Junebug’s New Look, New Features and New Wedding Venues Hotlist!

Notice anything different dear readers? That’s right! Junebug’s got a fresh new look, and some amazing new features we’re incredibly excited to introduce to you. Our site (not to mention the wedding world and the internet) have grown and changed in huge ways since we launched back in 2006, so it was high time for a spring cleaning, a reorganization, and a whole new way to look at the content we have here, and how you, our readers, can interact with it best. With that in mind we’ve been working ridiculously long hours behind the scenes to keep the signature style we’re known for, but come up with something new we think you’ll love…
First up is our brand new World’s Best Wedding Venues Hotlist! Based on our highly-vetted Hotlists of photographersplanners and designers, we’re carefully searching the globe to find the most beautiful, unique, experienced and reliable wedding venues to recommend to you. We have some truly spectacular wedding venues on our Hotlist already, including One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas, Great Hall at Union Station in Seattle, Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, Chateau Challain in France, Kenwood Inn and Spa in Napa, and the St. Regis Punta Mita in Mexico to name a few (photos from these properties are seen below) and we’ll be adding many more in the coming months, so be sure the check back often!

Our nav bar at the top of the page has been simplified and reorganized, and our homepage is all new, with easy links to the newest blog posts on What Junebug Loves and Photobug, images in our Inspiration Photo Gallery and special sections and features we don’t want you to miss.
Our new Hotlist pages let you start by choosing where you’re planning your wedding, or by focusing in on finding your wedding planner, designer, venue or photographer. We’re adding fantastic wedding professionals from around the country every day, so soon, no matter what kind of wedding professional you need, Junebug will have just what you’re looking for. You can get to all of these pages from the drop-down menu in our nav bar under “plan your wedding”. (Wedding pros interested in join our community, click here to learn more and apply!)
And we even have new Wedding Planning 101 articles for you, so you can start your planning process off right by making your decisions with confidence and ease.

We’re so grateful for your support and the work we get to do here at Junebug everyday, and so honored to get to be a part of your wedding. We hope that you’ll love our new look and that these new features will help you plan your wedding with minimum stress – maximum fun and a whole lot of personal style. Stay tuned for more to come, explore, and enjoy!


The Wedding Speech Order You Need to Know | Bridalbaike

The Wedding Speech Order You Need to Know | Bridalbaike

Ask the Expert: Wedding Day Preparation

The day is finally here. You’ve been planning for months (perhaps even years!) and you couldn’t be more excited to walk down the aisle and begin your new life with your partner. In order for you to celebrate with minimal stress, you’ll need to make sure you have the tools you need for success. London based wedding & events planner, Matthew Oliver, is here to give us some helpful tips and advice on wedding day preparation.
Matthew: “All the ups and downs are fast approaching, but there is always a vague mist when it comes to what to pack for the big day. You may not be coming home until after the honeymoon, so you really need to have everything prepared, because, if you’re like me, you’ll get grumpy if you forget to pack your favorite shirt or toothbrush.”

“You want your day to be as smooth as ever with no hitches, especially with all the sweat and blood you put into this magical day, so I’ve listed a few essentials of what you will need to pack, along with some important tips too.”

What to pack for the day of your wedding:
1) Pack 2 separate bags, 1 for the wedding and 1 for the honeymoon, unless you’re not going straight on a honeymoon.
2) Pack all the presents that you’re giving people. Make sure they’re wrapped before, as you seriously won’t have time to wrap presents on the day of your wedding!
3) Of course you can’t forget your attire– dress, accessories, suit etc.! Groom, make sure your shirt and trousers are not creased, so maybe pack an iron too. Lovely bride, if your dress is fairly creased, hang it in the shower room, which should help drop the creases.
4) Pack as if there is nothing at the place where you’re going, just in case! Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hair dryer, makeup, even toilet paper! You never know.  *great idea if you’re traveling to a new and exotic destination for your honeymoon!
5) Pack all your paperwork – I know that your folder could be the size of the Statue of Liberty, but just in case there are any last minute changes, it’s important to have it with you, unless you have a planner, which I advise of course!
6) If you haven’t got a planner pack all your bits and bobs you’ve collected for decoration etc. Make it easier for yourselves and box them all up for the area you want them, ceremony, table 1, table 2, evening etc.! Also, try and write a list of what is in each box too, seriously this helps people like me massively!
7) Comfort items, if you’re on your own the night before you may want to pack your favorite teddy, film or anything that you love and brings you comfort
8) And, of course, bring your rings!
***We also suggest having a list of your vendors with phone numbers readily available, just in case there are any emergencies.

