a location, wear a cute outfit, smile, pose, and done! In a few weeks you'll have some great photos to add to your gallery wall or send to family and friends. Photo shoots with kids is a different ballgame.
After my husband and I had kids we started doing family photo shoots together to mark certain milestones or around holidays. I soon learmed how stressful photo shoots with kids can be. Nothing stresses me out more than family photo shoot day, (not even weddings)! No matter how far ahead I plan or how prepared I am, the day of the photo shoot always creates a lot of anxiety and stress.
Why? Well, for one, kids are ticking time bombs. They are unpredictable, they don't have the best understanding of time, they get bored, cranky, hungry, tired, and can really test your patience. Second, there is just so much that needs to get done that day! It's a lot of work just getting everyone ready and out the door on time on a normal day, let alone photo shoot day.
Of course, not all family photo shoots are stressful and hectic, it depends on the ages of the kids. For the purpose of this post, I am mostly referring to toddlers and babies, 5 years and under.
Despite how difficult photo shoots can be with young kids, I do love them simply because kids grow so fast! It's amazing to have photos to look back on and to see how your family changes over time and to create those memories together. I really enjoy having new photos to frame for my home and to send to family and friends too.
I like to schedule photo shoots once or twice a year and have been doing them regularly since my son was born in 2016. Since then I have learned a few things. Here are a few tips for creating a stress-free family photo shoot.
1. Hire a Professional Photographer Who Works with Kids
This is so important! Not every photographer knows how to work with kids and how to make them feel comfortable. There are some photographers who just understand how to relate to kids, how to talk to them, how to make them laugh and smile on cue, and make the photo shoot fun. This is a special talent! They know kids don't always cooperate, have moments where they act out, cry and don't want listen, but they know how to work through those difficult moments and still make the most of it. They know how to work fast and take lots of pictures before the kids get super tired and cranky. Kids have short attention spans and photographers know that, which leads me to tip number 2!
2. Keep it Short and Sweet
A lot of family photographers offer mini sessions now which is amazing! They do this for a reason. They know that kids can't last more than 30 minutes so to optimize your session and get the most out of it they offer quick "mini" sessions for parents with young children. The session usually involves shooting at one location for 20-30 minutes and moving quickly before the kids (and parents) start to lose it. This is the reason mini sessions are the way to go! You can get a lot great shots in a shorter amount of time. Some photographers offer discounts during certain times of the year, usually in the fall or around the holidays which is the perfect time to get some family photos taken that can be used for your holiday cards or gifts!
3. Plan Your Session Months in Advance
Photographers are busy so I always make sure to book our session a few months in advance to ensure they have a date available that works for me and my family. I like to take advantage of that time to get things organized such as coordinating our outfits, scheduling hair cuts for the boys, and beauty appointments for myself. During this time I also look for outfit ideas and inspiration, consider the weather and where the photo shoot is taking place to make sure our look fits in with the setting and time of year. This leads me to my next tip, tip number 3!
4. Do Coordinate Your Style (But Don't Match Exactly)
I like to coordinate a look that is (1) appropriate for the time of year and (2) looks polished and put together. I am not a fan of matching outfits where everyone dresses in the same colors. For example, white tees and blue jeans, or any monochromatic look. I enjoy seeing photos where each family member wears a different color that compliments the other colors in the group. This makes the photos look fresh, modern and shows your personality and unique style. Don't worry if you aren't sure what colors work well together, there are many online tools to help, such as this interactive color wheel from Canva.
5. Plan Around the Naptime
With little ones it is so important to work around naptimes for most of life's events but especially when it comes to photo shoots. Well rested kids will last longer, follow directions better, have more fun and cause you a lot less stress. Happy and rested kids make for much better photos! Plan your session early in the morning hours before peak sun or later in the afternoon/evening depending on your dinner and bedtime routine. Find a time of day when the kids have the most energy such as after a nap but not too close to bedtime as the later it gets, the more likely they are to feel tired as the sun starts to go down.
6. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks. Need I Say More??
