A table paying tribute to family members at a Nebraska wedding

Handcrafted Details To Wow Your Guests

Couples are discovering and truly embracing the magic of custom, handcrafted details. When you rely on your own crafting talent, it doesn’t always save you money; and without a doubt, it requires an investment in time. Below, we have outlined some helpful hints to keep you sane while creating an event that incorporates your unique taste. Focusing on a few distinctive design elements can be the key to making every detail count on your wedding day.

By adding eye-catching signage to your ceremony and reception space, you are not only adding function, but also style and personality. When determining display options for your signage, take a good look at the space you are using. Are there any remarkable focal points you would like to highlight? Did you catch yourself missing a critical turn that attendees need to take note of? If so, these are great opportunities to create signage for your guests. The key to successfully executing any handcrafted project is to focus on practicality.

Chalkboards serve well to greet guests, display menus or designate table numbers. A larger version can even serve as a fun photo booth backdrop. Purchase a can of chalkboard paint for less than $20 and transform a thrift store silver tray or ceramic serving platter into a menu board to be displayed at the start of your buffet line. Certain fabrics, like canvas, can be painted with your names, monogram or even a simple “welcome” and hung from a hook. Remember to use the same font and/or motif throughout your designed pieces to provide a common focal point that draws guests in easily. If you do not have the highest confidence in your own calligraphy skills, you can hire a calligrapher to work on select pieces for a reasonable price.

Place Cards
Are plain white place cards too vanilla for your style? Good news! There are literally hundreds of unique and cost-efficient ways to direct your guests to their designated tables. Some of our favorite double-duty place cards include wrapping a petite baguette in parchment paper or placing your favorite pastry item in a personalized muslin bag. Just add a simple tag with the guest’s name tied with baker’s twine to create both a place card and a component of your guest’s meal. Another option would be to consider a fun and unique way to display traditional place cards. Incorporating a large-scale installation that displays your seating cards can be both functional and a showpiece for your guests to admire.

Table Numbers
Grab your guests’ attention with unique table numbers when they go to find their seats. Use a numerical rubber stamp on fabric or carry your chalkboard signage through to table numbers by using small white ceramic dinner plates. Paint the center of the plate with the chalkboard paint and then use plate stands to prop up each plate on the table. Purchase a neat set of dinner plates at a thrift store or collect unique plates from flea markets or garage sales. Painted papier-mâché letters look great and can make a big statement as well. For a more rustic feel, scraps of wood can be simply stunning adorned with white lettering.

Place Settings
You do not need to break the bank to wow your guests as they arrive at their seats. Small details like sprigs of herbs or fresh greenery make a huge impact on white china or linens. Some of our favorite ideas include menus printed on craft paper or small muslin bags stamped with a monogram or emblem, then stuffed with salted caramels or salt water taffy and tied off with ribbon or twine. Using striped ribbon or twine tied around a simple folded napkin can also make a large impact for just a few dollars.

Many couples are opting out of giving guests wedding favors due to the potential price tag; but here is one solution to that concern—double-duty your guest favors to stretch your budget. Items like mini mason jars filled with fruit crisp or cobbler doubles as a favor and a dessert. Another fabulous idea is to fill small bags with gourmet popcorn or chocolates. Tie the bags closed with ribbon or fold down and seal with a monogrammed self-adhesive sticker. Display them on a cake stand to add another décor element to your cake table. This also allows guests to easily serve themselves and take their favor home with them.

The key to keeping your handcrafted projects stress free is to know your limits and consider your timetable. Many brides become overwhelmed with the countless projects they have planned and often fail to calculate the true time needed to complete each project.

Our advice is to simply focus on the basics. Use an idea you have seen and make it your own. The smallest detail added to a place card or menu may be all that is needed. Remember, often less is more. In the end, your guests will be impressed with the thoughtfulness behind your day rather than the extensive projects you have displayed in every corner.

