Welcome to part 2 of the Becoming a Bridesman of Honor! If you haven’t read part 1 yet, you can find it here.
After Ramsey was initiated into the bridal party at the bachelorette party, the next order of business was the bridal shower that same weekend. The bridal shower was held at The Wes on Sunday afternoon and looking back, Ramsey has one major piece of advice to any other bridesmen out there: be sure to eat before you go.
“I didn’t know what to expect but I was thinking there would be food. I mean, when guys get together, we eat. I’m down with sweets but as a guy, we’re like boom- here’s a burger. At a bridal shower, there are flowers and there are cookies. Okay, and cucumber sandwiches but I don’t even know what that is! It tastes like air.”
Besides champagne, Ramsey was impressed with the goodies from Emerald Coast Custom Cakes… although, he didn’t know the Florida-shaped key lime shortbread cookies were edible.
“I drank champagne, gabbed with the ladies, and met all the family. Being a bridesman who works in the wedding industry, I am used to being talkative in awkward situations. I’ve known most of the girls there for so long, no conversation topic is off limits.”
Except of course, when the girls started discussing their dress alterations and wedding day hair ideas. This was when the bridesman of honor just nodded his head and took another sip of champagne.
When it was time for bride Sara to open gifts, Ramsey was just glad his friend was happy, but didn’t quite understand the level of excitement that grew with each gift that was opened.
“I just kept paying attention to the room and hearing all these girls squeal, ‘yay! Towels!’ and I’m thinking, why yay? It’s a fancy piece of fabric to dry off with. Women just get excited about that stuff. More towels? Awesome…I still don’t get it.”
Ramsey’s fellow bridesmaids would often have to explain another girly tradition or sentiment with him. He was grateful for the insight and to be in this new setting that was so foreign to his kind. He says he got a lesson on what girls really talk about when most men aren’t around. He said it made him a little lonely at times, but we was still happy to be around his favorite ladies.
“What’s that saying? Sugar and spice and everything nice; snips and snails and puppy dog’s tails… I was definitely the latter part of that.”
While Ramsey had no preconceived notions about the bridal shower and even what that might entail, he left the Wes that Sunday afternoon feeling like he had been let in on a little secret kept by women everywhere. While he still isn’t ready to jump on the cucumber sandwich train, Ramsey was grateful to celebrate with his sister friend, Sara.
“What Sara is excited about, I am excited about.”
Get ready for part 3 of the Becoming a Bridesman blog series when we explore Ramsey’s experience at the “bridal lunch-in.”
AnyDayDJ has seen our fair share of weddings over the years, each one unique and bringing something special to the table. There have been so many new and different wedding trends that we couldn’t possibly keep track of them all!
One trend that we can’t get enough of and hope it never fades is welcoming your favorite people of all time into your bridal party, regardless of their age or gender (did you see this epic bridal party with the bride’s grandma? Priceless!).
We could be a little bit biased about this one, though.
AnyDayDj owner and the resident testosterone of the Wes, Ramsey Coates, was asked by one of his best friends and co-founder of the Wes, Sara Gillianne, to be her bridesman of honor in her March 12 black-tie wedding in Pensacola, Florida.
He of course immediately exclaimed, “YES!” then after a second of thought said, “what’s that?”
Ramsey is a self-proclaimed sports-watching, burger-eating, beer-drinking, soccer-playing man’s man. So while he was enthusiastic about his “sister’s” request, he also had no idea what he was getting himself into.
Over the next few weeks, we will be outlining the ins and outs of what it is like to be a man in a woman’s bridal party, straight from the mouth of a man who has been in the trenches and lived to see it through, testosterone (mostly) still in tact.
Ramsey at first believed that to be a man of honor just meant standing in a tux on the other side of the sanctuary that he normally would if one of his guy friends got married. How hard could that be? When men act as groomsmen and men of honor, they have a night on the town, drink whiskey, buy each other bottles of whiskey, take a shot of whiskey while getting dressed 20 minutes before they’re beckoned to the photo spot, with a few rounds of golf sprinkled in somewhere.
Being on the bride’s side of the altar is nothing like that.
