2016 Hottest Home Trends #FridayFavs

At the beginning of the year, Pinterest announced the hottest home trends and I'm loving them. From wall color to throw pillows, technology-filled wireless spaces, and of course, stunning geometric tiles for your bathroom, kitchen or backsplash, these trends are everything. Put it on the list for when I decorate my home. Until then, check them out here and below!

Happy Friday Everyone!!

1. Geometric Tiles

2. Scandanavian-inspired Design

3. Wireless Spaces

 4. Shades of Gray

5. Graphic Throw Pillows

6. Black, White and Organic Shades

7. Woven Wall Decor

8. DIY Space-Saving Hacks

9. Artisan Goods

10. Gilded Metallic Wallpaper

Monday Must-Haves & Current Crushes: Planners

I've always been a planner. Ever since I can remember, I have made endless lists, schedules, timelines -- you name it, I've made it. The best part for me, checking off the items on my list. It's true satisfaction. But there are definitely times when I feel I can't or won't be able to get through all the things that I need to do that day. Things tend to add up quick on those to-do lists.

To keep things moving and at least try to accomplish my to-do items each day, written planners have been my savior. My planner is the keeper of my lists, events, special occasions and more. Trust me, opening one and writing your to-do list will help you take a deep breath with everything you need to do. 

Some tips for prioritizing -- 

  • First things first: I always start my day with the highest priority items. I'm most productive in the morning, so I try to tackle the most urgent to dos and the ones that take the most focus and concentration.
  • Still Important: The less urgent items I save for the afternoon, when the day begins to wind down. 
  • Evenings for Myself: The evenings I reserve for myself. While I work late hours, the second I get home is me time. I love coming home, making dinner with Anthony and relaxing to one of our favorite shows. It's our time during the week and even though our schedules are crazy, we always make evenings our special time together -- even if we can only stay awake until 8:30pm (true story!). 

Here are some of my favorite planners to help you jump start your to-do lists:

Graphic Image Pebble Grain Leather Planner

 I love this agenda book -- it has a great layout and keeps all your needs in one place. It's also a great size to keep in your bag.

I love this agenda book -- it has a great layout and keeps all your needs in one place. It's also a great size to keep in your bag.

Poppin Task Pad

 This pad is super helpful for quick to remember items throughout the day or as notes and to-dos come through!

This pad is super helpful for quick to remember items throughout the day or as notes and to-dos come through!

Rifle Paper Co. Birch Floral Agenda

 Rifle Paper Co. is one of the prettiest paper goods company. I absolutely love their products including their planner!

Rifle Paper Co. is one of the prettiest paper goods company. I absolutely love their products including their planner!

Kate Spade Agenda

 Kate Spade is always great for a little sparkle!

Kate Spade is always great for a little sparkle!

Organization on the Brain #FridayFavs

With Baby Q coming in just a little less than 5 months, organizing our apartment is all I can think about. You don't realize how much stuff you acquire over the years that gets pushed aside. Most of the time the stuff becomes forgotten things that either have no use or meaning. And while we have a large studio, when it comes to stuff, less is definitely more in our apartment. 

So today, I'm sharing a few ways that I hope to organize my home with some helpful tips on how to minimize the clutter!

The Dresser/Changing Table: One of the biggest dilemmas Anthony and I have is what to do about our current dresser and the changing table. We're not getting a crib because the baby doesn't need to sleep in a crib for some time, but the changing table is essential. However, I recently learned you can turn any dresser into a changing table by simply putting a changing pad on top. Thinking this might be a great option for us so that we can keep some drawers for ourselves and then also have a few drawers for Baby Q.  I also love all the baby storage that we can accent the changing table with to help keep diapers, lotions, blankets, etc. Here's a dresser/changing table I'm loving right now.

