Outstanding Occasions

The Breakdown of a Foolproof Cocktail Hour | Outstanding Advice

by Mikayla at Outstanding Occasions on

PicMonkey Collage 3 1024x704 The Breakdown of a Foolproof Cocktail Hour | Outstanding Advice

The cocktail hour is a key element to any wedding celebration. It’s a chance for guests to socialize, have a few drinks, snack on your hand picked hors d’oeuvres and prepare for the night’s festivities. For the newlyweds, the cocktail hour gives the bride and groom an opportunity to take photos with their wedding party or extended family, and spend some one-on-one time together after the ceremony. This crucial hour also gives your wedding professionals time behind the scenes to perfect all details for the reception. There are so many important elements that need to be squeezed into this hour, so our team is here to help with the little pointers that make a cocktail hour one to remember.

Seating. Having a lounge area is a great idea if you want to spoil your guests with comfort. Large comfortable sofas will provide your guests with the optimal seating area, but regular cocktail tables with chairs definitely will serve their needs as well. It’s also a good idea to have a few high tables scattered around for guests to linger at as they enjoy their cocktails and conversation. Seating during cocktail hour is especially important for older guests, who may be unable to stand and mingle for the entire hour.

Music. Cocktail hour music will set the mood and bring your guests into the right mindset for the rest of the evening. If you have a band, request that they play upbeat and hip music or maybe something acoustic, at a lower level so people can still hear each other and chat. If the band doesn’t arrive until later in the night, check if the venue is able to play some subdued tunes through the house speaker system. Be sure not to play anything too intense or loud, because that should be saved for after dinner to get everyone ready to party!

Hors D’Oeuvres. Having servers tray pass hors d’ouvres during cocktail hour will allow your guests to nibble on a few small bites before dinner. Another idea is to have a “serve yourself” type of cocktail hour, with appetizer stations, such as a cheese and cracker spread, or hummus and crudité station. This way guests can help themselves to any portion they want before dinner, or try multiple smaller options. When working with the caterer or venue banquet team, be sure to sample your hors d’oeuvres exactly as your guests will eat them on your wedding night, as you want to ensure each piece is small enough, and easy enough to eat while carrying on a conversation.

Specialty Cocktails. It’s no surprise that the drinks are definitely the highlight of cocktail hour! Tray-passed champagne definitely sets a festive tone, while tray passed red and white wine helps alleviate the line at the bar. You might also consider implementing a specialty cocktail, based on the location of your wedding and the season! For example, delicious ice cold cocktails with muddled fruit are perfect for spring and summer weddings, while rich and heavier options are more fitting for fall and winter weddings. Don’t forget special garnishes as well as fun straws and cocktail napkins to make your drinks really stand out. It’s also a great idea to include a specialty nonalcoholic drink for those who don’t drink or are under 21!

Décor. Implementing your wedding design into your cocktail hour décor is very important to ensure your whole day is cohesive. Small centerpieces with floral and candles, similar to the bridal bouquet and ceremony flowers, will tie the floral design of the ceremony and reception all together. If your budget allows, consider renting a specialty linen in the color scheme of the wedding. Remember that your decor during cocktail hour is serving as a sneak peak for the beautiful reception, so all-in-all, keep it simple and cohesive so your wedding reception can really shine!

As you can see, there are countless details that go into perfecting a cocktail hour. But all in all, a cocktail hour is nothing without the love of friends and family gathering to celebrate this new chapter in your life! Cheers!

Photography Credit: Amy & Jordan Photography

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Tips for Perfecting Your Wedding Menu | Outstanding Advice

by Mikayla at Outstanding Occasions on

blog 1024x500 Tips for Perfecting Your Wedding Menu | Outstanding Advice

Your wedding menu food tasting is arguably one of the best perks of planning your big day! Any excuse to sample delicious hors d’oeuvres and fine wine certainly makes for a good time. While the overall taste is of course one of the most important factors, our Outstanding Occasions team came up with five helpful hints to keep in mind while finalizing your wedding menu.

Presentation. The outward appearance of a dish will give off a specific first impression to your guests, therefore influencing their dining experience, so make sure it’s beautiful! Having a sleek layout of your dish with added garnishes will excite your guests because it will look extremely appetizing. As far as the presentation of appetizers during cocktail hour, having staff serve your appetizers on platters in an arranged and polished appearance will definitely lure your guests to trying one, even if they are picky! 

