Considering Bella Sera? See What Real Life Bride Rebecca Had to Say!

Interested in booking a wedding with the Bella Sera, but not sure what the experience will be like?  We’ve got you covered.  In today’s blog post, we’ve looped back with one of our favorite 2016 brides to get her take on planning a wedding with the Bella Sera.  She goes into every little detail you might be considering and lays out exactly how she planned the perfect night for her guests!  This interview will help you decide what important “wow” factors you should consider, and which you could leave off your list to make your budget stretch!

Meet Rebecca, a 2016 Bella Bride.  Her and her husband, Andrew, found the Bella Sera in the Wedding Sites and Services publication.  After reviewing our website, viewing our venue, and comparing us against Denver’s other wedding venue options… they were sold on the Bella Sera.  “The competition didn’t even come close,” Rebecca shares with us.  “While other venues have beautiful building and would have been great for photos, the amenities and care we experienced at the Bella Sera were miles ahead of the experiences we had at the other venues – and that was just while touring!”  Here’s a full look at our interview with this beaming bride:

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Bella Sera: When was your wedding at the Bella Sera and how many guests did you have?

Rebecca: Andrew and I had our wedding on February 26th, 2016!  Since we are originally from Dallas, we had a small “destination wedding” – I believe the final guest count was just over 100!  Our guests loved having the opportunity to come up for our wedding, then head to the mountains for a weekend of skiing and enjoying the snow.

Bella Sera: Why did you choose a Winter Wedding?

Rebecca:  We loved the idea of doing something a little different.  We also knew we were asking our guests to travel to our wedding. Choosing to do it outside of peak wedding season meant that more guests would be available to come – plus they could get away for the weekend and hit the mountains after!  It was a win-win for everyone.  Andrew also really wanted a “Black Tie” themed wedding, so wearing a tux in the middle of winter made it way more comfortable for our guests!  I wouldn’t change either of those decisions for the world…  We had the best wedding and everyone getting dressed up made it that much more fun for our family and friends!

 

Bella Sera:  Which Bella Sera wedding package did you choose?

Rebecca: We had a Bellissimo wedding.  The decoration upgrades were exactly what we were looking for.  Originally, I had considered pricing for planning our wedding at another venue and the table décor alone was going to KILL our budget.  Have you looked at the cost of charger plates?  It seemed silly for us to buy them! That’s why, when we found the Bella Sera, we knew it was exactly where we had to have our wedding.  The savings from having everything offered from one place was monumental!  Oh- and let me tell you… the decorations were not cheap looking – THEY WERE GORGEOUS!

 

Bella Sera: Tell us a little bit about you and Andrew…

Rebecca: Okay!  Andrew and I met in college, a little over 5 years ago.  We were 26 when we got engaged and started searching for wedding venues.  Both having full time jobs in Cooperate American, the idea of planning a wedding was really stressful for us.  We love to dance, spend time with friends, and live for good food/wine!  We recently purchased a home in the Denver area and love heading up to the mountains for a weekend of skiing.

 

Bella Sera: Who paid for your wedding?

Rebecca: I’m sure you see this more and more, but Andrew and I paid for our own wedding.  Our families helped with small donations (and Andrew’s father and step-mother picked up the rehearsal dinner bill), but for the most part, it was just us.  I was so grateful for this experience – because it made us carefully consider every purchase and appreciate how far our dollar could stretch with the Bella Sera.  Their packages were so affordable and we were able to have an amazing wedding with lots of “WOW” factors, without breaking the bank.

Bella Sera: The Bella Sera event planning process is different from most venues; how would you say the experience was?

Rebecca: I had heard nightmare stories from girlfriends who had planned weddings before me… all the tiny details, late nights decorating center pieces, forgetting something at the house the day of the wedding…  So, needless to say, I was a little nervous to be doing it myself.  I was so relieved after walking through our tour at the Bella Sera to learn our wedding could be planned in just 3 meetings with their professionally trained staff.  I never once stressed about a decision, whether set up/clean up would be on me, or felt like “they didn’t get me.”  The planning process was one of my favorite steps, especially the décor design session!  The decorations turned out BEAUTIFULLY and the room was exactly what I had pictured in my mind… and I didn’t have to set up or clean up.  Geez, I feel bad for other brides sometimes!

 

Bella Sera: Did you have a happy hour/open bar?

Rebecca: We did!  We had smoking cocktails during the “Happy Hour”, while we were taking pictures.  They were worth EVERY PENNY.  Our guests loved them and I still hear about them today!  We also chose the open bar beer/wine/wells package.  Again, the prices at the Bella Sera are so reasonable we couldn’t have possibly offered comparable selections anywhere else for that price.  I would 100% recommend the Bella Sera for their party beverage packages any day!

