Wedding Makeup Artist

Finding the perfect wedding makeup artist!

Having challenges finding the perfect wedding makeup artist? These tips are sure to help written by Bella Sera’s Bride, and amazing fashion blogger Rebecca. Check her out at The Novice Native.

Rebecca writes…

I couldn’t be more excited about weddings and sharing my tips from finding the perfect wedding makeup artist for my own wedding.  Having had the perfect wedding at The Bella Sera Event Center (in my opinion), I’m loving every opportunity to celebrate someone else’s big day and reminisce on our own memories! I’m also collaborating with Elisabeth at The Bella Sera to help create and share fun, helpful and inspiring blog posts for The Bella Sera.

Recently I went to Denver’s version of Vegas, Blackhawk, to celebrate a sweet girlfriend and fellow blogger’s bachelorette party!  Be sure and check her out at

But let’s talk your wedding, and review hands-down the best makeup artist in Denver!

Choosing your hairstyle first

First things first; you may want to determine what your hairstyle will be first before finding a  makeup artist. Referencing a post on my website about this topic will help; see here on Choosing a Hairstyle . Here is my wedding hair style in progress below:



Wedding makeup


Steps to finding your perfect wedding makeup artist


  • Ask around!  Friends are a great way to get good, real life feedback.
  • Peruse Instagram and blogs!
  • Google
  • Make a list of your top choices, narrow it down to 10.


  • Send an initial email to your top 10.  Include your date, wants, and needs, as well as photos if you have them.  Ask for pricing and availability!


  • Rule out everyone outside of your budget once you’ve gotten a majority of the responses.
  • Dig a little deeper into your top 3.  Talk to each of them, see if they offer trials (most of these will cost money, be prepared)
  • Choose your artist and sign your contract!

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect partner, you’re ready to set up your trial run!  I HIGHLY recommend doing one, as there were a few changes I needed to make after mine.  Scheduling it in the morning is ideal, as you can see how the makeup wears throughout the day!  You don’t want it to slide off, or smear with the slightest glisten.  Having a photo to bring with you on the day of your trial will be very helpful for the artist.  If you can, bring a few options in case the artist suggests that one may not work with your skin tone, etc.


Makeup artist for weddings


If you are happy with the way your trial went, get with your artist and determine a timeline for the big day!  You will want to consider how many girls are getting their makeup done, and factor that in to the hair schedule.

I am going to leave you with this little suggestion for scheduling and deciding what work is done… If you are considering paying to have your bridesmaid’s make up done, or asking that they pay for it themselves, one of the best ways to cut down on the cost is to ask the makeup artist if she does “mini facials”.  If she doesn’t understand, you could suggest and ask if she would be willing to do “eyes only” or “full face with no lashes” for each of the girls.  This will cut down on her work load, but also give her the opportunity to earn additional business since she is already booked that day.


My perfect wedding makeup artist

For all who have asked– I found my DREAM Makeup Artist, Tori, in the most roundabout of ways… Yes, I followed my steps listed above, but it goes to  show you all methods counts.  I reached out to a friend of mine who suggested her top pick in Denver.

After reaching out, I was recommended to Tori, from Bronze and Beautiful.  Once finding her, I browsed her website and decided to add her to my list!  After chatting on the phone and exchanging emails, I decided to book with Tori.  Not only did she have a fantastic resume, but Tori was more than willing to work with me to create a look for each of my girls that was in my price range…

Wedding lipstick

Wedding makeup eye shadow

The final look

Here I am at The Bella Sera Event Center on my wedding day. My makeup artist did more than exceptional job, she helped make my day absolutely perfect, and even came to my home the day before for a spray tan and brow tint!  Dreams do come true!!!!!!  PS It lasted all night 🙂


Beautiful Bride's makeup at Bella Sera


I hope this helps you find your perfect match – You’re going to be beautiful!



Rebecca (Happy Bella Sera Bride)

The Novice Native.


65 Ways to Stretch Your Wedding Budget, Without Giving Up the Luxury

Wedding budget tips

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

Do you dream of hosting a luxury wedding, but fear that it is not a financial possibility for you and your fiancé?

Fear not! Here at The Bella Sera Event Center, a local wedding venue in Denver, Colorado, we’ve spent years perfecting the art of hosting spectacular events that leave your guests in awe, all while helping you maintain your overall wedding budget.

With a little ingenuity and a firm grip on your top priorities, you can create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests without investing beyond your means.

We’ve got 65 tips to prove it…let’s get started.

When Will Your Big Day Be?

The first step to planning your wedding is choosing a date and venue. This choice can set the tone for your entire experience from both a personal and financial perspective. Make sure to consider all variables before choosing the one day that will impact your entire wedding budget.

1. Engagement Length: Your engagement should be one of the most exciting and fun times in your life. Savor these moments of anticipation and planning. A short engagement can become very expensive with rushed decisions and limited vendor availability. Consider giving yourself a bit more time to plan, which will open up more options and allow you to set a wedding date based on what you can afford. Not only will you save money, you will be able to sit back and make the most of this happy chapter in your life.

Engagement period planning


2. Off Peak Months: When picking a wedding venue, be smart and bear in mind that special pricing is available for weddings during the first three months of the year (except Valentine’s Day). Winter weddings can add intimacy and decadence. Guests will be excited to have an event to look forward to amid the winter slump, and their enthusiasm can make the experience of the day even grander.

3. Seasonal Sanctuary Décor: If you plan to get married in a church, synagogue, temple or other place of worship, consider a wedding during any of the major religious holidays that your spiritual sanctuary celebrates, such as Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah etc. During these special times these buildings will often be decorated with Poinsettias and other seasonal flowers and decor, and may allow you to use these decorations during your ceremony. This could save you on the cost of ceremony flowers and other decor in the aisle ways and throughout the sanctuary.

