Category Archives: invitations

Let’s be ReaLISTic

Creating your guest list is no different from many other projects as you will start with a monumental idea only to realize the need for a more practical outcome. Whether you are planning a small, intimate ceremony or one to which you invite hundreds, there are some that should NEVER be included and others whom there is no obligation to extend an invitation to.  Here are just a few of those….

Certainly, there are people you see often and seemingly know every detail of your life, whether your manicurist, co-worker, boss etc. Therefore, you have had conversations about your upcoming marriage and perhaps each aspect of the planning process. However, neither that knowledge nor the amount of time spent together necessitate an invite.

There is no need to include all members of your family as, most likely, you have relatives with whom you don’t keep in contact with unless via holiday cards or see every few years if you happen to pass through their town or attend a family reunion. A great way to include them in your celebration (while alleviating feelings of guilt) is to send them an announcement along with a photo and personalized note.

It goes without saying that you exes belong in the “should NEVER be invited” category even if you have been apart for years and remain friends. Perhaps he/they has moved on as well but there is no assurance that seemingly long gone emotions won’t be stirred up. However, you can likely guarantee that his/their attendance would create an uncomfortable situation for your fiancé.

Plus ones are often expected to be included as some feel more comfortable attending an event which is a celebration of love, happiness and unity with their significant other rather than going alone. Of course, you should encourage your close family and friends to bring a guest. However, if you are not including certain relatives or others with whom you spend much of your time, there is no requirement to surround yourself with people you have never met.

Friends from high school with whom you only exchange occasional hellos with on social media, neighbors and friends of friends also fall into the “should NEVER be invited” category as you would not expect them to attend, mind if they didn’t or notice if they did. Also, it may seem as if their inclusion is merely an attempt to get more gifts as many do feel obliged to respond to an invitation in such a manner.

Chances are that you have heard all about weddings that you were not invited to and probably didn’t even give a second of thought to it. It is your day to be surrounded by those who mean the most to you. Including many who are either strangers or acquaintances casts a shadow over the value of ones you hold nearest and dearest.

Getting Trendy

Every year, wedding trends change and, while they may be a jumping off point when it comes time to begin planning, there is no need to base your entire day solely on what is currently in style. Many brides want to fit in with what is “hip” and “chic” in the moment and fear getting caught up in the past or seeming too far out of the box. However, here are some trends for 2016 and years to come.

Patterns: Have some fun. Not everything has to match nor does your color scheme have to solely consist of one or two colors. You can select the colors you want for flowers, decorations and bridesmaids dresses, making beautiful combinations of each for your save the date cards, invitations, napkins, etc. Color blocking/random combinations are both expressive and creative.

Sleeves: Although strapless, sweetheart neckline gowns were the rage for years, the creativity with both short and long sleeves is growing. Having either, especially with an open back, is very popular due to exuding femininity, sensuality and elegance at the same time. They can be made of lace, crystals or other beading and accentuate your dress whether simple or the most extravagant.

Incorporation: If you opt to have a reading included in your ceremony, rather than being performed by the pastor, give short portions to certain chosen guests where they can stand up and read them from their seats. Not only would each be honored to do (those won’t be chosen will not feel left out) but it creates an intimacy and an unspoken symbol of value to everyone you invited.

Personal Moments: Personal photo shoots have always been a tradition but now, rather than being intimate, it has become more stylish to take pictures as you get dressed with your bridesmaids, your mother and those nearest to you buttoning your dress or perfecting your veil because the most beautiful images are those which silently express your anticipation and excitement.

Smaller, more intimate unions are not only more meaningful to each person involved but make any sort of variety of old and new both fun and memorable, and that, perhaps, is the biggest new trend of all.

I’m Your Biggest Fan

The fun begins when planning the smallest details of your wedding as your individuality and personality begin to shine. Consideration should be taken, especially if in the summer or guests are from out-of-town, that the temperature can possibly have an immense impact on overall experience. Therefore, you can not only be fun and clever but provide your invitees with a way to comfort themselves as well. Here are a few ideas….

Fans can be made in any shape or size despite the formality or lack thereof while providing as little or as much information as you want. Use a wooden craft stick and a whimsical silhouette in heavy paper with your names and date on the front and program data on the back, whether the order of the ceremony or members of your party. Add some embellishment with a ribbon or a bell that jingles as you exit the venue. Alternatively, print the details on the front, while providing markers for each guest to write personal messages on the blank back of their fans which can leave for you to read.

