Wedding Vows 101: A guide to Promises of Forever

Wedding vows… do they leave you stumped? Your promise to your future spouse may be one of the most important things you will say. And if does not make this daunting, the prospect of having to say these words in public have you all but petrified. But with a little help, you can get a head start in writing your wedding vows. We’re here to help.

Here are some tips to help you write your vows:

–          Decide if both of you want to say your own vows. This may be deeply personal so you and your future spouse need to agree that saying your personalized vows is what both of you want. Your future spouse may prefer using the traditional vows, which are also beautiful. You also need to agree if you will have the same vow as a couple or if you want different vows for each of you.

–          Decide on your style. Would you like your vows to be romantic, funny, deeply personal or formal and traditional? Choose the style you are most comfortable in.

–          Decide on your vow’s content. The key elements in a wedding vow include: your promises about your marriage, a statement of love and something personal (but not too personal). Choose words that emphasize what you want to happen in your marriage: respect, fidelity, the promise of starting a family and your commitment to mutual happiness.

–          Avoid generalizations, be specific. Stay away from words such as, “I will forever love you.” It’s better to add personalized touches by sticking with simple, everyday ways you can show your love.

–          Choose your words carefully. Use strong action words such as “promise”, “cherish”, “honor”, “delight”, “prize”, “treasure” and so on. Carefully chosen words will add that “oomph” to your vows.

–          Short and sweet is the best way to go. Remember that a few carefully chosen words are more effective than a long-winded speech. So try to keep your vows to up to 3 minutes.

–          Consider the line: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Explore your feelings about your future spouse, your relationship and your marriage. Ask: what about your fiancé do you love most? What made you decide that he or she is “the one”?

–          Look at examples. Promises are for poets and lovers. So take a look at what poets have to say. There are volumes of Bible verses, poems, famous love lines and passages that you can look at and even quote in your vow. You can even choose to incorporate words from your love letters.

–          Listen to your vow. Now that you have written your vow, be sure to “test” it by reading it aloud with someone you trust. This will help you pick out areas for improvement. There may be some areas that don’t sound right so this is your chance to change it.

–          Write it down. You can try to memorize your vows but be sure to have a copy of it handy in case you blank out while you’re saying your vows.

–          Speak from your heart. This is perhaps the most important of all. Your words should be an outpouring of what you feel, know and believe about love and your relationship as man and wife. Don’t speak to impress other people watching – speak to your spouse.

Your vows tell your partner what you personally think and feel. The exchanging of vows is an important part of the marriage ceremony.

As you have given a lot of thought to your wedding vows, you should also give careful thought about other elements of your wedding. This includes the wedding ceremony, the wedding décor and your wedding location.

Your choice of wedding venue is an important aspect that will set the tone of the entire ceremony, including your exchanging of wedding vows. We at Western Gardens understand this and we offer you one of the best wedding locations in Sandy, Utah. The Atrium provides a beautiful backdrop as you recite your vows to each other.



Questions to Ask When Choosing your Wedding Venue

So your boyfriend has popped the question and you have tearfully yet eagerly said “Yes!” Now comes the nitty-gritty of wedding preparations. Once you have set the date, one important thing to book is your wedding and reception venue. You need to book early to ensure that your selected venue is still open for your wedding date. This is especially crucial for wedding to be held in the “peak” months, such as December or June.

However, as much as you want to book a place as quickly as you can, you need to choose the wedding venue that is right for your theme/motif and your budget. So here are some questions to help you choose your wedding venue:

  1. Is the venue still open for your wedding date? If not, are you willing to change your wedding date to book the wedding reception center? Remember, the venue should be booked well in advance and before you  can move on to other items in your wedding to-do list, such as printing and sending out the invitations.
  2. What is the venue’s capacity? How many guests can they accommodate? If you do decide to have your wedding ceremony and reception in one location, will the venue have enough space for this?
  3. Does the venue’s overall look match the kind of look you want for your wedding? What are the decorations in the venue? Are they able to provide you with additional decorations if you want to go for a themed event? Or, are you willing to spend for the additional decorations so that it will match your wedding colors or theme?
  4. Does the wedding venue provide for other wedding-related vendors? For added convenience, you can choose to work with in-house vendors for your catering, floral arrangements, your cake and linen. Working with in-house vendors provides a distinct advantage in that the provider is already familiar with the place, its people and facilities and so things can go more smoothly. The Sandy, Utah wedding venue, The Atrium, provides in-house wedding-related vendors so that you can easily deal with these all under one place. However, be sure to check that the vendors are up to your standards. Have a taste test with the caterer and the baker. Ask for samples and photos from the florist.
  5. What are the venue’s facilities? Does it have enough bathroom and coat check facilities? Does it have wheelchair lamps to provide easier access to disabled guests? Does it have dressing rooms for the bride and groom (which can also serve as the children’s playroom, in case you have some children in your wedding party)?
  6. Does the facility serve alcohol? It is important that the facility holds a state liquor license if you want to serve liquor during your wedding reception. If you plan to bring your own wine and liquor, you should ask if there are applicable corkage fees.
  7. How are costs computed? What is the fee for renting the venue? You should ask for a detailed list of what the rental entails – what facilities are made available to you, how much time is provided for you to decorate the area and how much time is provided for the event itself. Watch out for hidden charges such as service fees, taxes, insurance costs and gratuities. You should also ask if there are additional fees for overtime use. Also, before you sign the dotted line, determine the payment schedule – the deposit as well as when final payment is expected.
  8. How much space is available to you? Does the wedding location have a dance floor and space for the band?
  9. How much parking is available? If you know that most of your guests will be going by car, you should ensure that they have adequate parking. You should also note if valet parking is available and if there are additional fees for parking.
  10. How much staff is available on your wedding day? It is important to know if there is someone on hand to help out and troubleshoot, particularly on the day of the wedding. There should be someone behind the scenes that will mind the details even as you enjoy your special day. How many of the venue’s staff will be there to help?
  11. Are there restrictions? There may be some limitations as to what you can do. Some venues don’t permit the use of candles or open flames. It is important to know ahead of time whether there are restrictions, especially if you want something unique in mind for your wedding.

If you are planning to have your wedding and reception in Sandy, Utah, be sure to drop by Western Gardens’ The Atrium and you will see how ideal the venue is for a momentous event such as a wedding.

Fun Wedding Receptions

So the “formal” and “serious” part of the wedding is over. The bride has marched majestically along the aisle. The couple has said their vows. The minister has pronounced them as man and wife. Now, it’s party time!

Yes, that’s what wedding receptions are. Although the wedding ceremony is undoubtedly beautiful and emotional, it is during the wedding reception that guests really get to mingle with each other and enjoy each other’s company over some good food and drinks. This is also where guests (including Grandma!) can party and boogie the night away in the wedding reception venue’s dance floor.

Everyone knows what happens during the usual wedding reception program. If you don’t want to go by this clichéd route, you can put a twist on the usual reception program and make it more fun and enjoyable with wedding games. Some well-selected wedding reception games (and guests who are eager and willing to join) can effectively break the ice and charge up the atmosphere. If your wedding reception location provides for a DJ or if you have assigned someone to act as the reception emcee, they can be the ones to facilitate these games.

Before you get into any of these games, make sure that the reception center has given prior approval to the games and the materials/props to be used. When you work with the wedding reception center, their assigned event coordinator can help get you the things you need and ensure that the games go smoothly. Choose games that encourage audience participation so as to get your guests out of their chairs and having a bit of fun!

Here are some games you can try:

–          Variations of the garter toss. Are the men in your wedding party avid football fans? Then take a football and place the garter around it. The groom gets to toss the football and whoever catches the football wins the garter. Another variation is for the male volunteers to do a “sexy dance” – the best “sexy dance” is the one who ends up holding the garter. Again, make sure that your wedding reception center allows these games.

