Receiving Line

Receiving Line Basics

Let’s start by setting the record straight: A receiving line isn’t required. However, the bride and groom do have to greet and thank every one of their guests for coming to their wedding. A receiving line really is the best way to be sure they don’t miss anyone, especially if the wedding is large (more than 75 people). A receiving line is also a great (and efficient) way to be sure all the guests have a chance to meet the couple’s parents and attendants. At a small wedding, it’s fine for the bride and groom to visit with each table – usually during the meal—to greet, thank, and chat with their guests.

The receiving line is held either at the ceremony site as people exit the service, followed by formal picture-taking, or as soon as the couple reaches the reception area, after the formal pictures. Ideally, the location permits guests to have refreshments while they wait for their turn, or allows the line to flow into the reception area.

Who’s In Line?

For some reason, groomsmen often panic about having to be in a receiving line. Relax, guys, you’re off the hook. Whoever is hosting the wedding is the first in the line. Traditionally, that’s the bride’s mother, followed by her father, the groom’s mother and father, the bride, the groom, the maid or matron of honor, and one or two bridesmaids (they can take turns and share the duty). But if Aunt Martha and Uncle Fred are hosting, Aunt Martha starts the line. Fathers aren’t required to stand in line; they can circulate, with the groomsmen, among the guests. However, if one father participates, the other should also. In a military wedding. it’s protocol for a groom in uniform to stand before his bride.

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

When is it? 
Even though most people hold their rehearsal dinner on the evening before the wedding immediately following the ceremony run-through, you can choose to have yours whenever it suits you. 

Who pays? 
Traditionally, the groom’s parents plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. These days, however, many couples shell out for the shindig themselves or ask both sets of parents to share the cost. If you feel strongly about the venue that’s chosen for the dinner, now is the time to discuss everyone’s plans.

Who's invited?
Your dinner must include: all members of the wedding party (and their spouses or dates); parents of flower girls or ring bearers in the wedding, if the little ones are invited; all parents, stepparents and grandparents of the bride and groom, plus siblings who are not in the wedding party (and their spouses or significant others); and often the officiant and his or her spouse. Out-of-town guests should also be invited, but if you prefer to keep the gathering more intimate, schedule an event for them at another location—perhaps at a restaurant or at the hotel where they’re staying, or informal cocktails at the home of a relative or close friend.

How formal should it be?
The degree of formality is at the discretion of the hosts, but it should never exceed the formality of the actual wedding. Whatever your rehearsal dinner’s style, send invitations after you’ve received wedding RSVPs.

Where do we have it?
Strive to keep it simple. Appropriate places include a restaurant, preferably with a private room; someone’s backyard; or even a clam shack or pizza parlor for a super-casual affair. Be creative, because anything goes as long as you and your guests are relaxed, comfortable and having a good time.

Not-to-miss moments:

  • Toasts: The groom’s father, if he is the host, can welcome guests with a formal toast. Ditto the best man. At that point, other well-wishers can take the floor (toasts can be a bit longer and more humorous on this night than at the wedding). Be prepared to rise and thank all of those who have toasted you! Later, you and your fiancé may also want to take a moment to toast each other and to thank your hosts.
  • Gifts: Distribute your thank-you presents to the bridesmaids and groomsmen, especially if it’s something you want them to wear at the wedding.
  • Performances: If secular readings (a special poem) or popular songs (a favorite of yours from when you were dating) aren’t appropriate for your ceremony, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect time to include them.
  • Special Presentations: Many rehearsal dinners feature videos incorporating footage from the bride’s and groom’s pasts. Have a techno-savvy pal set up and display your presentation so that you can enjoy the show.

A Bride's Design

A Bride's Design is owned by Laura Smith.  She received her BA in Fashion Design at Kent State University in 2002. Immediately following, in 2003, she opened A Bride’s Design, a chic bridal boutique.  Laura has a passion for classic elegance, sophisticated styles and exquisite knowledge of fabrics and laces.