Seriously though, snacks are key. Make sure your kids are well fed before the photo shoot and have lots of snacks and water readily available should a hangry meltdown arise. You'll want to keep snacking to a minimum so choose foods that can be eaten quickly and are also not going to ruin any outfits (no chocolate or cheetos). For example, things like string cheese, grapes, baby carrots, maybe a handful of pretzels, dried fruit and nuts are good options, depending on your dietary restrictions and ages of the children. Bonus tip, if you are concerned about clothes getting messy, bring extra clothes to keep in the car as backup!
7. Embrace the Chaos
Being in the event industry, I've learned that things don't always go according to plan. Photo shoots are no different. No matter how much you prepare some things may not go the way you expect. It's best to let go of your expectations and try and enjoy yourself during your photo shoot session. You only have a certain amount of time with your photographer so make the most of it and get as many shots as you can. Poses are great but not realistic for the duration of the shoot. Kids are silly, they get distracted easy, and move constantly! It's so hard to keep them still and looking in the right direction. It's ok! Some of the best photos we have are the ones where we aren't looking at the camera. I love the candid moments that show our fun, silly and sometimes messy side. That's real life with kids. So embrace it all while you still can.
Photos by @beth_armsheimer_photo
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As a Wedding Planner it's my job to always recommend that couples use professionals when it comes to their wedding day. This is the ONE day you have been planning for months, (maybe years), and it should be done right!
Using professionals such as DJs, caterers, photographers and other service providers will eliminate risk and reduce overall worry and stress knowing you are in good hands and working with people who are experts in their field!
DJs are no exception! They are the backbone of the wedding helping to keep things on track. DJs and Wedding Planners work together to make sure that what needs to happen happens on time! In addition to that, they also provide an endless amount of music selections and are masteres at bringing the fun! The energy they bring to the wedding is infectious and gets people excited.
Whenever I hear from a bride or groom that they want to use a friend to play music at their wedding, I think, why? Why would you do that? This is not a birthday or random party. This is YOUR WEDDING! This is not the time to put that kind of trust in your friend. Let them enjoy the wedding as a guest and let the professionals do the work!
Here are a few of the reasons I always recommend professional DJs over your friend.
1. DJs can provide music and sound systems in multiple locations. This is esepcially important if you are using more than one space at your wedding venue with your guests traveling from one area to another. DJs have all the necessary sound equipment needed to make sure you have music playing for the ceremony, cocktail area and the reception.
2. DJs do more than play music. They make announcements during the wedding and let people know when and where things are happening. They announce the wedding party for the grand entrance, they let guests know when dinner is being served, when the first dance is going to take place, when the cake will be cut and any other announcements that need to be made. Timing is so important at weddings and DJs are great at making sure things are staying on track and moving along.
3. In addition to their vast assortment of music they also provide endless amounts of energy to your party! They are great at reading a room and making adjustments as needed. They love to enertain and see people having fun. That is their job and why they are so good at what they do! A professional DJ will make sure people are dancing, enjoying the music and having a great time. You and your guests will appreciate the lively atmosphere and the experience only a DJ can create.
4. Many DJs now offer other services such as lighting for the dance floor, disco balls, glow sticks and photo booths to add that something extra to your event. These add-ons will enhance the overall wedding experience and keep the crowd entertained all night long! Be sure to ask your DJ about other services or extras they can provide. As an added bonus, some DJs will offer discounts when booking multiple services.
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At some point while you are planning your wedding the question of having a family friendly event that includes young children vs an adult only affair will come up and can be a very tricky topic to navigate.
If the thought of having children at your wedding presents a lot of challenges you may prefer to limit the number of children or exclude them completely. Either way, you will need to find ways to explain your decision to your guests without upsetting or offending them if possible.
Here are some tips to help you make a decision that works for you without ruffling too many feathers.
Discuss and Decide - Early
You and your fiance need to have an honest discussion about this topic and how you feel about having children at your wedding so that you can make a decision early on in the planning stages. When making your guest list, make a note of how many children each family member or friend has as well as their ages. The number of children in attendance can significantly add to your wedding budget and overall headcount. Ask yourselves if you are comfortable including children and the additional costs you may incur by doing so.
Children are Unpredictable
Not only can adding children to your wedding have an impact on your budget, children are are also quite unpredictable in their behavior. Consider the type of venue where your wedding is taking place. Is this venue family friendly? Is there enough space for children to play or run around? Will the parents be responsible enough to monitor them and keep watch on what they're doing so they aren't being disruptive during important moments? These are some questions to consider and to discuss with your partner and possibly your families if you have concerns.
