Archive for January, 2012

Intro to a Tour of Cultural Weddings

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The traditional trappings of an American wedding can be colored by heritage and cultural tradition.

Here in America we possess a fairly standard expectation of what the typical wedding might look like: the bride in white, groom in a dark tuxedo, bridesmaids and groomsmen with a ring bearer and flower girl, a ceremony at a church or beautiful outdoor locale, a reception at a banquet hall where the bridal couple cut the white bride’s cake together then everyone scrambles for a piece of the chocolate groom’s cake, toasts are made, the couple dances, the bouquet and garter are tossed, and the bride and groom make their exit to a decorated getaway car amid a hail of birdseed or bubbles (“no rice, thank you” – from the birds).

But – there are pockets of our population where weddings may look quite different. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, non-Hispanic white persons in 2010 comprised 63.7% of the country’s ethnic make-up. That leaves a large portion of residents whose matrimonial traditions may draw heavily from their home countries. And even among the 63.7%, you might be surprised at some European customs that can still flavor wedding plans in America today!

Over the next few months, every other blog post on this site will explore the fascinating nuances of various cultural weddings, from their historically very unique origins to their modern evolution. To add some extra fun, let’s make it a cultural treasure hunt! Keep checking back in the coming weeks to find the answers to the following questions: “In which culture …”

  1. might the bride and groom try to step on each other’s toes during the ceremony to guarantee they’ll become the boss of the union?
  2. do guests pin real money on the clothes of the bridal couple at the reception (less than $10 bills not allowed!)?
  3. does the man help his future father-in-law with planting and harvesting over the course of many years as his bride-to-be grows up?
  4. does the groom’s tie sometimes get cut into sections and sold for honeymoon financing?
  5. does the bride go through town beating pans and singing loudly, kissing villagers in exchange for donations?
  6. does the bridal couple sometimes elope and then ask for forgiveness because the weddings are so expensive?
  7. does the groom’s mother throw dates and chestnuts at the bride – the number the bride catches representing future children?

Be the first to return to this particular post to correctly answer a question after the article giving the answer is posted (sorry, no cheating for those of you wise to cultural traditions) and receive a trio set of flameless candles from Wholesale Events.  Just post your reply, then e-mail along with your name, answer and mailing address. Type “cultural wedding contest” in your subject line. (Win one time per person, within the contiguous U.S.) And who knows, you might also just unearth some savvy ideas to incorporate into your wedding, too!

Decorating for Your Elegant Valentine Party or Wedding – With 5 Fun Activities

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

One-stop shopping at Wholesale Event Solutions makes preparing for an elegant Valentine’s Day party or wedding as easy as tying a knot! … Well, we guess it depends what kind of knot!

Silver place settings create counterpoint to Valentine-colored decorations.

Start by selecting your table linens, chair covers and sashes in white, pink and red, topped by our ostrich feather centerpieces in those same Valentine colors. Even roses would have trouble making a bolder statement, and what could be more unique than our full bouquets of elegant plumes? Next, imagine the stunning counterpoint of silver plate chargers! And the complement of an eye-catching focal piece on your main table or in your entryway: a wired, lighted crystal tree hung with whimsical Valentine cards, ornaments and hearts.

Accent your place settings with one of our many heart-themed place card holders and guest favors. Favors include heart measuring spoons, whisks, ice cream scoops, tea infusers, butter spreaders, scented glass votives and scented soaps.

Now that you’ve got the party room set, what to do? Entertain guests with activities sure to diffuse good-hearted cheer:

  • A chocolate fondue fountain with plenty of strawberries to dip!
  • A “guess the number of ‘Be Mine’ candies” apothecary jar.
  • Valentine bingo using your own themed cards and chocolate kisses or candies as chips.
  • “Steal my Heart” activity with each guest receiving a heart charm on a safety pin upon their arrival. Whomever sees another person crossing their legs (or saying a certain phrase) can capture another heart for their pin. Every guest is always “in the game” and the one with the most hearts at the end of the party wins.
  • “Partners for Life” game with each guest being tagged on their back as they arrive with one part of a famous duo like Superman and Lois, Albert and Victoria or peanut butter and jelly. Each person can ask only one question per guest to try to find out who they are (NOT “who am I?”). Then they have to find their match.

Valentine wedding? Don’t miss our many “heartsy” wedding ensembles, heart-shaped arch and “good wishes” glass coaster favors.

Got your heart beating fast yet?

