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Pinterest: Pins of the Week

Seven Arrows Poster Invites.  We love a classic, simple invite as much as the next person, but we also love when couples take a less traditional approach, injecting more fun and color into their invites.  This invitation package from Ladyfingers Letterpress takes the take when it comes to fun.  The bright colors, the mismatched fonts, the pop of yellow in the envelope lining, everything screams, “Come, celebrate, and have a good time with us!”

Kraft Paper Place Settings.  There are lots of different ways to help guests know where to sit.  Placecards, seating charts, table numbers…the list goes on.  But we love the simplicity of these kraft paper table settings.  With brown kraft paper and a simple marker, you’ve got instant place settings.  Even if you’re not doing assigned seating, this is still a great option; just think of fun and celebratory sayings to write or fun facts to share about the couple.  Instant conversation starter!

Green Apple Photography

Sprinkles Cake.  We are firm believers that sprinkles make everything better.  And this cake is the perfect proof.  How can you see this cake and not smile?  The all over sprinkle effect makes a bold statement, and the white bows add a pop of elegance.  This cake is perfect for a fun and spunky couple!

Jessica Hardy Photography

Etsy Find of the Week

Etsy, for those of you newcomers, is an online marketplace where vendors can sell their handmade goods.  Sounds crafty, but Etsy has quickly become one of the go-to places for brides to find everything from custom signage and invitations to veils and jewelry for their big day.  The advantage is getting something completely unique and having your money go directly to the designer or creator, which seems to be how most vendors keep their prices so competitive.  Either way, this online bazaar of sorts can keep you busy browsing for hours and if you are getting married, Beware…their wedding sections are freakishly addictive!

Here is our pick of the week for a sweet bridal gift found on Etsy: personal, special and quite the keepsake!

Pinterest: Pins of the Week

This week, we’ve had more than our fair share of fireworks, backyard BBQs, and hotdogs, leaving us thinking about nothing but red, white, and blue.  So in honor of America’s big day, we’re sharing our favorites pins in our three favorite colors!

Bright Red with a Pop of Orange.  Red florals are classic, bright, and vibrant.  Though for some reason, most people tend to picture roses when they think of red flowers.  Yet, we love this festive bouquet, as it uses red to make a statement, sans roses!  Mixed with pops of orange and funky greenery, this bouquet is sure to make a statement for any bride!

Doily Wrapped Invites.  We’ve seen this pin pop up a few times on Pinterest, and every way we see it, we can’t help but swoon at the simple elegance of this look.  Invitations can often be expensive and overwhelming for couples, as there are endless options.  But sometimes simple is best, and this lace and paper combination is the perfect example of this sentiment.  With a package of doilies, some ribbon, and some simple invites, these invitations are an easy DIY for any bride!

Blue Bowtie.  We love the look of a classic bowtie, but when you add a bit of a nontraditional twist, we’re over the moon!  This navy and white polka dot bowtie is perfect for the groom who wants to add a bit of flair without straying too far from a classic look.  We can see this bowtie with a crisp white shirt, a gingham button up, or a classic khaki suit.  It’s hard to go wrong with this blue beauty!

How To Tell If Your Wedding Budget is Too Strict

Everyone knows weddings can be expensive, and unless you happen to have parents (or in-laws) who are millionaires, wedding planning typically involves compromise. However, that doesn’t mean that every decision should be based on price. It is okay to plan a budget-savvy wedding, but be careful not to become too strict; you might later wish you had planned a wedding more suited to your dreams. Here are two ways to tell if you might regret your cost-cutting ways.

You’re Settling

If you are settling on a place because it is the cheapest or choosing a wedding dress because it is on the clearance rack, you may want to reconsider what is important to you. Could you make coffee at home for the next few months instead of visiting the local coffee shop to help you pay for the dress you really want? Could you have the wedding on a Sunday or Friday to save money on the venue you really love? Compromise doesn’t have to mean settling for the cheapest option.

You’ve Become Obsessed

For some people, saving money can become an obsession. You get so excited about saving money that you focus all your attention on how much more you can save instead of focusing on the wedding plans . You are no longer choosing invitations or favors or flowers because they fit your wedding theme but because they are a good price. There is a line between budget-savvy and cheapskate. Try to stay on the right side.