Tell Your Guests
Once you have decided it is important to let your guests know your expectations and make it clear what the plan is for having children at the wedding or not. If you are not inviting children, explain your reasons either in person, over the phone, in an email or on your wedding website.
If you decided to only have a few children present (if they are part of the wedding ceremony for example) explain that to your guests. Tell your guests that are not able to bring their children that you have a limit on your headcount and are unfortunately unable to accommodate every family member. Offer your apologies and a possible solution such as a babysitting service if they need to hire someone for the evening. Some guests may not understand your reasoning, but this is your wedding and you don't have to explain yourself too much. You get the final say.
Having a Family Affair
If you do decide a family friendly affair is what you want, make some arrangements to help entertain the children who will be attending such as a fun craft table with games, coloring books, puzzles and other fun activities to keep them occupied.
Have a children's menu that is different from your "adult" menu. Very small children and infants won't each much or their parents may bring them special meals and snacks to eat. For older children it may be a good idea to offer a few choices such as pizza, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries, fruit and a special dessert that is less formal and smaller portions.
Hire a children's entertainer such as a face painter, balloonist or magician to provide a fun element for a short time during the wedding reception. Adding and interactive and engaging element to the wedding that they don't get to experience often is not only fun but also memorable for everyone.
Consider enlisting help through a local babysitting service. There are many babysitting or nanny services available for just this sort of thing. They arrive at your venue and set up a special area for children such as a separate room and create a safe and fun space for them to gather and play together during times that you agree to. They often bring age appropriate games, activities and toys to entertain children which is included in their fees, giving you one less thing to worry about! If your wedding is quite formal they can also serve dinner away from where the adults are seated. This works well if you plan to have toasts and speeches during dinner and don't want any disruptions.
Remember, It's Your Day!
Remember, this is your day so you get to decide what is best for you. Just know that not everyone will agree with your choices and that's ok. You will never be able to please everyone and it's not your job to do so. As long as you and your partner make the decision together and stick to it you'll be fine in the end.
Grace Tyler Photography by Jamie Fredrickson
Brooke Borough Photography
Many couples I consult with seem to want to have the quickest ceremony possible and then move on to the reception. They say things like "we just want it to be fun!" or "we just want to have a party!" That's all great.
But there is also something to say about a wedding ceremony and the reason FOR the party. People are there to have fun of course, but they're also there to witness the two people who are joining their lives together. The couple who is getting MARRIED and making a HUGE commitment to each other. That is the reason the wedding is even taking place.
So please put some thought into it and don't rush! You'll get to enjoy the party soon enough. Take time to write your vows and make it meaningful. Get creative. Include loved ones. Play your favorite music. Set the tone for the day and the mood you want everyone to feel. This is your moment. The one you've been planning for months (or years)! You will have plenty of other reasons to party and celebrate for the rest of your life. But your wedding... that is different. You only get one of those (if you're lucky).
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A PARTY, HAVE A PARTY.
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A WEDDING, THEN PLAN AN ACTUAL WEDDING.
THERE'S A DIFFERENCE.
What makes a wedding different than other events is tradition. And I guarantee your guests who are flying across country or driving across state lines to get to the wedding want to see some of those traditions. There are certain expectations that people have when it comes to weddings. Maybe you're not the traditional type and you want to do things your way. I get that. But a wedding needs to feel like a wedding and not just a dinner party or some random event.
What are some of the most common wedding traditions?
1. A ring exchange
2. Wedding vows
3. A bridal bouquet
4. Bride being escorted down the aisle
5. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
6. Serving wedding cake
7. The first dance
8. Dances with parents
9. Toasts and speeches
10. A bouquet and/or garter toss
You don't have to incorporate all of these and you can certaintly put your own spin on some of them. There are ways to get creative when it comes to weddings and making them feel personal and unique. It doesn't need to feel like your grandma's wedding day but a little bit of those old school values and tried and true traditions will go a long way in making your wedding day a memorable one for all.
Elise Nicole Photo
Image: Danielle Honea Phototography
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.