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BELLA SERA WEDDING BLOG

By Erin Levers 17 Oct, 2017

Can you have a great wedding party without an open bar? Of course! Some couples offer a limited bar, others look for alcohol-free alternatives; and all of these options can be fun.

Mocktails

Mocktails are attractive, thirst-quenching, and can be just as delicious as their cocktail counterparts! When trying to decide what drinks to put on your mocktail menu, we recommend getting creative and cute.

  • Pick color themes. Select drinks that correspond to your wedding's color themes. Not only will your guests have a great drink menu to choose from, but your wedding reception will be more beautiful as a result.

  • Name some of your drinks something cute. Making up a cute or funny name for some of your mocktails can add a sense of playful fun to your reception. When picking cute names, try to tie the drinks back to your wedding. For example, you might name a drink something that combines your name with your spouse's name.

  • Pick a few exotic beverages that your relatives may not have tried in the past. Virgin mojitos, anyone? Your older relatives will go wild for some of the fun, flavorful drinks that have become popular in bars and restaurants in recent years.

Seasonal Beverages

Serving mulled cider in fall, wassail in winter, and lemonade and fruit juice in summer can help set a mood at your reception. Supporting these choices with seasonal decorations can help reinforce the theme and can keep guests in the mood for a party.

Beer and Wine Only

Instead of a completely open bar, many couples choose to serve beer and wine only, or beer, wine and a signature drink. Doing this can help control costs while giving your guests a modest range of choices.

Signature Drink

To help control costs, offering complimentary signature alcoholic drinks and a cash bar cuts back on the type of alcohol being offered at your reception. Some couples, hoping to give their guests more choices, will offer his and her signature drinks.

Signature drinks can be anything. Many couples like to attach a story to their signature drink. Consider offering a drink that you enjoyed on your first date, or a drink that you both enjoy together at your favorite restaurant. This can help keep the signature drink meaningful while also tying the party back to your relationship.

Tickets

Some couples, hoping to offer drink choices without a completely open bar, will provide a limited number of drink tickets to each family member. This is a good option for small weddings. At larger weddings, the tickets can become confusing. Distributing tickets to large numbers of guests can be challenging. Having a clear plan in place for this option helps to ensure that everyone gets their share of the tickets.

Work With Your Wedding Venue

Working closely with representatives from the wedding venue can help you plan the wedding you've always wanted. At Bella Sera, we help couples plan a truly fun and enjoyable wedding. For your convenience, our caterers offer a range of drink and menu choices. To get started with your wedding planning,  contact us today  to make an appointment at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 19 Sep, 2017

Tech free weddings are a relatively new concept. In a tech free wedding, also known as an "unplugged wedding," guests are asked not to take pictures or use their cell phone during all or part of the event. Cell phones are kept on silent and pictures are not taken.

Couples who choose to have a tech free wedding are often happy with the results, with a few caveats. Knowing why a couple might choose to make this dramatic choice, and what challenges they face when they do, can help you decide whether or not you'd like to have a tech free wedding yourself.

Why Go Tech Free?

There are many reasons that couples choose to go tech free! Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Your guests will be present in the moment. Nothing is more distracting or less romantic than an audience of wedding goers who can't get their eyes off their cell phones. Forcing guests to put their cell phones down for a minute helps them to be present in the moment. It's your big day; your ceremony should be the focus!
  • It would be a shame if all the guests were looking down in your official wedding photos. Imagine getting your wedding photos back from the photographer and seeing nothing but heads looking down and all devices out. Making your wedding tech free can help ensure that your guests will be looking up at you and your spouse to be throughout the duration of the ceremony.
  • Flash photography can ruin the mood.Flash photography in particular can be invasive and distracting. Asking guests to put away their phones can help ensure that no flash photography will be used during your wedding ceremony.

Reasons Not To Go Tech Free?

Although there are many reasons to go tech free at your wedding, there may be just as many reasons not to go tech free.

  • Some guests may become upset when they're asked to leave behind their favorite piece of electronic equipment. Presentation is important  when asking guests to leave their phones at home or turned off during the event. Be tactful and kind, and explain your reasoning gently so guests will understand and appreciate your logic.
  • If you go tech free you'll need to enforce it. Many guests will forget or just choose to use technology anyway, so you'll need to have someone on point who can ask cell phone users to hide them in their purse or pocket.
  • You'll have to share your wedding photos with everyone. People take cell pictures of the wedding because they want the memories. Couples who ask their guests to put away their phones should be prepared to share some of their wedding photos with everyone who attended. Getting these pictures out there can be logistically challenging and kind of a hassle.  

Work With Your Wedding Venue

Some couples ask their guests to keep cell phones put away through the ceremony and reception. Others ask guests to keep cell phones put away through the ceremony only. Whatever the logistical challenges you face as a result, your wedding venue can help. Putting up tasteful signs and making other small accommodations for the photographer can help ensure that your tech free wedding goes smoothly. At Bella Sera, we help couples put on the wedding they've always wanted. To get started with your wedding planning and to find out more about tech free weddings, call us today  for a consultation at (724) 745-5575.


By Erin Levers 12 Sep, 2017

A typical wedding day is full of surprises. At Bella Sera, we've helped hundreds of couples make the journey into marriage, and we know what happens on the big day. If you're getting married soon, knowing these little details can help you prepare for the emotional adventure you're about to undergo.  

It Won't All Go According to Plan

It doesn't matter how much you've prepped for the big day. A wedding is such a big production, with so many moving parts, that It's very rare for the entire event to go exactly as planned from start to finish. The best way to avoid problems is to vet all your vendors ahead of time. Read online reviews, check up on references and use tried and true businesses to keep your wedding going as planned.

