Ceremony / Reception: Piazza Messina website Officiant: Stephen Hoel (uncle of the groom) website Rehearsal Dinner / Catering / Cake & Dessert Bar: Russo’s Catering website Bridal Gown / Bridesmaids Dresses: Cleo Bridal website Tuxedos/ Suits: Savvi Formalwear website DJ & Lighting Company: Allegro Entertainment website Photography: Erin Stubblefield Weddings and Portraiture website Florist Flower /Bouquets/Boutonnieres: Walter Knoll Florist website Wedding Rings: Shane Co. website Make-Up: Sarah Beauchamp website Hair: Courtney Fudge website DIY : Rosie Barcomb (friend of the bride and groom) made the Invitations, Ceremony Programs, Table numbers, and signs. Dustin Burgert(brother in law of the groom) created the centerpieces.
TELL US THE PROPOSAL STORY…
Cody had asked Kylie a few days prior if she wanted to go hiking or to the Botanical Gardens the coming weekend and being the avid hiker Kylie was, she chose the Botanical Gardens. That Saturday they got ready, went to Starbucks and headed to the Botanical Gardens. Looking back now, Kylie should have known something was up because Cody was super on edge about leaving his truck parked in the Starbucks parking lot while they waited for their coffee (the ring was in the truck). Cody then ducked out and told Kylie he would wait in the car. They got to the Botanical Gardens pretty early and started wandering through the gardens when all of a sudden, someone else was proposing in the exact same spot that Cody was going to, (and eventually did) propose. They both looked at each other and were completely shocked since they had never seen that happen in real life! They walked around the gardens some more and Cody kept asking Kylie if she wanted to go take a picture back at that spot where someone else proposed. Kylie told him they would get back up there eventually and to just take their time. When they finally made it back up to the pond with the lily pads, Cody asked a random stranger to take their picture. They took a few pictures and when they were done Cody asked the guy to take one more. Kylie slowly realized what was happening and what felt like 45 minutes of silence to Cody (whoops!), she finally managed to say yes! Kylie is not easy to surprise but Cody managed to do so and it was one of the happiest days of her life!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING MEMORY?
How can we choose just one! I think seeing all of our family and friends in one place was a really special moment. There were guests that we hadn’t seen in a very long time, so seeing everyone in one room definitely made our wedding memorable.
where did you go on your honeymoon?
We enjoyed a trip to Negril, Jamaica! We stayed at Couples Swept Away and had a great time. We had a private candlelit dinner on the beach, went on a catamaran cruise, and went snorkeling! It was so great to just relax after wedding planning for about a year.
how was your experience with allegro?
Working with Allegro was a dream. We enjoyed working with Dori throughout the planning process and she was always able to answer our many questions and she did so with a smile. Our DJ, Eric, was great! He called us a couple of days before the wedding and we went over the timeline and the songs that we wanted played. The day of went exactly as planned and DJ Eric played all of our “must have” songs and much more!
Post Wedding Update – Tell Us About Married Life…
Married life has been great! We’re enjoying being husband and wife and not worrying about seating charts and color swatches :).
Originally the Studebaker-Packard auto showroom, Lumen didn’t need much love to transform into the modern event space that it is. Pair the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows and a state-of-the-art LED lighting system with 23 City Block’s premium service and culinary for every palate, no matter the type of event, it’s sure to be one that leaves your guests raving.
20 Foot Ceilings
Custom LED Lighting
Historic Downtown Location
Dinners for 220 Guests
Corporate Executive Chef Nicholas Miller — whose forté is farm-to-table and seasonal ingredients — and his award-winning team, including Executive Chef Brad Bardon, will fulfill your culinary desire.
The reception is where the party’s at, but the wedding ceremony is where all the feels happen. For your “I do” moment, Lumen boasts two options; either on the mezzanine for 100 seated or in the main ballroom for 200+ with complimentary white pipe and drape and a quick flip to reception!
And as the first event to kick off your new union, your wedding ceremony is the chance to wow guests with the unexpected, avoid making guests drive from place to place, establish your wedding theme or style, and give a hint at what’s to follow at the reception – making Lumen’s unique venue all the more perfect!
Click Below to take their new 360° virtual tour of the room!
For an idea what Lumen looks like at night, with different lighting, check out the tour below!
Clothes maketh the man, but don’t tie yourself up in knots when choosing your attire. Understanding when you should be wearing the right accessories will mean you’ll always look the part. That’s especially true when choosing a necktie.
