Elements of the Ceremony: Fixing the Bride Do’s and Don’ts (2 of 2)

Here are a few ceremony do’s and don’ts when it comes to fixing the bride’s gown and veil. These general guidelines will help us avoid awkward moments while still keeping the bride looking pretty!

The Dress



Fixing the train. This is an expectation of the maid/matron of honor at the beginning of the ceremony when the bride first turns to face the groom. You can also fix the train anytime the bride has moved from her place, like after returning from the unity ceremony. The most important thing with fixing the train: be discrete. Try to find moments that are non-distracting, like during the officiant greeting, or during a song or scripture reading, when the wedding guests’ eyes will be fixed elsewhere.


Obsessively fix the train. Of course, brides are bound to have long dresses, but continually keeping it straight can become very distracting. Use your best judgment here, but bear in mind that every time you bend down to fix it, guests are bound to notice.


The Veil


Veils can sometimes be quite tricky. If not properly placed prior to the ceremony, veils can become crooked or fall out. The best thing to do is make sure it is nice and snug prior to the ceremony. Hair-spraying the comb piece will ensure security. However, sometimes this delicate material will want to do its own thing. For brides with cathedral veils, it is usually best to make adjustments at the same time as adjusting the train. This way, you can get it all done in one smooth swoop. Usually shorter veils are not as much of an issue, but same rule applies: discrete adjustments coupled with fixing the train. If the bride’s veil falls out while walking down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony, have the personal attendant pick it up and pass it to the bride’s mother. The maid/matron of honor can then replace it while fixing the train. If this happens at any other point during the ceremony, it is best to leave it out.



When a bride’s veil is flowing in the wind during an outdoor ceremony, it is picturesque! Again, veils are very light and delicate; add a gentle breeze and it will be in constant motion. For the bride with a long cathedral-type veil, just let it flow! Do not constantly fix it, as it will be greatly distracting, and take away from the natural beauty of the outdoor ceremony. It is best for brides to have a back-up plan for an outdoor ceremony: such as a short veil or alternative hairpiece in case of a windy day. Just like constantly fixing the veil can be disruptive, a long veil that turns into a bridal kite is equally distracting. The great outdoors can also lead to little friends attaching to the bride, such as bugs, twigs, leaves, etc. Unless the bride is in danger of a bee sting, leave them alone, as most people will likely not notice the attachments.

34a58d8c1cfb864b55950f4cd2c86d942006c3083f24ee7b76fe69215577fbedThough we don’t often anticipate needing to make adjustments during a ceremony, they are common. It is best to discuss with the bride what she wants taken care of. Though no one wants to discuss worst-case scenarios with their veil or dress, having a back-up plan helps alleviate distraction and ensures the bride will not be embarrassed by the fine-tuning necessary to keep her looking gorgeous!


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Elements of the Ceremony: Unique Unities (1 of 2)

The Unity Candle:

Traditionally, a unity candle represents two people becoming one in marriage by lighting one flame and distinguishing their individual flames. While this is a beautiful representation of the commitment made to one another, some people have started to get quite creative when displaying their union.

Matt and Hannah June 22, 2012 CR KJP  548
The Unity Sand:

There are multiple takes on this one. Often times, people will take dirt or sand from where they grew up and pour it into a vase, an hourglass, or a shadow box. Another option is to incorporate colors that represent the bride and groom. These concepts are to display unification of origin.

sand ceremony wedding Cindy Cieluch Photography 1The Unity Tree:

This is much like the unity sand. Usually people use dirt from their hometown and pour it into the planter. However, if that is not conducive to helping the growth of the tree, using planting soil is just fine.

The First Fight Box:

The bride and groom write love letters to one another and place them in a box. During the ceremony, they nail the box closed to represent their unification. When the husband and wife encounter marital challenges, they are to open this box and be reminded of their love and commitment to one another.
Unknown“Tying the Knot”: Handfasting

Handfasting is a Celtic tradition in which the bride and groom are tied together by rope. Holding hands symbolizes intimacy and the wedding officiant ties the rope, representing their union. For further details, check out this site.
handfastingA Cord with Three Strands:

This unity is based on the Biblical scripture in the book of Ecclesiastes, verse 4:12. The strands represent the bride, groom and God. During the ceremony, the bride and groom braid the three strands and tie the bottom.
Gods-KnotThe Family Prayer:

The family prayer can be used as the unity, or can be incorporated into the ceremony while still displaying unification in another way. The bride and groom can choose who they want to come to the front of the ceremony and pray or provide words of wisdom and encouragement over them. Generally, the bride and groom’s parents will be part of this. However, there are no limits, as this is a very intimate moment.

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Fun With Table Numbers

Table numbers are essential to every reception. They help guests find their seat, and add more décor! From balloon numbers, to candles or even numbered flower boxes, there are many elegant ways to number your tables. If you’re looking for a more unique option, pair the table number with pictures of you and your loved one at that age. Your guests will love walking around and seeing all of the old pictures! You could also leave the numbers behind and use words such as kinds of wine, your favorite places, or songs. Be creative! If you do choose to use words, be sure to have the tables organized by alphabetical order so it’s easy for your guest to find their way.