4. Skip Saturday: Friday and Sunday weddings are becoming trendier as savvy brides realize that even the finest vendors and venues may offer discounted prices on these non-traditional days if it is open on their busy calendar. This is a great option for couples with an unconventional work schedule, or many in-town guests.

5. Off Peak Venue Pricing: Don’t just assume you’re getting the best deal possible. Talk directly with the wedding venue manager to find out what their off-peak seasons and times are and whether these periods offer lower investment levels. Some venues may have unique circumstances, such as local festivals or events that drive prices up or down accordingly.

6. Off Peak Vendor Pricing: If you choose a wedding in an off-peak month, ask your DJ, photographer, florist, and other vendors for an off-peak rate. Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Many local companies will be happy to work with you on pricing, especially if it means a happy customer willing to give a rave review.

7. Date Flexibility: Be flexible by providing the venue with 2-3 date options, you may be able to enjoy attractive rates for the dates they want to fill.

Where Will Your Wedding Take Place?

Where you hold the wedding and how the venue operates will heavily influence where you invest your wedding budget, so it’s important to be educated on all the elements to consider when selecting your location.

8. Dual Purpose Wedding Venues: Many locations have the ability to be both a ceremony and a wedding reception venue. This adds convenience for guests who will not have to drive from the ceremony to the reception. Additionally, you may reduce costs by only having to decorate one room. Have a light cocktail hour, or pass around appetizers between ceremony and reception to break up the event and keep guests entertained while tables are arranged and pictures are taken.

wedding venue savings on appetizers

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

9. Set Up Time: Be aware of what the venue expects in terms of time. Some venues will allow you to come in and set up the day before, which can allow you to potentially save on outsourced set up costs if you handle some of this yourself. Other venues only allow a few hours of set up time, which may result in needing to invest in help. Likewise, some venues handle set up and décor for you, which is always a nice bonus. Ask how long the room will be yours in order to plan (and budget) your decorating, arriving, and break-down accordingly.

10. All-Inclusive Services: Rather than having to look for services from different vendors, look for venues that offer multiple wedding services in-house as an all-inclusive package including catering, DJ, photography, flowers, etc. Not only will this cut your own personal investment of research and interview time, it is highly likely that these vendors will be far superior in quality. Venues tend to be rather discerning when it comes to the suppliers they entrust to create an experience their clients will be thrilled with.

All-inclusive Denver wedding venue services - DJs

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

11. Catering Included: If you choose a venue that does not need to bring in outside catering, you’ll save on additional charges, such as servers, administrative fees, tax, etc.

12. Non-Hotel Venues: Consider a non-hotel event center as they often offer attractive rates and great benefits. You will reap the benefits of exclusive attention, and won’t have to compete with other overnight guests and hospitality obligations. If overnight lodging is needed, suggest local bed and breakfasts for out of town guests, or rent a home on Airbnb for multiple families to share and enjoy the entire weekend together.

Non-hotel wedding venues in Colorado

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

13. Rental Company Options: Consider a venue that doesn’t limit themselves to only one rental company for China, glassware, linens, etc., so that you have options for selecting items that fit within your allocated budget. Mix and match high-low products, prioritizing stem-wear and plate presentation.

Who is Coming?

Your guest list is one of the top factors in determining your overall wedding spend. Choosing the number of people you’ll invite is an important part of the planning process, as every attendee multiplies the overall wedding investment.

Some couples choose to scale back on certain luxuries in order to have more people in attendance, while others choose to limit the guest count in order to create a more fulfilling guest experience. Whichever camp you fall into, below are a few ideas to help you navigate through this decision.

14. Quality Over Quantity: Decreasing your guest count will allow you to enhance the overall experience for every attendee, including yourselves. With fewer people to accommodate, you’ll have the freedom to spoil those on your exclusive guest list with only the best in decorations, food, and flowers. According to The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study, couples are leaning more and more in this direction and investing in the guest experience.

Elisabeth Montoya, owner of The Bella Sera Event Center, offers some helpful guidance on handling guest seating, “Figuring out guest seating placements can be a very stressful step when planning your wedding due to divorced parents, family who may not get along, the couple not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, etc. Creating the method for how guests find their table and seat can also be very stressful. We walk through all of the options with our brides, (usually the bride is the one who handles this process), and we help her choose the most effective option that also minimizes stress on her. We begin with a floor plan showing her where the head table will be placed, as well as all of the dinner tables in relation to the head table; we then ask her to ensure she has all her guests on an excel spreadsheet or a digital list. Once the tables are drawn in place, she just has to go down her guest list and start grouping guests together by table. The easiest way to inform guests of where they are sitting is to create a Guest Seating Poster or Poster Board. The first option is a poster that can be made by a local printer that lists guests by last name and then first name next to their table number, and is placed on an easel in the cocktail hour room. The second option is for the bride to make a board herself with nice scrapbook papers and simply type each Table number at the top of a page and each guest’s name under that table. Each table sheet can then be placed on the board in a decorative way in the cocktail hour room. The third option is to create individual escort cards for each and every guest, but we find that this can be very stressful on a bride, and it’s not typically her first choice.”

Wedding guest list savings

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

15. I.P. Wedding Party: Although members of the wedding party typically fund their own attire and grooming needs, the couple often foots the bill for at least one luxury gift for each attendant as well as the rehearsal dinner and wedding plate costs. Having a more modest wedding party could save the couple hundreds of dollars and make the day more intimate with a close knit VIP group.