For the past 18 years she has had the pleasure of assisting thousands of brides in discovering their dream wedding gown. By providing exceptional service and designing with a personal touch, Laura ensures that every bride has a charming and unique experience. She specializes in custom bridal wear and freelance design, thus providing a couture look for an affordable price.

A Bride's design is located in a historic, storefront home that was built in 1850 by the Hasley Garfeild family.  Laura is very excited to embrace the historic quality of the house as weddings, in essence, signify an era of glamor, elegance, and formality.

Make an appointment today to experience a full service for you and your bridal party. Along with picking out the perfect accessories to accommodate your gown, they also have head pieces to accentuate your hair.  If needed, they will also do alterations so that everything fits perfectly!

Appointments are required to try on wedding gowns so that Laura can give you her undivided attention. To make and appointment give them a call or email:


Appointment Hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Tuesday, Thursday


12pm - 8pm

4pm - 8pm

10am - 4 pm


A Bride’s Design is located at 37375 Detroit Road, Avon, Ohio, just west of downtown Cleveland and easily accessible via I-90 to exit 153 Avon/Avon Lake.

The Club at Hillbrook

The Club at Hill, a private 50-acre estate, is located on the border of Cuyahoga and Geauga counties just minutes from Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  Situated at the end of a picturesque country road, Hillbrook's old-world elegance and architectural charm provide unparalleled panoramic views of the Chagrin Valley.

The home was created in 1919 by the late Edmund S. Burke, Jr. Burke derived architectural inspirations for the 40 room Tudor mansion from an elegant estate in Ashford, Kent, England.  Inside, the mansion is well appointed with thousands of leaded glass windows, rose marble and carved wood mantels. 


Whether you are planning an intimate garden party for 15, or a grand wedding for up to 300 guests, The Club at Hillbrook provides many options to ensure your event is memorable.  The club's living room, tavern, veranda, terrace and pavilion provide a wide range of settings to choose from.  Each has a unique feel, creating endless options.  The colorful gardens, vast wood and beautiful views provide picturesque ceremony sites and create the perfect setting for your reception.  The Club at Hillbrook also provides a team of event professionals that will take the stress out of planning the wedding of your dreams, coordinating all of the details and assisting you every stop of the way so you may enjoy your special day.

Tea House

Tea House

The Club at Hillbrook has eight charming guest suites located on the second and third floors of the mansion.  Guest suites are available for out-of-town guests, business associates or personal getaways. 

Why is the wedding ring worn on your fourth finger?

The Chinese Explanation

 The Chinese have given a beautiful and very convincing theory as to why the wedding ring should go on the fourth finger. As the story goes :

Look at your left hand, the hand that your wedding ring goes on, and do you see your thumb? Well the thumb represents your parents. Now your index finger, or your first finger, represents your siblings. The third finger, loving called the middle finger by some, represents yourself. Where the fourth finger represents your life partner. And your pinkie is to represent the children you will some day have.

Now if you place both of your hands together and bend your middle fingers together, and leave the other fingers touching together (like shown in the picture).

When your hands are as such do this :

Pull your thumbs apart. (this represents the parents) Your thumbs will open because you and your parents are not destined to be together forever. At some point they will leave you in your life. Now put your thumbs back together.

Repeat the same motion with your index fingers (this representing your siblings). Of course your index fingers will also separate because you are also not destined to be with your siblings for the rest of your life. They will move on and have families of their own. Now put them back together.

Now separate your pinkies. (representing your future children) Of course these will also separate because your children will not be with you forever. They will grow up to have lives and families of their own as well. Now put them back together.

Now for your "ring" finger. (representing your life partner) Try separating them as you did with the other. Can't do it can you? That is because your life partner is the one who is supposed to be with you for the rest of your life. They will be the one to be with you forever and through thick and thin.

