You have found the wedding venue of your dreams, created a fabulous floral design and picked the perfect music for your big day! Now what?
It’s time to set the mood!
What’s the best way to create ambiance? Illuminations!
Whether you are enhancing with candles or artificial light sources, the lighting that surrounds the day will set the overall feel for your wedding.
So where to begin?
First you need to decide what kind of atmosphere you want to create. Are you going for vintage and romantic? Modern? Rustic? Once you have decided on your feel you can narrow down the light source.
Candles are a great source to consider. Depending on the holder you choose for your candle you can work with a wide selection of designs. Candlelight gives off an amber hue which in turn brings warmth into the space. It can make for dramatic photos by providing a soft light.
There are so many types of candles to choose from and it is hard to know where to begin!
We recommend learning the lingo before you venture out into the marketplace.
Here is a list of popular candle types that many couples choose to incorporate:
Tealights and votives are small candles that look beautiful when displayed in clusters and generate a petite glow for your tablescapes and beyond. A votive is taller than a tealight and can burn for 8-10 hours on average, while tealights will burn for only 3-5 hours. You can add extra flare to these candles by dressing up their holder. A regular glass holder will sparkle and bounce light while a gold mercury glass holder will give a rustic twist to your tablescape.
Pillar candles are large cylindrical candles that look great inside a glass container or on their own. Pillar candles often look beautiful in clusters with candles at varying heights or down the center of a long farm table. Because they are so large they can be a great choice for a long reception and if you are hosting a rehearsal dinner you could use them for both events!
Taper Candles are slender elongated candles that require a candle holder and are traditionally found in candelabras, think “Beauty and the Beast”, or you can substitute with a hurricane glass holder for a similar effect. Candelabras can add romance to any tablescape.
Floating candles can vary in size and are usually placed inside a glass container. The vase is filled with water and the candle floats on top.
Lanterns are a great way to add that needed glow to outside spaces after the sun has set. They can also work well when incorporated into centerpieces on guest tables or on surrounding accent tables.
Battery operated candles aka Flameless candles can be a safe alternative to an open flame and can replace most options talked about above. A great use for battery operated tea lights would be inside a hanging orb or a paper lantern. They can be hung in a tent or surrounding trees offering a beautiful star filled sky effect.
For artificial lighting try utilizing these:
String lights which range from fine twinkle lights to bolder bistro bulbs give off a star filled sky look when strung across a patio and look fabulous when wrapped around the branches or trunk of a tree.
Pendant lights consist of a single fixture that is suspended by a cord from the ceiling. They are sometimes referred to as drop lights and can be nice way to highlight a particular area within a large space.
An uplight is a light placed on the floor that shines up the walls and can be made in varying colors. They can help highlight the details of a room’s structure.
A spotlight is a singular narrow projection that lights a specific person or object. These are commonly used in stage productions and work great for a first dance or any moment you would like highlighted on your wedding day!
A pinspot is a smaller version of a spotlight that works great at highlighting an individual tablescape or décor object.
A Gobo light has a template that light shines through to project a pattern, wording or design onto the floor, ceiling, or walls the term Gobo comes from the acronym, GOes Before Optics.
And let’s not forget about the most timeless and glamorous lighting fixture of them all – the Chandelier! If you want to really bring in that old world charm and romantic ambiance, you may want to look for a space that offers this kind of aesthetic.
Be sure to touch base with your wedding venue to get specifics on what types of candles and light sources are permitted. Also inquire as to what the power capacity for the building is and where the outlets are located. Some venues do not permit any flames at all, and some require that all candles be inside a container and that the level of the wick be underneath the height of the container. So that means no dripping candelabras!
No matter what style or budget you are working with, you can create a beautiful glow that will enhance all of the elements surrounding your special day!
So you’re on the fence whether to purchase tickets to Valley Wed or not? Perhaps you’re wondering if this kind of wedding showcase, or any wedding showcase at all, is for you? Read on and we will dive into what to expect at Valley Wed and why it’s unlike other showcases out there.
