10 Ways to Entertain Your Wedding Guests Until Send-Off

The ceremony is over, the formality of the day is coming to an end, and the bride is ready to kick up her heels! Some couples tend to become a bit worrisome once the dance floor opens up, afraid their guests will grow tired or disinterested throughout the night. After all, a bride’s biggest wedding day fear is having the majority of guests leave before her big sparkler send-off! We have come up with a few ways to keep your wedding guests entertained all night long, ensuring there will be plenty of people to throw confetti as you bid adieu:

Reserve a cozy spot for conversations. This is a crucial detail when you’re planning your reception! Not everyone wants to dance their hearts out all night, so it is important that you give these guests an area where they can cool down and enjoy a good conversation (probably about the other people dancing their hearts out).

Hello, open bar! Free drinks on a Saturday night? Difficult to say no to that. Everyone knows that alcohol gives guests the liquid courage they need to get out on the dance floor and bust their best moves. Pro tip: wedding receptions where alcohol is served tend to last at least 1.5 hours longer than dry receptions.

Cut the cake already! Cutting the wedding cake a little earlier will keep from awkward interruptions for later when everybody is in the middle of their groove!

Late night snacks. Who doesn’t love chowing down on some delicious fried foods after a night of dancing?! Our caterer, All Occasion Catering, quickly becomes everyone’s favorite vendor when they come out with a biscuit bar, flaming donuts or Krystal’s! This will keep your guests not only happily entertained, but also keep them from partying too hard. Pro tip: if you have an open bar, we HIGHLY recommend shutting down the bar and serving a late night snack to begin getting guests ‘back on track.’

Create your own playlist. Even though he/she is a professional, you know your guest list better than your DJ does. Some brides and grooms like to choose their own songs, so they know every word and can sing along without feeling left out. Be sure to mix it up and play songs for every generation! Grandma probably doesn’t want to get down to Fetty Wap. Pro tip: Allow your DJ to accept requests from your guests. If they know their song is coming up, they’re guaranteed to stay!

Group activities that don’t involve dancing. Karaoke machine? Cards Against Humanity? Blackjack table? With these options, your non-dancing guests are bound to want to stay a little longer!

Shake it like a Polaroid! If your photographer is off the clock, set out a few polaroids or disposable cameras so your friends and family can get interactive with each other. No wedding guest ever turns down an opportunity for a selfie. This can also be a great alternative to the traditional guest book. It will leave you with not only sweet notes, but also pictures to remember the fun night everyone had! Pro tip: invest in a photo booth or fun backdrop!

Arrange for guests’ transportation back to the hotel. If you’re serving alcohol, this is for everyone’s safety. You can also arrange the buses to begin shuttling at a specific time, ensuring your guests will stay as long as you want (but don’t be cruel, holding them hostage!).

Specialty bars. Investing in a specialty bar (moonshine bar, cigar & bourbon bar, etc.) gives guests a reason to stay past the bouquet and garter tosses, knowing there’s a shot or two of whiskey in their future. Pro tip: Don’t open up your specialty bar until at least 9 p.m. to evenly break up the night’s activities and give guests something to look forward to.

Relax – seriously! We know wedding planning can get a bit hectic, but once the day arrives, everyone will have more fun if you can look over any little debacles (and trust us, there is always something that can’t be controlled)! Don’t spend your entire wedding day stressing and wondering if your guests will leave early. You spend months and months, dollar after dollar planning this one day. ENJOY YOURSELF. Pro tip: If you’re on the dance floor having a great time, your guests will be doing the same. If you’re sitting at the table looking bored, your guests will be doing the same.

8 Differences Between Indian and American Weddings

Do Indians really throw a better party than Americans? The ceremony length, the number of guests, and even the rituals–all of these aspects of a wedding in Indian cultures are completely different from that of American weddings! Here at Castleton Farms, as we prepare for yet another Indian wedding, we have done some research to provide you with a breakdown of just how different these two cultures really are in terms of weddings.