Roman belief

 According to Roman belief the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because of a vein that we have in our left "ring" finger. This vein is called the vena amoris. It is believed that this vein runs directly to the heart. Which as we all know is the symbol of love.

Facts and Tips about Flower Girls

You know she’s going to be adorable, but what else does a bride need to understand about the little girl behind the basket? Below is a list of ten important flower girl facts so the two of you can enjoy a special and stress-free time together.

1. Flower girls do best when they are between ages 4-8. 

You will do best if your flower girl is between that ages of 4 and 8.  They will be old enough to understand instructions, but still young enough to generate a collective “awwww” among your guests.  It may be difficult for you to fight the urge to ask an irresistible 2 or 3 year old to be in your wedding, but resist.  They are simply too unpredictable and require too much adult supervision.  You can have a flower girl who’s nine or ten (after all, they’re so cute, too!), but at this age she may prefer to be called a junior bridesmaid. 

2. Flower girls love being flower girls.

Little girls understand that it’s a huge honor to be asked to be in a wedding. You can make the experience even more special for your flower girl by asking her in a special way.  Consider giving her a thoughtful gift like o, a card, or even a personalized poem. In the months leading up to the wedding, be sure to build a bond with your flower girl by scheduling an outing or a meal just for the two of you, or by chatting with her on the phone or through video on Skype if she lives far away.

3. Flower girls attend showers and the rehearsal.

Flower girls are part of the wedding party. It’s traditional to invite them to any showers or other pre-wedding events (except, of course, the bachelorette party!). It’s also important to include the flower girl in the rehearsal. Familiarity with place and procedures will make her feel more comfortable and ready for her grand performance at the wedding.

4. Flower girls grow.

When picking out the dress for your flower girl, keep in mind how quickly children grow. A dress that fits your flower girl in December might be too small by the following June. It’s a good idea to consult with the girl’s parents on sizing, fabric sensitivities and other dress details. You may choose to let the parents pick out the dress for you. Give them ideas for length and color and then send them off shopping. Customarily her parents will pay for the dress too.

5. Flower girls don’t have to sprinkle rose petals.

Some places might not allow rose petals to be dropped, or you might have a different vision of what you’d like your flower girl to do – the options are endless! Your flower girl can hand flowers to guests as she makes her way down the aisle. Or she can hold a pomander or a bouquet. She can even blow bubbles. If you don’t have a ring bearer, she could also carry the rings. Have fun and be creative!

6. Flower girls aren’t perfect.

Even a flower girl who breezes through the rehearsal and seems outgoing and prepared might have difficulty fullfilling her duties when faced with a room full of guests. So it’s a good idea to be prepared for imperfection.  Your wedding will be wonderful whether or not the flower girl makes it down the aisle. Those little goofs can often make the event all the more memorable.

7. Flower girls need adult supervision (and the adult shouldn’t be you!)

On your wedding day, you don’t want to be Super Nanny. Before the ceremony, make sure your flower girl’s parents, or other trusted adults, are there to watch her and any other children in the wedding party. At the ceremony, keep the flower girl’s parents in her sight, seated in one of the front rows, and near the center aisle. Once she travels down the aisle, she can sit with them during the ceremony. Or, if you prefer that the flower girl stand, designate one of your bridesmaids to look after her.

8. Flower girls can be picky.

At the reception, your five-year-old wedding attendant may go looking for the kid’s menu when the pan-seared salmon is served. If the entrée isn’t a kid favorite, it’s a good idea to order a special reception meal (aka macaroni and cheese) for her. You can check with the girl’s parents to see if her favorite dish is available.

9. Flower girls can wilt.

When scheduling the wedding day and reception, consider your flower girl’s age, temperament and bedtime. If you have a reception that goes well into the evening, don’t expect too much from the flower girl. Chances are, she’ll tire out early from all the excitement. If possible, arrange to have a sitter watch and play with the flower girl and other children at the reception. The sitter can even take the kids to a separate room to watch a video or play games while the adults celebrate with you.