6 Ways to Use Local Nebraska Flowers In Your Wedding Decor

Go wild with your florals. Picked-from-the-garden styles overflow with lush blooms and cascading greenery for a fresh take on wedding décor.

(Above) Floral by Petals to Platinum
Whether afternoon sun or glowing candles light your table, the vibrant flowers in this centerpiece will brighten the charm of a farm table and flowing linen.

(Below) Floral by Russ’s Market
You’ve said your vows. Now it’s time for the reception, and that means cake. Make it special with this elegant confection from Cake Expressions, Inc., then wrap the whole thing in a wow-worthy bounty of blossoms, vines, branches and grasses. Present the lovely result on a table draped with a rich violet velvet and wait for the gasps of delight.

(Above) Floral by Sweet Cakes & Roses
Make your seating fit for a king or queen—or a bride or groom. This elegant swag of ranunculus and eucalyptus adds a romantic vibe to the sweet simplicity of a wooden chair. Even sweeter? This handcrafted garland of wood and silk will never fade.

(Below) Floral by Petals to Platinum
White lisianthus and accompanying greenery set off cockscomb in bold and pastel hues. Coupled with pale pink roses and dollops of deep purple, these florals make for a table as festive as the day itself.

(Above) Floral by Grow with the Flow
A beribboned bouquet brims with happy abandon in this loose mix of roses, lisianthus, chrysanthemums and protea. Florist-grown hanging amaranth adds a bright pink pop amid the tumbling splendor of it all.

(Below) Floral by Grow with the Flow
Serve up piquant and perfect boutonnieres on an elegant silver tray. Lisianthus contrast with sprigs of dried greenery and jute cording for the perfect touch of rustic elegance.


Text: Sherri Hildebrandt
Photography: J.L. Scott Photography
Styling & Coordination: Sam Areman & Amanda Leise
Venue: Vintage Venue
Rentals: Honeyman Rent-All, Petals to Platinum
Videography: Alisha Cerny Films

To Plug In or Unplug at Your Wedding

Living in the digital age provides the opportunity for every bride, groom and guest to have immediate access to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Wedding plans can be shared via your wedding website during the months leading up to the day itself and keep guests up to date on essential details. Some couples will revel in the idea of sharing this precious event through social media and cherish every Tweet, Instagram photo and Facebook post. However, there are others that may prefer not to have their plans unfold online.

For couples who embrace social media as a priceless tool in sharing the news and events of their wedding plans, social media can play a helpful role in wedding-day preparation. We have laid out some tips to easily navigate the role that social media will (or won’t) play in your big day.

Your beloved has popped the question and you have accepted the marriage proposal – Congratulations! Before rushing forward with getting the word out, be certain to take a few moments to soak in the moment and truly enjoy this special time with your new fiancé. While you are certainly excited to share your boundless joy and good news, remember to pause and embrace the joy you are both feeling before announcing the engagement to your family and friends.

After you have taken in the moment as a couple, take a deep breath and consider how best to communicate the news. You don’t want your parents, siblings, grandparents and closest friends to find out this special news through social media. Make a list of those that you need to talk with before releasing your social media announcement. Those closest to you will appreciate hearing the big news from you and your fiancé personally.

Once the news has been shared with loved ones, consider how you’d like to announce your engagement on social media. Posting a creative photo of you and your fiancé posed with the beautiful engagement ring on your left hand is one way to go. Remember that your Facebook and Instagram friends want to share this amazing occasion with YOU, so make the social media announcement about this special moment in your life and not just about your ring.

After the well wishes start coming in, take the time to individually respond and thank those who are sharing in the excitement. It is important to write a personal response to each message. The response does not need to be lengthy, but the personal touch goes a long way toward making them feel included during this special time.

