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As we are half way into wedding season I am beginning to get more and more requests for wedding menus.  Sometimes a bride requests to have one menu per table, some would like a menu at each place setting (tucked into the napkin or sitting on the plate) and others want one big menu for guests to see upon entering or at the buffet line.  This is where we can have some fun with the layout and fonts; here are a few examples to give you an idea!

Thought I would share some of the thoughts behind various dinner options to consider when planning.

Plated/Served:

-The most elegant (stick with 3 courses: soup or salad, entrée and dessert)

-Ability to get more creative with the menu, can personalize the various options or add a family recipe or couples favorite

Buffet:

-Guests are able to get up and socialize with others while serving themselves

-Require less staff and therefore less expensive

Family Style:

-More relaxed

-Can be more expensive because hard to estimate quantity when self served

-An option is to do a plated entrée and passed sides as family style

Signature Cocktails:

-If the budget allows create a signature cocktail that represent you and the groom!  Be sure to add a catchy name! 

             etsy   behance.net   modernlywed.com

evermind.com

modwedding.com  weddingchicks.com

Images from: etsy.com; behance.net; modernlywed.com; evermind.com; modwed.com; weddingchicks.com

 

Wedding Guest Welcome Bags

 

Welcome bags for the out of town guests staying at the hotel have become wildly popular lately.  Usually these are handed out to guests by the hotel when checking in but sometimes they will put them in the appropriate rooms in advance, or a family member will distribute them to guests.  There are endless options for them but I personally love coordinating them with the wedding location.  I have included pictures of a few sample welcome bags with suggestions for what to include.  I would LOVE to create labels, bags, maps, itineraries, etc for your guest welcome bags!

 

What to put everything in: 

-paper bag with custom tag or sticker

-reusable shopping bag (there are a lot of Cleveland ones!)

-canvas tote customized with a cute phrase or the wedding monogram, etc.

-beach bag customized with beach phrase or wedding date, monogram, etc. 

-mini cooler for beach wedding

-paper box with custom sticker and cute ribbon or twine

 

Beach Wedding Ideas:

-Custom cozies

-Drink sand spike (for drinks at the beach)

-Custom beach towels

-Sunscreen (my sticker label says “I’m feelin’ hot hot hot”)

-Makeup Remover Wipes (my sticker says “take it all off”)

-Lip Balm (my sticker says “ouyr love is the balm”)

-Sun chips

-Gold fish

-Swedish fish (tag says “love is sweet”)

-Water bottle with sticker label

-Drink tumbler

 

Cleveland Wedding Ideas (all things local to Cleveland/Cleveland businesses):

-Peterson Nuts (my label says “we’re nuts for you!”)

-Malleys chocolate bar (my label says “love is sweet” and “chocolate is for lovers”)

-Popcorn from Campbell’s popcorn factory (my label says “life is salty but love is sweet” and “all because he popped the question”)

-Jam from smuckers

-Shearers chips

-Cleveland sports related or for game day if there is a game that weekend (tshirt, hat, cracker jacks, tailgating gear,  peanuts, popcorn) 

 

For any bag:

-Custom welcome sign with things to do, places to eat, activities, wedding day information, travel info, etc.

-Creative map

-Weekend itinerary 

-Advil

-Water bottles with sticker label 

-Chocolate covered pretzels “love knots”

-Mini wine bottle with custom label

-Breakfast bars

 

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Wedding Party Gift Ideas

Your bridesmaids and groomsmen deserve something nice after everything they have done leading up to the big day and their presence standing next to you while you exchange vows.  Put some thought and effort in their gifts! Here are some ideas, yes they have all been done I am sure, but you can put your own spin on them and make them meaningful and useful.  I included the basic ideas and the not your average gift ideas too. 

Brides, you do not have to go the traditional route of robes and jewelry as gifts, although they make for nice pictures on the wedding day!  You can do things like button down shirts with monograms or jean shirts for a more casual/rustic/outdoor wedding.   Purses or clutches are nice and can always be used after the wedding.  Sandals or flats that can be worn later in the evening after everyone’s feet hurt…your bridesmaids will thank you later! 

For the groomsmen, things like the Dollar Shave Club are appreciated!  You can go the tech savvy route with apple tv’s or backup phone chargers.  The Sephora sampler cologne set is nice because you get to fill one full bottle out of the set!  Every man can use a tie clip, cuff links or collar stays too!          Tumi travel set - “You have been such a good friend TUMI”

Many of them can be personalized or coordinated to match the wedding if it can be used the day of.  Have fun shopping and let me know if I can help personalize things with custom tags, stickers or notes! 