Choosing the wedding party

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

16. Frugal Favors: Favors are often a source of stress for couples because they want to keep the investment within reason, yet send their guests home with something they’ll appreciate. Consider a tasty treat that doesn’t take up room in the guest’s home, but is something they can fully enjoy. Gift local goods, such as a dessert infamous in your area, or farm grown strawberries dipped in chocolate. If you’re really looking to stretch your food budget without sacrificing luxury, make the dessert the favor. Box up full size cupcakes and let the guest decide whether they’ll eat it at the wedding or the next day at home.

What Will You Eat?

Upscale weddings are synonymous with the most savory nibbles and tasty beverages, so these aren’t areas you’ll want to skimp on. However, with our insider tips, you can keep your catering affordable while offering a premium eating experience for your guests.

Wedding catering budget ideas - butler passed appetizers

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

17. Plated + Family Style Combo: To minimize catering costs without removing the luxury of table service, serve a main dish individually to each guest and all other courses family style (e.g. salad, pasta/starch/dessert). Guests will bond while passing food, which can spark conversation amongst strangers.

18. Minimal Appetizers: Many couples are surprised to learn that appetizers can cost way more than entrees; so doing a “stations” reception or “all appetizers” dinner can add up. Sticking with a traditionally served dinner may allow you to fully satisfy your guests’ appetites while keeping your budget in check.

19. Passed Hors d’oeuvres: When serving food during a cocktail reception, opt for hand passed appetizers rather than self-serve stations. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we often over-indulge if we serve ourselves. This minor adjustment will allow you to stretch your catering budget further without guests noticing the difference. This is especially important for decadent seafood hors d’oeuvres, like shrimp, scallops, crab and other shellfish.

Bella Sera’s Elisabeth Montoya says, “For our couples who can’t afford expensive appetizers, but want to make sure their guests are not starving and annoyed while they take formal photos, we have a great solution. We offer $1 or $1.50 “one bite” passed appetizers that will hold guests over until dinner, add a little class while being butler passed, but will not break the bank. Although this may not have been their first choice when they begin their planning, at their final meeting when money is tight, they are thrilled to know they can do something vs. nothing.”

Wedding appetizer savings - one bite apps

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

20. Brimming Buffet: Buffets can easily replace a sit-down dinner and still be formal when your caterer adds original and fun frills. With less wait staff needed to support a buffet, you may find that this option allows you to serve higher-end entrees than an individually plated meal. Check with your venue or caterer to find out. Presentation is key; label dishes with clever names involving the couple. For example; a seafood dish labeled “Angela’s Catch” or a dessert labeled “Pam and Nick’s sweet surprise.”

Wedding catering ideas, buffet entrees

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

21. Beloved Brunch: Move your wedding to earlier in the day and serve brunch or lunch instead of a traditional dinner. This will allow you to reduce costs by limiting the number of courses served, yet still offer a delectable dish that impresses guests. No open bar either; just bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s!

22. Big Bowls: Create an effect of abundance without putting a strain on your catering budget by presenting oversized bowls or giant woks of more affordable items, such as seasoned rice and bean dishes, lush salads of locally-grown vegetation or grilled vegetables currently in season.

23. Menu Makeover: Find out if there is any room for customization in the menu and sub in certain items that are less expensive (e.g. in-season local vegetables instead of out-of season vegetables that must be shipped in), or build your own menu with more affordable yet creative options.

24. Meal Modifications: If a caterer presents a dish that sounds mouth-watering, but comes with a hefty price tag, ask if there are any particular ingredients that can be substituted that may lower the cost of the dish and allow for a collaborative relationship between you and your chef to create a top notch dish for a bit less.

Wedding entree savings

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

25. In Season Fare: Be wary of out-of-season ingredients and see if local, in-season options are available. Out of season or non-local ingredients must be ordered and shipped at a premium, so there may be potential savings if you’re willing to compromise.

Wedding budget tips, bite-sized appetizer skewers

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

26. Buy in Bulk: Instead of providing your guests with a choice between meat, chicken, and fish, choose one to serve to everyone. Catering costs tend to go down when items can be purchased in volume, rather than having to bring in smaller quantities of several different foods.

27. Kid Cost Cutting: If you expect several children to attend, find out if the venue or caterer offers a less expensive, smaller portioned children’s meal.

28. Surf & Turf Skewers: Want to shower your guests with an extravagant dinner, while keeping your budget in check? Rather than a full surf & turf entrée, consider a single combination skewer of grilled shrimp and beef medallions paired with a more affordable chicken dish. Let the chef shine by creating great sauces to accompany these items.


29. Seafood Swaps: To impress your guests with more unusual tastes, serve calamari and mussels instead of shrimp cocktail and scampi, for roughly the same investment. You’ll raise the level of sophistication of your event, not the overall budget.

Affordable wedding appetizers

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

30. Veggie Variety: Change up your produce choices for appetizers and side dishes; Swap carrot sticks and cucumber rounds for artichoke hearts, broccoli flowers, radishes in heart shapes or other creative choices, with flavored dipping sauces.


31. Scaled-down Soup: Another creative idea is to serve mini cups of clam chowder, lobster bisque, acorn squash soup, or any other flavors that are chic, yet easy on the wallet.

32. Modestly Priced Meats: Inquire to your venue about catering options other than costly filets. Boneless short ribs and cuts of lamb or pork are delicious choices.

33. Starchy Substitutes: Simple, less common starchy sides can sometimes add an extra element of lavishness without adding on costs. For instance, you might replace the usual potatoes with risotto spiced in extravagant flavors.

Wedding budget ideas, simple wedding cake

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

34. Clever Cakes: Instead of an elaborately designed wedding cake, the venue can provide a very small artistically designed cake for 2 (the couple only) or a larger partially faux cake for the purpose of cake cutting, and then serve the guests sheet cake from the kitchen, which is minimally designed but absolutely delicious with all the fillings, flavors and toppings you desire. When cut and served, guests will be too busy enjoying it to be aware of this budget saving technique.

