Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Six Eco-Friendly Wedding Tips for Green Brides and Grooms

Eco-consciousness isn't just a fad; it's a lifestyle that more and more people are embarking on as concern about the health of our planet continues to mount. When you're committed to leading an environmentally friendly life, every buying decision hinges on how sustainable products truly are, and the decisions that come with wedding planning are no exception.

Green-minded brides and grooms are looking for earth-friendly choices for every aspect of their wedding from their personalized guest napkins to the menus served at their receptions. If you're committed to living green, you can keep the eco footprint of your wedding day small in many ways.
  1. Go for green wedding stationery. Invitations and enclosure cards are one of the biggest sources of wedding-related waste. Many stationers now offer personalized embossed wedding stationery made from recycled materials. When shopping for wedding stationery, look for the percentage of post-consumer recycled content, as this indicates how much collected waste paper is actually included in the invitations and enclosures. You may also opt for wedding stationery printed on paper alternatives like hemp or bamboo.
  2. Carefully select your wedding flowers. While you're likely aware of the benefits of choosing organic fruits and veggies, you may not have thought about the dangers of the chemicals used to grow and preserve flowers. Many floral solutions contain formaldehyde, which helps to keep blossoms beautiful but also is incredibly toxic. Organic flowers are available in many areas directly from farms and from specialty florists. When you choose a local provider, you'll also reduce the amount of petroleum used to deliver your wedding flowers. If you're unable to find an organic florist, nursery or flower farm near you, you can also purchase flowers and ready-made organic bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces online.
  3. Reduce place card waste. At the reception, you can opt for something like our Fall Leaf Plantable Seed Place Cards in place of card stock. These stylish place cards can actually be planted in soil after your wedding and will produce beautiful flowers. By pairing seed paper place cards with matching personalized table numbers cards, you can seat guests easily and be friendlier to the Earth.
  4. Be smart about sendoffs. While many guests look forward to doing something special when the bride and groom leave the ceremony site or the reception, many of the items commonly used to make sendoffs festive also create waste that can harm the planet or wildlife. Rice has been shown to be dangerous to birds, and throwing paper or plastic confetti is anything but green. Instead of these traditional items, you can have guests toss birdseed or rose petals. Package your throw-ables in an eco-friendly material instead of plastic or paper. Our Printed Muslin Personalized Wedding Favor Bags are a green solution that guests can reuse in the future.
  5. Select sustainable favors. Choosing favors for a green wedding can be a stumper for many brides, as items made of paper, plastic and wood are all typically not considered eco-friendly. Flower seeds are one thoughtful planet-minded favor idea, particularly when they are packaged in keepsake personalized favor boxes like our BloemBox Classic Flower Seeds in Gift Favor Packaging. You can also select favors made from sustainable bamboo, such as our Bamboo Coasters and our Bamboo Wood Candle Wedding Favors.
  6. Waste less with your gifts. After your wedding day, you'll have a mountain of presents and a stack of cards to open, and when you're finished, you'll have plenty of paper waste that you'll want to keep out of our landfills. Wrapping paper can actually be recycled, but not all community recycling programs will accept it. You can use an app like iRecycle to find the nearest place that will accept your wrapping paper, and envelopes can easily be reused as scrap paper before you put them in your recycling bins. Another green option is to opt for a honeymoon registry or a charity registry in which guests make contributions to your vacation fund or to a nonprofit organization of your choice.

From organic wedding stationery to sustainable wedding favors, with a little creativity and careful planning, you'll find numerous ways to make your big day as good for the planet as it is special for you and memorable for your guests.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thank You Gifts for your Wedding Party

When planning your wedding, there are so many decisions to make, from whether you'll have personalized wedding favor bags or personalized cookies to what type of gowns and accessories you and your attendants will wear. One thing that many brides fail to consider until the last minute is the type of gift to present your bridesmaids and groomsmen for being a party of your wedding party. After all, they have spent enormous amounts of time and money to celebrate alongside you. This is just a little token of thanks to show your appreciation.

Giving thank you gifts to the wedding party dates back decades. It is expected. Whether it is a modest token, or something extravagant, it truly is the thought and thoughtfulness that counts. Often, gifts are presented at the rehearsal dinner, though they may also be distributed in the days leading up to the wedding or, in case of parties hosted for you, gifted at the event. Are you having a destination wedding? If so, consider mailing the gifts to their homes BEFORE the wedding, so they don’t have to use valuable luggage space to cart them back. In addition to the requisite gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen, don’t forget about all the others -- usher, house party, guest book attendant, flower girl, ringbearer, bridal shower hostesses, engagement party hostesses. And of course you can’t forget Mom and Dad. By considering all of these in advance, you can eliminate stressful last minute shopping and even save money.

