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Via Gaslago 32, 25050 Polpenazze del Garda (BS), Italy
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About: ginny

Recent Posts by ginny

Avoid Honeymoon Planning Faux Pas by LUCCIOLA

If you take nothing else from this read – Don’t make your honeymoon an afterthought… 

 

From the 2010 survey @womenshealthmag 76% said they would do something differently, so we scrolled the reflections of previous brides and grooms, and here’s what we learned…

 

💝 TAKE CARE OF YOU. I understand it is super stressful planning your own wedding (I wouldn’t know just yet!), let alone a honeymoon too, so delegate! Let me do all the necessities and niceties ensuring everything is in place for you – all you need to do is be present and soak it up.

 

⏰ TAKE IT EASY, NO RUSH. Depart once you have recovered from the wedding, start and finish the holiday with relaxation with one serious adventure in the middle (The Serenity Sandwich). Live every hour of every day, dawn until dusk and beyond 💃🕺

 

🌉Make it special, with unique experiences, from airport lounges at sunrise, to top class restaurants at sunset, spa treatments, watersports and winery visits. Maybe you want to hire a private boat? You’re investing in your wellbeing, memories and future so don’t short change yourselves.

 

YOU DESERVE THE WORLD ❤️

 

Oh, and who said you have to go to the other side of the world? Italy has it all, really. Let me show you!

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Find your glow on HONEYMOON to Italy with LUCCIOLA

Your honeymoon is the perfect time to spend uninterrupted time together, so why not start as you mean to go on, exploring, making memories?  Learning about one another is like a journey: you have to see past the initial facade, see the good, bad and the ugly (because we all have them!)  It is just like when you step into a new place: look around the corners, open the unfamiliar doors, and you will uncover the less obvious stories of the village, many breathtakingly beautiful.

Unveiling these lesser discovered, quieter corners of Italy is what LUCCIOLA does best.  Feel the moment, you and your better half at one with the world, doing whatever it is you love.  

Think outside the box…

Relaxing on the coast of Puglia, losing yourself in the undulating hills of Tuscany, walking the wine road in Veneto, maybe a yoga retreat in Umbria, or skiing in Piedmont…  The opportunities are endless, but while you enjoy your holiday, is you being there positively impacting the surrounding community and environment?  

The guidebooks’ favourites, typically Italian cities, are becoming saturated by tourists, or have reached ‘at risk’ status like Venice, a well documented case in the press.  Exploring alternative places or changing the approach to those incredibly iconic places will reduce contribution to this rising issue of overtourism, and also help even out the economic benefits of tourism across Italy.

Considering the local environment and Italian people does not have to compromise your pleasure.  In fact, they can come at one with one another.

LUCCIOLA is here to support you on this transition, to ignite hope, inspiration and confidence in travelling to those places you have had in mind (or ones you didn’t know you need to see). By focusing on the hidden gems in spaces you can breathe, choosing small hotels, country houses and farm stays (agritourism), you will be warmly welcomed by locals, who will thus offer the best quality experience for you.

How about agritourism?

🏞️ This is a way you can support local families and enterprises, promote and learn about local culture, and relax into some of the most stunning rural landscapes.

🍷You will enjoy the best quality food and wine, sourced on the estate or locally. If tranquility is what you’re after, the capacity of guests at any one time is approximately 10-30% of the average hotel size more closely associated with mass tourism hotel / destinations. Each establishment is unique – we can choose the right option for you depending how much peace you’re seeking

🏡 You will be so warmly welcomed by the host during your stay on their vineyard / estate. They will know the best places to go in the area, and they will make the effort to get to know you, and your fellow guests, personally. These make for the most memorable moments and connections for life.

Thrive off the city buzz?

Make that city escape, but consider staying in a beautiful abode, hosted by those authentically Italian, in the side streets within walking distance of the action.

You help the community when you book with LUCCIOLA.  How? 

People are central to my passion for this business – LUCCIOLA supports locals and tourists alike, with sustainability and mental health. As we have not ignored the pandemic, we cannot ignore the mental health pandemic on the horizon as a result – that’s why 10% of all commission from your travel bookings will be donated to MIND, the mental health charity. 