You'll Need More Help Than You Expected

When problems occur on your wedding day, friends, family and capable professionals will be there by your side to keep things moving. Don't try to handle everything yourself; task things out to the nearest capable wedding venue professional or even a loved one. This can help you keep your wedding on track and the way the event was meant to be.

You Won't Get To Visit With Everyone

You're not a superhero. Unless your wedding is very intimate and small, it will probably be impossible to spend time talking to everybody who shows up at your wedding. You can forgive yourself for not having long conversations with every guest. Remember they've come because they love you and they understand that you're busy.

You Might Not Get to Eat Anything

Lots of couples get too nervous on their wedding day to eat much or eat anything at all. This can leave you feeling a little queasy. To keep your stomach from rumbling, have a small snack on hand in the dressing room. Don't forget to have lunch delivered, and if necessary, take some quiet time during the reception to eat a small plate of food. You'll be glad you did.

Drinking Might Also Be Out Of the Question

You'll be exhausted by the time the reception begins, so drinking any more than a glass of champagne may just sound like too much. Keep a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated, or you could start to feel sick by the end of the day.

...And Parts of It Will Still  Be A Blur

Your wedding day will be so busy and will go by so quickly that you'll have a hard time remembering the small details when it's over. That's why it's so important to have a good photographer  and videographer  at the event!

You'll Be Amazed By the Warm Happiness You Feel

Right up until the day that your wedding happens, you'll feel a range of emotions. Pleasure, excitement, nervousness, anticipation and even a little dread. What you may not realize is that all that hard work and emotional output is leading up to a great feeling of warmth, happiness, and love. On the day that you're surrounded by your friends and family, you'll be amazed at the happiness you feel inside.

Contact Bella Sera

At Bella Sera, we know how it feels on your wedding day, we know what goes into the planning for a wedding, and we want you to have the best! To get started with a wedding vendor that really understands, call us today  (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 05 Sep, 2017

The best wedding photographs will capture the true spirit of the day and the small moments that make your wedding perfect. These 11 must-have wedding photographs are quintessential images that you'll definitely want to capture.

The Rings

Your wedding rings are the true symbol of your love for one another, so they deserve their own picture. Photographers can get very creative when they take this picture by applying creative backgrounds and lighting. Talk to your photographer in advance about your aesthetic style and your preferences before taking this picture, so your photographer will know how you'd like to capture this classic image.

Invitations

Typically, the invitation suite shows a few invitations, envelopes and RSVP cards, arranged in a nice formation against a flat backdrop. Some couples like to see the invitations surrounded by roses, petals, glitter or pearls. Others like to combine the invitation shot with the rings to capture both at once.

Makeup Moment

Pictures of the bride putting on makeup before the wedding can show the excitement and anticipation that she feels before the ceremony. Some women may do their own makeup on the morning of the wedding, others might have help. Either way, be careful to position yourself in such a way that the photographer can get a good glimpse of the process.

Best Friends

Of course you need a shot with bridesmaids and groomsmen! Shots of the bride, groom and their best friends before the wedding begins helps to show the support that the lucky couple feels from their closest friends.

Pre-Wedding Chaos

No collection of wedding photos is complete without a shot of the bride or groom getting ready in a hectic dressing room, surrounded by family and friends. The more people and action in these photos the better.

First Look

The "first look" photograph is a classic image of the couple when they see one another for the first time before the ceremony. These pictures are usually cute and sweet, or intimate and romantic.

The Vows

This tender moment is one of the most important parts of the ceremony. Work with your photographer to ensure that he or she has the best angle possible to capture you, your spouse to be and the background, so you'll always remember the moment when you said, "I do."

The Kiss

Whether dramatic and long or short and sweet, the kiss at the end of the ceremony is the moment that you and your significant other can finally say that you're married. You'll probably come back to this moment and look at this picture for years to come. This may be the most important photograph of your entire wedding.

First Dance

The first dance shot is a classic image of the couple dancing for the first time in their marriage. It's the first of many happy dances together.

Tables Before, Tables After

Let your photographer into the reception area before and after the wedding to capture pictures of the centerpieces, tables, flowers and seats where your guests spend their time after the ceremony.

Party Departure

The departure from the party before you leave on your honeymoon should be a fun shot, filled with smiles, confetti, glitter and light. Live it up!

Contact Bella Sera

Finding the  right photographer  for your wedding is important. At Bella Sera we help couples find the right photographer, videographer and other professionals who can help the wedding go without a hitch. To view our facilities, talk to us about photographers and plan your upcoming wedding,  contact us for an appointment  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 29 Aug, 2017

Winter is coming quickly! For couples planning a winter wedding, now is the time to make tough choices about wedding colors. From navy to Champaign, couples find that there's a rainbow of possibilities to choose from. Below are our favorites. These winter wedding color suggestions are elegant, sophisticated and rich in romance.

Pewter and Sage Green

These colors incorporate the soft, subtle tones seen in nature during the coldest months of winter. Pewter has the moody romantic look of storm clouds on a winter day, while sage reminds us that even during the coldest times of year, life goes on. To incorporate pewter and sage green into a ceremony, look to natural decorations like twigs, log furniture and sprigs from evergreen plants. Drape the tables in garlands made of natural greenery to fill the room with the scents of the forest. A bridal gown or bridesmaids gowns decorated in gray pearls will help add to the effect.