We describe Valley Wed as “…a carefully curated wedding showcase with the goal of inspiring personal connections and honoring individual styles with a locally sourced approach. We have handpicked a selection of exceptional wedding professionals in Western Massachusetts and slightly beyond! Our vendors are passionate about their work and excited to offer a fresh perspective for your wedding day.” But what does that mean? Valley Wed is set apart from your traditional wedding expo by filtering out the best of the best vendors, to simplify your wedding showcase experience. Rather than overwhelming you with 5-10 different options of DJs, we select 2 that through our experience and their application we deem as the top of their game. We strive to do a lot of your leg work for you when searching for the perfect wedding professionals, by bringing the best of each category and style to one location. Valley Wed strikes the balance between intimate and excellent, with still giving you variance. We review applications and hand pick each wedding professional to participate. If we feel a category of vendors is lacking, we approach professionals and request they be a part of our show. Valley Wed aims to deliver nothing but the highest quality and level of wedding professional excellence to its attendees.
When you walk through the doors of the rustic barn at Quonquont Farm you will be greeted by a staff member who will confirm your registration for the show, as well as give you the lay of the land. There will be food to snack on as you mingle, as well as a bar with both seasonal cocktails and mocktails for your liking. You may circulate the show with a glass of wine, cocktail, mimosa, or seltzer if you like! You will receive a list of the attending vendors, giving you the opportunity to seek them out, or to browse each booth as you go along. The atmosphere has been described as laid back, warm, and friendly. We take away the white noise and overwhelming nature of the huge shows, to bring you opportunities to connect one on one with vendors you might actually consider booking.
As you circulate, you’ll have a chance to try samples, discuss possibilities, and even see a few of the vendors at work. Valley Wed vendors are approachable and personable, and ready to chat about what assistance and support you need for your day. If it’s a nice day, you’ll have the opportunity to get some fresh air and take a walk around the patio or sit in an Adirondack chair and look out on to the hillside. By registering for a ticket to the show you’ll also have the opportunity to win a door prize or giveaways as you visit vendors at their tables.
You see, it’s hard for us to think that there is any question whether or not to get your tickets and get excited for Valley Wed! As it is unique in that is both a low pressure, yet highly productive experience for most couples that attend- a combination that can be hard to find when planning a wedding!
This year we also have added the addition of selling tickets for individual time slots to try and pace the crowd of the show. This will allow our attendees to really have the time and space to connect with the vendors! The tickets will be sold as follows:
11am - 12pm (VIP Ticket holders)
12pm - 1pm
1pm - 2pm
What are VIP Ticket, holders you may ask? Guests who choose to attend the show from 11am to 12pm will have exclusive access to the show and vendors with added amenities. The tickets are more expensive, but well worth the added cost. These guests will be greeted at the door with a complimentary glass of champagne to drink as they circulate. There will be exclusive door prizes and giveaways for this hour, with a limited number of tickets to be sold, meaning more winners! During this hour, our vendors will step outside of their booth and get involved- offering interactive one on one sessions and talks on the best tips when planning for your big day. This could be anything from a talk about how to write your own wedding vows to learning how to accessorize yourself on your wedding day to accommodate multiple looks. This hour will pack quite the punch for value and quality! VIP Ticket holders will have the chance to remain beyond their hour of the show, but will need to be during that first hour in order to partake in these exclusive activities and amenities!
Do you have further questions about what to expect or what will be going on at Valley Wed? Make sure to follow us on Instagram, but also feel free to reach out to us personally at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
May 19th will be here before you know it! We hope to see you there!
What are the classic wedding traditions? When is it okay to deviate from these?
Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming experience! Not only are you trying to accomplish planning all the important aspects you would like to have as a part of your day, but you are also inviting your nearest and dearest to join you. In a perfect world, this is ALWAYS a benevolent idea, however sometimes it can ramp up the pressure on your planning as you begin to hear everyone’s opinions on how you should and what you should plan.
In case you’re starting at ground zero and not even sure what you want, we will provide you with a “classic” style wedding reception below:
Immediately following your ceremony – (receiving line would be “traditional” but you can always skip the receiving line and make sure to greet and thank each table later!)
00:00 Social hour
Often guests shift this way after the ceremony, but the couple and their bridal party and families stay behind for photos!
01:15 Introduction of the newlyweds
Traditionally bridal party and parents would be involved in this introduction.