Bella Sera: Who was there the day of your wedding, while you were getting ready?

Rebecca: I chose to keep that group small and intimate.  My mother was there, of course, and my bridesmaids.  Andrew was the same way – he just wanted his groomsmen there!  It was such a special time for each of us and we had a blast chatting and enjoying the company before the big event.  The Bella Sera served the girls mimosas, and the guys an awesome “Beer Tower” filled with Andrew’s favorite beer.

 

Bella Sera: What was your favorite part of your wedding?

Rebecca: That’s a hard one!  Really, I loved each and every segment of our day.  Getting ready with the girls was special.  Nothing can compare to the moment I walked down the grand staircase and met eyes with Andrew for the first time.  Seeing our reception romantically lit was magical.  And dancing the night away to our live band was a blast!  It was perfect in every way.

 

Bella Sera: What was your guests favorite part of your wedding day?

Rebecca: Guests loved the smoking cocktails, the layout of the reception (it was easy to get everyone dancing!), the delicious food, and the décor.  I heard several times throughout the night that it was the best wedding they’d been to yet.  I can’t tell you how much that means as a bride… you want it to be the best, most fun night your guests have ever had and the Bella Sera made that possible for us.

Bella Sera: What is one thing you wish you would have done that you left out?

Rebecca: I wish we would have rented the photo booth.  I have so many great pictures from our receptions, but making a book of our guests from start to finish would have been an awesome keepsake!

 

Bella Sera: Which of our vendors did you use?

Rebecca: We basically used only Bella Sera vendors.  The only vendor we chose to seek externally was our live band.  Andrew and I really wanted prohibition era live band for the dinner music, and my cousin preformed the vocal for our first dance, so that was a must for us to find the perfect ensemble.  Other than that, we used Bella Sera vendors for our cake, photography, transportation (HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM!), florist, and more!  It was such a breeze making decision and they handled all the planning.

 

Bella Sera: And last, but not least, would you recommend us to others?

Rebecca: ABSOLUTELY.  I would tell anyone looking go somewhere else they were crazy.  The Bella Sera is so much more than a venue… They care about their couples, put their everything into making sure your day is perfect, are more than affordable, and are just simply amazing.  A wed

ding anywhere else will be stressful and is uncharted territory for a novice event planner.  Go with the experts – you won’t regret it!

7 Unique and Creative Ways to Incorporate Your Siblings in Your Wedding

 

Congratulations on your recent engagement!!   You must be so excited!  Between finding the perfect venue and choosing flowers for the bridal party bouquets, the amount of decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming.  We completely understand… To make things harder, everyone you’ve ever known probably feels connected to your wedding, in some way or another.  The last thing you want to do as a couple is hurt someone’s feelings!  To help make sure everyone feels involved, we recommend giving those special people a role in the wedding… While we can’t tell you how long to make that Mother-Son dance, we can offer advice as to how to incorporate your siblings in your wedding in a practical and creative way!

7 Unique and Creative Ways to Incorporate Your Siblings in Your Wedding:

1. Flower Girl/Ring Bearer

we know this might seem like an obvious solution… but we wanted to put all of the power in the couple’s hands. There is no rule that says a couple can only have 1 Flower Girl and 1 Ring Bearer – if you have multiple siblings, invite them all be a part of the entourage of adorable support!

2. The Officiant

If you have a sibling you are especially close with, consider asking them to legally bind the most important decision of your life!  Just make sure they are old enough to become a licensed officiant!  Not only would it save you a few dollars on the officiant fee, but it would bring the family closer together than ever before!

3. Master of Mimosas!

Have a sister in need of a special role? Ask her to be in charge of keeping the environment fun and lighthearted while everyone is getting ready!  She’ll love the job and you can sit back and relax before your grand entrance.

4. Groomsmen/Bridesmaid

Again, we understand this might feel like a standard role… However, many couples are afraid of hurting their siblings’ feelings if they aren’t “all” in the wedding party or aren’t the Best Man/Maid of Honor. We are here to say… choosing your best friend over your sibling is not going to permanently damage your relationship.  They love you and completely understand that this day is yours – they are just happy to have any role given!

5. Shoe Game Commentator

If your wedding party is full of best friends and you were limited by size… Don’t be afraid to ask your siblings to play a more unique role that is just as fun! They will love that they still have a special place in your day and will completely understand your situation.  First of all, if you’ve never heard of the Shoe Game, you should Google it.  But the point of this option is to ask that special sibling to be the Master of Games for your reception.  Let them talk to the audience, ask you and your spouse the questions, and let them put their spin on the game.  It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to make memories you will cherish forever!