The Bachelorette Party
The first agenda item was the bachelorette party. Everyone gathered on Pensacola Beach for a classy night of champagne and dancing in this slice of paradise. Ramsey was excited to get the wedding festivities started and celebrate with not only his best friend Sara, but also a group of girls that he has grown to know and love over many years.
While the girls stayed together at a beach condo, Ramsey met them for dinner at the Grand Marlin. While not in the bridal party, Sara also included Ramsey’s wife and her friend, Melissa, in all the bridal party activities.
“It was euphoric. That’s the only way I know how to describe the whole night. Being around Sara and these girls, knowing why we are celebrating and what it took for her to get to this time of love and happiness in her life, it was euphoric.”
It didn’t take long at Grand Marlin for the group to start popping bottles of champagne. Everyone felt the love as the wedding celebration took off and they really could not have asked for a better group.
“One sour person in a bridal part can ruin everything but there wasn’t one. Everyone was fun to be around and we shared a strong bond- loving Sara.”
As they wrapped things up at Grand Marlin, Ramsey thought it was his time to bow out and head home. The girls, however, had different plans. Eight bodies crammed in one tiny car to head to downtown Pensacola and party at Blend Lounge.
“I turned into the mother hen of the group,” says Ramsey. “Being the one guy around all these beautiful, and mostly married, women, I became very protective. Let us just have a good time and find a good spot to dance in; we don’t need any other shenanigans.”
After Blend, it was time for the gals to head back to their beach condo and Ramsey head home. He says this was the part that always sucked.
“I’m married, they’re married. I’m protective of them and also never wanted there to be anything that looked inappropriate or made someone uncomfortable. So I met them everywhere but didn’t get to spend all that extra time with them. It was a theme with every event and I felt like I missed out on a lot.”
What were the girls doing that Ramsey wanted to be a part of?
“Believe you me, I wanted to stay the night and watch Steel Magnolias and paint everyone’s toenails. I really did! It just made sense for me to go home, though.”
So while the girls of the bridal party were undoubtedly up all night watching chick flicks, swapping boy stories, and giving pedicures, Ramsey and Melissa went home and geared up for the next item on the agenda… the bridal shower.
Subscribe to the blog to read next week's blog in the Becoming a Bridesmaid of Honor series!
It's April which means we are officially standing at the precipice of wedding season! Along with May flowers and abundant sunshine, this makes for our favorite time of the year. Spring weddings are a welcomed milestone of the year as they renew our sense of love, excitement, and celebration.
If you are sharing vows this season, there are so many ways to ensure a beautiful wedding day. Our favorite, of course, is the music. Here are a few of our favorite new songs, a little something for everyone, to include at any point in your wedding day to express all the gushy feelings you are bound to feel on your big day. We hope we are the ones who get to play them for you!
1. Dan+Shay///From the Ground Up
Just try to get through watching this music video without misty eyes. We love this song for his sweet lyrics and promise it makes that could easily be adopted for any couple. Just imagine the possibilities it has for your wedding day!
2. Only One///Kanye West ft. Paul McCartney
Who isn't a sucker for a good collaboration? This is no exception. If your new spouse is your only chosen one, this song could be for you.
3. Hold my Hand///Jess Glynne
Upbeat tempo, catchy lyrics, ultra danceable... what more could you ask for!? We can already picture your friends and family (yes, even great aunt Ethel) getting down to this one at your reception.
4. Heartbeat///Carrie Underwood
When you're surrounded by crowds but all you can focus on each other and the love you share... that's what this song, and your wedding day, are all about.
5. Stand by You///Rachel Platten
Another great dancing number, this one is full of romance and vows in an unsuspecting tempo. Feel free to fist pump and jump to this one. We will probably join you.
Most wedding-goers anticipate hearing speeches from the maid of honor and best man, and we have previously discussed ways to knock these speeches out of the park. So what about a thank you speech from the bride and groom? While not a "must" on the list of wedding day activities, it is an increasingly growing sentiment. Many wedding professionals even encourage their couples to give a short and sweet speech to set the tone at their reception and just show their gratitude.
Is it wrong to not participate in a thank-you speech? Not at all. Will your guests be appreciative that you took the time to address them? Well, wouldn't you if you were sitting in their perfectly chosen chiavari chairs, tucked nicely underneath those eggplant and royal gold linens?
