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3 Benefits of Booking a Long Island Banquet Hall

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3 Benefits of Booking a Long Island Banquet Hall

Do you know the benefits of choosing a Long Island Banquet Hall?

You got engaged! Congratulations. Now it’s time to plan your Long Island Wedding Reception. After you decide on the date and size of your party, you’re probably ready to make a list of possible wedding locations. If you want to have a successful  wedding, I recommend you book it at a Long Island banquet hall.

One of the many benefits of booking a Long Island catering hall is that it can provide a good time no matter what the weather. A wedding on the beach sounds like a lot of fun until it starts pouring. Catering halls have weather contingency plans because they know that rain or shine- this is still the most important day of you lives. Windows On The Lake, a premier Long Island banquet hall, offers a lakeside chapel, and an outdoor cocktail hour- but if unwanted clouds cover the sky and rain starts falling there are 2 beautiful indoor reception areas available to brides.

Another benefit of having your Long Island Wedding at a banquet hall is that it can be budget-friendly. If you choose to have your ceremony on-site you can save yourself from having to pay another site-fee or a limo to take you from the ceremony to the reception.
Last but not least, they know what they are doing. Catering to you is their job. Windows On The Lake caters to only one bride at a time- meaning the day is all about you. They make their living going above and beyond what you expect- and have been doing so for over 30 years.

There are many benefits of holding your Long Island Wedding at a banquet hall. Check out our blog posts to see other reasons Windows On The Lake can provide you with the perfect wedding.

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Tips for hiring the right wedding planner

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The Wedding planning industry has really blown up over the past decade or so.  Planners will have different strengths between them. Some might be better with destination weddings, while some might be experts with many of the best Long Island wedding venues.  Some may be better suited for outdoor weddings, and some might have an expertise working with indoor venues.  Here are some tips for finding the right wedding planner.


What is your Budget?

Like most aspects in planning a wedding, how much money do you have or want to spend in this particular area. Some might say that they paid too much and didn’t really end up needing the planner after all, but as far as the wedding day is concerned, most feel having a planner was invaluable, and that they wouldn’t have survived the wedding without them.  But above all, deciding the budget will decide what kind of planner you can have.



Some wedding planners charge by hour and others have a fixed or a flat fee service rate.  Work out which will be the most cost effective for your wedding day.


Get Recommendations

The best way to find a great wedding planner is to get recommendations from family and friends. If they had a good experience with a particular planner, chances are you’re safe using them as well.  Also, if you are of a like mind, and they didn’t like a particular planner, you’ll know to stay away.  Ask your friends and family a lot of questions so can avoid wasting time looking at too many planners. If they liked them, there’s a good chance you’ll find one you like as well.

Start by experience:

The best way to start is looking at what type of experience the planner has.  You can see what type of families they’ve had to deal with, what types of weddings they have worked on, how big, how small, etc.  Now keep in mind, the more experience they have, and the more highly recommended they come, the more they’ll probably cost. If you have the budget, great!  But if you are trying to keep costs down, you should be able to find plenty of planners that have worked at several Long Island wedding venues, that have enough experience, yet will fit your budget.


Packaged Deal:

Owners of a few wedding venues cover the fee of wedding consultant and charge a flat rate for every wedding that happens in their premises.

Signing the contract:

Once you have selected the wedding planner and have negotiated the terms, never forget to take it in writing by signing the final contract. This will safeguard your interest and hold the consultant responsible if something does not go according to the plan.


Consult your partner:

Hiring a wedding planner is as big as wedding itself, so ensure that your partner is involved completely in the process of selection and budgeting.


Discuss Openly:

Once you have found the perfect Wedding planner for your, it’s time to sit down and discuss all the particulars.  Make sure they know all of your expectations for your wedding day.  If they understand the picture in your mind ahead of time, they’ll be able to do what is necessary to paint that picture for you.  So don’t hold back. They’re going to do everything they can for you.  Give them your theme as soon as you have it, so they can get started on all the homework they have to do to make your day perfect!