The fashion conscious have traditionally worn ties for more formal occasions. It’s how you wear a Bow Tie or necktie that can also define your style. Here’s what you need to know to stay on the right side of your preppy look.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NECKTIE AND BOW TIE
You’ll be in good company when purchasing a tie. Neckwear accounts for three-quarters of a billion dollars in annual revenue for the American economy. The main components are neckties and bowties. So, where did it all begin?
Bow Ties have their origins as a type of cravat in former Yugoslavia back in the seventeenth century. The French who have always traditionally been fashion trailblazers then developed what we now know as a Bow Tie.
To those who enjoy wearing them, Bow Ties can give a nod toward intellectualism. Fashionistas associate them with respected professions. These include architects, attorneys, and university professors.
Variations of Bow ties have also found their way into women’s wardrobes. That was true in the 1980s when professional women, mainly those working in the corporate world, wore them with conservative suits.
Neckties consisting of one long length of fabric really took off in the 1920s. Some were hand-painted, others had military symbolism. Then came the more loud and flamboyant types of ties.
Manufacturers toned these down by the 1950 and 1960s as ties became worn with tapered suits and slimmer lapels. Due to the wide range of patterns available, ties can show that you belong to a specific club, organization or university.
They’re ideal for a preppy look, hung loosely as a casual accessory or in one of a wide variety of knots.
Dress codes change with the passage of time. Black Bow Ties were always worn for more formal events and were a must-have with a tuxedo and pleated shirt. Neckties were often worn with suits for work.
Now, it’s quite common to wear either Bow Ties or neckties at your own discretion. You need to decide on the type of persona you’re trying to create.
If you want to look quirky but slick try a Bow Tie with your favorite jeans or a tan suit. Go for something spiffy by choosing a Bow Tie with a feathered pattern, bold stripe or gingham design.
THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY
No matter how often you plan to wear a Bow Tie or a necktie, the quality of the tie you select will have an impact on the way it looks.
Cheaper neckwear will always have a habit of becoming creased, at times permanently. That’s never going to make for a good look.
A necktie is at the peak of men’s fashion and the best types of neckties will be made from silk, often handwoven, or from top quality cotton. They’re almost guaranteed to stay vibrant and in shape.
If you want a really preppy look go for necktie made from a seersucker fabric. It’ll be lightweight and have a crimped surface. A madras plaid tie would also be a great choice or even colorful paisley.
TYING METHODS FOR BOW TIES
You’d need to be a brave soul to be prepared to tie your Bow Tie yourself every time you chose to wear one. There’s a great deal of technique to tying the perfect Bow Tie.
Pre-tied Bow Ties are a great solution. Many are also adjustable from shirt sizes fourteen to nineteen. They’ll be fitted with adjustable fasteners that let you tie and then unhook the bow tie for later use.
The latest styles may also come with a matching brooch for a touch of extra elegance. They’ll look great with a suit or blazer.
AN END OF EVENING LOOK
You might be looking for an ‘end of the night,’ casual style. An untied Bow Tie positioned around the neck can make for a really cool look. A blazer slung over the shoulder will add to the effect.
If you decide to go for a bow tie that isn’t pre-tied, bear in mind the several types available. These include batwing Bow Ties which have a singular, slimmer width. An hourglass Bow Tie is a classic that will fan out at the endpoints
TYING YOUR NECKTIE
If you want to spice things up a bit, you don’t have to tie your necktie in a conventional way. There are other styles of knot to choose from.
The four-in-hand knot is the most common used. That’s probably the one you’ll already be familiar with. You could also try adjusting the size of the knot or go for a different look with an Atlantic knot.
If you loosen the necktie and sling your jacket over one shoulder it will give you a great casual look.
TIES ARE ACCESSORIES
It’s sometimes tempting to base your wardrobe around your tie. That can work but it’s wiser to think of your neckwear as adding an extra touch to the rest of what you’re wearing.
If you own a lot of pinstriped suits then a Bow Tie is unlikely to work. A plain black suit with a crisp white shirt could look very sharp with a colorful and patterned Bow Tie. Neckties have the ability to make men look taller and slimmer.
There is nothing wrong with throwing convention to the wind as long the final look is clean and neat. It’s not only about what you wear but also about how your preppy clothes match together, and that includes your neckwear.
GO FOR COLOR AND ORIGINALITY
If the occasion has to be formal, then a black Bow Tie or a necktie with one color might be the solution. For more relaxed situations, then you could choose a tartan Bow Tie or necktie with a bold stripe.
When it comes to the bouquet toss, music can make (or break) the moment. As per tradition, all the single ladies line up, and whoever catches the bridal bouquet is said to be next in line to walk down the aisle. Whether you want to liven things up with a sassy pop anthem or make it saccharine sweet with a country hit, you’ll find tunes across every genre in our roundup of the best wedding bouquet toss songs.
