It’s Fiesta Time – Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Mexican Dancer
Mexican Dancer

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner.

This celebration commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862
Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862

Although a Mexican holiday, it has been celebrated in the United States right from the start.

It is said that when Mexican miners in the gold country town of Columbia (in California) heard the news, they celebrated by firing rifles, shooting off fireworks, singing patriotic songs and making speeches.


To celebrate this historic event, for a simple home get-together, or at your wedding (May 5 falls on a Saturday in 2018), here are some “must haves.”

Food & Beverages

Burritos, tostadas, or enchiladas. How about a taco bar?


Serve elote (Mexican corn on the cob) on the side, topped with salt, chili powder, lime, butter, cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream. It is traditionally served on a stick, with the husks pulled back as a handle, or cut the kernels into a bowl.


Have plenty of homemade tortilla chips and dishes of guacamole and salsa.

And don’t forget dessert – rice pudding, flan (caramel custard), sopapillas (a crispy, fried flatbread), and churros are all delicious choices.

Mojitos, Margaritas, Sangria often come to mind. Other delicious options are:

• Paloma – a mix of tequila, grapefruit, lime and soda
• Michelada – a classic “cerveza preparada” (beer cocktail)
• Horchata – made of almonds, rice and cinnamon

Frozen Horchata
Frozen Horchata

Non-alcoholic drinks:
• Agua Fresca – a blend of water and sugar with fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds
• Mexican soda – enjoy delicious flavors, like Tutifruti (fruit punch), Toronja (grapefruit), Guayaba (guava), Jamaica (hibiscus), Limón (lime), and Mandarina (mandarin)

mexican soda
Mexican Soda
• Virgin Margaritas – with frozen limeade, orange juice, and grapefruit juice

Color Palette
Incorporate the colors of the Mexican flag (green, white, and red) into your decor.

Table Runners/Linens
Place table runners of green, white, and red on your tables. Or, instead of a runner, use a Mexican rug or blanket as a fun table overlay.

What else is more iconically Mexican than colorful pinatas, maracas, or papel picado (perforated paper) banners? Also use colored plates or utensils, colored vases or pottery, tissue paper flowers.

Colorful Pinata
paper banners
Paper Banners
Tissue paper flowers
Tissue paper flowers
Photo credit: akiyoko / 123RF Stock Photo

Hearts, Joy, Love!

For fun ideas for your wedding, contact me today at or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Fun Engagement Party Themes and Planning Tips

Engagement party decor
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here—you’re engaged!

Congratulations are in order but first, take in the moment. Enjoy your now fiancé and the fact that no one knows this awesome news. When you’re ready to share your engagement, get creative with how you tell family and friends.

One of the best ways to share the news is with a party! These days, couples are taking over and planning their own engagement party. If you’re not sure where to start, wedding stationery company, Wedding Paper Divas, compiled 50 ideas and themes that you can browse through. Check it out here!

After you figure out which direction you want to head for your engagement party, it’s time to start thinking of the venue, decor and guest list. If this is all new to you, keep reading for my engagement party planning tips.

Engaged couple

Engagement Party Etiquette and Tips

Purpose of an engagement party – The purpose of an engagement party is to celebrate the couple’s engagement, pure and simple, and to help family members to get to know each another before the wedding day.

Who do we invite? – Keep in mind that just as with a bridal shower, those invited to an engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. The absolute “have to invite” people include the immediate families of the couple, their close friends, and the wedding party members (if they have been selected already).

Are gifts required? – No they are not. Again, the purpose of an engagement party is to formally announce and celebrate the engagement, and allow family members of both sides to get to know each other. Some guests may wish to bring a gift, but it isn’t necessary.

Who hosts the engagement party? – Unlike a shower, gifts are not expected. Because of this, anyone can host an engagement party (the couple can host if they choose, or either set of parents).

What should guests be served? – It depends on the style of the party. If it’s a dinner party, then some sort of substantial meal is expected, although a party with just snacks and simple desserts, or a buffet with finger foods can be just as enjoyable (as long as the time of the event doesn’t fall during a typical dinner time).


