• Jennifer Valdez

Setting the table scene for your reception, dinner party, luncheon, or even brunch is so important in setting the mood of your event. The details of your table and overall setting conveys the theme and the overall look that you created. There can be a lot of little touches that go into setting a table but depending on what vibe or look you are going for, the process can be very easy! You’ll be surprised how the smallest details can make all the difference in creating a table setting that is beautiful and memorable.



Where to Start:

  • Start with your table style. Do you envision round tables? Farm table style? Long rows of squares? You might want all the tables to be the same size and shape or you might want to vary them. There are a lot of guides online to inspire you. Deciding can be confusing but a few tips I have are: round tables allow for a more intimate setting because guests can see each other and have more visual space to strike up a conversation. Rectangle tables can seat more people but may limit cross-table conversation compared to a round. A King Style table can accommodate a lot more people and space on the table for food while having a view of the newlyweds sitting at the helm of the table.

  • Linens. Adding linens can totally change the vibe of your table setting and can go a variety of directions. Others prefer to leave wooden, farm-style tables bare to show off the wood grain for a more rustic, natural look. This is where Pinterest can come in handy for saving all those style ideas. My recommendation is that if you are renting standard plastic or wood tables from a rental company, to pair it with linens that are floor-length to cover any wear and tear the rented tables may have. I personally don’t like the metal table legs showing so I opt for linens to cover them up. Table runners also add a touch of color or sparkle and can come in different textures to add more dimension to your setting.

  • Keep in mind guest count. It will help to determine early in the planning process exactly how many guests you plan on having on attend your event. Some things to consider are the number of chairs and tables you may have to provide, table space, and seating between guests. In my experience, nobody particularly enjoys sitting really close to another guest on benches or at tables because there isn’t enough room. Don’t forget to find out what your room size is to help with the table layout. For example, if you have the room space, I would recommend leaving at least 6 feet between rectangular tables to allow enough room for people to put out their chairs and ideally on a 6 foot round table, the max guests seated should be 10-12. It will all depend on what space you have to work with. As your planner, I can assist with sketching out your layout and measuring what spacing might work best!

  • Food serving and utensil placement. Another thing to consider is what kind of food will you be serving. You might want to allow more room if it will be family style and require more space for serving dishes on the table. If it will be buffet style, it may lend itself to more table space. Also, if serving wine, water, and other beverages, think about how many glasses and pitchers there will be and the space needed to accommodate it all. When it comes to food planning and table setting, my preference is to have the dinner plate placed at the table even when it’s buffet style. It will make it so that your table looks complete and makes for amazing photos to look back on. Another tip: if you are going for a more elegant style setting, I recommend chargers placed under the plate. > When it comes to utensils, placement can be confusing! What you will need will depend on the style of food service you choose. If it’s a multiple course meal, you will require more utensils. If you want to follow traditional utensil placement, remember one thing when setting your table: forks go on the left side of the dinner plate starting with salad fork on the outside. Any knives and spoons are placed on the right hand side, and always place the blade of the knife towards the plate. Dessert fork or spoon goes horizontally above the dinner plate with the handle towards the right. The dessert fork is laid beneath the dessert spoon (or dessert knife), handle facing left. The dessert utensils may also be presented on the dessert plate in the same way as formal service. > When it comes to beverages and stemware, consider if you will be serving wine or champagne at your tables, or if you will have a separate bar. Serving alcohol at the table will depend on your theme and what your preference is. For a wedding event, serving wine and champagne to your guest is a very nice touch, but I suggest having any staff you hire pour for guests because it will prevent having lots of half-used, open bottles at the end of the evening. I also recommend having water glasses at each place setting. Much like the utensils, there are the traditional placements of stemware at a table setting: place the stemware at each place setting you might ask, just above the dinner knife. You can group glasses together or fan them out above the dinner plate.

  • Table theme & fine touches. In addition to plates and cutlery on the table, allow for space to add any decor items to really bring your theme together. The theme of your setting should echo the tones of your invitation or any other materials you have sent out. A few things to ask yourself: what time of year is your event? Will it be an outside event or in a hall, home or barn? For example, if you wanted an upscale more elegant theme, then perhaps a banquet hall at a fancier venue would be best over a more rustic location. Maybe you want to do rustic/vintage with a barn and complementing table setting which might be best during a summertime event so guests can enjoy the warm weather while at their table. Once you have picked your theme then you can start to look at colors, menu styles, and even your signature drinks!

