Interesting Reception Venue Options

Interesting Reception Venue Options…


What about stepping outside the box and holding your wedding reception in a unique location?  That’s what a couple decided to do this past Saturday. (I coordinated the event, although they picked the venue).  They held their wedding ceremony at a more conventional site, but then chose the rather funky “Palace Theater” in Stafford Springs, CT for their reception.  What a hit!  It was cool and fun.  To make their reception even more memorable, their names were on the marque, pictured above.  (Although not in this photo, as it’s a stock picture),


Above and below are photos looking down at the guest dining area from the balcony.  I think the lighting really added to the overall ambiance.  Remember, if you have a good florist, and a creative caterer, you can make any space beautiful.  Without the lighting, tables and chairs, the theater is rather sparse, but those items worked their magic.


And below, a close up of the guest tables.  If your chairs are a little worse for wear, think seriously of chair covers like these.  They hide any blemishes, and give a formal air.  And remember, huge floral centerpieces are not needed to brighten a table.  Look how simple, yet elegant these are. The bold color against the white cloth helps achieve a “pop”.


The bride and groom continued their theme with their initials in lights in front of their wedding cake.


Below is a photo taken while standing in the balcony.  It was a lovely area for the guests to enjoy cocktail hour, and for vendors to take a few moments to relax and enjoy their own dinner when guests were dining below.


My only concern for this venue was the lack of near parking.  The theater is located right on Stafford Springs’ charming Main Street.  I had to park on the street (parallel park no less, haven’t done that in years – I did ok!  🙂  ).  Luckily the bride and groom thought ahead and most guests were bussed in.  Problem solved!

All photos, Mary P. Karnes, except photo # 1

The History of the Wedding Veil

The history of the wedding veil… Do you know why a bride wears one?  I wore one, and most of my generation did.  It was important to my mother, and well, important to me too.  There is something so symbolic about your new husband raising that veil and placing a chaste kiss upon your lips.


But..why is it done?  According to Wikipedia, “The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient weddingritual, symbolizing the groom taking possession of the wife, either as lover or as property, or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval. In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical times.” Wikipedia

Today’s bride may choose to wear some sort of headpiece, but not a veil, like the photo above.  And even if she chooses to wear a veil, it often doesn’t cover her face. Another source tells us:

“The veil and the bouquet that a bride carries may predate the wearing of white. Although there is no definitive reason for the wearing of a veil, many surmise it has to do with ancient Greeks and Romans’ fear of evil spirits and demons. In fact, this is where many of the bridal traditions actually come from, including bridesmaids wearing similar dresses in order to serve as decoys for the bride. In an effort to frighten away or disguise the bride from evil spirits, brides-to-be were dressed in brightly colored fabrics like red and obscured by a veil. But in many cases, the veil prevented the bride from seeing well. That is why her father or another person “gave her away.” He was actually escorting her down the aisle so she wouldn’t bump or trip into anything. The veil also served as a method of shielding the bride’s face from her future husband, especially in the cases of arranged marriages.

Superstition has it that it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride prior to the wedding. A veil hiding her face also ensured that the groom would not see his soon-to-be-betrothed up until the ceremony.

Eventually the meaning behind the veil transformed as weddings evolved into religious ceremonies. The veil came to symbolize modesty and obedience. In many religions it is seen as a symbol of reverence for women to cover their heads. When white wedding dresses were worn to symbolize chastity, the white veil followed suit.

Regardless of the origins, veils continue to be sported by today’s brides, who choose from a few different styles. A flyaway is a short veil that ends at the shoulders, while a sweep veil ends at the floor. Chapel and cathedral veils follow the bride at a significant length (nine and 12 feet, respectively). A blusher is a very short veil that covers just the bride’s face as she enters the ceremony. With a fingertip veil, the veil reaches the bride’s waist and brushes at her fingertips.

The veil should coordinate with the style of the gown, and many wedding attire consultants suggest choosing the gown prior to the headpiece and veil.”