Differences between Indian and American weddings

The More, The Merrier.
The guest count is the most noticeable difference between the two culture’s wedding days. This is where the bride’s family likes to show off their money and hospitality–not to mention, Indian families tend to consider everyone they meet family–so they will typically invite as many people as he can afford! The guest count for an Indian wedding can range anywhere from 200 to 1,000 guests! In America, however, weddings remain a bit more intimate. Depending on the budget, the bride will send invitations only to close family and friends, bringing the average guest count in America to 130 or less.

Differences between Indian and American weddings

But What Will I Wear?!
In the United States, it’s typical for a bride to wear a white dress, though it’s becoming more common to see ivory, champagne, and even blush wedding gowns. The groom either sports a tuxedo or a suit, usually with a white shirt underneath and a splash of color in his tie. It is traditional, however, for Indian brides to model extravagant red, silk sarees on their wedding day. These beautiful and intricate pieces of handiwork can cost just as much as a wedding gown, if not more! Indian grooms wear embroidered sherwanis.

Differences between Indian and American weddings

A Girl’s Best Friend.
While American brides tend to choose simple diamonds, pearls or color coordinated pieces that fit their wedding day theme, Indian brides can vary greatly on what jewelry pieces they choose to wear on their big day. Some will wear an abundance of gold pieces and others may choose the royal rani look that features large polki diamonds. Either way they go, their lavish jewelry pieces will always be a matching set that compliments their wedding attire!

Differences between Indian and American wedding rituals

Differences between Indian and American weddings

More Than Just ‘I Do.”
We could write an entire book on the differences between Indian and American wedding rituals, but we’ll try to keep it short and simple! We’re all familiar with the American wedding processional order–begins with a traditional leading in of the groom and groomsmen, then follows the mothers and grandmothers. Next up: groomsmen, bridesmaids, and finally, the bride makes her big entrance, walking down the aisle, teary-eyed, with her father to meet her groom at the altar. The bride and groom then stand to exchange their vows and seal it with a kiss. However, Indian ceremony traditions are completely different than anything we’re used to. Their ceremony includes the barat, where the groom arrives at the venue on an elephant or horse, surrounded by his family who dance to music the entire way, and is welcomed by the bride’s family. Also, the Saptapadi is said to be an important ritual where the bride and groom will walk around the Holy Fire while saying a vow each time around. Whereas American ceremonies take as long as one hour at the very most, the main Indian wedding ceremony can last up to 3 hours.

Extravagant Indian wedding reception

Party of the Year Goes To…
The traditional American wedding reception immediately follows the ceremony and includes drinks, cutting of the cake, dinner, and dancing to follow. However, Indian brides, grooms, and their guests have to freshen up in between ceremony and reception because it’s such a long day. The Indian wedding reception is the huge celebration of the bride and groom coming together. Rumor has it, you don’t want to miss out on these parties!

Differences between Indian and American weddings

Are We There Yet?
Traditional weddings in America last the entire day for the bridal party and a few hours for the guests, with a ceremony lasting about 30 minutes, followed by a cocktail hour, and a 4-5 hour reception. Get this–Indian weddings can last anywhere from 1 to 3 whole days, if not more! These days consist of amazing rituals, including henna tattooing the women’s arms, hands and feet and eating LOTS of food.

More Than Just a Piece of Paper.
American wedding invitations can really be anything that the couple enjoys, whether that includes engagement pictures, beautiful calligraphy, or eye-catching artwork. Custom monograms are quickly becoming something every couple desires because it goes further than just the piece of paper. You can include custom monograms on your chalkboard signs, menus, and even the dance floor! Along with the American trend of choosing what reflects your wedding theme, Indian wedding invitations also have some brilliant artwork on them. However, the artwork on these invitations is extremely bright in color and has a cultural significance. The envelope that contains the invitations isn’t just a piece of paper to protect the card. It’s also made of silk, natural fibers, and bright colors–how cool!

Differences between Indian and American weddings

Forget About the Price Tag.
The average wedding cost in America depends on how many guests are attending and how much the bride is willing to spend on decor, flowers, the dress, and more. Typically, American brides will spend anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. On the other hand, Indian weddings tend to be over the top! The bride’s family spends their whole lives saving their money to spend on this one occasions, and the guest count, as stated earlier, is huge! Indian brides will have a ballpark budget of $50,000 to $100,000.