Personalized Bridesmaid Gifts and Groomsmen Gifts
Now that you have your list of recipients, what do you give? Personalized gifts go a long way in showing appreciation to those in your wedding party. It is more likely to be put to use than just tucked away in a drawer or worse yet, tossed out.

For bridesmaids the ubiquitous personalized cosmetic case with a sweet note or even a blinged out Hanky Panky thong tucked inside is always a hit. Jewelry to wear for the wedding, such as the popular Golden Thread necklace monogrammed with her initial, is both functional and sure to be treasured. Have your friends been in dozens of weddings already and have everything? What about a wooden cutting board with their monogram engraved and gorgeous iron handles to display in their kitchen. For a beach wedding, a monogrammed beach towel and tote is always a welcomed treat. Personalized flasks, koozies and decanters are popular for groomsmen. Expand upon this idea and consider cigars and a collection of personalized cigar matches with their name emblazoned upon the front. Custom drink coasters to use in their home presented with a bottle of fine scotch. Of course, our number one groomsman gift is the personalized cooler -- and who can’t use at least one more cooler!

In addition to gifts for the wedding party, couples should also give presents to those who assist in making the day special. If a friend or family member hosts a shower, engagement party or other celebration in honor of your wedding, you should come prepared with a gift to present to him or her. A popular gift for the ladies is monogrammed stationery. For the couples, personalized napkins or custom styrofoam cups are very popular. Items similar to personalized new home gifts or personalized housewarming gifts are also ideal for giving to hosts and hostesses.

It is also a very nice gesture to give a gift to anyone who is helping out before or on your wedding day. For example, if your professional photographer uncle is handling the pictures for free, you could present him with a personalized shaving kit or another special gift to show your appreciation. How you present your thank you gifts for your wedding is just as important as what you purchase. For example, you can make your personalized bridesmaid gifts extra special with custom gift wrapping paper that bears your names and matches the color scheme of your wedding. A handwritten thank you note should accompany the gift, preferably on your monogrammed stationery.

It’s the Thought that Counts
So take some time to make a list of whom you'll need to recognize on your big day. Above all, don't forget that it's really the thought that matters when it comes to thanking your wedding party. Personalized bridesmaid gifts under $25 can be just as meaningful as more expensive gifts if they come from the heart and are selected specifically with the recipient in mind.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

De-Stress Your Reception Seating

Wedding planning stress can quickly transform the excitement of your special day into feelings of anxiety and tension, and perhaps there is no subject more stressful for brides-to-be than table seating. Whether you're having a large reception or a small one, determining where everyone should sit may fill you with dread, but it doesn't need to be so challenging. By staying organized and using simple strategies like marking tables with personalized table numbers, you can plan your seating chart and keep guests as happy as you will be on your big day. Of course, this is a regional thing. Many formal weddings here in Texas have open seating. So keep in mind regional differences.

Choosing Your Seating Method
There are four main ways to handle seating at your reception:
  • First come, first served seating where guests choose their own tables
  • Open seating with a selection of reserved tables for the wedding party and immediate families.
  • Assigning tables and giving your guests the option of which seat to choose
  • Assigning both tables and seats with wedding place cards
Surveys indicate that guests overwhelmingly prefer some type of assigned seating. Why? No guest wants to agonize over how close they should sit to the bridal party or worry about asking strangers if they can join them at a table. Plus, it eliminates the hassle of having to save seats for other friends and family. For a plated dinner, assigned seats with wedding place cards is typically the easiest for servers, but many venues are willing to accommodate seating plans where only tables are assigned.

Ensuring an Accurate Head Count
It's impossible to plan a seating chart well if you're not completely certain who will be attending the reception, making your Reply Cards every bit as important as your invitations and save the dates. When selecting the wording for the reply cards to accompany your personalized embossed stationery or other wedding stationery, be sure that your cards:
  • Make it clear who is invited. If children are included, specifically list their names on the invitation. If you're allowing single guests to bring along escorts, the invitation should be clearly labeled "and Guest."
  • Provide a line for guests to write the specific names of who will be coming.
  • Ask for a meal selection, if necessary.
  • Clearly state when a reply is expected by.
Once the RSVP date has passed, don't be afraid to call those who haven't responded or enlist the help of a friend, a family member or your wedding planner to contact them.