  Larkin Dresser from Pottery Barn Kids

Larkin Dresser from Pottery Barn Kids

The Closet: While we're fortunate to have two deep and decent size closets, right now they're jam packed with our clothes, coats and more. Our initial thought is to turn the "front hall" closet into the baby's closet and then also keep our seasonal coats toward the back. Seeing as though this baby will be a product of Anthony and I and our very style-forward families, the kid is going to have a ton of clothes. Thankfully the front hall closet is super tall and with that, we're thinking we need to take advantage of the vertical space. A DIY project is in our near future to add another layer of hanging and a shelf or two (a future post...I think so). Here are some baby closet inspirations I'm hoping we can achieve.

The Kitchen: We have a galley kitchen with a decent amount of cabinet space so for us, it's a matter of reorganizing what we currently have -- dishes, glasses, etc. and making space for bottles, baby food, plates & utensils, etc. Here are some accessories that we plan to invest in.

Toys, toys and more toys: While we don't want to have toys all over the place (I think I'm dreaming here), we have great bookshelves in our apartment that can hold baskets and other storage containers that we'll hope to put all the baby's toys in. We're investing in a new large carpet to ensure a comfy space for the baby to play on and of course, the major must-have in my mind is the rocking chair. 

While I won't have a true nursery per se, I'm looking forward to getting everything in it's place and making my home feel welcoming, bright and Baby Q friendly.

Any and all tips and inspiration are welcome! Send me things you love :)

Happy weekend Xx!!

Winter Weekend Getaways

Anthony's birthday is coming up and if there's one thing he loves in the winter it's snowboarding. While I can't hit the slopes this season, I wanted to give him a getaway where he could enjoy the snow and I could wander during the day and enjoy a bit myself. With that, we've booked a weekend in the Berkshires!

Growing up my grandparents had a house in Otis, MA -- a great house around a lake that we spent summers, long weekends and first learned to ski at. While I haven't been up there in quite some time, I thought it'd be the perfect place for Anthony and I to enjoy a little R&R. So what's on the agenda? 

We're going to head up to Stockbridge Mass and making the 1862 Seasons on Main Bed & Breakfast our home base for the weekend. This B&B is adorable - so quaint, but luxurious. We have a fireplace in our room, which is basically heaven to me. Front and center in town, this B&B is on the main strip in Stockbridge and is close to Butternut and Jiminy Peak ski slopes. The famous Norman Rockwell Museum is a close walk and the timeless dining experience of the Red Lion Inn is just across the street.

Great Barrington is just 10 minutes away and it's one of my favorite towns. Filled with shops and good eats, we'll definitely be hitting up one of my top spots -- Baba Louie's. I haven't been there since I was young so we'll see if the pizza holds up to all that I remember it to. After all, it's stiff competition coming from NYC.

The trip is still about two weeks away, but I'll be sure to snap some shots and let you know how it was! Weekend getaways are a great way to take a break and escape - even if it's for a short time. Getting out of the city is definitely a luxury and one that you should take advantage of when you can! 

He or She? Open to See #BabyQ

Having a baby is such an incredible experience and there are so many moments leading up to your baby's arrival that you can share not only with your partner but with your loved ones as well. One of those magical moments is whether or not you decide to find out the sex of your baby. For me personally, I'm too much of a planner to not find out. Even before I knew I was pregnant, I was planning all different kinds of nursery ideas, baby fashions, etc. Yes, I'm a little nuts. So when it came time to find out if Baby Q was a boy or a girl, we were inspired by my sister-in-law who had shared the moment they had found out about their little girl with a gender reveal. 

There are so many ways you can do a gender reveal - whether it be a small gathering with family and close friends, a dinner, an announcement shared via cards or online, etc. For us, we wanted to learn the sex of our baby at the same time that our family did. We planned a small dinner and had a cake made with the gender of the baby inside. For Anthony's parents, they had shared in this experience once before with our niece and knew how exciting the process was. For my family, it was something completely new so of course, the how will you not know in ordering a cake came up. Here's how I did it -- The doctor let me know that with the test I had recently taken we could find out the sex of the baby. When she called to tell me the results, I asked her to seal them in an envelope and I would come and pick them up. I then took that envelope and gave it directly to the baker -- so essentially, the baker was the first person to know (aside from the doctor) what the baby was. 

