Archive for the ‘Invitations’ Category

Today I am starting a regular weekly feature here on my blog called “Favorite Things Fridays”.  I will share with you some of my favorite finds that I’ve come across during the week.  This week’s favorite things were actually inspired by the June issue of Brides Magazine which arrived in my mail box last week.  The model on the cover is wearing a gorgeous Justin Alexander gown with the most wonderful looking yellow sash and shoes.  I just LOVE how this bit of yellow really adds a fun splash of color to the gown.  Yellow is one of my favorite colors because it’s so sunny and cheerful!  The color yellow just seems to make people smile.  How could you not feel happy when you wear yellow?!

In  my quest for more things wedding and yellow, I came across a simple yet incredibly beautiful flower, the frangipani.  Frangipanis are a tropical plant, originally from Central and South America.  They are also an extremely frangrant flower.  Being tropical in origin, they should hold up well in the heat, especially at outdoor weddings.  They come in more colors than just the yellow and white pictured below but I’m really drawn to this particular bouquet and the subtle use of pink mixed with the yellow and white frangipanis.  Pink and yellow are 2 colors that go well together.

Of course, I just HAD to search the internet more for frangipanis and that’s when I came across a really great invitation that would go perfectly with this theme.  This invitation that I found on weddingwire.com is perfect for a summer wedding!  It’s so cheery and fresh, yet simple and elegant.

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Favorite Things Friday.  Stay tuned for some more of my favorite finds next Friday!


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My latest issue of Modern Bride (Oct/Nov) arrived in the mail today.  As usual, I tossed aside the bills and junk mail and immediately starting devouring the magazine.  Right away an article caught my eye and I just had to read it.  The name of the article was called What it Really Costs to DIY.  It was about a bride who did most of her major vendors work as DIY projects.  She made her own floral arrangements and wedding cake.  No DJ but a play list instead.  Things like this.  She seemed to think that she save tons of money, but as a professional wedding planner, I knew better.

Let’s start with the stationery.  She spent about $650 on her stationary.  Immediately I thought to myself, but I know professionals who could have made those for her, for less money.  And, she wouldn’t have dealt with frustrating printer jams and the trouble of ordering new stationery when the first batch was the wrong color.

The same with the cake and flowers.  By the time it was all said and done, she spent $350 on cake supplies and $1400 on flowers and supplies.  I know a professional who could have made a cake and even delivered it for what she paid, without all the hassle.  The same with the flowers.  I know several floral designers who could have worked within her budget and made her some amazing arrangements and bouquets.  In the end, she seemed a bit disappointed in how her DIY flowers turned out.  A floral designer knows where to get the best flowers and how to make them look fabulous!  Plus, there is no stress on the bride’s part in those all important and hectic few days before the wedding.

The other two vendors, DJ and photographer, she certainly did save some of money but at what cost.  I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but not having a good DJ at your reception is a recipe for disaster.  This bride did mention that there were awkward pauses between songs.  Also, who was making the announcements?  Trust me, just because a person can talk does not mean they are a good emcee.

I think the DIY photography scares me the most.  After all is said and done, the flowers are wilted and the dress is put away, the pictures are what you take with you (oh, and your new spouse too 🙂 ).  But seriously, the photograpy is what you have to preserve the memories of your very special day.  If you have a professional photographer as a friend or family member, then that’s great.  But most of us don’t have that.  Even this bride mentions that she was worried so she gave her SLR camera to a friend as a back-up.  She also admitted that most of the photos on the disposible cameras were not very good.  I usually warn my clients against putting the disposable cameras on tables because of this very reason.  I haven’t found one person yet who was happy with how those pictures turned out.  Those things cost the author $120, which she could have either pocketed or put towards something else.  In the end, it sounds like she was happy with the pictures that both her family member and friend took but honestly, she took a big risk!

Someone reading this might think I’m against DIY wedding projects altogether and I’m actually  not.  I am so excited when I have a creative bride who can add some wonderful personal touches to her wedding and I strongly encourage it.  I recently had a bride who made some great looking decoupage candle holder/lanterns to line the ceremony aisle and they were a huge hit.  In fact, as I was setting up the ceremony, another couple came through to do a tour of the venue and the bride-to-be LOVED them.  DIY projects like this can give your wedding a personal and unique touch.  The creative person in me is always doing lots of DIY stuff for my own parties, around my own home, or for gifts at Christmas, etc.  But when I read this article, I just kept saying to myself, “For the money she spent, I could have found a professional to do that, without all the hassle.” 