Shining Gold and Red Wine

Gold is a glamorous, energetic color that can be symbolic of wealth, riches and comfort. Meanwhile, red wine is deep, gentle and rich, standing in direct contrast with the shine of gold. These colors are a favorite in night weddings, because they contribute to the rich ambience and deep romance of the occasion. Couples thinking about using these colors may consider a small, intimate wedding beside a fire, with a long dinner to follow. For flowers, traditional roses are best.

Champagne and Eggplant

Champaign is a romantic neutral that can be paired with just about anything, and we find that Champagne bridesmaid gowns are especially elegant against a snowy winter backdrop. Paired with eggplant colored shawls, flowers, lipstick and bow ties, these winter colors can be flattering for everyone in the wedding party.

When picking Champagne and eggplant colored decorations, keep the accessories simple. Think: soft, satiny table cloths in a soft neutral shade, deep purple roses and decorative dishes filled with colored pieces of glass. Pay attention to the small details. Scattering the reception table with colored jewels and loose petals from fresh flowers is a good way to reinforce your theme.

White and Navy

White is a daring wedding color, especially in winter when everything is coated in white, fluffy snow. We recommend these colors for couples seeking to have their ceremony outdoors in a winter wonderland. White berries, white flowers and white pearls are the perfect accessories for these lovely wedding colors. To incorporate blue into the mix, look for bridesmaid dresses made of thick blue velvet, and consider giving guests small blue blankets to drape over their laps during the ceremony.

Contact Bella Sera

Planning a wedding can be a challenge. At  Bella Sera , we work with couples to help them make tough decisions about their wedding ceremony and reception. If you're struggling to plan your winter wedding and are seeking good ideas, make an appointment to see our site. Take a tour of our wedding grounds and view  pictures from our portfolio  to help you decide which look is best for your upcoming ceremony.

By Erin Levers 22 Aug, 2017

Couples planning a winter wedding are switching into high gear as the end of summer approaches. At Bella Sera, we've been monitoring the latest winter wedding trends and we're here to report back! No matter what the size of your wedding or the number of people attending, these six fabulous wedding trends can make your upcoming winter wedding a day to remember.

Berries, Berries Everywhere

Seasonal berries add subtle beauty to your wedding ceremony! For example:

  • In the bouquet: Talk to your florist to find out how you can incorporate red or white winter berries in to your bouquet. Don't forget to request non-toxic berries, to ensure that any children who encounter your bouquet at the wedding will be safe.
  • On the wedding cake: Edible berries make a nice decoration on top of any wedding cake while also adding seasonal color to your white icing. Consult with your baker to find a configuration and a berry color that works for your needs.
  • On your lips: Berry-colored lipstick is popular on brides and bridesmaids in the winter. Dark red lipstick and other bold, berry-colored makeup can help your lips stand out for photographs and during the ceremony.

Nature Inspired Decor

People like to bring elements of the outdoors to their winter weddings. Some common elements that you'll see in this winter's weddings include:

  • Wreaths made from real pine boughs, twigs, leaves or holly.
  • Garlands made from real pine, interlaced with ribbon.
  • Local winter blooming flowers.
  • Pinecone motif.
  • Acorn motif.

If you're seeking more ideas for nature-inspired decor, we recommend talking to your florist or wedding planner. You can also call us at Bella Sera; we have a range of ideas from previous winter weddings.

Long Sleeves

Wedding dresses with long sleeves show off the long, elegant lines of the bride's arms while also keeping her warm and comfortable throughout the ceremony. Long sleeves will also make an appearance on bridesmaid dresses this winter, because long sleeves help keep the whole wedding party comfortable.

Faux Fur

Fur looks warm, feels soft and adds an element of luxury to the wedding gown. While real fur is controversial and expensive, faux fur is more affordable and animal-friendly. Like long sleeves, faux fur can keep the bride and bridesmaids comfortable throughout the event, so we recommend it for everyone.

Jewels and Sequins

Something about jewels and sequins is very winter-esque; perhaps because the sparkle reminds us of ice and snow. While jewels are common on the bride's gown, at Bella Sera we're predicting we'll see more jewels and sequins on bridesmaid gowns, and more sequins on table cloths, napkins and other forms of decor.

Flower Crown

A flower crown on a bride helps to show that she's the queen of the procession, as well as the center of attention. A winter flower crown may include white roses, berries, or evergreen boughs, to match the season and give the bride a more natural look.

Contact Bella Sera to Plan Your Winter Wedding

At Bella Sera, we work with couples to ensure that their wedding is as fabulous and fun as they dreamed it would be. Our flexible event space can make your winter wedding the event of the year. To find out more about having your wedding at Bella Sera,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 15 Aug, 2017

Winter is a great time of year to have a wedding! From sparkling icicles to snow-crusted streets, winter is a time of year when everything is white, pure and gorgeous. This makes the perfect setting for a romantic, sweet wedding ceremony. In this post, we'll discuss some of the reasons that winter is one of the best times of year to get married.

You Get the Best Deals

People hibernate when the cold weather comes, which means demand goes down and everything is cheaper in winter. Wedding venues, photographers and videographers all tend to charge less during this quiet season. Travel deals are easier to find and airfare tends to be cheaper (perhaps with the exception of the holidays).

Couples who want to go far, far away on a romantic honeymoon may find it easier to get a deal at a luxury resort, in a cabin on the beach or in a European bed and breakfast. No matter what your plans, you'll be sure to find affordable options.

Snow is Completely Romantic!

Sparkling snow is the perfect backdrop for pictures of you, your spouse to be and your loved one. Because the landscape is so white and pristine in winter, we recommend selecting bridesmaid dresses and flowers in bold colors to stand out for photographs. Deep reds, navys, dark greens and royal purples are some of the perfect wedding colors for a winter wedding.  