The thing this, people attend weddings because they love the people getting married and want to share in their merriment, but it often does take some time, effort, money, and time in order to do that. A small "thank you" goes a long way.
So, maybe you're considering giving a speech but aren't sure where to start. For starters, it shouldn't be an overwhelming thing to put together, full of flowery words, expert jokes, and 30 notecards. While preparation is preferred, a heartfelt 3 or 4 sentences will do the trick.
Starting with a light joke or pun is often appreciated, one that everyone will find tasteful and easy to understand (steer clear of inside jokes or innuendos. That's just considered tacky). After you warm them up with your wonderful sense of humor, take just a minute to highlight those very key people who made your day possible, say, your parents and your bridal party, but this is not the time to list many people and achievements. It is your wedding after all, not the Grammys.
Depending on if one or both of you are going to speak, you may also want to thank your BRAND NEW spouse for being there through the wedding planning process and making your wedding special. This is another great opportunity to make your guests aww and chuckle.
If there are any special things you want your guests to know ("we can't wait to see you at the sparkler send off," or "make sure you try some of great-grandma Edna's peach cobbler"), you can mention that here. Wrap it up with another notion of gratitude and you're done! Sounds pretty easy, huh?
Here's an example:
Betty and I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for celebrating with us with today. We know you must really love us if you decided to be here over your living room watching the Patriots play. Don't worry, we DVRd it if anyone wants to come over and catch the highlights next week.
Today would not have been possible, or nearly as seamless, without some very key people. To our parents, thank you for your love, support, and example. To our friends and family who helped with showers, celebrations, and wedding plans, you are the best. To everyone who traveled near and wide to be here with us, we love you all.
We are grateful to be surrounded by many successful marriages in our daily lives and we hope as we embark on this new journey and join this exclusive club, you will offer your best advice and encouragement. We hope entry into this club comes without any crazy initiation rituals, though!
Today, we are just happy to have the most special people in our lives in one place with us. Enjoy the rest of the evening with dancing, great food, and you won't want to miss out on our Armadillo grooms cake!
Thank you again. It means so much to both of us that you all are here.
What do you think of the thank-you speech? Would you be open to giving one at your reception?
Whether you consider it to be "your thing" or not, planning a wedding is no joke. There are many details involved and things to consider and you'll want to make sure all your ducks are in a proper row come showtime.
While list-making might not be your cuppa tea, we have gathered 5 lists that should be made if you are planning a wedding. These will ensure things go smoothly and just as you envisioned.
1. The Vendor List
Whenever you book a vendor, be it the baker, florist, or the DJ (yours truly, we hope!) add their complete contact info and other details to this list. This would include a basic rundown of what they will be doing, when they are arriving, and anything else you or someone helping on wedding day will need to remember. Ideally, this list should be shared with your venue's coordinator, your wedding planner (if you have one), and at least one other point person that will be around all day (a bridesmaid, close friend, etc). Someone will need to be available to direct traffic and make sure things are going on schedule.
2. Wedding Day Timeline
Who goes where, when. Did you get that? This list is to explain everyone who will be involved or needed in some capacity, where they need to be, and when they need to be there. It should spell out every appointment and milestone of the day (getting ready times, flowers arriving, DJ sets up, location changes, etc), as well as the people needed for that thing. For instance: "8am- hair and make up artist to mother-of-the-bride's house. All bridesmaids arrive." Print that master timeline out in all its glory and pass it around a few days prior to everyone whose name appears on it. This will save you the hassle of tracking people down and answering lots of questions.
3. Contact List
Similar to the vendor list, this is a list of everyone who will be involved and/or who can answer questions on the wedding day (so, ideally, again, you don't have to). This could include the maid of honor, best man, mothers of the bride and groom, coordinator, venue contact, and every vendor. We love when it's titled "Call anyone but the bride!" so people know to leave you in peace.