LUCCIOLA promotes my recommended way of seeing Italy, though there are no limits to the accommodation and destinations I can book, so I have exciting solutions for anyone looking to get away ASAP, or simply seeking inspiration for next year.  

One piece of advice: 

DO NOT make your honeymoon an afterthought – you deserve the world.

It is a huge task getting married, the honeymoon, so delegate – no shame in reaching out for help.

 

Stay tuned for lessons from previous brides and grooms, and inspiration for how we will give you an unregrettably fantastic honeymoon.

To find out more and how best to reach out, check out www.lucciola.uk – I’m always here for a chat, business or otherwise.

Guest Blog courtesy of Becky at LUCCIOLA. If you’d love some help with your honeymoon plans in Italy or even your travel to Italy for the wedding please feel free to reach out to Becky rebecca@lucciola.uk

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How to choose your Destination Wedding Planner

You’ve decided to get married in Italy – now what ?

There are some brave couples who decide that they do not need a wedding planner even if they are planning to tie the knot abroad, in a country they don’t live in and where they potentially don’t speak the language. For those of you who would like a little more security and a lot less stress you’ll be looking for a wedding planner. As one of my couples who started on their own said ‘We were looking at the macro Ginny but the minute we looked at the micro we were lost!’.

So if you are looking for a wedding planner how do you go about finding the right one for you? Here are some steps I’d suggest.

Search on line

You can use google, Facebook and Instagram even Pinterest to find some names for potential wedding planners. There are going to be a lot so take some time and don’t stop at the first page. A quick look here will give you an idea of the kind of weddings they plan but also read the text, that will give you an idea of what it would be like to talk to this person. Make a short list.

Look at work experience and, hugely importantly for a Destination Wedding, local knowledge.

There are a lot of wedding planners about and it might be tempting to think that since the job is the same just get a quote for the one that fits your budget.

But what you need to know, at the end of the day, is that you are going to get value for what you pay. Does this person really know the area you want to get married in? How many weddings have they planned there? Have they worked in that location before ? Are they going to know the answers to the questions that you don’t even know you have yet ?

Check the reviews

This is going to be the best way to understand if other couples have found they got value for the investment they made in this wedding planner. First hand experience is the best way for us to trust that something is really as good as you hope so read the reviews of those who have had that experience.If you’re not quite sure, ask if you could have the contact details for 1 or 2 of the previous couples to speak to them directly, ask the questions you might be too shy to ask the planner herself.

Have a one to one chat

I know that your planner is probably in Italy and you are probably not, hence your search, but if we’ve learnt anything since 2020 we do now all know how to ‘meet’ on line. And it’s important, you know how sometimes you can strike up a relationship over e-mails with someone, maybe even the phone and then when you meet them they don’t quite feel like the same person, it’s discombobulating (I’ve been waiting for ages to find a context to drop that into! Finally found it). So have a video call and get a ‘feel’ for the person. By the time you say ‘I do’ this person is going to feel like part of your family, make sure the fit is going to be a good one so you can approach your wedding day with joy and excitement.

Pricing

Hiring a wedding planner is an investment. It’s like hiring a surveyor before you buy a house. And like everything there are going to be a range of prices out there. It’s important that you are sure you’re going to be getting value for the money that you spend, you worked hard for it. But at the same time don’t begrudge the cost, remember that you are paying for peace of mind that someone with more experience than you is going to guide you around the pit falls and we all know that experience costs money. That said a wedding planner can also save you money. A good planner can anticipate what you’re going to need and help you to understand what you can actually afford and also make sure there are no uncomfortable and unexpected last minute costs.

In the end…..

Choose someone that you trust. Someone that speaks your language and I don’t actually mean literally (although it often helps) but someone who speaks in a way that you know they ‘get’ you. You must be able to trust your wedding planner so you can enjoy the process of planning the wedding and on the day itself cherish every moment of this very special day.

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Wedding websites

Wedding websites : Free vs. Lane Created Weddings

 

Wedding websites. What are they and why do I need one? There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether a wedding website is best for you and what type to get. We’re going to try and make it simple for you!

 

What are they?