Winter Can Be Intimate and Cozy

Imagine you, your spouse to be, and your guests, celebrating your marriage in a room with lowlights, grand music, Champaign and a fireplace. This is a typical winter wedding. It's sure to leave you feeling cozy and happy!

Hoping for An Outdoor Wedding? No Problem!

Outdoor weddings are possible even in winter. We recommend holding your ceremony under a clear tent with outdoor heaters to keep you and your guests comfortable. Afterwards, plan to crack open the wine to warm the guests and celebrate the beautiful day.

Black Ties Are Way More Comfortable

Grooms always shy away from black tie events in summer because those tuxedos can be brutally hot. Winter weddings make tuxedos comfortable. Your groom will look and feel great all day and night as the party goes on.

Wedding Venues Decorate for the Holidays

Many wedding venues decorate when the holidays are near. If your wedding is properly timed, you may be able to take advantage of the free holiday decor.

Less Wedding Fatigue for Guests

Summer is a time when many, many people get married. By the end of the summer, some guests get tired of weddings. Wedding fatigue is a real thing that can lead to low attendance and a less spirited celebration. Winter weddings rarely ever have this problem, and guests show up to the wedding feeling refreshed and excited to celebrate the start of your new life together.

Makeup is Less Likely to Run

Brides rarely sweat for photographs in winter weddings, which means their makeup always looks pristine. In fact, cheeks take on a natural pink glow in the cold, which makes the photography even better.

The Accessories are So Cute!

Between polar bears, penguins, snowmen and snowflakes, winter accessories are adorable and fun. You'll have plenty of fun accessories to choose from when picking your theme and decorations.

Work With Bella Sera

At Bella Sera, we help couples plan the perfect wedding on our grounds. We have a beautiful fireplace, outdoor spaces and a variety of rooms where you and your loved one can start your life together. To make an appointment to see our venue,  call us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 08 Aug, 2017

If you've ever been to a wedding in Pittsburgh, chances are that you know what a cookie table is. The cookie table is a time-honored tradition that makes Pittsburgh weddings truly unique and special. If you're not familiar with cookie tables and you're planning a wedding in Pittsburgh, this post will cover everything you need to know!

What Is A Cookie Table?

A cookie table is exactly what it sounds like: it's a table filled to the brim with cookies. Cookie tables can vary in size. Some wedding receptions include one large cookie table, others will disperse cookie tables around the room to keep guests moving. Some weddings reveal the cookie table after the reception dinner, others set out the cookie table from the start of the reception.

No one is certain where the cookie table tradition originated, though some claim that  Eastern European or Italian immigrants  may be responsible. It's thought that cookie tables began as an alternative to the more expensive and elaborate wedding cakes traditionally served at weddings.  

A traditional cookie table will have homemade cookies, produced en masse by grandmothers, aunts and family friends. For months leading up to the wedding, cookies are baked and frozen. On the wedding day, these cookies are hauled in plastic containers to the wedding reception venue, where they are proudly displayed among the wedding decorations and professional catering.  

Cookie tables can be loaded up with thousands of cookies for wedding guests. To ensure that all of the cookies are gone when the wedding reception is over, guests are provided with take-home containers.

Are the Cookies Always Homemade?

Although tradition demands that the cookies must be homemade, many modern families order their cookies from professional bakers. To make the cookies as authentic as possible, many bakeries in and around Pittsburgh will bake straight from traditional family recipes supplied by the client.

Cookie Table Planning Tips

If you're planning to have a cookie table at your upcoming wedding, these tips will help!

  • Stay organized. Coordinate with the wedding venue ahead of time to ensure they know how many cookies you plan to display on your cookie table, and where you would like to the cookie table to be located.

  • Take guest health into account. Guests with allergies may need to know the ingredients in certain recipes. Put out small labels on each cookie type, and list ingredients whenever possible and appropriate.

  • Recruit bakers early into the process. Depending on how many cookies you need to order, you may not be able to get all of the cookies from a single baker. Finding the baker or bakers in advance will help ensure that you'll have as many cookies as you want on the day of your wedding. If you're not sure which bakers in the area can bake your wedding cookies, ask your wedding venue for recommendations and advice.

Does Your Wedding Include A Cookie Table? Work With Your Wedding Venue!

At Bella Sera, we work with couples to help them plan the wedding of a lifetime. If you're getting married in Pittsburgh and you'd like to talk to a professional wedding venue about cookie tables and other logistical concerns, we can help! To schedule a tour,  contact our Wedding Coordinator  Lauren at (724) 745-5575 (ext. 101).

By Erin Levers 01 Aug, 2017

The wedding venue is critical for ensuring a fun and happy wedding. A good wedding venue will provide variety, comfort and style to ensure that the wedding is beautiful and memorable for the guests. If you're planning a wedding a searching for a venue, knowing what to look for can help you decide which space is right for you.

Indoor and Outdoor Space

Weddings are long events that take place in many locations from beginning to end. From the preparation rooms to the alter to the party room afterwards, the wedding moves several times throughout the course of the day. Variety is important for keeping the party going and making the ceremony more meaningful.

Indoor space is good at night when it's chilly, but in times of good weather, many modern ceremonies are held outdoors under a natural archway made from wood and greenery. Look for a venue that provides indoor and outdoor spaces to ensure variety from start to finish.

Scenic Backdrops

Scenic backdrops are important for taking interesting pictures before the ceremony begins. Many couples like having a variety of backdrop options, from urban settings to natural outdoor spaces. It's not always possible to find this in one location, but couples tend to look for as much variety as possible to get the best pictures for their event.