There are plenty of ways to save money on a wedding. You don’t have to sacrifice the wedding of your dreams to make it happen. Instead, figure out which details are important to you and look for ways to cut spending in other areas of your life. Also, get creative with your wedding details. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you have to wear a discounted dress in an unflattering style and host the reception at a venue with broken toilets. Find some balance and you can have a beautiful wedding and a healthy bank account.

Finding a Helping Hand

The fun you can have when planning a wedding is endless, but unfortunately the flip side is also true. For the times when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, there’s often only one thing you can do: ask for help.

Your Mom

Mom knows best, right? And whether it’s your own mother, your mom-in-law-to-be, or another mom-like figure in your life, they usually know you well enough to at least calm you down. Call them up, have a coffee date, and vent about your wedding woes. You might just be surprised with their problem solving skills and motherly wisdom.

Your Best Friend

A best friend is often more than ready to get their hands dirty in helping you solve all your wedding problems. And a solution to your problem comes in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s a chick flick with a pint of ice cream or a helping hand on those wedding favors and wedding invitations. No matter what you do, your best friend is the person with whom to have a laugh and tackle those challenges head on.

Your Fiancé

Not every guy will understand the extent of your wedding worries, but a long hug, dinner date, and good conversation might be just the key. Reaching for help from your fiancé can help you remember what your wedding’s all about: the start of your marriage. Your problem may still be a problem, but hopefully you’ll realize it’s not worth the worry you were wasting on it.

Your Vendor

This may be a surprising choice for help. But the truth is, most wedding vendors, whether it’s a venue manager or your chicago wedding DJ, has been through hundreds of weddings. They know every problem and have seen every solution. That personal connection may not be as strong as your mom, best friend or fiancé, but some problems simply need a little advice from a seasoned professional. Don’t be afraid to spill your guts and ask for help.

Invitations Essentials

Without invitations, there would be no guests and without guests, there would be no wedding. Or at least not a fun one, anyway. Invitations are not only a crucial way to notify guests of the wedding, they’re also the first glimpse that friends and family get into your upcoming nuptials. Here are a few basic guidelines to live by when it comes to wedding invites…

Plan Ahead: Invitations should be mailed out six to eight weeks before the wedding to give guests ample time to plan for the festivities, but not too much time that they’ll forget all about it. Get started early on selecting invitations to give yourself plenty of time to have them ordered, printed, and shipped, so you can get them properly addressed and in the mail. If you’re having a long engagement or your wedding falls on a popular weekend, consider sending out a save-the-date card to notify guests of the impending nuptials.

Keep It Simple: Your wedding invitations set the tone for your entire wedding so they should accurately reflect the color scheme, design, theme, and level of formality of the event. Since invitations are often one of the first things that brides and grooms settle on, it can be easy to overwork the design and, as a result, create busy invitations that are muddled, confusing, or just plain unattractive. Choose an invitation that reflects your unique style and the feel for the day to give guests something to look forward to.

Proofread, Proofread, PROOFREAD: Save yourself the embarrassment of a typo or the headache of ordering new invitations by carefully proofreading the invites to make sure names are spelled correctly, dates and times are accurate, and addresses are right. Ask a few grammatically astute pals to proofread the invite as well to pick up anything you might have missed.

Proper Postage: Since wedding invitations often come in unusual sizes and weights or contain several inserts, a standard postage stamp won’t always do. Avoid the stress of returned invitations by taking a sample into the post office to have it weighed to guarantee each envelope is properly stamped.

Address In Style: What’s on the outside of the envelope is just as important as what’s on the inside, so make sure the invitations are carefully addressed in style. Hire a calligrapher to label the invites, or save cash by recruiting a few pals with good handwriting. Either way, be sure that names are spelled correctly and addresses are accurate before slipping envelopes in the mail.

Don’t Forget the RSVP: Regardless of the size, location, or theme of your wedding, it’s imperative that guests RSVP. Make sure the invitations include directions on how to RSVP (whether by mail, website, phone, or email) as well as a date that a response needs to be received. Guests should have three to four weeks to respond to your invitation; any more time and they might forget, any less and you might not get an accurate count.

