We’ll begin with the little ones. While this is technically a kids’ table favorite, no one will judge you for whipping it out during a particularly distressing Thanksgiving dinner next year. Everyone can use a little crayon therapy. Crayons and butcher paper, in any combination, will win over hearts at your next wedding function, including the big day itself! My favorite arrangement is a small terracotta pot filled with crayons and a table number sticking out of the center. If you can, use the same table numbers that you’re using for the main event. A butcher paper table cloth will not only save your linens, but it will keep the little ones occupied until the parents are ready to turn in. Think about matching that style of the TWine bottle centerpiece (outlined below) by wrapping the terracotta pot in twine as well. If you want to combine the ideas, make it cohesive by presenting every place setting (children, adults, or both) with a set of twine-tied crayons.
The TWine Bottle
There’s nothing simpler and easier than a wine bottle centerpiece, and they always look elegant and fabulous, especially at weddings and wedding functions. The most elegant look (I feel) is to group several bottles of different sizes together and insert small tealights or other-shaped candles into the bottom. The easiest way to do this is to cut the bottom of the bottle off and use it as a candle cover. Don’t try to squeeze a candle in through the neck – it never ends pleasantly. For a more involved and rustic wine bottle centerpiece, with the simple application of twine, a glue gun, and an afternoon with a few bottles of wine, you have a collection of wonderful and professional-looking wine bottles for close to no money. This would be a fun craft for a weekend with your bridesmaids! More in-depth tutorials aren’t hard to find if you’re having trouble!
Long elegant wedding gowns have always been a staple during the summer wedding season, and with good reason. They’re special and beautiful, and girls the world over dream of wearing one as they walk down the aisle to meet their future spouses. Shorter, more inexpensive dresses have become, in recent years, a breath of fresh air for brides who have revised their dreams for something stylish and a little more practical. Cute and spunky, I’ll take a short cotton dress over a lengthy satin train any day. Nothing beats a summer wedding and a no-nonsense bride who’s more interested in the food and dancing than a perfect bustle. Plus, no one steps on your nice white dress when it barely reaches your knees! More Personal Wedding Favors
Hosting your guests should be your first priority as a couple, and that attitude is reflected perfectly in personal wedding favors for your friends and family. When you’re spending a hunk of your wedding preparation time developing and making one-of-a-kind favors for your guests, it reflects a selfless attitude on your part that has been trending in the wedding community (hooray!). Your wedding is as much about your guests as it is about you, and personal wedding favors are a wonderful way to express your gratitude to the people in your life who love you and support your marriage! Geeky Invitations and Save the Dates
There’s something so wonderfully endearing about a photo shoot featuring a bride and groom interpreting their favorite scenes from Disney-Pixar’s “Up,” a valiant battle between a couple and an approaching zombie horde, or – my favorite – a comic book-style invite that features an illustrated couple costumed as superheroes under a punchy wedding date headline. Invitations and Save the Dates can be a fun opportunity to express your personality and quirks to your guests, and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of a Save the Date with two people in love smiling from inside a blow-up Death Star.
Escort cards are the most popular way to alert your guests to their table assignments, and are a fun way to distribute favors and set up a fun and stylish welcome table. You can also set up a sophisticated wall hanging or poster with the table assignments on them. Many couples have found creative ways to display guest table assignments without the use of escort cards. Some couples choose to designate individual seat assignments to their guests (by way of smaller escort cards or menu inserts), but – if my previous experiences are any indication -- they will largely be ignored. The Scoping
Before you think about table assignments, you need to now how your venue arranges reception seating for groups of your particular size. Usually, they know the flow of a room. If you’re hosting a smaller gathering, the venue may not have 10 or even 8-person round tables. Plan accordingly! Communicate with your venue and learn about your seating options. If you want to negotiate a change, listen to their advice against it carefully. Once you’re satisfied with the result, draw up a crude map of how your venue will look come the big day. You will need this map as you plan out your seating arrangements.
This may seem silly, but mapping out your venue and the available seats with something interactive and visual will really help with the charting process. I find that a solid hand-drawn map with little sticky notes with scribbled names works just fine. Write the names of your guests on your sticky notes, and – using a crude drawn mockup of how the reception space will look – arrange your guests in a few different ways, noting relationships, familial tensions, and the individual preferences of your guests. Some couples choose to color coordinate their guests to make sure that they are seating an appropriate mix of backgrounds at each table, but you know your guests better than I do! Play with a few floor plans before committing the final decisions to ink and paper.