10. Flower girls can be your friends for life!

When you look back at your wedding day, you’ll have many magical memories. So will your flower girl. By including her in your special day, you have initiated a bond that can last a lifetime. And who knows – one day she might ask one of your children to be in her wedding.

Planning an Engagement Party

1. Who hosts an engagement party?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents or groom’s parents host an engagement party (but they can co-host the event, too). For a more informal engagement party, friends or relatives can throw an engagement party for a couple, but it is encouraged to wait until after the official formal engagement party to do so. The couple can host their own engagement party, if they prefer. (Want to throw an engagement party for a friend? Find out if they’re having one by their parents first, just so you don’t step on anyone’s toes, so to speak.)

2. When is it held?

An engagement party is typically held nine to twelve months before the wedding. Guests should have a one-month head’s up before the party.

3. Where should an engagement party be held?

If you’re getting married in your hometown, and friends and family live nearby, a local engagement party is perfect. If you live out of state (and your wedding is being held there), have a party on your (new) home turf and another in your home town, if you wish. However, this rule applies: wedding guests or wedding party attendants should not expected to attend if it is out-of-state, since they’ll be expected to travel for the wedding itself. Wedding etiquette dictates you shouldn’t expect people to travel to an engagement party and your wedding. If they can come — great! If not, it’s really not worth fretting over. In terms of venue, a backyard, house, restaurant, or bar are a few perfect places for an engagement party.

4. Should you register for gifts beforehand? Do guests give gifts?

Gifts are not expected at an engagement party. A guest can give a gift if he or she wishes to, but it is certainly not an expectation. If you do register before the wedding, guests will know specific items to buy (if they wish). However, you should never include registry information on the engagement party invitation.

5. Who is invited?

If the engagement party is informal and hosted by friends, there is no set rule (since they won’t really know who is on your wedding guest list yet). However, if you or your parents are hosting an engagement party, invite only those who are going to be invited to the wedding. This is one reason why you may want to keep your engagement party fairly small, since you might not have the guest list nailed down yet.

6. Do you need formal invitations?

No, formal invitations are not required. Engagement party invitations should be simple. You can even email invitations, if you prefer. If you’re sending invitations in the mail, the colors or style do not need to coordinate with the wedding (since the colors or theme probably aren’t even picked out yet). The invitations should be thematic to the type of engagement party being thrown, however, such as a cocktail party or outdoor bbq bash.


7. What should you wear?

The bride should wear attire that coordinates with the location of the engagement party. For instance, if it is a cocktail party at a restaurant, the bride can wear a cocktail dress. Outdoor bbq? A white sundress is a perfect option. The groom should dress in the same formality as the bride: a suit and tie for a formal setting or dress pants and a button-down shirt for a more casual location.

8. Should you send thank you notes after an Engagement Party?

Yes, you should send thank you notes to guests after the engagement party to thank them for attending. If a guest gave a gift, be sure to include a thank you for the gift in your note.

Responsibilities of Mother of the Groom

The mother of the groom role will definitely depend on her relationship with her future daughter-in-law, she may be asked to help in the wedding planning to some extent. 

At least she should be kept up to date about the style of the wedding so that she will know what to expect and how to dress.

Before the Wedding

  • The grooms mum arranges a get-together with the bride's family after the engagement has been announced.
  • Can help the bride and her parents put the announcements of the engagement and wedding in the local newspaper.
  • Attends bridal showers held in the bride's honor.
  • Consults with the bride's mum about clothing for the wedding.
  • Hosts the rehearsal dinner. If she and the groom's father are divorced, either one or both of them can plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner.

During the Ceremony

  • The groom's mum should be seated in the front row on the groom's side.
  • May light a candle from which the bride will later light a unity candle with her groom.

During the Reception

  • The groom's mum should be seated in the front row on the groom's side.
  • May light a candle from which the bride will later light a unity candle with her groom.