Bridesmaids:

Jewelry / Purse/Tote Bag / Shoes/Sandals/Flats / Jewelry Box / Robe / Spirit Jersey / Monogrammed Shirt / Drinking Accessories

Groomsmen:

Drinking Accessories / Tie / Socks / Tie Clip / Collar Stays / Cuff Links / Pocket Watch / Money Clip / Wallet / Cologne / Tech Products / Travel Kit

 

bridesmaid gifts

weddingpartyapp.com

groomsmen gifts

apple tv

Bridesmaids: Bangle- Katespade.com; Jewelry – etsy.com; Sandals – Emmalinabride.com; Jewelry Case – katespade.com; Tote Bags – haydenoliviashop.com; Monogram Clutches – etsy.com;    Spirit Jerseys – southernweddings.com (spiritfootballjersey.com); Robes – weddingprepgals.com; Jean Shirts – weddingpartyapp.com

Groomsmen: Glasses and Bottle opener – etsy.com; flask – exclusvielyweddings.com; travel kit – buzzfeed.com and tumi.com; tie clip – etsy.com; Suspenders – thebridaldetective.com;                   cuff links-yourchampagnewishesevents.com; money clip – davidsbridal.com; pocketknife – emmalinebride.com; Pocket watch – etsy.com; cologne sampler set – sephora.com 

 

Thank You Card Etiquette

After the wedding everyone might say, “oh thank you cards, it’s obvious…you just send them.”  Well, I am learning that people do not know the true etiquette of thank you cards so lets get this straightened out before any couples are embarassed further.

You have just been given an absurd amount of money at your wedding, not to mention everyone traveled, took the time to attend or spent the entire weekend worshipping you…the least you can do is acknowledge them properly. 

SEND OUT 6-8 WEEKS POST WEDDING, ABSOLUTELY NOT MORE THAN 3 MONTHS (I don’t care who says anything else! You do not have a year to write your thank you cards…you did not have a year to open their cards and they did not have a year to prepare for your fabulous affair.  Get them out timely, it looks better on you in the end, trust me on this one.)

If someone helped you plan an event or was in the wedding, you should really send them a thank you 2-3 DAYS after the event. 

Please DO NOT:

-       fill in the blank cards

-       typed messages

-       send emails

If using a photo on the thank you card delays sending them out in a timely fashion then don’t use the photo. 

Save it for holiday cards or something else, it is not a valid excuse for being late. 

Please DO:

-       handwritten cards

-mention what you plan to do with the money (we are buying a patio furniture set with the money /

we put the money towards a down payment on our house, etc.)

-     -  make it special, the thank you that you write should be as nice as the gift you received! (it was so nice to see you / thank you so much for attending /

you looked beautiful, thanks for dancing, we use your gift daily, etc.)

-       spell their names correctly

-       be enthusiastic but not over the top

-       send them all at once (do not send them as you write them, if not all at once)

-       WRITE THEM ALL AT ONCE (in a weekend or a day, just knock them out!)

-       If you received a gift in the mail - acknowledge it via phone or email so they are not worried that you didn’t get it yet.  Then follow up with handwritten card. 

Cute Idea:

Put a picture in each card of your guests.  If the photographer got a picture of them at their dinner table or as they walked into the reception, etc.  They may not have a picture of THEMSELVES from your event and would love it! 

Suggestions:

If you do not have nice handwritting, invest in a cute return address stamp or embosser!  

They are fun and worth it when mailing anything more then 10 items I would say, plus you can use it for plenty of other items.

(They can be customized and purchased off Etsy...or call me to so do the design!)

thank you cards

 

 

 

REHEARSAL DINNER

Etiquette, Themes & Ideas

What is it?

The last hoorah before you walk down the aisle!  It is the day you practice who stands where, who says what and toast to family and friends being together to celebrate your wedding.  Traditionally it takes place the night before the wedding, but not always.  Typically there is a dinner after practicing the ceremony and it brings both families together for a pre-party before the real party!

You have spent months planning for the big day, the rehearsal dinner is something that you don’t necessary put a ton of thought into because you have been so busy! Here are some helpful guidelines, ideas and themes that don’t require a ton of work!

Where:

There are no rules on location…restaurant, bar, backyard, winery, golf course, bowling alley…pick something fun!  It should never be more formal than the wedding and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.  If you are on a tight budget do a pizza parlor, bowling alley or backyard BBQ and get creative!

Who to invite:

The wedding party, parents, siblings, grandparents, officiant, out of town guests and significant others of the wedding party.  You can include other family members or friends as you see fitting.  If there are too many out of town guests you can always plan to meet up with them at another location following dinner.  If sending invitations, send them after receiving the wedding invitation rsvp responses.  

Who Pays:

Traditionally the grooms parents pay for the rehearsal dinner but now a days many couples pay or both sets of parents pay.  

Happenings:

-Toast (The father of the groom or the groom, typically-thanking family and friends for being there and thanking the brides parents.  Toast should be given before or during dinner, not after. If others are giving toasts the best man should go first.)

-Gifts (distribute thank you gifts to wedding party, especially if anything specific to the wedding day)

-Any Special Presentation (prayer, poem, slideshow/videos, etc.)

 

Theme Ideas:

BBQ/western

Beach/nautical

Mexican fiesta

Fondue Bar

Bowling

Casino night

Clam or lobster bake

Sports game - sports team theme

Wine or beer pairing

Tee time - golf course

Picnic

Italian

rehearsal dinner ideas

italian theme-advice.annsbridalbargains

 

 style me pretty fiesta

 

Photo Credit: nautical/lobster boil: carriepellerin.com  / pizza: magazinec.com / western BBQ: rusticweddingchic.com / beach: southernweddings.com / winery: lover.ly.com / beer: stylemepretty.com / golf: weddingfavorsunlimited.com / fiesta: stylemepretty.com / italian: annsbridalbargains.com