4. Shot List
While there is something to be said for hiring a photographer (and all vendors, for that matter) who know what their doing and hiring them because your styles jive, a short photography shot list is still a good idea because you may have certain details or discrepancies that are not common to every wedding. Things to include: meaningful details you've included in your wedding day and where the photographer will find them, specific people you want a photo with, family members who may not get along or would be awkward to include in a photo together (estranged family members, divorced couples, etc), and certain poses you have your heart set on. Giving your photographer the heads up on these details and nuances will allow them to breathe a sigh of relief and will allow you to relax knowing that you don't have to think about it anymore!
5. "Stuff" List
Chances are you will have a lot of stuff you are bringing to your wedding- decor, frames, gifts, etc. Chances also are that you have to find a way to take those away from your venue once your wedding is over.
For everything that you need on your wedding day for yourself, your bridal party, your venue, etc- make a list and include a plan for how and where each thing is getting to where it needs to go afterwards. This includes things like your overnight bag for the hotel, your dress hanger, your bouquet, extra programs, guest book, decorations you brought, etc. Don't forget to include the things you didn't bring but will still need to take with you like the cake topper, gifts, cards, etc.
Were/are you a list-making bride or wedding planner? What list would you add to our list??
We just love seeing awesome articles and photos swim around the web and get lots of attention, especially when they deal with one of our favorite topics- weddings!
Today, we've gathered up the best and brightest of the web lately to give it to you all in one place.
1. Model with Down Syndrome Wows in Bridal Photo Shoot
You may remember Madeline after she broke onto the scene last year and has been breaking barriers every since. This wedding shoot was the stuff fairy tales are made of... we don't think Madeline will be going anywhere anytime soon!
2. Wedding Flowers, Repurposed
We have seen tons of wedding flowers go to waste over the years so this video made us so happy! Why didn't we think of this sooner?
3. Bridesmaids FAQ
Style Me Pretty always has great info, and this slideshow is great for bridesmaids. Signing on to stand by your gal-pal is an honor, but it can also be a little work and require money, time, effort, and support! This is great info for bridesmaids to ask or brides to answer!
4. Tip please?
Wedding tips, how much, and who they go to can be hard for brides and grooms to navigate. Sometimes rules of thumb are not so cut-and-dry. This article provides all the answers!
5. Adele + Proposal = Epic
Just when we think we couldn't possibly love her more, she goes and does this!
6. Our best friend is married!!
If it's not viral yet, it should be. Last weekend, owner of Sara Gillianne Wedding and Events and co-founder of the Wes married her one true love, Damien in a picture-perfect Pensacola soiree. The pictures are breathtaking and we couldn't be more happy for these friends. Aislinn Kate Photography, as well as a slew of other phenomenal vendors, did a fantastic job as always!
Here along the Gulf Coast, couples from all over the country want to take advantage of our best asset... our beautiful coastlines! Can we blame them? From locals to visitors alike, couples who want a wedding on the beach may have some high expectations, ones that we believe can absolutely be met with the right preparation and mindset. After all, along with our beautiful beaches comes other interesting characteristics like unpredictable weather and sand that you'll find in nooks and crannies for days.
In order to pull off the beautiful beach wedding of your dreams, we've got some great tips that we've picked up along the way from our favorite beach weddings along the beautiful Gulf Coast.
1. Plan for the sun
We know our weather is unpredictable and the sun may or may not choose to shine bright but you can usually depend at least on the times it will rise and set and from what direction. With this information easily accessible, you can plan the best time and location for your nuptials.
2. Let your guests know
Your friends and family will surely be excited to spend time soaking up beautiful views along with your infectious love. Let them know you'll be swapping vows outside so they can dress and bring items that might make this time more enjoyable (or in the case of stilettos, leave them at home). Add some flair and care to your wedding by providing a flip-flops, fan, and/or sunglasses station at the ceremony site.
3. Listen to the Crashing of the Waves
...you won't hear anything else during your ceremony if you don't have the right sound set-up. Luckily for you, that's our speciality! You'll need proper microphones and speakers to amplify, music, the officiant, and the bride and groom. While your guests are going to be surely grateful for such wonderful ambiance, the real reason they came is to HEAR you get married!
This one is a bit of a trick! While there are wonderful things to add to make a beautiful ceremony location, part of the appeal of a beach wedding is that you already have so much natural beauty all around! Choose minimal decor that will enhance the setting, stay put (it's bound to get windy), and bring the focus to the bride and groom.