Opt for a simple stick (such as bamboo) to which you can attach a personalized packet of your favorite flower seeds. If so, they will both serve to keep the temperature down if an invitee gets warm but also as a unique, creative and fantastic gift for everyone present at your union to take home as a sentiment of the beginning of a new stage in life.

Why not have a panel wedding fan? It is an entertaining option to include infinite material and may be condensed in to the size of an inch.  Card stock with a simple hole punch in the bottom and some ribbon or a brad makes for a cost-effective, informative way to not only provide your names and the wedding date but also directions to the reception, information as to the procession as well as those who are involved in the ceremony.

Most brides don’t have fans as part of their ceremony and those who do don’t give much thought to them. They can serve many purposes, lower your cost and decrease your budget. Therefore, it is something to most definitely give thought to.

Let’s Take a Shot

The fundamentals of wedding planning are synonymous with stress, a sense of inundation and often even some hair-pulling moments. When all is said and done though, the frustration and angst are forgotten. No matter how overwhelming things may seem, there are a few that should be nothing short of enjoyable, one of which being your engagement photos.

Despite how casual your ceremony may be, some of those in attendance will be guests of guests who have never met you nor have any inclination as to your personality, relationship or sense of humor. As well, even the most relaxed and informal weddings typically include traditions which tend to take away from your individuality.

While the photos of your special day will most likely be more formal than not, the engagement pictures that accompany your invitations don’t have to be so at all. Nonetheless, some consideration should be taken so you don’t look back and either feel regretful or as if your choice was simply cliché.

If you got engaged while having a picnic date, consider recreating that moment with the news written on a napkin. Maybe you’re avid hikers and can include a shot on a trail with your backpacks on. If there is something (anything) that everyone associates with your fiancé and yourself, depicting that is an option if you’d rather not share something unforeseen.

However, notifications written on a sandy beach, dates spelled out in scrabble tiles, snapshots wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m marrying him” and so on should probably be avoided.

Your wedding does not consist of a single day but the entire length of time beginning the day you get engaged and the planning starts. Each moment and aspect, no matter how mundane or irritating they may feel, should give your guests a glimpse into who you are and set you apart from every other bride.

Shower Me with Love

Bridal showers are a fun and intimate way to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with your friends and family. Of all the things that must be considered when planning your wedding, thankfully it is one item on the list that you typically don’t have to take care. However, because (most often) it won’t completely catch you off guard, there are details to keep in mind.

The event is not the responsibility of your mother, mother-in-law or any of your relatives to coordinate. It is the duty of your maid of honor and/or bridesmaids to put together, including the guest list and invites, location, cost etc. It is important to have some conversations so as to help ease in the planning process and avoid any snafus. However, for the most part, the details of the celebration should be something you are surprised by.

Showers are usually reserved for those most meaningful to you and certainly not for every female you have asked to share in your actual day. It is imperative that the hostess is aware of who has been invited to your ceremony as it is never appropriate to ask someone to attend the shower who is not on your guest list. After all, much of the conversation will involve your wedding and reception which would be very hurtful and unacceptable to include someone in who wasn’t important enough to extend an invitation to.

Timing is important as there is an appropriate window in which your shower should be held that is between two months and two weeks away from the ceremony. As you day approaches, things will get more hectic and seemingly overwhelming so, while it will be a nice break from it all, it shouldn’t be something that becomes inconvenient or that you dread. Additionally, it goes without saying that the date and time should be ones that are available for all invitees as well as in a convenient location.

While typically everyone at your shower will come bearing gifts, don’t expect them to be grand or over-the-top as they will (and should) be much less significant than your actual wedding gifts. It is appropriate for the host to include your registry in the invitations but you also should expect that some may not give you anything at that time. Everything you do receive, no matter how large or small, should be appreciated, treated equally and thanked for.

Bridal showers are meant to be fun, to add an extra amount of excitement as well as a way to relax and just cherish your engagement. There should be no expectations and solely appreciation that people love and care about you enough to plan, organize and absorb the costs of doing something special and celebratory for you.

Avoiding Snaf(who)s

When planning a wedding, you will spend countless hours, months and sometimes years making sure that every detail is covered and everything is as perfect as it can possibly be. While the focus is certainly on you and your soon-to-be husband, it is important that your guests have an enjoyable time as well and that their feelings, expectations and desires are taken into consideration too. Inevitably, there will be some snafus but there are things you can avoid and do so in tasteful and thoughtful ways.