The moral of this story is pick and choose your wedding DIY’s carefully.  Really research the costs, time, effort, and consequences before deciding to go the DIY route for your major vendors.  You only do this once and there are no do-overs or rewinding on wedding day.

Happy Planning!


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I just got back from my local post office and saw the new wedding postage stamps.  I LOVE them! 

The picture on the 1-ounce first class stamp (44 cents) is of two wedding rings on it while the picture on the 2-ounce first class stamp (61 cents) is a very pretty 3-tier cake.


They are very simple and elegant.  I especially like how color-neutral these stamps are….they will go with nearly any color of invitation.

As always, do remember to take a fully assembled invitation down to the post office and have it weighed BEFORE you by your stamps.  You would really hate to have all those invitations come back to you postage due.

Happy Planning!


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It seems every where you look or listen, the health of our planet’s environment is being discussed.  Global warming, depleted resources, deforestation are all big problems.  More and more, clients are asking me how their weddings or events can be more eco-friendly.  Believe it or not, there are actually many very simple ways, that will often save you money or, at the very least, not cost you any more than what your current plans might be.  You do not need to do things like buy “carbon credits” to offset the impact of your wedding (or at least buy off your guilt :)).  There are many simple and more practical plans that you can make to have a much more green and eco-friendly wedding.

First, try to eliminate as much waste as possible.  Consider using real china, flatware, and glassware instead of disposable versions.  If you book at an all-inclusive venue, these things are usually included in the price.  Most caterers will also provide these items.  You can also rent these items for very little cost.  Using cloth instead of paper linens (tablecloths and napkins) seriously reduces the amount of waste you will have from your reception.  Again, most all-inclusive venues and caterers offer these and, if they don’t, linens can also be rented.

Another thing to consider is the impact that all of those guests driving to your wedding will have on our air quality.  The easiest way to handle this is to choose a location that is close to the majority of your guests.  The closer the location, the less driving they will have to do.  Not only do your guests greatly appreciate this gesture, but it will reduce the amount of carbon emissions that your guests’ vehicles will be producing.

Working with a venue or caterer who uses local, in season foods is another great way to be more green.  Food that has to be brought in from far away places by plane or long-haul truck does have an impact on our environment.  Local and in season foods can also reduce your wedding food costs.  This past winter, I did a little personal experiment with my own family’s grocery buying habits and found some very positive results.  I decided, especially with produce, to focus on only buying in season, more locally grown foods.  That meant eating more citrus fruit grown in the USA and less grapes (which I do so love) grown in Chile.  This did result in lower grocery bills for my family of 5 (and believe me, my kids can eat).  The impact on the environment may have been minimal from my efforts but if more and more consumers did what I did, we would have less produce flown in, hence, less carbon emissions.  Now that it is summer time, I will say that I am looking very forward to California grapes coming to my produce section very soon :)). 

The same can go for another big piece of your wedding or event….the florals.  Chosing in season flowers ensures not only reduces the environmental impact of your wedding but it also saves you money!  Find a florist or floral designer who works with local farmers.  Consider borrowing the florist’s vases instead of purchasing them yourself (trust me, you really won’t use 20 matching vases again).  Along those same lines, consider borrowing or renting things like votive candle holders, arches, and other decor items that you will only use once.  Many venues already have these items available for you to use.

Other ways to eliminate waste at your wedding are not having favors and reducing the size and amount of your printed materials (invitations, save-the-dates, programs).  Really, no one wants a CD of “your favorite songs” or a framed picture of you.  Consider making a donation to a charity or environmental cause, in honor of your guests instead.  The amount of paper that goes into all the wedding stationary can be enormous.  First, most weddings do not require save-the-date cards (read my previous blog entry regarding that).  Using inner and outer envelopes for your invitations is really not necessary anymore and only increases waste.  Consider using an invitation that allows you to put both ceremony and reception details on one piece instead of two.  For your RSVP’s, consider using a postcard instead of an enclosure with an envelope.  Finally, consider not even having programs.  Most people do not read them and will most likely leave them in their seats after they leave the ceremony.  Not only will these steps save trees, but they will save you money.

