Friday, August 19, 2011

{BLOG} :: Military Wedding Traditions and Ideas

The military has a rich history of tradition for special occasions, wedding traditions being one of the most beloved and celebrated of military grandeur. Each branch has its own unique variation and protocol related to all of the exceptional bits of tradition in weddings. If you are deciding whether or not to make military tradition a part of your wedding, consider the role that military service has played in both of your lives and the lives of your families. Some of you may have only had a taste of military life so far, only beginning to enter the tight-knit community of families and the bittersweet cycle of separation and reunion. Others of you may have been raised in a military household, surrounded by friends and family in uniform and more familiar with customary practices for special occasions. No matter what your military experience, here are some of the most adored and time-honored military wedding traditions for you to consider adding to your big day.

Arch of Sabers
        One of the most symbolic wedding traditions is the Arch of Sabers. This involves commissioned officers standing across from each other along the aisle outside the ceremony location as the couple exits; the officers raise their sabers or swords (depending on branch) and the newlywed couple pass underneath the arch symbolizes their welcome by the military into their new life together. Traditionally, the last two men lower their swords in front of the couple and hold them while the man on the right give the bride a little “tap” on the butt and says “Welcome to the Army” or whichever branch is appropriate. This piece of the Arch of Sabers is left out if the bride is in the military. Men incorporated in the arch should wear white gloves and be in uniform.

        Both officers and enlisted military personnel should wear uniforms that match the formality of the occasion, also paying close attention to seasonal regulations. For black tie events, Dinner or Mess Dress is appropriate and guests may be invited to arrive in uniform designated on the invitation. Dress blues or greens are also appropriate for formal and informal events for non-commissioned officers. Brides may be married in a traditional wedding gown or be dressed in uniform. Boutonnieres are never allowed to be worn on military uniforms.

        When seating for the ceremony, all high ranking officers and commanding officers should be seated directly behind the family. If the parents of either military bride or groom are not present, the commanding officer of the service member is often asked to sit in their place. Officers should be seated as near to the family as possible near the front of the ceremony.

Cake Cutting
        In some traditions, the arch of sabers is repeated prior to the cake cutting during which the couple pauses for a kiss before reaching the cake. After they reach the cake, the groom unsheathes his saber and hands it to the bride who then cuts the cake with her husband’s hand resting over top of hers. The saber that the cake is cut with must be completely plain and undecorated. (It is also recommended to clean the blade thoroughly before sheathing to prevent damage!)

Details and Things to Keep in Mind…
                  -Be sure to pay attention when addressing your invitations to titles and ranks that should precede names. If you want your guests to be in uniform at your wedding, you can also include “Service dress is invited” to encourage participation in military attire from friends and family.
                  -You never have to pay a chaplain to perform a wedding service, but you should formally invite the chaplain and their spouse and consider making a donation to the chapel where you hold your ceremony. Lots of commissioned military couples choose to get married at Academies and military bases and hold receptions at the drill hall or community area on post.
                  -Some suggest that buying insurance for all your vendor deposits can save you a lot of lost cash to unexpected changes in orders and deployment schedules ahead of time. Make sure that you let your vendors know that you may have to make last minute changes to your wedding plans and see if they are willing to be flexible with your needs.

Ideas to Make Your Military Wedding Unforgettable
                  Here are some ideas for personalizing your experience with the military and adding meaningful and memorable touches to your ceremony, reception and honeymoon.
                  Bridesmaid Dresses…. If men in your bridal party will be in uniform, consider having your bridesmaid’s dresses match or complement their uniforms, or choose colors similar to your related unit.
                  Honeymoon Plans… When planning your honeymoon, take into consideration resorts and places that cater specifically to military personnel. Many places around the country offer fantastic discounts for military couples and this is one way to save and splurge on other areas of your celebration.
                  Memories and Special Moments… Since many military couples go through long separations and exciting homecomings, consider sharing these moments with your guests if you have recorded them by showing photos or videos between courses at your dinner or during transitions between cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. These can be moments such as when you first met, a reunion after deployment, graduation from a specialized school, your engagement… whatever is most special in your relationship!
                  groom graduated, or just places you were able to share brief and special moments while separated.
                  Patriotic Touches… Finally, you can always add patriotic touches to your décor, favors, guestbook, etc. Choose a military design for your cake topper, incorporate flags around your reception and red, white and blue in your lighting, linens or flowers!
                  Make sure you take the time to research the unique traditions for your individual branch. Military weddings can be exquisitely formal affairs with grand details in the company of respected and cherished friends and family who have also served or are serving, but you have the opportunity to add or subtract tradition to your heart’s content!