6. The Pipes!

Yes, you read correctly. We love when our couples ask a sibling to sing their first dance.  It’s a beautiful and unique opportunity to get the wedding receptions guests invested in the event… not to mention everyone is always amazed at their talent!  It’s a win-win for everyone.

7. Scripture/Inspirational Quote Reader

If you are looking for a traditional religious ceremony having a sibling come to the front and read a scripture can be a perfect way to incorporate them in a wedding day role! Even a modern agnostic ceremony can use this suggestion and have the reader recite a meaningful quote or saying.  Just make sure you send them the entry in advance, so they can rehearse the part and understand where you want inflection, versus “tender moments”.

Involving you siblings in your big day will go a long way in that lifelong relationship.  They are there to witness the addition of a new family member and want to support you every step of the way.  Keep in mind that they love you and have known you their entire lives.  You getting married means big changes for everything they’ve ever known!

Congratulations, again.  You’re now ready to move on to dinner entrée choices.  Happy Tasting!

DOs and DON’Ts of Wedding Budget Etiquette

Congrats on your engagement! Now that you are planning a wedding, you may be nervous and confused about where to begin, in regards to the wedding budget… or maybe you have an idea in mind for a dollar value, but are a little embarrassed to ask the question: “Who pays for what?” If you find yourself in either of these camps, this article on Wedding Budget Etiquette is for you!  Are you ready to learn the DOs and DON’Ts?

The average cost of a wedding today is nearly $27,000, according to costofwedding.com. While there are traditions that some people adhere to, most modern couples choose to break down the budget their own way. This process of analyzing each aspect allows couples the opportunity to get the most out of their big day!  

So how do you choose what you’ll include and what you won’t?  The answer is: whatever works best for you and your family is what you should do. There are many different ways to split costs of a wedding, but part of the stress comes along with how to approach it with family who are helping pay. Most couples meet with both families to discuss the way costs will be handled. The first step is making sure you are communicating, but how exactly do you approach wedding cost etiquette? Let’s break down the different types of couples to decide:

The DOs of Wedding Budgeting

You’re Traditional

When you sit down with your family and your future spouse’s family, you should discuss if you want to follow the ‘traditional’ method for paying for weddings. Keep in mind that there is no official guide to paying for weddings, so your ideas of what tradition is may differ. It would be wise to come into the conversation with an idea to present to your family and about who you had in mind to pay for what.  Preparation would provide a springboard for further discussion and will help open a healthy line of communication around the event! However, please do not make assumptions of who will pay for what, because that can lead to awkward and difficult conversations.  Instead, in your presentation, suggest things like “we are prepared to tailor our budget around our capabilities and the budget we set for certain things”.

What the Bride and Her Family Pay

According to theknot.com, the bride and her family pay for the church, bride’s attire, ceremony, and the grooms ring. In addition, they also pay for photography, reception food and decorations, floral arrangements, invitations and other stationery, and wedding transportation.

What the Groom and His Family Pay

The Groom and his family pay for the marriage license, officiant fee, rehearsal dinner, DJ/band and liquor, plus the bride’s rings — of course!   

This is a basic division, and note that the costs may not be 50/50 this way, depending on who you decide to use for vendors.

You’re Non-Traditional

People are getting married much later in their lives, as opposed to fifty years ago when the average age of males and females getting married was about 22, according to infoplease.org.  With the average age of brides and grooms on the rise, a more non-traditioal way of paying is being seen across the industry.

Getting married later in life means that couples may have the financial stability to pay for their own weddings, instead of their parents having to contribute. Fortunately, if you find yourself in this camp, you will have more flexibility in how you split the costs between the both of you this way, since fewer people will be involved in the decision-making.

If you’d like to be more independent but need some support from parents, The Spruce suggests that the bride and groom meet to decide what’s important and what they can afford to pay for, and then go to the parents with a proposal of the parents’ contribution. The parents can then decide whether or not they agree. This is a great option “if you don’t want families weighing in on every decision you make. Going to them with a game plan and asking them what they would like to contribute towards is a great way to ensure your decisions aren’t influenced by the ones holding the purse strings.”

Some Don’ts of Budget Etiquette

While the current generation of brides and grooms are opting for more modern traditions, there are some timeless don’ts when it comes to budget division.

  1. Never ask guests to contribute to your wedding costs, or complain to them about the costs. If you can’t afford to provide the wedding celebration for your guests, put off the party until you can afford it and have a small reception after the ceremony.
  2. Never assume that certain people will pay for specific things, especially if you’re planning to choose high-end choices for that particular detail
  3. Lastly, do not let wedding costs affect your relationships! At the end of the day, you get to be married and celebrate with your friends and family and that is all that matters. Wedding planning is stressful, but keep the priorities in perspective and have fun!