Family introductions:

Finally, make sure you introduce the planner to your family.  She will be working with them a lot!  Especially on the big day! So get them acquainted so your planner will know who they can rely on, who will be a burden.  Make certain you point out the friends and family that you want kept out of your hair while you are getting ready for the day.  Weddings can be very stressful and nerve wracking. Especially leading up to the ceremony.  You’ll want to be sure to keep those who will add to that stress, will be taken care of and kept out of your surroundings.  If a wedding planner knows who they are, they’ll do an amazing job of keeping them away.
Not everyone uses a wedding planner for their Long Island Wedding.  But if you decide that is the path you’d like to take, just use these tips and you can’t go wrong!

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Let Your Wedding Venue Save You Money

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Let Your Wedding Venue Save You Money

Picking the right wedding venue is the first step in saving.

Most brides have dreamed of their wedding day since they were little girls. Now that adulthood has set in, so has the reality of adapting that fantasy wedding to a budget version. Good news-  dressing in white doesn’t mean you have to spend all your green! Here are some tips to help you have that dream day without breaking the bank:

1. Choose a beautiful wedding venue.

Start with a truly lovely location, and you’ll find that your decorating budget can be reduced accordingly. A waterfront view or elegant reception hall are an ideal base from which to build.

2. Develop a great relationship with your coordinator.

Your wedding venue’s coordinator most likely has a lot more experience with wedding planning than you do, so take his/her advice to heart. Wedding coordinators often have a few little money-saving tricks up their sleeve; listen and learn.

3. Don’t splurge on the dress.

Choose a dress that you love, but be reasonable with your selection. Identify your maximum amount you want to spend on a dress, and then don’t even think about trying on anything that is priced above your set limit, not even just for fun!

4. Consider bundling event services.

Some wedding venues offer all-in-one event services, which means you get discounted rates. If your dream venue has this option available, take advantage of it; not only will your wallet thank you, but it will save you some stress as well.

5. Work closely with your caterers.

Develop a good rapport with your catering team and have them help plan a menu that won’t wreck your budget. There are lots of ways to shave food and beverage costs, so let them know your limitations and see what creative solutions they have to offer.


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Information on getting married in New York State

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Where do you get a marriage license?

A couple who intends to be married in New York State must apply in person for a marriage license to any town or city clerk in the state. The application for a license must be signed by both applicants in the presence of the town or city clerk. A representative cannot apply for the license on behalf of the applicants. This applies even if the representative has been given a Power of Attorney. Notarized marriage license affidavits signed by the applicants cannot be substituted for their personal appearance.

Is there a waiting period?

Yes. Although the marriage license is issued immediately, the marriage ceremony may not take place within 24 hours from the exact time that the license was issued. When both applicants are 16 years of age or older, the 24-hour waiting period may be waived by an order of a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the County Court of the county in which either of the applicants resides. If either person is under 16 years of age, the order must be from the Family Court judge of the county in which the person under 16 years of age resides.

How long is the license valid?

A marriage license is valid for 60 calendar days, beginning the day after it is issued.

How much does the license cost?

If the marriage license is issued by a town or city clerk in New York State outside of New York City, it costs $40. This fee includes the issuance of a Certificate of Marriage Registration. This certificate is automatically sent by the issuing clerk to the applicants within 15 calendar days after the completed license is returned by the officiant (person who performs the marriage ceremony). It serves as notice that a record of the marriage is on file. Couples who do not receive a Certificate of Marriage Registration within four weeks of the wedding should contact the town or city clerk who issued the license.

If the license is to be issued by the City Clerk of the City of New York, please contact the New York City Clerk’s Office for current fees and requirements. The City Clerk’s Office can be reached at (212) NEW-YORK or via its web site at New York City Marriage Bureau.

Is a premarital physical exam required?

No premarital examination or blood test is required to obtain a marriage license in New York State.

Who can get married?

Age Requirements

  • If either applicant is under 14 years of age, a marriage license cannot be issued.
  • If either applicant is 14 or 15 years of age, such applicant(s) must present the written consent of both parents and a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the Family Court having jurisdiction over the town or city in which the application is made.
  • If either applicant is 16 or 17 years of age, such applicant(s) must present the written consent of both parents.
  • If both applicants are 18 years of age or older, no consents are required.
  • One parent alone may consent to a minor’s marriage if:
    • The other parent has been missing for one year preceding the application;
    • The parents are divorced and the consenting parent was given sole custody of the child when the divorce decree was awarded;
    • The other parent has been judged incompetent; or the other parent is deceased.
    • Parents, guardians or other people consenting to the marriage of a minor must personally appear and acknowledge or execute their consent before the town or city clerk or some other authorized official. If the notarized affidavit is made before an official outside of the State of New York, it must be accompanied by a certificate of authentication when the consent is filed in New York State.