The Bella Sera has experienced this approach first-hand. Here’s what Elisabeth suggests, “Many brides want elaborate wedding cakes with fondant icing, fondant details and bling. However, they don’t have the budget to accommodate this vision. Instead of a full sized elaborate wedding cake, request all but one layer be made of Styrofoam cake dummies. The bottom will be used for the traditional cutting by the couple. Have sheet cakes in similar colors and flavor to serve from the back kitchen. When the sheet cakes are cut and served, guests will be too busy enjoying and unaware of this budget saving trick. There are still costs involved for the cake dummies, icing and design labor, but not as much as baking stacking and decorating real cake. Guests never know the majority of the cake is fake, and the bride achieves all of her goals. If necessary, the real cake layer can be used for guest servings, or it can be wrapped up for the couple to take home.”

Wedding cake budget, faux tiers

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

35. Creative Cake Concepts: If you have your heart set on a spectacularly designed wedding cake, speak with your baker about alternative décor options that may be more affordable than labor intensive, intricately designed fondant details. Simple accents such as real floral blooms, lace trim or satin ribbon can create a lavish look with less investment.

36. Dessert Diversity: Many couples are shirking the wedding cake tradition altogether in favor of fun and unique desserts. Whether its cupcakes, specialty cookies, fine chocolates or a sundae bar, you may find that exploring other affordable dessert options can spare your funds for the upscale details you’d like to add to your wedding.

37. Flavor Factors: Talk openly with your baker about which flavoring options drive the price up, such as certain gourmet fillings like cannoli cream. Simply being educated about your options can allow you to have more control over where you allocate your budget. And with a tasting, you may find that you prefer the less expensive fillings anyway.

Inexpensive wedding dessert ideas, candy table

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

What Will You Drink?

Pass the bubbly please! When talking dollars and cents many couples particularly dread the drink portion of the bill, but there is no question that keeping your guests hydrated is an essential element to throwing an upscale celebration. Over the years, we’ve come up with a few simple ways to stretch your beverage budget while still keeping the drinks flowing and good times going!

38. Happy Hours: Limit the number of hours the open bar is available to the most critical parts of the reception. It will allow your guests to fully enjoy some spirits during the height of the celebration without overextending you financially.

Elisabeth reassures, “You truly can afford to host some complimentary alcohol at your wedding, if you don’t host a bar tab all night. The most important 2-2 and a half hours of a wedding celebration is the cocktail hour and dinner hour. You can typically get away with a bar tab of under $1500 for 100 guests if you limit the hours. Ask your venue if they can prepare a sign that says, “Complimentary Beer and Wine through Dinner,” or whatever alcohol you choose to serve. Once the dinner hour is over, the sign can change to say, “The Bar is now a Cash/Credit Bar.” These are the kinds of tips we give our couples to help them achieve some of what they want without having to cut things out entirely.”

39. Dinner Drinks: If you have a bit more room in the budget, give your guests the luxury of an open bar during the cocktail hour but switch to wine and beer during the dinner to reduce costs. You can always open up the bar again once dinner has ended.

40. Wine Service: Ask servers to pour the wine throughout the night so guests can drink what they want without wasting half-finished bottles on the table. This saves money, and adds a feeling of sophistication.

41. Fixed Mixed Menu: Mixed drinks with upscale liquor can really add up costs, but many guests enjoy the variety. Ask your venue to create a special menu of the most popular mixed drinks using only 3 house liquors (ex. rum, vodka and gin), rather than every type of liquor available.

Liquor options at weddings

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

42. Signature Sips: Offer creative signature drinks with one type of affordable liquor and fun garnishes such as curled lemon and lime peels, or mini fruit kebabs on toothpicks. Choose a concoction that expresses your personalities as a couple. Guests will love the unique experience of honoring you as they try something new.

43. Say “Ciao” to Champagne: Skip the champagne for your wedding toast and instead have your guests toast with the drinks they have in their hand.

44. Last Call: Close the open bar thirty minutes to an hour before the celebration ends to help transition to the close of the event and avoid overtime fees. Guests can enjoy iced water and coffee until they are ready to say their goodbyes.

45. Host With House: Guests love an open bar and we at The Bella Sera believe it is a large component to a successful event. If you need a bit more flexibility in your budget for some higher end items in other areas, consider the house liquor open bar, rather than the top shelf bar.

Who Will You Hire?

Your venue is only part of the equation. The vendors you choose to bring onto your event team can make or break your entire wedding experience, so these aren’t decisions that you should enter into lightly.

An inexperienced emcee can folly up the entire wedding party entrance or turn guests off, just as a novice photographer can miss the most important moments of the day.

As expert event planners for our clients, we learned long ago that there are a few key considerations you want to keep in mind to avoid the pitfalls of bringing on amateurs, while still keeping your overall budget in check. To stretch your wedding venue budget furthest, bring the right suppliers on board and be educated about your options.

The design team at The Bella Sera wedding venue

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

Photo & Video

With today’s technology it is incredibly easy to capture the magic of your day and re-live it over and over.

46. DIY Video: If video is on your nice-to-have list, but not your top priority, look into a more affordable service like WeddingMix by StoryMix Media, which gives you access to video cameras and editing tools or services at a very affordable rate. Entrusting your guests with your video clips could help you save on a videographer, putting thousands back into your wedding budget.

47. Hidden Talent: Take the time to research a good photographer who is reasonably priced, yet offers the quality of images you’re looking for. They do exist! Here in the Denver and Boulder areas of Colorado, we find many couples spending over $3500 on photography even though there are talented photographers in the $1,800-$2,500 range. Some of these photographers may simply be hard to find without a website or social presence. Pricing all depends on your region but choosing a lesser known but equally talented photographer could give you the financial cushion you’re looking for.