Season. Which month you are getting married in will heavily influence the items served on your wedding menu. Fall and winter weddings will tend to have menus that feature more of a hearty meal with vegetables in season, such as brussels sprouts, squash, beets and sweet potatoes. On the contrary, spring and summer weddings will typically highlight lighter fare, such as adding fruits and berries into leafy green salads and grilled fish and chicken with added citrus. The season will also impact the types of cocktails served. Warm and cozy bourbon and rum will typically be served in the winter, while fruity spritzers and sangria are summer’s calling. 

Portion Size. Is the food served per person or family style? If it’s served per person, it’s important to correctly size your guest’s portions. After a long day, your guests will be famished and ready for dinner! A common complaint received at weddings is that the portion sizes are often too small, and do not completely satisfy the guests, leaving them wanting more. Be sure to correctly and generously size your meal in order to leave your guests feeling full and happy. Family style is a great option because then guests can take as much or as little as they please, and can even help themselves to more portions. 

Allergies & Dietary Restrictions. Be sure to keep in mind your guests allergies and dietary restrictions. Guest with allergies will know to  write in their specific allergies and dietary restrictions on the RSVP card, so your caterer can plan accordingly, and always ensure there is an alternative vegetarian option for those who do not eat meat. Don’t forget to think of alternatives for those who have gluten-free and dairy-free diets as well, so that your guests with dietary restrictions or allergies aren’t left hungry for the night. 

Quality. Choosing high quality ingredients is extremely important in terms of not only taste, but also presentation. Food will look more appealing and appetizing if it’s extremely fresh and high quality.  Many people choose to buy locally sourced ingredients or organic choices to ensure the best for their big day. When large scale meals are prepared, it is pertinent to make sure everything is good quality because several details of the menu may be prone to slip through the cracks. 

Photography Credit: Rachel Solomom Photography

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Just Engaged: Your New To-Do List | Outstanding Advice

by Mikayla at Outstanding Occasions on

HARRELL WEDDING EL CHORRO FOR VENDORS 0030 1024x682 Just Engaged: Your New To Do List | Outstanding Advice

The Outstanding Occasions team hears wedding bells! He finally popped the big question and, of course, you said yes– congratulations! Besides popping some bubbly and calling your nearest and dearest to tell them the good news, you’re probably wondering, what’s next? The idea of planning the perfect wedding may seem slightly overwhelming, but also so exciting! To help you get started, we’ve put together a few helpful hints and tips below.

Pick the season. Narrowing down a season in which to host your wedding is the first step in the planning process. If you envision you and your sweetheart tying the knot in a romantic spring wedding, then plan on saying “I Do!” in the warm months of April or May. Next, you must decide on how long you want to be engaged for, because that also will help determine the time of year you have your wedding. Of course, if these answers are still up in the air, just go with the flow and decide at a later time. After you finalize what season, the rest of the design will come easily!

Estimate your budget. Arguably the most important factor in wedding planning, the budget is the sole determining factor for countless important decisions for your big day. Your budget will decide the venue, catering, amount of guests and decor you will be able to provide. Our team suggests to hold off on making any concrete decisions or signing any vendor contracts until you’ve decided upon a budget that you, your fiance, and whomever else may be contributing to the wedding, are comfortable sticking to!

Consider your guest list. Although it’s not important to solidify this number immediately, it’s a smart idea to come up with an estimation. By putting together a potential guest list, you will be able to narrow down your venue purely based on size and how many people the venue can hold. You wouldn’t want to end up with your heart set on a venue that’s too small, or even much too large, for your wedding celebration.

Create your Wedding Registry. Once you become engaged, take the time to create registries at your favorite stores. Friends and family will be extremely eager to shower you and your new fiancé in congratulatory gifts! Instead of keeping your loved ones guessing, create a registry of those special items you you’ve been dreaming of since before he popped the question!

 

At times, this process may be stressful, but just make sure to always take a step back and take a deep breath! This is an incredible opportunity for you to participate in, surrounded with love from your closest loved ones. Planning your fairytale ending will come with a few bumps in the road, but everything will always work out, no matter what.

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5 Types of Wedding-Day Shoes for Every Bride | Outstanding Advice

by Mikayla at Outstanding Occasions on

RachelSolomon NikkiKeenan Vendors 002 1024x842 5 Types of Wedding Day Shoes for Every Bride | Outstanding Advice

When choosing the perfect pair of shoes to go with the perfect gown, there are just a few things to keep in mind. There is a wide variety of styles and shapes to choose from, especially if you take the terrain of your ceremony into consideration– whether it be sand, lawn or concrete. Luckily, our team compiled a list of 4 main categories to help our brides-to-be to confidently decide on this important finishing touch!