Proof of Age and Identity

A person is required to establish proof of age and identity by submitting to the issuing clerk one of the following age related documents:

  1. Birth Certificate
  2. Baptismal record
  3. Naturalization record
  4. Census record

And one of the following identity related documents:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Passport
  3. Employment picture ID
  4. Immigration record

Familial Restrictions

A marriage may not take place in New York State between an ancestor and descendant, siblings (full or half blood), an uncle and niece or nephew or an aunt and niece or nephew, regardless of whether or not these persons are legitimate or illegitimate offspring.

Previous Marriages

Information regarding previous marriages must be furnished in the application for a marriage license. This includes whether the former spouse or spouses are living, and whether the applicants are divorced and, if so, when, where and against whom the divorce or divorces were granted. A certified copy of the Decree of Divorce or a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage may be required by the clerk issuing the marriage license.

Surname Options

Every person has the right to adopt any name by which he or she wishes to be known simply by using that name consistently and without intent to defraud. A person’s last name (surname) does not automatically change upon marriage, and neither party to the marriage is required to change his or her last name. Parties to a marriage need not take the same last name.

One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the surname by which he or she wishes to be known after the marriage by entering the new name in the appropriate space provided on the marriage license. The new name must consist of one of the following options:

  • the surname of the other spouse;
  • any former surname of either spouse;
  • a name combining into a single surname all or a segment of the premarriage surname or any former surname of each spouse;
  • a combination name separated by a hyphen, provided that each part of such combination surname is the premarriage surname, or any former surname, of each of the spouses.

The use of this option will provide a record of your change of name. The marriage certificate, containing the new name, if any, is proof that the use of the new name, or the retention of the former name, is lawful. The local Social Security Administration office should be contacted so that its records and your social security identification card reflect the name change. There is no charge for this service.

Whether you decide to use or not use this option at the time of your marriage license application, you still have the right to adopt a different name through usage at some future date. However, your marriage license cannot be changed to record a surname you decide to use after your marriage.

If you plan to use your married name at work, be sure to have your name changed in Social Security records. This way, you will get credit for all your earnings. It’s easy and it’s absolutely free. Contact any Social Security office. You can find the address and phone number of your local Social Security Office at You will need documentary evidence showing both your old name and your new name.

Where can a marriage take place?

A New York State marriage license may be used within New York State only. Please note that if you go out of New York State to be married, your New York State marriage license will not be filed in New York State.

What about the ceremony?

There is no particular form or ceremony required except that the parties must state in the presence of an authorized public official or authorized member of the clergy and at least one other witness that each takes the other as his or her spouse. There is no minimum age for a witness. However, in selecting a witness, choose at least one person who you feel would be competent to testify in a court proceeding as to what he or she witnessed.

Who can perform a marriage ceremony?

To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:

  • the mayor of a city or village;
  • the former mayor, the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants;
  • a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council;
  • a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the New York State Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, the New York State Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record;
  • a village, town or county justice;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;
  • other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State. Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.

Where do you get copies of records?

For copies of marriage licenses issued anywhere in New York State except the five (5) boroughs of New York City, a certified copy of the marriage record may be obtained from the office of the town or city clerk who issued the license, or from the New York State Department of Health. The fee is $10 if you obtain a certified copy from the town or city clerk who issued the license. If applying to the New York State Department of Health, the fee is $30. For a certified copy, write to:

  • Certification Unit
  • Vital Records Section
  • New York State Department of Health
  • P.O. Box 2602
  • Albany, New York 12220-2602
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Long Island Wedding Reception Decorating Ideas

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Long Island Wedding Reception Decorating Ideas

Planning your Long Island wedding reception décor can be a daunting task. It’s not easy to look at an empty space and be able to visualize all of the limitless decorating options that are out there! Not to mention imagine how your going to pay for all of it. However, for a bride on a budget, there are some easy, inexpensive decorating tips that can really make your wedding reception everything you’ve always imagined.

