Thursday, June 28, 2012

Can You Throw a "Green" Wedding Without Breaking the Bank?

It's more important than ever to take care of the enviornment.  However, many people think it's too expensive to throw a "green" event.  But there are many low cost or even free ways to help out the environment when planning your wedding.  Read my guest post on the Kijani Dunia blog for some ideas on throwing a green wedding without breaking the bank.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Exciting Wedding Reception Food Ideas

Photo courtesy of Ariel da Silva Parreira.
Thankfully, couples today are planning more interesting food options for their wedding receptions.  No more standing in line at a buffet table for the same wedding food we've had at wedding after wedding.  Couples are realizing that dinner during their reception is more than just a part of the reception to get through in order to get to more exciting things, and foodies all over the world are rejoicing!  Read my latest article on SoIntoWeddings on exciting wedding reception food ideas for some fun and unusal menu ideas that will keep your guests entertained as well as keeping their tummies full!

Are you planning anything unusual for your wedding reception meal?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alternative Wedding Gift Registries

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Earwicker
The etiquette experts all agree, it's never, and I mean never proper wedding etiquette to ask for cash for a wedding present.  However...the rules are changing.  More and more couples are living together before their weddings, so registering for things like a toaster or flatwear aren't very practical.  Also, many couples are finding their finances strained when planning a wedding and trying to start a new life together - particularly if they are also trying to buy a new house. 

Along with traditional wedding gift registries, now there are a number of alternative registries that allow couples to politely ask for cash for the things they need.  Guests can help contribute to a honeymoon fund, a new house fund or even a baby fund.  What family members could resist contributing to a baby fund?  Read my article on TyingtheKnott about alternative wedding gift registries for more information.

P.S.  A follower on Twitter just mentioned to me that she and her husband actually asked for donations to charity instead of wedding gifts, which is an absolutely LOVELY thing to do on your wedding day.  I didn't specifically mention that as an option in this article, but I do discuss donations to charity in an upcoming article on throwing a "green" wedding.  (I often run of out space when I write so articles get broken up).  Many of the alternative gift registry sites I listed have an option for you to request donations be made to the charity of your choice.  To the Twitter follower who brought that to my attention, thank you for letting me know I neglected mentioning that option in this article.  I appreciate it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Make Your Wedding Unique - The New Trends in Wedding Entertainment

Photo courtesy of Roger Kirby
We've all been to what seems like a million of the same weddings.  The same ceremony, followed by the same reception with the same cocktail hour, the same dinner, the same music and dancing.  Booooorrrrrinnnnnggg.  After all the time, energy and money you spend planning your wedding, don't you want your guests to have an amazing time?  Do you really want your guests checking their watches and wondering if it's too early for them to leave?  No!  Of course you don't!

Couples today want their weddings to stand out, to be unique and remembered.  These weddings all have one thing in common - they are EVENTS.  And events are entertaining for everyone in attendance.  Check out my latest article on the Team Wedding Blog on How to Make Your Wedding Unique - The Newest Trends in Wedding Entertainment for some ideas on how to make your wedding the event everyone talks about for years to come.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Should You Invite Children to Your Wedding?

Flower Girl photo courtesy of Jason Nelson
One of the biggest questions I received as an event planner was if a couple should invite children to their wedding.  This one issue has the potential to create so many hurt feelings if not handled properly.  Personally, I think children are a wonderful addition to a wedding.  Kids have a way of creating those wonderful unexpected moments that you and your guests will remember for years to come. I remember cringing in my seat at my cousin's wedding as my 4-year old daughter stood up when the priest asked if anyone in the congregation had anything to say.  She was the flower girl, so she was seated several rows in front of me, and I was unable to do anything to stop her.  I had no idea what was about to happen, but for a brief second I had visions of dying of embarassment while 200 people looked on. I thought of crawling under the pew to hide.  But then she slowly and clearly (and very loudly) said "I just want everyone to know that I love my cousin Amy and I love this boy she's marrying and I hope they have a nice wedding."  Needless to say there wasn't a dry eye in the church.  We all laughed and cried and it was a wonderful, special moment.  The bride and groom loved it, and even though my daughter is now a teenager, she'll forever be known as the flower girl who had something important to say.  But, not everyone appreciates the unscripted laughs a child might inspire in an otherwise completely scheduled event - yes, I'm looking at you Bridezillas! 

Read my latest article on Bridal Tweet for more information on inviting children to your wedding.  Tell me in the comments - are you inviting children to your wedding, or are you having an adults only reception?  How do you feel about the issue of children at weddings? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Find the Best Wedding Gown for Your Shape

Shopping for a wedding gown is one of the most exciting moments during the wedding planning process.  It can also be completely overwhelming and stressful for some brides, especially when you start hearing about A-line, mermaid and sheath dresses, all various necklines and so many different materials.

If you're ready to start shopping for your wedding gown, read my post on the Pittsburgh Bride Forum to help you determine the best wedding gown style based on your shape.   Then, you can go shopping armed with the knowledge of the style that is best for your body type and shape.  It will help eliminate alot of the stress you may feel when confronted with rows and rows of dresses and a sales consultant asking what you're looking for.  Happy shopping everyone!

Questions to Ask Your Wedding Band


People often wonder why things seem so much more romantic or exciting in the movies.  Here’s a little secret…It’s the background music.   What would Titanic have been like without Celine Dion’s hauntingly beautiful voice?  Yes, it still would have been a beautiful love story, but the music gave you chills, touched your heart and echoed in your memory long after the film was over.  The same can be said for your wedding.  Music can make your wedding an event to remember or one your guests can’t wait to forget.

Finding the right wedding band is crucial.  Their music and interaction with your guests will set the tone for the entire evening.  If you are considering hiring a wedding band here are some things to consider and the questions you need to ask, other than discussing price, before you book them.

What type of music do you play?

You need to decide what kind of music you want at your reception.  Do you want a band that can plan traditional wedding dance music, with something included for every generation?  Or are you looking for more of a specialty band, like a jazz band, swing band or Scottish wedding band?  Narrow down what you’re looking for then meet with potential bands.  They should be able to provide you with a playlist of their music, as well as audio samples of their songs, or even a video of them performing.


Will the band leader act as emcee during the reception?

Its important that someone directs the activities during your reception.  Typically, the DJ or wedding bandleader will act as the emcee, usually being directed by your wedding planner or the site coordinator.


Will the band play different, softer music during cocktails and dinner so your guests can chat easily?

