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.

Last minute "instant" Valentine's Day gifts

Guys - if you haven't gone shopping for your sweetheart yet, time is running out. Valentine's Day is less than two days away. Unless you want to be stuck wandering the aisles of your local convenience store in a panic on your way home from work, it's time to get your tushy in gear. Believe me, your significant other does NOT want to receive windshield washer fluid or an ice scraper again this year.

Every woman has imagined what it would be like to have a love song written in her honor. Imagine presenting your Valentine with her very own customized song, performed by none other than Joe Pizzulo, singer of one of the most romantic love songs ever, "Never Gonna Let You Go." Simply go to InstaSong, answer a few questions about your sweetie and your relationship, and your song will be created on the spot. You'll get big points for this one.

Put your love on a magazine cover! Check out Your Cover, where you can make your own personalized cover, celebrating your love, or any number of milestone events and occasions. There's an entire gallery of templates to choose from. For last minute shoppers, you can download and print your own cover, or if you have enough time, Your Cover will print a high quality copy of your design and ship it to you. Make sure you stop by your local crafts store to frame your cover, for the perfect finishing touch. Your lady will appreciate this little detail.

How about printing about some Valentine's Day "love coupons" for your sweetheart? If you're not the creative type, use the coupons provided here. Add a pretty flower bouquet and some chocolates, and a nice dinner at home (don't forget the candles and a nice movie - romantic comedy preferred), and she'll love you for the effort.

Remember, it's really not about the gift at all. It's the thought that counts. Show your Valentine you know her, and you know her heart, and she'll be happy with whatever you give her.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

An introduction.

For my first post, I just wanted to introduce myself, and explain a litte about how EventSpiration came to be.  For years now, I've worked in the marketing and sales fields, and in turn have planned many events, on-site promtions, trade shows and parties.  I realized that I really enjoyed the party planning aspect of my job, and I took a position as the Event Coordinator for a historic (and haunted!) inn here in Pittsburgh.  I worked with many different people and organizations, planning all sorts of events - weddings, surprise engagements, soroity parties and corporate events. I enjoyed every minute of working with my clients and meeting with their vendors.  After several years at the inn, I had to leave my position due to health reasons, but I never lost my love for event planning and entertaining.  My daily reading still consisted of wedding and party planning blogs, even though my two rescued dogs weren't planning a wedding anytime in the near future.

While searching through the internet, I came across Examiner.com and found out they were looking for an event planning writer for Pittsburgh.  I've always enjoyed writing, and since I had all this event planning experience, I submitted my application and thankfully I was hired.  Writing for Examiner has been amazing.  I truly enjoy every minute of it, and I've met some wonderful people because of my articles.  However, because I am the "Pittsburgh" Event Planning Examiner, I am limited to only writing about local events, people and things.  While Pittsburgh is a wonderful city full of vibrant and talented people, there are national trends and celebrities I would love to write about but can't.  So, the idea for EventSpiration was born.  This blog will give me the opportunity to spread my wings and be a little more creative.

I have also been given the title of "Pittsburgh Animal Advocacy Examiner."  From time to time you may see animal and animal-advocacy related posts here.  Animals, animal adoption and preventing abuse and cruelty are my true passions in life.  As I write this, my two dogs are laying curled against me.  I honestly don't believe that I'd be here and be able to do anything, had it not been for my two dogs after the last year and a half of my life.  I feel very strongly about giving back to them after the uncondtional love they provide me with every single day.  If you're an animal lover, I know you'll understand.  If you're not, I hope you'll bear with me and hopefully find the rest of the information I provide useful enough that you can indulge me a bit when I write about my "boys" or animal advocacy issues.