Family Style Wedding Reception Dining & Why You Want It!

So what is 'Family Style Dining' you say? It's when everyone sits at one [or a few if you have a lot of guests] long table and dines together like a family. Sure, large weddings still use the old wedding classic set up of multiple round tables with head table - but these great big tables offer a closeness and an intimacy [and an Old World familiarity] that will have all your guests feeling like family! This is a big plus for solo guests, wallflowers or shy relatives, and those who know few other guests. And the extra bonus? No one feels as though they're stuck at the 'boring table'! Boun appetito! Gorgeous Family Style Table setting styled by I Do Weddings & Events, photo by Fawn Christiansen taken at the totally fabulous San Diego wedding venue Luce Loft

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5 tips for a better (more danceable!) wedding reception by Elite British DJ

Ever wonder about the tricks of the trade to picking wedding songs? Well Mick Scrivener of Elite British DJ [a hugely popular San Diego wedding DJ] has some expert tips for you that come straight from decades of successful wedding receptions where people got up and danced the night away! His first bit of advice? NO GOOGLING!! Mick says "There is no such thing as a Cake Cutting song, it does not have to say sugar, sweet or honey in the title - just pick a song you love! In fact, I love it when my clients pick all their favorite songs for the cocktail and dinner hours. And I suggest the cocktail music be more upbeat than the dinner music, but never too mellow, and not all the same type of music as it becomes just background after a while if it all sounds the same. As for getting everyone up and dancing; I do recommend that you limit the dance 'must play' song list to about 5 songs as every crowd is so different. If you want everyone to have a good time, you need to take their tastes into account, that is why you have a DJ, to read the crowd. Make sure you provide your wedding DJ with a list of songs you like as 'Plan A', but allow the DJ to react to the crowd. Your 'Do Not Play' list is the most important list you have and can be as long as you want it to be !!! Remember your guests are going to base their experience more on the entertainment than anything so think about all of your guests when it comes to music choices (remember to think 'what would I like if I was a guest?') If you like Motown and you went to a wedding where they told the DJ 'No Motown' because the Bride and Groom didn't like it, would you be happy?"

More Wedding Reception Music Tips from Mick:

  • The introductions are very important, it's the only time you have everyone's attention. I recommend doing first names only, for 2 reasons, firstly it is easier for people to to remember names if you do not include last names (try it with your own bridal party !!) and secondly it is less formal.
  • Choose something fun and upbeat for introductions, one song for the bridal party and a different one for yourselves. It doesn't matter if the songs have lyrics as a good DJ can work around that and make sure they do not compete with the names being introduced. I would not recommend a song for each couple as they enter, it gets very choppy and confusing.
  • Your First dance should be after the introductions and before dinner. The main reason I recommend this is that introductions do not take long, once you come in, you are all psyched and then I announce "it's time for dinner" it seems very anticlimactic.
  • For your first dance, don't worry about how long the song is, have a "signature move" such as a dip and a kiss. I am watching for this and when I see it I will end the song. You are now free to dance for as long or as short a time as you want !! Remember that dancing in your wedding dress is different to dancing in jeans and a shirt.

Mick Scrivener, is the owner and DJ for Elite British DJ. His wife Julie is a wedding coordinator, and together they are privileged to offer a DJ/Coordination service that goes above and beyond. For more information, please check http://www.elitebritishdj.com or Julie’s site http://www.thebestweddingforyou.com .

Why we love family style wedding reception table set ups by Farm Tables & More

We know the traditional wedding reception set up of the last 30 or 40 years has been lots of round tables, where you place people based on common interests, relationships. and even history together. But to us there’s something really special about dining “family style” at long tables at a wedding reception!  Check out these gorgeous tables by Farm Tables & More,  a local, family run business and one of SanDiego‘s loveliest specialty rental companies - with a fabulous inventory of nice, long, family style tables for your wedding!

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 And outdoor wedding comes together so beautifully with one long table! 