The emergence of social media and online inspiration boards has changed the wedding planning process for many couples. After the engagement, some brides turn to Pinterest and wedding inspiration blogs in search of ideas for their own special day. Clearly, it is important to develop a wedding style that truly represents the personality and taste of you as a couple. Wedding blogs and inspiration boards are a great starting point for brides to begin sorting out different elements of their personal style. The internet offers an endless array of ideas for wedding-day details, so it may sometimes seem overwhelming. Obviously no two couples are alike, so in the early stages of the planning process it is best to simply absorb the information you favor and later sort through what is truly the best fit. Some brides enjoy using social media as a helpful tool to share ideas with the wedding party, family members and wedding vendors so they can weigh in on different options.

Visit neweddingday.com for the latest wedding inspiration and information on local wedding professionals. As a registered member on our website, you can save your favorites to revisit as you continue planning.

When done in moderation, sharing information on social media during your wedding-planning process is a wonderful way to keep your friends and relatives feeling included and in touch with this momentous occasion. You might consider posting progress updates, registry information or the occasional photo of you and your partner enjoying this special time together.

Some couples use social media throughout their wedding day to document the joyous event and engage wedding guests. Creating a unique wedding hashtag for your guests to tag with their online postings is the first step. Share your hashtag via appropriate signage or even the invitation to notify your guests. Creating a hashtag that is singular to your event will allow you to go back after your wedding and look at your big day from the perspective of your guests. Using social media during your wedding will also allow you to share your special day with those who could not attend.

A wedding using social media may not be the best fit for all couples. You may prefer to see the faces of your guests during the ceremony instead of the back of their smart phones. An unplugged wedding also limits the chances of your guests interfering with the photographer capturing must have photos. Restricting the use of social media during the ceremony and reception may be the best option for couples who want their guests to remove themselves from technology and simply live in each moment of the special day.

If you do choose to have an unplugged wedding, you must ask yourself what exactly that means to you. Do you want to have an unplugged ceremony in which your guests tuck away their phones for the vows? Or, do you prefer to be unplugged all day and ask guests not to take photos with their phones for the duration of the festivities?

Once you decide, find the best way to communicate your wishes to your guests. You can consider implementing the following rules: include the announcement discreetly on the wedding program, create signage to place at the entrance to the ceremony, have your wedding party spread the word or ask your officiant to make an announcement at the ceremony when everyone has been seated.

Whether you decide to have a full-blown social media wedding or a discreet unplugged ceremony, the key is to communicate with your guests, so they aren’t left guessing whether or not they may share their photos online. Be clear about announcing special moments guests must observe while in attendance. Regardless, they will be happy to follow your request and enjoy your wedding day with or without social media.

Photo by Sam Areman

Say YES to the Dress with These Tips!

Reality television is created with one purpose in mind— to produce exciting programs by maximizing drama. While you may be familiar with Say Yes to the Dress, it’s not always an accurate depiction of the ideal bridal gown shopping experience. In fact, it can often be a perfect example of what not to do. More drama equals more stress, so most brides are seeking the exact opposite when it comes to dress shopping. We welcome you to take a look at a more accurate portrayal of shopping for your wedding gown.

It is completely within your control to make your dress shopping a positive experience that dreams are made of. In the reality show, brides flock to a popular bridal salon with close friends, family members and assorted others to select their wedding gown. However, as the bride slips into different dresses, her large entourage may have differing opinions rather than gushing over each gown. Usually the bride enters the salon with a budget in mind but may end up breaking the bank when the gown of her dreams is significantly more expensive than her budget allows.

While seeing the drama of dress shopping on television can be highly entertaining, it is not the best model to follow when shopping for your own gown. We’re setting the record straight on a few key misconceptions.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

When you are dealing with a smaller bridal boutique, bringing a large entourage to shop for wedding gowns just won’t work. It may sound like a great idea to have all of your family and friends there, but inevitably the situation will cause more confusion and stress, making the entire experience less enjoyable for you.

Once you start trying on gowns, you will find that everyone may suddenly have their own strong opinion. While it is nice to receive feedback from one or two loved ones, bringing along multiple people could create unnecessary anxiety. Set yourself up for success by taking along a select few trusted individuals that will provide the quality feedback you seek.