 

Wedding websites are an online space that can assist both you and your guests with anything from planning to organising and sharing to streaming. Traditionally wedding invitations were used to communicate to the guests all the useful information that they might need but more and more couples are using websites for this. Why? Well one of the reasons is that you can provide you guests with even more information, links to take them to exactly the right website page or map etc but also because they can be updated as the planning moves along and this is particularly useful for a Destination Wedding when planning for the couples but also for the guests generally starts earlier.  However not all wedding websites provide the same level of functionality but they all have the same aim in mind – to make your big day even more special.

What does your wedding website need to do ?

 

A wedding website doesn’t need to replace your wedding invitations, but if you want it can. It should be the one place that your guests can go to in order to find out all of the information they might want. The obvious is the date, location and time of the wedding but you can go so much further. For a Destination Wedding there’s a lot of information you can add. For example your guests will appreciate suggestions of how to travel there, which airports are closest, which resorts to consider staying in, recommended hotels, airport transfers, what to do for the rest of their stay when they are not involved in wedding activities. If you are going to provide all of this what you need to be looking for is something that is easy to navigate – because if it’s not easy your guests will call you instead of using the website. It’s great if the website has an online RSVP so guests can choose to reply directly on line. If there’s a guest list manager this will assist you greatly in managing your actual numbers and later the seating plan and other logistics that might be involved like transport to and from the venue. And the website can help you even after the wedding day if there’s a gallery where you can load your favourite photos from the day to share them with everyone who was there in a quality high enough for them to be able to download them for themselves.

Free vs. Paid

Free 

There are many types of free wedding websites available that can be found simply by googling free wedding websites. Many simply offer the functionality to build your website and show guests some basic information about your big day, others may include RSVP’s and galleries often at an extra charge.

Benefits 

  • Free!
  • Can be easy to set up

Drawbacks

  • Lower functionality
  • Requires time to set-up
  • May not suit your vision of your wedding website
  • Often extras come at a charge

Lane Created Weddings 

Lane Created Wedding’s websites on the surface may look similar to their free counterparts, however they can do much more.

The main benefit being, friends and family can stay close through a number of features such as Update Feeds. This brilliant feature enables you to share memories, pictures and like and comment on everyone’s posts. Another feature that will bring your guests closer together is Live Streams for those family members that can’t make it due to distance, health or other circumstances.

Additionally to these Lane Created Weddings offers the same basic functions as the free ones. Including but not limited to; galleries, RSVPs, gift registries and information about your big day.

A full set of the available add-ons, prices and information can be found on the website.

www.lanecreatedweddings.com

Benefits 

  • Higher level of functionality and customisation
  • Ease both with time and effort
  • Visually stunning websites
  • Custom domain (e.g. www.yournames.co.uk)

Drawbacks

  • Costs more than the free alternative

At the end of the day when choosing a wedding website provider it really does depend on a number of factors, what your budget is, what you need it to do and how comfortable you are setting it up for yourself. It is important to make these decisions prior to purchase but also go and ask the providers if they can make your perfect wedding website come to life, they might be able to give you a clear idea of the best route for you.

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Eloping to Italy

As things ease up in the UK in terms of getting out and about and the possibility of jumping on a plane to somewhere warm gets closer there may be some of you out there who are thinking ‘we want to elope to Italy’. If that’s you please read on.

As a fellow eloper myself I understand the desire to just make it about the two of you, no fuss, just something beautiful and intimate between the two of you that you can share the photos of with everyone when you have a party on your return home if that’s what you want to do.

So the first question that you should be asking yourself is it even possible ?

The answer, happily is yes. Italy is among the countries that have an agreement with the UK & Ireland to recognize a marriage that takes place in Italy as legal in the UK & Ireland. Once you are married and have your certificate there is actually no need to take further action but if you want to it’s possible to register it once you return home. Before your wedding can take place however there are documents that need to be completed and these take some time. At first glance it might seem like quite a lot but taken in baby steps it’s just a series of checks to go through and it’s not difficult. This does however as I’ve said take time and that was my impulse in writing this blog today because if you want to do this you need to move now. I have had a couple make that last minute decision and get their paperwork done within 2 months start to finish, but it was quite a rush.