Natural Lighting

Natural lighting is flattering, simple and inexpensive. While a sun-bathed bride commands oohs and ahhs from the crowd, a groom in soft morning daylight is romantic and makes for good memories. Venues that have big windows and lightly covered outdoor spaces are best for ensuring that the wedding ceremony is lit with natural daylight.

Rustic Decor

Rustic decor is very popular in modern weddings. Think: ball jars with votive candles inside. Twine holding together a bouquet of farm-grown roses. Antique lace. Branches with tiny bells dangling in the wind. These little touches give the wedding a timeless, simple quality that many couples strive to capture on their special day.

Rustic and vintage decor can all be brought to the wedding venue, but talk to the venue planner for good ideas to make your wedding decor standout.

Customizable Spaces

Venues that provide movable walls, multi-purpose rooms, a variety of dressing spaces and multiple kitchen areas is important for ensuring that your wedding venue meets your party's many needs. When viewing a venue for the first time, ask questions like:

  • How will all my guests fit in this space?
  • What will the table and chair configuration look like?
  • How many people from the party will be able to get ready in this one room?
  • Where will the guests lounge during the reception?

Asking questions like this can help you decide if the venue is right for your needs.

Host Bar

A host bar is one of the latest trends in modern weddings. There are a variety of ways that a host bar can be provided at affordable rates. Some venues provide packages that cover beer and wine only, others will allow the couple to provide guests with drink vouchers good up to a certain number of beverages. Talk to your venue about the different bar packages available to decide which one will fit into your budget.

Contact Your Wedding Venue

If you're getting married soon, now is the time to find your venue. At Bella Sera, we provide flexible bar options, indoor outdoor spaces, customizable spaces and beautiful backdrops for wedding photography. To view our venue,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 11 Jul, 2017

The centerpieces you use at your wedding can make a big difference at your wedding reception. Using the right centerpieces can help set the tone of the event while also making your wedding day more magical. There's a lot to consider when choosing your centerpiece, from budget, to appearance, to the comfort and happiness of your guests.

Tie the Centerpieces Into Your Theme

Centerpieces, like every other aspect of the wedding, are an excellent opportunity to tie into the theme and keep your guests engaged. Is summer your theme? Why not sprinkle summer flower petals on the table around the centerpieces? Use sunflowers as your centerpieces, and place them in sky-blue colored vases, to mimic the beauty and elegance of the sky on a hot summer day.

Consider Your Budget

Even couples on a budget can buy beautiful, engaging centerpieces for their wedding. With a little smart shopping and creative thinking, the tables at your wedding reception can be charming, elegant, and inexpensive.

  • Buy inexpensive flowers in bulk. Gerbera daisies, carnations and mums are commonly sold inexpensively from florists. Best of all, these flowers come in a wide range of colors to match with any wedding ceremony. While you may not be in the market for high-end exotic floral arrangements, you can still impress your guests with the sheer quantity of your flowers.

  • Look for in-season, local varieties. Flowers get less expensive and easier to find when they're in season. Contacting florists that carry local flowers from local markets can help you find more affordable flowers for your wedding reception.  

  • Shop around. You'll get the best deals by looking well in advance and by consulting with a variety of different florists before making your final decision.

  • Avoid flowers altogether. Who says you need flowers to make a beautiful centerpiece? Candles, strands of lights, garland, lanterns, feathers, seashells, beads and other magical looking objects can all make beautiful centerpieces.

Go Eclectic for a Big Wedding

If you're having a very large wedding with many tables, consider using a wide variety of centerpieces, of varying sizes and made from different materials. For example, divide your centerpieces into three groups. The first group, large bouquets, will have bountiful floral arrangements with a huge variety of flowers. The second group, small bouquets, will consist of smaller bouquets made from smaller flower types. The third group will be a non-flower arrangement (using lights or candles, for example). Varying your centerpieces in this way could help liven up the space, adding visual interest to your reception.

Think of Your Guests

The beauty of the centerpieces is not the only thing you should consider when choosing centerpieces. The comfort and preferences of your guests should be considered just as much as the aesthetics. After all, your guests may spend hours at the table, talking to other guests and relaxing at your party. Choosing the right centerpieces will help make this experience more enjoyable for all.  

  • Keep the size to a minimum. Tall, wide centerpieces can make it hard to see the dance floor, the happy couple and the people across the table. Using short centerpieces that guests can see over helps keep the wedding entertaining and fun for everyone.

  • Use unscented flowers for people with allergies. Flowers that smell beautiful can certainly add a nice aroma to the air. Unfortunately, these lovely scents could force guests with allergies to leave early. Work with your florist to find flowers that have minimal scent.  

Contact Bella Sera for Your Wedding and Reception

At Bella Sera, we work with couples to plan their wedding at our venue. With first rate catering and elegant facilities, we take pride in providing the best venue for your wedding that we possibly can. To make an appointment,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 18 Jul, 2017

Your wedding may last only one day, but the photographs will last a lifetime. Picking the right photographer is the best way to ensure that your wedding photos will accurately represent your special day.

Know What You Want

Wedding photographs come in a variety of styles.

Photojournalistic pieces capture candid images with figures in action. Photojournalistic photographs may include shots of the bride interacting with bridesmaids, the groom interacting with parents and caterers setting up for the reception. These shots capture the essence of the wedding day from start to finish.

Portrait style photographs are posed and planned, capturing little or no action but all the beauty and splendor of the wedding ceremony.