Chances are that many people at your wedding will not know one another as they come from both you and your fiancé and, most likely, haven’t met. As most strangers don’t tend to intermingle, if you are going to have an extended period of time between your wedding and reception, it is imperative (not to mention appropriate) to have some sort of diversion/entertainment for your guests. Plan for appetizers and cocktails to be available, rent a photo booth, have some games set up or anything else to keep your guests occupied so they don’t even notice the lapse in time.

Taste your food beforehand and give it some thought as two of the biggest gripes about weddings are that the food is either inconsistent in quality or that there are things that some of your guests, whether due to allergies, dietary restrictions or simple dislike, cannot eat. Choose a company that is reputable and is known for the first chicken breast, for example, tasting the same as the hundredth. Also, it is very important to make sure that you ensure an ample amount so that no one leaves feeling hungry.

Specify just who is invited on your invitations so you are not caught off guard and the location is not crowded to the point of being uncomfortable. It is prudent to either add specific names or include a check box for “plus ones” if they are welcome. Additionally, doing so can easily and tastefully avoid any issues if you choose to have a wedding in which children are not invited. All of these will help you to avoid unexpected guests as well as irritation, discomfort and a calamity of other errors.

At your reception, obviously, you choose those most important to you to give the toasts. Keep in mind a couple of things however. First, do exactly that. You don’t need to ask each relative, friend or everyone you’ve ever known to say something. Also, remember that many people who do so make references to times and events that a vast number of your guests will both have no knowledge of and/or in which they find no significance. The only thing worse than hearing about things you are not interested in is hearing about them for a prolonged period of time. Let your toastees know prior to the reception to keep it short and sweet. Have them choose a few important moments and express their wishes for you in a concise manner. That way, everyone can enjoy the speeches and memories and then the party can go on.

Respect your guests enough to spend some time considering the date you choose so it can both be special to you and not interruptive to them. There are many dates that you might not even think would be intrusive but often are such as any time around holidays as, for example, invitees from out-of-town may be less inclined to attend because they are accustomed to spending those times with their families. Days such as Friday where people either have to take off work (such as your wedding party) or attend after a long day are also not the best idea. Of course, perhaps there is a particular day that means so much to you that you insist on it and those who either can or choose to attend do and those who are not available for whatever reason don’t. The most important thing (if you are not set on a particular day) is to check the availability of those who are most meaningful to you and whose presence you want the most.

These are just a few of the things you should consider that, while may add additional time and effort into the planning process, will certainly make things easier as well as be worthwhile for both you and your guests in the end.

How to Invite You…

As you know, each and every aspect of a wedding takes more time and energy than you realized prior to planning your own. It is easy to get caught up in the small details and obsess over everything but fortunately there are some things that come with “instructions.” No matter how unique and different you want your day to be, some things tend to always be the same but don’t take anything away from setting you apart. One of those things is the information included on your invitations as you can be as creative as you want with the design but the wording should follow “protocol.”

Address: It is important to acknowledge that some of the people you invite to your wedding will be from out-of-town and unfamiliar with the area. While you and most of your guests will know the streets and how to get to the venue, the visitors won’t. While it is not necessary to include the exact street or zip code of your location, it is important to include the name and city. As for those from other cities, a great way to make sure they get to your ceremony without them getting lost along the way is to suggest a few hotels that are nearby and then simply include maps from each one. That way, you don’t have to personalize every invitation with an applicable map nor do you leave them finding a place to stay in an unknown area.

Acknowledgements: Regardless of who is hosting your wedding, it is imperative that those who are receive recognition on your invitations. For example, if your parents are taking care of things, you should mention that they are the ones who request your presence. If the parents of both you and your fiancé are involved, each need to be recognized and should be named. If the affair is one that is being handled solely by yourself and your future husband, what is appropriate is to simply say both of your names and that you request their presence.

Formalities: Typically, numbers on your invitation are spelled out. For example, instead of 7:30 P.M., you should write seven-thirty in the evening. If your wedding is very casual, it is acceptable to use P.M. but if it is more formal, even the letters should be reworded and written out. It is also a good idea to include on your invites a date by which you want an RSVP. That way, you can easily have an accurate estimation of the space you need for the ceremony as well as helping you budget the cost of the reception.

Be whimsical. Have fun and show off your personality when asking your guests to join you for your big day. However, be aware of the information that needs to be included as well as how invitations usually are worded regardless of whether you have chosen to be formal or informal, whether there are only a few guests or a few hundred, whether you have chosen the daytime or the evening or anything else.