  • Ribbon: Make ribbon your best friend. If you go to a craft store, you can buy wide swaths of ribbon in bulk without hurting your budget. Choose a color that complements your theme and floral arrangement, and use it as table runners or chair ties.
  • Seashells and Sand:  Having a wedding on Long Island gives you easy access to setting a beach theme of seashells and sand. Using a big hurricane vase filled with sand and shells is a super cheap, easy to make, fun decorating element.
  • Candles: There’s no such thing as too many candles, at a wedding reception or otherwise. They’re inexpensive, elegant and most importantly – everyone looks better in candlelight.
  • Monochromatic Flower Arrangements: There’s something so clean and modern about flower arrangements that are all of one single bright color, whether it’s pink, red or yellow. Paired against crisp white linens and crystal water goblets and wine glasses, your flowers will really make your wedding reception pop. Here’s a tip- choose flowers that are in season for better prices!
  • Think about renting! For a fraction of the cost you can get anything from statues to centerpieces and since you end up throwing away most of the decor anyways- it’s a great way to be economically smart without sacrificing what you want!

Whatever you have in mind, the banquet managers and bridal coordinators at Windows On The Lake are here to help. Schedule a tour today and see how we can make your wedding day better than you ever imagined.

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Choosing the right wedding theme

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One moment you fall in love with the colour of the Post-It notes on your desk, and you’re now committed to a pastel yellow theme. Later that day, you stop in for lunch at your favourite Moroccan bistro and convince yourself an Arabian Nights ball is the way to go. The next day, you walk by a stunning display of plumes in the window of a department store on your way home and it’s final – you’re going with a peacock motif.

If the theme of your wedding is changing by the hour and you can’t make up your mind, here are some clues to pick the perfect theme for your personality. We promise the only going back you’ll be doing is to that Moroccan place for some more couscous.


The atmosphere you want to establish at your wedding is one of the most important elements of choosing a theme and should be confirmed before the planning process even begins. Do you want guests to feel like they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into a whimsical abyss? Like they’re James Bonds and the Bond girls? The mood should reflect the couple’s personalities and inspire the date, location, décor and colours for your big day.


The venue should accentuate your theme instead of holding it captive, so before booking a reception hall you must have an idea of what your motif is. If not, your guests might feel a little lost in a surfboard decorated, gothic cathedral. When scoping out venues envision the space all decorated, if you have to cover every square inch of the country club’s floor with sand to recreate a beach, it’s time for a new setting. Over-compensating with too many decorations will take away from your theme, not to mention your budget.


Weddings aren’t supposed to be cookie cutter events, but rather parties that reflect all your favourite things, quirks and obsessions. If you’re both baseball buffs, host a wedding that features the colours of your favourite teams (we hear that Red Sox and White Sox complement each other quite nicely). Maybe you met while sailing across the seven seas, in which we would suggest a nautical theme. Are you one of those couples that can actually agree on a radio station? Have your wedding dedicated to your fave music genre! We could go on, but a theme should be unique to the bride and groom, and not copy and pasted out of a wedding magazine.

The atmosphere you want to establish at your wedding is one of the most important elements of choosing a theme.


The time of year you plan on tying the knot can be a huge influence on your wedding theme. Holiday events are always a hit, including a colourful fiesta wedding for Cinco De Mayo; a sequenced everything New Years ball; a Halloween inspired masquerade ball or maybe a poinsettia packed Christmas celebration. If you’re not one for festive occasions, you can play up the elements of a particular season. Planning to wed in July? Bring the Oceanside to your reception hall with monogrammed beach balls and seashell filled fishbowl centrepieces. With January nuptials, create a winter wonderland for your guests, or, if you love autumn, winter, spring and summer all the same – go all out with a four seasons wedding. At the Four Seasons, of course.