Fine art style photographs capture images from strange angles and creative perspectives. The photographer may focus on a flower girl while the bride stands out of focus in the background, or may focus on balloons over a wedding table as the bride and groom dance to the side. These photographs can be fun and whimsical, magical and serene or edgy and full of drama.  

Many photographers will shoot a combination of these different types of photography, however, if you desire one type of photograph over another, it helps to find a photographer who is strong in that type of photography.  

Browse ALL the Listings

Knowing the different photographers in your area can help you pick the right photographer for your wedding. You should take a long time to find the right photographer, going through many options before you land on the right one.

Don't Look for a "Good Deal"

Focus less on the cost of the photographs and more on finding the right photographer for your event. A good quality photographer might be more costly, but the trade off will be the years of enjoyment that you'll get out of your wedding photographs.

Search Through Portfolios

One of the best ways to tell if a photographer is right for you is by looking at the photographer's portfolio. Most photographers will keep their portfolios online. After looking through a few portfolios, some photographers may start to blend together. Take careful notes on each photographer, their specialties and your feeling about each photographer's portfolio.

Get Referrals

Your recently married friends may be able to refer you to their wedding photographers. When asking your friends for references, ask them if they found their photographer to be reliable, personable and if they were pleased with the finished product. This will help you find a photographer who is likely to meet his or her obligations and produce photographs that you can enjoy.  

Schedule an Appointment

Once you've narrowed your search to a few candidates, meet with each potential photographer before making your final choice. Remember that your photographer will spend many hours with you on your wedding day, so the photographer you choose should be someone who you enjoy talking to and who understands your priorities.

When meeting with potential photographers, do your best to describe the look and feel of the photographs you're seeking. Ask the photographer how he or she achieves the type of photographs that you want, and ask the photographer to show you examples of work that match the style you seek. This will help you narrow your search.

At Bella Sera, we recommend  Redford Photography  for clients seeking flexible, personable photographers who can take photographs in a variety of styles. To make an appointment with Bella Sera,  contact us  today at (724) 745-5575, or  contact our photographer  at Redford photography at 724-743-5700.


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WHAT BELLA SERA BRIDES ARE READING RIGHT NOW

BELLA SERA WEDDING ARTICLES

By Erin Levers 17 Oct, 2017

Can you have a great wedding party without an open bar? Of course! Some couples offer a limited bar, others look for alcohol-free alternatives; and all of these options can be fun.

Mocktails

Mocktails are attractive, thirst-quenching, and can be just as delicious as their cocktail counterparts! When trying to decide what drinks to put on your mocktail menu, we recommend getting creative and cute.

  • Pick color themes. Select drinks that correspond to your wedding's color themes. Not only will your guests have a great drink menu to choose from, but your wedding reception will be more beautiful as a result.

  • Name some of your drinks something cute. Making up a cute or funny name for some of your mocktails can add a sense of playful fun to your reception. When picking cute names, try to tie the drinks back to your wedding. For example, you might name a drink something that combines your name with your spouse's name.

  • Pick a few exotic beverages that your relatives may not have tried in the past. Virgin mojitos, anyone? Your older relatives will go wild for some of the fun, flavorful drinks that have become popular in bars and restaurants in recent years.

Seasonal Beverages

Serving mulled cider in fall, wassail in winter, and lemonade and fruit juice in summer can help set a mood at your reception. Supporting these choices with seasonal decorations can help reinforce the theme and can keep guests in the mood for a party.

Beer and Wine Only

Instead of a completely open bar, many couples choose to serve beer and wine only, or beer, wine and a signature drink. Doing this can help control costs while giving your guests a modest range of choices.

Signature Drink

To help control costs, offering complimentary signature alcoholic drinks and a cash bar cuts back on the type of alcohol being offered at your reception. Some couples, hoping to give their guests more choices, will offer his and her signature drinks.

Signature drinks can be anything. Many couples like to attach a story to their signature drink. Consider offering a drink that you enjoyed on your first date, or a drink that you both enjoy together at your favorite restaurant. This can help keep the signature drink meaningful while also tying the party back to your relationship.

Tickets

Some couples, hoping to offer drink choices without a completely open bar, will provide a limited number of drink tickets to each family member. This is a good option for small weddings. At larger weddings, the tickets can become confusing. Distributing tickets to large numbers of guests can be challenging. Having a clear plan in place for this option helps to ensure that everyone gets their share of the tickets.

Work With Your Wedding Venue

Working closely with representatives from the wedding venue can help you plan the wedding you've always wanted. At Bella Sera, we help couples plan a truly fun and enjoyable wedding. For your convenience, our caterers offer a range of drink and menu choices. To get started with your wedding planning,  contact us today  to make an appointment at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 10 Oct, 2017

If there's ever a time for your makeup to look even more beautiful, it's on  your wedding day Many women think about their makeup for weeks in advance of the big event. But practicing your makeup well before the big day and deciding on  a style and look that fits you is important. The right look should accentuate your dress, coordinate with the wedding colors and, of course, bring out the best in your personal style.

Best Wedding Makeup Looks

Below are our three favorite wedding makeup styles.

  • Soft and neutral. Apply neutral, earthy tones above the eyes and on the cheeks. Over the lips, use soft pink (almost nude colored) lipstick.
  • Smoky and sultry. Apply gradated, smokey colored eyeshadow, neutral colored blush and neutral-colored lipstick to keep the focus on your eyes.
  • Pink and sweet. Peach blush, soft pink lipstick and shimmery purple eye shadow gives your face a sweet, natural glow that people will love.

Basic Tips

These tips will help you achieve a beautiful, long lasting look for your big day.