Despite the many differences between Indian and American weddings, at the end of the day, both cultures place a strong importance on uniting the two families and each hopes for a long, wonderful married life together for the newlyweds.

Wedding Planning 101: Ways to Cut Wedding Costs

Wedding budgets are intimidating, I won’t lie to you. When you make a list of how much things are going to cost versus how much you’ve allotted, it can be upsetting. Pinterest has kind of ruined the wedding industry because it makes us girls believe we can have a Vera Wang gown and an explosion of seeded eucalyptus and peonies, with no price tag attached. However, have no fear! There are ways to cut wedding costs and still have your dream wedding!

Wedding inspiration on Pinterest website

In the beginning, it’s important to prioritize three things you wouldn’t mind splurging on. For me, it was photography, videography, and invitations (and of course, Froufrou Chic silk ribbon for my bouquet). My personal advice: I think photography should be on the top of everyone’s list simply because when the day is over and done, the only tangible memories you have left are the pictures. We got our wedding photos back two weeks ago and still pull up the link every day to browse through them. However, you know yourself better than I do, so if you know you really don’t care about the pictures, add something else to the list. Maybe the food is really important to you, or a beautiful, detailed 5-tier cake or a bouquet overflowing with peonies. The only person who can decide that for yourself is you!

Okay, now I’m going to tell you something no bride wants to hear but needs to. By the way, I help plan weddings on a daily basis, but I never fully understood this concept until I was a bride myself. You cannot have the high-end wedding you’re dreaming of on a $10,000 budget and expect to have 400 of your closest friends attend. Weddings, unfortunately, do not work that way. Think about it: inviting one more guest is ordering one more invitation suite (not to mention the $6 per envelope calligraphy which is all-too popular these days), one more chair (which leads to more tables and floral arrangements), one more plate of food, one more piece of cake, one more wedding favor, etc. On average, you’re paying $100 for each guest to show at your wedding, so let’s do the math. If you only cut 10 people off your list and your groom does the same, you’re saving approximately $2000. So, let’s prioritize again and think about who we really want to attend. Ask yourself: when is the last time I had an actual conversation with this person? Do I know their boyfriend/girlfriend well enough to give them a plus one? Does this person have a clue as to what’s going on in my life? Where do I see our relationship in five years? You’ll be able to start narrowing it down as you answer these questions.

Wedding in a field with guests

Ben Finch Photography

Friends at a wedding having fun

Ben Finch Photography

Honestly, creating a realistic guest list was the hardest part for Corey and I. Of course we both wanted ALL of our friends and family to come, but our budget had other plans… Be patient with each other throughout the process! Your fiancé might not understand when you first tell him, “Babe, you have [#] of people you can invite,” because guys typically don’t understand any of the wedding planning process, but with lots of thought and patience, you’ll be able to create your perfect guest list.

A few other ways to cut costs:

• Timing is everything! Think about having your wedding on an off-day, like a Friday or Sunday. You might be surprised at how much vendors will discount their services for non-Saturday events, which is why Corey and I decided to have a Sunday wedding.

• Skip the plated meal and add food buffets to your ‘must-have’ list. Plated meals require more servers, which adds to your catering costs.

• Only about 75% of your guests will eat the cake, so no need to buy the 4-tier cake for your 150 guest count. A way we cut the cost of cake was to have family and friends bake their favorite cake recipes.


Have other ideas? Leave a comment and let us know how you’re cutting your wedding costs!

Vintage Vineyard Wedding

Longing for a romantic wedding in wine country? A vineyard wedding is the ultimate in sophisticated rustic elegance. But there is no need to travel to France and leave all of your loved ones behind. You can get that same experience state side if you know where to look. The Vineyard at Castleton Farms coupled with one of our skilled wedding planners is the perfect combination to achieve your dream vineyard wedding. Memorable wedding designs come down to the details and there are plenty of creative details to include in this elegant wedding, but in this case the venue is more important than ever.  A vineyard wedding must simply stated, be held in a vineyard. Whether it is the ceremony, cocktail hour or the reception, some portion of the event must allow your guests to wander between the rows  of live growing grapes and taste the fruit straight from the vine. I love that Castleton’s vineyard is planted with the muscadine grape; a grape native to Tennessee and a taste that brings back my childhood with one bite!

