While Memorial Day weekend brings with it the sweet sense of summertime fun, today’s true meaning calls for us to honor those who’ve lost their lives in the name of our country. And for those of you taking vows on this storied weekend, here’s a little red, white and blue to inspire you:
We love ladybugs – especially when it comes to decorating wedding invites or wearing rain wellies. Plus, we are total suckers for the good luck they are rumored to bring us. But when “good luck” lands in our sacred sangria, we’ll quickly pass it up without looking back. More often than not, these little spotted insects take our beloved events from elegant to the average frank-&-beans backyard bonanza in less time it takes you to count the spots. Sadly, it’s not the look we were going for. With that said, we are absolutely tickled to share how to keep these little 6-legged ladies out of your custom-made mojito! Note: Applies to all the insects of summer
We cannot get enough of the sophisticated look of the bev hat! According to the trusty wikianswers.com, a person unknowingly consumes one pound of insects a year. Regardless if this is an exaggeration or common myth, we prefer not to take any chances.
Not only are these colorful drink umbrellas perfect for your next outdoor occasion, they are disposable! If you are itching for a particular pattern or color, check out this DIY from Martha Stewart on how to create your own. Just make sure to put a straw in place of the skewer.
We absolutely adore these little patterned cups by The Pink Azalea! Not only are they a stylish way to keep out the creepy crawlies, but they double as a great party favor. Consider adding a monogram for a more personal touch!
Nothing says tied the knot quite like a nautical-themed wedding. We are totally on board with combining navy and newlyweds! Are you ready to set sail?
Lobster tie & knot via Wedding Bee; Wedding party via Last Best Wedding Design; Starfish wedding invites by Brass Paperclip; Nautical gift box via Little Big Company; Ahoy! invite and red latterns by Polka Dot Prints Studio; Anchor wedding cake by Cake Occasions; Knot table numbers via Last Best Wedding Design; Soda boat via Southern Weddings
Being just a beach cruiser’s ride away from the beach, we can’t help but be fans of everything-by-the-sea. Especially seafood. If you’re looking for a fun, interactive summer party theme for your welcome cocktail evening or rehearsal dinner, here are a couple of tips to help you turn a classic New England clambake into a Florida affair. We only have one requirement: Clams! And maybe a lobster or two… and some crab claws… and bloody marys… maybe some frosty beers and white wine…
OK so we’re a little more high maintenance than we thought. But seriously, a clambake is meant to be a no-muss, no fuss affair.
If your local beach prohibits bonfires (like most in Florida), don’t fret! You can still have a fantastic clambake on the stove. Here’s a recipe from Manhattan’s famed Mermaid Inn:
Serves 4-6 people
Prep time, 30 minutes
Cooking time 30-35 minutes
6 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh oregano
3 sprigs parsley
2 pounds seaweed, available at your local fishmonger
2 each 1.5 pound live Maine lobsters, killed by swiftly impaling the area high on the back, right below the head
5 cloves of garlic, skin left on
12 cherrystone clams, soaked in cold salty water for 30 minute, then rinsed
12 littleneck clams, soaked in cold salty water for 30 minutes, then rinsed
1 pound smoked chorizo, sliced into 2 inch pieces
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 pound steamer clams, purged
1 pound fresh shrimp, head on
12 large oysters, scrubbed
3 lemons, halved
Please note: You will need an extra large pot with a lid. It will hold all of the ingredients, covered.
Combine all the herbs in a bowl and toss to mix. Line the bottom of very large pot with 1/5 of the seaweed. Add the lobsters and top with thin layer of seaweed and some of the mixed herbs and one clove of garlic. Add the cherrystones, littlenecks, and the chorizo, and another layer of seaweed with more of the herbs and one clove of garlic.
Add the oysters, steamers and 3 lemon halves, then a thin layer of seaweed mixed with the rest of the herbs. Finally add the shrimp and mussels. If you have any seaweed, garlic or herbs left over, put it on the top with the remaining 3 lemon halves.
Place the lid on top and place the pot on a stovetop over medium heat. Let cook for 30 minutes, lifting the lid periodically to see if the heat needs adjusting. Once cooked through, carefully transfer to a large serving platter, being sure to discard any mollusks that have not opened. Garnish with seaweed, herbs and lemons and serve with steamed corn.
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With Memorial Day just around the corner, we were inspired to find fun and fresh ways to incorporate our beloved reds, whites and blues. All week long we’ll be exploring patriotic party themes, hopefully inspiring proud Americans to honor Old Glory — and those who have served her — in style. Today’s tip: Try straying from the traditional shade of blue, combining cherry red with aqua for a romantic and fashion-forward color palette:
Rain wellies by Amy Beth Photography; Table setting & favor via A Perfectly Posh Plan; Just married! wedding invitations by Minted.; Floral & candle center piece via The Budget Savy Bride; Wedding cake via Ashleys Bride Guide; Just married! 1959 Cadillac by Martha Stewart; Red & blue stationery by Martha Stewart Weddings; Bridesmaid & bride via Ashleys Bride Guide; Red rose satin heels by Martha Stewart Weddings
Much of a wedding is centered around tradition: The white dress, vows, exchanging of rings… But one tradition is slowly being phased out: throwing rice. In many cultures, tossing rice at the departing bride and groom symbolizes prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. One tale even suggests that evil spirits feed on the rice, filling their bellies and leaving them too lazy to impart their evil ways on the newly wed.
