Wedding Planning Tips and COVID – Getting Hitched Without a Hitch
If someone had told us a year ago that custom face masks and color coordinated hand sanitizers would be a critical wedding planning tip and trend, we probably would have laughed! Hopefully we will soon look at these wedding planning tips and trends with COVID in the rearview mirror and with good riddance! But for now, we need to think about social distancing and safety for all in attendance.
We have approached the planning of our events and weddings in a whole new way. We are meeting this challenge by pivoting to small intimate micro weddings and events with open layouts. While we look forward to returning to larger events in the future, we are using innovative ways to plan and design gorgeous celebrations in Lake Tahoe and other destination weddings. These ideas not only keep the wedding design stylish but keep guests safely 6 feet apart while enjoying the festivities.
Catering Magazine’s current issue takes a look at “Getting Hitched Without A Hitch” during the time of COVID. We shared with them our favorite social distancing planning tips. The highlights can be read in their beautiful feature. For a complete rundown of our professional advice, it is right here so keep reading!
Social Distancing at Weddings
Ceremony – Create a modern layout for your ceremony instead of only spreading out the chairs 6 feet apart. Consider grouping your guests’ chairs into little pods of known cohorts. These clusters can have 3-4 chairs, or even a bench or couch mixed in with the layout, that are spaced out appropriately.
Reception – Everyone is familiar with the vinyl markers on the floor telling us where to stand. This is a design opportunity to seize! Consider selecting a color in your wedding palette for the marker. Don’t stop with just an “X”, maybe you have a custom monogram or wedding motif or fun message to mark the spot.
Dining Tables – You can keep the same cohort strategy used during the ceremony with your dining tables. These groups share a table at dinner by varying the table sizes (set for 2, 4 or 6….) to accommodate each household. We are also implementing additional dining tables and seating options set back in case a guest would like extra comfort.
Dance Floor – If your venue or reception space will allow for multiple dance floors, you may consider having 2-3 dancing areas to spread your guests out. Be sure to have extra speakers and sub-woofers to keep the music experience close.
Bar – Another way to avoid a gathering at the bar (a huge temptation!) is to incorporate the bottle service concept found in clubs. Catering staff can set an extra bottle of wine or a carafe of your signature drink on the table. Your guests can dance away right there. This layout option would have the dining tables around the dance floor(s).
This modern challenge is one we will gladly meet to ensure the safety and fun for all guests at our weddings. You too can take some of these innovative precautions to socially distance at your wedding or event. When everyone feels happy, safe and comfortable – it is a beautiful way they will remember your special day!
Yours in Celebration,
Merrily Rocco of
Male-Friendly Wedding Favors and Gift Ideas
As you know or you may be finding out, it takes a lot to prepare for a wedding. It equally takes a lot of time and money for friends and family to come celebrate with you. This is why wedding favors are a nice expression that you truly appreciate and love having them there with you on your wedding day.
A key thing to note is that not everyone will love the same gift. To be precise, the guys might want something a bit different from what the girls might fancy.
So what do you get them? A truck-load full of beer? Well, not really…
There are a lot of ideas you can select from, even customize. If you’re looking for guy-friendly wedding favors and gift ideas read on for 8 fun suggestions that the men will actually use!
Personalized Drink Stirrer
ETSY.COM: While a truck-load full of beer will be overkill, a personalized drink stirrer sporting each guy’s name will be a gift that will last beyond the weekend. You can have this set at each guy’s place setting, with the gold finish complimenting your wedding style.
You can have party-inspired words form the writing or be a bit more personal and have each guy’s name engraved on it.
Ginger Ray Kraft Matchbox
AMAZON.COM: If you are having a rustic themed wedding, then this matchbox will be a great idea for a wedding favor to give your male guests. They are also budget friendly – but be sure to check with your venue regarding their policy on open flames.
The box comes with a nice thank-you note written on top, so the gentlemen will always feel appreciated anytime they pull out this beautiful matchbox.