–          “How well do you know your bride”. Line up volunteers – men and women, young and old – along with the bride. Have them sit down. Blindfold the groom and have him identify his bride from the lineup – only by shaking each volunteer’s hand (tame version). For more racy versions, have the volunteers kiss the groom or have the groom feel each volunteer’s legs.

–          “Feed me”. With this game, the bride and groom take turns feeding each other. The groom is the first one to be blindfolded. He is to feed his new wife with a food item (preferably one that will not mess up the bride’s makeup or dress). He will feed the bride using only her directions. After this, it’s the bride’s turn. The bride is blindfolded and given a slice of the wedding cake (preferably one topped with whipped cream). The bride is to feed the cake to the groom.

–          Getting the newlyweds to kiss (variations). Eschew the usual tapping of fork to glasses and add a new twist! For instance, get people to wear a lei and do the hula hoop for at least 30 seconds if they want the couple to kiss. Or, assign couples (male/female or male/male) to kiss at various points in the program. The newlyweds must lock lips the same way these couples do! Encourage the volunteers to provide racy versions of “the kiss” that the newlyweds must do. One other option is to have a putting green and a golf club. Anyone who wants the couple to kiss should get the golf ball into its hole.

–          Balloon Pop. Get a balloon between the bride and groom. Cheer them on as they try to pop the balloon in any way possible without the use of their hands or feet.

When playing games where participants are blindfolded, make sure that there is someone on hand to prevent any accidents or spills. Also, before you select your games, be sure that your wedding reception venue has the materials and space you need for the game.

When having your reception in Sandy, Utah, one excellent choice would be Western Gardens’ The Atrium. The Atrium is a Sandy, Utah wedding reception venue that provides a wide range of facilities that are ideal for wedding reception games. The Atrium is equipped with an excellent audio and video system, a dance floor, an event coordinator to help you and so much more.

Selecting your Wedding Venue? Here are some things you should consider

Dream weddings also require dream locations…and more. Just because the place looks romantic and just right for your motif does not mean that that wedding venue is the best for you. There are also practical considerations to think about to ensure that you have what you need for the wedding ceremony and reception to run smoothly.

To help you determine how you should choose your wedding venue or wedding reception venue, here are some things you should look into:

  1. Kind of ceremony or reception. What kind of ceremony and reception do you want? Would you like to have different venues for the wedding ceremony and reception? Your choice of reception venue should then be near the church or wedding venue since you will have to consider travel times between these two. Or, if you want to save money, you can also think about having your ceremony and reception in one location. This will also be more convenient for you and your guests as it limits the amount of traveling they will need to do. The Sandy, Utah wedding venue, The Atrium House, has the facilities and space for you to have both your ceremony and reception in one romantic backdrop.
  2. Size of the wedding. How many guests are you planning to have? Of course, you need a wedding venue that will accommodate the size of your wedding party. Will the venue also be able to have more space for last minute additions? What if 15 unexpected guests pop up on the day of the wedding itself? Another consideration is the kind of wedding reception you want? A sit-down dinner will need more space for the same number of guests than a stand-up buffet.
  3. Facilities. What kind of entertainment are you planning for your reception? Will this include dancing to the music of a live band? Then you will have to select a location that has a dance floor and space for the band. You should also consider the wedding reception center’s facilities for children and disabled persons. Are the facilities child-friendly – does it have a romper room for children to play in? Is there a wheelchair ramp? How near is the reception area from its parking space? Other convenient facilities you should look into are the bride and groom’s dressing room, a good sound system and enough chairs and tables.
  4. Wedding location staff. Does the staff seem professional and customer friendly? Will the wedding location provide a coordinator to help troubleshoot during the day of the wedding?
  5. Restrictions or limitations of the wedding venue. Some places (particularly historic venues) don’t allow guests to wear high heels. Others, such as museums, limit flash photography. Consider these restrictions in light of what you want to happen in your wedding.
  6. Accessibility. Is the place easy to find for those who will be driving? How about those who will come through public transport? Are there hotels near the wedding venue for you and your guests?
  7. Photo Opportunities. Does the wedding location provide a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos? An ideal wedding venue should have a lot of natural light for daytime photos and romantic sparkling lights for nighttime photos. It should also have decorative elements such as water installations/waterfalls, chandeliers, glass ceilings to make your photos more beautiful.
  8. Budget. Of course, this will be an important consideration. You would want a location that meets your budget and can offer you excellent packages for floral arrangements, catering, wedding invitations and stationery and linen. You should also check the fee schedule and any extra charges (such as charges for overtime, cake cutting or corkage fee should you decide to bring in your own wines).


