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Wedding tips

5 tips on how to make your place cards stand out 

Lemon place card

You’re planning a wedding. And there’s oh so many important decisions to make! One detail such as a place card might not seem like something that is of higher significance now, right? Let me show you that having a unique place card can make your beloved guest feel sooo special. How? Let’s examine how you can make this often-neglected detail a show stopping one.  

Place cards are an important part of your wedding stationery plan- they indicate a certain person’s seating spot at the table. But they don’t just do that, trust me on that one! Table plan, flower arrangements, centerpieces, the whole table setting is very important when imagining your wedding reception. But so are the table cards! Every individual guest on your wedding day is unique and plays a huge role in your life- otherwise they wouldn’t be here, is that right? Why don’t you pay tribute to them by making their place card unique & memorable…. 

And here’s how you can make that possible… 

  1. Make a short/sweet personalized note – just a simple “Welcome” in the corner can make a difference. It doesn’t look like an ordinary place card anymore. You can even write person’s nickname, that would be such a personalized touch. It shows that you care about them, not everyone calls you by your nickname that’s for sure! They’ll love it. 
  1. Hand written place card – It will definitely take a bunch of time but it’ll be worth it. Imagine if you’re good at calligraphy, how amazing would the letters look like. Either way, it will look as though you left a part of you on that piece of paper/material. Every person has a strong attachment to their name, it is part of their identity. When you write it by hand it shows that you care about your guests. So much so, that you wanted them to see how their name looks like when you personally write it. It will make them feel appreciated and important to you. At least that’s what I would feel like. 😊 
  1. Think about your wedding theme – Don’t make the place cards black & white. (I mean by all means do so if it suits your wedding colors/theme). Place cards give you so much room to be creative and fun. If you have a Mediterranean theme wedding and you’re using different greenery- why don’t you incorporate that cute little olive branch into your place card? Or a lavender flower. It creates such an effortless flow into the whole wedding and leaves an impression that you cared about the slightest details. And let’s not forget how great it looks on the photos too! 
  1. Different shapes/materials – who said it has to be a rectangle? Be different, do a circle! Just kidding. Think out of the box and make things more memorable and unique! This little place card is such a great opportunity where you can use it and do a subtle “Wow effect”. Why not?  
  1. Think out of the box – Let them have a double purpose, make them as a little gift to carry back home from Dubrovnik. Do glass place cards. Do stone place cards. Shells from the beach. Edible place cards.  Or drinkable (everyone loves a mini Dubrovnik grappa bottle with their name on it)! Make place cards out of wire. Lemon. Yes, the fruit. Lemon can be a place card. There are really numerous ways how to make this little detail stand out. 

I think you got the idea… It is a detail that should not be neglected. Provides so much room to play with. And yet, can make a big difference and be a detail that your guests will talk about many years later. Thank you, dear reader, I wish I could know your name. 🙂 

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Photo by: Veronica Arevalo

WEDDING MENU TIPS & TRICKS

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The third question I ask all my new wedding clients, after I ask them where they met and how they got engaged, is the one related to their wedding priorities. Everyone has their own – for some it is décor and flowers, for some it is cars in which the bride will come, for some it is music and for others it is lighting. I remember exactly when I got married and made a list of priorities for our wedding, food and wine automatically took first place unquestionably, a couple of spears ahead of everything else. For my wedding bouquet, for example, the florist was horrified when I told her to just grab everything from that bucket with the rest of the daisies and wrap it with rope. And the bouquet was perfect!

But for food, eh it was already another pair of sleeves. The owner of the restaurant in a rural household where our wedding dinner was held, said that only after our wedding  he can take his vacation! And he took our wedding menu extremely seriously 😊, which we tried four times! Yes, you read that right, four times, and we don’t even live in the city where we got married. Even today, many years after that very happy day, when I remember food, there’s not the slightest detail I would change.

Given that my two passions are weddings and food, today we’re going to chat about a few tips on how to create an ideal wedding menu. So, let’s go!

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Photo by Librecommel’ Art, all rights reserved

1. TIMING – It is never too early to start organizing a wedding. Do you have a date? Make sure that even your most important suppliers, those at the top of your wedding priorities list, are booked a maximum of one month after the engagement, even if you plan to have a wedding in the next two years. The location and catering company must be determined at this stage. As well as (of course) a photographer, band / DJ and decorator and definitely additional locations if you are planning to have a day before and/or day after the wedding. It didn’t happen once that we changed the wedding date because the priority supplier was busy. Therefore, get to work – the sooner the better! When vendors are confirmed, then you have some time to relax. 😊

2. LOCATION – with the location, things get complicated immediately, but still at solvable levels. You love a restaurant but not their food, or vice versa – a place with your favorite food also looks like a slightly better fire station? There is a possibility to have the best of both worlds and it is to have a wedding in a location where you’ll be allowed to bring your own catering or at least, chef per your choice. In Croatia, these concepts are still in their infancy, but they are developing slowly and safely. Good chefs are more and more willing to work with restaurants where they are not employed and restaurants are flexible to bring a part of the team, so they together make a menu from your vision. And if none of that is really feasible and the location is fixed with your team, do it like me – try the menu until you bring it to perfection, but always stay realistic! Don’t expect or force a team of chefs in a rural household to make emulsions and foams. The wedding should be harmonious, and here the balance of food and location is extremely important.