Mexican-American Wedding Traditions

 

Planning a Mexican-American Wedding?  Wanting to know what to expect as a guest?  This guide will help you navigate all your needs!  Mexican culture weaves a beautiful depth to the fabric of America, and their celebrations are no exception. The traditions that are common in Mexican-American Weddings bring together some of the best things in life — including music, family, delicious food, drinks, and dancing. 

The Music

Music is important to any celebration!  While DJs and bands are traditional at American weddings, Mariachi bands are often present at Mexican-American weddings and they bring tradition and music to life. Not only are they traditionally symbolic, they are so lively and are sure to get everyone moving! Usually consisting of guitars, trumpets, violins, and an accordion, Mariachi music originated in Mexico hundreds of years ago.  With such a unique history, the music has various textures and styles. Each Mariachi band has its own style and energy, which makes them incredibly entertaining and unique!

Family and Tradition

Family is first, and not definitely not excluded, in Mexican-American weddings! Of the many unique traits of the event, the first is the guest list.  It will be large, filled with family and friends, and certainly warm. Cousins of cousins are sure to be invited — and even be part of the bridal party! Because the whole family will be there, don’t expect things to end early. Most weddings start later in the evening and end in the early hours of the morning. Needless to say, Mexican-American weddings make for an enjoyable party for all guests to enjoy!

Not only is family a huge portion of the event, but also traditional events!  The first of the traditions begins with the money dance, where guests pay (and sometimes pin bills to the Bride’s dress) to dance with the bride. This money is normally used for the honeymoon, or used to purchase furniture for the couple’s new home.  Cotillón is also a tradition at Mexican-American weddings.  Cotillon, another Mexican-American wedding tradition, is actually a photo booth with props like glow sticks, costumes, or funny hats for guests to dress up with and take pictures. Additionally, Mexican-American weddings also highlight more traditional American wedding traditions like father-daughter dances and the first dance. With all the visiting and celebrating, along with the traditional events that happen, the party will be one to remember!   

The Food and Drink

Great weddings always have great food and delicious drinks!  Needless to say, a Mexican-American wedding is certainly no exception. While the food served is traditional, the delicious meal involves chicken, pork, rice and beans, mole, green chili, tacos, enchiladas, and other cultural favorites!  Beer and tequila also play a vital role in the drink selection available. Interested in a cultural snack to curb that sweet tooth? Churros and cake (which is sometimes traditional rum-soaked fruitcake) are the sweet highlight of Mexican-American weddings. If you are looking for some delicious Mexican food options for your big day, the Bella Sera can help, offering full service in house catering (including the menu options listed above)!  

Latino weddings encompass all of the elements of what makes life great — bringing together family, good food, and celebrating it all. That’s what weddings are all about!

Interested in booking a Bella Sera Mexican-American wedding?  Contact us today to book your free tour!  We know that family, friends, and fun are what make your event special.  That’s why we offer bilingual wedding planners, photographers, and so much more.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

How to Get the Most From Your Wedding Budget

Budgeting for a wedding can be stressful, and if your budget is on the conservative side, you may be wondering how to get the most out of it. Luckily, with a little creativity and practicality, you can have your dream wedding without overspending.  Here’s a few quick tips on how to get the most from your wedding budget!

Decide What Matters for Your Budget

When budgeting for your wedding, and particularly for the reception, we advise making tiered lists.  Tier 1 should be the “absolutely must have” list.  Tier 2 would be the “would love to have it if the budget allows” list.  And Tier 3 should be the “we can live without it” list!  To start make a list of what the bride and groom want most, then move on to what any other VIPs (like parents) might desire.

For Tier 1, Make a list right away of the non-negotiables, then for Tier 2 a list of the wants but not needs. This communication will help both sides of the aisle cooperate and hear what’s important to each person and most importantly the bride and groom. Remember, it is your day as the bride and groom, and although parents and family are important, negotiation is sometimes needed to make smart decisions. A collaborative document, like Google Docs or Google Sheets, could help everyone contribute if you can’t meet face-to-face. You can make changes to it as well in real-time, which helps if parents/family are long-distance. However you decide to collaborate, doing so will make budgeting more smooth for everyone. Lastly, make a join decision on the items that just aren’t possible and label those “Tier 3”!

How to Negotiate

Negotiation is the key to stretching any wedding budget! Maybe the bride really wants centerpieces, but does not care much if the flowers are real.  If that’s the case, then technically no one should spend money on real flower centerpieces! This could save a couple thousand dollars on something guests may not care about and allow room in the budget for other Tier 1 needs.