You want to be sublimely relaxed upon getting ready to walk down the aisle, we suggest doing something relaxing prior to your wedding with your bridesmaids. Perhaps you can all go to the nail salon, get massages, etc.
Last, but not least, enjoy yourself! Delegate any small tasks to others and focus on celebrating your love for one another.
Thanks so much for the great expert advice, Matthew! To see more of Matthew’s work, check out his member portfolio. If you’re wanting more wedding planning advice, check out Wedding Planning 101 – Five Steps to Planning Your Wedding.  cheap ball dresses


How to Choose Your Signature Cocktail – Expert Advice and Recipes from Oregon Bartending Service Mint and Mirth

Choosing the perfect libations to celebrate your big day can be daunting, especially if you’re trying to please a big crowd. Luckily, we spoke with Joni Whitworth from the award-winning Portland, Oregon bartending service, Mint & Mirth, who gave us some insider tips as well as yummy recipes for trendy and tasty cocktails. These summery drinks are all twists on classics and are sure to start your reception off with a kick!

“The Early Picnic” Signature Cocktail:
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 3/4 oz meyer lemon shrub
  • 1/4 oz lime juice

What advice do you have for couples selecting their signature cocktails?
Joni: If your budget is relatively tight, consider selecting just one light (vodka, rum, gin) and one dark (whiskey, bourbon, etc.). You’re sure to please nearly everyone! If you have kids and teen guests, remember that most cocktails can be made into mocktails by substituting juice or soda for alcohol. That way kids and teens can still feel like they are part of the action. Also, check out distilleries in your local area. Tell them you are getting married and want to design cocktails for your wedding, you may be able to get a free tour and tasting! 
“Change Your Clocks” Signature Cocktail:
  • 1 1/2 oz Hendricks gin
  • 3/4 oz mint shrub
  • topped with sparkling limeade
  • add a lime wheel garnish

“Fresh Cut” Signature Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz green chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • dash of rhubarb bitters
  • tonic
  • add a lemon peel garnish

What are some of the trendiest ingredients in wedding cocktails this season? 
Joni: Last summer I made variations on Meyer lemon drinks, such as Meyer lemon margaritas, Meyer lemon gin and tonics, and Bee’s Knees. This summer, I’m crafting my clients’ wedding menus around herbs, such as our tangerine thyme margarita.
“Miss Margarita” Signature Cocktail:
  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 1/2 oz cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz peach shrub
  • add a salt rim or dash of jacobsen salt

“Cherry Blossom” Signature Cocktail:
  • 3/4 oz Luxardo
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1/2 oz green chartreuse
  • garnish with cherry

What advice do you have for couples who are trying to find a wedding bartending service as professional and unique as Mint and Mirth?
Joni: I would advise them to spend an extra 10-20 minutes of up-front research. Reading up about potential cocktail catering companies will answer common questions and give you some insight as to that company’s style and process. The person you work with should have excellent manners, be prompt, communicate clearly, and have a list of references you can contact. Lastly, always put everything in writing!
“Northern Fjord” Signature Cocktail:
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1/2 oz aquavit
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz grenadine
  • add an orange peel garnish

What is a go-to drink that is always a crowd-pleaser at weddings? 
Joni: I love to make a nice Rhubarb Gin and Tonic or a Kentucky Mule. These are simple, fast drinks that are exceptionally easy to make, yet have a big aesthetic impact!

The Photo Shoot Team:
Shoot concept and cocktails by Mint & Mirth
Photography: Myles Katherine
Floral: Bella Bloom Floral
Design: CK Wedding and Event Design
Venue: Commissary Cafe
Hair and Makeup: Gina Campbell
Gowns: Lena Medoyeff


Wedding Planning 101 – How to Choose a Reception Site for Your Wedding

Selecting the best location for your reception is one of the biggest decisions, and most pivotal, you’ll make when planning your wedding. A stylish venue can set the tone for your entire wedding day, and with the most popular sites often booking far in advance, it’s important to secure your venue early in your planning process. Whether you’re envisioning a traditional ballroom wedding, a uniquely modern celebration, or a destination wedding and honeymoon, consider these tips to ensure the venue you choose is the place that feels just right for you.
Choosing Your Reception Venue
When choosing your reception site, you’ll want to love the look and feel of the space itself, and you’ll want to be sure that the venue is the perfect size to accommodate your guests gracefully as your wedding day unfolds. To get started, choose several top venues you’re interested in or have your wedding planner help you create a list of your best options. Call and make appointments with their on-site coordinator or catering manager and bring this list of questions with you on your visits.
Top Questions to Ask Your Reception Venue