5. Work with Locals
From wedding planners to DJs (hello!), working with wedding specialists in the area will ensure you have the low-down on what can and can happen- permits, items brought to the beach, privacy, events, etc.
It is possible to have a beach wedding that is memorable, beautiful, and free or uh-ohs! With a few mindful tips and keeping the focus on the main point of the day- celebrating marriage!- your day will be as beautiful as a Pensacola sunset.
Much like dresses, rings, and grooms, wedding vendors come in all shapes and sizes. While planning your wedding, it is often tough and overwhelming to not only choose wedding vendors, but gain the confidence that they are the one your wedding day has been waiting for.
Being a wedding vendor ourself, we understand how many great choices are out there and how different each and every one is. For some weddings, you are offered a preferred vendor list through your wedding planner or venue- some venues even take the stress off of you by coordinating and working logistics straight with the vendors so you don't have to! For others, brides and grooms want to scour the lot, trying each and every option on for size and hoping that bringing all their favorite instruments together will create perfect harmony.
We heard from a bride recently who had experienced more than her fair share of snafus during her planning season. The shop she purchased her dress from went back on their word, hair and makeup artists weren't working out, photographers misrepresented themselves, and then- a month before her big day, she starts calling the florists that her venue provided on their "preferred vendors" list, only to met with one after the other who was less concerned about answering questions and providing good customer service and more concerned in securing a deposit.
While we don't think it is possible to completely avoid running into vendors like this, let us assure you of two things:
1. This is not the norm
2.EVERY couple deserves and can attain great wedding vendors
For the majority of us, especially those of us in Pensacola at the Wes, we work with weddings because we LOVE weddings and everything that surrounds them. We love hearing your proposal stories and stories about the different personalities in your bridal party, or the lengths you went to to make those adorable DIY favors. We know that this season is so crucial and memorable in your life and we want the wedding day to come and you look back with only fond and FUN memories! We know that your wedding day is so important- no matter what it looks like, what the budget is, or how big the guest list is- and it is our job to take care of you and make your life easier, not add stress to it.
No matter where your wedding is and what it may look like, find those vendors who make your life easier. They don't have to cost an arm and a leg and in fact, sometimes they come in unlikely places. Take recommendations from friends and vendors you've already chosen and love, but make the decision for yourself whether or not it is a great fit. After all, you will be working with these people for many months and will have to see their faces on your big day, so you want to make sure that face stirs confidence in you. Pick vendors who will make you sad that the wedding is over because that means you don't get to work with them as closely any more
You've chosen your venue, your wonderful vendors (eh hem! Thank you; you're too kind), and finalized the perfect invitations. So, who will the lucky crowd be to say "heck yes, we'll be there!" on the RSVP card? Every wedding is bound to have a few notorious guests among the crowd; it is part of what makes the day so fun and interesting!
1. The guest who came to have a good time
Of course you chose to have an open bar for a reason, and for this guest, the reason is them! There are just certain people who take "free booze" to the maximum capacity. Good thing you warned them with this.
2. The professional bridesmaid
You love her because she's always there for you, but her knowledge and experience with weddings doesn't hurt either. While she may feel she is "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" you're secretly hoping an introduction you facilitate will prove that to not be the case!
3. That guy
You know who we're taking about. He shows up in a 3-piece tailored suit, unattached, and swoons the bridesmaids when he compliments their lilac/watermelon/sherbet/charcoal gown. He's harmless and you're glad he's there, but even grandma can't help but ogle.
4. That girl
"Oh, you mean your expertly planned reception is NOT the club? My bad..." is what you imagine her saying. Just consider strategically placing your volleyball-playing bridesmaid when it comes time to toss the bouquet.
5. The Emotional One
No shortage of tears, applause, laughter, and tight hugs for this guest! We love them all the more for it. They're crying before they even take their seat at the ceremony and are the first one to raise a glass and give a big cheer.
6. The critic
Whether it's a bride in the process of planning her own wedding, a newlywed who can't get over (read: won't stop talking about) her recent big day, or the coworker/cousin's date/ middle school friend who is still bummed she wasn't chosen as a bridesmaid, you can't stop them but you can tune them out! Pay them no mind. This day is all for you.