Don’t really want a cake? Maximize your dollar with pies from a bakery that are pre-cut, and you save some money on cake-cutting costs. Keep in mind, this savings idea will depend on the caterer or reception venue, so make sure that is part of your conversation when making planning decisions. Keep in mind, making money saving decisions will open up areas of the budget that will allow Tier 2 items to make their way to Tier 1… So get ready Mr. Groom (who really wants a certain DJ who is more expensive than others)! It looks like forgoing real centerpiece flowers or a custom cake will make room for the DJ who will make your event a party!  If the necessary and unnecessary pieces of a reception are discussed, then the decision-making falls into place more easily.

It Will Still Be a Good Time

Just because the bride and groom are on a budget doesn’t mean the wedding cannot be meaningful and enjoyable for everyone. When planning the evening, plan for time slots that need a “wow” factor. This is where you want your non-negotiables to be. Maximize your time with the important parts of the reception like a slideshow, any traditional dances the bride/groom and parents desire, or toasts. Capitalize on any talents or interests you and the bridal party have that could be memorable and entertaining for guests! Choreographed dances, musical performances from members of the bridal party, etc. are very fun and will also make for great photographs when you’re reminiscing. Because you are able to focus on the important parts of the wedding to you, your guests will appreciate how personal it is—just because a wedding is extravagant doesn’t mean guests will enjoy it.

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Prioritizing your resources and time lends to staying within your budget and getting the wedding of your dreams. If you plan out the evening well, it won’t feel sparse and you will have a memorable time with friends and family who are there for all the right reasons—to celebrate you and your new spouse.  

 

Want more budget ideas?  Check out more here:

65 Ways to Stretch Your Wedding Budget without Giving Up the Luxury

13 Unique Wedding Cake Ideas Tailored to Your Wedding Month

One of the biggest things our clients tell us is that they want a unique and beautiful wedding cake.  They have spent hours planning their perfect day, organizing guests lists, and ordering invites – The last step?  Designing their wedding cake!  Brides want the wedding cake to fit their theme, but also fit the season of their wedding month!

To help you in your designing process, we’ve laid out 13 (because a baker’s dozen!) unique wedding cakes that tie perfectly to your wedding month!

A Wedding Cake for Every Month:

January – New Year’s Resolution Cake!

Wedding Cake

Beautiful Bella Sera Wedding Cake

We love this cake’s fun, flirty look!  The new year symbolized a time of rejuvenation and a chance at a better year than the previous one.  This cake sums up JANUARY just perfectly.  The blue and purple icing tie perfectly to a winter wedding them, and the gold bow is perfect for “your golden year”.

February – The month of Love Cake!

February is the month of love!  It’s also a perfectly positioned month to get married, as everyone has settled down from the holidays and the cold winter months are almost over.  Weddings are an amazing opportunity for your loved ones to reflect on their own relationship and secretly renew their own vows during your ceremony.  A classy black-tie wedding (and wedding cake) are just the ticket for a guaranteed night of fun!

Check out our recent wedding post detailing Why Guests LOVE February Weddings!

March – The month of Fresh Flowers

March is a gorgeous month fresh flower weddings!  With spring quickly approaching, your guests are excited at the new season of growth ahead.  We love this amazing orange, floral cake for a beautiful March wedding!  The flowers are lightly placed, ensuring people don’t get confused with a summer wedding, and the bright color is just a teaser for the season ahead.

April – Little White Dress Wedding Cake

April is often recognized as a “clean” month!  Spring cleaning has begun and guests are enjoying the afternoon showers that bring a sweet smell after they pass.  We love this little white cake, complete with a champagne rose top.  It’s light and airy, just like the beautiful spring wedding your guests are eagerly awaiting!

May – A little Love Goes a Long Way

We are obsessed with this feminine and playful cake designed for a May wedding!  The light color palette and gorgeous shape make this cake every May Bride’s dream cake.  You guests will “ooh” and “ahh” over this stunning addition to your reception.

June – Ombre, Like Your Favorite Summer Dress

We chose this ombre wedding cake as “June” because of its likeness to a beautiful summer day. The bright blue chosen for this particular cake is a perfect match for summer oranges, pinks, and purples.  The ombre design is unique and can be dressed up with glitter, or down with ribbon and pearls.

July – Summer Chic

This wedding cake is just breathtaking.  It’s elegant, fabulous, and would go perfectly with a summer strapless wedding dress.  The tiny details on the cake take the classiness to the next level and add an element of elegance that would overwhelm a more elaborate cake.  We think you’ll find this July cake chic, classy, and perfect for your wedding!

August – Purple EVERYTHING!

August is the month of purple!  Many of our brides choose purple as their wedding theme, because it’s a great “transitional” color.  The darker pigments resemble upcoming fall colors, but the playfulness in different shades allow them to tailor it to their them.  Purple is one of those colors that gets chosen as a main wedding color, so adding hints of it to your wedding cake will tie it all together without overwhelming the look!

