Vendor Spotlight | Jane Rokes, Officiant

Naturally Elegant Designs Vendor Spotlight

Jane Rokes, NH Wedding Officiant

 
 

We had the opportunity to ask one of our favorite wedding vendors, Jane Rokes, about her business. Here is what she had to say!

"Officiating is truly an honorable profession - at least for me!  Being a proponent of the institution of marriage makes writing ceremonies a labor of love - literally and figuratively.  For 35 years I have loved deeply and have been loved in return.  It is those years of marriage that have propelled me to the altar over 1,000 times over the last fifteen years to officiate for couples who prefer a personalized ceremony.  

Let's face it - anyone can pluck any sample ceremony off the internet. My love of writing an individual ceremony trumps any temptation to borrow someone else's words.  Why?  Because every couple has a backstory, current story and hopes and dreams for a full and happy marriage.   When I blend these three elements together, I see the makings of an outline for a ceremony.  Being a wordsmith, an accomplished writer, and pubic speaker, all help to reduce feelings to words so that a couple's story can be celebrated.

I sit with a couple, takes pages of notes, reduce the notes to an outline, pour the outline into a document that creates a mainframe within which to expand on - capturing a couple's story.  It is a process that I continue to hone because complacency could set in - if we don't stay sharp.

I have officiated for many couples blending their cultures - even learning some light Swahili for a couple.   I have officiated for couples who share the same last name even before they marry - which makes the paperwork a snap and causes a chuckle and couples find me if I have married them, they have divorced and decide they are happier together than apart so they want to remarry - those are sweet stories. I have stayed in touch with many of the couples whose weddings I have performed - some over ten years now and every story has left an indelible mark on my heart."

My marriage mantra is "Go love!"


You can find more information about Jane here: Facebook | Wedding Wire | The Knot

Summer Weddings | New Hampshire Wedding Design

Thinking about a summer wedding?

If you’re having a summertime wedding, you’re probably envisioning a gorgeous, blue-sky day that’s like something out of a movie — a sea of perfect, white roses everywhere you look, and your guests in high-fashion ensembles walking through the gardens with champagne glasses in their hands, remarking how this is the most beautiful wedding they’ve ever seen. 

What you’re not envisioning is those same guests overheated, dehydrated and slumping in their chairs from the humidity, sweat pouring down the back of your dress, and hundreds of mosquitoes stuck in the icing of your perfect summer wedding cake.

 
tented wedding barn floor farm tables
summer meadow wedding with mountain view
 

How to best prepare for your wedding

Do - Consider hiring a Planner

An experienced wedding planner can help you find the right location for your wedding vision.  They also know the best vendors familiar with the local, weather, venues, do's and don'ts for your wedding day comfort.  There are several things to be done to prepare for a beautiful summer wedding hiring a planner is one thing you can you do to make sure it comes off as beautiful as you would like. The first step is to realize and accept that there is no such thing as a perfect wedding no matter what season it takes place in and mistakes will happen. Some large, some small but many can be avoided or overcome with the proper preparation.

Always have a “in case of rain” plan for your special day. It is better to be prepared and it doesn’t rain than it to rain and you not be prepared. Spend the extra money for deposits on tents and other equipment just in case. This is where a planner is invaluable in helping you prepare for the "what if's" of your wedding day. Once the day arrives, you can enjoy in confidence that the day will be great.

Don't - Forgo save-the-dates

Summer is prime vacation time, especially when it comes to families with school-age kids.  Send an announcement in advance so everyone can mark your wedding on their calendars early and plan accordingly.  Create a website with images of the area, terrain, average temperatures so they can be prepared.

DO - Keep your guests comfortable at all times

Choose an indoor-outdoor location whenever possible.  Look for a beautiful reception site that offers both outdoor and indoor party areas, such as one with a fabulous ballroom and a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking manicured gardens, a golf course, or the ocean. Guests can decide if they want to be in the outdoor elements, or comfortable inside in the air conditioned building. Especially if you have older or pregnant guests, it’s essential to provide a cooler environment option for all. 

Serve lots of ice water in stylish glasses with pretty slices of lemon, lime or orange. Who says your water can’t coordinate with your wedding colors? Guests at outdoor weddings love having fresh, ice-cold water brought to them throughout the event, so be sure to order hand-passed ice water service on silver trays. If you’re having a more informal wedding, consider stocking the bar or buffet with a few ice-filled coolers of water bottles.

Use natural shade. Scout out your location and ask the site manager to arrange seats and tables under the shade of trees, or with big, bright table umbrellas.

wedding bouquet in a bike

No burning their butts! If your site will set out metal chairs for the ceremony or outdoor seating, be aware that metal can heat up in the sun. Either arrange for chair cushions or invest in fabric slip covers for chairs that will be placed in peak sunlight.

Don’t - let mother nature steal your summer wedding perfection!

 If your ceremony is outdoors, I suggest you be mindful of the time of the day for your guests, decor, and photos. It could be a very hot summer day, and you want to be prepared. Providing paper fans or umbrella’s is a lovely way to keep your guests cool and also add to your decor. Gardens and beaches are stunning options for your ceremony, while open tents and halls make lovely reception areas.