7. The cake bandit
If you've ever seen Steel Magnolias, you know that some wedding guests just have better dreams with a slice of cake under their pillow (thanks, Truvee). No wedding would be complete without that guest on a sugar high (just make sure they don't come in between you and your topper for your first anniversary tradition!)
8. The wanna-be photographer
Yes, you hired a photographer you know and love but it won't stop this guy or gal from practicing their skills. If you want to avoid this altogether, consider going unplugged.
9. The rowdy kids
What do you get when you mix a forced quiet time sitting at a reception, a big beautiful cake, a dance floor, and a body that isn't yet big enough to ride a roller coaster? ...kids at a wedding.
10. The UFO (unidentified family object)
Whether it's your great uncle twice removed, or a cousin from Montana you've never met, there's always that one guest that you're not sure whether to hug out of obligation or shake their hand and introduce yourself.
For so many couples we meet, when asked to describe how they want their wedding day to be, the popular answer is "FUN!" We couldn't agree more- it makes sense to want the best, most important, most planned day of your life to be remembered as an exuberant party where everyone present, especially bride and groom, have the time of their lives.
So, while "fun" is often the goal, how do you get there? There are so many elements that can be included to make your day unique and anything but stuffy. So laugh, dance, and party away on your wedding day! We're here to help you know how.
1. Let the party begin before the ceremony
It's not only thoughtful and creative, but providing refreshments before the ceremony also sets a great tone for the rest of the evening to your guests. Tea and lemonade, or a taste of your signature cocktail, can be a fun addition and surprise to arriving guests, one that will surely put a smile on their face that won't soon fade.
2. Add elements of humor and personality to your ceremony
We certainly have a huge soft spot in our hearts for traditional ceremonies; with that being said, who doesn't love to laugh through tears at a funny line in a groom's vow or a reference to the time the bride slipped on the pavement on their first date? Allowing you personalities to shine through and making the ceremony and vows truly about the two individuals who are joining their lives will make the ceremony unique, fun, and romantic.
3. Involve your bridal party
You chose your bridesmaids and groomsmen because you love them and they make your life fun, right? Why don't you let their personalities shine through, too? This can be at the recessional or introductions at your reception. Either way, allow them to be their fun, goofy, selves with a signature move!
4. Don't forget about your junior guests
If you're allowing children at your wedding, set up a special area or room for them with fun activities. Hiring a babysitter (hello, high school kids who need community service hours!) will allow the kids to have a blast while their parents are enjoying the heck out of your wedding- they will be sure to thank you!
5. Party favors
You asked for a fun party, and what fun party doesn't come complete with favors!? We love masks, glow sticks, fans, sunglasses, and noisemakers. Anything to get your guests in the partying mood!
6. Have fun food
Sure, you can go with your traditional fish or chicken, potatoes and vegetables, or you can think outside of the box! Why not have some creative food stations, sampling of you and your new spouse's favorite food from your hometown, or twists on feel-good favorites like macaroni and cheese and pizza?
7. Tease your send-off
You can plan an epic send-off (think fireworks, sparklers, or horseback!) but what good is it if everyone heads home early? Let your guests know throughout the evening that something special is coming at the end of the night. Place signs in strategic places communicating that whatever is coming at midnight, they don't want to miss it!
8. Play fun music
This is our expertise, after all! By having a great DJ (eh hem), you are ensuring that your guests will be moving and grooving all night long to their favorite tunes. Trust us (this isn't just our bias either), no good party has crappy music.
Say it with us: "no good party has crappy music."
If you can squeeze an extra special treat into your budget, a surprise for your guests can be money well spent! A dancer, mariatchi band, flash mob, or anything else that you think your guests will talk about long after the day is over will be just the ticket.
10. Wardrobe change
This is a very big trend for 2016 weddings and we think this is why! Brides (and grooms) who slip away during the reception and emerge in a completely new (and usually more danceable) outfit get everyone talking! So while that beautiful lace ballgown is the dress of your dreams, that sassy feathered and sequined number is the dress of the night.
The Blog & Podcast
Every month we sit down and discuss topics important to our company, namely DJing and the wedding industry.