Creating a System
To de-stress your seating plan, you'll need to develop a system that works for you and suits your wedding theme. If you're having assigned seating, guests will appreciate a seating chart that will direct them to their tables. This should be placed in a prominent location, such as near your guest book or your personalized signature frame, if you choose to have one. A more formal alternative is the use of escort cards, which are typically inserted into envelopes labeled with guests' names.

If you're only having assigned tables, having your wedding place cards situated at the back of the room and labeled with table numbers is an easy way to handle seating. Your wedding place card holders can even double as favors if you use something like personalized picture frames for wedding place cards. Frames are available in a wide variety of styles to suit your theme, such as our Dramatic Black Photo Frame & Place Card Holder Wedding Favor for a black-and-white wedding or our Twig Place Card Holder and Photo Frame for a rustic, outdoor setting. When selecting wedding place cards and wedding place card holders, choose something that will complement the other elements on your tables, such as your personalized cocktail napkins.

Starting Your Plan
Once you've developed your seating system, you'll be ready to start your seating plan. You can use index cards, a computer-based program or the reply cards themselves to organize your tables. Begin by seating the bridal party, their escorts and your immediate family members, such as parents, grandparents and any siblings not in the wedding. Then, group together relatives, coworkers and friends who know one another. Finally, fill in tables with people who are not yet acquainted with other people at the wedding.

Sometimes, the key to de-stressing the seating chart is to ask someone for help. An extra set of hands and someone else's opinions can go a long way to simplifying the process. Don't be afraid to ask a member of your wedding party, a family member or a close friend to assist you. They'll likely be more than happy to help, and you can graciously thank them after your big day with a thoughtful gift such as personalized stationery or a luxuriously fragrant candle.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Victorian Wedding Reception Decorations: The Classic Birdcage

Your fiancé is the Heathcliff to your Catherine, the Mr. Rochester to your Jane and the Pip to your Estella. What better way could there be to celebrate your love story than with a wedding theme inspired by one of the most romantic periods in literary history--the Victorian age. There is something unmistakably elegant and refined about the Victorian period that is ideal for weddings, and you can capture the feel of this golden age in England's history with everything from personalized labels and wedding stickers to your bridal ensemble.

One of the most enduring symbols of romance from the Victorian period is the birdcage, and this simple object can easily become the center of a wedding theme. During Queen Victoria's reign, the birdcage played an important role in formal wedding ceremonies, as it held doves that were released after the bride and groom were presented to guests. Over time, the birdcage became synonymous with weddings, and today, it instantly brings to mind the refinement of the Victorian period.

To help you incorporate the lovely birdcage into your big day, we have put together a list of some of our favorite ideas for personalized wedding reception decorations and other special touches.

Setting the Theme
Your wedding stationery is the perfect opportunity for setting the theme for your wedding. Look for personalized embossed wedding stationery that features the birdcage symbol in colors that suit your tastes. Our Mini Birdcage Save the Date Magnets are a tasteful way to spread the word about your date in Victorian style and are available in eight stylish colors.

Whimsical Lighting
Birdcages can easily be transformed into personalized luminaries to use as Victorian wedding ceremony or wedding reception decorations. If you're handy with power tools, you can convert birdcages into hanging lanterns that run on electricity and bear soft incandescent bulbs. Even if you're not the crafty sort, you can easily create candle luminaries by placing some tall pillar candles inside of decorated birdcages. These are stunning when used as accent wedding reception decorations in key locations or as centerpieces on every table.

Caging the Cards
When placed on the gift table, a lovely birdcage makes the perfect card box. You can make your own out of a vintage-style birdcage or opt for a pre-made piece like our Birdcage Wedding Reception Card Holder. Fashioned out of white sculpted metal, the card box is lovely as is, but can also be decorated with ribbon, fresh flowers and other embellishments to suit your taste.

Just Desserts
Birdcage cakes and cupcakes can put the perfect sweet finishing touch onto the meal to complement your Victorian-inspired wedding reception decorations. Options range from layered cakes sculpted into the shape of the classic birdcage to cupcakes or cakes topped with exquisitely sculpted fondant birdcages. Don't forget to have some personalized cupcake favor boxes on-hand in case guests would prefer to enjoy their dessert at home.

Fond Farewells
Pastel teatime mints, votive candles in teacups and silver keys are all fitting favors for a Victorian wedding reception, and don't forget to make your personalized favor boxes match your theme. You can easily add an elegant finishing touch with our Personalized Birdcage Style Wedding Favor Labels. These personalized round labels are available in five different colors and will suit a wide array of personalized wedding favor boxes.