Therefore my advice would be first to call your local registry office and explain that you’d like a Destination Wedding in Italy and ask them how quickly you could get an appointment. This is always going to be the first step because this is the office that can issue you with your Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) and from appointment to issue of the certificate there’s usually a 3 week period. Once your certificates have been collected you‘ll need to send them and your Statuary Declarations (which you can get done while you’re waiting for your CNI) to be legalized in Milton Keynes. This is a legal confirmation that the signatures on the documents are legal and recognized. Only then does the paperwork come to me here in Italy so that I can translate the CNI and get that translation legalized before leaving it all with the town hall. You see, I said it would sound like a lot. But I promise you that broken down into baby steps, which I’ll do for you by e-mail, it isn’t rocket science. But it does take time and you can understand from the above that the minimum lead time that you would need would be 2 months and then it would be very touch and go. I know from couples who are already booked for this year that some registry offices are working as normal but others have a back log and could not immediately give you that first appointment.

It’s because of this that I say, if you’re thinking of eloping overseas this summer the first thing you do, right now, before you even make a definite decision, is to call your registry office and see what sort of timeline they can give you. Then sit back and consider whether that can work for you and the time you’re going to need to take off (remember you need to be here in Italy at least 2 working days before your wedding), let the reality of the fact that this might actually be possible sink in and then start to get excited about the idea. How fun would that be ???? It’s at that point that you e-mail, DM or call me and say ‘Ginny, we want to elope to Italy’ and then I will get you moving right away, making that little bit of magic happen somewhere in Lake Garda.

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Wedding Traditions

Wedding Traditions

As far as a single event goes a wedding is possibly one of those which has the most traditions connected to it and I personally had never questioned them until fairly recently and I certainly never asked myself ‘Why’ ? Or for the matter where did that come from? And honestly it’s really only as I wrote this blog I’m asking myself why that is? I am no rebel by anyone’s standards but I will question something if I don’t see the sense in it or just don’t really want to do whatever it is. But I had never done that for weddings. I imagine I’m not alone in this and I’m guessing it’s simply that the traditions around weddings are so deeply seated that they have become almost more than a tradition, more of an unwritten law, not far from being set in stone.

 

As a Destination Wedding Planner now I give my couples permission to have the wedding that they want and if that means doing away with any traditions that don’t serve them then out they go. I’m not saying don’t have them at all but I do think that it’s OK to decide not to do something if it doesn’t feel right for you. At least for your Wedding Day you shouldn’t have to be constrained or feel obliged to do something that you don’t want to. For us it’s quite easy to do because the moment you take your wedding overseas your guests are not quite sure how the day will be and consequently the preconceptions disappear because no one is certain any longer what to expect. Will it be the same as a ‘home’ wedding? The guests simply don’t know what’s ‘normal’ where you are in the world and if you are going to ‘go local’ or stay more traditional. Let me give you an example, here in Italy they don’t have speeches so if you don’t enjoy public speaking and the idea of your wedding speech filles you with dreed, don’t do it. You simply say ‘they don’t do them in Italy’ and you’ve taken the pressure off. That said there are many traditions that no one wants to do without and others, whether you decide to have them or not, that are simply fascinating in their history.

 

A White Wedding dress is a classic example of a tradition that nearly everyone sticks to but where did it come from? Many, many moons ago there wasn’t money for a different dress for your wedding, you simply wore the best dress you had. Or if you did buy a new dress the idea was that it would be used again although it was possibly a more elegant version of the clothes that you already had. Its general accepted that it was Queen Victorias marriage to her beloved Prince Albert that started the western culture of a White Wedding dress that lives on today. It quickly became a status symbol to be able to afford to buy but then more importantly launder a white dress given that a white dress simply wasn’t practical to actually keep white and therefore only for the better off.

Wedding rings are another much loved and hard to part from tradition. The use of a wedding rings can be traced back to the Greeks & Romans where the ring, made of precious metal, was part of the dowry but they later became of symbol of the promise of fidelity. Originally a ring was only given to the Brides and in fact that was the case for my parents but modern couples generally both choose to wear a ring as symbol both of the commitment on both sides but also in a wider sense they are showing the growing equality between genders.