The best man is more than just a glorified groomsman. He (or she, if the groom appoints a best woman) actually has several specific responsibilities, chiefly to be the groom’s go-to confidante, personal valet and logistics guru for pre-wedding events and day-of details. Here’s your official, comprehensive guide to all the typical expectations and responsibilities that come with the job of best man.
Best Man FAQs
Before going into all the nitty-gritty details of the best man duties, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions about what you can expect, whether you are asked to be the best man or are asking someone to take the honor. Check out our answers and then review our in-depth guide on everything you need to know about being the best, best man ever.
What is a best man?
The best man is the groom’s right-hand man (or woman) at the wedding. Usually a close friend or relative, this person is asked to stand by the groom’s side to support and assist in any way possible before and during the wedding.
What is the role of a best man?
If you’re wondering what does a best man do, it’s important to realize that this role involves making sure everything runs smoothly on and before the couple’s Big Day. The best man is often in charge of the groomsmen, as he plans the bachelor party, helps them dress for the wedding, and even organizes their transportation to the ceremony. He is also responsible for lending a hand during pre-wedding events and the reception. Above all, he is there to support the groom.
Who is usually the best man at a wedding?
The best man is often the groom’s closest friend or relative. Sometimes it’s a brother, childhood buddy, cousin, or even the groom’s father or uncle. There are no rules around who the groom can and cannot choose.
Can you have two best men?
Yes! This decision is entirely up to the groom.
Where does the best man stand?
The best man usually stands closest to the groom at the altar during the ceremony.
Now that you have a better understanding of the best man duties, let’s go into more detail about the roles and responsibilities.
Lead the Rest of the Pack
As best man, you’re the head groomsman, the one the rest of the group can go to with any and all questions so as not to bother the groom (think: How much do I owe for the bachelor party Airbnb? And, What time are we supposed to be at the ceremony site for the rehearsal?). Your job is to be the point person and mediator between the groom and the rest of the crew when the groom’s far too busy to worry about nitty-gritty groomsmen details. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make sure the others are showing up and performing their groomsmen duties.
Head Up the Formalwear Process
You’re in charge of helping the groom choose and rent or buy wedding formal wear, as well as coordinating the other groomsmen ensembles—this might include gathering everyone’s measurements, giving the group an order-by deadline or placing the actual order yourself. Talk to the groom about what he wants everyone to wear and whether everyone’s expected to match or coordinate (the answer is likely yes). If so, look into ordering as a group in order to save a little.
Plan an Awesome Bachelor Party
Whether you hit up a local whiskey distillery or fly somewhere epic for a long-weekend celebration, you’re tasked with organizing a bachelor party the groom will never forget. Definitely enlist the other groomsmen to help you out with logistics and offer recommenations. And don’t worry, you’re not expected to pay for the entire thing—the cost should be split evenly among everyone who attends the bash, barring the groom, of course.
Attend, Enjoy and Lend a Hand at Prewedding Events
Other than coming to the engagement party and shower (if applicable) and being Mr. Bachelor Party, you’re expected to be at the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner with the couple, their families and the rest of the wedding party. If you haven’t had a chance to bond with the other half of the wedding party and say your heartfelt hellos to the couple’s relatives, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity.
Be His Right Hand on the Wedding Day
When the day finally comes, you’ll be the groom’s personal aide and adviser both before and during the wedding. This includes helping him prep for the honeymoon, standing next to him at the altar and keeping the wedding rings until it’s time to exchange vows. Find a safe place for the wedding rings (and triple-check your pockets don’t have holes!)—you don’t want to fumble around when it’s time to bring it out. Finally, directly after the ceremony, you need to sign the marriage license as a witness, along with the maid of honor, and hand the officiant a sealed envelope with their fee.
Take Charge of Transportation
This won’t apply to everyone, since lots of couples and their wedding parties hire transportation services to get from A to B—but you could be in charge of driving the couple to the reception, wedding-night hotel or airport after the reception. If that’s the case, you’ll obviously need to stay sober throughout the reception. But again, you’re more than allowed to pass this responsibility to the pros. Step up and hire transportation for the newlyweds so you can actually enjoy the open bar.