 Please enjoy viewing two iconic wedding veils below.
 gracekelly-wedding-veil-39 – Princess Grace of Monaco (the former US actress, Grace Kelly)
jacqueline-kennedy-juliet-cap-veil-1953 Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
And what about the next two veils/headpieces?  Well I think they’re a perfect example of an accessory, not traditional bridal garb.  Beautiful, yes, classic…no.

Lots of Bridesmaid Dress Options

Ah… the bridesmaid dress … we women all have strong thoughts about this attire.  We’ve all worn them.  I truly think in my generation, brides picked the ugliest dresses so their bridesmaids did not outshine them… 🙂

In the last five years, the bridesmaids’ uniform has morphed, I think for the better.  Now, the dress is something ladies truly CAN wear again!  Remember, ladies of a certain age?  We all promised our friends, “…and you can wear it again!” As we showed our bridesmaids the less than attractive dress.  The same dress all the girls could be wearing to the same future event.



What do you think of the two photos above?  I personally love the two piece option!  And I think the netting skirts are lovely – although really, not wearable again…  I love the options brides are giving their maids, that of choosing dresses similar, but different either in style or color.  That way, different body types are considered.  While the dresses below seem to match, the bodices and colors are different.



Modern brides are even going as far as to let their friends wear whatever they can afford AND feel good in.  Look at the photos above and below. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say the above photo dresses flow, I DO think the bottom colors and styles work well together.



Mary P. Karnes photos

Love love the next two photos.  The top photo is from a wedding I worked this summer.  The bride had her maids dress in pastels and her honor attendants in a darker shade.  Lovely.  And the bottom photo is from one of my favorite posts, Rustic Wedding Done Right .  Click on the link if you’d like to read about it.  While not the same dress or shade, the dresses work with a complimentary color palate.  Exquisite.


Photo contributed by bride’s family friend.



Your Wedding Music Style

Your wedding music style.  As with any wedding details, there is not right or wrong, just what is your preference.  But don’t forget the music.  Music creates great emotion in people.  I don’t think anyone would argue that.  Music can bring back sweet or sad memories.  There are songs that will bring tears to my eyes.  Other songs remind me of my youth and make me feel invincible once again!


Mary P.Karnes photos

So don’t forget to include meaningful pieces of song into your wedding ceremony, not just your reception.  Above you see the empty church of St. Augustine, Glastonbury, Connecticut where my oldest daughter was married.  In the back, you see the choir loft.  Kathleen wanted a stringed ensemble.  I drew the line at that one.  I felt it was an extravagance.  Boy was I wrong.  Her generous mother-in-law saved the day and graciously gifted the kids with the music of their choice.  It was so beautiful.  I wish I had a picture of them, in fact I believe I do…but have not located it — yet…

Below, are Kathleen and Tyler’s programs from the wedding chronicling their music choices.  Did you know they didn’t recess to the wedding march, (even though the program lists it 🙂 ), but a song from “Star Wars”?  Had they not told me, I wouldn’t have known — very similar!


Mary P. Karnes photos

Below is a…marimba!  I thought it was a plain old Xylophone, but it has deeper tones. It was played at a wedding I did this summer. The groom was quite proficient and wanted the beautiful music played at the wedding.  He asked a groomsmen to play and it was joyful and moving.


marimba – Mary P. Karnes Photos


Patty Cloherty photos

Wow!  The above and below photos make it into my blog post two days in a row!  But they are being showcased today, not for the bride and groom, but to share the location of the gifted musicians who preformed at daughter Maggie and Robert’s wedding at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Glastonbury, Connecticut.  The organist is a professor at the University of Hartford, and the soloist, well, let’s just say she sang the “Ave Maria” more exquisitely that I’ve ever heard.  Did you know there is more than one version?  The one sung at the wedding was stirring and not at all mournful.  We all have my husband, father of the bride, to thank for finding her.  She made the ceremony complete.


Patty Cloherty photos

And don’t forget to choose those perfect songs for your reception to dance the night away to. Nothing gets a party started like good dance music.  Your take-away from this post – do your research and find just the right, meaningful music for YOUR special day.


Hannah Rachael Colt Photos