Most couples prefer the cocktail hour and dinner to be a quieter portion of the evening, with soft background music    This makes it easier for guests to relax, enjoy their food and drinks and have conversations without having to yell over loud music   Does the band have the ability to play dinner music or can they play pre-recorded music on a CD player?


How long will the band play?   How many breaks will the band take between sets?

Live bands typically do not play as long as a DJ will, and they need to take breaks during the evening.  Make sure you know how many breaks to expect and how long the band will be away during each break   Also, be sure to find out if they will play pre-recorded music during their breaks   Dead air is sure to put a damper on the party atmosphere.


Can I watch your band in action at a wedding?

All the CD’s and videos you watch of a band can’t begin to compare to seeing them live. Most bands will welcome the opportunity for you to visit while they are performing at another wedding.  This certainly doesn’t mean to crash another couple’s special day, but you can peek in from the back of the room to see and hear the band.   Is the dance floor full or empty?   How does the band relate to the guests?   These are all important points to take into consideration.


If the unimaginable happens and my wedding is cancelled, what is your policy on refunds?

As difficult as it is to think about, these things do happen.  Weddings do sometimes get called off or family emergencies force a couple to postpone their wedding. Find out up front what their policy is on cancellations and refunds and be sure that it is spelled out, word for word in the contract.

When you are just beginning your search for a wedding band, it may seem completely overwhelming  Take your time, do your research and always remember that it is your day   Finding the right band will make your wedding a day to remember – for you, your new spouse and all the guests lucky enough to celebrate with you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Are you hiring a band for your wedding?

Music is such an important part of a wedding.  I can't imagine going to a wedding reception where there wasn't music and dancing.  But, how many times have you asked about a wedding one of your friends attended and heard, "The wedding was nice, but the music was awful!  No one danced and we left early."  That is so sad for the new couple who has spent money, time and energy trying to plan the wedding of their dreams, don't you agree?


It is crucial when you're planning your wedding to make sure you choose the RIGHT wedding band, since music has the ability to make or break a wedding.  Before you begin your search for a wedding band, read my guest post on the Articles 4 Brides blog - Tips for Choosing a Wedding Band for information on how to choose the best band for the job and make sure you and your guests have the time of your lives!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wedding Veil Giveaway Winner

Hello everyone!
First of all, I just want to apologize for not posting the winner of our veil giveaway sooner. We had a death in the family and things have a been a bit out of sorts.  Please forgive me for neglecting the giveaway and my blog for the last few days. But, I'm back now with lots of exciting things to share in the upcoming weeks!

And now, for the information you've all been waiting for.  The winner of the Wedding Veil Giveaway is Cecilia Castaneda!  Cecilia will receive a beautiful wedding veil, courtesy of All Bridal Store.  Congratulations Cecilia!

I just want to give a special thank you, again to All Bridal Store for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway.  Please check out all their beautiful wedding day fashion on their website. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tips for Throwing a Backyard Wedding

The summer wedding bug has bitten me hard!  I've absolutely fallen in  love with all the gorgeous pictures I keep coming across of beautiful outdoor summer weddings, with rustic and shabby chic details, mason jars and repurposed furniture.  Backyard weddings are so cozy, so quaint and so sentimental.

But, planning a backyard wedding takes a lot of work - probably more work than most people realize. There are so many more things to consider when planning a backyard wedding than when planning a wedding at an indoor reception facility.  Use the article I just posted, "Practical Tips for Planning a Backyard Wedding" as a starting point when you're ready to begin planning your own backyard wedding.  View this Pinterest board to view some pictures of other backyard weddings for inspiration and ideas for your own wedding.

Summer Wedding Dress Trends - The Hottest Looks for Fashionable Brides

Another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and for those of us in the United States, it means the unoffical start of summer.  With summer comes the start of summer wedding season!  Did you know, more people still get married in the summer (particularly in June) than at any other time of the year?

If you're planning a summer wedding, there are certain things you need to take into consideration before you begin shopping for your wedding dress, including the current fashion trends, but most importantly, the styles that make you look and feel fabulous.  You also need to consider the special challenges that a summer wedding presents.  Read the article I just posted on TyingTheKnott - Summer Wedding Dress Trends - The Hottest Looks for Fashionable Brides for some ideas.  Take a look at this Pinterest board I created for some additional inspiration and ideas for summer wedding dresses.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hot Trends for Summer Weddings

Summer has arrived with a bang this year here on the East Coast.  Just like the old saying - "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it'll change," summer arrived well before the official first day with temperatures near 90 and high humidity.

With summer comes wedding season!  June is still the most popular month for couples to tie the knot.  As I browsed boards on Pinterest and Lover.ly, beautiful summer details can already be found in weddings.  From bold, colorful dresses, to rustic glam accents like lace, twine, burlap, plus lots of mason jars, summer wedding season is going to sizzle this year.

Read my article posted on the Top Wedding Sites blog about Summer Wedding Trends for more information on what to expect at weddings this summer, as well as how you can incorporate these details into your own wedding.  Browse through this Summer Wedding Trends Pinterest board that I created for some additional inspiration.

What other trends do you think will be hot this summer?  What unusual or unique elements do you have planned for your own wedding?  Leave your comments below.

P.S.  Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  Thank you to all who have served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Colin Cowie Wedding Trends" to air on WE TV this Fall



Wedding Accents. Photo by Roger Kirby
Colin Cowie, known around the world as one of the premiere wedding and event planners, will be bringing his signature style to WE TV (Women's Entertainment) this coming fall with "Colin Cowie Wedding Trends."  Starting this September, 2012, Colin and his team will be helping brides to stay abreast of the current trends in wedding planning.

Each of the 30-minute shows will air on WE TV on Saturday mornings as part of their "tbi...for women" series ("the best information for women").  Each show will provide brides with information about fashion, makeup, jewelry, honeymoon destinations and most importantly, tips from Colin Cowie himself.  The shows will give viewers a behind the scenes look at what makes a Colin Cowie wedding so special and magical.

For more information on when the shows will air, how to participate in the shows and giveaways, as well as tips and advice from Colin on planning your own wedding, please visit www.colincowieweddings.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Bridal Store Wedding Veil Giveaway Extended

Hi everyone!

We've decided to extend the wedding veil giveaway.  You now have until the end of the month to enter the giveaway - May 31, 2012.  Get those entries in!  Click here for all the details.  Once again, a special thank you to All Bridal Store for teaming up with me to bring you this wonderful giveaway!

Monday, May 14, 2012

And the winner of the Sun Jar Giveaway is -

Laura Jacobson!

Congratulations Laura!  You're the winner of EventSpiration and Convenient Gadgets & Gifts Sun Jar Giveaway!  I hope you enjoy your new Sun Jar!