Act as Unofficial Reception Host and MC
Does the bride’s grandmother need help finding her seat? Is one of the flower girls dancing alone? Does it look like one of the groomsman has had one too many signature cocktails before dinner? Keep your eyes and ears open at the reception to make sure the newlyweds and guests are having a blast, and that the rest of the wedding party knows where they need to be and when. And perhaps your biggest responsibility: Delivering the best man speech. If you’re following a traditional wedding speech timeline, you’ll make your toast to the couple first, before anouncing the maid of honor (who will then make her own toast). Other than that, don’t think you need to stay stiff and sober all night because you’re “on duty.” Yes, you should behave yourself and be as helpful as possible, but being a beaming ball of joy and energy (aka getting out on the dance floor and keeping people’s glasses full) throughout the party is one of the best things you can do.
Tie Up Loose Ends After the Reception
Collect any gift envelopes guests may bring to the reception. You may be asked to deposit them in the couple’s bank account or at least keep them until the couple returns from their honeymoon. Make sure vendors who need to be tipped or paid in cash receive their envelopes at the end of the night (and don’t forget to get some cash the morning of the wedding). If the couple’s planning a noteworthy getaway, you and the rest of the wedding party should help decorate the getaway mobile.
In need of a little big-day music inspiration? You’re in luck! A mix of classic and modern, these ten songs celebrate the enduring love of marriage. The meaningful lyrics and sweet melodies makes them perfect for a ceremony recessional, a first dance, or any wedding-related playlist!
“Marry Me” by Train (2009)
“Marry Me” is told from the perspective of a café patron who becomes infatuated with a waitress. He’s nervous to approach the woman, who he’s never met before, but the love-at-first-sight experience makes him dream of a proposal. Thanks to the song’s slow tempo and romantic message, it works well as a first dance ballad.
“Lost in This Moment” by Big and Rich (2007)
This country ballad describes a wedding ceremony as seen through the groom’s eyes, from the processional to the vow exchange. The groom seems ecstatic to be marrying his bride, so the lyrics will set the perfect tone at any wedding.
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri (2011)
This emotional song can have several different meanings, but some of the lyrics may be interpreted as describing a bride watching her husband-to-be at the altar: “But watching you stand alone/ All of my doubt, suddenly goes away somehow.” Although “A Thousand Years” first gained popularity for its appearance in the movie The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -Part 1 in 2011, many couples still swoon over its romantic lyrics and soft instrumentals.
“Love and Marriage” by Frank Sinatra (1955)
As the theme for the TV show Married with Children, this Sinatra song has recognizable lyrics: “Love and marriage, love and marriage/ Go together like a horse and carriage.” The quicker tempo and slightly funny presentation will be a hit at your wedding reception, but you might want to save it for the party rather than the first dance.
“Chapel of Love” by The Dixie Cups (1964)
Most people are familiar with the lyrics “Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married,” which come from the song “Chapel of Love” by The Dixie Cups. Falling into the genre of R&B/soul, it describes a bride’s excitement on her wedding day. Crank it up while you’re getting ready with your ‘maids!
“Wedding Song” by Tracy Chapman (2000)
In this sweet, folksy ballad, Tracy Chapman describes the act of marrying someone she loves. The lyrics emphasize the romantic aspects of a big day: “For you I don the veil/ By your light/ Others pale by comparison/ I place my faith in love/ My fate in this communion.”
“Marry Me” by Jason Derulo (2014)
This sentimental song, which boasts notes of R&B/soul and pop, focuses on the narrator’s desire to propose to his girlfriend. The upbeat tempo and catchy beat will drive guests to the dance floor in celebration of your big day.
“Let’s Get Married” by The Proclaimers (1994)
This rock song gives a sweet but realistic portrayal of marriage. The narrator wants to wed his girlfriend, who he’s been with for a long time, and he’s willing to overcome “good times” and “bad times” with her. Here are some of the lyrics: “Let’s get married/ I love you and I want to stay with you/ Let’s get married/ Have kids and grow old and gray with you.”
“We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters (1970)
In one interpretation of this song, newlyweds are ready to start married life after their wedding (described by the lyrics “white lace and promises”). The song, which is a catchy pop tune, rings with hope and optimism, since The Carpenters sing about how they’ve only just begun their journey together.
“When I Said I Do” by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black (1999)
Sung by a husband-and-wife duo, this emotional country tune describes the couple’s plans to stay “faithful and true” to each other forever. Thanks to the sweet lyrics, romantic meaning, and slow rhythm, “When I Said I Do” is ideal for a first dance song or a wedding processional.
A gathering place at heart, The Sheldon invites you to revere and participate in a diverse legacy of live music, arts, events and culture. Our local community is a colorful and eclectic collection of people and ideas. It’s why we’re proud to present a curated roster of our world’s musical and visual icons in St. Louis, and in turn, give St. Louis the world.
