Archive for July, 2011

July 21, 2011

A Look at Ethnic Weddings

One of the most fun parts of wedding planning is making a wedding personal. We love when brides and grooms incorporate bits of their cultures into their wedding, making the event a truly unique experience that epitomizes the backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities of the couple and their families.

Over the years, we have seen many of these weddings and have fallen in love with some of the traditions that other cultures have. Some are truly inspiring! Who knows: maybe it will inspire your future affair?

 Mexican Weddings

The ceremony:

Traditionally, during the ceremony couples have a “lazo” (white rosary) around their necks while they kneel at the altar. This symbolizes the couple’s unity. In very traditional ceremonies, the groom places 13 coins (called “arras”) in the bride’s hands: this symbolizes the groom’s role as the family provider.


The reception:

Mole, a sauce made of chilies, peanuts and chocolate (among many other spices!) is a traditional meal at Mexican weddings. In fact, saying “there is going to be mole” (va a haber mole) is a Spanish idiom meaning that someone is going to be married!

Live mariachi bands are common at Mexican weddings, and DJs often play Spanish version of popular rock n’ roll and hip hop songs.

 The décor:

Bright colors are everything in Mexican weddings. We love the festive feel that blues, oranges, reds and pinks bring to the occasion!

 For inspiration:

The bright colors are one of the most fun ways to draw on Mexican weddings for inspiration. Translate this colorful feel into bouquets and centerpieces for added fun, making sure to incorporate lots of yellow, orange, and bright blue.

We love the paper flags often seen at Mexican celebrations: they are a fun design element for invitations and décor.

We love this beautiful archway as well!

For an added touch, draw on the Mexican and Spanish tiles for a truly unique (and gorgeous!) wedding cake. Stunning!

We recently covered inventive “late night snack bar ideas”… how about a late night taco bar with these fun watermelon bites?

Indian Weddings

The ceremony:

Ceremonies vary from region to region (and are also different depending on the religion of the families), but generally the ceremony is broken up into pre-wedding ceremonies, wedding day ceremonies, and the “Vidaai”,  when the bride is formally sent from her father’s house to the house of her new husband. Brides typically wear red or pink saris and paint their hands and feet with beautiful henna patterns the night before the wedding.

 The reception:

Perhaps the word “festival” is more appropriate: receptions for Indian ceremonies can last for days! Typically, the entire family contributes to the festivities in order to fund such elaborate affairs and dancing, music and food abound. Fun!

The décor:

As with Mexican weddings, color is key in Indian weddings! We love the bright colors, the beautiful patterns of the fabrics, and the many flowers used. Marigolds are a traditional stem for Indian ceremonies and can usually be found throughout the décor: their lively golden-yellow is a perfect match for the turquoises, reds, and plums of the wedding.

For inspiration:

Colorful shamiana (tents), low seating on comfortable cushions, lots of bright colors, lots of tea lights, and marigolds. We love the idea of a henna-inspired everything: invitations, placecards… even the wedding cake!

Chinese Weddings

The ceremony:

A Chinese wedding ceremony encompasses over 2,400 years of tradition and celebration! We couldn’t possibly do each of these age-old traditions justice in this short post, so we are mainly focusing on the tea ceremony, which is an intricate part of a Chinese wedding.

The reception:

Historically, the bride would serve tea to her family before the wedding ceremony, then after the vows, the couple serves tea to the groom’s parents. Today, it is common to have one tea ceremony for both parents.

Because the tea ceremony is an opportunity for the bride and groom to show respect for their parents, the order in which family members are served is very important. Traditionally, parents are served first, followed by grandparents, grand-uncles and aunts, uncles and aunts, older brothers and sisters, and then older cousins, in that order. The father’s family is always served before the mother’s.

Lotus seeds and two red dates are used in the tea for two reasons. First, the words “lotus” and “year,” “seed” and “child,” and “date” and “early,” are homophones (they have the same sound but different meanings in Chinese). Secondly, the ancient Chinese believed that putting these items in the tea would help the newlyweds produce children early in their marriage, which would ensure many grandchildren for their parents. Also, the sweetness of the special tea is a wish for sweet relations between the bride and her new family.

 The décor:

Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture, and brides typically wear a red jacket, skirt, and shoes. Gold is typically used as accent color.

Traditionally, the families would decorate the new couple’s house and ceremony location with these colors along with “happiness banners”, red paper banners with Chinese writings wishing the new couple well. Dragons and phoenixes are also symbols often used.

For inspiration:

The purpose of the tea ceremony is to show respect to the bride and grooms families and recognize their importance in the union. We love this concept! A tea ceremony might not be for everyone, but this concept certainly is: consider doing something special to recognize your family members and your groom’s family members during the nuptials and/or the reception. Some brides choose to present the mothers with a flower, others pay homage to family members with a table of photos, and other incorporate family into the ceremony with readings, etc.