But rice is out – and for good reason! Not only is it slippery (the last thing you want is a bride down!), but it hurts to be hit with thousands of tiny rice pellets as a person (and don’t get us started on what it does to the birds).
In lieu of rice, have your guests throw confetti, blow bubbles, hold sparklers… Just be sure to check with your ceremony venue ahead of time to see whether they have any policies prohibiting messy celebratory rituals. Here are a few ideas we adore:
The colorful pom-poms photos significantly change the mood to a playful, yet posh event. Thanks for the post Green Wedding Shoes! Worried about cleanup? An outdoor commercial vacuum can be rented from your local home improvement store — another job for your wedding planner!
Try using patterned paper or writing a small message to your guests (or have them write one to you!)
This may not be the most eco-friendly suggestion, but we promise you – it’s fun! Have your guests release balloons with prepaid post cards attached to each. When the balloons float down, strangers all over will find them, along with your request that the finder write their city, state, and/or country on the card and send it your way to find out how far the balloon traveled.
See, told you it was fun!
Nothing says Spring in Florida like a pink and green wedding! We love mixing vibrant colors and carrying these happy hues throughout wedding day decor. Here are a few of our favorite inspirations to help you channel your inner Lilly Pulitzer:
Pink and green table by Rebecca Thuss for Martha Stewart Weddings; Cake photo by Greg Wyatt Photography; Program and candies via Hostess with the Mostess; Boutineer and bouquet via The Knot; Balloon wedding party photo by Clark+Walker Photography; Bride via Pink Preppy Lilly Lover
One of the questions our brides ask us most often is who to tip, and how much? This helpful article from The Knot says it all:
When you’re already dipping deep into your (or your parents’) savings for so many wedding expenses, shelling out gratuities on top of that can be hard to handle. Well, rest easy: unless a service charge is spelled out in your contract, you’re never obligated to tip anyone.
However you can’t ignore the fact that some vendors will expect a gratuity, which forces tipping to be considered on a case-by-case scenario. Some general rules: Don’t tip business owners, only tip their employees (however, you can/should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations); tip vendors who offer exceptional service; thank-you notes are always appreciated; and assign the responsibility to a trusted deputy such as your wedding planner, a parent, or the best man. For a breakdown of what’s customary for each vendor, read on.
Wedding planners won’t likely expect anything; however, if yours did a great job you can always offer a token of your appreciation. (Note: Non-monetary thank-yous like professional photos of the wedding for the planner’s portfolio can go a long way too.) Approximately 50 percent of couples do tip their planners — typically those with more opulent weddings.
The $tandard: Up to $500, or a nice gift
When to Tip: The bride should hand off the envelope at the end of the reception, or, she should send a thank-you note with photos or a check after the honeymoon.
Wedding Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist
This is one area where a gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 – 20 percent just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her updo and it requires a redo at the last minute.
The $tandard: 15 – 25 percent, depending upon the quality of service
When to Tip: At the end of your service
Wedding Delivery and Set-up Staff
Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site (wedding cake, flowers, or sound system). And if a lot of gear needs to be brought in and set up (tents, chairs, or port-a-potties), the workers deserve a tip too.
The $tandard: $5 – $10 per person
When to Tip: Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager so the person accepting deliveries can turn the tip.
Wedding Ceremony Officiant
If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. If you’re using a nondenominational officiant, no tip is required because they will charge you for their time.
Protocol: Expected (depending on officiant)
The $tandard: Donate $500+ to the church or synagogue, or, for a nondenominational officiant, an optional tip of $50 – $100
When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have the best man pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.
Wedding Ceremony Musicians
If you worked with a mini orchestra to come up with the perfect score for your service (and they pulled it off flawlessly), consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. However, you probably don’t have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.
The $tandard: $15 – $20 per musician
When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony.
You’re not expected to give your shutterbugs any dough beyond their normal fees. Yet if the wedding photographer or videographer doesn’t own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).
Protocol: Unnecessary, unless the photographer is not the studio owner.
The $tandard: $50 – $200 per vendor
When to Tip: At the end of the reception.
Wedding Reception Staff
This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator, maitre d’, and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.
The $tandard: 15 – 20 percent of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200 – $300 for the maitre d’.
When to Tip: If it’s covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have the father of the bride or best man hand the envelope to the maitre d’ at the end of the reception since you will need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.
Wedding Reception Attendants
When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coat-room attendants the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.
Protocol: Optional, based on contract
The $tandard: $20 – $25 per bartender or waiter; $1 per guest for coat room and parking attendants; $1 per car
When to Tip: Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could alternately distribute them at the beginning of the evening, to encourage all the workers to give you great service.
Wedding Reception Band or DJ
Whether you hire 12-piece swing band or grooving to a DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional. (Depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist!) And don’t forget about any sound technicians they bring with them.
Protocol: Optional, yet preferred
The $tandard: $20 – $25 per musician; $50 – $150 for DJs
When to Tip: At the end of the reception, by the best man.
Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn’t, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don’t get lost!
The $tandard: 15 – 20 percent of the total bill
When to Tip: At the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip, otherwise, this duty falls to the best man.
– Celeste Perron