Be sure to check back for more information on party planning, wedding planning, holiday planning, as well as product reviews, contests and giveaways.

Thank you again to Convenient Gadgets & Gifts for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway!  Please check out their website for all sorts of amazing products.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wedding Veil Giveaway

As promised, today I have another wonderful giveaway to tell  you about. I've teamed up with All Bridal Store and we are giving away a beautiful wedding veil to a lucky bride!  The wedding veil is white, elbow length with a rat tail edge, measures 20 x 25 and is 72" wide.

Once again, there are numerous ways to enter and to earn extra points/entries.  Simply follow the rules below to enter.  The contest ends one week from today (May 14, 2012) and the winner will be announced here.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me, or even post a question in the comments.  Best of luck to everyone!






Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway Update & Upcoming Events

Thank you to everyone who has entered the Mother's Day Giveaway so far.  If you haven't entered yet, you have less than a week to do so.  The winner will be announced a week from today, so get those entries in!  Don't forget, there are ways you can earn extra points/entries, so read through the directions before entering.  Also, when I initially set up the contest, I stated that only U.S. residents could enter.  I found out from Convenient Gadgets & Gifts that they will ship internationally.  So, if you weren't able to enter initially, you can do so now.  Click here to read the instructions and enter the giveaway.

Be sure to check back here tomorrow. I will be announcing another new giveaway I will be doing in conjunction with All Bridal Store.  If you're planning your wedding, this is a giveaway you definitely don't want to miss!  More details coming soon...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway - Win a Sun Jar!

I've been telling you all it was going to happen, and it finally has.  EventSpiration has teamed up with Convenient Gadgets and Gifts to host a Mother's Day Giveaway.  One lucky person is going to Win a Sun Jar!

Yesterday, I posted my review of the Sun Jar.  You can read it here if you missed it.   Now here's your chance to win one for yourself.  Simply follow the steps below and you'll be entered in the drawing.  The contest is open until 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 13th (Mother's Day).  The winner will be chosen by random drawing through Rafflecopter and announced on this blog before 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time on Mother's Day evening.

Here are the directions to enter.  NOTE:  Please don't start doing these things until you've read through all the directions.  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the contest.  There are different ways to enter, and you can earn additional points/entries for taking the extra steps.
  1. Mandatory Entry:  Leave a comment on this blog post.  Any comment.  Just say hi, tell me which post of mine you liked, tell me about your own blog.  I'll even come visit your blog if you leave me a link.  (1 entry point awarded).
For extra points/entries, you can do the following if you wish.  These are completely OPTIONAL and are just ways to get extra points/entries in the contest:
  1. "Like" EventSpiration's FaceBook page. (5 entry points awarded)
  2. "Like" Convenient Gadgets & Gift's Facebook page (5 entry points awarded)
  3. If you have a Twitter account, you can send out one "Tweet" a day about the contest, directing people to this page to enter.  (10 entry points awarded)
  4. Follow me on Twitter.  (10 entry points awarded)
*Update-May 2, 2012*  As much as I hate to have to even post this, I've already found people who are trying to cheat.  If you are going to put your name in for the extra points/entries, you must complete the steps required.  I am able to tell if you take the 10 entries for following me on Twitter, but never follow me, or take the 10 entries for tweeting about the contest but never do, etc.  Please everyone, let's be adults.  I really don't want to have to babysit this contest, if you're going to take the points/extra entries then complete the steps.  If I can't verify that you've complete the steps your name will be deleted.  It's not fair for someone to get 31 entries who did absolutely nothing when there are people who are really out there helping me to promote this contest.  Thank you to those of you who are following the steps and adding extra entries by helping me to promote this contest.  I appreciate it so much!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  Best of luck to everyone!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Win a Wedding Cake from Twenty Four Fifth!

Twenty Four Fifth is holding an amazing contest for engaged couples.  Simply upload a photograph of you and your fiance, along with a short story about how the two of you met to Twenty Four Fifth's Facebook page.  Then, tell your family and friends to vote on your photo.  The couple who receives the most votes will win their dream wedding cake - valued at $1,500!  Click here for more information - and good luck.  May the best couple win!

Mother's Day Gift Idea - Sun Jar

Is your mom the sunshine of your life?  Why not give her a little piece of the sun in Convenient Gadgets and Gifts Sun Jar for Mother's Day this year?

Mother's Day is rapidly approaching.  Don't wait until the last minute to buy mom a gift this year!  Yes, it is the thought that counts, but show mom that you put a little more thought into her gift this Mother's Day, rather than stopping on the side of the road to purchase a bunch of overpriced flowers on your way to see her.

The Sun Jar is a large mason jar, made of frosted glass with a traditional clamp lid.  It works with a rechargeable battery, a solar cell and LED lights.  Inside the jar, are two switches, one to charge the battery, and the auto on/off switch.  The Sun Jar works by soaking up sunlight during the day.  When it gets dark, the Sun Jar automatically switches on and gives off a beautiful, warm glow.  The Sun Jar also has a waterproof seal, so you can leave it outside all the time if you wish, without the weather harming it.  These are so much better than candles for outside use on your deck or patio.  Candles burn down and need replacing frequently, and can be affected by wind and weather.  Sun Jars stay lit no matter what.

The literature inside the box said The Sun Jar should stay lit approximately 5 hours after letting it charge in direct sunlight.  I tried my Sun Jar out last night and it stayed lit from 8:45pm until the sun rose this morning when it switched off - way more than 5 hours!

Not only would this make a wonderful gift for mom, they would be the perfect addition to a shabby chic or rustic wedding.  I've seen so many pictures of mason jars with candles inside, lining outdoor pathways, or gathered together on tables. Sun Jars would eliminate the need to keep checking on the candles - and prevent the fire hazards presented by candles. (Many historical venues won't even allow candles.)  Sun Jars would also make beautiful centerpieces and table accents.  Visit Convenient Gadgets & Gifts' website for more information about the Sun Jar and other great Mother's Day gift ideas.

Disclosure:  I received the Sun Jar at no cost for this review.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tetley Tea celebrates the one-year anniversary of William & Kate

Just one year ago, we all sat glued to our televisions, mesmerized as we watched Prince William, Duke of Cambridge marry Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.  The wedding was spectacular, the likes of which many of us haven't seen since watching Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer so many years ago.  For every little girl watching, it was a fairy tale come to life, and Kate was the princess.
In honor of the one year anniversary of their wedding, Tetley Tea is celebrating by giving away a year of FREE TEA to married couples named William and Kate!  Wedded couples with legal first names that are any variation of the names William and Kate are qualified to enter (such as Billy & Katie, Will & Catherine, Wills & Kit, etc.).  If you qualify, you must either post your marriage certificate to Tetley Tea's Facebook page or email it to tetleysocialmedia@tataglobalbeverages.com by midnight on April 29, 2012.  Only U.S. couples may enter.  The winners will enjoy 12 full-size boxes of different varieties of Tetley Tea. 