Western Gardens’ The Atrium House takes all these into consideration to provide you one of the best wedding and reception venues in Sandy, Utah. When you are planning a wedding in this area, be sure to make a visit to The Atrium House to see how well it will suit your needs for your dream wedding.

Wedding Caterers: What you want to know

Before saying “I do” to a potential wedding caterer, you need to know some crucial things about that caterer. After all, catering will eat up a large portion of your wedding budget. You don’t want the disappointment of having to eat rubbery chicken with a soggy side salad, do you? Knowing important details about your caterer will help avoid that huge let-down, especially during an important day such as your wedding. It is also helpful to know what you require beforehand so that these are clearly lined out and agreed upon by you and the wedding caterer.

But first things first. You need to determine whether your selected wedding reception venue allows you to hire an outside caterer. Some venues have their own in-house catering service.

If your reception center gives you the go-ahead, here are some things you need to know about your personal requirements and how your prospective caterer will deliver that according to your budget:

–          Type of wedding catering required. A five-course sit-down dinner or buffet? It depends on what you want for your reception. Of course, each type of catering will have its own requirements.

–          Catering staff. Does the catering staff simply serve your guests or are they trained to explain what is on offer (particularly for a buffet) in a professional and respectful way? Will the drinks and hors d’oeuvres be served to the guests or will guests need to go to a station for these?

–          Appearance of the staff. Ask how the wait staff will look during the event. Their look should, of course, match what you are going for in your wedding reception. You don’t want wait staff walking around in slacks when you are having a formal affair.

–          Reputation. What do other people say about the caterer? Ask around for recommendations and as the prospective caterer to give you referrals.

–          Food quality and availability. Book a food tasting session with the caterer. Don’t just consider the taste, but also the presentation of the food. Ask what cuisine the caterer specializes in and whether he or she is able to accommodate special dietary requirements such as service kosher food to some guests.

–          Costing. The quote provided should include a listing of the food cost, plus other charges – staffing costs, service charge, taxes, corkage, setting up and clean up fee, fees for drinks, delivery fee, fees for rented equipment and so on. You will discover that the quoted cost per head is actually lesser when you add up the extra charges. Having a listing of the costs will help protect you from any hidden costs that may come as an unpleasant surprise when the final bill is presented to you.

–          Package offering. Also, get a list of what is included in your package. Check whether items such as tea or coffee, wine and other add-ons are already included in the package or will cost you extra. Be sure to ask for a separate package for your kids.

–          Ratio of staff to guests. The caterer should be able to provide you with the number of team members who will serve during the catering event. Make sure that there is a comfortable ratio and that there is enough wait staff to serve your guests’ needs.

–          Familiarity with the wedding reception center. Has the prospective caterer worked with your selected wedding reception center? This will help ensure that things go more smoothly since the caterer already is familiar with the venue and knows just what to expect. They can bring in additional equipment that are not readily available in the reception venue. They also have a better idea of the best ratio of staff to guests since they have already taken into consideration distances from the guest tables and the kitchen.

–          Work load. Check that your prospective caterer has a reasonable work load. Ask how many catering jobs the caterer has accepted for the month and day of your wedding. You don’t want other jobs to “compete” for the caterer’s attention during crunch time. You also want to be sure that your contact will be present at the wedding reception location on the day of your wedding to manage things.

–          Payment policy. How soon will the deposit be required and how much is required? When will the full payment be due? Does the caterer have a refund policy in case something unavoidable happens and the wedding is cancelled?