The pairing of deep gold and pale lemon may be more of a colour scheme than a theme, but if you can’t part from those shades (and if your fiancé isn’t offended by yellow), it may be a good place to start. A wedding theme is supposed to tie in to an overall idea, so look for other components that you can incorporate which will compliment your love for all things hued in sunshine. Maybe the bride and groom’s favourite vaycay spot is Hawaii, so they’ll have a yellow luau ceremony and reception. Or, perhaps your wedding is going to revolve around sunflowers and gerber daisies. If you’d rather ditch this whole “theme” thing, and just stick with your favourite shades – that’s fine too! Can’t settle on two or three colours? Have a rainbow themed wedding. Hello 1983.


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Choosing the right color scheme

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Choosing the color scheme for your wedding is huge, and easily one of the most important decisions you will be making, but it’s not the first decision you’ll need to make. The first thing is choosing a Long Island wedding venue. Will it be inside, or will it be outside? Will you be in a multi-purpose room, where you can decorate with the colors of your choice, or will you be in a room that already has it’s own style with it’s own set color scheme. The problem with some unique Long Island wedding venues is they can be limited with the type of decor you can choose. There are some that have much more flexibility in that regard. If you have found the wedding venue for you, and it is already set with its colors, just build on the colors that are already there. It will cause you much less stress, and you’ll be able to make the venue look as if you designed the whole thing.

Once you have chosen the best Long Island wedding venue for you, you should probably think about what season your wedding will be in. Keep in mind there are no longer strict rules to abide by, in regards to seasons and their traditional colors, as there once were years ago. There is much more freedom with today’s trends. So you can mix your own tastes with some tradition if you want to.  For example, a New England fall wedding would be elegant in burgundy, dark green, gold, burnt orange, cream, taupe, rich browns and plum.

Winter weddings can be magical with a snow white, cranberry and platinum color scheme. Throw in some hints of deep berry for accent, and you have a beautiful combination. Royal colors such as navy blue, emerald green and regal purple are other possibilities. If you choose a strong color such as one of these, you might consider adding lighter shades for a monochromatic but impressive color scheme.

By contrast, a spring wedding might be better suited for lighter colors such as turquoise, lemon yellow and mint green. Combining a light and a deep pink with green and white creates a striking palette. Tangerine, lilac, lime, yellow, hot pink and soft violet shades are other trendy colors for spring weddings.

Summer weddings look lovely in red, orange, yellow, lilac, lavender and various blues. A combination of dark purple, lavender and earthy green is stunning. Tying together silver, green and light purple is another great option. How about royal blue with light yellow and white? Black, white and yellow weddings are sophisticated, but pink, green and orange color schemes can be lovely as well.

Theme weddings and destinations weddings have grown in popularity recently. If you are choosing a location outside of Long Island, follow the color ideas of your exotic locations. This will give you a perfect looking wedding.  For example, if you will be by the beach, consider butter yellow and chocolate brown with sunset colors for accents. Island weddings are beautiful in navy blue with yellow and white floral accents. The aqua of the water, the blue of the endless sky and passionate bright red are also local favorites.

You may want to consider the wedding mood you wish to convey with your color scheme. The new trend in sophisticated celebrations is to look slightly old-fashioned. Dusty pear green with light aqua, light tangerine and gold can be breath-taking. A funky and fun wedding would require bold, saturated colors such as hot pink, Kelly green and bright orange, to which deeper jewel tones or chocolate brown can provide some balance.

When it comes to choosing your wedding colors, you really can’t go wrong. Today’s newest color trends even encourage combining those colors that wouldn’t necessarily be chosen together. As soon as you know what limitations your location imposes, feel free to experiment with your favorite colors. Use fabric swatches or paint sample cards to compare the effects of your combinations. After all, this is your wedding. Surround yourself with the colors you love.

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5 Tips To The Perfect Long Island Brunch Wedding Reception

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5 Tips To The Perfect Long Island Brunch Wedding Reception

5 Brunch Wedding Reception Tips That Will Make Your Wedding Day Unforgettable

Brunch wedding receptions are becoming increasingly popular on Long Island, especially among couples looking to stretch their budgets. Reception halls often charge less for morning and midday events and breakfast foods generally cost less than dinner. If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to cut costs while still having a fabulous experience, check out our top five tips to ensure that you have the brunch wedding reception of your dreams.