Does the engagement party’s theme have to match the theme of the wedding? – Not at all. The host can choose any theme he/she wants, as long as it is reflective of the happy couple. Like the rehearsal dinner, an engagement party should not be grander than the wedding. Remember to check out Wedding Paper Divas for fun engagement party ideas.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

For more ideas, contact me today at or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Wedding Planning Q & A What’s So Difficult About Planning a Wedding?










Q. – What’s so difficult about planning a wedding? It seems like a simple celebration with family, and throwing a party shouldn’t be hard, but in execution, this doesn’t seem to be an easy task. Why is that?

A. – Yes, you’re “throwing a party,” but a wedding is so much more than that.

First off, a wedding is a 2-part event, a ceremony and a reception (not just a party).

The ceremony is a rite of passage. Yeah, a big deal. So special attention is needed to give it the honor and respect it deserves.

Your wedding ceremony, particularly your vows, is your declaration of your commitment to each other, a “verbal contract” if you will.

Will you have readings? Do you want special music played during the ceremony itself? Are you wanting to get your guests emotionally involved in the ceremony (and not just be passive spectators)?

Also, not only will you be picking out a special venue for both the ceremony and reception that is suitable to the style of event you want, all of the other details are typically looked at and decided upon with more scrutiny, including the menu, beverages, décor (centerpieces, linens, lighting, etc.), entertainment.

Even though the reception is the “party” part, it’s not just any old party (regardless if your wedding will be formal or casual), so there will be a lot of “moving parts.”










    • The day will be documented (you’ll have a photographer and possibly a videographer).
    • You and your fiancé will get special attire.
    • You’ll be inviting lots of people, so you need to make them aware of what type of event to expect (Formal at a country club? Casual in the backyard? Something else?), so you’ll want invitations that reflect your event.
    • Maybe you want your first dance to be especially memorable, so dance lessons may be in order.
    • And so much more.


Yes, the devil is in the details. And planning a wedding includes A LOT of details.

Difficult? Doesn’t have to be.

Time and effort (and love)? Absolutely!

Let Weddings From The Heart take the difficulty out of your wedding plans. Contact me today at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647 or by email at!

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Hearts, Joy, Love!

Photo credits
Bride-to-be planning wedding: batsheba / 123RF Stock Photo
Wedding related words: lyricsai / 123RF Stock Photo

Guy’s Night Out

There are several alternative ideas for the bachelor party thrown for the groom.

While what we see on TV and in films are often stereotyped groom’s parties, there are alternatives that can be fun for the groom and his friends without the specter of having to claim “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”.

  • Instead of bar hopping to the same old favorites, why not try an evening exploring tap rooms? Whole phenomenon of craft beers and their popularity offers an evening of “something new” and still fun. Arrange for a limo to drive the group or an absolutely trusted “designated” driver. The best man can organize the evening of craft beer tastings and spicy nibbles topped off with a late dinner. Check with tourist information centers in your town for possible tours that are all planned and waiting for the groom and his guests.
  • Many groom’s parties have been built around major league baseball, soccer or football. For a twist on the sports theme, build the groom’s party around their own “game” day. A round of golf is a logical choice, but what about doing miniature golf, followed by an hour or two at batting cages, followed by bowling, brews and supper.
  • Instead of heading to Vegas what about a weekend of fishing or camping closer to home? Many areas in the country are also close to a casino that could arrange a fun evening of dinner and blackjack or slots.
  • A few brides have suggested that instead of separate bachelor and bachelorette parties, that they combine them. Both groups can play 9 holes of golf or attend a concert or amusement park if there is one close by.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
For more fun ideas, contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

iPods vs. DJs

Lately, I’ve been seeing so many different articles and comments on wedding forums online about the benefits of using an iPod vs. hiring a real DJ for your wedding reception. Been seeing this a lot.

Some say using an iPod is cheaper than having a DJ.

This is true, but beware of the “hidden” costs associated with using an iPod for your party

For example, one important thing to consider – Music that you usually listen to by yourself, or maybe with a few other people around (like how most folks listen to their iPods) will be hard to hear in a room full of a hundred or so wedding guests. So you may have to rent speakers, cables and other equipment necessary to get the sound you want.

This is probably still cheaper than a DJ, but it’s definitely more expense involved than originally thought.

The other benefits of an iPod vs a DJ is . . . Well, I really can’t think of any.