01:20 First Dance, Toasts
Typically your toasts are given by the Maid of Honor and Best Man, but sometimes another bridal party member or a parent may have been asked to speak. Depending on faith, after these speeches can be a great time for a blessing.
Guests typically dig into a salad course OR if there is no salad course, or things are being served buffet style, now’s the time to eat!
02:30 Cake cutting
Dessert can’t be served until you cut the cake- that’s tradition! Cutting the cake at the tail end of dinner gets guest eyes back on you. The big question…will someone smoosh cake in the others face?
02:40 Family Dances
Depending on your family dynamics and what traditional dances you want to incorporate, having these more formal dances before everyone is up saves clearing the dance floor. Plus you already have everyones’ attention from cutting your cake!
Now the formalities are over and you can relax! Guests will hit the dance floor and it is time for you to enjoy your company. Throughout this time your entertainment, whether it be a DJ or live band, can hop in for things like bouquet and garter toss, or any other dance floor games
03:00 Dessert will be out!
It will take your caterer a little time to cut cake and get the rest of dessert out. A suggestion if you and your crowd love the dance floor: have dessert served buffet style and have an announcement made once it is available! That way guests can go and grab dessert when they are ready and able and it doesn’t go to waste sitting at their tables while they’re on the dancefloor. Plus, you don’t want to stop the party to have everyone find their seats for a plated dessert course!
04:30 Last Call!
Make sure your MC gives a last call for the bar with enough time for everyone to get their final round. That way no one is left chugging their drink at the end of the night. We all know that never ends well.
04:45 Last song!
And make it a good one! This is the last chance to get everyone out on the dance floor together before parting ways or heading to an after party.
05:00 Official Send-Off
It used to be overwhelmingly common to do an official send-off of sorts. This can be with bubbles, sparklers, rose petals, balloons- you name it. This is your grand exit! We do like to suggest that whatever you use for your send-off, please be conscious of what’s getting left behind in nature and that if you choose sparklers, make sure you talk to your coordinator ahead of time to make sure they have a logistical plan to make sure that fire safety is being enforced.
While this may be “how it was always done,” don’t let that stop you. At Valley Wed- we truly believe this is YOUR Day. Hear the other opinions out, and follow your own plans regardless.
Some places we are seeing more variation:
Sometimes it can be helpful to know what’s “traditional” and make your decisions from there. However, it is YOUR day! Make sure you plan one that you will enjoy just as much as your guests, regardless of what tradition tells us!
First things first, what is a First Look? A First Look is a moment typically a few hours prior to the ceremony, where the couple see each other for the first time. It is typically arranged by the photographer, who then is able to capture their reactions to one another.
Why is a First Look a great idea?
Reasons to wait until your ceremony:
Are you and your fiancé having a hard time agreeing? There are a few ways you can compromise!
-Do a first touch. Place yourselves just out of sight around the corner from one another and reach for the other’s hand. This can make for a cool picture but also can be a comforting support to be near the other before the big moment without having the big reveal.
-Read your letters to one another (out loud or silently) back to back. This one may take a little orchestration from your photographer to make sure you don’t accidentally turn and see each other!
-As a bride, are you super close with your dad? Do a first look with one or both of your parents! It is still such a fun moment without revealing the bride to the groom.
Interested in a few more alternatives to a traditional First Look? Check out this article on Wedding Wire for more suggestions!
These days it is so easy to hop online and order things at the touch of a button for your wedding day. While ease can certainly play a factor in less stress, there is great value in supporting the local businesses around you when selecting vendors and services for your big day. Not only are you supporting your local community, but you are also able to meet with these people face to face to touch base, see what they’re creating for you, and make changes as needed. This can help with making sure you are getting exactly what you paid for, but it also allows you to build a relationship that you can trust will support you on your wedding day.
Most people, outside of wedding professionals, only plan a wedding once, so the guess work of which vendors to choose from and who to trust can be a challenging, timely and research-filled one. If you’re planning a western MA wedding and have found yourself reading this blog post, read on for recommendations for some of the best of the best for local and talented vendors in the western Mass region and beyond!