Check out our Lighting Your Night Post for step by step instructions on incorporation PURPLE into your wedding!

September – Jaw Dropping Like Fall Leaves

This wedding cake speaks for itself.  It’s just stunning – jaw dropping, if you will.  The gorgeous orange and blue color scheme is perfect for a September wedding (especially if you live in Denver and root for the Broncos!).  The cake is elegant, yet fun, because of its composition.  The hanging aspect of the cake ads a level of interest that most guests don’t get to see.  The design is unique and glamourous, just like our September brides!

October – Colder Nights

October is the perfect month to commit to a fall theme!  Halloween is just around the corner and everyone is starting to get excited for the holidays.  We love this cake that draws inspiration for Denver’s changing seasons.  The empty vines are elegant and eye-catching and guests always love seeing a cake that reminds them the seasons are changing and nights are getting colder.  There’s a coziness this cake brings out; we can’t explain it!

November – All Bundled Up

We love this formal, elegant tiered cake for November weddings.  The theme? Black Tie.  It’s starting to really get cold and guests will appreciate a reason to wear long dresses and tuxedos (with coats!).  The cake is classic and the clean lines help mirror the formality of your event!

December – 2 for the Price of One!

It’s the holiday’s, so we thought we’d go the extra mile and give you two options for your December cake!  We LOVE Champagne themed cakes for December.  Whether you are having a holiday/winter themed event, or a New Year’s Eve wedding… You can’t go wrong with a champagne colored cake!

 

Creative Wedding Toast Ideas – Limoncello

An Original Idea to Begin Your Dinner Reception

Incorporating a creative wedding toast into your celebration to kick off the dinner reception is always a hit with guests, and something newlyweds will remember forever as they see all of the love and affection from their friends and family.

Toasting with LimonCello shots is one of those fun and creative ways we begin our Italiano dinner receptions.

Limoncello – an Italian Favorite

Limoncello shots_Bella Sera Event Center (sm)

Every guest at a wedding enjoys surprises, seeing something original and doing something they’ve never experienced before. The Tuscan feel of The Bella Sera and the Romeo & Juliet balconies gives guests the feeling of a touch of Italy. Since we know how much Italian’s love their Limoncello, we’ve incorporated a fun and creative experience for everyone as they toast our newlyweds with a shot of Limoncello at their grand entrance. Many times in Italy it is poured as a sign of thanks after dinner. We use it as a small drink after the cocktail hour to kick off the dinner reception in a fun and memorable way.

In anticipation of the couple’s spectacular grand entrance, miniature shots of Limoncello are carefully poured for each guest. Of course, we have non-alcoholic lemonade for those guests under 21 as well, so everyone gets to participate.

Now that formal photos are completed, and everyone can finally enjoy spending time with the couple, guests anxiously await the moment when the newlyweds will walk out from up above on the Romeo & Juliet balcony. Our Italian Emcee (Joe Caracciolo with DJ Done) gets everyone in their seats, and prepares them for what to say when the perfect time arrives. He delivers a crowd pleasing grand entrance like no other.

Grand Entrance Limoncello Toast_Bella Sera Event Center Emcee (sm)

The Bride and Groom or newlyweds burst through the balcony doors making a grand appearance high above the guests, while everyone cheers yelling such quotes like “To Happily Ever After”, “Viva Li Sposi”, “To the Happy Couple” or any number of creative toasts to start the dinner reception off with a bang.

Limoncello toast to newlyweds_Bella Sera Event Center (sm)

It is truly a magical moment for everyone to remember for years to come.

 

Limoncello

Limoncello is one of the most famous digestivi, or after-dinner drinks, in Italy. With good reason, if you’ve ever had a sip of this sweet, yellow liqueur you know that it’s not like any other digestive or after dinner drink. Limoncello is the pride and joy of Italy’s Campania and Liguria regions, and many of our couples enjoy it too.

 

 

 

 

Written by Elisabeth Montoya – Co-owner and Lead Designer for The Bella Sera Event Center

Photos: courtesy of Mark Alison Photography

Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center

Newlyweds: Carolyn and Alex 12-12-16

DJ / Emcee: Joe Caracciolo with DJ Done

 

www.TheBellaSera.com

 

 

 

Fun Beer Can Wedding Cake for Groomsmen

Grooms beer can wedding cake

 

 

What’s the purpose of a Beer Can Wedding Cake you ask?

Well, weddings are a celebration for everyone involved, and we all know that most guys like to have fun sharing a beer or two when they all get together. So why not offer them their favorite canned beers in the shape of a wedding cake on your wedding day?

This is not to suggest for the guys to get drunk before the ceremony begins, just a celebratory beer presented in a fun and unique way while the groom gets ready with all of his closest buddies or siblings.