Home or Event: Decorating with Feathers

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Looking for some fun decorating ideas that haven’t been done and redone? Don’t get your feathers ruffled – we have some ideas for you whether you are looking for a rustic touch to accent your home’s or cabin’s outdoor motif or an event setting that your guests will always remember. Whether you prefer bold and sassy or natural and understated, feathers can fluff your nest year-round or seasonally. Consider all the potentially be-deckable accent areas

A simple feather border takes a lamp from understated to elegant.

in your home: lamp shades (if all-over is too much think a border attached with clear craft glue finished with decorative cording), mirrors and photo frames (accent one corner with a tuft of pheasant feathers anchored with a cluster of small beads or berries). Touches of feathers here and there also work well: for instance, a few pheasant feathers in a pottery jar on the mantel appear cheerfully rustic, while tall peacock plumes reaching out of an antique urn bespeak the height of Victorian elegance. Feathers can help you create the look of a winter wonderland. Picture your mantel cushioned with a snow-like layer of a white boa, sprinkled with glittered snowflakes and white and cream candles – or a wreath in the same theme using small white feathers. For a more vivid punch of color, what about a green foam wreath base twined with peacock feathers and hung with a vibrant satin bow?

If you are hosting a reception, nothing makes a bolder or more unforgettable statement than our ostrich feather centerpieces. If your plan already includes the use of flowers, try bringing out your arrangements’ subtle shades by accenting with brighter feathers in the same color family. Wow! Other ways to include feathers in your event decorating might be:

Holiday and winter decorations provide perfect opportunity to add interest with feathers.

  • a single peacock feather secured inside your napkin ring
  • a single peacock feather glued to the front of your folded place cards
  • feathers in the up-dos of the bridesmaids at a wedding
  • creating a feather collar for the bridal bouquet at a winter wedding
  • hot gluing feather boas onto foam styrofoam balls, then hanging them (also think red boas on a heart-shaped foam base for Valentine’s) – or placing them in our jeweled crystal candleholders
  • forming feather festoons for one side of accent chairs, like those at the end of the aisle at a wedding, by trailing feathers along with the tails of a fabric bow (remember you can accent the center of the bow creatively with a brooch, buckle, mini-fruit or -pumpkins, or bud rosettes)

Not only beautiful and unique, the reusability of feathers makes them actually practical! Just don’t place them in kitchens or baths where they will be exposed to constant moisture. Mothballs can help keep away pests. To clean, gently go over feathers with a soft vacuum attachment.

For an unforgettable punch of color, accent wedding decorations with festive fluff!

Mardi Gras Madness

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Mardi Gras

Gold chargers set off Mardi Gras decorations!

Balloons! Streamers! Masks! Action! It’s Mardi Gras time!

Surely no other celebration explodes with more bold zest, not only in New Orleans, but across the Gulf Coast region and even in Rio de Janeiro. For America it started in 1699, when French explorer Iberville camped 60 miles south of the present-day Crescent City. It was March 3, a day he knew was a big holiday back home – a holiday that dated right back to tribal rituals of the Middle Ages celebrating fertility and spring, subdued into a pre-Lenten time of merriment by the Early Church. He named their camp on the west bank of the Mississippi River “Point du Mardi Gras.”

By the late 1700s, masked balls were in vogue during Mardi Gras. The first parade took place in 1837. But the holiday had a rough track record, with its violent tendencies causing the press to call for its curtailment in the mid-1800s. The end-of-winter revelry was saved by the Comus organization in 1857, when a secret carnival society was formed to officiate a safe parade with floats, costumes and a tableau ball. The official colors of the holiday – purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power) – were selected in 1872 by the visiting Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia.

Delve into the Cajun flavorin’ of this period of partyin’ by hosting your own fabulous fête. Grace your Mardi Gras tables with purple, green and gold ostrich feather centerpieces showcased by floralytes and sprinkled with diamond confetti. Frame plates with gold chargers topped with cloth napkins, champagne glasses and decorative masks. (Or plan a mask-making station where guests can create their own.) Don’t forget the added touches of party poppers, feather boas and adorable Bourbon Street place card holders.

Tempt the palate with appetizers of cheesy shrimp canapes and stuffed jalapeños. Then serve up traditional favorites like crawfish or crab bisque soup or seafood gumbo, followed by a main course of crawfish pie or etouffee, oysters rockefeller, cajun shrimp creole, stuffed trout or jambalaya. Crown it with, of course, King Cake. Many authentic recipes can be found online.

Alongside the decorations and cuisine, Cajun Zydeco music will seal the atmosphere. Some Mardi Gras favorites include “Go to the Mardi Gras,” “Second Line,” “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Mardi Gras Mambo.”

Entertain guests by a hunt for the baby that was in the King Cake or for coins. Host a pageant complete with various competitions officiated by judges to select a king and queen of the party.