A ceremony as personalized as you are. Five ideas for a unity ceremony.

Personalizing an event can be the struggle of almost everyone – including your planner. There are so many places to draw inspiration from, and though it’s great to have avenues in which to spark imagination, it seems that as soon as you think of something, someone else has done it.

I feel this way ALL. OF. THE. TIME. I come up with an idea and immediately find something like it already done. However, personalization is so important to making your guests feel like they’re truly in your presence. It gives them (and you) a focal point during your event or wedding to really celebrate you. And we don’t mean slapping your name or face on every sign, table decoration or piece of paper you can find. Those are well placed at times, but also do nothing to help YOU feel like you’re in the moment as well.

Which leads me to another point – personalization of your event is also FOR YOU. Especially during your ceremony. Adding readings, special songs, and words of personality into your script intensifies the act of wedd-ing; getting married. So, here is our list of 5 of the most interesting unity ceremonies we’ve seen during weddings:

View More: http://captivatedphotographyco.pass.us/stonecipher-meldahl-weddingPhoto by: Haagenson Photography

  1. One of the most intensely loving pieces of a ceremony we’ve seen is Brittney and AJ’s Foot Washing during their ceremony. At first, it might not seem like you’d want to take your shoes off in front of your family. But trust us, a well placed rug, warm (or cooling) water, and a fluffy wash cloth will make it totally worth it, just the act of having someone wash your feet for you (be at service to you) is deeply meaningful.

    Photo by Lauren Brown Photography

  2.  Kristen & Seth passed their rings around in a tiny box for a Ring Blessing with their family and bridal party. Friends and family gave their best wishes for the couple on the rings, followed by Ring Vows. It added significance and personal engagement for the guests there. Very soon, we’ll do the same with another couple, with the rings tied on a string, passed to many of the guests. Peace and love are passed to the happy couple during this ceremony.

    2109_2015_06_06_WED_GlowackiPhoto by Lauren Brown Photography

  3. Combining families and roots are literally planted together during a Tree Planting Ceremony. Anna and Tom brought a tree that they will plant at their home and combined it with dirt from Tom’s home state/childhood home and Anna’s Home state/childhood home. Therefore signifying bringing the two families together and providing the “roots.”


  4. On the lighter side, but still super fun and unique are the various “Unity Shots” that we’ve incorporated. Anna & Pete have deep skiing roots – both are on the Ski Patrol here in Montana, so their Unity Ceremony was an infamous Shot Ski. It was fantastically funny, but also made a ton of sense to their guests (lots of Ski Patrol peeps), and was significant to them as a couple. Hayley and Weston did a Unity Drink, where they combined two of their favorite beers into one glass. A funny take on the “Unity Sand.”

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    Photo by: Simple Reflections Photography

  5. Hand-Fasting or a Rope Braiding is the bonding together of two lives. Through very old roots, the hand fasting or rope braiding ceremony is another version of uniting the two sides of the couple together in one binding love. Used with ropes or ribbons that match the theme, or with tradition colors of gold, whites and purple, the hand-fasting is performed with our without the Bridal Party to complete the long lasting relationship circle of the couple.

The significance of each of these pieces is developed by the officiant, pastor, or whomever is performing the ceremony, but is ultimately a representation of the couple and what their love means to each other.






Littles and the Event/Wedding Scene

As we finalize our client’s wedding plans for the summer, and their RSVP numbers come in, we find ourselves with the very real issue of kids. Particularly, what to do with them at weddings (or any event really).lakotah+william-443

As I got ready to think about this week’s advice to my clients, I realized that the simple act of inviting kids to an event opens up a whole host of details that, if taken care of, will make everyone’s experience that much more pleasant.

So, let’s take this Step-by-Step.

Step 1: 
No, you can’t simply put “no kids, please” on the invitation. Don’t even ask. You can’t do it. ESPECIALLY if you then turn around and say, “Well, except for my sister’s kids, cause they’re in the wedding.” So, how do we deal with that?
  Option 1: Go back to good ol’ fashion envelope etiquette – address the            envelope correctly, and don’t list the whole family on the invitation and that should be a clue to parents to at least ask.
Option 2: Plan on alternative activity for the kids during your wedding. See below on hiring a babysitter, or at least having options available. Especially for traveling families.

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Step 2:
So, you want to invite kids. We highly recommend that you ask in advance on your RSVP card – remember, the RSVP is YOUR gathering info space. It’s your space to get as much information upfront about who is attending your wedding to give your guests the best possible experience. Here’s what to ask:
       # Attending – that way you know if the kids are coming.
How many kids and what are their ages?
Do your kids need a Kid Friendly meal? This is especially important if you’re doing               a plated dinner.


Step 3:
Figure out what information your caterer needs to make the right food. Ask her what the age breakdown is for per-head pricing? Does she plan something for kids or is that something you need to add on? (it most likely is) Usually, kids are half price or free depending on the age, so make sure you ask.