The moment we cut into the cake was filled with so many emotions -- excitement, overwhelming joy and a little bit of fear. Of course, it wouldn't be a gathering with Anthony and I without a funny moment -- the cake had a fondant icing on the outside and was a bit chilled from being in the fridge so when we cut into the cake the fondant stuck to the knife and we couldn't slice a piece out from the cake plate. With that, Anthony grabbed the fondant and pulled it up to see what the baby was. And....drumroll please...it's a BOY!

I love moments where you can surprise and enjoy experiences with your family and this is definitely one not to miss. My go-to advise is to have fun with it -- I've seen some pretty creative ways to do a gender reveal. See below for some adorable ways to find out if you'll be celebrating touchdowns or dancing in tutus:

  • Cakes & Cupcakes: The sweet tooth way is always a good way. Whether you decide to find out alongside your family and friends or surprise them, cutting into a cake or biting into a cupcake is always a fun and delicious idea.
  • Confetti Poppers: And you thought confetti was just used on New Year's Eve. Believe it or not, you can get blue or pink confetti filled poppers to get your family in on all the fun. And yes, I know what you're thinking... Pinatas are available too :)
  • Themed Parties: People are super creative with themes these days and it's easy to bring out your inner kid, especially with the announcement of your own baby. Throw a themed party, lunch, dinner, etc. A cute theme I've seen recently is a "What's it gonna bee?" party decked out with cute honeycomb decor, a bumble bee cake and more!
  • Balloons: Putting blue or pink balloons in a box to open in front of your loved ones or having two bundles of pink and blue balloons then letting one of the colors go to reveal the baby's gender is such a cute way to share the news.

We're so thrilled to be having a little boy -- my little man and yes, without a doubt my son will be his father's twin (oh boy!). See some highlights from our baby reveal below!

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Happy Weekend all!! 

Xx,
Jess

Monday Must-Haves & Current Crushes

While I obviously can't indulge in a cocktail or two as I'm preggo, a girl can dream. With my mind occupied with decor ideas (all baby stuff, of course!), I started looking to browse at all kinds of decor and stumbled upon bar carts. It made me think about how I would create a super chic spot to gather around when entertaining. From glasses to straws to cute napkins and mixers, below are a few of my picks to create the perfect libation station.

A Pop of Color: Including a pop of your favorite shade brings your bar cart to life and is also a great way to bring different colors into your apartment. Think outside the box and have some fun -- the bar below showcases hints of hot pink with cocktail napkins, flowers, and glassware.

Decor on the Cart: Incorporating different pieces, looks and styles onto your bar cart is a great way to create a focal point and a conversation starter. A few things I'd like to have on my cart:

Trays are a great way to display bar accessories and to serve cocktails once prepared on the cart. They're also a great way to mix and match styles. I love trays with a modern design.

Glassware: When I registered for my wedding, our family and friends were so kind to gift us a variety of gorgeous glassware. It obviously can't all fit on a bar cart, but I'd choose to display a variety of glasses, if possible. Wine glasses (with stems) are perfect for hanging if that's an optin with your cart. I also love high and low ball cocktail glasses on a bar, especially if they have a unique design or print. See a few I'm loving below.

The Beverages: I like the idea of having both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on the bar, and specifically, beverages that are colorful and come in unique bottles. A few staples I love:

Belvoir fruit drinks are delicious and aromatic -- great to mix in cocktail and so pretty!

San Pellegrino - a classic.

Flowers: I love fresh flowers- I always have. They always make a home feel brighter. My favorite flowers to display -- roses, hydrangea and peonies. They come in a variety of colors and they tend to be really full so you don't need to buy multiple bunches.

What do you like to have on your bar? The key to any decor in your home is to have it reflect your style. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to look expensive. Be resourceful and creative!