The Modernization of the Catholic Unity Candle
Catholic Unity CandleOne of the most moving moments of a Catholic wedding ceremony is the lighting of the unity candle. Whether the couple lights it solely themselves as a symbol of their unity, or if their mothers contribute to the moment as well, the heart of the unity tradition that is the Catholic unity candle lives on in both classic and modern interpretations of the tradition. What does a Catholic unity candle need to include to truly be called a Catholic unity candle? The truth is, any candle used to perform the ceremony during the service is a Catholic unity candle. Some couples choose to find a candle that is inscribed with their favorite biblical verse or the sign of the cross, but any candle that symbolically unites you during mass is a Catholic unity candle. Some families are now choosing the family Catholic unity candle option, where the children of the couple can join in the symbolic unity of the entire family. Ask your officiant for his or her opinion regarding the use of a Catholic unity candle during your ceremony. The flexibility of the tradition is one of the reasons it still remains so popular!
Why you Shouldn’t Skimp on Wedding Dessert Boxes
Wedding Dessert BoxesThe best wedding favors are the ones you can eat. Wedding dessert boxes are a wonderful way to give your guests the gift of food while unloading some of the leftovers you weren’t expecting. How do you make the transition from glorified doggie bag to elegant wedding favor? Well, the trick really is in the wedding dessert boxes. Find wedding dessert boxes that fit the look and feel of your day; don’t just opt for the cheapest ones you could find. Wedding dessert boxes can save you a ton of money on wedding favors, but pretty packaging makes all the difference when it comes to style and elegance. Really spend some time selecting and decorating the right wedding dessert boxes. Displaying your wedding dessert boxes is another important step in their reception. Ask your caterer to package and display several packaged slices of cake (or whatever your wedding dessert is) on a table with several empty wedding dessert boxes and the servable dessert near the exit. Guests will see how the dessert should be packaged, the empty wedding dessert boxes, and the tempting pieces of wedding dessert. You have an instant favor, your guests have an impressive package with contents they will actually enjoy, and wedding dessert boxes save the day again.
The Joy of Outdoorsy Wedding Favors
Outdoorsy Wedding FavorsIf you're a couple of refined horticultural taste, you know exactly what it's like to want to share that passion with the world. Be it gardening, floral design, or maybe other outdoors interests such as camping, hiking, or biking, the outdoorsy couple will likely reflect their love for the natural world during their wedding day. If you're hosting an outdoor wedding (or maybe just a wedding that reflects a love of the outdoors), consider lining your tables with outdoorsy wedding favors. Outdoorsy wedding favors clue your guests in to your passions, hobbies, and interests, while leaving them with a practical, beautiful souvenir that they can use outside. Popular outdoorsy wedding favors include such trinkets as tealights, small lanterns, or even homemade goodies like trail mix. If you're going with the edible option, try to class it up a little with a designer box or tag. Even though you hit the trails without any frills, your outdoorsy wedding favors should always be wedding-ready. Other fun outdoorsy wedding favors may not be designed for use without a roof, but instead remind your guests of the outdoors. These gifts usually work their magic in the kitchen. Consider outdoorsy wedding favors such as floral salt and pepper shakers or beehive honey pots. Though your guests may not be using them outdoors, these outdoorsy wedding favors will always remind them of you!
Even if you’re trimming down your bulky invite envelope, a casual wedding invitation should probably include an RSVP card. While this is a personal choice (and the money you would save on both printing and postage is alluring), getting rid of RSVP cards in favor of email or website RSVPing is an invitation for late (or totally absent) RSVPs from your nearest and dearest. Guests are used to filling out the little card and sending it back for wedding invites. It is much too easy to forget if the little reminder isn’t calling out to them from their refrigerator every morning.
Just this once, deal with the price of postage and enjoy the rewards of NOT calling your relatives a week before the wedding to see if they’re planning on showing up. It’s worth the saved labor even with the extra printing fees. For wording:
The only info you MUST include on your invitation is where and when your guests should show up. Everything else (even the shape and dimensions of your invitation) are completely up to you. Well, full names are helpful too, even on save-the-dates. I’ve heard of families receiving super trimmed-down informal invites that featured only the first names of the happy couple – no date or return address. This is an especially helpful bit of info for your guests if you’re inviting family that hasn’t heard from (or of) you in a while. Even if you’re going informal, think of playing with the style instead of the number of words you’ve got on your inner envelope. For inserts:
While we’re all familiar with the extra-thick wedding invitation envelope in our mailbox, not all weddings are held to this creamy, caligraphied standard. If you’re hosting a casual wedding, your invites should reflect the tone of your event. There’s no need to go overboard. Even with the invention and proliferation of wedding websites and other access points for guests, your invitation is their first guess at what to expect at your nuptials. The numerous inserts and inexplicable sheet of tissue paper is a bundle that is typically reserved for big fancy weddings. If it isn’t your style, skip it. Forget the separate reception card and hotel information and the inner envelopes - you can fit everything your guests need on one postcard if you need to. Save the postage (but send an RSVP)!
