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Ask Us Anything: F/W '17

Your wedding worries, solved

(Above) Ditch the rice. Tossing rose petals after your ceremony is infinitely prettier—and more romantic.

Q. We love the idea of having guests toss confetti or rice after we say our vows, but we’ve heard confetti is messy, and rice can be bad for the environment. What are some fun alternatives?

A. Fun fact: Tossing rice at the bride and groom on their wedding day is a tradition dating back to ancient Rome. Alternatives to rice included wheat and oats. Throwing seeds and grain symbolized growth and nurturing, as well as prosperity and fertility for the new couple.

Fast-forward to 2017 and we’re still ceremoniously tossing seeds and confetti to celebrate newly wed couples. “It’s a fun tradition to partake in,” says Maddie Hughes, owner of Ask for the Moon Events, “But the aftermath can be frustrating. Rice and confetti are nearly impossible to clean up, and some venues and churches have rules against it.”

In lieu of traditional rice and confetti, Hughes recommends natural alternatives, including wild flowers, rose petals or dried lavender. “They’re lovely, eco-friendly and smell great,” she says.

If your venue has a policy on mess left behind by confetti, consider bubbles, pom-poms or paper airplanes, which are unique alternatives that look great on camera. If you’d like to weave your wedding colors into your sendoff, consider ribbon wands or monogrammed flags.

Another option is to go out with a bang, literally. Party poppers, noise makers, sparklers or bells are a great way to raise the excitement level, she says, “and your guests surely won’t forget it.” Ask for the Moon Events, St.Paul,

Ask the Experts F/W

Exchanging gifts with your fiancé before your wedding is a sweet, time-honored tradition—enjoy it / Photo by Brovado Weddings

Q. Tradition says the bride and groom give each other gifts the day of their wedding, but I’m out of ideas. I need help!

A. Of all the things to stress about when it comes to planning a wedding, this doesn’t need to be one of them. Exchanging gifts with your fiancé before your wedding is a sweet, time-honored tradition—enjoy it.

Faith Folayan, owner and principal planner of This Love Weddings, has helped many couples with wedding-day gift giving. “Opening presents on the morning of your wedding often helps couples focus on what their wedding day is really about: your love for one another.”

Folayan recommends first determining what type of gift you want to give your significant other—traditional, sentimental or functional. “You know your fiancé best, so no matter what direction you choose, you’ll leave a smile on their face.”

If you’re going the traditional route, an engraved watch, cufflinks or money clip are memorable, and your fiancé can wear them for your wedding. “You can have them engraved with the date of your wedding, your initials or a special saying that’s important to you both,” Folayan says. If you’re buying for her, consider diamond studs or a string of pearls that she can wear as she walks down the aisle.

For a romantic, intimate gift, Folayan recommends a boudoir photo session. “Your soon-to-be husband will not only love that you captured yourself in your beautiful and sexy essence, but also that you created a unique keepsake especially for him.” For her, nothing is more touching than a framed photograph. Folayan suggests framing your first photo together, or working with a local artist to sketch your bride’s wedding dress. If your bride-to-be is a music buff, another option is to frame music sheets of the song you’ll share your first dance to.

Practical gifts are another option—and they don’t have to be boring; offering your fiancé an experience is a great option. “Your significant other will always remember that time after the wedding when you went to see their favorite band live, went skydiving, tried rock climbing or took a gourmet cooking class,” Folayan says. Another option is a surprise activity for your honeymoon—perhaps a night at a luxury hotel, dinner at a fancy restaurant or private scuba diving lessons.

And remember—whatever gift you choose to give your fiancé on your wedding day, know that the truly best gift is each other. This Love Weddings, Minneapolis,

Ask the Experts F/W

Your pup is part of your family, so of course he should be part of your big day / Photo by Sewell Photography

Q. We can’t imagine getting married without our pup playing a role. How can we incorporate our dog into our wedding day without a hassle—for our pup or our guests?

A. Your pup is part of your family, so of course Fido should be part of your big day. The good news is that you’re in good company—many couples feel the same about their dogs, so it’s likely your wedding planner and venue have experience working with pets.

Julia LaCroix, owner of Julia LaCroix Styled Events, has helped many couples find a role for their dogs in their wedding ceremony. Her first recommendation? Flower girl or ring bearer companion. “Have your pup walk down the aisle with your designated flower girl or ring bearer, and have your florist design a beautiful lightweight floral or greenery garland to decorate the pup’s leash,” she says.

A sign bearer is another great option. LaCroix recommends couples create a lightweight sign to suspend around your pup’s neck to announce the bride’s arrival before she walks down the aisle.