We host over 350 events each year. Artists like Dave Brubeck, Diana Krall, José Carreras, Herbie Hancock, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, B.B. King, Mavis Staples, Wynton Marsalis, Judy Collins and Renée Fleming have all graced our stage. And over 300 exhibits have shown in our galleries since 1998. We also present a wide range of educational programs for schools serving over 30,000 St. Louis-area students each year, and host hundreds of weddings, community events and other celebrations in our historic event spaces.
Rooms for Imagination
The wedding of your dreams and beyond. A corporate event that feels like anything but. No matter the occasion, our Venue Rentals are designed to inspire.
4 HOUR RENTAL TIME
Best Used For: Wedding Ceremonies, Concerts and Corporate Meetings.
With its perfect acoustics, The Sheldon Concert Hall is recognized among the nation’s most stellar performing facilities. This setting is ideally suited for special concert performances, wedding ceremonies, corporate meetings, seminars and lectures. The hall features original curved wood theatre seating on two levels, with unrestricted views from all 712 seats.
Inside the Concert Hall
Louis Spiering Room
4 HOUR RENTAL TIME
Best Used For: Special Events, Meetings, Banquets
This jaw-droppingly elegant room is situated on the third floor of the Emerson Galleries Building. It provides room for 500 seated guests and up to 700 standing. Boasting a spectacular view of the city’s Central West End and Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the room is perfect for receptions, annual meetings, seminars and dinners. The Spiering Room walls are adorned with a variety of artwork. And to top it all off, a permanent collection of architectural terra cotta pieces rescued from the historic Title Guaranty Building is incorporated into the brickwork.
4 HOUR RENTAL TIME
Best Used For: Wedding Receptions, Banquets, Special Events
Overlooking the city’s Central West End, The Sheldon Ballroom features golden hardwood flooring, a full stage and dramatic beamed ceilings with large skylights. This intimate setting accommodates 200-250 for dinner or more than 300 for cocktail receptions. For flexibility in special event planning, The Sheldon offers a catering kitchen for exceptional food service, as well as an open catering policy.
Art Galleries + Atrium
FLEXIBLE RENTAL TIME
Best Used For: Cocktail Receptions and Luncheons
A glass walkway links The Sheldon’s historic facilities with the contemporary elegance of the Art Galleries + Atrium lobby. The lobby, overlooking the Sculpture Garden, is perfect for luncheons and cocktail receptions. Or, a private gallery opening can dramatically enhance any event, and is available for all our gallery spaces: the Bellwether Gallery of St. Louis Artists, Bernoudy Gallery of Architecture, Ann Lee and Wilred Konneker Gallery, Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Gallery, Gallery of Music, Gallery of Photography or AT&T Gallery of Children’s Art.
The way Cecil B. deMille award winner Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, met is common in Hollywood: The couple first crossed paths on a TV set. But their love and commitment to each other is much more special. Defying the odds, the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoodstar and the Girls actress will begin their 32nd year of marriage this coming April. To commemorate all those years of love, we’re taking a look back at some of the couple’s most defining moments.1984: Co-Stars
Tom met Rita in the early 1980s while he was starring in the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies. Rita appeared in an episode about a video dating service. Then, they co-starred (along with John Candy) in the film Volunteers. At the time, Tom was still married to his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes. But Tom has been credited with telling GQ that he and Rita felt an immediate spark: “Rita and I just looked at each other and — kaboing — that was that. I asked Rita if it was the real thing for her, and it just couldn’t be denied.”1986: A Complicated Beginning
Although Tom has described his immediate chemistry with Rita, he also says that his first marriage was already broken. “I was looking for something I had not found as a kid,” he told Expressin 2013. “And a broken marriage meant I was sentencing my own kids to the sort of feelings I had at their age. I was just too young and insecure for marriage. I was 23 and my son Colin was already 2 when I married for the first time. I was not really ready to take on those responsibilities.” When Tom and Samantha split, their son Colin was 7 and daughter Elizabeth was 3.
The couple happily looked to the future and married on April 30, 1988. And 31 years later, they’re still going strong. “The success of our relationship was a matter of timing, maturity, and our willingness to have an intimate connection,” Tom told Oprah back in 2001. “When I married Rita, I thought, This is going to require some change on my part. I won’t deny that providence was part of us finding each other, but our relationship isn’t magic — the way it’s shown in movies. In real life, our connection is as concrete as me sitting here. Not that marriage doesn’t come close to being hell in a handbasket sometimes. But we both know that no matter what, we’ll be with each other — and we’ll get through it.”1989: Ruffles and Romance
Check out that dress! Rita, in one of her frilly trademark ’80s dresses, accompanied her new husband at his first Oscars as a nominee, for Big, on March 29.1990: Young Hollywood
When Tom won back-to-back Oscars (only the second actor in history to do so), he gave all the credit to his relationship with Rita: “I view my wife as my lover, and we have a bond that goes beyond words like wife or girlfriend or mother … Without my connection with Rita, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to connect with what Forrest was going through,” he told Oprah, adding that was why he thanked her in his acceptance speech for Forrest Gump.