Know Your Limits

Before you set out to gown shop, be certain to set a budget that reflects the exact amount you can afford and communicate it with your shopping companions. If setting a higher budget for your gown is a top priority, look for other areas of your wedding budget to trim, thereby allocating a little more for your gown. Just be cautious about eliminating any of the necessary elements of your wedding simply to increase your gown budget. Ultimately, you will not be happy if you have not allocated properly to pay for the cake or to provide enough tips for the wedding vendors who have worked so hard to make your day perfect.

If your dress is a priority, acknowledge it as one of your top budget items. This can work if you realize you may need to make other choices with vendors, like rethinking those delicious mini- cakes you wanted to provide as favors or the expensive orchids you were having flown in for the centerpieces. If you have a strict budget, you need to honor it. Trying to negotiate more money for a gown with your fiancé or parents can cause stress in other aspects of your wedding planning, as well as add tension to the relationships.

Be Honest About Your Maximum Budget

Nothing causes more frustration for both the bride and the bridal boutique as when you are uncertain about what you can truly afford. If you tell your bridal consultant that your budget is around $4,000, she will bring out breathtaking couture gowns within the $4,000 budget. But, if your maximum budget is really $3,000, you risk falling in love with a gown that is beyond your means. At some point, you will have to be honest with the consultant—and yourself—about your true budget. Then, the process can begin with gowns that fit your budget. Sadly, if you do try on the expensive gown “for fun,” you may find yourself frustrated and longing for that $4,000 couture gown you simply could not afford.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and frustrate your bridal consultant by wasting time on gowns you can’t consider purchasing. You will benefit greatly from building an open and honest relationship with your consultant. When it comes to shipping, measurements and all the details, you will want to make sure you are getting the best service possible. A good relationship goes a long way to that end. Taking up unnecessary time not only costs the boutique money, but it is also disrespectful to other brides waiting to shop for their gowns. Many salons work on an appointment-only basis, so those brides with appointments following yours might be delayed or rescheduled to another day if you aren’t communicating with your stylist.

The best approach is to always be honest from the very beginning, with both the consultant and yourself. The bridal boutique will work within your budget—no matter how high or low it may be. Above all else, they want you to leave a happy bride. Being straightforward ensures your gown-buying experience will be a positive one.

Nebraska has so many wonderful bridal boutiques with knowledgeable consultants looking forward to helping you find the perfect gown at the perfect price. Simply come prepared with a list of your wants and needs. Above all else, cherish the experience.

Image Credit: Sam Areman Photo

Romantic Springtime Nuptials in Snyder

Abbie Hunke has known Mykolas Eggleston since she was 14. After learning through the grapevine that Myk had a crush on her, the two began dating. After exactly 10 years of seeing one another, the happy couple says, “I do.” Having known each other for so long, they can’t remember their first date, but think it might have been at the movies … or a Chinese restaurant … or Taco Bell. Sharing a passion for golf, Myk took Abbie out during her college graduation weekend for a round with family and friends, where he dropped to one knee at a scenic spot. At first she didn’t see him, because she was watching the turtles in the pond, but when she turned around, “I was completely shocked,” she says. With help from Abbie’s sister, Myk had picked out the ring Abbie wanted and had it custom-made with a rose-gold band and oval diamond. Describing her lush bridal bouquet, Abbie says she really wanted greenery for a subtle hint of color. Working with florist Stitches and Petals, Abbie appreciated how helpful they were in the decorating process, while Myk chipped in building the centerpieces. And on their wedding day, the bride carried a gold shoe clip in her bouquet that was worn by her mother, for good luck.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Kaylie Sirek Photography
HAIR: Courtney Feurer with Red Brick Hair Chix
MAKEUP: Esthetics by Aimee Jo
RINGS: Michael Tish Jewelers
CATERING: Jeanette Marx with Catering to Suit
CHEESECAKE: Jaki Zahourek
CEREMONY VENUE: St. Leo Catholic Church, Snyder
RECEPTION VENUE: Snyder Fireman’s Ballroom, Snyder