Some will say having an iPod lets you choose the songs you want to hear – you get to create your own playlist. Well, guess what? A professional DJ will play the songs YOU want to hear (and not play what you don’t want to hear).

And, while hearing the songs you’ve chosen, a professional DJ will:

  • play specified songs at key moments – like your grand entrance or your first dance. An iPod can only play what has been programmed in, regardless of what is happening. Sure, you can have a friend watching over the iPod for those special songs, but there will be an obvious stop and start to the festivities. It won’t have a smooth flow as there will be with a DJ.
  • make announcements at appropriate times. Oops, iPods can’t talk.
  • keep the music playing, so there is no “dead air.” You certainly don’t want to have silence when there should be music playing. True, iPods generally don’t have “dead air” either, but if a pause is accidently programmed in, or it comes to the end of a group of songs, an iPod won’t know to keep going.
  • change up the music as needed. Let’s say your party’s in full swing, and everyone is having a great time on the dance floor. To give folks a breather, your DJ plays a slow song (from your chosen list of songs). Most guests will welcome the slower pace, & those who prefer slow songs will get on the floor. However, if everyone clears out and there’s just an empty floor, your DJ will skip past the next slow song on the list and get back to the up-tempo fun your guests enjoy. Again, an iPod can only play what has been programmed in. So if you’ve got two or three slow songs cued up, and your dance floor is empty, the floor will remain empty as those songs are played, unless you get someone to stop what they’re doing, come over to the iPod unit, and fiddle around, pressing buttons until the faster songs are back on.
  • So, when is an iPod an ideal choice for music? If you want background music only, say for the cocktail hour or for a reception that won’t have any dancing – an iPod will work nicely.

    Anything else will be better off with the human element who is not just a “button pusher” but has the experience to play certain songs at their designated times, keep a variety of music going so guests are happy and enjoying the party, and keep the flow and transitions between the different portions of the evening seamless and smooth.

    If you’re looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

    Hearts, Joy, Love!

    iPod photo credit: A.Ddiction via photopin cc
    DJ photo credit: Pattoli via photopin cc

Bride & Groom Q&A: How Much Time to Spend With Each Wedding Guest?

Q. I’m worried that we won’t have enough time to socialize with all of our guests at the reception, but still have fun too. My fiance and I want to be able to enjoy ourselves, have fun and dance. But we also know that we need to mingle and talk with all our guests too. Any suggestions?

A. Greeting and visiting with your guests at the reception is a wonderful way to show your appreciation to them for coming to your wedding and sharing this special time with you. But with a large number of people involved (according to The Knot, the average number of wedding guests was 138), you don’t want to get caught in “meet and greet” mode and miss out on the party.

So, this is the perfect time to divide and conquer, so to speak.

A few things to ask yourself are:

Who is going to be at your rehearsal dinner? You’ll get a good chance to visit with them at that time, so you won’t need to spend as much time doing so on your wedding day.

Who do you absolutely HAVE to socialize with? These would be the most important people to you – your parents, your grandparents. Also elderly guests who probably won’t be on the dance floor, and other guests who you don’t see very often, especially if they’ve traveled a good ways to come to your wedding.

Who’s going to be partying on the dance floor with you and who won’t?

Plan ahead so that at some point, you’ll have a chance to speak with everyone who took the time to celebrate with you, and still get to enjoy the party.

Do you have any wedding planning questions or concerns? Contact me at or at 937-235-2586.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

Fun WOW Ideas for Your Reception

One of the highlights of TSE is Michael Cerbelli’s Hot Event and Entertainment Ideas. (Michael is the President of Special Events for the New Jersey based Total Entertainment, Inc.).

During this high-energy session he showed us 38 amazing and fun ideas for events, including exciting products and entertainment acts.

My personal favorites are:

Cake-o-licious Pops – bite sized cake pops that come in in several different flavors and designs

Coffee Stencils – a plastic stencil designed to decorate latte or cappuccino coffee (I’m not a coffee drinker, but I want some of these so bad!)

Shots by Party Rimz – disposable shot glasses with flavored crystal rims in various colors & flavors including Green Apple, Watermelon, Wild Berry, and Chocolate

These ideas are relatively inexpensive, but will add a fun WOW factor to your wedding or other special event.