The deadline is tomorrow, so if  you qualify and are interested in entering, be sure to send in your marriage certificate ASAP.  Best of luck to you.  And, happy anniversary William & Kate!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today is Take Your Child to Work Day - a guest post by my daughter

Hello people who read my mom's blog! This is her daughter, Gracie.  I am going to be the one who is "blogging" today.  Today as you all know is Take Your Child to Work Day.  So I am staying home with my mom.  As far as I am concerned it is way better than school!  I'm 13 years old so school is really boring, even though I get pretty good grades.  But, I really like writing, so leave a comment on how you think I did!

Today I learned some interesting things about blogging.  Blogs and websites are different.  Blogs are updated very frequently and websites only give information that is not regularly updated.  We looked at my mom's stats for the blog. We learned that most of her viewers come from America, and she gets the most viewers from a website called Pinterest.  The second most amount of viewers come from Google.

Even though I don't know much about blogging, I do know that I don't want this link to end up on the second page of Google.  I mean really, no one ever looks there.  Anyway, if you like my blog, please leave a comment, and maybe I'll post another!  Also if you like,  this than my mom's blogs will blow you away, so check them out! Thank you so much! - Gracie

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brides - win a free pair of shoes!

Photo courtesy of Bridal Shoe Style
It's a well known fact that most women are obsessed with shoes.  When a woman who loves shoes is planning her wedding, it presents her with the opportunity to find the ultimate pair of shoes - sky high heels, bling, beads, feathers, silk, leather, anything she desires!  These are the shoes she's drooled over, the shoes she's thought about and coveted.....Her DREAM shoes.  If you're that bride, then Bridal Shoe Style wants to help make your bridal shoe dreams come true -  for free!  You can find the contest details here.

Photo courtesy of
Bridal Shoe Style
From now until the end of April, simply visit and "Like" their Facebook page.  Then, "Like" at least one of the posts (past or present) or, leave a comment on a post.  That's all there is to it!  Your name will be entered into the drawing.  One fan will be chosen at random at the end of the month.  The lucky bride will get to choose a pair of shoes from their website valued at $80 or less.   

Time is running out, so be sure to visit Bridal Shoe Style's Facebook page for your chance to win.  Best of luck!


Ideas to help make your wedding reception memorable

Today, I am re-posting an article (with permission) given to me by Jay Congdon, President of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago wedding DJ, and Chicago Uplighting Company. This article provides some ideas to help personalize your wedding reception and make it a memorable event for you and your guests. Thank you for the inspiration, Jay! When planning your events, be sure to visit Jay's websites for information on DJ services, audio and lighting.

Pimp My Wedding Reception - by Jay Congdon
Photo Credit:  Jolie ImagesThere are several ways you can personalize your wedding reception to your individual tastes, and provide some memorable moments for your guests. They have proven to be popular practically everywhere. So whether you have a Chicago DJ, a New York DJ or a London DJ, he'll be able to guide you and your guests through some of the most memorable moments of your big evening. Here are just a few options for your consideration.

Children's Activities - If you're going to have many children at your reception, arrange for a separate room with children's activities like board games, crafts, coloring books, a clown/balloon/face-painting artist, or even a movie. That way, the children won't be thrashing around the main dining room, knocking things over and tripping over your adult guests. Be sure to have adult supervision for the kids.

Love Songs to the Bride and Groom - Typically your reception guests will clink their glasses together, to get the two of you to kiss. Instead, some couples ask their DJ to make an announcement that anyone who wants the bride and groom to kiss must sing them a line or two from a song with the word "love" in it. The guest's entire table rises together and sings. Sometimes, they come up with some very creative songs that give everyone a good laugh.

Karaoke - Karaoke can be a big hit or a big flop at a wedding reception. It depends upon how well you know your guests. It requires a completely separate sound system (and an extra cost), a video screen to display the lyrics of each song, and a separate library of Karaoke instrumentals to back up your guests as they take turns singing popular songs. A DJ who brings a Karaoke setup usually has a library of thousands of songs from which to choose.

But beware. If Karaoke doesn't work, you'll get a lot of howls and cackles for the first performer, a few cheers for the second, polite applause for the third, then total boredom and impatience from you guests because your Karaoke performances are cutting into their dancing time.

Disposable Cameras - Set a camera on each table, and let the guests take their own photos. Have someone from the wedding party collect all the cameras at the end of the evening. You'll end up with some very memorable candid pictures.
Photo Credit:  Jolie ImagesVideo or Slide Show - Some couples like to produce and show a video of themselves individually as children growing up, then as a couple dating. Another option is a computerized slide show or Power Point presentation. You'll probably need to rent a video projector. They can be found online by searching "Party Rentals" in your community. Ideally, your banquet room will have light-colored walls, and you can project your presentation onto a wall instead of a small screen, so everyone in the room can see it.

If your presentation includes its own music, you may connect your computer to your DJ's sound system. Ask about the types of plugs you'll need, and get a long enough patch cord with a plug at one end for your computer output, and another plug (either 1/8" mini-plug or dual RCA plugs) to tap into your DJ's sound system.

Centerpiece Giveaway - You can coordinate this with the banquet facility. Put a little sticker on the bottom of one chair at each table. The guest with the sticker gets to take home the centerpiece. Another way to do it, is to have the guests compare birthdays. The one at each table with the birthday closest to your wedding date, gets the centerpiece.

Choreograph Your First Dance - If you have the time and the inclination, you may wish to take ballroom dancing lessons together, and dazzle your guests with a rehearsed performance. Be sure the bridal gown is cut to accommodate such a dance. Start your lessons about 3 months before your wedding. Keep the song to 3 minutes or less if you can. Be sure your DJ has the right version of the song; and tell him in advance how you'll alert him that it's time to start the song. His cue can be something as simple as a nod of your head.

Dollar Dance - The bride and groom begin a slow dance together, then the guests are invited to cut in and dance briefly with either the bride or groom, for a dollar (though a smart DJ will remind the guests that there's nothing wrong with 10's or 20's). Sometimes it takes two or three songs for everyone to get a chance to dance with the bride or groom. People can either pin their money to the bride's gown if someone provides straight pins, or the Best Man and Maid of Honor can collect the money. It's a nice way to give the newlyweds a little slush fund as they head off for their honeymoon.