“I said that I have a woman who teaches me what love is every day,” he continued. “Maybe that sentiment is possible to fake, but for me it’s really true. What makes me different from others is that I verbalize this stuff. A lot of people would flee from what they think is award-show cheesiness, and I don’t. I often joke that my speeches are very personal moments that play themselves out in front of billions of people.”
That year, the couple also welcomed son Truman Theodore.1995: A Princess and an Astronaut
While Tom got his hands dirty for his hand and footprints ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theatre on July 23, he threatened to wipe them on a laughing Rita. She’s his “best friend,” Tom told Oprah. “In addition to being my lover. And it has been that way from the very beginning. We laugh just as much now at two in the morning as we always have. And we fight less and less.”Advertisement – Continue Reading Below2002: By Each Other’s Side
Tom kissed his wife after he received the 30th AFI Life Achievement Award on June 12 in Hollywood. That year, they also co-produced my Big Fat Greek Wedding (which Rita helped make into a film after the play by the same name resonated with her own Greek heritage). “I wish there was a secret, you know,” Tom once told People of their enduring marriage. “We just like each other. You start there.” That said, he does have one piece of advice: “No one should get married before they’re 30,” he continued.2004: Happy Family Life
Through the years, parents Tom and Rita have worked very hard to keep all of their kids out of the spotlight. But here, the family made a rare public appearance at an LA Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on September 12. After growing up in a broken home (his father remarried twice; his mother, three times), Tom says Rita shaped his vision of a healthy home life: “Honestly, I married into a classic old-world family structure in which people like to spend time with each other and construct their lives so they can. That hadn’t been part of my existence up ’til then,” he told Oprah. “And you know what? In the 13 years Rita and I have been married, I’ve discovered there’s no substitute for that. There’s such an advantage to being involved in the day-to-day details of each other’s lives. It’s a marvelous fabric to exist in.”2011: Meeting Royalty, Times Two
Tom took home his sixth Emmy Award for HBO’s Game Change, Rita recorded a solo album, AM/FM — and the couple seemed to settle into a period of bliss. “I’ll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York, or 58th and 5th” Rita told Piers Morgan that year. “We were holding hands, and we were waiting for the traffic light to change. And he looked at me and he said, ‘You know, I just want you to know, that you never have to change anything about who you are in order to be with me.’ Literally, a wave of — if love is a feeling, or a cellular thing that happens to your body — it went through me, and that’s pretty much who he is, and how he’s been.”2013: Golden Years
When Rita starred in the Broadway play Fish in the Dark that spring, she tweeted a picture of Tom surprising her backstage on March 7. But less than a month later, Rita announced that she was taking a medical leave of absence from the play. “With my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma,” she revealed to People. “I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion.”
Later, Rita told The New York Times how supportive and caring her husband was during her cancer treatment: “You never know how your spouse is going to react in a situation like this,” she said. “I was so amazed, so blown away by the care my husband gave me … who knew it would make you even closer?”Today: Still Each Other’s Biggest Fans
Much has happened for the couple since Rita was given a clean bill of health in May 2015: She’s released three albums and produced several movies (including Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), and Tom has starred in a number of films of his own, including the critically acclaimed dramas Sully, The Post, and, most recently,A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. And through it all, of course, the couple has continued to support each other — including when Rita received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this March. “She has a highlight reel that any of us would envy,” Tom said of his wife, while commemorating her career at the event.
While assigned seating at a wedding certainly isn’t mandatory, most couples do opt to create a wedding seating chart. At any kind of sit-down dinner affair—including your wedding reception—assigned seats just tend to make things simpler. To begin with, it ensures each table will be filled to max capacity. And without assigned seating, for plated dinner service especially, things can quickly get confusing for the staff otherwise. In fact, many wedding reception venues actually require assigned reception seating.
Deciding on seating arrangements for your wedding guests can seem overwhelming at first—and trust us, we hear you. But once you get into the swing of things, it can actually be fun! To help the two of you get started, we’ve created the ultimate guide to planning out your wedding seating chart. With these expert rules of thumb, you’ll have it (almost) figured out in no time.