Now that you have an amazing venue, let’s talk about the details. Your colors can range from deep wine reds and purples to light fresh champagne peaches and whites. If you go for the lighter colors, tan or grey suits on your groomsmen are a great choice to keep your bridal party balanced. Vineyard weddings will often see the bride in a slimmer silhouette, but bolder brides may opt for a fuller gown in deep rich colors, especially for a dramatic evening ceremony with candles.

We love the idea of sending a bottle of wine as the invitation with all of the wedding information printed on the custom label.

These eco friendly cork invitations available on etsy are also a great first glance of what lies ahead for your guests.

Of course grapes of many varieties and should find their way into your décor and centerpieces, although your bouquets and boutonnieres should be void of this staining fruit.

The cocktail hour and reception for this type of wedding can be super elegant and refined.

The perfect accompaniment to wine is cheese! So a cheese sampling is a must, but also consider dishes made with a variety of different or unique cheese. For the cocktail hour consider Goat Cheese with Pancetta, a Cornmeal Soufflé with Blue Cheese or Smoked Salmon with Mascarpone. Grilled vegetables also pair well with cheeses especially when finished with an aged balsamic vinegar or rich olive oil. Fruit jams with cheese and crackers can be simple, but delicious.

A Caramelized Onion Tart with brie followed by a Grilled Corn Soup are sure to have your guests on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the main course. A grilled beef tenderloin or roasted duck or lamb are all wonderful options for the main course.

Now that your mind (and taste buds) are busy with the menu let’s talk about before and after the ceremony. Consider hiring a sommelier for a wine tasting as your rehearsal dinner. This is a great opportunity to taste and understand new wines with your bridal party. Speaking of bridal party, what gifts do you give these people that are so dear to you? How about a picnic basket filled with everything necessary for a romantic evening of their own; wine, preserves, local honey, crackers, marinated olives, roasted peppers and smoked meats. (there go my taste buds again).   

When you plan a wedding around wine, amazing food is sure play a big part. Congratulations, you now have a wedding your guests can’t wait to attend!


Flower Snapshots


Aren’t bridal bouquets GORGEOUS?! Brides glide down the aisle holding stunning colors from Mother Nature in their hands. They carry an innumerable array of flowers, unique to the bride’s personal tastes. But bridal bouquets are a-changing! As beautiful as flowers are there are numerous other materials showing up in the bride’s manicured hands . . . paper flowers, heirloom jewelry, feathers, fruit . . . there are no restrictions on what the bride can carry down the aisle. Traditional rules are out and unique tastes are in this season.




Bridal bouquets for the perfect winter wedding.




Vintage Jewelry

Unlike flower bouquets, when a bride carries an heirloom bouquet down the aisle these jewels will last long after the wedding. They can be passed on from generation to generation, from bride to bride. For those who love vintage, this is another great way to incorporate it in a wedding . . . through a lasting heirloom bouquet. As beautiful as they are, cut flowers soon die, but a custom bouquet made out of heirloom jewelry will last forever. It becomes an heirloom in its own right.




Outside the Box

More and more often, brides are thinking outside the box when it comes to their bridal bouquets. They are no longer content to carry the traditional flowers as their mothers did. Their creativity has expanded to having fabric flowers, buttons, feathers and fruit for their bouquets. And the end result is fabulous. Another “thought outside the box” are the new purses popping up in weddings across the country. The traditional flowers are used, but they are arranged inside the purses or the flowers are actually placed outside the purse itself for a “flower purse.” Now that’s really thinking outside the box!






The Beauty of Tradition

When it is all said and done, flower bouquets are still as striking and beautiful as they were when Mom carried them down the aisle. So despite all the other changes, many modern brides opt to hang onto this one tradition and have a flower bouquet to toss up for some lucky bridesmaid to catch. And Fall wedding bouquets are some of the most striking in the color palette. They grab everyone’s attention and direct everyone’s eyes toward the lovely bride herself.