Forget Me Not Florist
Photographers & Videographers
Love & Perry
Leah Freeman Photography
Cara Totman Photography
Melaine Zacek Photography
Frosted Swirl Cupcakes
Cakes By Amanda
Crooked Stick Pops
Steve G Productions
Blue Door Gathering
Hamels Creative catering
Events by Pamela Joy
Invitations, Save The Dates, Thank Yous:
Big Wheel Press
The Borrowed Teacup
Tuxes, suits, and dresses:
Jackson and Connor
Don Muller Gallery
AG Ambroult Elemental Design
Michelle Ann Hair Design
Calligraphy, Custom Event Decor, & Floral Preservation
Love Always, Tanya
Garden Treasures Design
Are you thinking about favors? If you’re looking for a Massachusetts-style favor to send each of your guests home with, don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com we will connect you with the very best maple syrup, honey, chocolate, soap, popcorn, etc. businesses!
There’s something special in collaboration, especially for a day that holds so much value. Those relationships and that collaboration lacks when outsourced through the internet or less expensive mail-order companies. Consider your local community’s population of wedding vendors, and you wont be disappointed in the incredible gems that you find!
Nobody wants rain on their wedding day! Unfortunately, we cant control Mother Nature’s plans. So your big day is looming ahead and it’s looking like rain, now what?
Communicate! First things first, communicate with the major supports of your day. If you have a wedding planner or venue coordinator, be in touch with them about the best next steps. Reach out to bridal party or delegate to a best man/maid of honor to have them prepare themselves with umbrellas and proper clothing.
If your wedding is scheduled to be outside, ceremony or reception, it’s a great time to start seeking out a rental company that can provide you with a tent. Some rental companies may ask you to pay a deposit ahead of time to secure your tent, while be able to provide this the week of. Some things to consider when selecting a tent:
If just your ceremony is to be outside and you are not crazy about tents- there ways to navigate what to do! Call your venue or the person who owns/is in charge of the location you're to be married and ask if they have an alternative room for the ceremony. Some bigger venues are able to shift things around to accommodate for your wedding and the weather. If there is an extra charge to hold an indoor space in the chance of rain, it is highly recommended to bite the bullet and eat the added cost. Better to play it safe than to be left scrambling!
If there is not an indoor alternative option there are two trains of thought.
ii.Be prepared with changes of shoes, maybe a pair of rain boots for your ceremony, a blanket or warm shawl or jacket in case it is chilly, and a pair of dry clothing for after your wedding to change into if need be
iii.Ladies- be ready with hair spray and make up touch up kits. With summer rain comes humidity, and an umbrella can’t protect you from that!
ii.Think about keeping it light and purchase ponchos for all your girls and guys up front to wear while you tie the knot
iii.Warn them of pending rain, and suggest they bring changes in shoes, an extra jacket, and maybe a hair dryer
ii.Incorporate some rain gear in your ceremony décor such as:
Lastly! Give yourself a 15-20 minute window of time to be disappointed, and then take action. It can be a huge bummer when you find out the weather for your big day is going to be less than ideal. You are allowed to be sad and upset. Don’t let it ruin your day! Remember the key most important pieces to your big day, and that a little rain will only add to the story!
You’ve nailed down your venue and your guest list. Your décor. Your vendors. Your details. The RSVPs are in (mostly)…so now…the seating chart!
First things first, having a floor plan to look at can be helpful. Reach out to your venue coordinator or wedding planner to see if they have a blueprint or floor plan made up. Do you want round or long tables? Or both? Are you planning on a buffet or plated style meal? Stations or family style? Where is your dance floor and where are guest tables in proximity to that? A floor plan helps with all of that! If you are not working with a professional - create your own! It will give you a sense of space and table location when deciding how to place your guests. It’s always a good idea to seat older guests further from the band or DJ so that the sound isn’t too loud and for easy access to and from the restrooms, bar, buffet line, etc. Seating younger friends and guests who are likely to be up and dancing near the source of sound can be both convenient and efficient as they’re unlikely to stay in their seats much past dinner anyways!
Next, decide between a sweetheart table or a head table! Work from the inside out. You want to keep your dearest family and/or friends closest to the action – and to you! If you decide on a sweetheart table, it might be worth surrounding yourself with your bridal party and their dates and friends. Or your parents and family placed closest, with your bridal party seated throughout the room with their dates and in the respective category of family and friends. In short: compile your nearest and dearest at the tables closest to you, whoever that may be!
