why aren’t we setting wedding ceremonies in the round?

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Theaters in the round are becoming more and more popular with meeting planners and event designers, and for good reason: by placing the speaker (or entertainer) in a stage in the center of the room and placing the chairs around it on all sides, everyone gets closer to the speaker, everyone feels more involved, everyone feels more engaged.

Let’s do this with weddings as well. Obviously this depends on where the wedding is being held. A historic church with a traditional sanctuary might not be able to accommodate such a request, but an outdoor venue with room to innovate, or an otherwise large room might be perfect.

Sure, everyone has a better view. That’s certainly important. No one wants to be behind a dark tower (remember the opening scene in The Wedding Planner when J.Lo realizes that a wedding guest’s large bouffant hairstyle is blocking a camera angle, and she asks her assistant to take care of it by reseating the guest in the VIP pew? “Dark tower demolished.” Maybe I’ve seen that movie too many times…)

At the end of the day, a wedding is about the bride and groom making a commitment to spend their lives together with the support of their friends and family, and sharing that special day with the people who mean the most to the couple is incredibly important. There are so many ways to make the wedding meaningful for guests, so many ways to bring the guests “in” more.

Setting the ceremony seats in the round isn’t the only way to do this, and it’s not always appropriate, but when it is, it makes the ceremony feel more intimate, more personal.

What do you think? Yea or nay on circular wedding ceremony seating?

Photo via Rachel Events

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give your guests something to talk about: DIY food stations

I’m a big fan of entertaining. I love to host dinner parties, brunches (I love brunch!), holiday parties, anything really. Most of these types of parties don’t have much built in entertainment (we don’t hire a DJ to provide the beats for for our dinner parties, believe it or not), the conversation and the connections is what it’s all about. But sometimes, adding a unique food and beverage station (or bar – not that kind of bar, although that’s often suggested as well) can help facilitate conversation.

Here are some of my favorite ideas that are relatively easy to pull off:

An olive bar and olive oil tasting. Specialty grocery stores sell fancy olives, plus you can grab a few bottles of higher end olive oil, cut up some bread, and have your guests try and taste the difference.

Photo via  Style Me Pretty

Photo via Style Me Pretty

If you’re serving margaritas (and I love a good marg), why not complement them with a salsa bar? Very easy (and affordable)!

Mimosas are my favorite brunch drink. Make your own mimosa bars are becoming more popular at bridal showers and brunches, but any brunch can use a mimosa bar. I’d take this a step further and offer more interesting juice options, such as mango or peach.

Photo via  Catch My Party

Photo via Catch My Party

For something a little more casual, what about a make your own snack mix? Everyone has the stuff in snack mix they love, and the stuff they pick out. The sky is the limit – you can go sweet or savory. If your event has a theme you can complement the theme with the type of containers you use, for example if you were hosting an outdoor event, you could use flower pots.

Photo via  100 Layer Cakelet

Photo via 100 Layer Cakelet

For a dessert bar, I love make-you-own candy apples, especially in the fall. But rather than doing whole apples, which can be messy and difficult to eat, how about offering the same fun toppings but for apple slices?

Photo via  K and K Designs

Photo via K and K Designs

This just scratches the surface – you can take almost any food and drink and turn into into a fun activity for your guests. Do you have any ideas to share?

why is it always so cold in meeting spaces?

 I’m often cold. When other people are comfortably cool, I’m freezing. Not good for someone who spends a fair amount of time in hotel ballrooms and other meeting spaces that are known for being drafty.  But I’m used to it and I dress accordingly. In fact, my uniform of choice when I’m working an event is a blazer or suit jacket – not just for pockets (which are crucial) – but also for warmth.

“It’s simple, really: most events are better off with guests who are cold, than with guests who are naked. ”

Attendees often ask me why it’s so cold. It’s simple, really: most events are better off with guests who are cold, than with guests who are naked. Of course, it depends on the event, but for most meetings, conferences, and even weddings, clothing is a must. So if it gets too warm in a ballroom, people can’t really start taking off their clothes, hence the chilly meeting rooms.

The larger the space, the harder it is too keep everyone happy. While people like me will freeze, there will probably be some guests who are warm, maybe even too warm. And no one wants to be in a conference when the guy next to you is sweating.

At the end of the day, this is a problem best solved by communication. Many conferences and events have some indication in the invitation or registration materials as to the dress code. What about a friendly reminder to dress in layers? My guess is most attendees would be perfectly happy to see a reminder to bring a light sweater to the meeting, if they were the type to get chilly.

At weddings, I’m seeing more brides provide pashminas for their guests – particularly for outdoor weddings for after the sun goes down, but I’d love to see this at indoor events as well.

Photo via  Style Me Pretty

Photo via Style Me Pretty

What’s your strategy for keeping comfortable at meetings or events, and making sure your guests do as well?