Something old, something new, something blue – what ? The idea behind these is that the brides wears something old to connect her with her previous single life, something new to represent the future ahead of the couple and the blue is to represent fidelity and love. It’s actually a lovely nod to the transition taking place between the couple because, as is often the case, even for couples who have lived together for years and who perhaps don’t expect ‘being married’ to change anything much, there is actually a subtle shift in the relationship. I personally found that I felt the commitment more keenly and I remember being surprised by the simple pleasure I took in being able to call Lorenzo ‘my husband’.

The Best Man, well that’s an eye opening I can tell you. General folk law has it that local lads looked for a wife amongst local girls in their village however if there were no young lasses that took their fancy they might look further afield to neighboring villages. This attention wasn’t always welcomed, in fact far from it apparently. There are tales of grooms kidnapping their soon to be wives and this is where the Best Man comes in because, let’s face it, if you’re off kidnapping a feisty young lass, hoping to steal her away from her family and possibly other suitors then it’s a 2 man job. Hence the Best Man! Who then stood by on the day, possibly armed, to make sure that everything went ahead as planned. So while we may have kept the tradition I’m really rather glad that we’ve not kept the original reason.

Bridesmaids instead were there to confuse evil spirits who might have wanted to curse the marriage, the more young women who were all dressed in a similar fashion the more likely the evil spirit was to choose the wrong one or just give up! These days of course brides rely on their best girls to help them stay calm, get ready and to do up all those little buttons down the back of the wedding dress – professional tip : a fork is really handy for this!

The throwing of the brides bouquet, which seems a little odd given the time and consideration gone into choosing it, has actually replaced an earlier tradition which I have to say I’m very glad we’ve done away with. In days gone by the wedding guests use to try and touch the bride as she was so ‘lucky ‘. Even better was to tear a piece of the brides dress off as a keepsake that was considered to be good luck. This eventually led to the wily brides tossing the bouquet at her guests and scarpering before they could attack her dress! If you don’t want to throw your bouquet or what to keep something to remind you of your bouquet you can have a silk replica made that will stay forever beautiful.

Confetti is a good one, in Italy the word confetti actually refers to sugared coated almonds and it seems these might actually be the reason confetti is called confetti. In the middle ages it was not uncommon to throw the sugared almonds or other sweetened nuts or seeds over the happy couples heads as a symbol of fertility. This in itself probably stemmed from the ancient Roman tradition of breaking wheat cakes over the brides head. The Italians actually still use sugared almonds as confetti but luckily they are no longer thrown over the bride & groom. Instead they are given, usually beautifully presented, as part of the wedding gift that they give to their guests, what we call favours. Italians moved on from expensive confetti to throw over the couple to cheaper and easier to source rice and this is still used today (often by the kilo !) whereas the UK offers many variations of confetti, coloured paper, bio degradable options and of course the ever romantic petals either fresh or dried.

 

Are there any traditions that you simply can’t consider not having at your wedding or any you really want to ignore ??

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Virtual Site Visit to Lake Garda

Virtual Site Visits to Lake Garda

 

In this crazy world we still live in travel is an issue which makes planning ahead for a Destination Wedding tricky. I am going through the initial stages with a few couples right now who are looking to book for 2022 but they’ve not seen the venues and we don’t yet know when they will be able to see them in person. So, I’ve come up with a work around, in life I have discovered that I am quite good at work arounds and I’m rather pleased with this one.

 

My couples may not be able to travel here to Italy but I am lucky enough to already be here as I live on Lake Garda and so I have been travelling to the venues and, once I’m at the venue, I video call the couple and I can move around the spaces and point out where each part of the day can happen, explain how the guests will move between ceremony, aperitif and dinner. In this way I walk them through the spaces and answer any questions that come up for them much as if they were here in person.

Last week I went to one of my very popular venues. Effectively this location is a beautiful curated garden that is literally at the waters edge and looks out across the lake and to the Isola del Garda. Here it’s possible to have both your wedding ceremony (civil ceremonies are recognized here as are of course symbolic) and the follow seamlessly on to the aperitif and wedding breakfast.