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Photo by Mihoci Studios, all rights reserved

3. BUDGET– a good old, ever-present issue of money. Do your homework and gather as many offers as possible from various locations to have a clear picture of the market and the prices of wedding menus. Be realistic, how much can you set aside from the wedding budget for food? And calculate that you will spend on average at least 10% more on everything related to weddings, including food. Almost never less. If food is your priority, and the menu you like costs more than you can afford with the current guest list, reduce the number of guests! The perfect excuse for your wedding to be exactly as you have always dreamed of it – with really your loved ones (ok, and mother-in-law, you can’t help but invite her to the wedding 😉 ).

4. SERVICE STYLE– everyone has a ready answer to this question- served menu or buffet option? What is your choice? Why not a combination? People love dynamics in food. For example, a buffet with homemade prosciutto, Pag cheese, vegetable fritters and a lot of condiments such as olives, spreads and sauces, various cakes and crackers while guests mingle and enjoy the evening in front of the restaurant, then 2 served courses (ideally warm) and finally dessert at the buffet. Midnight buffet with mini burgers and barbecue sausages with warm bread also at a couple of stations. And you covered everything! Unless, of course, you have imagined a wedding very formal, without too much dancing, then treat your guests with seven course menu . This is ideal for smaller weddings, say up to 30 people, when the emphasis is on hanging out at the table rather than having fun. There is a solution for everyone 😊

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Photo by Librecommel’ Art, all rights reserved

5. SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY – even if your chosen menu is one with a few buffet stations or with seven courses, believe me when I tell you that simplicity is the key and for a very simple reason- people are very sensitive when it comes to food. So, shoot to the simple, universal and diverse. Don’t complicate but also don’t repeat the foods on the menu. Choose the battles that matter to you! If you really want the most perfect macaron cake in seventy-three colors instead of the standard chocolate with whipped cream, then compromise with your parents and let it be prosciutto and cheese as an appetizer. After all, it is both simple and universal and very acceptable to most. Just let the food be top quality and you’ve scored!

6. YOU WILL NEVER PLEASE EVERYONE WITH YOUR CHOICE – related to item number 5, know that you will never, but never, delight everyone. You may think you would, but it is simply impossible. Unless you’re just the two of you at dinner (which, now that you’re reading all this, you probably think it’s not a bad option 😀 ), there will always be someone who won’t be pleased, and  that’s just fine! Accept it from the beginning as something that goes “by default” and don’t get provoked.

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Photo by Mihoci Studios, all rights reserved

7. KEEP VEGETARIANS AND OTHER ‘TEAMS’ IN MIND – good old saying says- everyone knows best for themselves! Don’t judge, be those cool friends who will make sure that people with special dietary requirements are well taken care of, so much so that (and believe me when I tell you this!), after your wedding, they will walk around and talk about how well you have taken care of them. And that’s such a cool thing.

8. CHOOSE LOCALLY AND SEASONALLY– especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables- you don’t want to be served a Caprese salad at your January wedding, do you? Talk to the chef of your catering company or restaurant and don’t be afraid to ask where they get fresh groceries from, including meat. After all, it’s about your wedding, which is very likely only once in a lifetime and you absolutely want to know not only what you will pay for, but exactly what you and your guests will eat. To the last detail. And then include that in the written menu on the tables – for example Drniš prosciutto, Pag cheese or Baranja kulen – people love such things and at the same time you promote the most delicious delicacies of Croatia. Food experience guaranteed!

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Photo by Librecommel’ Art, all rights reserved

9. HEALTH IN FRONT OF EVERYTHING– yes, we know that sushi station with a Japanese master who throws knives is a big hit at events, but are you sure you want to serve raw fish at your summer wedding? Leave those extravagances for a hen or stag party, and for your wedding menu think carefully about food preparation techniques and whether there is any and the slightest possibility of poisoning. Remember that wedding when two hundred people became infected with salmonella? You remember. Me too. And everyone else probably. You don’t want to be a part of that statistic.