Penny Wishing Ceremony

We all know how the wishing well works.  We take out some sort of coin, preferably the lucky penny, toss it in the air and make our wish before the coin hits the water.  If we don’t share our wish with anyone it is said to eventually come true.  Typically the wish is granted to the person who is tossing the coin into the wishing well.

However, many times we well-wishers are able to make wishes come true for others.  Think about how many times we have influenced the lives of others by making very simple wishes come true for them.  I’m sure we have all done one, some or all of the following:

 kept a promise

said I was wrong

stood up for a child

told someone you love them

said you were right

said hello to or just smiled at a complete stranger

bought water downed, sour tasting lemonade from a child’s homemade lemonade stand, smiled and said how good it is, and then proceeded to buy another glass or maybe the entire pitcher

said I’m sorry

  • There seem to be some real strong marriage themes woven into some of those statements.  Isn’t a marriage filled with wishes?  Doesn’t the concept of marriage center around two people trying to give and get what it is they need and or want from each other?  How good we are at recognizing how to make wishes come true for others can be very powerful in how we build and sustain a strong marriage.  Wishing a wish or wishes is a luxury that all of us like to take advantage of.  Our wishes may not always come true but we keep making them hoping that eventually one of them will miraculously happen.   Helping to MAKE wishes come true, especially for our spouse, builds over time to strengthen our bond, trust and love with each other. 

Today, you are going to be asked to help make a wish come true for these two very special people who are sharing their day with us.  (Groom and Bride’s names) are asking each of you to pull out that lucky penny, make a wish for them and put that penny in the wishing well when they come to dismiss you from your pew at the end of the ceremony. 

What kind of wish you ask?  Your wish can be anything you want it to be.  However, today we are celebrating the joining of two into one.  Any wish that is directed at helping that union grow and flourish is perfect.  Keep in mind with your wish does come some responsibility.  You see, when we wish a wish for ourselves, many times we make the wish, sit back and wait for the wish to come true.  That is why many times when we just make a wish and that is all we do, in a few months, in a few years, if that is all we have done, is just wish, all we have is still just a wish.

When helping make a wish come true for someone else, we must also do something.  We have to invest ourselves into making that wish a reality for the other person.  So as you make your wish today, also make your willing commitment to (Groom’s name) and (Bride’s name) so that they can realize the fullness of your wish as they begin their lives together.

So, I have here in my pocket a penny.  (Groom’s name) and (Bride’s name), my wish for you is that you will work non-stop at your love for each other and that it will continue to grow and deepen to the point that today, this day, your wedding day will actually be the day you love each other the least.

Why You Want to Hire a Wedding Planner

When you first get engaged people immediately start with the questions – Where are you getting married? Have you set the date yet? How much is your budget? Can my brother’s girlfriend’s cousin attend? And then, for the entirety of your engagement, the questions never end. They come from all directions, from parents and friends, to co-workers and even strangers! An engagement should be one of the happiest times of your life. You should be able to enjoy it, because after all, it is based on the fact that you have found your soulmate, the one you are going to spend the rest of your life with! This is the time you should be reveling in your love and not dodging questions and getting bogged down with emails and meetings!  That brings me to why you should consider hiring a wedding planner.

1.  A planner takes on the stress so you don’t have to. A planner will be the one to respond to all of the emails from various vendors and serve as the point person so you only have to deal with one contact. They will coordinate all of the meetings and be there to remember the details, plus ask the right questions. And most importantly, the planner will be there on the big day to make sure everything runs smoothly so you can be with you family and friends.

2.  There are several guides you can find on the internet which will tell you what percentage you should be spending on every aspect of your wedding. I believe it is fine to use them as a guide when making your decisions, but I think it is also valuable to know what is important to you and put your money there. If food is your thing, then you might want to throw extra money into the catering budget. If you are a music lover, you might want to put a greater amount of money there. That’s why it is important to discuss what you (and this means anyone who has a say in the wedding) care about the most and in what order. A planner will offer guidance about what is within your price range and what will throw everything else out of whack. It is easy to get excited about all of the possibilities and make an uninformed choice, but a planner will serve as a great resource since they often know the acceptable range of what a service is worth.