Wedding Stationery

 

 

Top 5 Wedding Planning Myths

Planning a wedding can be a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming if you feel the need to live up to every expectation you’ve ever heard of. Fortunately, a lot of wedding expectations out there are purely myth, so you can rest easy and focus on what matters. Here are the top 5 wedding planning myths you can forget about.

Myth: You’re expected to wear a white dress.

Sure, it’s the traditional thing to do, and you may be someone who’s been dreaming about that white princess wedding dress your whole life. But if you haven’t, you’ll be happy to hear there are a lot more options in today’s world.

You can easily find white dresses with designs or trims in a rainbow of colors, or you can choose a fun color for the entire dress, without a stitch of white in sight. Particularly popular are pastels that give a soft, elegant glow to any bride. Ultimately, though, the choice is yours.

Myth: You’re expected to break the bank.

Picking out venues, meal options, dresses, wedding favors and more can be an exciting task until you remember than someone has to foot the bill.

Happily, a wedding is a wedding on any budget, and if you mine your creativity, you can still have a spectacular wedding, even if you’re pinching pennies. Don’t feel obliged to spend every last dollar you have, or your wedding might end up one of the most stressful days of your life instead of the happiest.

Myth: If you want to cut costs, DIY projects are the way to go.

Sometimes, this is perfectly true. But you have to be careful and realistic. For example, you may choose to make your own favors, but depending on the gift, you might end up spending more than you would if you’d bought the same gift, pre-made in bulk.

Plus, you have to consider how much time you’re putting into a project, as well as how much it could cost you if the project goes wrong. DIY wedding projects are a great way to express your creativity and have fun, but if you’re looking to cut costs, make sure you’ve done your homework first.

Myth: Cheesy music is expected.

Ready to blast the Macarena or dance to “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston? You’ll find huge lists of “the cheesiest songs of all time” out there, and many of them you’ve probably heard at weddings. And if you love those songs, by all means play them. But if you’re worried about scaring your guests off with cheesy music, then feel free to create a “Do Not Play List.” Talk to your DJ about your music tastes and concerns. A good DJ should listen to your wishes and be full of suggestions for avoiding those cheesy wedding classics. Wedding Music.

Myth: You’re expected to invite those who invited you.

Most people have attended a handful of weddings before planning their own, but it’s a total myth that you have to invite those same couples to your wedding. Maybe your guest list is already a little too long, maybe you don’t know the couple very well, or maybe your relationship with them has changed over time. Whatever the reason, your guest list is your choice.

Wedding Stationery

Your wedding invitation is the first impression of your wedding. It sets the tone and style. Similarly, all of your wedding stationery should complement your wedding day style. This includes the programs, seating cards, and thank you cards. Along with photos and favors, wedding stationery is an item that you and your guests can save to remember the day. So where to do find this important wedding element? Luckily, you have several choices.

DIY

Wedding stationery is a common DIY project. Thanks to computers and printers, creating quality stationery at home is simple. Craft stores such as Michaels sell DIY kits that include all the materials and directions. These kits can also be found at superstores such as Target. This option tends to be inexpensive, but your options will be limited to the store’s inventory. Also, you need to consider the time and difficulty of creating your own stationery. If you are extremely crafty, you can create stationery without a DIY kit. One popular way to do this to use a Cricut, a popular crafts machine.

Mass Production

There are tons of wedding catalogues and websites that offer wedding stationery. Unlike DIY kits, you have more sophisticated options. Also, the only work you have to do is pick out the stationery and approve the wording. This option is less time consuming but more expensive.  While there are more options than DIY kits, the possibilities are limited to cookie-cutter designs. The most personalization available is colors, fonts, and wording.

Custom Made Stationery

If you really want stationery that wows your guests, consider custom made stationery. This option gives you the most creative freedom and quality. The stationery is typically handcrafted by a designer, and designed to match your wedding style and vision. To find a stationer, check out craft sites such Etsy.com. Also, talk to other couples and local vendors to find out who they recommend. Be sure to check out Invitations By Design.