DJ & Entertainment

Tips for choosing a wedding DJ

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

48. Better DJ, Less Time: If fun is your first priority, choose a top-notch DJ, but forgo on the overtime. Ask for video of their performance at a few recent weddings to see them “in action”. The right emcee can make or break your event so, if need be, we often advise our clients to re-allocate funds from other areas of your wedding where guests are less likely to notice (ex. sheet cake options, favors) so that you can give them a truly fantastic entertainment experience, free from embarrassing moments or announcement blunders. Speak to your venue about which professionals they trust. When you’re looking to create a fun, upscale experience for your guests, this is one area you’ll want to get right, even if it means compromising on other wedding ideas.

So how can you save in the DJ department? Skip the overtime. While entertaining guests later in the night can be a fun luxury, it’s the one additional DJ cost that put couples over budget. It’s a wiser investment to get the better DJ for a little less time than the questionable DJ for extra time.

Rockin DJ Perry at The Bella Sera

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

Flowers & Décor

49. Thrifty Florists: An innovative and experienced florist will know exactly how to get you the luxury look you’re going for at a fraction of the cost. Research florists and venues who have previously put together weddings in a similar style to yours. Ask for samples of past work, and interview to find someone who seems collaborative and creative.

50. Go Local: Remain on budget by discussing with your florist which flowers will be in season, rather than picking flowers that need to be imported. Take advantage of native vegetation in your area.

51. Decked Out Venues: Save both money and time by selecting a wedding venue that comes decorated on its own or has its own vast collection of décor to choose from. You’ll enjoy significant savings by not having to rent decorations and will also free up more of your time to actually enjoy your engagement period.

52. Homemade Haute: Ask permission from the florist to add bling to the centerpieces on your own. You can buy rhinestones, gems, and cubic zirconium for a bargain from online craft stores. This will add sparkle to your décor without raising the rental costs.

53. Bridal Party Built Bouquets: Have your florist make your bouquet, but create your own bridesmaids bouquets using flowers purchased online or through membership retailers, like Costco. This can be a fun activity for the bridal party the night before the wedding.

54. Monochromatic Bouquets: Monochromatic bouquets and arrangements with one single flower type are quite trendy and chic these days, and allow you or your florist to buy in bulk for a lower cost when creating floral arrangements.

Wedding flower budget tips

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

55. Repurpose Arrangements: To drastically reduce your flower investment, transfer all arrangements from the ceremony to the reception venue before anyone steps in. Repurpose bridesmaid bouquets into table centerpieces or add them to the head table as well.

56. Hike It Up: To save a bit on the décor budget, choose shorter, elegant table linens instead of floor length linens. Once chairs are positioned around the tables, guests can’t see the table legs anyway. This tip can save you hundreds of dollars.

57. Faux Flowers: Many couples long for the extravagance of fresh flowers, but when this luxury isn’t within reach, there are alternative options couples can consider to recreate the look of live blooms without the expense.

Elisabeth suggests, “Fresh flower centerpieces seem to be the first thing that gets cut when things go over budget unfortunately. When this happens to our brides, we help them achieve the “look” of fresh flowers with our realistic silk flowers, but achieve the fragrance of fresh flowers by adding a filler flower called ‘Stock flowers.’ Stock flowers come in many colors, and they are super fragrant. The wholesale cost of a bundle of 10 stems is around $10.00. This is a very economical way to achieve the fragrance and look of fresh flowers without having to make the entire centerpiece real. We suggest adding a bundle of 3 stems to the bottom of the centerpiece where guests will enjoy the fragrance and look. Silk flowers can then be used on the rest of the centerpiece as long as they are very realistic in appearance. The guests will never know. This is something we do quite frequently, and our brides really appreciate the tip.”

Wedding flower alternatives, silk flowers


58. Keep Guests Close: Try to choose a venue that doesn’t require guests be shuttled in from far away to save on guest transportation costs. If this is unavoidable, rent one coach bus or trolley instead of multiple cars to leave at one time for everyone.

59. Free Parking: If your guests will be driving to the wedding ask the venue to provide complimentary parking for your guests. You can make cute signs, “Johnson Party of 2 this way!” to lead guests to the right entrance.

Wedding transportation budget

60. One Way Ride: If you want to treat yourself to luxury without cutting into other important aspects of your wedding experience, rent a limo just one-way to get you to the reception, where your own cars are waiting to drive back home. Or, if you plan to indulge in a little bubbly, then schedule an Uber to pick you up or ask a designated driver to escort you back home.

Add Meaning and Save Money

Despite all the talk about lavish luxuries, we know that your wedding day is really about the sentiment; the people, the memories, the traditions, the story of you, the celebration with friends and family.

That’s why our final tips are probably the most important; how you involve your loved ones into your event. It just so happens that many of these ideas will allow you to stretch your budget a bit too.

61. Married by a Friend or Family Member: Have a friend marry you! Unless you have a special relationship with a certain religious leader at your local place of worship, consider the modern approach of asking a close friend to officiate your ceremony. Here in Colorado anyone can marry you.

Have a friend or family member marry you

Photo Credit: Mark Alison Photography

62. Homemade Cake: Have a friend or family member who is an exceptional baker? If the venue can allow for it, ask them for the gift of making your wedding cake or another bulk dessert they are famously known for.

63. Family Funded: Many times family members or friends, beyond the parents, deeply desire to be involved in the wedding planning process and to contribute financially. If you’re comfortable, involve a few extra family members in the planning and see what surprise blessings may come of it!

