Alternatives

Wedding Kiss

Alternatives to the Kissing Custom

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If you’ve been to a wedding reception before, odds are you’ve encountered a most annoying tradition during the dinner. You may even have helped perpetuate the tradition, unaware of how tedious it is for the bride and groom. Now that it’s your turn to be married, it’s a tradition you will want to avoid at all costs. We’re talking, of course, about the glass clinking for a kiss. Sure, it starts out innocuously enough. Someone clinks their silverware against a glass and the wedding couple smooches. But soon people are clinking every three minutes, the noise is deafening, and the wedding couple can’t enjoy their dinner. Don’t let this happen to you. Tell your guests before the meal starts that there will be no clinking. If they want to compel you to kiss, your guests will have to:

Sing a Romantic Song

If they’re going to interrupt your dinner, you should get something out of it as well. Have your guests serenade you with at least one verse of their favorite romantic song. Some guests will be too shy to come sing, which will save you a few interruptions, and those who do will be either charming or hilariously awful. It’s pretty much a win-win.

Provide Advice to the Couple

A line of people getting up one after the other to give you a bit of advice on your new marriage is infinitely preferable to the sound of silverware on glass. You might actually learn a thing or two that will help in your married life together, and if not you’re sure to have a few comedians in the crowd whose advice will entertain everyone. You could even have your maid of honor write down the best bits of advice, so you can put them in your wedding album.

Share a Romantic Story

Weddings are celebrations of love, so it makes sense to have your guests tell a romantic story to ‘earn’ their wedding couple kiss. Partners can tell how they met or a memorable date with their significant other. Or you could flip it around and have your guests tell the crowd a memory they have of you as a couple, the more potentially embarrassing, the better.

Kiss Their Partner First

Here’s another good way to reduce the number of times your meal is interrupted, while still keeping the celebration of love going. In order to get the wedding couple to kiss, guests must bring their significant other up in front of everyone and smooch while you applaud. It gives them a taste of their own medicine, in a fun and playful way.

Answer a Question About the Bride and Groom

Here’s a way to turn the kissing ‘game’ into an actual fun game for everyone involved. Have your maid of honor or best man prepare a list of trivia questions about you and your partner. To make you kiss, the guest must answer the question correctly. If they answer right, everyone learns something about the wedding couple and you smooch. If they answer wrong, there will be no smooching and they’ll have to sit back down. Bonus points for having a buzzer for wrong answers.

We all know the glass-clinking custom is annoying. But don’t eliminate it; make it better. Any of the above options will be more fun for you and your guests.

Pizza

6 Wedding Cake Alternatives

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So who says that you have to have a three-tiered fondant-covered cake at your wedding, anyway? Sure, it’s the traditional dessert at a wedding reception. But like any wedding tradition, it’s to be followed only if it suits you and your partner’s vision for the day. If you’re not big on cake; or even not big on desserts in general, there are plenty of ways you can play with the idea of the big display cake without actually having cake involved. Read on for a few out-there ideas that are anything but traditional.

Pizza

When you think about it, pizza and wedding cake have a lot in common. They both are traditionally round but occasionally come in squares, both are eaten by the slice, both are baked, and … well, that’s about it. Still, a multi-tiered display of pizza is a fun way to get around the wedding cake tradition. It’s not a sweet treat, but it can be the main course at your reception instead of the dessert.

Waffles

If you’re having a brunch reception, you can certainly be excused from having a traditional cake. Who eats cake before noon? Instead, stick with the “round and baked” principal of the pizza and go for a waffle display. Instead of frosting, you can offer your guests multiple fruit, syrup, and whipped cream options to top their waffles.

Truffles

Now, we’re not talking the kind of truffles that pigs dig for, the mushrooms that grow on the roots of trees. No, we’re talking the rich chocolate-filled-chocolate confection type of truffles. We’ve seen couples make something resembling a croquembouche with truffles instead of puff-pastry. It’s beautiful, it’s delicious, and it’s so rich that you can get by with smaller portions than you’d need for cake.

Snack foods

Of all the “stack things up and pretend it’s cake” options, this is our favorite: a three-tiered wedding cake made of Twinkies, Hostess cupcakes, and other snack foods. It sounds a little hillbilly, but in practice it can look pretty glamourous. We think it’s the perfect combination of kitsch and class. Just don’t ask us to eat any of those preservative-laden stomach bombs.

Dessert Shots

If the whole three-tier display isn’t your style, you can ditch the basic cake-shape all together and go for something a la carte and elegant. Dessert shots are a great way to provide some variety to your guests. We’re not talking booze, here–just regular desserts served in single-serving bite-size portions. Sometimes they’re prepared in actual shot glasses for portability and portion control.

Cookies

You know there’s one dessert item that just doesn’t get enough love; Cookies. Sure, we’ll eat them if there’s a box of Girl Scout cookies around, but when was the last time you sought out cookies rather than settled for them? You can right this confectionery wrong by featuring cookies as the dessert at your wedding. Bonus points for serving them with a short, wide glass of milk to encourage dipping.

