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 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  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  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 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!