NOTONTHEHIGHSTREET.COM: There are a lot of ideas and areas where these magnet letters will stick! A great start would be at your reception on a favor table or incorporated into the place setting. These magnet letters are very versatile wedding favors, thanks to their ability to stick on important surfaces where they are a friendly reminder.
Stick them on filing cabinets, fridge doors or anywhere a magnet calls home.
And since they’re designed to spell out words or names, you can get highly specific with this one for a more special touch.
Red Hot Chili Seeds
Since I grew up in the Land of Enchantment (aka New Mexico), this next suggestion is close to my heart and taste buds!
WEDDINGINATEACUP.CO.UK: You can spice up your men’s kitchen by giving them this special bag of chili seeds that they can plant later. The seeds in the bag are for Jalapeno chili, one of the easiest chilies to grow.
The best part is that you can customize the bag with your names and the date/location of your wedding reminding them of the incredible time at your wedding.
Silver Effect Photo Frame
WILKO.COM: This is a beautiful and useful idea! Where will the guys keep the gorgeous photo of himself and his date at your wedding? In this silver photo frame. The frame measures 6 inches by 4 inches and is designed to not only hold photos but you can also make these work double time as place cards at each guests’ place setting or a table number.
Thanks to the simplistic design, it will work well within many home decor styles and give their walls a personalized touch.
Hot Tabasco Sauce
TABASCO.COM: Before the jalapeno chili seeds grow, the boys will surely need something to keep their taste buds spiced up. A good helper for that would be hot sauce from Tabasco.
But isn’t this product already branded?
Well, technically not. Tabasco allows you to add your custom name, brand, and logo to their 1/8oz mini-bottles. This makes their hot sauce a perfect choice for spicy wedding favor and gift!
Flask and Pocket Knife Gift Set
GROOMSMENGIFTSOURCE.COM: Some outdoorsy men would love a wedding favor that they can use while camping or hiking. If that describes a lot of guys on your guest list, then this item is a natural choice!
This gift set comes with a pocket knife and flask, both of which have been made out of high-quality stainless steel. You can have these items personalized with initials or names of the recipient.
Mini Glass Bottle with Cork Stopper
CONFETTI.CO.UK: This is a great destination wedding favor! If your male guests have limited space but you still want them to depart with a gift, then this guy-friendly small glass bottle with a cork stopper might be the ticket. Yes, it can’t hold that much liquor or sand, but it can hold a lot more memories.
Customization Tip – tie a nice token at the neck of the bottle such as a mini rum drum just to spice things up. Even better, you can personalize this item to have your names, date or wedding location written on it.
Tahoe Signature of Style,
Yummm – everyone loves a warm, just-off-the-fire s’more! And the nostalgic, comfort feeling they instill… Nothing goes hand-in-hand better than Lake Tahoe, the mountains and s’mores but sometimes incorporating these into your Tahoe wedding might be difficult with open fire rules, the thought of dripping marshmallow on fine silk or maybe it just doesn’t go with your wedding style/look for the big day. The rehearsal dinner can be a good option OR how about a s’mores cake!?!
From the glorious kitchen of Canadian baker and blogger Sweetapolita, this sinful 6-layer rich chocolate malted and toasted marshmallow cake will be a crowd pleaser and have your guests coming back for more. The marshmallow filling is full of marshmallows actually toasted in the oven – these little details are what really makes (and takes!) the cake.
6 layers of dark, moist chocolate cake sandwiching alternating rich and fluffy frosting: satiny Belgian chocolate malted frosting and creamy toasted-marshmallow vanilla frosting with bits of actual crispy marshmallow in every bite. Strangely, the finished cake is not really super sweet–it’s more rich, light, and creamy sweet…
Okay, mouth-watering yet? No more teasing, here is the recipe for an 8″ round 6-layer cake courtesy of Sweetapolita:
Rich Chocolate Cake
This is for three 8″ pans, but the layers will be a bit more shallow if you use the recipe as it is written. If you double the recipe, you will be able to fill the pans 2/3 full, resulting in thicker layers. You will have some remaining batter, with which you can make cupcakes, etc. You can also increase by 50%.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespooon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 3 x 8″ cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaning ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 35 minutes. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting
1 lb butter (4 sticks or 2 cups) at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Ovaltine Classic (brown in colour)
8 oz Pure Bittersweet chocolate, premium brand – chopped and melted
1/2 cup whipping (35% fat) cream
In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and malt powder, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute. Best used right away.
*Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Frosting recipe
16 large white marshmallows
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks, or 1 cup) at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream (or Marshmallow Fluff)
Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them–they burn very, very quickly. Combine butter and icing sugar in electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low until blended (about 1 minute). Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.
This is a fresh, stylish way to introduce s’mores into your wedding reception with possibly a groom’s cake or cupcakes or even the showcase wedding cake!
Tahoe Signature of Style,
I recently had the honor to dish the inside scoop to Catering Magazine on how to properly navigate ‘The Seating Game’ at an event or wedding. With many options today, which is the best for your next occasion?
In their Insider’s Insight feature, my discussion pulls from over a decade of experience in planning and designing Lake Tahoe weddings. From the formal evening dinner to the laid-back luncheon, the below article will be sure to give you many creative and effective ideas when the ‘dinner bell’ is rung!
Tahoe Signature of Style,
When Scott literally dropped on one knee to propose to Maureen, she had no idea what was happening nor that everyone would be able to watch it unfold later! We give complete props to Scott for pulling off this secret proposal and it brings tears to our eyes every time we watch it!
HowHeAsked.com absolutely loved this stealth proposal too and posted their GoPro wedding proposal for all to see! HowHeAsked.com is a beautiful collection of real life wedding proposals ranging from the traditional to the unusual. If looking for wedding proposal inspiration (whether you are a boy or a girl), this is the site for you!
In Scott’s eloquent words:
How we met: Maureen and I met just before Christmas in 2008 at a piano bar where she was out celebrating her friend’s graduation from college that fall and I was out celebrating a buddy’s birthday. She proceeded to “accidentally” knock my elbow off the bar and introduced herself. Upon hearing her name I “smoothly” replied that I loved her name, as it’s my grandmother’s name. We quickly found out that sharing my grandmother’s name would not be the only odd coincidence we would have, from us growing up within blocks of each other and attending the same church, but different masses, to her mom rescuing and returning my dog many years prior. One week after meeting we had our first date and have been together ever since.
How he asked: I will start by explaining that we are not the type of couple that celebrates dating anniversaries, but as the 5 year mark began to roll around I knew I could get away with doing something for it without Maureen knowing what was coming. I decided that I was going to send her on a scavenger hunt ending in a dinner and fly my buddy in from Los Angeles, who is a cinematographer, to film the whole thing. The date was set and the flight for my buddy was bought… everything was ready to go. And then I received a phone call from Maureen who is a consultant and travels Monday through Thursday every week. She explained to me that things had gotten pretty crazy on the project and that they were going to have to work through the weekend… plan blown. At this point I had to improvise, so my buddy the cinematographer, who had flown in, helped me pick out a GoPro and set up a shot at the restaurant to capture the proposal. I continued on with the same plan, but moved it to the next weekend. Fortunately for me the next weekend was also technically the night of our first date 5 years later, so I could still operate under the auspice of celebrating an anniversary and Maureen would be none the wiser. The day began with Maureen having brunch with friends, and upon returning from brunch she came home to flowers and a scavenger hunt that was guided by me via video messages that I sent her throughout her day. The scavenger hunt ended with a car picking her up and taking her to the restaurant where we had our first date. Once she arrived I acted like dinner was the end of our 5 year anniversary celebration and continued to have a normal dinner, giving her no real indication of what was to come. On our first date at this restaurant 5 years ago one of the things we discussed was the most important qualities that we look for in people and mine was “loyalty” and hers was “honesty”. So the video picks up at the end of our dinner where I explain to her that I have “broken the honesty piece” from our first date.
We have been having a wonderful time planning with Maureen and Scott and we are so looking forward to their Lake Tahoe wedding later this year!
Tahoe Signature of Style,