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 We feel like longer tables are an extra perfect fit at a vineyard wedding! 

San Diego's Own Horton Plaza Park Now Hosting Local Outdoor Weddings

Your dreams can now finally become a reality. The historic Horton Plaza Park is now available to rent for weddings!

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, Horton Plaza would be the perfect spot for a multitude of reasons. For one, it's close proximity to countless hotels for out-of-town guests is beyond perfect. You and/or your guests can simply walk to the hotel after the festivities are over and not think twice about it. Another big reason we love the idea of the Horton Plaza is its location in relation to other entertainment options. Once the wedding is over, the party doesn't have to stop! With 16 city blocks of more than 60 bars and nightclubs to choose from, you are never left wandering, "What should we do now?" And finally, we love the customizable options that are provided. Whether you think the lush garden lawn is more "you" or the more modern cityscape is what your heart desires, Horton Plaza can accommodate whatever it may be. Don't take our word for it! Check out this exciting and unique San Diego wedding venue for yourself! 

Wedding Vendor Credits:

Wedding Photographer: Willmus Weddings

Event Lighting: Brilliant Event Lighting

Wedding Florals: Huntress Florals

An Old School Spanish Haceinda and Vineyard for Your Wedding is Right in San Diego's Backyard!

How did we not know about Hacienda Vineyards wedding venue before now??! All this time we've been sitting here on the coast, thinking about driving to Temecula for a fun winery experience, not realizing that there was a gorgeous, old school, Spanish styled hacienda and vineyard just twenty minutes from downtown San Diego! It's like stepping back in time to a beautiful, relaxing, abundant era of riches and style. Take a peek at this gorgeous styled shoot by Photographer Amy Millard on site at Hacienda Vineyard and tell us you don't want run down there for a glass of wine and a relaxing day of soaking up the trees, with the surrounding hillsides lush with 9 acres of foliage framing a never ending sky that watches over their vast lawns 1930's era Spanish House.

The grand Vineyard Hacienda-style residence at Vineyard Hacienda wedding ceremony and reception venue was carefully constructed in the 1930s in true old-style Spanish tradition; adobe, red Spanish tile, and authentic hardwoods add an element of history and tradition. Vineyard Hacienda offers an extensive variety of locations, both indoor and outdoor, to meet the needs of even the most discriminating guest, and is above all fabulous secluded, private, secure, and peaceful gated property in a unique and beautiful event setting.

3 things you should say over the microphone at your wedding reception

Say 'Thank You' to your wedding guests

"Thank you all for being here at our special wedding day!" Your mom was right; you should always say thank you. Gratitude empowers everyone at the event to feel welcome and special and enjoy themselves fully at your big day (even the uninvited plus 1's and the 'other side of the family' you rarely speak to). You should also make a pointer getting around your entire reception in person to say 'Thank you!' and give hugs. But make sure you have a plan to keep it brief so you get to everyone: the buddy system works well for this so if you notice your partner getting caught up with a particularly wordy guest you can say "oh honey look there's Uncle Fred who flew in from Florida!" to keep momentum (and they can return the favor) to keep you both moving through the event as a team. This also comes in real handy when you cannot remember someone's name. Make sure you and your partner have a signal for "I can't remember this person's name or who they are" or "I need help moving on".

The old tradition of a receiving line served an important purpose; guests could file past the entire wedding party and say "Congratulations!" and you could say "Thank you!" in return! But most couples today prefer to make the rounds out to their guests in person once they are seated for dinner. But however you say 'thank you' know that it will mean a great deal to your guests.

photo by Shelly Anderson Photography

photo by Shelly Anderson Photography

Tell your parents you love them at your wedding reception

"I love you Mom and Dad!!" Nothing gets a tear in everyone's eye like taking the time to publicly tell your parents you love them and why.  Be specific to have more impact and emotion like; "Mom I love you for your sense of humor (which helped me get through wedding planning!) and your kindness and patience. Dad I love you for being so open to my changes in life and for supporting my career path when everyone else thought I was crazy. You both have given me such incredible examples of unconditional love and paved the way for me to love Brian with all my heart."  You can lead off this easily by saying "I would like to take moment to give some thanks and attention to the two people I have respected and loved most in my life....and I've known them  my whole life!.....Mom....." Families are not always perfect so if you've had issues in the past with family this type of public message can be very  healing and even start a brand new chapter of relating and closeness.