Then, figure out what you’re going to do for seating. Kids can be tricky – do they sit at the kids table? Do they need a high chair? Can you rent high chairs or boosters? Here’s our key for seating:
Under 3.5: Need to sit with their parents – Should have a high chair or lap.
5 – 14: Can sit at a kid’s table. For younger kids, kids table should be within                           eye shot of parents, but older kids can be trusted to sit at the table.
15+: These kids want to be considered adults. They really don’t want to be at                        the “kids” table, unless it’s with relations, cousins or good friends. Consider a                        table with their parents, or other adults, but one other kid their age.


Step 4:
Be prepared. Here is our check-list for things to consider and get when you’re putting together your day-of details. I have always found that planning ahead for kids will do WONDERS for your relationship with the parents….whether friends, relations, in-laws, etc. Take care of the kids, parents will have an amazing time, and it will be a GREAT party!

  • Research babysitters – having a special space for a babysitters to watch kids at the wedding is great, or look for an off-site space like a rental house where relations can drop their kids and feel comfortable. We recommend 406 Nannies and Dino Drop-In, both do on-site and sometimes off-site babysitting, for here in Bozeman.
  • Plan seating accordingly – ask your planner how/where to get high chairs, etc.
  • Have a kids table – add one more table to your layout, cover it with newspaper or kraft paper so you don’t have to add another linen, and no worries! Then, go out and get goodies for the table! You can find the holy grail of kids table supplies on Pinterest, but DON’T do: Playdoh, stickers, glitter, paint, facepaint!
  • Feed kids first: Have a kid friendly dish at your buffet; offer a kids dish at your plated dinner; give them cake first. Trust me, it’s cheaper and better!
  • Offer kid-friendly drinks: don’t just have sodas. Have some juice boxes, fruit juice and water.
  • Along with the babysitter, consider a breast-feeding space for newer moms. They’re most likely at their first wedding with their kiddo.
  • Buy activity packs for the ceremony! Especially if you’re having a LONG ceremony – head to the $1 section at Michael’s and pick up TV Show Themed activity packs. They’re $1 and they’re worth all the time in the world.
  • Let kids dance! Let the 6+ request songs with your DJ. It’s amazing how kids really brighten up the dance floor. But make sure that if you don’t want the Chicken Dance, that you tell your DJ that that’s off limits no matter how cute the face that requests it is.

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Remember: Happy Kids, Happy Momma and if there’s a Happy Momma, the party will rock.





5 Tips for Thank You Notes

If you head over to our instagram on Tuesdays, you’ll typically see our #tiptuesday – our tip of the week. We try to impart a bit of wisdom on our followers every Tuesday, giving tips, tricks and suggestions for creating personal and successful events.

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When thinking about this week’s Tip, I felt like it warranted more information, and since I needed a blog post – here we go!

I am a HUGE stickler on Thank You notes. I’m crazy about it, and the etiquette that goes with them. I believe that Thank You notes are becoming a lost art – you know, that thing where you put a stamp on the envelope and actually use that box outside your house? Mail is an incredible thing. And how fun is it to open up your own mail box and get something that isn’t a political flyer, a request to sell your house or a bill. Thank you notes are something you receive, and send, that gives both people a warm fuzzy feeling.

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So, here are my Top 5+ a bonus Do’s and Dont’s or Tips on Thank You notes for ANY event.

  1. Don’t put off sending your thank you notes. Emily Post says you have a year to send them after your wedding, but with any event – give yourself a two week to a month deadline. Especially if it was any event other than a wedding.  How do you accomplish this? Read on…
  2. Do make a list of gifts as you receive them – as you receive a wedding gift, immediately jot it down on the list. During a birthday party, shower, or other event – have someone take notes as to who and what.
  3. Do put Thank You notes on your shopping list! As you’re purchasing decor, food stuffs, balloons and more – add Thank You notes! Then, you’re not making a separate trip after the party. You can start right away. (Add stamps while you’re at it).
  4. Don’t just, or rather, Do send that email. Send your guests a “Thank you for attending” email or text. But follow up with a hand written Thank you note.
  5. Thank You notes for a wedding? Here’s our biggest tip. You know that list you’re making? Do write thank you notes as you receive gifts. As you receive gifts in the mail or prior to your wedding, write your thank you notes then, and there. Get them ready! Then, as you head out for your honeymoon, pop them in the mail! it saves you time, memory power and more.


And for the bonus tip.

Don’t forget all of the vendors and individuals that helped you during your event. Event professionals, especially the owners, so, so appreciate a well thought out Thank You note and review. It is such a great feeling to hear from your clients after spending a year or more with you! Sometimes you’ve developed a close relationship, or sometimes it’s been a great working relationship – either way, we appreciate you and hearing from you!

If you need help coming up with a creative Thank You card – ask your wedding planner! We can collaborate with your photographer to create a great image during your engagement shoot. Or, we can collaborate with your invitation designer to make sure Thank You notes get included in the list of print materials needed.