Tips for Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner


Once you’ve booked your venue, completed the guest count and have wedding preparations underway, it’s time to start thinking about the rehearsal dinner. But don’t fret! We spoke with Bobbi Jo Ballard from Maggiano’s to get all her expertise on planning, timing and today’s trends so you can easily check one more thing off your list.

Who’s typically in attendance at the rehearsal dinner? 

Traditionally the rehearsal dinner is going to consist of the bride and groom, the wedding party and their immediate families. Now we are starting to see more of a trend towards inviting out of town guests to rehearsal dinners (not to the rehearsal itself). A lot of parents feel that it’s important to take care of the out of town guests. 

When does the rehearsal dinner take place?

It is typically the evening before, but it doesn’t have to be. With different venues and crazy schedules, rehearsals aren’t always the day before the wedding. Sometimes they’re a week before or the Thursday before a Sunday wedding.


How far in advance should you book your rehearsal dinner? 

At Maggiano’s, the further out we book your rehearsal dinner the better. But we know it can be hard to plan rehearsal dinners very far in advance because you don’t know your guest count or when your actual rehearsal is taking place at the wedding venue, so we are flexible. The general consensus is at least three to six months in advance of the date. By three months out, couples have a good idea how many guests will be attending and they can plan a menu that doesn’t conflict with their wedding day.

What does the rehearsal dinner hope to accomplish? 

The ultimate goal is to bring the two immediate families and bridal party together as an introduction if they haven’t met prior to the the big day. This way you alleviate all of that awkwardness before the wedding. It’s also just another great opportunity for the families and wedding party to celebrate this special time together.

What does Maggiano’s provide for rehearsal dinners?

We provide private dining spaces with tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, a service team, music and the meal itself. Our standard dinner menu includes ten items (four first course, four second and two desserts), but substitutions can be made based on the couple’s taste. Appetizers as a first course cocktail time are popular for rehearsal dinners in case the rehearsal is running late.

Maggiano’s is known for our family style meal service, which is a huge bonus for something like a rehearsal dinner where the goal is to bring these families together in a much more intimate setting. They say that home is where the heart is, but for Italians home is in the kitchen. And our heart is with the food.


What trends are you seeing in rehearsal dinners?

A lot of brides will bring the grooms cake to the rehearsal dinner so that the wedding cake is the only dessert showcased during the actual wedding. We’re also seeing groups shy away from the more formal dinners and opt for casual family fellowship without assigned seating.

Any other important tips to share?

The first step is to sit down with your groom and figure out what kind of rehearsal dinner you want. Is it a casual backyard potluck or a formal dinner at a venue? The second step is to figure out who’s covering the costs. What kind of budget you have narrows down how many people you can invite. Start broad, but then figure out the goal of your rehearsal dinner. Many couples are working professionals that are paying for the rehearsal dinner themselves. Lastly, relax and have fun!

Maggiano’s believes that every occasion should be filled with culinary classics and an extensive beverage selection at a sophisticated venue. No matter the occasion, Maggiano’s banquet halls can accommodate social events that range from casual to elegant. The team at Cumberland Mall Maggiano’s would be honored to be a part of your special event. 


Get A Bird’s Eye View of Your Wedding with a Drone


375 Photography

We’re seeing drones pop up everywhere, and the wedding industry is no exception! Photographers are taking advantage of the new trend as a way to take breathtaking aerial footage of wedding ceremonies, receptions and engagement shoots. We talked to some Atlanta-based photographers and videographers to get the scoop on how they use drones for their wedding shots!


Michele Mabie of Everything Lovely Photography said, “Using a drone provides a beautiful, aerial and cinematic viewpoint, as well as a great perspective of the overall wedding day. Most guests are amazed by it, and the drone becomes a celebrity!” 


Photographers only use the drones in appropriate areas, abide by all guidelines and ensure that safety is the top priority. Drones are registered with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). To minimize distractions, most photographers don’t shoot with drones too much during the actual ceremony. The wedding processional, however, is another story.

“Prior to the bride and groom walking down the aisle after the ceremony, we will have cued the guests to look up and wave. This is a great bonus and surprise for the couple when they receive their images!” Mabie said. 


Justin Wojtczak of 375 Photography said, “Clients are freaking out! We’re able to create an experience that lasts beyond the wedding day.”  

Wojtczak has been photographing with drones for a year now, but says the key is simply to practice and communicate with the bride and groom. “I like to tell them exactly what shot I am getting so they are aware of the noise it creates.” He also recommends a reveal shot of the venue for setting the scene and opening your wedding video (see video below).

Lethal Rhythms now offers the “Lethal Drone” as part of their wedding videography services. CEO, seasoned planner and professional mix DJ Joel Rabe understands the importance of getting the right shots, using the right equipment and capturing all the memories!

“It’s important to have a knowledgeable pilot aware of the limitations of the devices he’s working,” he said. “Most clients don’t know what to expect, but when they see the footage they are blown away!”

