6 Mocktails Your Guests Will Actually Enjoy

For some, a wedding reception is all about the bar and signature cocktails. Colleen Shea and Christopher Smith, who live in Orlando, Fla., said that a highlight of their celebration on Aug. 17, 2019, was the menu of drinks. But the couple, who met in 2015 at a 12-step program in Washington, D.C., didn’t offer your typical assortment of cocktails.

“We had a coffee bar with coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, and syrups to satisfy everyone’s caffeine fix,” said Ms. Shea, 33, a communications manager in the transportation industry.

Mr. Smith, 32, and Ms. Shea’s wedding at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., was alcohol-free and kicked off at 10 a.m. “Because we don’t drink and a lot of our guests don’t drink, it didn’t make sense to serve alcohol,” she said.

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How to Avoid Basic Wedding Scams

From counterfeit dresses to vanishing vendors and stolen gifts, there are many ways unsuspecting couples could fall prey to wedding fraud or theft. Although the pandemic has forced many to postpone or downsize their celebrations, wedding scams have persisted.

In May, one couple in Chicago lost $3,500 when their wedding photographer ghosted them. Another couple in Melvindale, Mich., had nearly all their gifts stolen at their wedding last August. And then there are the dozens of brides in Black Forest, Colo., who have filed lawsuits this year against a venue owner who kept their deposits after the venue was forced to suddenly shut down for operating without permits. With a large surge of weddings expected to take place next year, there could be a spike in wedding scams in 2022.

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This Season’s Wedding Crashers: Cicadas

The bride and groom were in the middle of exchanging vows when something landed on David Levi’s head. “I particularly don’t like flying bugs, so you could imagine my reaction when a cicada landed on my head and started moving its tiny legs on my scalp,” said Mr. Levi of Bristol, Conn.

Mr. Levi, the owner of a cryptocurrency investment business based in Israel, let out a scream. “Thankfully, my friend came to the rescue and swatted off the cicada, but it didn’t stop there,” he said, describing a May 25 outdoor wedding he had attended in Volant, Pa. “During the reception, I saw some guests swatting at the air, trying to get cicadas away. I also saw some cicadas crawling on our table.”

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How to Use Instagram to Plan Your Wedding

It’s no secret that couples can use social media when planning their wedding. But one site that stands out for its utility, wedding planners say, is Instagram.

“Wedding planners, vendors, photographers, florists and venues all use Instagram to promote their services, so couples can easily find wedding inspiration by following these types of accounts,” said Antonia Baker, an event and wedding planner in Fredericksburg, Va. “From hairstyles to wedding venues to design ideas, Instagram has it all.”

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Socially Distant Wedding Activities

Weddings with packed dance floors have become a thing of the past because of the coronavirus pandemic, especially as many states continue to limit indoor occupancy. This means couples will need to find some other creative ways to keep their guests safely entertained and engaged.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are 10 fun games and activities you can incorporate into a socially distanced wedding reception.

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Outdoor Winter Wedding Hacks

Usually when temperatures drop, couples hold their wedding indoors, away from the cold. But with social-distancing requirements and restrictions on gatherings amid the coronavirus, more weddings will be taking place outdoors this winter.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as marrying couples embrace the elements. If you’re planning an outdoor winter wedding, here are some must-have items and creative ideas from professional wedding planners.

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Buying Wedding Insurance During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic foiled many couple’s wedding plans this year, but at the same time, it has helped raised awareness of wedding insurance.

“When the pandemic first hit back in March, we were handling dozens of clients with cancellations, postponements, contract negotiations, relocations, and a flurry of questions from 2020 couples about how to move forward and handle their event in the safest and most reassuring way,” said Noelle Ahmad-Snedegar, who owns the Washington-based event-planning company Lily & Grayson Events.

“One question that we received many times,” she said, “and still continue to answer, is, ‘Do you think we should get wedding insurance?’”

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Wedding Canceled or Postponed? Here’s How to Get a Refund

Frank Dariano and Sharon Mensah had planned to marry on July 5, with 50 guests in attendance, at a resort in Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. But they canceled the wedding shortly after shelter-in-place orders were issued in San Jose, Calif., their hometown. “Our plans really went south as the pandemic started cracking down on international travel,” said Mr. Dariano, an administrative assistant at an outpatient rehabilitation center in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Things got even worse when their venue refused to refund their $8,300 deposit. “We didn’t feel it was right to lose our deposit when no services had been rendered,” said Ms. Mensah, 36, a high school therapist in Sunnyvale. When pleading with the venue led to a dead end, the couple consulted a lawyer in Canada, who reviewed their contract and negotiated with the resort for a full refund.

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Planning a Wedding at Home? Here Are a Few Things to Consider

While many couples around the world are canceling or postponing their weddings because of the coronavirus pandemic, some are scaling down their plans and getting married at home.

Justine Roach, 31, and Hrishikesh Desai, 37, who are from Los Angeles, had originally planned to marry March 21 at Ojai Valley Inn, a resort in Ojai, Calif., before about 200 guests. The couple instead chose to exchange vows on the same day at the Beverly Hills home of the bride’s parents, with only their immediate family of six present.

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Curbing Hidden Wedding Costs

Creating and sticking to a budget can be a challenge for couples planning a wedding. The national average cost currently stands at $33,931, according to wedding website the Knot.

Unforeseen expenditures on things like postage, certain rentals or delivery charges can easily drive up costs. Event planners urge couples and their families to keep a close watch on some of these hidden or lesser-known expenses.

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