Cake topper photo from

Thanks for reading!
Kassidi :: Calluna Events intern
Colorado Wedding Planner

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unique Alternatives to a Wedding Guestbook

A lot of brides take time to think of unique details for the invitations, ceremony, and reception but one important part of your wedding that often gets overlooked or becomes a last priority is the guestbook! This is one part of your wedding, unlike the linens at your guest’s tables or the ribbons along the aisles of the church, that stays with you and returns to your home after all is said and done. While guestbooks can traditionally be large white-bound books with blank pages for elegant signatures from friends and family, more recent weddings have included innovative guestbook ideas such as photo booths, collections of seashells, an old pair of skis and even guitars. Here is a list of unique guestbook ideas if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to remember one of the most wonderful days of your life!

· Bring a vintage wooden chair or porch bench and purchase a small high quality wood carving set or a good knife to let your guests carve their initials or a small message. Refinish the wood once the wedding is over and have a lovely piece of custom furniture for your home together. If carving seems a little difficult, pens and markers can also work. You can also have your own initials professionally carved into the center of the bench or carve them yourself! Another carving idea is to melt a large piece of wax into a textured plate and have guests initial once dry.

· Grab a decorative box or tin from a hobby or craft store and ask each guest to bring a small item or memento that reminds them of you. With twine or thin ribbons have guests attach a small note to their item and place it in the box to create your very own wedding guestbook time capsule. Make sure that someone closes it up before the wedding is over, and then pull it out at your first anniversary or years down the road to relive your big day. Make sure if you are having a large wedding that you get a large enough container for all of your guests.

· Hire a caricature artist and have him or her draw each of your guests throughout the night into one big picture that you can bring home and add to your wall. You can ask the artist to make sure that each guest’s personality comes out in their small portrait and have some fun doing poses and making memories for the two of you!

· Setup a music station on a laptop where guests can browse songs and each couple or guest can add a song to your wedding guestbook playlist with their name next to it. It can be a song that reminds them of you, reminds you of them or just a great song that happened to ring through the reception that evening. Years down the road you and your husband can listen through the songs that your guests gave to you and relive your wedding night.

· Bring a piece of unfinished pottery, a platter or a bowl, and have guests sign it during the reception. Afterwards, have the piece of pottery glazed and fired to finish it. Your guestbook now becomes a functional addition to your kitchen for special occasions and everyday use!

· Have a photo of the two of you made into a large puzzle with lots of pieces. Break up the pieces of the puzzle and put them in a basket and have guests pull them out and sign them. Later on you can put the puzzle back together with each of the signatures and have a fun activity to put together again and again with each of the little signatures and notes a happy reminder of your friends and family. 

Thanks for reading!
Kassidi :: Calluna Events intern
Colorado Wedding Planner 

Monday, August 8, 2011

{Blog} Kirsten & Kerry :: Beano's Cabin wedding video trailer

Kirsten & Kerry
Beano's Cabin :: Beaver Creek, Colorado
Videography by KHodge Films
Wedding Planner :: Calluna Events

Love Notes of the day: We love sweet notes from past brides!

We just received this lovely email from one of our brides who got married last month! 

Dear Heather - 

You all were awesome!  Everything went so smoothly, and there were no glitches.  I just felt like I could finally enjoy myself once we got through the ceremony, and it was an absolute blast!!!!  We both had so much fun!  And I wish we could do it all again.  It was just a perfect day.  I know that all of it wouldn't have gone as smoothly if you all weren't there taking care of all of the little details.  Thank you! Thank you!

Up until the weekend of the wedding I was just so stressed with all of the details since I'm a perfectionist and I wanted everyone to have a great time.  Everyone had an awesome time, and I've had so much positive feedback since the wedding.  If I had the budget I would have booked you for the entire wedding.  Also, I knew when I met you four years ago that I wanted you to do my wedding.  You were just so on it and down to earth.  Your feedback from previous weddings was all really positive.  You were the only person I reached out to do my wedding when we got engaged because I just knew it would be great :)  So thank you again.

- Kirsten 

We just love hearing positive words from our brides! It truly makes our day and reinforces why we love doing what we do!

Thanks for reading!
Heather :: Calluna Events

Colorado Wedding Planner

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

40 years ago today my parents were married! Happy Ruby Anniversary Mom & Dad! You are an inspiration to our family and your friends. xo

Friday, August 5, 2011

TRASH THE DRESS! Fun ways to "trash" your wedding dress!

photo courtesy of
So its all over. You had the best day ever and you are with the person of your dreams. All those thank you's have been sent out and the gifts have been categorized and put away. Now what? We know what. The latest thing is the trash your dress photo shoots that have made it all the way to the Wedding Photojournalists Association! What better place to get dirty than in your beautiful wedding dress!? 

Thanks for reading!
Hope :: Calluna Events intern
Colorado Wedding Planner