Of course, recyling is a very eco-friendly thing that you can do to reduce your event’s environmental impact.  Ask your venue if they recyle things like bottles and cans from the bar.

There are so many other ways to make your wedding or event more friendly to planet Earth.  It really is simple and not only helps to save our planet, but saves you money too.  I would love to hear other ways that you have found to make your special day green, so please post comments if you have any.

Happy Planning!


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Save-the-date cards….do you really need these and when.  So many of my clients ask me this question.  Do I need to send them?  When do I need to send them?  What information should they contain?

First, do you need to send save-the-date cards?  If your wedding or event is local, and most people live in the area, then save-the-date cards are an unnecessary expense.  An invitation, sent 2 months in advance, should suffice.  Save-the-date cards, however, are a must if your wedding is a destination wedding or if the majority of your guests are traveling from out of town.  This will give your guests plenty of time to make convenient and less expensive travel arrangements.  They are also a must if your wedding falls during a holiday weekend.  This will make certain that your friends and family will have plenty of notice so that they can tailor their plans accordingly to attend your wedding.

When do you send save-the-date cards?  The most obvious answer to this is as soon as you have a date and a location.  The sooner the better for the reasons described above.

Finally, what information should the save-the-date cards contain?  Obviously, your names, the date of the wedding or event, and location.  Also, it might be a good idea to have your wedding website printed on there (there are many free services available now).  This will allow you to put important information such as nearby hotels, airports, etc. for your guests.  It is important to keep this information updated as much as possible.

There are many great and simple ideas for save-the-date cards.  Magnets, for example, are a great way to send save-the-dates.  Get creative but don’t spend too much on them.  Save that money for your formal invitations later.

Happy Planning!


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A follow-up to yesterday’s topic……A dear friend of mine was telling me about a wedding invitation she recently received.  Not only did it have the usual etiquette blunder of registry cards but it also said this, “Please save your gift receipts for the bride and groom.”  EXCUSE ME?!  That basically says to the guests, if your gift stinks, we will return it.  I was always taught that you graciously thanked the person and then quietly returned an item you didn’t like or need.  Any information about gifts (or money) in your wedding invitation will be perceived as greedy, trust me!

This, of course, reminded me of one of my personal “favorite” invitation blunders this year.  I was sent an invitation to a family member’s wedding where they put on the invitation “No host bar”…….so they were advertising the fact that it was a BYOB wedding????  I’m sorry but TACKY!  I understand if they had a no host bar but you do not put that on the invitation.

Who would have thought there would be so much trouble with one little piece of paper 🙂


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The etiquette surrounding invitations always seems to be a very confusing subject.  How do you address the invitation?  Do you need both an inner and outer envelope?  Do you include gift registry information?  Do you put no children invited?  And on and on…… 

First, my biggest pet peave with invitations……gift registry information.  Now, I know the stores provide those cute little registry cards to you when you register and tell you to put them in all your invitations.  Well, of course, they want you to do that.  It increases their sales!  However, it is the biggest etiquette mistake most couples make with their invitations.  Gift or registry information should not be included with your wedding invitations.  Gift registry information is spread via word of mouth.  Also, it can be included on a wedding website if you have one.  The purpose of a wedding is to celebrate your new beginning, the joining of two lives.  However, it is appropriate to include registry information in shower invitations since the main purpose is to shower the bride (or couple) with gifts.

Addressing the invitation…..while it is much easier and more convenient to print the address onto the envelope with your computer, it is still considered proper etiquette to hand address your invitations. 

Next, inner and outer envelopes…..do you need both?  The system of two envelopes is going the way of the dodo bird and is considered not very environmentally friendly.  You only need one envelope.

And related to the envelope dilema, including the statement adults only or no children please.  Do not put statements like these on your invitations.  The proper way to deal with this is to print exactly who is invited on the envelope.  If a person should not remember his or her etiquette rules and add children to the RSVP card, call them and kindly explain that while you do love their children, the venue has a limited amount of space and you are only able to invite them, not the children.  Also, do be understanding if the friend is not able to attend because they cannot find babysitting.

Finally, remember to mail those invitations 6-8 weeks before your wedding to allow enough time for RSVP cards to be returned.  Don’t forget to take a completely assembled invitation down to the post office to be weighed BEFORE you put stamps on it.  You wouldn’t want to have all of your invitations “returned to sender” because of inadequate postage.

Karen 🙂

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