Anniversary Dance - All married couples are invited to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. A slow song starts. After a few seconds, the DJ asks all couples who've been married less than 5 years to leave the dance floor. A few seconds later, all couples married 10 years or less must leave. Eventually, the couple married the longest remains alone on the dance floor, and a big cheer goes up as the DJ tells the newlyweds, "Here are your role models."

"Soul Train" - Two parallel lines of dancers form at opposite sides of the dance floor, and couples take turns dancing down the middle, just as they did on "Soul Train." It's a great way to get everyone involved in the dancing.

Conga Line - The bride and groom lead the way, and the line forms behind them, with each person putting his/her hands on the waist of the person in front of him/her. Popular songs for a Conga line include "Hot Hot Hot," "Party Train," "C'mon & Ride It," and of course, "Conga." Always a nice photo op.

Line Dances - People love dances that they know. And there are plenty of line dances that we've all seen a million times -- "Electric Slide," "Cha Cha Slide," "Macarena," "YMCA," "Chicken Dance," "Cupid Shuffle," and so forth. Even if you absolutely hate every one of them, please don't spoil it for your guests. Even if they don't normally like to dance, they'll be on the dance floor for the line dances, and their inhibitions and spirits will be lifted. Remember, your reception is a party you throw for your friends. Let them have a good time, too. You can always tell your DJ not to play any line dances unless someone requests them. But putting them off-limits denies your guests some wonderful bonding moments.

*Photo Credit:  Jolie Images

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hairstyles and accessories for the mother of the bride


Photo by Frox of Falkirk
As the mother of the bride, helping to plan your daughter’s wedding is no doubt a joyful, if not bittersweet time in both your lives.  With all the preparations, it’s probably also very stressful.  You should have already purchased your mother of the bride outfit.  As the big day draws closer, it’s time now to focus on your hairstyle and accessories for this momentous event.  Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect look for the big day.
Color and cut

Decide well in advance if you’re going to change the color of your hair for your daughter’s wedding.  A special occasion such as this is not the time to make a major change at the last minute.  If you are definitely set on changing the color of your hair before the wedding, try it out about 6-8 weeks before the big day.  That way if you choose a color and really don’t like it, you have time to change it back.  If you love the new color, you’ll need to get a touch-up about a week or two before the big day to make sure the color looks fresh.
Have your hair trimmed in its usual style about a week before the wedding as well.  Again, this isn’t the time for any major changes.  A week should give you enough time to get used to styling your hair in the new cut.  If by some stroke of bad luck your hair is cut too short, this will give it enough time to grow back in a bit.
Style

Photo by Frox of Falkirk
Just as your mother of the bride outfit shouldn’t overshadow your daughter on the big day, neither should your hairstyle.  Most moms will go to a salon and have a professional style their hair in their usual style on the day of the wedding, for a classy, polished look.  If it is going to be an especially warm or humid day and you have longer hair, you may want to consider an updo.  Many older churches are not air-conditioned.  There is no hairstyle, no matter how much hairspray is used, that will hold up after an hour or two of heat and humidity inside a stifling hot church.  You don’t want to have flat, damp, stringy hair stuck to your face for the rest of the day.  Worse still, you don’t that kind of hair disaster memorialized in all the wedding photos.
Accessories

After the world sat mesmerized last year watching as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, married Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, never before have hats, fascinators and hair accessories been more popular all around the world.  As the mother of the bride, it’s so important to make sure you let your daughter be the one who “shines” on the big the day, so your outfit should be more understated, classic and elegant.  But wearing a beautiful hat or hair accessory is a great way to add your own touch of style and whimsy to your mother of the bride of the outfit.  Beautiful feathers, rhinestones or beaded clips can add a beautiful touch to your mother of the bride outfit.
Photo by Frox of Falkirk
Keep these tips in mind when finishing the preparations for your look for your daughter’s wedding day.  You’ll not only look polished, classy and elegant, but you’ll feel fabulous as well! 
Special thanks to Frox of Falkirk for these beautiful photos.  Be sure to visit them for mother of the bride and mother of the groom outfits and accessories.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tips to help ease the stress while shopping for your mother of the bride dress.



Mother of the bride outfit by Frox of Falkirk.
Shopping for a special occasion dress is stressful under normal circumstances, but when the occasion is your daughter's wedding, the pressure is really on!  Not only do you want to look perfect in front of family and friends (some of whom you may not have seen in years), but also because it's your daughter's special day.  Everyone will be looking back at these photos for the rest of their lives.  That's a lot of stress added to what is an already tense situation.  Add to that your daughter's thoughts on what she wants you to wear, the pressure of having to find your dress before the mother of the groom shops for her dress (wedding etiquette dictates that MOB shops before MOG) and things can become volatile pretty quickly.  Before you consider giving your daughter money to elope so you don't have to deal with any of it, take a deep breath and relax. Read this article for some tips on how to find the perfect dress while keeping your daughter (and yourself) happy and stress-free in the process.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alternatives to traditional wedding guest books

In the past, guest books were pretty standard at wedding receptions.  Each guest signs his or her name with a feathery pen, with no thoughts or wishes for the new couple.  While guest books are a nice way to remember who attended your wedding, most couples will put their guest book away and rarely look at it again.  Couples are now choosing unusual ways to not only remember the guests who attended their wedding, but also to have a unique and beautiful memento to display for years to come.

Memory Box with Anniversary
 Stationery from Weddingstar.com
Weddingstar has designed an absolutely beautiful way for couples to document who attended their wedding.  Their Memory Box with Anniversary Stationery actually seals away 50 special hand-written messages gathered at the wedding from family and friends.  The set includes 50 cards, each card representing an anniversary from the 1st to the 50th.  At the wedding, the couples ask family and friends to write a special and meaningful message on each card.  Then, each year on their anniversary, they open the appropriate envelope.  I can't even imagine how touching it would be to read messages years from now from a family member or friend that have been waiting, sealed and tucked away in this beautiful box, for years.  For only $89.98 this would be the perfect engagement or shower gift, or even a wedding gift (as long as its given in advance of the wedding).

Another take on the Memory Box idea from Weddingstar is the Memory Box with Well Wishing Stationery.  Beautifully designed stationery is included in the wooden box.  Wedding guests are asked to write personal messages for the newly married couple to read in the days, months and years to come.  The messages can then be saved in the beautiful box and treasured forever.