375 Photography has been shooting weddings since 2004. They are always looking to try new ways to capture the day and create an experience that the bride and groom will never forget! 

Everything Lovely Photography is an Atlanta fine art, portrait and wedding photographer. A visual storyteller who gets inspiration from nature, art and fashion! 

Lethal Rhythms has been providing its clients with some of the best DJs in Atlanta since 2003. Book them for music & entertainment, photobooths and videography!


Spectacular Views at Ventanas Engagement Shoot


We can’t get enough of the gorgeous skyline and sunset views from this engagement shoot at Ventanas! Amanda and Ian elegantly posed along the terrace and rooftop and ended their session with a champagne toast. All photos courtesy of Made You Look Photography. Cheers to the happy couple! 








Ventanas offers breathtaking views, amazing catering and a wide selection of services. Featuring a terraced Twin Level event space with a skyline view and a roof top Helipad for that spectacular departure, Ventanas sets the perfect scene for your unique celebration.

Made You Look Photography is Atlanta’s premier wedding photographer. Their approach is simple: getting to know the hearts of each and every bride they meet. They value developing a personal relationship and delve deep into understanding the details of how to best capture your day.

USA, New York State, Old Westbury, Bride with mother at wedding day

Pamper Mom This Weekend!

USA, New York State, Old Westbury, Bride with mother at wedding day

Mother’s Day is always important on our calendars, but as an engaged bride it’s an even more special time to celebrate with your mom. Wedding planning can be busy and stressful, so it’s important to make sure mom knows how much she means to you this year. We rounded up some great ideas for celebrating mom and including her in your wedding festivities:

  1. Host a brunch with mimosas and all of your mom’s favorite foods.
  2. Go dress shopping! Use this weekend as the perfect opportunity to say yes to either your gown or hers.
  3. Plan an afternoon with Mom and go through her wedding photos. You just might find something you like for your wedding day!
  4. Pamper Mom with a spa day. Get facials, massages and make a day of it.
  5. Take Mom to a new restaurant or bar in town. Sample fun appetizers and cocktails!
  6. Purchase tickets to Bridal Extravaganza of Atlanta on August 14th for you and your mom! Click here for a special discount ~ $5 tickets!



Destination Wedding: Emily & Fred

Congratulations Emily and Fred! They were married on March 18, 2016 at Casa Hyder in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.



The couple asked 18 of their friends and family to accompany them at their destination wedding in Mexico this Spring. They arrived a couple days early to explore the art, food, and local scene of San Miguel de Allende. 




Guadalupe Alvarez, their wedding planner, coordinated all the amazing additions, including the floral arch, silver stars and even a traditional pre-wedding parade through the square complete with tequila burro (a donkey who has tequila casks on him that the wedding party drinks from). A full mariachi band accompanied and serenaded the couple, while large mojijangas (ten feet tall puppets) announced their arrival. 




“Fred and I treasure the life we share with our friends and family; we wanted to share a special time together just being us. We also wanted a wedding that we could look back on and remember that was something that no one else would experience together. San Miguel de Allende will always have a special place in our hearts no matter where our travels and life take us,” Emily said.



Wedding planner: Guadalupe Alvarez, Penzi Bodas Eventos & Banquetes

Photographer: Fernando Gómez Mancera

Venue rental: Katharine Hibberts, Premier San Miguel House Rental & Concierge 

Catering: Casa Hyder

Planning your destination wedding? Here are some great resources from Bridal Extravaganza of Atlanta: All Travel CompanyEpperly Travel, Pure Honeymoons and Travel Expo.

lux lounge design

Inspired Design: Behind the Scenes with Luxury Lounge & Lighting

lux lounge design

Luxury Lounge & Lighting wowed the brides at the entrance of the January 31st Bridal Extravaganza of Atlanta. We talked with Monica Burrell-Jackson for the details and inspiration behind the design.

Tell us about the inspiration behind this design.

The inspiration for our booth was to create a modern lounge look that can be used for any type of event–social, wedding or corporate. We constructed a unique cabana that was swaged on each side with alternating black sequin and white sheer that allowed for easy access. The lounge section included white high back sections as a unique conversational piece. Those pieces were combined with our LED highboys, coffee tables and end tables. We featured our starlit dance floor which is always a great center attraction for any event. Lastly, we incorporated our LED screens in each corner which are great marketing or visual aid tools to display video or picture images of present or past events.

What color schemes, textures and themes are included?

We wanted a clean and chic look so we went with the classic black and white color pallet. We incorporated different textures with our drapery, where we combined a black sequin with a white sheer drapery to provide an edgy look to coincide with the modern lounge feel of our cabana booth.

What’s your favorite part about working in the wedding industry?

The wedding industry has certainly complimented our business in a positive way. The industry as a whole has taken on a more modern and trendy approach. It allows for more creativity through design. The industry has tapped into the latest fashions highlighting new pantone colors, textures, custom designs and prints.