Elisabeth shares our experiences with this at The Bella Sera, “Many times there are relatives who would like to contribute to a couple’s wedding expenses, but can’t afford to pay a large amount, and therefore, would prefer to pay for something special a couple desires. Since we take the time to get to know our couples’ desires and visions for their wedding, we try to help them obtain everything they can. We host private food tastings for our catering, and it is very common to have parents and step parents attend the tasting. Recently one of our couples mentioned how they wished they could afford to treat their guests to some sort of complimentary alcohol, but they just couldn’t afford it. With all of the parents and step parents at their private tasting, this was a great opportunity for our catering manager to give the bride’s Mother and Step-Dad a suggestion to host a 2-hour beer and wine tab for the cocktail hour and dinner hour. They were thrilled to hear that they could contribute and give the couple something they really wanted, but couldn’t afford. This also made them feel like they contributed to the guest experience. Looking for these opportunities to help our couples is what makes it a win win for everyone.”

64. Friendly Face: Have a friend who is fantastic with makeup? Let him or her do yours for the day. It will be more fun to chat with a friend working on your face than a hired stranger, and you will be able to trust they are fully invested in your look.

Wedding makeup budget

65. DIY Boutonnieres: Have a crafty friend make the groomsmen’s boutonnieres, which do not necessarily need to be crafted with flowers to look great.

Start Stretching Your Luxury Wedding Budget Today

As you can see, a little ingenuity and flexibility can make a more upscale wedding within your reach. There is no need to sacrifice class, sophistication or quality when you’re trying to stay on track financially if you understand your options and resources.

Align yourself with top-notch vendors, including a creative and resourceful venue, and you’ll be well on your way to designing the wedding you’ve always envisioned with the budget you already have.

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.





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





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

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

The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Checklist

You won’t forget ANYTHING with this comprehensive wedding ceremony checklist!


Keep this valuable checklist in your wedding binder, check off items and tasks as you’ve completed them or omit items you don’t want to include. Created by our wedding pros as a helpful tool to minimize the stress brides often feel when planning their wedding because they didn’t have a thorough checklist for their ceremony. You’re guaranteed to eliminate hours of stress trying to remember every little detail for your ceremony, as well as improving the quality of your ceremony with this wedding ceremony checklist.


Begin with the Top 10 most critical wedding ceremony checklist items:

_____1) Once your date is chosen, set a total budget for your ceremony

_____2) Decide how many guests you will invite to the ceremony vs. reception

_____3) Choose a church or venue that best matches your dream ceremony – read the venue contract thoroughly so you know what you can & cannot do before signing

_____4) Set up a plan and outline for how you want your ceremony to flow, what décor you envision, and what, and who you want to be included:

  • Decide what time you want your ceremony to begin. Get advice from your venue.
  • Decide in advance if you will allow guests to photograph your ceremony; remember that you hired a professional photographer and you may not want everyone’s cell phone screens in all of your pictures.
  • Establish the flow of the ceremony – a beginning, middle and end
  • Choose the overall style, colors, and look and feel you want for decor
  • Decide on your music selections – don’t leave until the last minute
  • Processional and Recessional plans will need to be decided
  • Wedding party – who will be your best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl(s), ring bearer(s), reader, etc.

_____5) Choose An Officiant / Celebrant, and pay their deposit to secure them

  • Friend or family member
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Minister
  • Pastor
  • Priest
  • Rabbi

_____6) Hire a Ceremony/Wedding Coordinator – may be included with your venue

_____7) Choose a set up & tear down crew & plan –chairs, tables, coordinator & décor

_____8) Meet with your officiant to get to know each other and plan out the details

_____9) Meet or talk with your DJ to discuss music; do not leave this to the last minute

_____10) Find out when rehearsal time options are from your venue so you can alert

your out of town wedding party members before making their flight plans


Comprehensive Ceremony Checklist

_____A Greeter at the door or ceremony entrance to greet guests and direct them

_____Aisle Decorations and aisle runner (include tape or weights to secure runner)

_____Altar decorations

  • Backdrop
  • Canopy
  • Chuppa
  • Fabric / Draping
  • Flowers, vines, greenery
  • Lighting

_____Attire for officiant – Remember, your officiant will be in all of your pictures; will they allow you to recommend certain attire and colors for them to wear?

_____Broom – for the jump the broom ritual

_____Bubbles, rice, confetti – find out what’s allowed


  • Chair coverings for chairs

_____Delivery charges for any rental items that must be brought in

_____DJ – pay deposit, ask if they attend the rehearsal or if that is extra

  • Microphones – stand or lapel
  • Music during the ceremony (sand ceremony or unity candle or other)
  • Pre-ceremony music while guests are being seated
  • Processional and Recessional music (entrances and exits)

_____Flowers / Petals

  • Boutonnieres for fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and groomsmen
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Corsages for mothers, stepmothers and grandmothers
  • Fresh flower arrangements for aisle or aisle chairs
  • Fresh flower arrangements for altar
  • Petals for the flower girl(s)

_____Flower girl(s) (who will purchase their dresses?)

  • Flower girl basket(s)
  • Wagon and Décor for wagon (if pulling a baby down aisle)

_____Gift table

  • Card box or other item for cards from guests
  • Linen for gift table

_____Guest book table

  • Décor for guest book table – candles, pictures, flowers, programs, etc.
  • Escort cards or place cards (sometimes these are on this table)
  • Guest book, photo album, signature matt or other item for guests to sign
  • Linen for guest book table
  • Pen for guest book

_____Handicap accessibility plan and proper seating arrangement set up

_____Lighting – up lighting or romantic lighting

_____Marriage license

_____Memory table to honor those who have passed

  • Candles
  • Flowers
  • Pictures in frames
  • Linen for memory table
  • Signage