Here’s another idea: Have your pup be an unofficial member of your wedding party. Your dog can walk down the aisle with a designated bridesmaid or groomsman. After the processional, have Rover sit or lie next to the wedding party. “This way, not only do your guests get to see your sweet pup, but all your ceremony photos will have him in them,” LaCroix says.

If you are unsure if your dog will sit still during your ceremony, consider having him in your wedding photos only. You’ll still be able to look fondly on your wedding photos, but won’t have to worry about ensuring your dog is behaving perfectly for an extended period.

Whichever option you choose, LaCroix suggests having a designated dog handler, whose only task is to take care of your dog and ensure his part in the wedding goes smoothly. The handler’s role should include transporting your dog to and from the wedding site, ensuring your pup is at the appropriate locations for ceremony and photos, placing decorative garland or signage on your pup ahead of time and ensuring he or she is well-behaved. LaCroix recommends having doggie waste bags on hand, as well as water and plenty of treats. Julia LaCroix Styled Events, Minneapolis,

Ask the Experts F/W

A combined shower is a great way to get together with friends and family, open gifts, and celebrate your upcoming nuptials / Photo courtesy of Rosetree Events, photo by Matt Lien Photography

Q. My fiancé and I are considering a combined couple’s shower rather than a bridal shower. Is that a faux pas?

A. Yes, many couples do choose to do a combined shower. But even if they didn’t, this is your wedding! You do you, as they say.

“A combined shower is a great way to brunch with friends and family, spend time together, open gifts, and celebrate your marriage (and save face when you get that third bread bowl not on the list),” says Josey Stafford, founder and head planner of Sixpence Events & Planning. “Plus, a co-ed shower opens you up to a world of endless planning ideas.”

So, let the fun begin. Combined showers provide a great opportunity to theme your event, perhaps around your honeymoon or certain gifts on your registry. Registered for camping gear? Host a shower that ends with a campfire and s’mores. Going to Costa Rica for your honeymoon? Plan a beach-inspired soirée with tropical drinks. Use this combined shower as a time to relax and celebrate with your fiancé while being showered by friends and family.

Planning a destination wedding with a smaller guest list? We’ve also seen couples host a larger combined shower as a “party back home” in anticipation of the big event itself. Sixpence Events & Planning, Minneapolis,

Ask the Experts F/W

If you and your fiancé are beer lovers, raise your glass and say “I do” to a brewery wedding / Photo courtesy of Day Block Brewing Co., photo by A.R.T. Photography

Q. My fiancé and I are looking for a unique wedding venue, and we love the idea of saying “I do” at a brewery. Do local breweries rent out their taprooms for weddings?

A. They absolutely do—cheers to that!

If you and your fiancé are craft-beer lovers, tying the knot at a brewery is a great option. You can drink your favorite brews on your wedding day, and as a plus, you likely have a blank slate when it comes to catering and décor.

“Because breweries generally don’t offer catering, it opens all sorts of food possibilities,” says Rachelle Mazumdar, owner of Style-Architects Weddings + Events. “Many allow you to pull a food truck right up to the space, which adds to the fun.”

The same can be said for décor. “You can often keep décor to a minimum since the spaces are already bursting with ambience, and tables and chairs are nicely finished and don’t require linens,” she says. However, if you’re looking to put your own personal touch on the space, taprooms are typically a blank canvas and provide a great backdrop for your individual wedding style. If you’re getting married in the summer, many breweries have outdoor patios that are included in the taproom rental, which enhance the space and give your guests the opportunity to enjoy summer nights in Minnesota.

Because most breweries have only one taproom, scheduling can be an issue, as some restrict the hours when they will close to outside customers. It’s also important to keep in mind that breweries are not allowed to serve other forms of alcohol, such as wine or spirits, so beverage options are limited to house-made sodas for guests who don’t prefer beer. The upside to this, however, is that it keeps the bar tab low.

“Having your wedding at a brewery is unique to you as a couple and allows you personalize your food and décor,” Mazumdar says. “Just be sure to ask the right questions up front to ensure everything you wish can be accommodated.”

Here’s a starter list of breweries that are open to hosting weddings and special events: 612 Brew, Able Seedhouse + Brewery, Bauhaus Brew Labs, Day Block Brewing Co. and Event Center, Inbound BrewCo, Indeed Brewing Co., Lift Bridge Brewery, LynLake Brewery and Town Hall Brewery. Style-Architects Weddings + Events, Minneapolis, 

Have a question you’d like answered? Email our editor at with the subject line ‘Ask Us Anything.’

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