#FridayFavorites

Happy Friday! While it's been a short week for me work-wise, it feels like it's taken forever to get to Friday so I'm so happy it's finally here. We're expecting a snow storm in the city this weekend and I kind of can't wait. All I want to do is bundle and snuggle, order in and watch movies all day long!

I've been loving a lot of things this week, mostly baby stuff (duh!), but a few products just for me. 

New Skincare: I've been in need of a new skincare routine for some time, but haven't found products I like so far. My skin is sensitive so I like to look for products that are known to be gentle and soothing. Now that winter is kicking in and it's finally cold here in NY, my skin has been super dry -- not to mention all the hormones I'm experiencing is changing everything from my hair to my skin. 

One of my favorite bloggers, Could I have that? recently posted about a new skincare line from bareMinerals that I think I'm going to give a try --  here are a few products I'm giving a shot:

  Photo courtesy of  Could I Have That?

Photo courtesy of Could I Have That?

I'll let you know how it goes! Any skincare products you're loving right now? 

Maternity Wear: I recently discovered an adorable maternity brand -- Hatch Collection. It's a little pricey for my liking, but the clothes are so cute. Right now, I've been wearing my preggo jeans, which are amazing and loose sweaters, but I feel like I could use a few more basic tops and blouses. While I won't be doing a shopping spree on Hatch, I may dabble in a top or two. Check out some of the styles I'm loving below:

Eats: While there are some restrictions when you're pregnant about what you can and can't eat and also what you're craving, I'm trying to be good! I've been looking into recipes that have the flavors of foods I'm liking, but hoping to re-create them with better for you ingredients. For instance, I love asian food and I stumbled across this delicious looking recipe from Just a Taste

I'm going to give it a try this week - I'll let you know how it turns out :)

I hope everyone has a fab weekend! Until next week...

Xx,

Jess

Making Your Wedding Album #WeddingWednesday

When they say pictures last a lifetime, they aren’t kidding. Photos from your wedding are a true keepsake and one of the best ways to “re-live” the day. Depending on your budget, there are a variety of options to create your wedding album. 

One way is through your photographer. He or she may offer to make you a book with your package, which is a wonderful option. Be sure to ask for pricing on the books and their process in creating the album. There are also sites that can take your pictures and create a custom book.

With the multitude of choices, I was a little lost in terms of what direction I was going to go, but my girlfriend said she had the best site and recommended the site Artifact Uprising. I did a little digging and the options the site offered were beyond what I was envisioning for my book. Artifact Uprising lets you choose from a variety of book styles as well as personally upload and arrange your photos in various layouts. You can also leave the arranging up to them with their auto-arrange option, if you prefer. It doesn’t hurt that the process is so easy too!

The hardest part I found about creating my wedding album was choosing the photos. As I’ve mentioned previously, I LOVED and still LOVE my wedding photographer, Sara Wight. She took the most gorgeous photos and there were so many to choose from, I really didn’t know where to begin. There were a couple things I needed to keep in mind:

  • Tell a Story of the Day: I wanted to retell the story of our special day, showing the progression from earlier on, getting ready to the ceremony to the reception. 
  • Balance of both Families: It was important to me to represent both sides of our family evenly and have a variety of photos from every aspect of the day that showed everyone’s emotions. 

A few key tips before you get started:

  • Create folders for your Wedding Moments: It was helpful for me to set up folders to sort my photos. I created the following categories, which would then be included in my album: 
    • Getting Ready
    • Pre-Ceremony 
    • Ceremony
    • Bride & Groom Portraits
    • Family Portraits
    • Wedding Party Portraits
    • Cocktail Hour
    • Reception
  • Review Photos with Your Partner: While time consuming and at times frustrating, it’s really important to share the experience of making your wedding album with your significant other. 
  • Order (1) Book First: If you’re using a service to assist in creating your album, be sure to order (1) book first to see how it comes out before ordering for multiple books. 