Couples are starting to brand their wedding in different ways which is great for our business because our LED furniture and staging are excellent furnishing pieces for that type of creativity. Couples are also more open minded to other entertainment aspects such as lighting. We have endless possibilities for up lighting, pin spotting or pattern lighting which we can create theatrical scenes, mobile pattern textures, gobos with custom text or monograms and custom up lighting.

Luxury Lounge & Lighting offers complete event production specializing in lounge & LED furniture, uplighting, specialty dance floors, pipe and drape, chivari chairs and audio visual for your wedding! 


2016 Wedding Decor Trends Forecast

Wondering what’s trending for 2016 weddings? Wonder no more; we compiled a list of the top decor themes to hit a wedding near you! Special thanks to Chair Covers & Linens for sharing their Spring 2016 Lookbook and keeping us on top of the latest in linen design and decor. Read on for inspiration!

Springtime garden

Think greenery, florals and all things outdoors. This look is perfect if you’re a boho bride looking to tap into natural elements.



Jewel tones

Pastels not bold enough for you? Opt for the vibrant hues of jewels in your color scheme–sapphire, ruby or amethyst to name a few.



Mixed prints and textures

Just like you mix and match your outfit, try combining different patterns and textures in your decor. Burlap, lace or feathers all make for great layering pieces.




Sparkly metallics

This trend is just for all you glam brides! If you can’t get enough sparkle, then sequined table covers, chairs and pillows are calling your name. Don’t forget a shimmery centerpiece or hanging chandelier! 



Pantone colors of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity

You’ve probably heard about Pantone’s colors of the year, but here’s your refresher on how to mix the two for a whimsical and romantic look!



Chair Covers & Linens is a national linen rental company. They assist the special events, hospitality, catering and social markets in the selection process of specialty linens for events. Contact them today for a consultation in their Atlanta linen showroom.


Real Wedding: Saranne & Paul

Congratulations Saranne and Paul! They were married on October 24, 2015 at Victoria Belle Mansion in Hogansville, Georgia.







“Sarannne & Paul’s expression of their love and commitment to each other was orchestrated in every detail throughout their wedding day. As a planner, I was truly inspired by their unique style and individuality,” Vickie Brown said.




Venue and wedding planner: Vickie L. Brown Certified Wedding Consultant and Owner of Victoria Belle Mansion & Vintage White Barn 

Photographer: Made You Look Photography

Florist: Sweet Pea’s Floral Designs of Distinction

Band: Hank Lane Band

Cake: Cakes by Debbie

Catering: Phenomenal Food

SP17 bridal fashion week

Spring 2017 Bridal Fashion Week Trend Report

SP17 bridal fashion week

Designers recently showcased their Spring 2017 collections at Bridal Fashion Week, so we put together some of the top trends and our favorite corresponding looks. See what’s in style for all you 2017 brides! And don’t forget to purchase tickets for the August Bridal Extravaganza of Atlanta so you can see gowns up close and personal on the runway at our fashion shows! 


These silhouettes are flowy and lightweight. Simplistic and elegant designs match the mood for a sunset beach wedding.

Enchanted garden

These gowns are whimsical and romantic, with lace applique or floral embellishments. Think secret garden meets princess.

Nouveau classic

Classic silhouettes are updated with a modern twist, such as peplum or cutouts. 

Do you have a favorite look from Bridal Fashion Week? Share with us in the comments below! 


Personalizing Your Wedding: Invites, Signs & Hashtags

Once you knock out the big wedding planning decisions, it’s time to think about those personal details that really make your wedding uniquely yours. Handcrafted invitations, chalkboard signs with personal messages and fun hashtags are all ways to infuse you and your fiance’s personality into the special day. Get inspired with some of these ideas! 

Planning a destination wedding? Inform your guests to find their passports with a fun travel themed postcard invite! 


Dreamweaver Calligraphy and Events

Have you heard about lasercut invitations? These luxurious and detailed designs are custom made! 


Ink and Elegance

Ensure your guests know your wedding is a royal affair with scroll invitations! Everyone will enjoy getting to personally unveil the details. 


Ink and Elegance

Chalkboard signs with calligraphy style writing are elegant, while still fitting in perfectly with popular rustic themed weddings. Customize your sign to share a message with your guests, such as menu items or instructions for seating! 


Dreamweaver Calligraphy and Events


Dreamweaver Calligraphy and Events

If your wedding theme is less rustic and more chic, feature wedding details on a life size framed mirror. Hand written calligraphy is sure to impress!


Ink and Elegance

Last but certainly not least, comes the wedding hashtag! Thanks to social media, this trend has taken the wedding world by storm. Spend time crafting the perfect hashtag for your couple name, and display it proudly throughout your reception to encourage guests to share photos with the hashtag! That way, photos can easily be found on Instagram. 


Dreamweaver Calligraphy and Events

Dreamweaver Calligraphy & Events offers handwritten calligraphy, décor, specialty rentals and more! 

Ink and Elegance specializes in making keepsake invitations that guests will want to keep for years to come. Inspired by a silk box invitation, the owner loves to create invites that are beyond paper and stationery.