1. Timing is everything.

Even if you and your husband-to-be are both chipper and cheerful morning people, not everyone else necessarily is. With that in mind, don’t plan your brunch wedding reception for any earlier than 10am at the absolute earliest. Most people consider 11am to be the ideal brunch hour, so plan accordingly.

2. Awaken their appetite gently.

Try not to jump right into the meal too quickly; you may have spent hours getting dolled up, but keep in mind that most of your guests just got out of bed. Allow your guests an opportunity to mingle and sip a glass of juice, a cup of coffee or a mimosa while nibbling on some fresh fruit before they sit for a meal. It will set a nice, leisurely pace for your brunch wedding reception without killing your budget.

3.  Choices, choices, choices.

There’s something about an array of fresh juices and light cocktails at a brunch wedding reception that feels – and looks – so elegant. Consider incorporating a juice bar of freshly-squeezed beverages, or a cocktail station with mimosas, bellinis and champagne.

4. Embrace the season.

An outdoor brunch wedding reception in the spring, summer or fall on Long Island is beautiful, especially if it’s a waterfront venue or a reception hall with a view. If you’re getting married in the winter, a roaring fire makes for a nice, cozy setting.

5. Choose a variety of foods.

There will be guests who are egg and sausage people, and there will be guests who prefer a small plate of fresh fruit and a bite of toast. For this reason, you might find that it’s easiest to have a buffet that offers something for everyone. No matter what, don’t forget to make sure that your brunch wedding reception has some vegetarian options.

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Invitation Etiquette

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Invitation Etiquette

  1. Although you think someone might not make it, either because they are in poor health or due to distance, they might appreciate an invitation and the fact that you cared enough to invite them. A word of caution. As invitations usually carry an obligation to send a gift, it might look like you’re inviting them, despite knowing they can’t travel, only to receive a gift. In such a case, it might be a good idea to restrict invitations to those who are very close friends/relatives and will be hurt if they were not invited. And to let the rest in this category not feel totally excluded through a wedding announcement that carries no obligation of a gift.
  2. Anyone you invite to the bridal shower, should be invited to your wedding.
  3. It is nice to send invitations to your wedding party and the celebrant performing your church/religious ceremony.
  4. It is advisable to invite partners of guests in long standing relationships, especially if you are close to them. If a guest has just formed a new relationship though, you are not obliged to invite their partner, unless the guest is a very close friend and you would feel uncomfortable not to invite his/her newly acquired partner. The decision is yours.
  5. Whether or not to invite children will be determined by your venue and your budget. Also, if you are close to many of your friend’s kids and have a large number of nieces and nephews or your cousins have kids who you are familiar with, you might like to include children.

If you are inviting children, a few tips…

  1. At the ceremony, you could instruct ushers to seat guests with children towards the back, so that there is minimum disruption to the ceremony and so the guest can quickly exit along with the child if he/she gets too rowdy, without causing too much distraction or disturbance to the proceedings.
  2. If you’re looking to save on the catering, you could request kiddie’s meals and negotiate a special rate for it.
  3. You might like to hire a children’s entertainer to keep them occupied.
  4. Alternatively you may hire a child minder to keep an eye on the children.
  5. You could provide activity packs to keep the children creatively occupied.

Why you might choose not to invite children /how to go about conveying the same

  1. Venues do not ordinarily differentiate between children and adults in terms of numbers and catering could prove a costly affair if your caterer refuses to compromise.
  2. If you invite certain children but not others, it would cause hurt feelings. Applying a blanket rule and not inviting any kids at all might be the best approach. Once you decide this, it is best to make no exception to this rule.
  3. Adults may have a better time on their own without the kids running riot.

How to specify that children aren’t included

Clearly mention, by way of your addressing, both the invitation as well as the envelopes, that kids are excluded, for instance, Mr. & Mrs. Steve Jones. In case you get the feeling guests may not get the message, or at least certain guests may not, you could convey your ‘adults only’ rule to close relatives and friends and have them spread the word around. Remember however, that it is inappropriate to write ‘No children’ on your invitations. If specifically asked, it is best to have a standard response ready, along the lines of number constraints or limited capacity of the venue, etc.