  • Practice, practice, practice. Don't be afraid to practice your makeup application before your wedding. Do it several times if need be! If you need feedback, do this with a friend so she can give you tips and honest feedback.
  • Wear long-lasting formulas. It might feel short, but your wedding day will be a long one. Try out long lasting formulas before your wedding day arrives. Look for mascara that doesn't run, lipstick that won't quit and eyeshadow that stays in place no matter how much you sweat or cry. To put things to the test, wear your wedding makeup to your bachelorette party. After a night out on the town, check your makeup before you turn in for the night. If your makeup still looks great, you've found the right products for you!
  • Get your skin ready in advance. Make a visit to a spa, get regular facials, and moisturize your skin daily in the weeks leading up to your wedding. This way, your skin will look its best when the big day arrives.
  • Use powder to control shine. You're going to sweat on your wedding day, no doubt. You might cry a little too! Skin that glows is a good thing, but skin that shines not so much. Use a light powder to control shine. Not only will you look better in person, you'll also look better in your photographs.
  • Avoid very dark lipsticks. Very dark lipsticks can wash out your face and give you a “Goth” look that might look weird in the photos. Unless you always wear dark lipstick, avoid wearing it on your wedding day.  
  • Stay hydrated. Nerves and anxiety can leave you feeling dry on your wedding day. Unfortunately, this might also lead to dry lips and dry skin. Stay hydrated so your lips will retain their full, sexy shape.
  • Stick to neutral colors on your nails. Bright nails can distract from your beautiful dress. A nice French manicure or soft, beige colored nails will help keep the focus on your gorgeous ensemble, beautiful flowers and your face.  
  • Be you. More than anything else, you want to look like yourself for your wedding photographs. Avoid makeup styles that are wildly different from your normal everyday look. You want to look back on your photographs and recognize the face you see.

Contact Us At Bella Sera

At Bella Sera, we help couples plan their perfect wedding. Our beautiful venue and professional staff can make your wedding day an event to remember. To make an appointment,  call us today  at (724) 745-5575.

By Erin Levers 04 Oct, 2017

The wedding bouquet may seem like a small detail when it comes to planning the entire  wedding, but the flowers are an important component  of the bride's ensemble. Picking the right bouquet can help make the dress even more beautiful and romantic.

Choose the Dress First

The gown and flowers should match one another. Picking the dress first makes it possible for you to bring a picture of it with you to the florist when choosing the bouquet. For best results, bring a picture of yourself in the dress, so your florist can consider things like its shape and size, and the shape of your body as well. This makes it easier to pick the right size and type of bouquet.

Consider Color

Not all wedding dresses are plain and simple white. Taking into account the various colors of your dress, including those shades of ivory and cream, can help ensure that your flowers will look right. You should, of course, consider the color of the other flowers and the wedding colors in general. Coordinating colors can help ensure that your wedding flowers won't clash with the other colors in the background.

Research Flowers Ahead of Time

Roses, peonies, lilies and hydrangeas are all examples of popular wedding flowers. Knowing popular flowers in advance can help you pick the right flowers for your ceremony. If you're having a hard time deciding after doing some online research, your florist can show you examples of some of the most popular wedding bouquets for your area.

Size and Shape

Wedding bouquets come in various sizes and shapes. Some bouquets are short and sweet, others are trailing and large. Coordinating the size and shape of your bouquet with the size and shape of your dress is important. For example, picking a large bouquet against a tiny dress can make your dress seem disproportionate and strange. This is another good reason to pick the dress before selecting the bouquet.

Get Some Photos

Your wedding bouquet will only last a few days, but getting photos of the bouquet on the morning of your wedding can help you remember it forever. Talk to your photographer in advance about getting pictures. This way your photographer will be sure to get several good shots before the ceremony.

Contact Bella Sera

At Bella Sera we help couples plan the perfect wedding. As your wedding venue in the Pittsburgh area, we can help you make various decisions that will make your wedding day truly magical. To find out more,  contact us today  at (724) 745-5575. We can help you get started with your wedding plans.

By Erin Levers 26 Sep, 2017


Choosing a wedding party can be a challenge. Your wedding party should be people who can offer support when it's needed and help you solve problems as they arise on your big day. This is especially important for the Maid of Honor and Best Man, who each have important duties that help keep the wedding plans moving forward and prevent the event from becoming overwhelming. To ensure the wedding goes smoothly, it's important to choose the right people for the job.


Include Your Siblings/Siblings-In-Law

To include or not to include? Long after the wedding is over and friends have gone their separate ways, your siblings will always be a part of your life. Unless there's a good reason not to include your siblings in your wedding party, they should be among the first people you ask. If your siblings aren't being included for whatever reason, consider giving them a different role in the wedding. Ask them to plan a party, pass out programs, decorate or give them other tasks.


Pick the People Who Will Always Be Around

A role in your wedding is a big deal and shouldn't be given away lightly. The friends you choose for your wedding party should be people who you expect will continue to be an important part of your life forever. When choosing friends for your wedding party, ask yourself if you expect this person will still be a good friend for many years to come.


Know Who Not To Include

Knowing who not to include can help you narrow your choices. First, give consideration to the amount of time and energy that each candidate might have to give to your wedding. People who live far away, who have busy schedules or who can't afford to travel to the site of the wedding may not be the best choice. Don't choose anyone who might find participation to be a burden or hardship.

Other general tips for knowing whom not to ask include:

  Don't ask anyone because you were in his or her wedding. This alone is not a good enough reason to include someone in your wedding.