When choosing stationery, remember your wedding budget, style, and timeline. If you are on a tight budget or if stationery is not a main priority, DIY may be best for you. If you want stationery that is high quality and unique, custom made may be right for you. Mass production is typically the best in between option.  As always, you decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Weddings – Overcoming Challenges

From wedding invitations and favors to flowers and cake, there are a hundred different details of a wedding and a hundred ways to do-it-yourself, whether you want to save money or simply express your creativity. DIY wedding details are awesome goals, but it’s easy to underestimate the effort behind it all. So keep the following potential challenges in mind.

Defying Expectations

As much as you love your family and friends, chances are there’ll be someone with the stubborn idea that things are supposed to be a certain way. And chances are, your DIY details won’t conform to that.

Stick to your guns. As long as you’re being realistic about your projects, don’t change your mind just because someone disagrees with your ideas. If it’s causing stress, find ways to de-stress and don’t let those nay-sayers get to you.

Time Limits

Deadline extensions are impossible when it comes to preparing for a wedding. But when you’re 10 months away from the big day, it’s easy to dismiss that fact without a second thought.

Whether you have just one project on your hands or 10, you should make a realistic estimate as to how much time you need to complete it. Make sure you have plenty of time left over for other things, too. What other things? Details you forgot about, final meetings with vendors, family to welcome, or downtime to de-stress; no matter what it is, things come up. Ensure your schedule isn’t too jam-packed so you can get those projects done with the least amount of stress.

Level of Difficulty

Shoving flowers into mason jars or arranging simple posies may seem easy enough in the trial run months before the wedding, but don’t fool yourself.

When you’re stressed out in the last few days with a hundred other things on your mind, it’s altogether possible that those posies end up looking like a pre-schooler’s creation. It’s no insult to your abilities or creativity; it’s simply an underestimation over how difficult it is to make 6 bouquets, 10 boutonnieres, and 20 centerpieces all in one day.

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into on a project, and get as much practice as you can before crunch time. There are plenty of resources online instructing upon DIY wedding ideas, but until you actually do it yourself, you won’t have a true idea of what it takes.

Worst Case Scenario

What if it all goes wrong? What if those 150 wedding cupcakes you’re baking come out burned? What if the ink on all those programs comes out smeared? What if the flowers wilt and die?

While you can’t spend all your time letting the “what ifs” plague your mind, you should be realistic about potential disasters. Make sure you have a solid back up plan should the worst happen.

Bottom Line

In any DIY project, realistic expectations, plenty of time, back up plans, and a handy group of family members and friends or bridal party members who can lend a hand are key. Good luck!

Wedding Day Peace with Bridesmaids

How to Keep the Peace
You’ve all seen it: The drama that unfolds when brides select their bridesmaids and someone feels left out. In some cases, this kills lifelong friendships. In others, all it takes is a small explanation. I think most people are upset because picking bridesmaids says something about the quality of your relationship with that person. Since the wedding is such an important day, the people you pick understand how much you mean to them. Friends often feel that if they are asked to be in someone’s wedding, they must return the favor and extend the invitation. This may not always be the case. So here are a few tips for helping you keep the peace with bridesmaids and friends.

Remember: It’s YOUR Day
Sounds silly, I know, but at the end of the day this is YOUR wedding. It’s not your parents’. It’s not your best friend’s. It’s not your sister’s. It’s yours. So with that comes some responsibilities, but also an enormous amount of privilege. This is your day and you make the rules. You only want two bridesmaids? Then do it. You can’t build your wedding based on what everyone else expects or wants.

Be honest
Simple concept, but you would be surprised how many people struggle with it. Most of the time the dishonesty comes about from fear of hurting someone’s feelings. More ugliness typically results from people failing to just be honest. Let’s say you have a friend who asked you to be in her wedding and you obliged. Now it’s your turn, but you don’t want that friend in your wedding, because you’d like to keep your party small. Rather than doing something silly like trying to “include them without including them,” speak to them in person and explain yourself clearly. A good friend will usually understand.

Include Others
Just because you didn’t invite the person to be in your wedding party, doesn’t mean you can’t involve them in all the other activities. You could even let them plan or host a  bridal shower or party. This is a much better alternative than giving them the title of “House Party” or “Honorary Attendant” when they don’t actually do anything. If you keep constant contact with the person and continue to let them know they are important to you, the fact that they aren’t in your wedding will be easily forgotten.