Formal Flats. This is a fantastic and practical option for those who prioritize comfort. Flats can be an excellent choice of shoe especially if there is a potential height difference between husband and wife, and can also be the comfiest choice since brides have a ton of running around to do all day long. For brides who identify as slightly clumsy, flats are the smart pick to avoid any tripping down the aisle. Luckily, several designers have exclusive collections especially created for brides, because it has added glitz and glam compared to regular collections. Besides, the odds of re-wearing the flats are definitely higher, so it’s a smart investment. 

Stylish Sandals. Open toed sandals, with or without a heel, are the ideal pick for spring and summer weddings. Chic wedding sandals can either be dressed up with rhinestones or made casual with neutral tones– it’s an easy switch! Not to mention, this style is foolproof for large lawn receptions and beach ceremonies. Strappy sandals are a cute yet casual pick for those who are prioritize comfort and fashion. 

Posh Pumps. This classy choice is the most traditional among brides– both old and young. Pumps can be any color and style while still complimenting your wedding dress. Wearing pumps can add a special flare to your gown by making it appear elongated. Although the thought of wearing high heels for several hours at a time may come across as intimidating, keep in mind that this is the most special occasion of your life! Wearing pumps adds a formal feel to your ensemble, and will certainly make you feel like a queen on your important day! 

Sleek Sneakers. This is the optimal pick for those with an edgier style! Sneakers are comfortable, yet definitely unique. Many sneaker brands have a special line for brides which, similar to bridal flats, add slightly more allure to the basic sneaker. Sneakers are easily customizable, which many couples are drawn to because of the personal feel, and because they are typically available for both male and females if they wanted to match. Many sneakers can be embroidered, bedazzled and brightly colored! 

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Top Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding | Outstanding Advice

by Mikayla at Outstanding Occasions on

hannahryan 438 Top Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding | Outstanding Advice

As of late, many couples have decided to stray from traditional ceremonies and pick a more exotic and unique approach. If you’re looking for a quick escape from reality for your dream wedding, then a destination wedding is the perfect pick. Destination weddings put a new, modern, and exciting twist on this very special day! Although this concept is quickly increasing in popularity, there are a few pointers to keep in mind during the planning process.

Location. The location determines the entire mood of your wedding weekend. We recommend setting your destination wedding in a place that perfectly captures the essence of the two of you as a couple. There are countless options for destinations if you want a specific type of setting such as rustic, beachy, sophisticated or intimate. Be sure to pick a location that is easily accessible for your guests. Nonetheless, be sure to pick a destination that is close to your heart and will be the perfect place to make memories. 

Time of Year. The best weather in destination settings typically aligns with popular tourist seasons, which means there may be a higher volume of crowds at your wedding destination. Nevertheless, the weather is an incredibly important factor in selecting the time of year to get married, especially if your heart is set on an outdoor ceremony. Remember that tropical destinations can present windy or rainy conditions, depending on the time of year, and high altitude locations may mean snow in the forecast – definitely conditions to account for in your planning!

Extra Expenses. If you’re planning your wedding during a high-tourist season, remember it will mean higher rates for flights and hotels for you and your guests. Booking in advance will help a bit, but overall, prices will be higher than other times of the year. Do examine the all-inclusive bundles that resorts offer to larger parties, as it may help make your destination more affordable, and more convenient. Having a family-style reception with a more casual vibe is another idea to consider to ease the price. Besides the travel and food and beverage costs for your wedding, remember that all those fun, off-site activities you’re considering planning for your bridal party and close family and friends will add extra cost. Also, before signing any contracts, read the fine print carefully to ensure you understand all the fees and taxes that are being added – such as service charges, resort fees and even valet for guests.

Save The Dates. As soon as you finalize a location for your wedding, be sure to notify everyone on your guest list with a “save the date.” Typically a “save the date” is mailed about six months before the wedding. However, with a destination wedding, you may want to consider sending the” save the date” at least eight months ahead of time. This is because destination weddings require extra planning time for your guests – they will need to request time off work, budget for the travel, book hotels and flights, and more. The sooner you notify your guests, the more likely they will be able to make the necessary arrangements to attend your wedding.

Wedding Professionals. Scouting out dependable vendors from a city that you’re not very familiar with can be extremely difficult. Luckily, a wedding planner can help you with this task! A good wedding planner will be able to provide you with wedding professional recommendations for florists, catering, entertainment, rentals and more, that align with your specific budget and aesthetic. Additionally, your selected wedding venue will typically have a list of professionals that they prefer to work with that they would be happy to provide to you (including said wedding planner, if you need help finding one!). Don’t be afraid to ask for these resources – it’s very important to make sure you book professionals that will provide an outstanding experience on your wedding day.

We hope you find these tips helpful in your planning process!

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