  1. What services does the venue provide as part of your package? Many reception sites provide complete packages: catering, cake, staff, tableware and linens, which can be helpful if you love what they offer. Other sites charge a simple rental fee for their space, and leave the rest of the details up to you. To find the option that works best for your wedding, ask yourself how much you would like to personalize your celebration and what that will entail, or decide on a more all-inclusive approach. You’ll also want to ask about what is not included, but may be available.
  2. Does the venue have a preferred vendor list? Many venues have a list of exemplary caterers and professionals that they choose to work with, and they may charge an additional fee for a wedding professional who is not on that list. Some venues require that you work with their exclusive list, and still others will allow you to choose any professionals you desire. If you’re set on hiring a particular caterer or florist be sure that your venue will welcome your choice.
  3. How does the venue work as your day unfolds? To answer this, ask for a tour of the site as if it was your wedding day. In addition to your ceremony and reception site ask to see getting ready rooms, parking areas, restrooms and all areas your guests will access. If you are using any areas for more than one purpose, have your guide explain how those transitions will unfold and how much time it will take for break down and set-up.
  4. How many hours will the space be available? It’s typical for venues to rent out the space for a certain time block of time. You’ll want to have ample time for your ceremony and reception, so be sure you secure all the time you desire.
  5. What is your beverage and food minimum? If the venue itself is providing your food and drinks, they will likely have a minimum amount you are required to spend. Keep in mind this is a minimum and you should think about your guest count for a better idea of overall cost.
  6. Will there be a day-of coordinator on site? Many locations will have staff on hand to help turn rooms as needed and assist you or your planner with the last-minute arrangements. They are there to ensure that everything that the venue has been contracted to provide is delivered smoothly and that you have all your questions answered as they arise. Keep in mind that they work for the venue, so it is usually helpful if not critical to have your own planner and/or designer on board to take care of your priorities

Matching Your Venue To Your Wedding Style
Whether you choose a world-class destination resort, a charming garden, private estate, or rustic barn – the possibilities are seemingly endless. Read on and get inspired to find perfect spot that reflects your personality.
Classic Wedding Style

  • If your guest list is long and you want the feel of classic elegance, a grand hotel ballroom may be your ideal choice. Most have plenty of space, and some can be incredibly ornate in their style and decor, making it easy for you to create an impressive backdrop for your guests.
  • For a unique wedding site that still give off a sophisticated vibe, think mansions, historical buildings or castles. Many of these venues are privately owned, and many have an intimate and personal feel.
  • For an exclusive setting and picturesque backdrop, private clubs and golf courses are typically immaculately maintained and well-staffed. Choosing one can give your guests entrance to a location they wouldn’t be able to visit otherwise, while offering stunning backdrops options for your photographer.

Relaxed Wedding Style
  • A beautiful garden or park can offer an abundance of natural decor for your ceremony. If you can visit the location at the time of year when you will be getting married to get an idea of the colors and flowers in bloom at that time.
  • For a comfortable event with a bit of a cowboy vibe, choose a ranch or country farm. Rustic, elegant barn settings have been all the rage for years and many couples and designers have found super creative ways to make barns look beautiful.
  • Private estates are available for rent all over the world, and no matter your style you can find one that’s ideal for your wedding. If you own, or have access to a large house with entertainment spaces getting married at your own home, or that of a close friend of family member, can help make your wedding memorable and especially sentimental.

Modern Wedding Style
  • If your style is modern and you prefer an urban setting, try a local art museum or gallery, a hip restaurant, or an industrial loft space.
  • If you live near the water, check out large tour boats and cruise ships available for rent. Choose a beautiful boat with plenty of cabin space in case it rains, so your guests can revel in the view regardless of the weather.
  • Do you two share a love of wine and wide-open scenery? Then consider getting married at a winery. There are lots of fabulous wineries who specialize in weddings, and many are well-known for their world-class food and wine.
Destination Weddings
  • If you aren’t completely familiar with your far-away wedding location, hire a planner who is based in that area or who specializes in it. You’ll save on stress and confusion if you have a connection to your chosen locale.
  • A private beach wedding can be utterly romantic and picturesque – when choosing the best possible spot, utilize the natural landmarks like rock formations or overlooks to frame your ceremony and be sure your decor is built to handle ocean breezes.
  • Traveling to a far-away wedding is exciting but also calls for plenty of prep time. Send your guests save-the-dates at least six months in advance and provide them with detailed travel info around the same time you send out your final invitations.
Whatever your wedding style, be sure to visit our World’s Best Wedding Venues Hotlist which showcases both local and destination venues around the world. We have hidden gems and luxury resorts, sparkling city ballrooms and elegant country estates; all chosen for the high level of service and the quality experiences they provide!