If your wedding will be in a tent, or out in the open air, be sure to rent high-quality, portable fans that you test out in the rental store to judge their strength and relative silence. Great party fans now run at a lower volume level so that everyone can hear the toasts and the music. Invest well in plenty of these fans for everyone’s comfort, and place them around the seating area, the bar, anywhere guests will gather.

Do - Talk with your Photographer

Wedding photographers have told me time and again that midday sun isn't ideal for the best wedding pictures. Not to mention the fact that nobody (not even a bride) looks beautiful with sweat (and her makeup) sliding down her face. Plan your ceremony for after the hottest time of day has passed (but far enough ahead of true sunset that you get all the pictures you want).  Talk with your photographer about the best light and time of day for your portraits...you'll be glad you did!

Don't - Choose a noisy ceremony site

Summer weddings are often depicted as a beach ceremony and they are stunning. But there are other locations that serve the purpose just as well and make sure that wherever you go the scenery is wedding like and stunning. Remember to assess the noise level of the area as a consideration to your guests. You want to make sure they are able to clearly hear your vows and this will be difficult if planes are flying overhead, wind is blowing or the waves are flowing. Also remember that as a bride, interference from the wind can cause a major disturbance to your attire and hair.

Hanging floral orbs

Do- Hire an experienced floral designer

white summer wedding

When you have an outdoor wedding, you may choose to have less decor or many other ideas as you can take advantage of the beautiful backdrop and setting that nature provides.

If you have fresh flowers, ensure that they are able to withstand the summer heat or that they are placed in the shade. Choose floral bouquets and arrangements that don’t have flowers that easily wilt.

You could keep things simple, light and elegant, or create a flower wall to wow your guests. Your focal point should be the beautiful summery surroundings and your decor choices should complement those surroundings.

With summer full of natural bounty, take some time to see how to incorporate these into your arrangements.  Use fun elements like herbs and moss in tin containers, branches and eve a splash a bright fruits!  Rather than large flowers for your hair, use smaller dainty ones...have a spare boutonniere or two on hand.  

Do - Keep Your Wedding Dress Light

Your wedding dress, as well as your bridesmaids dresses should be cool and lightweight for a summer wedding. The last thing you want is to feel hot and flustered on your wedding day. Choose hairstyles that are up and away from your face and that your makeup is well set for the heat of the day. Let’s not forget about the men, who should also be able to take off their suit jackets after the formalities and enjoy the summer breeze in lightweight shirts.

Don't - forget sun and bug protection. 

Sunburn can give the term "blushing bride" a whole new meaning. Prior to getting dressed, the couple and attendants should apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Consider wearing a moisturizer and foundation or powder that contains SPF (just give it a test-drive for allergies weeks beforehand, either on your own or with your makeup artist). In the guest bathroom, include a basket with sunblock wipes as well as bug spray (which should also be available at the ceremony site).

Do - Use Top Notch Catering

ice sculpture to keep seafood fresh

At any wedding, the catering service should be one of the most important points to focus on. Yes, your guests are there to celebrate your unity, but they also look forward to being treated to some good food and drinks throughout the reception.

If you are having food outside, ensure that your selection is suited to the summer heat. This should be obvious, but make sure to choose items that won’t spoil easily and that don’t need to be kept chilled for long periods of time.

Finger foods are always a great option, or choose cocktail sized snacks that can be kept on chilled platters or on ice. Keep your platters covered to keep bees and bugs away from the fresh food. Some excellent options are fresh fruits and veggies on skewers, cheese platters, cold seafood and gazpacho, which are all light and refreshing for hot summer days.

Drinks are just as important as your food, and a bar is always essential. Have a selection of refreshing non-alcoholic options as guests tend to drink a lot more in the heat. If you are looking for something different, try adding interesting frozen drinks to your bar menu. You can get creative and create your own signature cocktails and popsicles for a fun twist on your menu.

Your cake is another thing that is eagerly anticipated by your guests. If you are having a large cake of multiple layers and tiers, make sure that the venue has storage in their fridge or cold room to prevent your cake from melting. A great alternative to a cake is having something fun like an ice-cream bar, or cocktail sized desserts that are light and refreshing after a day of dancing and celebrating.

Don't - Forget the Essentials

Portable Restrooms

You want to make certain that guests are properly accommodated and always comfortable by providing the necessary bathroom essentials. They can easily become fatigued, hot, sweaty or drained. Make sure you provide little items such as sunscreen, bug sprays, mints, mini water bottles, anti-perspiring and deodorizers for your guests to freshen up. Your guests will feel great throughout the day and it makes for a more pleasant and freshly scented environment.

Most guests will consider a summer wedding to be more relaxed and casual than the couple may like but it’s to be expected. Guests like to enjoy the elements of summer during a wedding by mingling and enjoying the music. Destination weddings really trigger the sight-seeing sense that motivates guests to take in the scenery. Remember the days are longer and you should plan the celebration to flow according to the time of year it is.

Do - Have a fabulous Time!

Wishing you a spectacular wedding from all of us at Naturally Elegant Designs!