Here are some behind-the-scenes of the making of my album!

Wedding Wednesdays: Spotlight on Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Rustic decor and rich fall hues go hand in hand, especially when it comes to the stunning venue, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Just outside of NYC, this enchanting property offers some of the most beautiful settings for your big day. Not to mention, you have the incredible eats from the renowned Dan Barber. To celebrate this visionary venue I've rounded up a few of my favorite photos that are sure to inspire your Wedding Wednesday!

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

Monday Must-Haves & Current Crushes - November Obsessions

November is here -- crazy! There are so many amazing fashions out for the colder months now, but the weather here in NYC has been a bit more mild than usual (this week it's in the 70's!). I'll take it, don't get me wrong. The longer I can avoid snow and freezing temperatures the better. However, from a fashion sense it gets a little annoying because your fall sweaters, jackets, boots, etc. are just too warm for the weather. But ....a girl can still dream and shop :) Eventually, I'll be able to break out the warmer clothes. 

In the meantime, here are some of my November obsessions! Happy Monday Xx!

Echo Colorblock Reversible Cape - This cape is delicious and available in multiple colors. I love capes because you can dress them up or down and they're the perfect light weight jacket if the weather is a bit milder.

Lucky Brand 'Battalion' Bootie - A low stacked heel with a edgy zipper tracing the top of the bootie, I love this ankle bootie look. Perfect for cropped or longer pants, skirts and dresses!

AYR, The 'Copper Penguin' Sleeveless Vest - I've been seeing a lot of sleeveless vests and jackets this year and I'm crushing on them hard. I love the idea of having a structured vest, but still showing off the top/other fashions you're wearing underneath. Another perfect piece to dress up or down.

Free People City Slick Sweater Dress - I love a good sweater dress. This one from Free people is a little edgy, but would look amazing with a blazer or chunky cardigan and a great bootie. The unfinished hem line and rounded neck give it more of a casual feel.

Last, but not least - a good pair of shades. You definitely need them for those sunny crisp November days. Warby Parker recently partnered with Maiyet and created a gorgeous collection of sunglasses. My fav -- Bird in the striped oystershell with black arms. They are to die for! 

Until Wednesday ...Happy November!

Monday Must-Haves & Current Crushes

Ann Taylor has been having great sales lately and there are a few items I'm crushing on this week. I'm all about layering when it comes to fall / winter and they have some great sweaters to do that with. For all my fall occasions I'm big into the sweaters, leggings and boots look - it's so easy to dress up or down. There isn't an outfit you can't dress up in my opinion. 

I've also always loved their shoes - they're classic, comfortable and perfect for day or night. Right now, they're boots and bootie are 40%! Great finds and great deals!

See some of my top picks below!

  Faux Fur Long Vest

Faux Fur Long Vest

  Faux Leather Pencil Skirt

Faux Leather Pencil Skirt

  Long Sleeveless Cardigan

Long Sleeveless Cardigan

  Sleeveless Turtleneck Tunic

Sleeveless Turtleneck Tunic

  Plaid Blanket Scarf

Plaid Blanket Scarf

Be sure to check out AnnTaylor.com for more great finds.

Xx!

What I'm Reading #fridayfavs

It's been a busy week, but there have been a few interesting articles, recipes, pop culture, etc. stories that I've been keeping tabs on. Here's what I'm reading on this Friday.

Happy Weekend Xx!!

  • Watch out Roberta's ....Bruno is coming for you. Somehow that seems impossible to me, but I'll give it a shot. Read more about Bruno's Pizza here.
  • In last week's dining section Julia Moskin made a crazy ragu. It's next on my list to make. Get in on the action here.
  • One of my all time favorite movies is coming to the silver screen....My Best Friend's Wedding is in talks to be a new TV series picking up right where it left off. While it won't star Julia Roberts, I'm pretty pumped about it. See the details here.
  • My colleagues have turned me on to podcasts lately and The Lively Show is one I've been loving. I recently came across her adorable home tour on Style Me Pretty -- she has the cutest house in Austin, TX! See it here.
  • Obviously I'm always looking at weddings...here's one of my favorites this week from Carats & Cake -- Carolyn & Michael. Timeless, Elegant and modern NYC.