10. TRY YOUR MENU until you are completely satisfied. And don’t settle for mediocrity or excuses that something is now unavailable or out of season- there are ways to make things right if you try, we all know that. You are their clients and you have the right to try your wedding menu to the last detail. If you choose the buffet option, have them show you pictures of their previous performances and ask them to make the presentation as authentic as possible to what you liked about the pictures. Also if you have chosen the served menu, there is absolutely no reason why the presentation of each of the plates would be any different from the one at the wedding itself. Make sure that the menu tasting setup is identical to the one that will be set up for you and your guests at the wedding reception itself. And don’t be afraid to try more things – that’s what tastings are for- to find the best option that you will be satisfied with, the guests will be delighted and the restaurant is sure that it can execute with perfection.

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Photo by Mihoci Studios, all rights reserved

How to find your true wedding planner – stuff to keep in mind when looking for one

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This last couple of weeks I have witnesses a few occasions where a couple’s wedding vision and the whole special day were compromised to a great extent due to the fact they had no reliable local contact to ensure all of their wedding vendor communication is indeed agreed upon and set in stone. I couldn’t help but think: see, this is exactly why one needs to hire a wedding planner, especially for a wedding abroad.
the questions is- how to find a reliable one, that will indeed work in your best interests and ensure your dreamed of day truly goes as a day of your dreams?

We give you a few tips how to know the professional you hire is indeed an expert professional wedding planner:

1. RECOMMENDATION is the most obvious way to find out if your wedding planner is any good- look for testimonials from other couples and maybe even vendors. Other people’s experiences with the person you are looking to hire to plan the most important day of your lives will help a lot in making this decision. Don’t ask for reference letters only, but contact details of couples as well, especially those who have had similar wedding to what you have envisioned. It will also help get an idea of what they thought of these choices and how the planner contributed to the whole day.

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Ines with Mairead and Neil in front of St Ignatius Church in Dubrovnik, after their wedding ceremony on 20/08/2009
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Ines & Marin as witnesses at St Blaise church to Niall & Olivia, 20/10/2006

2. SAMPLES OF PREVIOUS WORK- we all know that any craft is crafted and perfected with practice, so is the wedding planning. Ask for a brief history of the planner’s company, how many weddings they have done up to date and pictures of previous weddings. Ideally, if you are asking for references, your planner will supply you with a couple of contacts from each of the previous 3 years of business at least. Also, ask for photos and maybe even videos of weddings that have a similar concept to your own to see the closest picture possible.

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Ines & Marin as witnesses to Jessica and Raoul, after their elopement ceremony on Dubrovnik viewpoint on 09/09/2009

3. PROFESSIONALISM, INVOICING AND CONTRACTING- your planner should clearly explain you how the payment and contracting procedure takes place for your wedding and draft you a contract proposal immediately after your date confirmation, outlining all agreed upon segments, cancellation policy, their fee structure and explanation of potential costs that are upcoming. You should also expect from your planner to issue you another annex to the contract closer to the wedding with every single detail agreed for your wedding with all prices and fees agreed upon, leaving no space for misunderstandings or unpleasant surprises. Make sure you check with your planner any potentially unexpected costs at the initial stages and if they would increase their fees if your guestlist goes up or the scope of their work goes wider. Finally you need to expect to receive a receipt for each deposit you make as well as final invoice for your wedding, outlining each and every item of your wedding.

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Aine & Ines, who became very good friends during their wedding planning days, just minutes before Aine’s wedding ceremony in Dubrovnik on 10/09/2010

4. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING LOCAL can never be stressed out enough. Local people look after each other and will always have a better relationship with local vendors than a foreigner will, and as much as we say this shouldn’t be true, this is an unwritten rule and there are rarely exceptions. By hiring a local wedding planner you will ensure there are no miscommunications either as you wouldn’t appreciate the fact that your flowers came purple instead of pink due to the language barrier. Finally, a local will know and feel the region, venues, possibilities, capacities and “hidden” vendors better than anyone else.

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5. THE FEELING OF TRUST that you won’t miss when you meet your true bound wedding planner. Your personalities will match and compliment each other and you will simply feel like that’s the right person to entrust this important role. Everything about Your wedding should have the right and good feel to it, as does your Wedding Planner. They will become your best friend over the coming period whom you will be in touch with more than with anyone else probably, so it has to be a person you feel comfortable with -sharing your thoughts, feelings and asking any questions that pop your mind.
Your true wedding planner will know exactly how to calm you down when needed or nudge you into being proactive if you are not.
Your true wedding planner will make you feel at ease at any step along the way and will indeed plan and make your dream wedding day your reality.

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Ines with Ann Marie and Killian, after their wedding ceremony in St Ignatius church in Dubrovnik, 01/05/2010

Dubrovnik Event wishes you happy planning!

If you would like Ines & Marin of Dubrovnik Event to be your wedding planners, for your personalized wedding offer please contact us at info@dubrovnikevent.com
for more info about us and more pictures please visit dubrovnikevent.com