Sending out the invitations

Traditionally, it is the bride’s parents who host the wedding and ordinarily they are responsible for sending out the invitations, receiving replies, etc. If the bride and groom are footing the bill for the entire wedding, they might take on the responsibility of sending out the invitations. Once everybody’s individual list is ready, it is time to compile all the lists and have a master list handy. An organized guest list can be extremely helpful for the following…

  • To keep track of the head count
  • To address invitations
  • To keep track of details such as out of town guests, those needing directions etc.

You might like to divide your final guest list into several columns that include…

  1. Contact Information – The guest’s full name, address, telephone number and possibly e-mail address too, if available, to update them on any sudden or last minute plans.
  2. RSVPs – Next to the guest’s name, for entries regarding replies received and the number of guests expected to attend from the family is invaluable for a definite idea of the head count.
  3. Gift – To keep track of gifts received prior to, or during, the wedding.
  4. Thank-you To record when and if a thank-you has been sent.
  5. Out-of-town guests – To mark reminders regarding accommodation to be taken care of and whether or not the guest has been intimated about the same.

When to send invitations

It is a good idea to send invitations about two months prior to your wedding date in ordinary circumstances, but if your wedding falls during the holiday season, as early as possible, about 3-4 months in advance might be a good idea, as your guests might want to plan their holidays accordingly. If you delay, they might have already made alternate arrangements or bookings for a holiday and will have to decline your invitation, which would result in disappointment on both sides.

Along with your invitations, you might like to request/ give guests additional information along the following lines…

  1. RSVPs regarding their attendance/availability.
  2. Directions/ maps to the ceremony site/ venue of the reception.
  3. Whether it is going to be an outdoor ceremony/reception, so they can plan their outfits accordingly.
  4. Accommodation information or a list of hotels in different budgets, for out of town guests.

Accommodation for out of towners

While the couple is not obliged to make accommodation arrangements for out of town guests, it is considered courteous to do so, or at least to make some suggestions for the same, especially as they are unfamiliar with the place.

If you are expecting a large number of out of town guests, you may be able to negotiate a good rate at a certain hotel or reserve a block of rooms.

If many of your relatives are willing to put up guests at their homes, it might be a good idea to arrive at the best match possible. For instance, an elderly couple might prefer putting up a senior guest/guests, while younger couples or those with younger/teenage children might be a better option for hosting those in the younger age group or a couple who are bringing their kids along.

In the event an out of town guest is being hosted by a relative/friend, provide them with the name, address, phone number and directions of their host, as well as request your guest to convey complete information to the host, on probable arrival and departure dates and closely coordinate with the host once the same is confirmed.

It might be a good idea to convey your gratitude to the host/hostess for thoughtfully hosting your out of town guest, with a thank-you note and a small token of your appreciation.

Guest etiquette

Guests also have to display certain common courtesies towards the bridal couple…

  1. Reply as soon as you know whether or not you will be able to attend the wedding, and more so if you are going to decline. This helps the bridal couple have a clearer picture of their numbers to plan the catering, etc. and also to invite another guest if they so choose.
  2. Respect the ceremony and refrain from talking or distracting others during the service.
  3. Whether or not you’re able to attend a wedding, being invited to one, means that you should send a gift. Wedding announcements, on the other hand, carry no gift obligation.
  4. The gift registry is a good place to look when thinking of what is appropriate to gift, though most couples are happy to accept cash.
  5. If it is possible, it may be a good idea to send the couple your gift directly, even if you are attending the wedding, especially if the gift is cumbersome. This has two advantages – it eliminates the possibility of theft/loss at the wedding and in the latter case, it minimizes the burden on the couple/family members when they have to transport the gift.
  6. Do remember that the invitation is extended specifically to the one(s) whose name(s) are on it. Don’t invite your own guests or assume your children are invited, if their names are not specifically mentioned on the invitation. Do not resort to underhand tactics like including your children’s names on the RSVPs, thus creating an awkward situation for the couple, whereby they have to call you or clarify that your children aren’t included. It is embarrassing for all concerned.
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Inviting guests to your wedding

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So you’re in the process of choosing your Long Island wedding venue. It’s the biggest job you have, yet there are still many decisions to make. The people you invite is one of the most important things to consider. The amount of people you invite will be determined by your budget, your venue, and really, who you actually want there vs. who you’re obligated to invite. The guest list is usually one of the most stressful aspects to planning your wedding. There can be a lot of friction and difficulty caused by deciding the guest list, so do your best to handle this with as much sensitivity and thought as possible.  Here are a few points to mull over when deciding the guest list.