_____Microphone for officiant, singers, musicians

_____Monogram for the wall or floor


  • Chairs, music stands, microphone, sound system or DJ, time for arrival

_____Parking – be sure there is plenty of parking for guests

_____Pen to sign the marriage license

_____Personal touches – other special and unique ideas you want to incorporate


_____Podium for your officiant

_____Prayers or scriptures you choose to have read at the ceremony

_____Programs – can be formal or fun and entertaining also


_____Rehearsal time, location and coordinator to practice the ceremony

_____Rental items – misc. items you choose to personalize your ceremony

_____Ring bearer(s) – (who will purchase their suit or tuxedo?)

  • Fake rings for the ring bearer pillow
  • Ring bearer pillow(s)
  • Signage “Here comes the bride”, etc.
  • Wagon and Décor for wagon (if pulling a baby down aisle)

_____Rings / wedding bands

_____Rituals and other spiritual items; what items are needed for those rituals?

_____Sand ceremony items

  • Colored sands
  • Main vase or decanter
  • Small vases for colored sands
  • Table for sand ceremony set up
  • Linen for table

_____Seating arrangements – family & reserved seats. Figure this out in advance to minimize stress, especially if parents are divorced and you want everyone to feel special

_____Shawls or blankets, if ceremony is held outside during fall and winter months

_____Signage – directing guests where to sit, coat closet, restrooms, or other

_____Signing the marriage license with 2 witnesses – during or after the ceremony


_____Stage or platform to slightly elevate you above guests

_____Tissue – for the couple, parents and grandparents


  • Car
  • Horse & carriage
  • Limo

_____Umbrellas, Sunscreen, hand held fans for outdoor ceremonies

_____Unity candle ceremony items

  • Candles
  • Candle holders
  • Lighter
  • Linen for table
  • Table
  • Votive candle



_____Vows – you can write out your personal vows and read to each other or have your officiant read them for you to repeat; holding notecards is acceptable for reading.

_____Water or beverages for your guests

_____Wedding party, what order they will enter and stand, duties, etc.?

  • Best man to carry rings and Maid of honor to hold brides bouquet during ceremony and straighten bride’s train on her gown

_____Wow Factors – does your venue offer something unique that guests may have never experienced before, a décor item that will have them speechless, a fun program that educates and entertains them? Remember your ceremony and the rituals you choose are symbolic, represent who you are, and the reason for the celebration; spending time to create the type of ceremony you want will create lifetime memories.



Written by Elisabeth Montoya – Designer/Co-owner of The Bella Sera Event Center    

Brighton, CO

Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center

Photo by Mark Alison Photography

6 Tips on Giving an Awesome Wedding Speech


  1. Prepare and practice what you want to say to the couple and their guests

    You don’t have to be a pro to write or give a wedding speech, just have a plan, and execute it. There’s nothing like standing up in front of 150 of your friend’s or sibling’s favorite people to make you nervous; add in a few drinks, and lots of emotions to the mix, and that’s a recipe for disaster if you’re not prepared. Use note cards to guide you, and prepare a beginning (introduction), middle, and end ( a final quote or heartfelt message you want them to remember).

  1. Keep it under 5 minutes

    Keep things short and sweet. A one to five minute wedding speech is the perfect amount of time to toast the couple, long enough to share laughter and tears, but short enough to keep guests from getting bored.

  1. Give a strong introduction that DOESN’T include “I’m really nervous because I’ve never given a speech before”

    Welcome all of the guests; tell them when and where you met the bride, groom or couple, and how honored you are to be chosen to give the speech. It’s always nice to find out if any guests flew in from out of state or out of the country, and acknowledge those places and how much it means to the couple that they are there to celebrate this joyous occasion.

  1. Add in some humor 

    Everyone wants their wedding to be fun; so generating some laughter will make people happy and enjoy your wedding toast so much more. Incorporate some appropriate, PG-rated humor about the bride or groom or couple to get the crowd involved and listening. After all, those of you in the wedding party have the most memories of fun times together. Why not share your fun memories?

Laughter during the wedding speech

  1. Touch on everyone’s need for love and connection

Remember it’s truly a miracle that these two people found each other out of the 7 billion people in this world. What makes this couple so great together, what does it mean to each of them that they found their soul mate, and that all of their closest friends and family are there to celebrate this union? Has the couple or family overcome something challenging to get to this moment, did they meet in a really special way, or do they share the same values, faith or interests that brought them together and make them so special?

The Wedding Toast

Guests Raise Their Glasses!

  1. End with a strong close and don’t forget to ask everyone to raise his or her glasses

Use a quote from a song or poem that might be helpful to drive your message home.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Love is…that person who enters your life out of nowhere, and suddenly means the world to you. -Unknown
  • You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy. -Garth Brooks
  • A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end. – Unknown
  • A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. – Mignon McLaughlin
  • A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on Each Other. – Unknown
  • The couples that are “meant to be” are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger than they were before. -Unknown
  • A good marriage is not just about marrying the right person; it is also about being the right person. – Unknown
  • “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible” – When Harry Met Sally
  • When love reigns, the impossible may be attained. – Indian proverb
  • Without love, the world itself would not survive. – Lope de Vega
  • There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. – George Sand

Raise your glass_Wedding speech



7 Secrets to Creating a Fun Wedding

Everyone Wants to Have a Fun Wedding

Having fun doesn’t mean it has to be a drunk fest or everyone getting out of hand at your wedding. However, fun doesn’t just magically happen because you hire a DJ either. Here are some tried and true ways The Bella Sera Event Center has helped our couples create fun elements throughout their celebrations.

1) Put yourself in your guests shoes.

 Wedding celebrations run for many hours; think about what you yourself think is fun to do.

What does it take to create the type of fun wedding you want your guests to enjoy? Do you enjoy having a nice cocktail? Tasting delicious appetizers? Experiencing something you’ve never seen before? Dancing to great music? Taking funny photos with your friends? Laughing? Sharing a special time with close friends and family?