  Avoid asking people who might not mesh with the rest of the group. Asking someone who doesn't get along with the other members of the   party could make your wedding awkward and may even lead to problems.


More Than One Best Man or Maid of Honor?

It's perfectly acceptable to have more than one Best Man or Maid of Honor. Given the important roles that the BM and MOH play in the wedding, having more than one person on each side can help prevent problems.


Get Started With Your Wedding Planning At Bella Sera

Need more tips and help planning your wedding? At Bella Sera, we provide elegant wedding space for couples about to begin their journey together. To make an appointment,

contact us today

at (724) 745-5575.


By Erin Levers 19 Sep, 2017

Tech free weddings are a relatively new concept. In a tech free wedding, also known as an "unplugged wedding," guests are asked not to take pictures or use their cell phone during all or part of the event. Cell phones are kept on silent and pictures are not taken.

Couples who choose to have a tech free wedding are often happy with the results, with a few caveats. Knowing why a couple might choose to make this dramatic choice, and what challenges they face when they do, can help you decide whether or not you'd like to have a tech free wedding yourself.

Why Go Tech Free?

There are many reasons that couples choose to go tech free! Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Your guests will be present in the moment. Nothing is more distracting or less romantic than an audience of wedding goers who can't get their eyes off their cell phones. Forcing guests to put their cell phones down for a minute helps them to be present in the moment. It's your big day; your ceremony should be the focus!
  • It would be a shame if all the guests were looking down in your official wedding photos. Imagine getting your wedding photos back from the photographer and seeing nothing but heads looking down and all devices out. Making your wedding tech free can help ensure that your guests will be looking up at you and your spouse to be throughout the duration of the ceremony.
  • Flash photography can ruin the mood.Flash photography in particular can be invasive and distracting. Asking guests to put away their phones can help ensure that no flash photography will be used during your wedding ceremony.

Reasons Not To Go Tech Free?

Although there are many reasons to go tech free at your wedding, there may be just as many reasons not to go tech free.

  • Some guests may become upset when they're asked to leave behind their favorite piece of electronic equipment. Presentation is important  when asking guests to leave their phones at home or turned off during the event. Be tactful and kind, and explain your reasoning gently so guests will understand and appreciate your logic.
  • If you go tech free you'll need to enforce it. Many guests will forget or just choose to use technology anyway, so you'll need to have someone on point who can ask cell phone users to hide them in their purse or pocket.
  • You'll have to share your wedding photos with everyone. People take cell pictures of the wedding because they want the memories. Couples who ask their guests to put away their phones should be prepared to share some of their wedding photos with everyone who attended. Getting these pictures out there can be logistically challenging and kind of a hassle.  

Work With Your Wedding Venue

Some couples ask their guests to keep cell phones put away through the ceremony and reception. Others ask guests to keep cell phones put away through the ceremony only. Whatever the logistical challenges you face as a result, your wedding venue can help. Putting up tasteful signs and making other small accommodations for the photographer can help ensure that your tech free wedding goes smoothly. At Bella Sera, we help couples put on the wedding they've always wanted. To get started with your wedding planning and to find out more about tech free weddings, call us today  for a consultation at (724) 745-5575.


By Erin Levers 12 Sep, 2017

A typical wedding day is full of surprises. At Bella Sera, we've helped hundreds of couples make the journey into marriage, and we know what happens on the big day. If you're getting married soon, knowing these little details can help you prepare for the emotional adventure you're about to undergo.  

It Won't All Go According to Plan

It doesn't matter how much you've prepped for the big day. A wedding is such a big production, with so many moving parts, that It's very rare for the entire event to go exactly as planned from start to finish. The best way to avoid problems is to vet all your vendors ahead of time. Read online reviews, check up on references and use tried and true businesses to keep your wedding going as planned.

You'll Need More Help Than You Expected

When problems occur on your wedding day, friends, family and capable professionals will be there by your side to keep things moving. Don't try to handle everything yourself; task things out to the nearest capable wedding venue professional or even a loved one. This can help you keep your wedding on track and the way the event was meant to be.

You Won't Get To Visit With Everyone

You're not a superhero. Unless your wedding is very intimate and small, it will probably be impossible to spend time talking to everybody who shows up at your wedding. You can forgive yourself for not having long conversations with every guest. Remember they've come because they love you and they understand that you're busy.

You Might Not Get to Eat Anything

Lots of couples get too nervous on their wedding day to eat much or eat anything at all. This can leave you feeling a little queasy. To keep your stomach from rumbling, have a small snack on hand in the dressing room. Don't forget to have lunch delivered, and if necessary, take some quiet time during the reception to eat a small plate of food. You'll be glad you did.

Drinking Might Also Be Out Of the Question

You'll be exhausted by the time the reception begins, so drinking any more than a glass of champagne may just sound like too much. Keep a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated, or you could start to feel sick by the end of the day.

...And Parts of It Will Still  Be A Blur

Your wedding day will be so busy and will go by so quickly that you'll have a hard time remembering the small details when it's over. That's why it's so important to have a good photographer  and videographer  at the event!

You'll Be Amazed By the Warm Happiness You Feel

Right up until the day that your wedding happens, you'll feel a range of emotions. Pleasure, excitement, nervousness, anticipation and even a little dread. What you may not realize is that all that hard work and emotional output is leading up to a great feeling of warmth, happiness, and love. On the day that you're surrounded by your friends and family, you'll be amazed at the happiness you feel inside.

Contact Bella Sera

At Bella Sera, we know how it feels on your wedding day, we know what goes into the planning for a wedding, and we want you to have the best! To get started with a wedding vendor that really understands, call us today  (724) 745-5575.

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