Bridal Fashion Week Designer Spotlight: Monique Lhuillier Fall 2016

Last week was bridal fashion week here in NYC and designers pulled out all the stops to showcase their Fall 2016 designs. Your wedding dress is probably the most photographed piece of clothing you'll ever own so it's important to love it and feel good in it. From sparkle to lace, sweetheart necklines to drop waistlines, the dresses from this year's fashion week are nothing short of stunning. 

One of my favorite designers in the wedding space is Monique Lhuillier. All of her dresses to me are so romantic. This year, her collection is beautifully feminine and reveals more ivory shades rather than pure white, which I love (Ivory is great with any lighting!). 

See some of my favorite dresses from her collection below! Also, be sure to head to TheKnot.com for more on bridal fashion week and to view all the hottest runway styles.

Happy Wedding Wednesday Xx!

Monday Must-Haves & Current Crushes

I've been crushing hard lately on the food blog Half Baked Harvest. Tieghan is so extremely talented with both her recipe curation and food photography. Each of her recipes looks more beautiful and more delicious than the next. So today's post, I'm menu planning for a few upcoming weeknight fall meals as well as testing out some her delicious desserts for the upcoming holiday season. If you haven't yet seen her blog -- I highly recommend it.

Cider Apple Sage Roasted Pork Chops with Brown Butter Gorgonzola Polenta

This recipe sounds unreal. Polenta is one of my favorite side dishes and a little brown butter never hurt anyone. This dish sounds like fall to me and I can't wait to make it.

30 Minute Chicken Ramen with Miso Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Ginger Butter

Ramen is one of my favorite dishes, but I haven't yet tried to make it on my own. This recipe looks so delicious and easy to make. 

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs

Meatballs and pasta are definitely a weekly meal in my house. This recipe is simple and looks unreal. I cannot wait to dive into this one.

Maple Apple Glazed Fritters

Apple anything in the fall with dessert is just perfect o me. These apple fritters look so delicious. Throw a little pumpkin spice in there as well -- I think apple picking is in my near future.

Greek Chicken Gyro Caesar Salad

I often feel salads taste best when I don't make them. However, this salad looks beyond delicious. Fresh and colorful with the savory dressing, I can't wait to make this. 

Now that I'm hungry, I'm going to go get cooking. Happy Monday Xx!

 

Fall Fireplaces #FridayFavorites

While it may be raining all weekend, typically the mild temperatures of early fall make you want to spend as much time as possible outside. The crisp air, the color of the leaves, apple season, etc. I've always been a homebody and at my parents house we have a great outdoor fireplace that is perfect for gathering around in the summer, but especially this time of year. 

No one loves a roaring fire more than me. It's so warm and cozy- just feels like home. So while it's going to rain all weekend and we'll most likely be stuck inside,  here are a few dream outdoor fireplaces that if it were going to be nice this weekend, I'd hope to be enjoying. 

1. 

2. 

3.

4.

5. 

6.

7.

8. 

Stay dry this weekend Xx!!

Images via: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 

Foodie Wedding #WeddingWednesdays

Being that food is a huge passion point for me I'm kind of particular when it comes to good eats and entertaining, especially when it came to my wedding day. I've experienced and heard horror stories about food at weddings and unfortunately a lot of the time the food gets a bad rap - getting overshadowed by the excitement, the open bar, etc. You don't want your guests getting a dry piece of steak or having a salad drenched in dressing. I don't think food should take a supporting role on your big day, but one that's front and center. You always remember good food, good music and a beautiful couple. So I've put together some tips to help you make your wedding day menu a home run -- 

Let's start with cocktail hour! This is the preview of what's to come at the wedding dinner table so make it count. 