There are so many creative ways to incorporate fun into your wedding, and this is one idea that is always a hit with the men. When the groomsmen arrive, the groom will have purchased the Beer Can Wedding Cake from the bar and will have it waiting for them in their Dressing Room. Just watch their reactions when they see it; they love it!

Whether it’s Budweiser, Coors, Premium Beers, or non-alcoholic drinks, we create fun, personalized beer cake toppers too that will instantly have your groomsmen cheering, taking photos and enjoying the creative kickoff to a wonderful celebration.

Beer Can Wedding Cake_Bella Sera Event Center

Groom's beer cake_Bella Sera Event Center

 

This is just one of the many ways The Bella Sera incorporates original ideas to help our couples personalize their wedding and increase the enjoyment with a fun element of surprise for the guys.

 

Cheers!

 

 

Written by Elisabeth Montoya – Co-owner and Lead Designer for The Bella Sera Event Center

www.TheBellaSera.com

 

 

 

 

Reserved vs. Open Seating at a Wedding

 

 

Do We Need a Guest Seating Plan? What are the pros and cons of reserved seating vs. open seating at a wedding?

We get asked these questions all the time. Our answer to the seating plan is always, YES, unless it is a small intimate wedding. Let me explain why. We know it sound stressful and like a lot of work to assign every single guest to a table, but our experience shows us that the guest experience is much better when there is a plan and feelings don’t get hurt.

 

You may ask, “If we rent the exact number of chairs as our guest count, why would there be any problems if we just have open seating?” One of the first things that comes to mind is that “people will be people”, and everyone is afraid of missing out on what they perceive to be the best table. We’ve seen the mad rush happen too many times into the dinner reception room, and if your immediate family is taking photos, they may end up sitting in the corner. Secondly, it never works out when there’s open seating for large weddings unless you pay to have a few extra-decorated tables. The reason is because families come in odd and even numbers; if a family of 7 sits at the last open table, and there’s a family of 4 left standing who can’t fit seats together, they will complain that there is nowhere for them to sit, even if there are seats available at several other tables. Make sense?

Elaborate Guest Seating Poster

A seating plan will ensure that couples, friends and families who want to sit together, can. Elderly guests will also thank you, as they may not want to sit close to the speakers or far from the bathrooms; they also appreciate sitting where they can see and hear the formalities. Although some guests may not get to sit exactly where they would have preferred, assigned seating will greatly reduce the amount of unhappy guests and create an overall better guest experience. Keep in mind, that guests can always move around if they please or squeeze in a few people from another table too.

 

 

A Sweetheart Table or Large Head Table For The Entire Wedding Party?

More often than not, your wedding party members will have spouses, dates or families they would like to sit with during dinner. This is why so many couples choose a sweetheart table over a large head table that only includes their wedding party. A nice alternative is to have the sweet heart table in the center, and tables on each side of it assigned to your wedding party and their significant others. This option keeps everyone close by the married couple, and gives the wedding party the opportunity to enjoy their families also. Believe it or not, the married couple does not sit at their dinner table very long. Typically the couple gets bombarded with loving guests who want to congratulate them; they will then eat, and eventually get up and begin visiting each table fairly quickly.

 

However, many brides have dreamt of a large head table with their entire wedding party on each side of them. If this is something that is very important to you, it is absolutely your preference to choose this option. A long, beautifully decorated head table is always a wow factor and main focal point of the reception room. It’s your choice.

 

Family Seating at a Wedding

 

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s not uncommon for divorced parents to want their own tables. This is another plus for creating a seating plan. Every couple’s situation is unique. If both of your parents are friends, they may want to all sit together in front of your table. If they are close to the officiant, and there are several grandparents, you may choose to have two or three tables near your table. It’s best to work this out with your venue and draw up the floor plan at least a month prior to your wedding to begin thinking this through. The farther in advance you start thinking about this, the less stress you will have as you approach your big day. Get your Mom’s involved, if it becomes too stressful, they will be thrilled to be involved and help you with your seating plan.

 

 

How to Assign Guests to Dinner Reception Tables

 

As for the rest of your guests, it’s always best to put people together who know each other, or who have common interests and would enjoy sitting together. The main thing to remember is that the dinner segment doesn’t last all night. Eventually your goal is to get your guests up and on the dance floor or actively involved in your celebration, so don’t stress too much about the seating arrangements. Set a plan, and remember there may be some guests sitting with people they may not know very well. It will be ok! If your table is centered in the middle of the room, everyone should have a great seat. If your head table is at the far end of the room, it will be more challenging to keep the guests happy who are at the back of the room. Keep this in mind before choosing a venue.

