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How to throw a kick-ass party (Extras!)

Three extra tips on throwing the best party ever!
Rina Rapuano - 2014

No. 13 Think Outside the Cake

“The cupcakes have been done; the cake pops are over," says wedding planner Elle Ellinghaus. Indeed, today's couples are keeping bakers on their toes, already moving on to the next trend: dessert bars filled with all kinds of treats, or even passed desserts on a stick. Wedding photographer Jennifer McMenamin calls this trend “the carnival approach to weddings," referencing the whimsy and fun today's couples are seeking.

Jodi Hair of Relysh catering company has presented everything from pie bars to a sautéed doughnut station to assorted miniature desserts. She's even done a milk-and-cookies bar stocked with enameled tins of chocolate, strawberry, and plain milk.

“People are getting away from cutting the cake, which really tends to break the energy," she says. “Most couples want a high-energy party."

No. 14 Getting to Know You

Worrying about how crazy cousin Edna will mesh with swanky officemate Todd at the wedding can be a huge stressor for the betrothed. One way to minimize the wedding-day awkwardness is to let your guests mingle at a casual gathering before or after the rehearsal dinner.

“Having a welcome party, so to speak, is a good idea," says Ellinghaus. And they're on the rise.

It helps to choose a place in or near where many of your guests are staying, so they can easily access it for a snack, a dessert, or a nightcap, depending on when they get into town. And while couples could take the initiative to organize it, Ellinghaus says they don't necessarily need to financially host it.

If you're looking for something more formal, Alexa McCulloch, of Union3 Event Productions, says one couple set up an itinerary—complete with a packet for guests—for three days before and two days following their wedding. She says it was jam packed with things like brewery tours, spa days, and lunches. “I've never seen anything like it, and I thought it was really impressive,' she says. “All they did the entire time was just get tanked!"

No. 15 Pop-Up Weddings, Anyone?

Church weddings, museums, and farms have all been done to death. So where can brides and grooms looking to distinguish themselves tie the knot these days?

Some are looking at the rustic yet gorgeous space at Corradetti Glassblowing Studio & Gallery near Woodberry Kitchen. Others are taking advantage of The Mansion House at The Maryland Zoo that dates back to 1801 and has views of Druid Hill Park. And Legg Mason Tower at Harbor East is proving that even an office building can be romantic when there are panoramic views of the glittering harbor.

But one wedding planner is itching to see a pop-up wedding or two.
“Everybody's looking to be different these days," says McCulloch. “Having a pop-up ceremony would be so much fun." She points out that anyone could ask their guests to arrive at any unusual venue, have a lickety-split ceremony, and head off to a reception.