If wedding cake isn’t your thing, let your imagination run wild and see what other possibilities come to mind. If you can put it on a cake stand, it totally counts.

wedding guestbook

Alternatives to the Guestbook

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The wedding guestbook is one of those old traditions that everyone agrees you have to have, but which doesn’t really serve a unique purpose. If you look at it from a neutral point of view, isn’t it odd that your wedding has the same guestbook you see at a funeral, a bed & breakfast, or an office building? If you’d like to do something a little more unique for your wedding, here are some guestbook alternatives that encourage your guests to be a little more creative, and that create something you’ll enjoy looking at for years to come.

Video Booth

Most wedding receptions these days have a photo booth. The first couple of times we encountered one it was innovative and fun; now it just seems weird if the reception doesn’t have one. But you can go to the next level, and replace that guestbook, if you set up a video-recording guestbook booth. Just set up your space, have someone man the camera, and give each guests thirty seconds to leave a message. You’ll get a mix of advice, jokes, and memories that will be worth watching on every anniversary.

Jenga

If your game night always includes a round or two of Jenga, have your guests help make a custom wedding set. Encourage your guests to write their names and a piece of advice for the wedding couple on one of the wooden blocks–provide fine-tipped ballpoint pens or permanent markers to make sure the words don’t rub off. Now whenever you play the game you can read your guests’ well-wishes and remember your special day.

Platter

Let’s face it; unless you have a table leg that needs leveling, a guestbook isn’t a particularly useful artifact. Instead of a book, buy a plain (unglazed) serving platter from a craft or home store and some permanent markers. We recommend oil-based paint Sharpies to make sure the colors survive the baking process. After your guests sign the platter, take it home and bake it for a half an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking it sets the marker so it won’t wash off (you should still keep it out of the dishwasher, though). It’ll be the perfect dish to serve your anniversary dinners on.

Fingerprints

Don’t just get your guests’ signatures: book ‘em! Grab a stretched canvas and brightly-colored stamp pads at your local craft store. Then encourage your guests to leave a fingerprint with a signature underneath. By the end of the reception, you’ll have a colorful memento suitable for framing.

Advice Cards

It’s all well and good to ask your guests to provide some advice when they sign the guestbook, but without guidance, many folks end up at a loss for words. Help them by making cards with questions on them. The guests can pick which card to sign and which piece of advice to give. For example, the card could say, “best place to spend an anniversary,” or “best way to end an argument.” Your guests are far more likely to give good advice if you give them a topic to start with.

The traditional wedding guestbook is a good way to get a record of who was at your ceremony, but it doesn’t do much else. Try any of the above ideas to create a work of art or a memento that you’ll want to revisit again and again.

5 Funky Unity Candle Alternatives

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Unity CandleThe Unity Candle has become a beloved part of the wedding ceremony. The couple each takes a flame and lights a single candle as a metaphor of their lives and loves combining into one. It’s a lovely gesture, but it’s also become one of those cliché tropes, like reading the “love” passage of Corinthians. Here are a few new twists on the old ceremony that get the same message across, but with a little more panache.

Lego Heart

What could be a better metaphor for building a life together–and what clearer an indication that you may grow old with your spouse, but you refuse to grow up–than building together with Lego? If you’re lucky enough to live near a Lego store, the build-a-brick section will enable you to pick out the right pieces to make a big red Lego heart for less than the cost of a candle. If you’re not near a Lego store, you can find plans for building an adorable heart right here, and you can get the pieces from the online shop Brick Link. Just make sure you have a long enough musical interlude for the time it’ll take for you and your spouse to put it together.

Sand Sculpture

This one couldn’t be simpler: all you need is a decorative bottle or vase and several different colors of sand. Take turns pouring colors to make a one-of-a-kind decoration that will be a lasting symbol of your love (at least until the next earthquake). Alternatively, you can use salt instead of sand, making a “salt egg” that you can keep in the kitchen and use to spice up your marriage (well, at least your meals).

Welding Ceremony

This one takes a bit of training and practice, but it definitely makes an impression. Your wedding will certainly stand out if you and your spouse take turns wielding an acetylene torch to weld together two pieces of metal into a unity sculpture, like this adventurous couple. Not only will it be entertaining for your guests, it’ll make a dynamite addition to your wedding album.

Unity Volcano

If you and your significant other are science teachers, chemists, or just enjoy making a mess while wearing formal clothes, you can’t go wrong with that old science fair standby, the volcano. Before the ceremony you can make the papier-mâché cone together. Then one of you adds baking soda, the other adds the vinegar, and you’ve got a lovely metaphor for the passion (and offbeat sensibilities) that brought you together.

Unity Tree

The unity tree incorporates another layer of symbolism while creating a lasting tribute to your love. Before the wedding, take a small sapling and put it in a pot. During the ceremony, the parents of the couple add a few shovelfuls of dirt to the pot to symbolize the nurturing and support they give to the couple. Then the couple takes turns adding water. After the ceremony, you can plant the tree and let your love grow!

Whether your love is a flame, a pile of Lego, or an erupting volcano, your unity ceremony can be as unique as you are. Let your shared interests as a couple guide you in selecting just the right way to symbolize the joining together of your lives as one.