Parental and guardian configurations can vary greatly from family to family- and you know your family dynamics the best! Typically parents are seated at tables closest to you and within the best sightlines. It can be hard to know who to seat at family tables – parents and grandparents are a great start. From there? Do you have any guests that are close friends to the family or your parents? It may be worth asking your folks to see if there is a friend they’d love to have at their table for encouraging smiles or a quick hand squeeze! Of course, not all families have just one set of parents in which case, you can always seat them together, unless this is uncomfortable. If this is a tense or unhappy dynamic its suggested to place them at the two nearest tables, so no one feels like they’re being short changed for their chance to watch you.
Once you have seated your bridal party and parents, it is time to seat your friends and remaining guests without an assigned seat yet! Categorizing your guests into tables or at least people who know each other or who are from a similar part of your life, prior to creating the seating chart can be helpful on this one! This can help you categorize your brain. If a group is too big for one table, consider creating a mix of guests that ensures everyone has someone familiar, even if it means sitting with mostly new faces! It can be nice to also take into consideration the dynamic of your single friends versus your married friends. It’s suggested to skip the “singles” table as that can create uncomfortable pressure, but it’s important to be thoughtful not to seat 1 single friend at a table of married couples.
Assign seats or just assign tables?
We have seen it done all ways! If you have a headache trying to decide who sits next to who, simply decide who sits WITH who! Create a table of guests and let them do the rest!
Are you concerned certain family members or friends might try and sit in a place that could be an issue? Don’t’ be afraid to assign seats so that you can rest assured it is all handled. If guests question why, simply answer it was easier for you this way!
Allowing folks to sit wherever they would like and with whoever they would like certainly takes a lot of pressure off of you, but can create stress amongst the room. It can be a great way to switch things up and put power back into your guests’ self-sovereign hands, but here are a few ideas to boost your success.
At the end of the day, as long as everyone has a physical seat at a table in the space, it will all work out. Most people remain seated through formalities and dinner, and after that they generally move to visit with whoever they’d like! So grab a bottle of wine, a cup of tea or cocoa, some popcorn, and a friend or your fiancé, and get to work!
Selecting the venue for your wedding day is a big decision, and often it is one of the first ones you make. It can also be one of the most difficult ones! So when selecting a venue, what kind of questions should you ask? First and foremost, you want to try and get a feel for what type of wedding or what kind of vibe you are hoping for. The possibilities are endless these days with barns, golf courses, hotels, wineries, industrial buildings, tents, historical landmarks, theaters, and more. When you envision your day, where do you best see it happening?
It can be so overwhelming when researching and visiting different venues to keep everything straight. Who wants to get stressed out when you’re doing research for one of the most exciting days of your life?! Here are a few tips:
Great things to ask before prior to touring:
-What is the cost to get married at this venue?
-What additional costs can come up outside of the venue fee?
*If you prepare your entire budget prior to touring, then you will know just how much you have to spend on the venue alone!
-If you have your heart set on a date, do they have it available?
-Is there a place to get ready onsite?
It can be a good idea to ask questions about the things you feel strongly for your wedding day and that you’re unwilling to sacrifice! The deal-breakers or day-makers. This will help you weed out venues that may not be worth the trip to see or boost ones that are a perfect fit!
So, you have narrowed your search to a list of venues that, based off of your research, contain none of your deal breakers. What’s important to ask or make sure they answer?
Capacity? – Know your rough guest list before going out on tours!
What’s included in the venue fee?
Do they have recommended vendors? – and are you limited to this list?
Who handles set up and break down?
Where is the ceremony space in respect to the reception space?
-If it’s within the same venue, who handles that transition between ceremony and reception and how long does it take?
Does the site have a wedding suite? For both sides of your party?
Can you hold a date while you make the final decision?
How do you officially book a date?
What form of payment do they take?
Is there a structured payment plan?
What happens if it rains?
Are there onsite accommodations? If not, where do you suggest we get room blocks?
A few more complicated questions:
How does the flow of the day work?
Do they provide day-of coordination or is that someone that would need to be hired?