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Cake Connoisseurs: To Top it All Off

Keep the personalization of your wedding day going all the way to the top, to the top of the cake that is! A wedding cake topper is like a cherry on top of a sundae. It truly pulls together the whole cake into one beautiful masterpiece. However, a lot of brides are steering away form the traditional bride and groom cake topper. With these these new trends, it will be a piece of cake to find a topper that expresses your love on your big day!

Monograms: Finally, the day has come where you both share the same last time! What a great way to represent you both as couple with a monogram of your initials. Tie in the theme of the wedding by incorporating it into the monogram cake topper. Some design examples could include rustic wood, sparkles or for my sweet tooth’s made of chocolate. Yum!

custom-wedding-cake-topper-monogram-silver__full monograms

Silhouettes: This new trend is a simple black silhouette cut out of the bride and groom. This unique idea captures the two love birds with an elegant touch! You can have the two sharing a kiss or dancing on top of their beautiful cake. A great keepsake as well!

Words: This options gives quite a variety on what the couple wants their cake to display. The words you can choose can be written in wooden hearts, made of metal, or displayed on paper flags stuck into the cake. Although there are many words to choose from some ideas are “We Do”, “Better Together’, and “All You Need is Love”.

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Flowers: A simple and romantic addition to top of the delicious cake! A new trend is it include a mini bouquet representing the bride’s actual bouquet. What a great way to bring together the ceremony and reception with the same design elements! For our flower fanatics coordinate more flowers into the middle layers to really make the cake pop! Keep in mind flowers can be either fresh or edible sugar paste.
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Meet Cherry Blossom’s New Intern: Hailey



Hailey Smith 

Hello! My name is Hailey and I am very excited to join the Cherry Blossom team as one of the new interns! I am from Janesville, WI and have lived there my whole life! I recently just graduated from the University of Tampa. I majored in entrepreneurship and marketing. I one day hope of opening my own business, so I am excited to get experience in a lot of different areas to see what I excel in!

What was your favorite celebrity wedding?

The celebrity wedding that I fell in love with was Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting’s New Years Eve fairytale wedding. Not only was the lavish wedding a perfect size with close friends and family; her pink vera wang dress was beautiful. Also, her cake was absolutely stunning. An upside chandelier cake, that actually suspended from the ceiling. It was truly marvelous and matched her elegant theme. I loved the location of California so she was still able to have big white tents to hold the reception outdoors in winter.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I try to stay active as much as possible! I really enjoy running and playing tennis. I try to enter as many local races as i can and keep up on my tennis by coaching kids. I also have a passion for baking! A lot of of my free time is spent finding new recipes and trying out different cake designs! I have been doing a lot more wedding cakes lately, which is a great tie into the internship! I also really enjoy going to concerts, my favorite times have been centered around country concerts. It is always a good time and music that everyone seems to relate to!

What is your favorite wedding trend?

Right now I would say my favorite wedding trend is having the same style bridesmaids dress but each in a slightly different shade of the main color. I think it gives the wedding party a different look and is something that stands out. The look can make each bridesmaid feel unique but still have uniformity. I especially like the color scheme with mint and light blues as well as long bridesmaids dresses.

Meet Cherry Blossom’s New Intern: Hannah

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On our honeymoon in Seattle, WA

Hello! My name is Hannah. I am excited to join the Cherry Blossom team! I am originally from Minneapolis, MN. My husband and I moved to Madison two years ago and we love it here!

We were married summer of 2012 in Minneapolis. The memories of wedding planning still seem fresh. And this might sound crazy, but if I could, I would do it all over again. We had a blast! And that is what I wish for every bride and groom. Your wedding day is incredibly special, and your commitment to one another in marriage should be celebrated!


In my free time, I enjoy cooking and decorating. I proclaim myself as a “foodie,” but that is solely based on my own definition, and that is, “I love food.” My husband and I like trying new dishes, and you will often find me researching cookbooks, magazines, and recipe sites. I also enjoy decorating and design. My poor husband often comes home to me re-“feng-shui-ing” our apartment. Rain or shine you will frequently find me in the backyard refurbishing some street-side find, or a thrift shop goodie.

Favorite Famous Wedding:

Brides-to-be: do not make the same mistake I did the week of my wedding. And that is, watching Father of the Bride with your parents. Unless you are looking for a cathartic cry from all the stress of planning, this movie will guarantee tears. However, Father of the Bride remains one of my favorite movies, and one of my favorite Hollywood weddings. It is elegant and extravagant, yet intimate and classy. I love the details, the colors, and the traditional beauty of the event. Though this movie is from 1991, there are some classic elements that should not be dismissed twenty-three years later. They include: the simplicity of elegance, lots of candlelight, and comfortable shoes!