  • Setting your table. In my opinion, this is the part where you can get the most creative! Once you have selected your table, linens, utensils, and decor — now you get to put it all together and lay it out on the table! After you place the plates, utensils, and stemware you can add the decor! There are so many fun ways to place all of these elements. I like to experiment with napkin layouts and folding as well as trying to innovate the setting so that it’s more dynamic and eye-catching. I would be happy to help you with this process as your planner! I like to make sure that that space is efficiently utilized but also aesthetically pleasing and meets your theme! When it comes to the table setting, candles and centerpieces are very popular items as are fresh flowers or leaf garlands. Think about the color scheme for the decor and try to complement your napkins, menus, table numbers and other place setting accessories like name cards to that theme. One thing to keep in mind about centerpieces is the size — you want to make sure your guests can see each other across the table, so keep your pieces low enough. My favorite thing to do is to create 2 to 3 different tablescapes with varying centerpieces but all within the same theme and color scheme. Another thing is that I like to do as an added touch is placing a sprig of fresh herbs or leaf into the napkins of each setting. The attention to detail adds to the overall look and gives people different things to look at during your event reception and dinner.




Hopefully that guide helps you as you begin dreaming up your table setting! One of my favorite parts of a wedding is the reception because I like to gaze across the room and see my clients friends and family all together enjoying a meal at the beautifully set tables celebrating the newlyweds. Your table can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be and I am here to help you make it happen. Feel free to reach out for a consultation or an appointment to talk about what decor rental pieces you could add to your setting!


XO, Jen


  • Jennifer Valdez



Snow is falling, hot cocoa is brewing, and wedding bells are ringing! The holidays and winter are some of the most wonderful times of the year and can be a perfect time to tie the knot. If you are a bride that loves the colder season and is looking to have a winter wedding, here are some important considerations for planning your big day:


Union Hill Inn during a winter wedding.

Keep warm with fur throws and blankets.

Location & Venue Considerations

With the magic of winter snow and colder weather, comes some important considerations about where to have your winter wedding. Travel can be a bit precarious depending on the winter weather. Keep in mind travel time for guests and how easy or difficult it may be for them to get to your venue. When building your wedding timeline, try to factor in potential delays due to winter travel. For example, if your venue is going to have snow, it will be important to convey that information to guests so that they can plan accordingly. It might also be ideal to have your ceremony and reception venues in the same location or near each other to avoid any travel mishaps. The holidays may be difficult to work around so take a look at a calendar and check what dates may work between major winter holidays like Christmas and New Years. On the bright side, since winter is usually considered the “off-season” for weddings, when choosing your winter location be sure to take advantage of discounts where applicable! Some venues and vendors may offer special discounts or packages for winter weddings that can save you a great deal.


Have a Plan B – Just in Case

If you’re hosting a winter wedding, it’s important to be prepared for bad weather but try to remember you can’t control the weather and even if weather doesn’t go your way, that you have a plan ready! Work with your wedding coordinator on a back-up plan for your big day. Perhaps there is an indoor area to move guests to, extra outdoor heaters that can be brought out, or having umbrellas out just in case of inclement weather. You may have to move your wedding timeline for the day around which is fine if you have a plan in place. Despite the chaos that can come with unexpected winter wedding quirks, be sure to relax and know that things will come together.


Indulge in the Romance of Winter

My favorite part of winter weddings are the little touches in décor such as the snowy winter photos and endless photo opportunities with winter florals and furs. I had one wedding that had an ornament guest book that guests signed so that the couple can put them up on the tree every Christmas. You can go a variety of ways with your décor and theme for a winter wedding! There are a lot of great ideas online. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go with a super Christmas theme, unless you want to! The snow and the dew of the winter season makes for adorable opportunities for elegant color schemes with furs and sparkles, or even for a rustic woodland theme complete with a hot cocoa bar. Also, the sun is not as glaring in the winter so you can work with your photographer with the romantic wintry lighting. Keep in mind though – it gets darker earlier in winter and plan your photos and wedding activities accordingly.





Once you’ve worked with your coordinator and planned the logistics of travel and plan B’s for your winter wedding, you can get to the fun part of planning the decorative touches! Get creative with the colors and options that a winter wedding lends itself to. I suggest cuddling up with a hot cup of hot cocoa and a cozy blanket to get inspired to plan the magical wintry dream for your big day!


If you’re looking to have a winter wedding and need some help planning, feel free to reach out to me! Good luck!


XO, Jen


  • Jennifer Valdez



Balance important information and personal touches to make your website a fun resource for your guests.


Planning a wedding has a lot of moving parts, but getting your wedding website running will accomplish an important aspect of the process – getting information to and communicating with your guests. Wedding websites – sometimes called “wed-sites” – are resources that help your guests stay informed and excited about your big day. Streamlining your wedding details into a website will reduce confusion and help guests make arrangements for your celebrations all while letting them get a glimpse into the theme of your wedding and story as a couple!


Throughout my career in the event planning industry, I’ve seen how communicating with your guests has evolved and how wedding website etiquettes have changed. Below is a list of things I have observed that make your wedding website helpful and fun!


The Basics:

Your website is a resource for your guests so ensure that the basics are covered! These items should be included when the site goes live. Other extra sections can be added later but the basics are the most important to have posted as soon as save-the-dates go out and guests start visiting your site.