The adage that asks that a bride should have “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” is one of the most adhered-to contemporary wedding traditions that’s been around almost as long as the modern idea of marriage. It asks a bride to combine good luck charms from the heritage of her family, her new future with her partner, and the successful marriages of her friends. It’s a rhyme that many couples still try to stick closely to, with many families having “Something ________” traditions of their own. But if you’re having a hard time adhering to the specifics of this adage, here are a few suggestions for the two suggestions that are the hardest to fill – something “borrowed” and something “old”:
The point here is to find a good luck charm from the happy marriages of the married couples in your life. While some families have traditions specific to them, now is always the right time to start a new tradition. Instead of wearing a bracelet or headpiece that was borrowed from a friend or family member, consider instead “borrowing” a wedding detail from their day to highlight your own. In addition to a rockin’ pair of borrowed white sunglasses, dance to the song used as your sister’s first dance to her partner, or use your aunt’s secret chocolate chip cookie recipe for the favors. This creative twist will keep you from loading up with old, new, borrowed, and blue anklets for lack of a better option. Even though you won’t be wearing all of your “borrowed” items, you will have a chance to give the suggestion your own modern twist.
“Something Old” is the requirement of the rhyme that asks brides to carry a token or charm taken from the heritage of their families. Some brides choose instead to carry something from their partner’s family to represent a new connection with the history of their family tree. Either option is meaningful, and even something you found from an antique store carries with it it’s own history. Like “something borrowed,” the point is to keep with the spirit of the adage. There are no wedding police that with confiscate your “something blue” if it’s really more “blue-green.”
As for your “something old,” earrings and necklaces work well, but make sure you have clasps inspected and repaired by jewelers before you walk down the aisle; you don’t want to lose your great grandmother’s pearls this early on. Also, check aged lace and metals against the fabric of your gown to make sure the antiqued colors don’t look harsh and aged against the rest of your outfit. Antique jewelry makes a wonderful “something old,” but there are inherent problems with the age of certain pieces. Skip garters (whose elastic tends to deteriorate quickly and with little notice) in favor of pieces that can be easily repaired.
Most of us are familiar with retail parties, where a hostess gives a presentation on the benefits of a product and the guests are given a later opportunity to purchase from a catalogue (think Tupperware). While that might not seem like a spectacular bridal shower option, there are specific services that make for an unforgettable evening and a good opportunity for a new kind of gifting, especially if the bride in your life isn’t so hot on just being handed a stack of gifts. Bridal showers that utilize the services of retail parties like Dove “Chocolate Discoveries” will find that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on registry items to have a really good time together. A chocolate discoveries party offers opportunities for tasting, trying recipes, and eating an astounding amount of chocolate. If you and your guests are comfortable with a different type of gift giving, consider taking note of the bride’s preferences throughout the affair and purchasing some of her favorite products at the end of the evening. The bride has an armload of gifts she actually wants, and everyone eats chocolate. Win-win. Color me Mine
Color me Mine is a business that specializes in a unique hands-on ceramic crafting experience, where guests paint items of their choice to be retrieved later as glazed and completely usable home décor. It’s hard to totally mess up, too – as long as you follow the directions and layer on paint like nobody’s business. While they might be known more for cute dates and birthday parties, this soirée is a totally viable bridal shower alternative, and is a guaranteed load of fun for all involved. Instead of giving individual traditional gifts to the bride-to-be, the hostess or guests cover the charge for the bride (and the guests as well) and a household item(s) of her choice – hopefully something bridal and commemorative (his and her items like mugs and salt and pepper shakers are a must), and the girls bond over a couple hours of painting together. You’re able to make something completely unique, get a nice gift for the bride, and leave feeling accomplished. Color me Mine offers party packages where guests can come later to retrieve their glazed item in individual little marked bags. Color me Mine also offers traveling parties, where the service comes to you at the venue of your choosing! This is a particularly stylish option if you’re more interested in a private and intimate party where you control the décor and the catering.