 

 

Seating Plans for Children

If you have children yourselves, you may want to seat them with you at your table. However, many times they have more fun sitting with cousins and grand parents since you will be pulled in many directions. Although the idea of a kids only table, with coloring books and fun activities sounds like a great idea, most of the time children won’t remain at that table when dinner starts. It’s sort of like Thanksgiving where they want to sit at the “big table.” Most children want to sit next to their parents instead of at a kid’s table in the corner. This doesn’t mean they won’t visit the kids activity table at some point in the night to draw or do activities, so it’s not a bad idea to still have a kids activity table.

 

Seating Chart, Place Cards or Escort Cards?

Once you’ve gotten your final guest count completed and figured out where to put everyone, all you have to do is decide how to guide guests to their seats.

 

A Guest Seating Chart or Poster

One of the easiest ways to do this is with a Guest Seating Chart that is placed in a highly visible place during the cocktail hour.

 

Usually displayed alphabetically near the entrance of the reception, seating charts provide a large visual of all guests’ names with their designated tables. This option is the least stressful in our opinion, as it doesn’t require you to type out every guests name on a card and figure out where they will sit at their table. We provide a template for our couples that they can fill out, and then we send it off to our local printer for them. We display it in the cocktail reception on an easel, and the guests simply read their name on the chart or poster and look for their table number. You can also choose to make this a DIY project and create your own. The venue director or DJ/Emcee will inform the guests how the table numbers are arranged before they begin seating everyone.

Guest seating poster_Bella Sera

Guest seating chart DIY

Place Cards

These tented cards can be used along with an escort card or alone. Displayed in alphabetical order on a table near the entrance of the reception, they usually include the guest’s name and table number. Once at the table, guests can select their own seats.

Escort cards at platinum bella sera wedding

 

Escort Cards

These are the most formal, and take the most work. Used in the most formal seating plans, escort cards usually contain the guest’s name on the outer envelope, and their table number on the inside card. Place cards will then be placed at each place setting at each table, designating their seats.

 

 

Before creating your seating plan, ask your venue coordinator for the floor plan for your total guest count. You can experiment with various arrangements before making your final decision for where to seat everyone. When in doubt, trust your instincts. Anticipate some last minute changes to happen, as this is just part of planning an event of this magnitude. If you haven’t received all of your RSVP’s by the date requested, plan on calling those guests. It will save you a lot of stress and frustration if they were to call you at the last minute and tell you they are coming. On the flip side, you don’t want to pay for guests who don’t show up. Your venue and caterer will need your final numbers by a specific date, and most times that number cannot be changed without a change fee.

 

 

Written by Elisabeth Montoya Co-owner and Lead Designer of The Bella Sera Event Center

www.TheBellaSera.com

Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

 

There are alternative ways to include your dog in your wedding besides walking them down the aisle, and possibly wreaking havoc on your guests.

 

For many couples their pets are like family, especially their dogs. Although many furry, lovable dogs may behave just fine walking down the ceremony aisle in a pet tuxedo wearing an adorable sign like “I loved her first”, “My humans are getting married”, “Dog of Honor”, “Will you marry my dad?” or “Here comes my Mom”, but many more doggies might just have a mind of their own and ruin what would have been an adorable moment.

 

If your dilemma is that your wedding just won’t be complete without your pet’s involvement, what about including them just for a few photos or for a part of the dance reception?

 

Find out if your venue is dog friendly, and if they are, have a good friend or family member bring him out to the reception where he can soak in some attention from all of your guests. Consider giving him a stationary place on the dance floor or by a family table where he can be leashed, enjoy a wedding chew toy, and enjoy the party without causing too much trouble.

 

Family Photos

Dogs at weddings Bella Sera Event Center

Just look at these adorable photos of “Penelope”, the bulldog, with her humans Jocelyn and Tyler at The Bella Sera Event Center. Everyone was overjoyed to see her cutting it up on the dance floor. She joined the party at the end of the night and everything went smooth. They got some “family” photos with her in their wedding attire that they will frame and put on their mantle to enjoy forever. They also created a lasting memory with all of their guests as Penelope cut it up on the dance floor and had everyone rallying around her.

 

Watch out, dog loose on the dance floor!

Incorporate your dog in your wedding_The Bella Sera Event Center

 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole”.

Roger Caras

 

Mans best friend at their wedding_Bella Sera

Incorporate your pet at your wedding

 

 

The Bella Sera Event Center is definitely a “pet friendly” venue. We value family (including pets), and personalizing each and every celebration here, just as long as we can all get along and nobody barks at anyone else:)

What are some of the ways you want to include your dog in your wedding?

 

Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center

Family: Bride Joselyn, Groom Tyler, and Bulldog Penelope

Photography: Mark Alison Photography

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