  1. Stations v. Passed Hors D'oeuvres: It's great if your venue offers a variety of stations as well as passed hors d'oeuvres. It creates a balance and flow of your guests and prevents long lines at your stations. And don't overwhelm your guests with too many stations. I once went to a wedding where there were 18 stations - I kid you not. It's just a bit much and by the time cocktail hour is over, your guests are full. You want to leave them wanting a bit more so you can wow them at dinner!
  2. Fun, Yet Elegant: A lot of people feel they need to be fancy with their food at their wedding and while having a fresh seafood bar with oysters and caviar is beautiful, your guests will also appreciate a good old slider. The key is presentation. Try making your passed appetizers bite size or pair them with a shot of alcohol. We had mini fish tacos at our wedding served with a shot of tequila and it was a huge hit. Mini grilled cheese sandwiches paired with a shot of tomato soup or beautiful prosciutto wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese. These appetizers are unique, affordable and most importantly memorable.
  3. Take Traditional Up a Notch: There are definitely some predictable appetizers when it comes to wedding day food. Chicken skewers, bruschetta on a crostini, vegetable crudites, etc. These are all great appetizers, but add a little something to them for your big day. For example, take your traditional meat and cheese station and put a theme to it. We got married in the Hudson Valley and with that our meet and cheese station featured a variety of the area's local cheeses with fresh figs, fruits and assorted meats. Chalkboard signs shared what each cheese was along with where it was made. It's little details such as this that can really impress your guests. 
  4. Signature Cocktails: Open bars are usually the plan for weddings, but adding a signature cocktail or two is a great touch. Not only will these cocktails be representative of you and your partner's tastes and style, but offer your guests something new to try. 

Now on to Dinner!

  1. Dinner Style: There are a variety of formats a wedding dinner can take on -- buffet, family style, sit down. The most important thing regardless of your format is a printed menu card placed on their place setting for when they sit down. Guests like to know what they'll be eating and the menu card not only gets them excited, but is also another design element that can become part of your overall tablescape. Dinner menus are also super helpful for those who may have food allergies. 
  2. Make it Mean Something: It's always great when you can make your food reflective of you and your partner's tastes or background. Are you from the south? Shrimp and grits would be a be a fun entree. Is your family Italian? Make sure the meatballs are up to Nonna's standards. Also go local and seasonal, this will help cut costs as well because ingredients will be accessible and readily available. 
  3. The Chicken Entree: No one said having chicken at your wedding is a bad thing, but it's had a blah reputation from plates that are simply chicken, rice and some vegetables. If you do go with a chicken option, make sure it has a great array of sides and/or elements that are built into the dish to liven it a bit. It doesn't have to be crazy, but pick a unique green to pair with such a kale salad or roasted seasonal vegetables with a chive, truffle potatoes. 
  4. There will always be Cake: A staple at any wedding is cake, but dessert is becoming bigger than ever at the end of your wedding meal. Guests are looking for something sweet to finish the evening with. A Venetian hour is common offering a variety of desserts, which is always a big hit. We had a make-your-own cannoli station at our wedding with an espresso bar followed by passed desserts which was really fun. Guests could continue dancing while dessert came to them. Another great way to wow your guests is to set up a dessert table. It doesn't only become a focal point of the room, but also offers a great assortment of desserts -- mini pies, ice cream sandwiches, cookies, etc. 
  5. Make sure YOU eat: Everyone manages to come back from their wedding saying "I didn't eat a thing. How was the food?" You're planning this wonderful event and a huge component of that is the food so the best advise I can give you is to try to make it a point to eat.  During cocktail hour, if you're taking photos, have your coordinator and/or day of person bring you a plate of appetizers for you and your partner to get a taste of everything! Don't serve dinner right when people enter the reception - get them dancing a bit, warm them up and then direct the band to have them sit. It's helpful to space out speeches -- first at the upfront of the meal then the second or third in between courses - this will give you the time to sit with your partner and eat a bit while also enjoying your guests.