Friday, September 27, 2013

Ask Ady: Cash Bar v. Hosted Bar

Dear Ady,

One of my good friends is in the middle of planning her wedding.  Sometimes she will ask for my advice on certain issues, as I have a very large family and have been a guest at many many receptions.  In a recent conversation, she had asked for my thoughts on hosting a cash bar at her wedding (which she is currently planning on).  In my opinion, I would not expect my guests to pay for a drink at my house, and therefore, I would not expect my friends and family to pay for a drink at my wedding.  Weddings are already expensive, and I know that adding in alcohol only makes those dollar signs go up, but are there any other opinions to make an open bar less expensive?  What are you thoughts on hosting a cash bar at a wedding?

Thanks for any advice,

Savannah, GA

Dear Grace, 

Ah yes, the cash bar conundrum.  Your instincts (and adherence to appropriate etiquette) are correct.  While offering a cash bar may seem like a great money saving option, it's terrible for your friend's PR.  If she TRULY cannot afford to provide alcohol for her guests, then I would recommend that she not serve it at her reception, at all.  Perhaps there is a bar in the venue open to the public that thirsty guests can visit if they need a drink - she should spread the word that this is the case so that guests are prepared for a dry(ish) wedding.  

She may also want to consider changing the format of her wedding.  If she is planning a sit-down dinner in the evening, perhaps it becomes a heavy hors d'oeuvres party which will free up dollars to include a bar.  Or perhaps, she hosts a beautiful brunch with just a bloody mary and mimosa bar.  

However, if she can eek out some dollars here and there to offer alcoholic beverages at her evening wedding, that is the way to go.  Even if it's just beer and inexpensive wine.  Guests will remember a cash bar long-after they will ever remember decor, the cake, favors, and other accoutrements so perhaps she reduces her budget for these items to allow for a hosted bar.  

Assuming that her wedding is still some time away, I would also suggest that she start saving monthly for the bar expenses.  Refraining from buying those new jeans here, or having a steak dinner there, will quickly add up to a nice little nest-egg to use toward her bar costs.  

The bottom line is this, most guests want to have an adult beverages at weddings.  Period.  Of these guests, few will feel warm and fuzzy about footing the bill.  Double Period. 

Grace - tread lightly when discussing this with your friend.  She may not take it well. And if she does go forth with a cash bar, I would recommend you carry a well-appointed flask in your evening bag.  

Good luck!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Travel Apps

For our destination wedding hosts, guests, and, of course, honeymooners, traveling abroad or to any foreign locale CAN be a breeze!  Check out these helpful apps, and ask yourself, again, how did we ever live without our smart phones?  

Communication & Etiquette: 
64 languages are available for written and spoken translation. 

Translates anything you say into the mic.  Just set the language you want to translate from, then plug in the language you'd like to translate to.  But be sure to speak clearly, you don't want Siri to ask for octopus arms when you wanted tuna sashimi!

World Customs
This app features cultural facts and traditions allowing travelers to seek immerse in the foreign soil they travel. Learn proper greetings, gender issues, taboos, and gestures for 165 different countries. 

Money Matters:
Oanda Currency Converter 
Chose from over 190 currencies and 4 metals to convert your money when traveling.

Getting There:
Packing Pro
Don't forget anything at home!  Create a list of items to pack, or select from sample lists to ensure you have everything you need!

No more looking through countless emails for reservations - with this app, all your itineraries are in one place!  You will have your flight times, rental car information & hotel accommodations at just a glance.

Getting Around:
This locator app tells your all the points of interest around your detect location.  Find what you're looking for by selecting from categories such as, restaurants, museums, and bars.

Skip the national-chain restaurants.  Eat like a local.  This app features independently-owned restaurants and local places only!

HopStop takes the guesswork out of even the most complex public transportation systems.  Never again will you be the tourist holding the map in the middle of SoHo!   Enter your starting point and destinations and HopStop will provide step-by-step instructions.

Just for Fun:
ONE OF OUR FAVORITES!  Bring back the charm in sending a postcard to friends and family while vacationing.  Upload a picture to this app, type in a message and the recipient's address.  A personalized postcard will be delivered to their (actual) mailbox within a few days.