1. Decide on Table Shapes
Before you start seating guests, you’ll need to have a game plan for your tables, generally, as the size and shape will dictate how many guests can be seated at each one. When it comes to reception layout and table shapes, typically there are four standard options: round, rectangle, oval, and square. Different table shapes have their own benefits: Rectangular tables can fit a greater seated capacity into a space and it’s easier for guests to talk across them. Round tables, on the other hand, are the most traditional option and afford your guests more leg room.
2. Keep Your Friends Close
A head table with your wedding party (and their dates, if you’ve got the room!) is a great way to acknowledge their special role, as well as ensures you’re surrounded by your BFFs during the reception. Opting for a sweetheart table? Have your wedding party host tables, instead. Seat them with their dates and a group of other mutual friends. They should be seated at the third-best tables in the room: the first is your sweetheart table, the second-best table(s) are for your parents, and the third nearest table(s) are for your wedding party.
3. Figure Out Where You Want to Put Your Parents
Traditionally, all of the parents will share a table at the reception, along with grandparents and any siblings that aren’t in the wedding party. This gives everyone another chance to get to know each other and bask in the glow of your special day. While all of your guests will be thrilled to be there and share in your celebrations, no one will likely be as overjoyed as your parents—which is a wonderful thing for them to share together.
Of course, things can get tricky when you’re dealing with divorced parents (or other more complex family circumstances). If things are tense between certain key individuals, consider having two tables that are equally as close to the head table, and then put one at each table. That way, no one feels uncomfortable or left out. Another option: You can also consider seating them at the same rectangular table, but at opposite ends (and try to make the table long).
4. Enlist Your Parents’ Help to Seat Their Friends
If you have no idea where to seat your parents’ close friends, ask your mother and future mother-in-law (or whomever is closest to them) to help arrange those tables—they’ll be happy to be involved. Generally, it’s helpful to involve your parents in the seating chart process. If there’s room at the family table(s), for example, they’re sure to have an opinion on what close friends or other extended family members they might like to have seated at their table. And if there will be another family-and-friends table nearby, they may want to help choose those guests, too.
5. Organize Guests by Groups
Once you’ve finalized who’s coming, step one is to start grouping guests according to how you know them, such as: family members, high school friends, college friends, work friends, etc. This doesn’t mean you have to sit them according to group, but a picture will start to form of who already knows each other and gets along. In addition to grouping your guests by how you know them, you can also consider your guests’ age, interests, and backgrounds. Try to make everyone feel comfortable by offering a mix of familiar and new faces at each table. And, of course, be tactful: Absolutely avoid seating people together who have a history they wish they could forget.
6. Consider Making a Separate Kids’ Table
If you have several children as guests at your wedding, one strategy is to seat them together at a separate kids’ table, where you can even have engaging activities and/or crafts to keep them occupied. And, while it might be tempting to put the babies in a corner, try not to put the kid’s table too far away from where their parents are sitting. Younger children might get anxious when they look around and don’t see their parents anywhere (and vice versa). On the other hand, if your flower girl and ring bearer are the only children present, seat them with their parents.
7. Skip the Singles Table
If you’ve been dying to fix your old co-worker up with your cousin, you might take this opportunity to discreetly seat them next to each other. But resist the urge to create a separate “singles” table, which might embarrass your guests. Also, don’t seat your unmarried friend at a table full of married couples. Use your best judgement and try to be sensitive to guests’ feelings.
8. Keep the Venue in Mind
It’s easy to get caught up in who’s sitting where, but just don’t forget to give your VIPs the best seats in the house so they have a clear view of all the action and can jump into the celebration. Also, older guests may want to be a little further from the band (and not near a speaker). Guests in wheelchairs or those who need more mobility should be seated at tables that are either closer to one of the edges of the room or closer to the dance floor, so they’ll have plenty of space to maneuver as needed.
Seat younger guests who will be dancing all night near the band or the DJ, so they have easy access to the dance floor.
9. Option One: Make a Digital Seating Chart
Sites including WeddingWire, AllSeated, and Wedding Mapper make it incredibly easy to design a seating chart online. As an added bonus, these sites have drag n’ drop seating options, which makes it so simple to arrange (and rearrange) to your heart’s content. You can also customize the templates and try out different table options. AllSeated even has an extensive library of dimensions for actual venues; if yours is included, you can select it and the dimensions will auto-populate. In addition to customizing layouts for tables and seats, you can add other space-consuming setups—such as bar locations or additional seating areas—to really get a sense of how the space will flow.