3.  A planner is in the position to work on multiple events and they have established relationships with vendors of all sorts – photographers, florists, DJ's etc. Not only do planners spend time researching and meeting with vendors to know the best that’s out there for every budget, but they also refer couples to vendors constantly. As a result of all of these referrals, a vendor is more likely to negotiate with a planner since they can give them repeat business.

4.  Most people are planning their wedding with no knowledge of how to throw a large-scale event. Of course there are books and plenty of tips from well-meaning friends and family, but a planner has seen many events. A planner is in the unique position to know what things should cost in every range. They can tell you if you are being cheated or if that “expensive” photographer really isn’t so expensive after all. They know what questions to ask your vendors and how to schedule the day so that you can get your photos taken, your guests fed, your speeches completed and everyone out on the dance floor.

5.  More and more venues are requiring planners. Hotels used to have banquet managers to assist couples throughout the whole day, but this is an easy cost-cutting measure for venues. They get to cut their staff and have them go home and your planner will be the one to stay until the end of your wedding and make sure everything gets wrapped up – rentals collected, gifts delivered to your room, wait for vendors to come and pick up their items.  Site coordinators offered up by the venues often represent the venue, not the couple. They will help you, but they will not advocate for you as a planner would. In addition to traditional venues, many couples are now seeking out unusual spaces for their weddings – barns, art galleries, lofts – and all of these spaces need planners as well since they double as a wedding site and often have no one to help.

If you are considering hiring a wedding planner and live in the Cleveland area, I suggest you contact Amy Hissa, the owner and president of At Last Event Planning.  Check out her website

Buckeye Classic Limousine

Buckeye Classic Limousine provides custom limousine service for weddings, anniversary parties, and special events of your choosing.  

Let Buckeye Classic Limousine deliver you in style. Their classic 1930 Ford Model A Town Sedan is sure to make your arrival an unforgettable moment.  Their professional and personable chauffeur is familiar with Northeast Ohio. Buckeye Classic will work closely with you to ensure your requests are fulfilled on the day of your event. Please contact them to discuss further details about your special occasion.  



You're Getting Married! Kick Things Off at Buca

Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant


Need a spot to host your bridal event"  If you answered "I do," then look no further.  At Buca di Beppo, the enticing aroma of authentic Italian specialties will seduce you, the sweet sounds of Frank Sinatra will serenade you and their staff will positively spoil you.  Celebrate your upcoming wedding by holding your rehearsal dinner, shower or bachelorette partt at Buca di Beppo.  Their staff will help you organize and plan your celebration with one of their Italian, family-style banquet packages.  If you are celebrating at home or another location, your guests can enjoy a taste of Italy with Buca Party Pans.  They will even deliver your order for a flat fee of $25.  They include tablecloths, plates, napkins, eating and serving utensils and condiments.  Why not let Buca do all the work while you enjoy and party!

Wine Ceremony

Wording to be shared by officiant:

"Throughout history, in nearly all cultures and traditions, the sharing of a cup of wine has been used as a universal, central moment of sharing during significant moments. For many it symbolizes the celebration of the harvest, the changing seasons of life, or the ultimate personal sacrifice which others have made on our behalf.

Wine is, after all, the result of years of hard work, the tender care of the grape, a thoughtful mix of ingredients, the patient fermenting, and the unique flavors of each year.

So it is fitting that the couple take their first cup of wine as husband and wife, to not only celebrate all that has taken pace in their lives to this point, but as an expression of hope and faith in the harvest of their lives, the commitment they make, the sacrifice of all whom has made this moment possible."

I suggest purchasing a bottle of red and white then combine them in a carafe.  I love this idea for displaying the wine.