Fingerprint Guest Book Tree
from Style Unveiled
Fingerprint Guest Book Trees are a really cute way to get your guests involved and have a lovely memento to display on your wall after your wedding.  There are many places to purchase the blank tree, or you can print one from Style Unveiled here.  Simply print the tree, buy a few different colors of ink and lay everything out on a table at the wedding.  Be sure to display a sign telling people what to do - and don't forget to put out hand cleaning supplies for people to clean the ink off their fingers.

Some couples are opting for video guest books, while others have guests sign a matted photograph (usually their engagement photo or a wedding studio photograph).  There are so many different options to help remember the guests who shared your special day - the only limit is your imagination.  What are some unusual or unique alternatives to traditional guest books you've seen or used for your own wedding?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrate The Hunger Games movie release by throwing a Hunger Games themed party!

The premiere of The Hunger Games movie.  Josh Hutcherson,
Jennifer Lawrence & Liam Hemsworth.  Photo by
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Ok, I admit it.  I'm obsessed with the Hunger Games.  I fought it, I really did.  My 13 year old daughter brought the first book home from school earlier this school year, telling me how amazing it was, but it really didn't seem that interesting to me.  At Christmas, when she asked for the other two books in the trilogy for presents, and nothing else, I was intrigued.  I went shopping with my stepdad to look for the books but they were sold out at several bookstores.  My interest was growing.  Thoughts of Harry Potter and Twilight were running through my mind (other books I didn't jump on the bandwagon with until much, much later).  He did find them at a store outside of the city, along with The Hunger Games Companion.  When she unwrapped them, she was just as excited as she was when she opened the iPod Touch she had be wanting for two years.  For a teenager to be so excited about a bunch of books?  I think we all were wondering what was so special about The Hunger Games.  She spent Christmas vacation completely engrossed the books, and when she wasn't reading, she was either texting her friends about the books, or searching the internet about the upcoming movie.  When she finished all three books, she read them again....and again....and again.  I knew then they were pretty special.

I didn't get around to reading them till a few weeks ago.  I hadn't been feeling well and was so sick of television, so out of boredom I picked up the first book.  After reading the first paragraph, I was completely hooked, and within about three days I had finished all three books.  They are YA books (young adult) so they are easy to read, but the story is captivating.  Now I, like the rest of the world, find myself eagerly awaiting the release of the movie on March 23rd.  If you've read the books, you know that the Capitol (the elite governing class) forces the Districts to celebrate the Hunger Games each year.  But for all the fans who have been desperately awaiting March 23, no one will be forcing them (ok, us) to celebrate.  So, why not throw a Hunger Games movie release party?

I posted an article on Examiner about throwing a Hunger Games themed party, with ideas on food (lamb stew, squirrel or "groosling" anyone?), decorations, and even creating your own "reaping" for your guests.  As the movie release draws closer, more and more Hunger Games merchandise can be found.  If you're looking for entertainment for your party, Amazon now offers The Hunger Games:  Training Days Strategy Game for $24.99.  The game, based on the book allows players to choose Tributes from their favorites Districts and challenge each other to matches of wits and skills.  Amazon also offers The Hunger Games Jabberjay Card Game for $9.99, where each player represents a District Citizen or Capital Citizen and their identity remains secret during most of the game.  This is a game for 5-12 players, so it's great for a larger group.  Internet fan site The Hob sells Hunger Games merchandise that would be perfect for party favors or for the winner of whatever games you hold at your own party.

After browsing the boards on Pinterest, it seems I'm not the only adult to fall in love with The Hunger Games.  There are Hunger Games inspired weddings, jewelry, clothing, cookbooks, even new nail polishes inspired by the books and movie.  You can check out the boards I created here, or do your own search for hundreds of Hunger Games related results.

While we probably won't be waiting in line for the midnight opening of The Hunger Games since it's a school night, the odds are in our favor that we'll be seeing the movie this weekend.  If you haven't read the books yet, I urge you do so.  Happy Hunger Games everyone - and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wedding footwear - it's not just white satin pumps anymore

The Pink Sole by Essex Couture - not for the average bride!
Brides are making unusual and bold choices when it comes to their wedding day footwear.  Gone are the days of demure white satin pumps.  Brides are choosing shoes that show off their personalities - whether that means sexy, fun, flirty, quirky or adventurous.  Why buy a pair of white satin shoes you'll wear once and stuff in your closet and never think about again?  Brides are choosing shoes they love, with gorgeous details, unusual textures, sky high heels and bright bold colors to take their first steps into married life and beyond.  This article offers more information on wedding shoe trends, along with links to some Pinterest boards I've created for inspiration on some more unusual, bold and non-traditional wedding day footwear.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase scheduled for Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bridal Flowers by Roger Kirby
For all the brides in and around the Pittsburgh area, be sure to visit the Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase on Sunday, March 18, 2012, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  This is probably one of, if not the biggest bridal shows of the year in the Pittsburgh area.  With over 200 wedding vendors and experts on hand to help you plan every single detail of your special day, this is an event you do not want to miss. 

For more details, read the article here I just posted in my event planning column on Examiner, including how to get $1000 in Bridal Bucks!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Big news!

I recently found out that I was named the National Wedding Planning Examiner at Examiner.com.  This is a really wonderful and exciting opportunity for me, and something I've been working toward since I started writing for Examiner.  It will allow me to write about a wider range of subjects, and hopefully get to know many more of the amazingly talented individuals in the wedding industry.  EventSpiration will continue, of course.

If you have a story idea, or your business has a new product or an exciting announcement, please make sure to let me know.  If it fits in with my column I'll do my best to include it as soon as possible.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Would you like your wedding featured here?

Lately, I've been reading about/noticing a trend in the wedding blogosphere that is slightly disturbing to me.  Every day, all across the world, gorgeous, over the top weddings are featured on blogs.  While we all love looking at beautiful images of weddings full of expensive details, for the majority of couples tying the knot, those weddings just aren't reality.  Not every wedding takes place in some distant woods, with vintage furniture and antique chandeliers shipped in, with the whole event styled by a celebrity wedding planner.  The average couple can't afford to rent out an entire vineyard and arrive in a vintage Bentley.  Every bride can't afford to buy a designer dress or have invitations custom made.*  Some weddings are even held in hotel ballrooms and (gasp!) reception halls and are just lovely and wonderful, too.