Favorite Color Pallet:

I am a simple gal. When I was getting married people would ask, “What are your colors?” I would reply, “I don’t think I have any.” Well, I guess you could say we had a black and white wedding. Truth is, I was afraid to dive into color, fearing that my decisions in 2012 would haunt me in 2032. Yet, that is not the point. Your wedding should reflect who you as a couple in the present. No matter what, I think every bride will go through phases of: “I loved my colors!” “What was I thinking?!” and, “I loved my colors!” My current favorite color pallets are navy with bright and colorful flowers (sunflowers included), or mint with cream and silver (I am thinking hydrangeas or a mixture of field flowers), or blush with cream and gold (with a beautiful arrangement of baby’s breath and soft greens tied with gold twine).

Favorite Wedding Trend:

Unconventional desserts! Though I am a cake-lover, it is fun to go to a wedding and have something sweetly unexpected.

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Taking the first bite before my husband. I cannot resist treats!

Photography credit: keelyjoyphotography.com

Invitation Etiquette: 3 Common Questions, Answered!

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1. How do you address invitations? Honorifics 101:

Addressing invitations can be confusing. Who’s name is placed first? How do you address families? Or people with distinguished titles? Bottom line, it depends on your personal style and the style of the wedding.

Here are a few examples when addressing your invitations:

For married couples:

Traditional: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

Semi-traditional: Mr. and Mrs. Smith or Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith

Casual: John and Jane Smith

For those with credentials/distinguished titles:

Generally it is recommended to use credentials and titles based on knowledge of the individual, and again, the style of the wedding. You can follow the traditional and semi-traditional methods above. Below are some possible titles you may encounter. It is important to keep these in mind when appropriately addressing your invitations.

Doctor, Professor, Military Ranks, Religious Titles (Reverend), etc.



Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

Matthew and Miss Emily Smith


Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith

Matthew and (Miss*) Emily Smith

*Miss optional


The Smith Family

For further ideas on addressing etiquette, check out this site:


2. How do you communicate to someone they can or cannot bring a guest or their children?

Addressing plays a significant role in whether or not someone is invited to bring a guest or their kids. With that said, things can get confusing on the RSVP. So depending on what you decide to do with your invitations, make sure it is either clearly communicated on the address portion of the invitation, or written on the RSVP. Here are examples of invitations welcoming someone to bring a guest or their children. For utmost clarity, list the guest or children invited. The outside envelope would be addressed:

Ms. Jane Smith and Guest

2345 University Avenue

Madison, WI 53726


Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith

Matthew, Miss Alice and Thomas Smith

2345 University Avenue

Madison, WI 53726

The RSVP then offers the opportunity for people to add their guest’s name or children’s names. For example:


Please kindly reply by May 25th

Guest Name(s): _________________________

 [ ] accepts with unbridled excitement!

[ ] CEREMONY(the celebration begins at six o’clock)

[ ] RECEPTION (hors d’oeuvres begin at six-Thirty)

 [ ] declines with sincere regret…

Thank you for your response!

However, if you are not collecting names (just numbers) you can include the number of guests expected on your RSVP. For example:


Please kindly reply by May 25th

[ ] accepts with unbridled excitement!

[ ] CEREMONY(the celebration begins at Six o’clock)

[ ] RECEPTION (hors d’oeuvres begin at six-Thirty)

[ ] declines with sincere regret…

Number of Guests: __

Thank you for your reply!

 Unfortunately, usually the challenge is not with inviting people, it is with gently communicating to guests they cannot bring a plus one or their children to the wedding. The simplest way is specifically addressing who is invited, and by word of mouth. Family and those in the wedding party can spread word that it is an adult-only wedding, or that space is limited.

Proper etiquette is to always invite a plus one for a guest who is in a committed relationship, such as a marriage, engagement or a long-term relationship. The lines are blurred when it is a new relationship. From an etiquette standpoint, you are not obligated to invite the plus one. But that is an individualized circumstance and depends on space availability and preference. The key is consistency. Tension would likely arise if you allowed one friend to bring a plus one, but did not extend the same invitation to another friend. And, if we were to get really technical, family is supposed to take priority over friends for a plus one or children. Always do what feels best for you as a couple, your family, and friends. No one wants drama on the big day! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/manners-mondays-_n_3672341.html

Lastly, some people just need things spelled out. It is not considered impolite to write on the invitation, “We apologize, we are unable accommodate children for this event.” Or, “We ask that you just bring yourself to this event due to limited space, and we look forward to celebrating with you!” Making your guest list is one of the hardest tasks in wedding planning. The key to success is always being honest in communication, and consistent with everyone.

 3What do you do if someone adds a guest or children on the RSVP, but they are not invited?

 Sadly, this issue is not uncommon. Even if you make your expectations clear, you can still end up with some unexpected RSVPs. So what do you do? There are a few options. It is not considered inappropriate to call your guest and explain the situation. The bride or groom, family members, or people in the wedding party can take care of this dilemma. For example, “I am really sorry to tell you that we are not able to have your guest join us. Unfortunately, our space is limited. But we are excited to have you there, and thank you for understanding!” The same is true for children. It is considered proper etiquette to call and tell your guests that they cannot bring their kids, “This is an adult-only wedding, “ or “We are only inviting children from our immediate family.” Again, the key is honest communication and consistency. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/kids-at-weddings_n_4520102.html


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