photo by Sh  elly Anderson   Photography

photo by Shelly Anderson Photography

Thank your newlywed partner's family (and friends) for all the love

Another moving and import thank you must go out to the people who raised your partner to be the person they are. Again specificity adds impact and it goes without saying always be positive. Do this one right after you thank you own parents or family ...."And I also want to say a heartfelt 'Thank You' to (your partner's NAME say Brian for example)'s family [NAME and NAME] for raising such an incredible person whom I love with all my heart. Brian is such a good man thanks to you. I see your family's integrity and honesty in everything he does and in the way he loves me. I am so glad to be a part of your family now too."

photo by Sh  elly Anderson   Photography

photo by Shelly Anderson Photography

photo by Sh  elly Anderson   Photography

photo by Shelly Anderson Photography

TIP: if you get nervous thinking about speaking over a microphone ask your DJ if you can practice for a second before the guests fill the reception room. And remember if you fill yourself with the emotions of gratitude and love towards others and how you will be making them feel with your words it can take away a lot of your nerves since this is all about putting the focus on your families for a few moments of love and emotion. And don't worry about getting emotional - your feelings are the true gift of love here for all.

Fairbanks Ranch Wedding Proves Rain Really Is Good Luck on Your Wedding Day!

These gorgeous photos of Nicole and Ryan's wedding looks like a picture perfect sunny San Diego celebration of love... but this affable couple actually showed they have what it takes to navigate life's surprises with a few exciting twists and turns on the big day! 

This lovely peach and mint green wedding at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony overlooking the waterfront, but some unexpected rain [in San Diego, California!!?] brought the celebration inside to the reception area. 

Although the wedding party and the bride had to work around a few dinner tables, there was nothing but smiles and love and lots of "but rain is good luck on a wedding day!"  Fortunately Nicole and Ryan also had selected a rock star coordinator in Carmel Hemsley. Carmel did the flowers herself and arranged all the catering, bar and DJ. And you know what... it turns out rain is good luck on your wedding day!

Vendor Credits:

Photographer:  Paul Douda Photography

Venue:  Fairbanks Ranch Country Club

Event Design & Implementation:  All That Pazazz Event Design

Florals:  All That Pazazz Event Design

Cake: family friend

All Aboard for Love and Marriage! Couple Celebrates Wedding on the Train!

All aboard for the sweetest reception idea on wheels! Adam and Theresa are not your ordinary couple! They knew they wanted their wedding to be something different - something that offered a very fun and unique experience for their guests. So the groom, being the train lover that he is, decided he would share his love for trains with everyone. After their wedding ceremony in the beautiful LA Cathedral, everyone hopped on a train at famous Union Station and headed along the Pacific shoreline to beautiful San Diego [of course!] with champagne in hand. After a little leg break in San Diego everyone stepped back up onto the train, and enjoyed a fabulous dinner with a one-of-a-kind view none would ever forget! 

Photographer:  Becca Liz Photography//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:men's wearhouse//Dress Designer: Brides by Demetrios//Reception Venue: California Zephyr Railcar Charters//Ceremony Location: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels//Dress Store: David's Bridal//Floral Designer: Flowers by Leah//Beauty:Parlor of Three//


Bright citrus colors wake up your wedding dessert table

Bright yellow, orange and tangerine colors are a fun and festive way to liven up a dessert table at your wedding reception. Expert wedding designer Sabrina Cadini of La Dolce Idea Weddings makes the most delicious looking wedding reception dessert table displays! Pucker up and enjoy this citrus themed table by this talented San Diego wedding expert. 

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