Cakes decorated with a dragon and phoenix are traditional wedding cakes. We love the idea of a dragon snaking around a circular cake!

July 8, 2011

“Tutto lei deve è l’amore” (All you need is Love): Italian Country Wedding

Italian Country Wedding

It goes without saying that an Italian inspired wedding must focus on three things: a beautiful country setting, food, and wine!

 The Décor

Nothing screams “Italian” more than olive oil, but the olive tree itself is also a beautiful element to the décor. The beautiful silvery leaves of an olive tree are great additions to table arrangements and sprigs can be used in bouquets for an added “Italian” touch.

Olive trees are also used for their wood, as seen in many Italian stores selling dinnerware, so incorporating wooden bowls or vases gives an authentic feel to the dinner. We love this table decor with Italian stemware and herb garden favor at each place setting.

Southern Italy is known for its lemons, which are great décor accents. Use them sliced in vases, or even use potted lemon trees as decorations. Lemons also make great place card holders!

The Food

For a perfect Italian-inspired menu, we suggest simple family-style, rustic dishes with local ingredients.

Coursing a reception meal can be a bit formal, but keeping the dishes family style will also keep the meal a bit more casual. Talk with your cater for some Italian-inspired dishes: appetizers of crusty bruschetta with tomatoes confit, truffle butter crostinis (a staple in Central Italy), bite-sized frittatas and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and cantaloupe… the options abound!

Keep the salad simple: Central and Northern Italy are known for pine nuts, sheep’s milk pecorino cheese and aged balsamic vinegars, why not have a simple butter lettuce salad featuring these three beautiful ingredients?

 The Wine

One of the best things about Italian wines is the affordability. For a white wine, skip the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio and opt for a light Frascati, Grechetto, or Orvieto: all are reasonably priced white wines that are light and have a lot of citrus and good acidity!

For reds, keep in mind that many wine producing regions make two types of red wine: one that is meant to be aged (and is much more expensive) and one that is meant to be drunk now (obviously, the more inexpensive of the two!).

An example of this is in Montepulciano: the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine that must be aged for at least two years. It is a beautiful, rich wine… and a bit pricey! Opt for the Rosso di Montepulciano: this is the lighter red wine from the same region. It is only aged for roughly six months, is lighter in body, has bright fruit, and is a perfect accompaniment to many tomato-based dishes and chicken. Ask your caterer for these young Italian wine options: this is a concept that is practiced throughout Italy, so you should be able to find some steals!

Make sure to toast with Prosecco, the Italian champagne (and much more affordable option). Its bright bubbles are great with desserts, although we also love it poured over a scoop of lemon sorbet for a lovely treat!

July 1, 2011

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something… “navy blue”?

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something… “navy blue”? We think so!

Summer is here, and as our brides look for inspiration, we thought we’d revisit the colors that are so indicative of our nation and of summertime: navy blue and red.

Navy is a very popular color in 2011 and is perfect for a summer wedding. Along with a deep red, the bold colors stand out on a bright, mid-summer day, and the options for invitations, table settings, flower arrangements, décor and accessories abound.

Courtesy of Aylee Bits

We think simplicity works best with such bold colors: deep navy tablecloths with red runners, minimalist topiaries, clean lines, and simple, stunning flower arrangements. Whether it be with bouquets, table settings or bridesmaid dresses, white really pops against deep navy and adds to the clean, crisp feel of a wedding. We love how beautifully these white bridesmaid bouquets stand against their dresses: simplicity and beauty at their best!

Photo by Trista Lerit

One of the best perks to a navy wedding is accessorizing: deep sapphire jewelry, flirty blue clutch purses…

Fun navy & silver bridesmaid clutch

and how fun are these blue satin shoes?!?! (Ok, we love these red ones too, and had to throw them in as well!)

Manolo Peep Toe

From Tulle Bridal

The possibilities are endless for lively red and blue cocktails. Deep red cranberries, raspberries, strawberries or bright blueberries are perfect garnishes for any drink: we even love the look of them bobbing up and down in a champagne flute. Or, add a splash of cranberry juice to sparkling wine for a fun, fruity and colorful cocktail.

Cranberry cocktail with blueberry garnish

Of course, with a red and navy themed wedding, we can help but to throw in a little 4th of July inspired décor! Sparklers are such a fabulous way for guests to send off the newlyweds after a night of dancing and fun.

Shannon Ho Photography

And a million thanks to Michelle from My Personal Artist, who was kind enough to share these classy, beautiful firework-inspired invitations with us. Gorgeous!

Elegant red, white, and blue wedding invitations by My Personal Artist

It is hard to believe that spring has passed and summer is here. We are busy at work prepping our brides for their upcoming nuptials and can’t wait to show our readers some of the weddings we have been working on! Until then, good luck to our brides as they put the finishing touches on their warm weather weddings, and congrats to any recently engaged couples who just happened upon our site: we hope you choose La Vita Bella Events to make sure that your big day is as smooth, elegant and perfect as you want it to be!