What is there to be said about Italian food that you don’t already know. It’s delicious, so full of flavour and a crowd pleaser as well which does make it easier when you are having to choose a meal that will fit well with all of your guests preferences. In fact I would say the only difficulty is deciding on which of the dishes to have and if you really can’t decide then the Italians are happy to serve you both. That could in fact be the only issue with Italian food, there’s too much of it but it’s too delicious you don’t want to not eat it. But I think there are worse problems to have.

And just as night should follow day a brilliant party should follow any good wedding breakfast and this location is perfectly set up for it with an outdoor dance floor and some impressive speakers. The bar can open and the stories that will be relived again and again can unfurl through the evening. It’s difficult on Lake Garda to find locations where the party can go past midnight but this venue has that possibility. Tues – Thursday it can remain your private party, for a supplement, and you can party on till 3am, long past my bedtime ! At the weekend the venue is a club and you have a number of choices. There is a separate seating area kept for those of your party with the will to boogie some more and here you can provide drinks for your guests who can simply join in with the other fun seekers or there is the 1st floor wine bar which can be hired for the remainder of your party. There are always options, it depends what you are looking for.

If all of this sounds like the prefect venue for you and the photos have you wishing you were there right now then drop me a line and I can tell you more about it. And just to make sure that no one misses out after I did the virtual visit with my couple I also did an IGTV and Facebook live so you can check either of those locations to ‘walk’ through the venue yourselves.

 

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Fun little touches for your wedding

Fun little touches for your wedding

After you have done the obvious task of choosing your date, location, ceremony and the larger planning tasks you will have some time to turn your attention to the smaller details and this is where your guests might get the first sneak peak into how you plan to style your wedding.

Every couple wants their wedding to be unique, special for them and a reflection of who they are as a couple and rightly so. Following your choice of wedding venue there are further elements for your wedding where this is obvious and easy to do, your wedding dress of course would be a major one. Personalizing your vows for the ceremony, your choice of music both for the ceremony and later reception, your flowers and colour scheme are definitely going to be high on your to do list. Once decided you can give space for creativity in other details for those extra little touches which can make the day totally yours and unique. Here are just a few to consider :

 

Your wedding invitation for example. In these more conscious times you might want to save paper and go digital as many couple have or you might think to send something that could be repurposed, like an invitation tea towel so your guests can be reminded of your wedding both before and after the wedding while pottering around their kitchen. I still have a tea towel invite sent to me by one of my couples and I love the reminder of their day that last for years afterwards.

 

If you are expecting your day to be sunny and warm (and if you choosing Lake Garda then I’m guessing it will be) then a fan for each guest or at least the ladies can be placed on the chairs for the ceremony. These can also be personalized with your names and the date of your special day and there are many companies offering this service and it’s also a great ‘take home’ that can be used again and again. I also had a couple who simply made their order or service into a fan by printing on card and sticking it onto a wooden handle. Simple but very effective.

 

Another lovely idea is to use small photo frames with either each guests photo in or their name as a place setting. Again they can either keep it as it is or repurpose the frame with a photo of the day. Another lovely idea is your guests name carved in wood which again serves as both a place setting and decoration, there are a number of companies who will produce these for a very reasonable price. In both of these cases the place setting then also serves as a wedding favour.

 

Alternatively for your wedding favours why not make it something you know they can all use on the night, like a miniature bottle of Limoncello which is very popular here. There are even a few companies now who will, for a very reasonable fee, personalize your label for you. I’ve also had a very creative bride who painted her own shot glasses for the guests which again was useful on the night but a lovely reminder to be able to take home after the event.

 

Guest books are lovely and of course you want to remember everyone who came and shared your special day with you but there are different format that’s you can consider rather than a paper book. For instance your guest book could instead be a print of yourselves that everyone signs. Other couples have had a print/painting that everyone can leave their thumb print on instead. These kinds of things are then easy to display somewhere in your home rather than a closed book on a bookcase which I suspect doesn’t get opened so often.

 

But at the end of the day the important thing to remember is that your guests are coming for you. They want to share this very special day with you and so, if there is something that comes easily to mind (or a google search) that really reflects who you are and what you want to share with your guests then great, but it should not be a stress. Not one of your guests want you to not enjoy the run up to your wedding in a state of panic over the place settings. Remember this at every moment of your planning so that on the day you are able to simply enjoy the moment.

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