Size of your wedding

This is the first thing to consider. When you picture your wedding, do you envision a huge event with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding? Or do you picture a more intimate setting with just you and a small guest list of just the special people in your life. Chances are, if this is the first wedding for both of your families, you have a pretty good idea already that this is going to be a larger scale wedding whether you like that or not. Make sure to set your budget and then figure out your guest list. If you do it in the opposite order, you are almost assured to go to over budget.

Remember, It’s your wedding!

Make the most of this opportunity. You are going to want to have the people who matter the most be there for your special day. Be prepared, your parents will want their friends to attend, maybe their boss, and other various people you don’t know at all. Make sure to remember that it is your wedding, so you have the right to share your reservations to your dad inviting his accountant or your mom inviting the organist from church. Keep in mind, your parents will have some “must have” guests. But there are some areas where you can take a stand. And if you are flexible with them, they’ll understand why you’re inviting someone who seems random to them. Check the budget, handle your parents with sensitivity, but always remember it’s your wedding.

Who is paying for your Long Island wedding?

This is a huge factor when determining the guest list. If your parents are paying for most or all of this, then chances are they will feel entitled to invite who they want. If you and your future spouse are paying, then you have complete say in who’s coming or not. If your parents are paying, then let them invite anyone they want. Unless you are having an intimate wedding. However, if they are paying for an intimate wedding, they should have good sense on who to invite and who to leave off the list.

Creating the guest list

As stated before, the Long Island wedding venue you choose, as well as your budget determines the size of your guestlist. You always want to plan for a few more, but don’t go overboard because all of a sudden you’ll outgrow your budget and your venue!  Here are some additional tips to follow when choosing your guest list.

  1. Generally the total number of guests you can have will be halved and the bride’s side accorded half the number and the groom’s the other half.
  2. If you and your spouse have a common circle of friends , you may want to give your parents a little more leeway with their invitees.
  3. Keep in mind none of this is set in stone. If the groom doesn’t have as many people to invite, it’s not necessary for him to start thinking up people to bring so that the parties are even. it makes more sense to let the bride invite more if she has more she’d like to be there. Or vice versa.
  4. The bride and groom should come up with their own lists separately, then meet up and go through the sifting process together.

You are probably going to go through several versions of your guest list until coming to the final list. More than anything it will help to determine the ball park number of guests you’ll be looking at. This will help you determine which Long Island wedding venue you will choose. Once you choose the best wedding venue on Long Island, you can focus in on the maximum number of guests.

Tips for drawing up a guest list

Make two columns, one for the name of the family, the other for the number expected. Thus you will have a row comprising entries such as –  Mr. & Mrs. Parker (and family) and the corresponding entry – 2 (or 4 as is the case). And so on. After due modifications and fine tuning, this list helps you arrive at two things simultaneously – the first column total will indicate the number of invitations you will require and the total of the second column will indicate your total number of guests.

  1. Start with the people closest to you i.e. your immediate family – parents, the couple’s own children (if any), siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents.
  2. Next is the extended family i.e. aunts, uncles, cousins, their children (if necessary)
  3. Then come the close family friends and the couple’s friends, both individual and common
  4. Finally come the couple’s colleagues/ co-workers, employers and the parent’s colleagues

If your’s is a very intimate wedding or you have a very large family (immediate and extended), you may want to stick exclusively to the first two categories. If you’re planning a larger wedding, feel ‘the more the merrier’ and you have the budget to accommodate it, then you will be able to go the whole hog.

It is also possible, especially if your wedding is on a weekday, that not all whom you invite will be able to attend, either due to work or other commitments. If they reply sufficiently in advance, letting you know, you could have a reserve invitation list handy. As long as you don’t leave it too late to mail, thereby drawing attention to the fact that they are a second choice, the recipients will be happy to oblige.

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