To complete your Victorian-themed wedding, try incorporating elements like English roses and delicate lace into your wedding reception decorations. Remember that above all, the Victorian period was a time of elegance and sophisticated glamor, so look for items that have a distinctive, civilized look to complete your day.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rustic Romance

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Having a rustic theme wedding? What better way to incorporate your theme by having our Personalized Burlap Wedding Ceremony Aisle Runner. Your walk down the aisle is one of the most important moments of your wedding and something you’ve fantasized about since you were a little girl. This gorgeous burlap aisle runner will be the center of your wedding ceremony and will allow you to embody both you and your partner’s personalities while being consistent with your chic rustic affair.

If you want to keep with a rustic feel why not celebrate your perfect day with a rustic countryside wedding? With the right mix of elegant, green accents and mother-nature providing the perfect backdrop of natural décor; this outdoor wedding idea will surely be an unforgettable moment. Here are a few thoughts to help achieve that rustic vibe to your countryside wedding.

Countryside weddings are nothing without incorporating mixes of old timey décor with a touch of delicate accents. Adding country elements like haystacks, hanging lantern lights and wooden touches will make a wedding look fabulous, oh and very rustic as well. We recommend adding soft pastel colors to balance out the masculine furnishing. An easy way to tie in the theme is to have you wedding by a barn. Today, rustic barn weddings are taking place all over the country and offer the bride and groom a chance to hold their wedding in a very personable and unique location. You can dress up or dress down a bran wedding to match the style and décor of your wedding and offer endless charm.

Images: Aisle Runner,  Couple kissing in barn, wedding dress, wedding sign, little girls on swing, woman in hay 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Perfect Getaway

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A classic ceremony exit never goes out of style. Our Mr and Mrs German Glitter Glass Sign Banners make a memorable getaway; draped on your car to proclaim a celebration of a new life you two will embark upon. Everyone’s seen it at one time or another: sometimes a limousine, maybe a classic roadster, or even an ordinary American four-door, cruising down the highway with the words “Just Married” on the back. It’s a classic wedding image. You can do a lot more than the traditional scribbling on the back of the car. Decorating the getaway car can be a chance to get creative!

Naturally, the specifics of what you can do to decorate your romantic roadster depend slightly on style and the chosen vehicle by the bride and groom. Our glitter signs can fit any style! Put these dazzling letters on the back of your limousine or a classic car to add sophistication to your special occasion. Or use the signs on the back of a horse-drawn carriage to make a wedding getaway fit for a fairy tale.

In addition to our signs, there are other ways to dress up the getaway car. You can stick with the traditional tin cans dangling on the back of the car or tie shoes to the back bumper. In times past, leather was believed to ward off evil spirits, so old leather shoes were thought to keep the newlyweds safe. If shoes aren’t readily available, use old utensils, wrenches or tools that reflect both your personalities. Or keep it quiet, and stick with streamers or flowers. Whatever you end up using make sure it's attention grabbing and personal to your own vibe--it’ll be the last thing your guests see!

Photos (From top left): Paper and String + Cans, Mr and Mrs Banner, Couple on Car, Tire w/Just Married, Mustang w/pom poms, Couple on Vespa, Bentley w/pom poms, Couple Kissing w/Ribbons and Cans

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vintage Vibe

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 Nothing says your love is timeless like incorporating a vintage vibe into your wedding design. What a beautiful notion to carry throughout your big day; better yet capture that notion with our Vintage Style Disposable Wedding Cameras. A disposable camera with a sophisticated twist, it’s ideal to give your guest to capture that elegant vintage affair.
A vintage vibe is nothing without a combination of polished floral displays, soft colors, and smooth, flowing fabrics. Incorporate colors like cream, grey, champagne, soft peach and pink to inspire a dreamy atmosphere. Simple rustic accents such as mason jars or moon glass vases with light color flowers can beautifully compliment your wedding. There are many different types of vintage weddings, so try focusing on a certain era or decade to keep your wedding plans and decorations cohesive. Start out by choosing a color scheme and blend your personality into your wedding.

Make sure to dress the part. There are plenty of different types of vintage wedding gowns that you should have no problem trying to find. Find a dress that fits the tone of your desired vintage era. An intricate beaded dress would fit nicely with a 1920s-30s theme while a glamorous silk creation goes great with a 1950s theme. The most popular eras to style a vintage wedding around seem to be twenties and fifties, but why not break the mold? The world is your oyster!

Photos from left to right starting from top: My Wedding Reception Ideas, Earrings, Hairpiece, Cake, Lace bouquet, Ruffled, Vintage Style Disposable Camera, Style Me Pretty PhotoPaper Antler Photography, Ring