Trip Journal 
Not one to scrapbook?  Don't worry!  This app tracks your trip's pictures for you by GPS.  You can even have your friends share your vacation with you by inviting them onto your page!  They will be able to see what places you have visited and all the pictures you've taken.

Convert Clothes
Shoppers!  While traveling abroad, let this clothing size converter help you when trying on foreign fashions.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Hour: Classic and Updated Bloody Mary's

In honor of our newest team member, Brittany Sitz, being a Columbus native and proud Buckeye, we are sending a shout out to her and her team by featuring Ohio state's official juice - TOMATO JUICE!  And while tomato juice is yummy on it's own, this wouldn't be a happy hour blog without offering some of our FAVE takes on the Bloody Mary!  

These are sure to keep tailgaters in Ohio and beyond refreshed, filled with vitamin C, and ready to cheer on their favorite team!  Cheers!  

Photo courtesy of My Recipes
Basic Mix:
1 46oz container Tomato or Vegetable Juice
(we love R.W Knudsen and Trader Joe's low sodium, both organic)
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 

Pick your Poison:
1/2 - 1 cup Vodka

Sick of the Same Old? 
Try a different variation. Or become the ultimate host and offer a Bloody Mary bar!

Feeling Spicy? 
Try Stolichnaya's JalapeƱo Flavored Vodka.  Careful- this is hot!  Balance the heat with some bleu cheese stuffed olives.

Bacon Lover?
Use Bakon Vodka for a boost of flavor.  You can season this bloody mary with celery salt and horseradish (for spicy). Throw in a thick slice of peppered bacon and a celery stalk to garnish.

Photo courtesy of Heirloom Chef
Not up for Vodka?
USE TEQUILA!  It's called a Bloody Maria & lucky for you, the smokiness pairs really nicely with the tomato flavor.  Play it up with a teaspoon of dijon mustard and garnish with cucumber and lime. 

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
Experiment with some new garnishes.  Pair your bloody mary with pickled vegetables, radishes, mozzarella balls, dill pickles, cheery tomatoes, carrots, 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ask Ady:

Dear Ady,

I am a member of the bridal party in an upcoming fall wedding.  In regards to thanking the bride and groom, I have always wondered what the appropriate etiquette is for bridal party members after the festivities are over.  Is one to thank the bride and groom for having you participate in the special time in lives?  And, if bridal party gifts are given, is a thank you gesture necessary (something other than letting them know how appreciative you are in the moment)?  


Mary-Elle, Cincinnati, OH

Dear ME, 

While it is not necessary to send a thank-you for a thank-you, it is a lovely gesture to share your gratitude at having been a part of their special day.  This can be handled by a note post-festivities, as part of the sentiment in the card accompanying their gift, or by a special note to the bride/groom on the wedding day if a gift has been sent in advance. 

However, it IS appropriate (and often times forgotten) to thank the hosts for the wedding they hosted which you enjoyed.  Sending a note of thanks and cheer to the hosts (for a wedding or any event) is sure to make you stand out as a gracious guest and will ensure future invitations. 

A good rule of thumb...when in doubt, send a note.  At the very least, you will brighten the receivers day.  Everyone loves to receive a sweet piece of mail.   



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Websites


How are they helpful to wedding guests?  
Wedding websites provide all information pertaining to the wedding weekend all in one place!  Brides can customize their website to include information about hotel reservations and registry, which should NEVER be included on printed materials, best travel accommodations, attire guidelines ("Our reception is outside, so wear your wedges, ladies!), and all the other questions that you just don't have time to answer over and over again!  

Here are two of our favorite sources.   Both are very user-friendly and boast interesting designs:
Wedding Window
Wedding JoJo

We recommend upgrading to a personalized URL so that guests can easily remember your website name.  For example, is SO much easier to remember than, wouldn't you agree??!  It's well worth the nominal upgrade fee. 

While these sites have their convenience and charms, they may not be for everyone!  Brides with small quest lists, or who are concerned about privacy, or just plain prefer a traditional form of communication may want to consider a dedicated wedding email, correspondence via mail, or a good old-fashioned phone call to share information.