  • Dates & Times List the dates and times of main activities that ALL guests are invited to such as the ceremony and reception. Be sure to include the start time of the ceremony or any pre-ceremony events you want guests to attend. Wedding planning is all in the details but guests don’t need to know all of them. That being said, be sure to only list main events that are open to the entire guest list. Invite-only events such as rehearsal dinners, showers, family-only, or exclusive parties should NOT be listed on the website. This will help reduce confusion.

  • Location, Location, Location! Be sure to include the address and name of your wedding venue and facilities. Include parking information. Letting guests know of designated or nearby parking lots/garages and associated costs will help them plan ahead. Attaching a Google Maps or Waze link to your venue or posting a picture of the map are helpful to make sure guests go to the correct place. If you can make the map downloadable, even better! Also include information about the closest airport and any public transport they could use to get to your venue. Be especially sure to include specific travel directions if your venue is harder to find or if the GPS locations aren’t accurate and any handicap access considerations.



  • Lodging Accommodations or hotel room blocks that you have secured for your event should be on your website along with any access or discount codes you may have. Be sure to include deadlines to reserve a room from your block and web links and contact information for the hotel to make it easier for guests to book their hotel.



  • Shuttle Information If you are arranging a private shuttle or if your lodging block includes one, it is helpful for guests to know times of pick-up and departure and how to arrange using the shuttle (i.e. let the concierge know, call to reserve).

  • Things to Do. Sometimes the party starts as soon as the guests arrive in town! Help give them ideas on how they could spend their free time. For those guests who arrive early or are planning to stay after your wedding, you can provide a small list of things to do in the area or near the hotel. Points of interest, nearby shopping, and restaurants and coffee shops. Hyperlinking this section will help streamline things.

  • Tell Your Story & Personal Touches Consider adding a section on your site about yourselves and thanking guests for being part of your lives. Some ideas: a brief description of how you met, the moment you knew they were “the one”, proposal story, or a favorite memory or story that captures you as a couple. These are the special personal touches that resonate with your guests and get them excited about your wedding.

  • Pictures Tell a Thousand Words Don’t forget to add a few pictures of you and your partner throughout the page. Pictures help break up the website space and complement your information. Guests enjoy seeing funny, memorable, or old photos of the couple (or their kids and pets!). Any engagement photos would be suitable to post as well.

  • Align Your Website Theme with Your Wedding Scheme As you build your website, I recommend matching the colors, tones, and aesthetic of your website to your wedding save-the-dates and invitations. Avoid having too many tabs or sections. Most wedding website builders have easy-to-use editing features you can play around with to design your page and make it eye-catching. Keep with your theme and try to keep it simple.



  • Password Protection In this day and age, you can’t be too careful about security. I suggest password protecting your website. This will help keep addresses and agendas private and available to guests only. The access code can be included on the save-the-date.


The Extras:

This is the fun part! Adding touches of your relationship and tidbits about yours and your partner’s personalities will help make your website memorable and engaging for your guests! You don’t have to have the following on your website, but I highly recommend one or two to keep your page sentimental and focused on your big day.

  • Registry It is more common to not have your registry on your invitation so including the information on your wedding website is the perfect place. Including links to your registries will help direct guests to them for ease of access. Adding a couple of short sentences as to what and why you have opted to do charitable donations or a honeymoon fund will help shift the focus back to you as a couple rather than the idea of gifting.

  • Dress Code This is a simple way of letting guests know what attire is expected so they can prepare accordingly. It might also be helpful to include general weather conditions, especially if you are having a fall or winter wedding where guests may need to plan for staying warm or for inclement weather.

  • Wedding Party Introductions Adding pictures or brief bios about your wedding party can help familiarize your guests with the wedding party and break the ice, so to speak. It helps them know who’s who and recognize people when they are at the wedding.

  • Promote Your Wedding Hashtag If you’ve chosen a hashtag or special filters for your guests to use when posting pictures and videos to social media, you could post the information on your website. This way guests can see it ahead of time and use it for any pre-wedding travel or activities. It also helps let guests know in case they miss seeing signs of your hashtag at your wedding.

  • Frequently Asked Questions Page This is totally optional! It could be where you can broach trickier subjects and list common questions such as: “Are children allowed?” or “Is it a cash bar?”. If you are inclined to share this information, this style could be an easy way to put the information out there. If you choose this format, be sure to answer questions politely and provide a clear reason. Sprinkling some humor or cleverness to answers adds a touch of fun to this section!


Lots of templates are online, get inspired!


There are a lot of tools online to help you build your site. Do some research on what platform works best for you and fits in your budget. Some popular and free builders are on TheKnot.com, Zola.com, Wix.com, and Minted.com. If you choose Minted.com and are one of my clients, you can get up to 35% off of select services with my discount code! Building your site is one of the early steps of planning your wedding. It can be a lot to think about, but once it’s done, you will have made one big step towards your big day! With a helpful website, your guests are sure to be ready to celebrate the love on your wedding day! Good luck!


XO - Jen


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