But you know what?  Just because your wedding might be smaller, and less expensive, that doesn't make it any less special.  At the end of the day, it's all about marrying the person you love.  Your wedding should be a reflection of the two of you - your personalities, your backgrounds, your history.  Often times with smaller wedding, so much thought and feeling goes into every detail, because every detail that is chosen is more important.  Families work together to help plan these special events, offering their services as gifts.  That is so special, so memorable and sweet!  Many brides and grooms have to pay for their weddings themselves.  A lot of engaged couples make the smart decision that they don't want to start off their new marriage in debt just because they planned a wedding they couldn't really afford.  I, for one, believe that these small, special weddings have just as much right to be featured on blogs as the bigger, more expensive weddings do.

Just as the small weddings have a right to be featured, I also believe that the photographers who work so hard on these weddings should be featured as well.  I've seen way too many bad photos of beautiful, expensive weddings featured on so many blogs.  Whether a photographer is shooting some over the top affair, or a small celebration, if their work is beautiful and unique, and the image touches the viewer in some way, they deserve a chance to be featured, too.

So here's my proposal.  Photographers, if you've been turned down on other blogs because the weddings you submitted weren't big enough, expensive enough, or had enough details, submit your photos here.  Brides, if you want to show off your wedding to the world, submit your photos here.  For now, you can contact me here.  Send me a few sample pictures, along with your contact information, and I'll be back in touch with you for more information.  I will be writing up some Submission Guidelines over the next few days.  I'll post an update when the guidelines are all finished.

So send me some pictures, and let EventSpiration be the blog where your wedding or your work can shine!

*Just a side note, I have nothing personally against professional wedding planners, custom invitations, designer dresses, event stylists, etc.  I've even worked as an event planner.  I certainly do not want to offend anyone.  The point of this post is that not everyone can afford those things, especially in the current economic climate.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another day, another chance to win a dreamy dress and honeymoon!

Hello lovely brides-to-be!

What an amazing week it's been, full of fabulous contests, and today is no different!  Bridal Guide has announced a new contest and the lucky winner will receive an Allure Bridal Gown and a Florida honeymoon!

Allure offers bride a wide of gowns, from romantic to dramatic, and all gowns shimmer with only the finest Swarovski crystals.  Allure gowns also feature a patented built-in corset in each dress, which provides the wearer with an amazing fit, and more comfort than wearing an additional layer of foundation garments. 

The winner will then enjoy an amazing honeymoon of five nights at the Tortuga Inn Beach Resort on Bradenton Beach, in Florida, along with many other amenities.

To view Allure's wedding gown collection, visit allurebridals.com.  To enter the contest, visit Bridal Guide and complete the form.  Make sure you take a look around this site for lots of great inspiration and information for planning your wedding.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another amazing giveaway!

Hello dear readers!  Today I came across an amazing giveaway for one lucky couple, courtesy of Brenda's Wedding Blog.  Brenda's Wedding Blog has joined up with UPrinting  with an amazing prize.  The lucky winner will receive an 11" x 14" stretched canvas print with either a 1.5" Gallery Wrap or a 1.5" Museum Wrap (White or Black) of their favorite wedding or honeymoon photo.  What a gorgeous keepsake this will make to display and cherish for years to come!
All the details about entering the contest can be found on her blog here.  While you're there, be sure to take some time to explore her wonderful and informative blog.  Good luck!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Win Bella's Twilight wedding gown and a honeymoon courtesy of Bridal Guide!

We have all seen and drooled over the gorgeous creation Bella wore as she wed Edward and promised to be his for all time. *Sigh*  Well Twilight fans, how would you like to walk down the aisle in a duplicate of  Bella's amazing, vintage inspired wedding gown?  Then, be whisked off to a dream honeymoon at the South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Florida.  Bridal Guide is offering you the chance to win this amazing sweepstakes!

The lucky winner will receive a replica of Bella's wedding gown or she can choose another style from the Alfred Angelo Collection, and a glamorous hair accessory to complete her look.  Then she and her new husband will enjoy a seven night honeymoon package at the South Seas Village Resort.  The resort village is surrounded by a 330 acre wildlife sanctuary and 2.5 miles of beaches.  Sounds like exactly what any newly married couple needs after the stress of planning a wedding!

For more information and details on how to enter this amazing contest, visit Bridal Guide Twilight Sweepstakes.  


Friday, March 2, 2012

David's Bridal offers a chance to win free gowns!

Just a quick post for now.  As my regular blog readers know, I believe finding anything free for your wedding is a good thing.  Here's my latest article on Examiner.com about David's Bridal and their new monthly contest, offering brides a chance to win a free wedding gown or up to 5 free bridal party dresses.  Click here for the article.
I also found some amazing free tools on the David's Bridal website, including the Dress Your Wedding tool, which will allow you to create your entire bridal party look online from the comfort of your home, along with the Color Inspiration tool, to see what the hot color trends are and to generate a personalized color palette based on the color of the dress you choose.  So much wedding inspiration in one place!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unique bridal bouquets

Your wedding day is one of the only times you'll get to carry a gorgeous bouquet of flowers (unless of course you are crowned Miss America).  There are so many options for beautiful bouquets, but this blog post is going to focus on unique bouquets, something a little different than the standard hand-tied blooms or cascades that are so prevalent in many weddings today.   Read on for some inspiration for unusual bridal bouquets.

Blue Petyl makes these absolutely gorgeous Brooch Bouquet creations from gemstones and brooches, all handmade into one-of-a-kind bouquets.  Each bouquet can be customized to match the colors of your wedding.  They'll even add a locket to the handle of your bouquet, so you can add a picture of your groom, or perhaps a loved one who has passed on. 


What I love most about these elegant Blue Petyl bouquets is that you can keep them forever.  Even though there are wedding bouquet preservation services, fresh flowers never seem to look as perfect as they do the first day.  Plus, after the wedding who wants to worry about taking your flowers to be preserved when you're rushing off to your honeymoon?  Either you'll have to deal with it, or designate someone else to.  These unique creations can be handed down through the generations and become a family heirloom.


Style Me Pretty is a bridal inspiration site where you can make your own inspiration boards.  Think of it as a Pinterest just for brides.  You can search by keywords or categories.  Doing a search on wedding flowers, I found these unusual bouquets and created this board:




So many beautiful bouquets!  The simple single bloom really makes a statement, yet it's soft and pretty because of the type of flower and color.  The coral pink/red and white bouquet is actually made from paper and would make for a lovely keepsake.  The hanging bouquet is called a Pomander, or a Kissing Ball, and is so adorable. While I don't think it would make a good bridal bouquet, it would be beautiful for your bridesmaids and flower girl.  And who wouldn't love a bouquet of lavender?  Click here to view the board on Style Me Pretty and for more information on each of the photos.

For more unique and unusual bridal bouquets, check out my board on Pinterest and follow me there.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Free (and adorable!) bridesmaid and maid of honor cards.