10. Option Two: Create a Physical Seating Chart
For couples who would prefer to make a wedding seating chart that’s tactile, you can use one or more poster boards to create a physical layout you can play around with until you’ve found the right mix. After you decide on what type of tables you want and where they’ll be located, based on the dimensions of your venue, sketch them on the poster board. To save a lot of do-overs, keep things neat by writing each guest’s name on a Post-It and then simply stick (and un-stick) guests in different seating arrangements. Another option: a large white board and dry erase markers.
11. As an Alternative, Assign Tables Only
If you’re still not into an assigned seating master plan, why not consider assigning tables—without specific seats—instead? This way your wedding guests will still have some direction but can make their own choices, too, and no one will be scrambling for seats when you’re about to make your grand entrance. Just as you would with an assigned wedding seating chart, put thought into who you’ll be grouping together to make sure everyone’s got someone to talk to and will have a good time. If you forego assigned seats or tables, just make sure your elderly guests always have a designated place to sit down.
12. Convey All Table Assignments Clearly
When it comes to actually telling your guests where to sit, the goal for wedding table cards or place cards is to find that sweet spot between creativity and ease of use. Tented or envelope cards are the most traditional and can be arranged in a variety of ways depending on the type of tables you’re working with. Table assignment signs and charts can also work well. Arranging guests’ names in alphabetical order (versus grouped by table) means they’ll be able to find their seat faster, instead of having to read every table arrangement on the list to figure out where to go.
Opting for one or two long tables for everyone? A diagram with numbered seats, accompanied by an alphabetical list of guests’ names and their seat number, will get them in place with ease. A font that’s easier to read is always welcome, for any sort of signage. The bottom line: Having some sort of wedding seating plan, even if it’s just table assignments, will make your reception flow that much more smoothly.
If you’ve been asked to be a maid of honor (or matron of honor), first of all, congrats! This is a big honor, and can be fun and exciting. Of course, there are certain maid of honor duties and responsibilities you’ll be in charge of handling.
Stand next to the groom in the receiving line (optional)
Many couples choose not to have receiving lines these days, but if there is one, the maid of honor stands next to the groom and greets guests as they enter the reception.
Enter the reception with the best man
If the emcee is introducing the wedding party members as they enter the reception, the maid of honor usually enters with the best man. Whether or not you choose to do a silly dance as you enter is your call!
Help bustle the bride’s train—and use the restroom!
Before the wedding, it’s a good idea to learn how to bustle the bride’s gown—her bridal salon or seamstress can give a quick tutorial if you’re able to attend a dress fitting. Bustling the bride’s gown will help keep her dress’ train clean and make her dress more comfortable to dance in.
If the bride’s gown is particularly cumbersome, you might be enlisted to help the bride use the restroom. That’s what friends (and maids of honor) are for, right?
As before the wedding, guests will likely have questions during the event. Where’s the guest book? When’s the cake cutting? Where do I sit? Where can I put my gift? Part of the maid of honor’s role is to help answer questions and direct guests. And while guests are supposed to give their gifts directly to the newlyweds or place them on the gift table, you may be entrusted with a gift or two. Make sure any gifts are properly placed in a safe location.
Dance with the best man
One of the most important maid of honor duties is to have a great time and spend a lot of time on the dance floor. To help kick things off, the maid of honor traditionally dances with the best man for the song immediately following the first dance. If this seems a bit too formal or isn’t your style, no worries! Just be sure to be one of the first people on the dance floor, and encourage others to dance too!
Make sure the bride stays stress-free
If any mini-crises occur during the reception, don’t let on to the bride and groom. They should focus on enjoying the reception, not that the bride’s cousin got sick in the bathroom or the cake almost toppled over.
Give a toast after the best man
The maid of honor usually gives a speech after the best man. The maid of honor speech is usually relatively short, relaying about the bride, and her love and respect for the couple. As long as the speech comes from the heart, it’s sure to be a hit.
Make sure the bride eats and drinks
The last thing anyone wants to encounter is a hangry bride. Make sure that the bride eats and be sure to refresh her water glass throughout the night to keep her hydrated.
Collect wedding gifts if necessary
Before the wedding, find out where the couple would like their gifts to be transported after the reception. Ensure that the couple’s gifts end up in the right hands and in the correct location when the reception is over.
Tie up any other loose ends
From making sure the bride’s wedding gown is properly stored to ensuring that the top tier of the wedding cake ends up in a freezer, talk to the couple about any end-of-the-night duties they’d like the maid of honor to help complete.
Help the couple during and post-honeymoon
As the couple heads off on their honeymoon, see if there are any ways you can assist them—particularly if you live nearby. Perhaps you can check in on their house once in a while, dog sit, or bring over groceries before they head home. By helping the newlyweds out after the wedding, you’re showing that you’ll be there for them for life.