Cake Snapshots

Wedding cakes are as individual as brides nowadays. No longer is the choice the traditional white cake of your mother, but most are made to order, from scratch. Bakeries use only the finest ingredients. From Belgium chocolate, vanilla beans to real buttercream icing, you are free to choose the special flavor to be baked into the decadent layers of your wedding cake. Cakes and fillings can be mixed and matched. Some bakeries offer custom flavors upon request.





Choosing any one of the seven wedding venues at Castleton Farms leaves a “sweet as cake” experience for you, your family and guests.



Choosing any one of the seven wedding venues at Castleton Farms offers a “sweet-as-cake” experience for you, your family and your guests.



Cake Selections

There are wide selections of cakes for brides. A favorite is white raspberry that is made with layers of a moist bourbon, vanilla bean cake that is brushed with white chocolate ganache and filled with raspberry buttercream icing. Another favorite is the moist bourbon that is baked with layers of a rich Belgian chocolate cake, then complimented with Irish cream truffle filling and fresh strawberry buttercream icing. There are few limitations for today’s bride in the selection of her wedding cake. Yummy!



Choosing any one of the seven wedding venues at Castleton Farms offers a “sweet-as-cake” experience for you, your family and your guests.



Choosing any one of the seven wedding venues at Castleton Farms offers a “sweet-as-cake” experience for you, your family and your guests.



Choosing any one of the seven wedding venues at Castleton Farms offers a “sweet-as-cake” experience for you, your family and your guests.



Thanksgiving Weddings

The leaves have fallen and the temperatures are dropping, which means Thanksgiving is upon us. While Spring and Summer are the traditional favorite seasons for weddings, more brides are planning their weddings for September, October and November. There’s something romantic about a season spent snuggling up by the fire with a warm drink, watching the leaves change color and soaking in spicy scents like pumpkin and cinnamon. There are many positives about having a Thanksgiving wedding. One of the biggest is that family has already made plans to be home for the holidays. There are ideas listed below to help plan for a Thanksgiving wedding.




Bag of Seasonal Nuts

A decorative bag of seasonal nuts is a nice Thanksgiving-themed wedding favor. The nuts can be packed inside small, drawstring bags that can be personalized with your wedding information. The bags can be filled with pecans, walnuts, chestnuts or acorns. You might also include instructions on how to roast the chestnuts or the recipe for a pecan pie.



Thanksgiving Pie Wedge

A wonderful, edible Thanksgiving favor for your wedding guests is a wedge of pumpkin, apple of pecan pie. Thanksgiving Turkey Wedge Boxes are perfect for one wedge of pie. The boxes are decorated with a Thanksgiving motif, but you may also want to consider personalizing the boxes with a label that has your wedding information printed on it.The boxes can be purchased online and cost less than four dollar for a dozen boxes. You can also fill the boxes with a slice of wedding cake.



Thanksgiving Harvest Candles

Thanksgiving harvest candles also make wonderful Thanksgiving-themed wedding favors. In many instances, you can personalize the candle holders with your wedding information for no extra fee. Thanksgiving harvest candles are often sold through specialty stores, craft shops and party supply stores. A dozen personalized candles costs about $13. Another option is to purchase plain glass candle holders and DIY with rub-on transfers.


Horn of Plenty Floral Arrangement

One obvious Thanksgiving-themed wedding favor is a cornucopia or horn of plenty. Craft stores and wholesalers sell miniature cornucopias for only several dollars. The baskets can be filled with silk, dried or fresh fall flowers like mums, toad lilies, helenium and sedum. If you choose a silk or dried floral arrangement, your wedding guests will be able to enjoy their favors for years to come.


Thanksgiving Turkey Wine Boxes

A bottle of seasonal wine or sparkling cider placed inside a Thanksgiving Turkey Wine Box also makes an excellent wedding favor. The decorative wine boxes are often sold through party supply shops and specialty retailers.