On the flip side…Do you think it’s fun to sit around for long periods of time with nothing to do? Paying for your own drinks during the long cocktail hour? Sitting next to people you don’t know for more than 3 or 4 hours?

When you take your guest experience into consideration over the long celebration (sometimes 5 – 7 hours), it’s easier to budget and plan for those things that will delight your guests.

 Fun weddings include dancing

2) Choose the perfect DJ, because your DJ is one of the keys to having a fun wedding.

 DJ’s can be the hit of the party with every guest enjoying every minute, or the reason many guests leave early and consider your wedding just another typical wedding. When choosing your DJ, think of the outcome you want first. Don’t choose your DJ simply because you were given a discount; many times you get what you pay for. Hire a creative DJ who has a great personality, a top-notch sound system, creative ideas, and a music plan that matches your style to keep everyone on the dance floor all night. You only have one shot at your once-in-a-lifetime celebration; you don’t want to have any regrets.

Top-notch DJ at Bella Sera

3) Keep guests happy during the long cocktail hour.

Everyone goes to a wedding hoping to sample delicious food and beverages as they celebrate the marriage of their close friends. The cocktail hour is the one time your guests will feel that the celebration is stagnant and boring f they have to sit around for an hour with nothing to do. Formal picture taking and bustling the brides dress before dinner takes an average of 60 – 90 minutes, so imagine how your guests feel if there is no food served and they have to pull out their wallets for a drink. When setting up your budget, plan for a few appetizers for each guest as well as complimentary beer and wine during this one-hour. Even one FREE drink ticket per guest is a nice way to treat your guests and say thank you for coming. You will not regret it, and your guests will appreciate your hospitality and look forward to the rest of the events that evening.

Fun weddings have butler passed appetizers

Mashtini bar at Bella Sera


4) Surprise your guests with something unexpected.

Everyone loves surprises! How can you personalize your celebration and include something that none of your guests expected? Does your venue offer something unique and one-of-a–kind your guests have never experienced like state-of-the-art lighting, a wall of interactive fog, bubble walls, special effects of any kind or items that are suspended from the ceiling? What about a comedian during dinner or a caricature artist? One of the most popular surprises is a choreographed dance by someone in the wedding party or the immediate family. There has been many a father daughter dance that had guests roaring with laughter and excitement. Just check them out on YouTube. Ask your wedding party to prepare well-planned toasts that share stories of some fun times, create a fun slideshow that shares funny memories of your past, release dinner tables with trivia from your favorite sports team or facts about the two of you, create a unique grand entrance, or rent a photo booth and get everyone involved in the fun. These are just a few ideas.

Wedding confetti at Bella Sera

Fog Wall at The Bella Sera

5) Sports fan? Rent your favorite sports team van to shuttle your guests to their hotel.

Now this is fun! Who doesn’t love football? Everyone will remember this ride forever.

Denver Broncos Wedding at Bella Sera

Bride and Groom inside the Denver Broncos Orange Crush Van

6) Provide and interactive food station like a S’mores Bar, Mashtini Bar, Ice Cream Sundae Bar or Chocolate Fountain.

Everyone loves to roast marshmallows, pile their ice cream sundae up as high as they can, and indulge in chocolate. After a long night on the dance floor, guests love these special treats.
S'mores bar for wedding reception

fun weddings always include interactive food stations

Fun weddings have Chocolate Fountains

7) Design a fun Ceremony program to entertain and educate guests.

Why not educate and entertain your guests while they sit and wait for your ceremony to begin? Get creative with your programs and the information you share. The more everyone knows about the two of you, how you met, what you love to do together, who your wedding party is, the more fun the celebration will be for them and the more they will remember the experience.


The Wedding Program

Fun wedding program at Bella Sera


All it takes is a little creativity and some pre-planning to ensure your wedding is fun and memorable. We hope you enjoy some of these creative ideas. Bella Sera Event Center’s team are masters at creating fun weddings. For more ideas on how to create a fun wedding check out our photos on our weddings page.

The Last Dance as Bride and Groom

The Last Dance as Bride and Groom

It’s the lasts that you long for, and remember…The Last Dance

The anticipation and expectation of events for your wedding, and all that will happen that evening, is something only the bride and groom really understand. There is so much focus on choosing the perfect music for your wedding from the first dance, to the father daughter dance, mother son dance and the “party” music. However, couples seldom think about the evening coming to an end, and what about a “last dance”? What song should be chosen for the last dance? Will your photographer still be there to capture that final moment that the two of you will cherish forever? This photograph taken by Mark Alison Photography is one of those moments, a moment in time captured forever. It is a magical photograph of the last dance of our bride and groom Christie and Jesse. The lighting, the angle, and the fact that it’s just the two of them alone, makes that moment for them one that will be remembered forever.

As much as you don’t want your wedding to end,  you do want to create a lasting memory of that final dance together at the end of the night.

Couples put all kinds of thought into the first dance song but may forget about the last song… too often leaving the celebration ending on a, “Whoops, I guess we’re out of time, time to turn up the lights now and leave,” kind of note.

As for song choices, there are some classics, and well, there’s nothing like Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”. Choosing the perfect last dance song to send you on your way guarantees you’ll create the perfect musical end to your wedding.



Here are some of our favorite “Last Dance” songs:

Beautiful Day – U2

Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley

Cheers Drink To That – Rihanna

God Gave Me You – Blake Shelton

Good Night My Love – Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald

I Don’t Want This Night to End – Luke Bryan

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

Last Dance – Donna Summer

My Best Friend – Tim McGraw

New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

Save The Last Dance For Me – Michael Bublé

The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra

Then – Brad Paisley

What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

You and Me – Dave Matthews Band

You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne

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