How does the bar work and who handles that?
-Can you bring our own alcohol?
-Do you hire bartenders or does the venue provide them?
How long is the event time package?
Is there flexibility in the hours of the wedding?
Can you extend the hours of a package?
Is there adequate parking for your guest count?
Are there any restrictions on décor that can be brought in?
Can there be a DJ or a band?
-Are there any sound ordinances involved with the venue?
Do you need any special permits or insurance for the wedding?
Often it seems like nailing down a venue can then lay the ground work for the other vendors that will need to be hired. Don’t overthink it! While planning your questions ahead of time can be helpful, don’t negate that gut feeling you get when viewing or touring a location. Just like when you fall in love- sometimes, you just know! And then, the rest falls into place.
When you are getting married there are endless decisions to make. All of those details can certainly get overwhelming! When it comes to a signature drink- how do you choose?!
Here are a few things we suggest you consider when picking a signature drink for your big day:
What’s in season for fruit? What’re the appropriate flavors for the season? Apple cider is an excellent flavor for the Fall, but might be a little odd in April or May. What will be refreshing to drink at that time? If it’s high summer, something light and refreshing over lots of ice might be nice. On the flip side, you may not want to hold a frozen Margarita if you’re big day is in the January.
What kind of drinks do YOU like?
A signature drink can be a fun and easy way for your guests to get into the spirit of your wedding, but it is also for you! What is your favorite kind of beverage to have when you go out or treat yourself? If you’re not big into alcoholic beverages, maybe there’s a flavored lemonade that you love? It should be something you like to enjoy!
Is there a drink that tells a story about you and/or your fiancé?
Is there a particular drink that your crowd might get a kick out of? Perhaps there is something you are widely known for ordering when you go out? Or perhaps, there is a special drink that tells a part of your story. Was it what you drank together on your first date? The story your signature drink tells could be as short and simple as it fits who you are or what your personality is like!
Hashtags, Signage, and Names!
Is there a drink that you can create a fun spin on the name? Or can you incorporate your new married name into a drink? If you have a wedding hashtag, you can create a drink name based off of that!
Ease to Make in Batches, or Replicate Quickly
Try and avoid picking something that is too complicated or that involves a lot of steps to be made correctly and tastefully. It can make it difficult for a bartender to make a large batch ahead of time or it can be difficult to replicate a complicated drink multiple times efficiently, while still maintaining quality of flavor. For example, a peach bellini will fizz like crazy when being made, and slow down the ability for guests to be served quickly. No one wants a long bar line!
What do you want your drink to look like?
Presentation can be half the fun! Make sure your drink is served in an appropriate kind of glass that you would like to see it in. You want to make sure it is something your guests feel comfortable carrying around as they mingle with other guests!
Photo by Allison Bell
What is this thing the wedding world deems "Engagement Season"?! Couples get engaged whenever, wherever, they want, right? Right! But did you know the amount of couples who get engaged around the holidays is twice as many, if not three times as many, as any other season?
According to a report from WeddingWire, 6 of the 10 most popular dates to get engaged in 2016 landed in December. Beginning at Thanksgiving and carrying through Valentine's Day, couples are saying "I Do" more often than any other time of the year. As wedding professionals, we see an influx of inquiries just following the holidays, but also find when we ask "When did you get engaged?!", we often get an engagement season categorized response. WeddingWire claims that 38% of engagements take place between November and February.
What makes this time of year such a great time to be engaged then? Well, think about it! The holiday season presents multiple opportunities to see family members at holiday gatherings or old friends you don't see often! It also gives couples almost an entire year and a half to plan their big day, assuming they are choosing to get married in the warmer months. This can take some of the pressure off of decisions and give plenty of time for venue and vendor research. The Knot tells us that the average couple is engaged for about 14.5 months before wedding day. That being said, every couple is different! Some couples enjoy a long engagement without the pressure of to plan and make decisions quickly. Others may be looking for more of a low key and simple wedding, meaning they may not need as much time to plan, allowing for a shorter engagement time.
Whether you're engaged "in season" or not, it is an exciting time to share with your loved ones, family, and friends. Wedding professionals everywhere are always excited to hear about a new engagement and chat about the possibilities they can help create for your big day!
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