Free Maid of Honor Card from Dessy Group 
Free things are always good.  Finding free wedding things when you're planning your big day is even better.  Anywhere you can save money will help out your budget in some other way - you may be able to invite more guests to your reception, put away more money for your honeymoon or save more for the down payment on your first home.  Every little bit helps.  Surprisingly, there are lots of freebies out there, and when I come across high quality (and cute!) freebies, I'll highlight them in this blog.

Today as I was looking around the Internet, I ended up on a site called Bridesmaid.com, the official blog of Dessy Group.  Dessy Group is well known for their bridal party fashion and accessories.  Bridesmaid.com offers lots of good information when planning a wedding.  I was exploring the site when I came across a topic called "DIY Bridesmaid Cards".
Free Bridesmaid Card from Dessy Group


These adorable cards are customizable in the colors of your wedding (with two colors) and are a really sweet and memorable way to invite both your maid of honor and bridesmaids to be part of your special day.  First, you select your design from ten different cards.  Next, choose the two colors for your card, from the 230 Pantone wedding colors available.  Then, you download the file to your computer and then print the card yourself.  The final images are 1650 x 1275 pixels and 72dpi.  You can resize the image to print it out on a high quality card of 5" x 4" or  6" x 4".  Very simple!

In this day and age of e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, it's so nice to get a real, handmade card with a handwritten note every now and then.  When asking someone to participate in the most important day of your life, this is the perfect opportunity to take the extra time and let these people know how important they are to you, and why you want them to share in you special day.  A handmade card with a personalized note inside would be something I'd cherish forever.



Friday, February 17, 2012

Free (yes, free!) wedding invitations from PartyPop.com!

In this day and age of pop-up ads filled with spammy offers and mysterious links leading you to scams all over the Internet, it is really difficult to believe when you come across a truly free (and amazing) offer.  But in this instance, PartyPop.com is offering a legitimate and incredible gift to engaged couples planning their weddings.
PartyPop.com, an extremely useful website, well known for their online tools for party, event and wedding planning, is offering 100% free wedding invitations for engaged couples in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.  There are absolutely no hidden fees, no design fees, and no fees to be paid later on.  The invitations will be printed on 80 lb card stock and include envelopes.  This offer is good for anyone placing their orders through the end of 2012.  Click here to see the invitation and website designs.

Additionally, PartyPop.com is offering each couple their very own wedding website, with designs available to match the invitations.  The website is the perfect way for you to share your love story, upload pictures, work on seating arrangements, link to social networks, and allow your guests to RSVP to your wedding events.

A few questions popped up after reviewing this offer from PartyPop.com.  For example, I noticed that the RSVP and Reception cards, very necessary parts of a traditional wedding invitation were not included or mentioned on the PartyPop.com page.  I emailed Ryan at PartyPop.com (who is incredibly helpful and wonderful to work with) to ask if these additional cards could be purchased if couples wanted them and was told they weren't available.  But there are ways to work around this.  After working in the bridal industry for many years, I have advised many budget conscious brides to add the reception information to the actual wedding invitation, rather than adding an additional Reception card.  First, it saves money on your invitation order, and second, it saves money on your postage.  Adding that little Reception card to the total weight of your invitation can sometimes push your invitation into the next postage bracket.  You can easily add in your reception information on these free invitations from PartyPop.com.

The RSVP card is another matter  you need to consider.  You definitely want to know how many people are going to be attending your wedding.  You'll need to give a final count to your caterer or reception hall.  They'll require you to pay them in advance of your event and the amount is dependant on the number of guests attending, so getting the RSVP's back is crucial.  When I brought this up with Ryan, he mentioned using their free wedding website and the RSVP option.  Just add the web address on your invitations, along with the date you'll need your RSVP.  However, we all have older family members who still aren't Internet savvy.  This option won't work for everyone.  You may want to consider adding a phone number on your invitation for RSVP's.  If you're not up for all those phone calls, (or your phone potentially ringing the day of your wedding with some guest asking for directions because your phone number is printed on the invitations - yes I could see that happening!) you could get a set of RSVP cards printed up on your own, and insert them in the envelope with your invitations when you mail them.

PartyPop.com knows how tough it is to plan a wedding in this economy, and free invitations can easily save you $600+.  Check out PartyPop.com, not just for their free wedding invitations, but for all their wonderful wedding and event planning tools and information.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shopping for a cause.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't mention this wonderful website for you to consider while shopping for your last-minute Valentine's day gifts (or anytime you feel like doing some online shopping).  Even though there's now less than two days left before Valentine's Day, and chances are anything you purchased wouldn't be shipped in time, I have a feeling if you bought something from The Animal Rescue Site for any animal lover on your list, you'd surely be excused for your tardiness because it's helping such a worthy cause.

The Animal Rescue Site is part of  CharityUSA which owns and operates the GreaterGood Network Stores.  Every purchase you make gives back to a worthy cause, at no extra cost to you.  When you purchase from The Animal Rescue Site, a portion of the purchase price of each item funds food for abandoned animals in shelters and sanctuaries.  Specifically, each item you purchase helps fund at least 14 bowls of food for homeless shelter animals, and helps such wonderful charities like Petfinder.com Foundation, IFAW, Rescue Bank, and others.

The Animal Rescue Site has hundreds of items available to purchase - jewelry, clothing, pet items, household items, garden and outdoor items, just to name a few.  GreaterGood is responsible about the products they offer for sale. They offer products to help improve the world and products connected to the charities they work on.  They believe in offering fairly traded products, and never purchase products that were manufactured by child labor.  They also will never offer any products for sale that harmed people or animals in their use or manufacture, or were tested on animals, sourced from wild or endangered animals, or where animals were treated inhumanely during manufacture.

If you're going to shop anyway, you might as well help a very worthy cause.  If you're shopping for Valentine's Day and the item won't arrive in time, show up for your Valentine's Day date with a bouquet of very pretty flowers for her (or perhaps a bottle of his favorite wine or whiskey), and a heartfelt card with a color printout of the item you purchased.  Explain to your sweetheart that you're sorry the gift is late, but that you're helping homeless shelter animals with the purchase. That should be more than enough to capture his/her heart.  I know it would work on me. (By the way, you can click on The Animal Rescue Site's link once daily to help give free food and care to homeless shelter animals.)

Are there other causes near and dear to your heart?  GreaterGood has other websites, so you can shop and have your purchases benefit other issues and causes, such as hunger, breast cancer, veterans, autism, child health, rainforests and literacy.  Click here to find out more.