Western Gardens’ Sandy, Utah reception venue, The Atrium, The Ivy House, has a list tried and tested caterers that have worked with them. This means that you can easily cross out one important item off your to-do list of choosing the right caterer for your needs. Aside from this, The Atrium also provides an excellent set of facilities for your dream wedding. If you are planning a wedding in Sandy, Utah, be sure to visit The Atrium and ask about their caterers.

Wedding Planner 101: What to Know About Your Wedding Planner

The wedding planner may very well be a lifesaver – especially when you’re bombarded by all the things that clamor for your attention and decision. This makes hiring a wedding planner one very good idea – it can ease out a lot of stress and pressure. Remember, the wedding is your special day – you don’t have to spend it being all stressed out. Rather, you’d want to enjoy the day and let someone else handle the nitty-gritty details.

A wedding planner may be as involved in the planning and execution as you want him or her to be. They can coordinate and work with vendors so that all you have to do is to make decisions as to which designs to go with. The wedding planner can take care of ordering the wedding favors, dress, cake and floral arrangements and ensure that these are delivered on time. They can also be there in the wedding location to help supervise the decorations and even stay after the wedding to look after the clean up.

Indeed, the wedding planner may help you keep your sanity, ensure that the wedding is a success and kept well within budget. That said, you need to be careful in your choice of your wedding planner, since he or she plays such a crucial role in your wedding.

Here are some things you’d want to know with regards to your wedding planner:

–          Availability. First, determine whether the planner has an open schedule for your wedding date. You need to know if he or she has other clients booked for that day or for the days leading up to your wedding day. You’d want to have a wedding planner that is fully committed towards your event and will not give only half of his or her attention to it due to the fact that he or she also is juggling other events. Another important thing to check is whether the planner is doing wedding planning as a part-time or fulltime career. Having one that works part time will mean that he or she is only available for calls or meetings during certain days and times.

–          Communication. How will you and the wedding planner communicate – by phone, e-mail or both? How quickly can you expect the wedding planner to respond? How easily can you contact him or her and how often will you meet during the planning stage? Remember, some wedding planners will only provide you with a limited number of phone calls/meetings per week and may charge extra for more frequent calls and meetings.

–          Services provided. Essentially, wedding planners will adjust themselves according to the level of involvement you want them to have for your wedding. There are some brides who prefer someone who will do the planning and coordinating with the vendors, choosing the wedding reception center and other items such as wedding favors, invitations and so on. There are also some brides who enjoy planning the details and doing the legwork of the wedding and simply need someone behind the curtains on the day of the wedding itself. Ask the planner if the wedding planning package being offered includes helping plan the bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner or honeymoon.

–          Experience. A wedding planner’s particular niche should match with what you have in mind for a wedding. Wedding planners who are used to big-budget and elaborate affairs may not be a good fit for a wedding with a small budget. Someone who specializes in formal and church weddings may not have the experience to coordinate a destination wedding. Be sure that the wedding planner you choose has the experience to handle your kind of wedding. You should also ask for referrals for previous clients.

–          Vendor network. A good wedding planner can actually help you save money or stretch your budget even further due to the fact that he or she can negotiate with vendors and work out deals so that you will enjoy more bang for your buck. Be sure to ask if the wedding planner can help you stick with your budget.

–          Cost. Of course, it is important to discuss how much a wedding planner’s services will cost. Some wedding planners charge a flat fee while others tack on a percentage of the wedding’s total cost.  Before you sign the contract, be sure to know the details of the costing – what services are included and what extra charges may be added.

A wedding planner gives you something precious you can enjoy – peace of mind. There are also some wedding venues that provide an in-house coordinator for your wedding day needs. This way, you have someone to go to for any needs you may have during the day of the wedding.

One such wedding reception venue is Western Gardens’ The Atrium in Sandy Utah. Aside from an in-house coordinator, this Sandy, Utah wedding venue offers a wide variety of facilities such as in-house vendors, beautiful backdrops for both indoor and outdoor weddings, a lovely water installation and much more.