Going “Green”

It is becoming more and more important for us to remember our impact on the environment when going about our daily business. It should be equally as important on your big day, but it may take a little extra work! For an outdoor wedding, choose a location that will show the natural beauty of its environment. For an indoor wedding, ask around museums and art galleries; they will sometimes donate your deposit to a good cause. When choosing your wedding bands, make sure to ask the jeweler if they use conflict-free gems and recycled metals. Lastly, try to use as many local vendors as possible to support the community! As for the rest, here are a few ideas to get you started…

Stationery

invitationPhoto Credit: TwistedLimbPaperworks

So much paper is wasted every year and many more trees are cut down to make even more paper! Cut back on your invitations by using only one envelope instead of the traditional outer/inner envelope design. As for the paper itself, there are many ways you can go: recycled paper, bamboo, cotton, linen, or even a plantable (yes, plant it and it will grow) invitations! Check out Twisted Limb Paper, they design 100% recycled and handmade invitations based on a consultation with you. Also, I recommend providing most of your wedding information on a custom website. That way, you won’t need to send as many invitations.

Catering

cateringPhoto Credit: Eco Caters

Ideally, you’ll want to find a catering service that offers organic, pesticide and preservative-free meal options. This may be harder to do if you don’t want to go all vegan, but it can be done (remember, it will most likely cost more to go organic). Discuss with the caterer how they will be cooking and/or serving guests. After all, what’s the point of having an organic, eco-friendly meal if you’re wasting electricity and using paper napkins and utensils? As for the cake, there are many bakeries to choose from who use only local ingredients. Just keep in mind any allergies your guests may have (i.e. nuts, gluten, dairy).

Favors

favorPhoto Credit: Wedding Photography Design

Send your guests home with their very own seedlings! This display could also double as your seating arrangement; just tag each bag with a guest’s name and corresponding table number. Make sure the seeds are all organic, and locally bought if possible. Even if you don’t use pesticides, the seeds could still be affected if they came from a plant that had pesticides used on it. Or, you could give your guests some yummy organic treats as gifts, instead! If you’d prefer not to give favors, then consider donating to a charity and letting your guests know (or even choose).

Photos

plantwall

Talk to your photographer/videographer and make sure everything is digital; also find out if they use any extra lighting or equipment that would use electricity. If you are in an outdoor location, I’m sure they can help you take full advantage of the natural environment. If you are indoors, then I love the idea of having a living wall for a backdrop or central decoration. It provides so much color and life, and should make the perfect setup for taking pictures indoors!

-Nikki

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Bachelorette Party Games

scavenger hunt

I recently attended a bachelorette party in San Antonio and will be attending another one in New Orleans this summer. We played a fun game to help the bride prepare for her honeymoon and it got me thinking about what games we could come up with for New Orleans! So here are just a few ways you can celebrate with the bride-to-be whether it’s a casual dinner and drinks or a night out on the town.

Name That Lingerie

lingerie

On the invite for the bachelorette party, the maid of honor (MOH) listed the bride-to-be’s size and requested that everyone bring a set of lingerie. After dinner, each gift was opened and the group helped name each set. The MOH will put together a “menu” using the names we picked. On each night of the honeymoon, the groom will pick an item off the menu and the bride will wear it. We had so much fun coming up with different names, ranging from sweet and innocent to sexy and mysterious. Some ideas we had include: Pink-a-Boo, Wild Thang, Nip Slip, Turqoise Delight and everyone’s favorite, The Cherry Popper.

he said she said

The MOH created a list of quotes from the bride and groom, some obvious and some difficult. We each had to circle the name of either the bride or groom next to the quote we thought was theirs. Whoever had the most correctly circled won a prize! Depending on the type of bachelorette party you have this could mean cute little trinkets or a drink at the next bar. This game is a good way to get to know the bride or groom, whichever you don’t know as well, a little better as well as encourage conversation between members of the group who don’t know each other.

Who Knows the Bachelorette?

bride

This game is similar to the previous one except it’s all about the bride-to-be! The MOH hands out sheets of paper with facts about the bachelorette for guests to finish filling out. Some suggestions for this are: drink of choice, shoe size, most overused phrase, her nickname for her fiance, honeymoon destination, etc. The game works best if there is a mix of easy and difficult questions.

scavenger hunt

You can have a lot of fun with this game if your bachelorette party is a night out on the town! Get a photo with the bartenders, photobomb a stranger’s picture without being caught, take a picture with a cop pretending to handcuff you, take a picture with a flaming shot and then take it, ask someone to marry you, find someone with the same first name as the groom, etc. Be creative and have fun! Keep in mind who is going to be attending the party because that could change the tasks on the scavenger hunt, especially if you know someone very outgoing.

Drink If….

cocktail

This is a good game to start the night out with! All participants must drink if… you’re the youngest, the oldest, holding a beer, wearing a necklace, have blue eyes, hate your boss, don’t know the bride’s middle name, etc. This game is probably best planned by both the bride-to-be and the MOH together since the bride will probably know more about all the attendees. Have specific people in mind when listing the drink if… tasks, it will make it more fun if everyone is assured a chance to drink if…

Last but not least, the hangover kits!!

hangover

Please be kind to your bridesmaids and MOH and provide them with a handy kit to cure any illness the next morning. You can put things in there like aspirin, sunglasses, breath mints, gatorade, water, altoids, bandaids, alka seltzer and 5 hour energy. Your bridesmaids will be sure to thank you for this (and yourself, too)!

-Nikki

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How To: Include Your Children

A wedding is focused on the bride and the groom but what about when one or both have children? A wedding is about uniting two families into one, so it only makes sense to include the children in your celebration. Discuss with your fiance how involved you want the children to be and include them in your planning process. They will feel special and this could provide a great opportunity to form a closer relationship with your spouse’s children if you haven’t already done so. After you decide what role you would like the children to play, ask them if they are comfortable and if they have any opinions. It is still your decision in the end, but asking their opinion will show you value what they have to say.

flowergirl

If you have younger children, they could be your flower girl or ring bearer. There is no rule about what age they should be, but you typically see children between the ages of 3 and 8 in this role. Younger girls usually enjoy throwing the flower petals down the aisle more than those who are in high school and older. A younger boy as the ring bearer makes for an adorable photo shoot after the ceremony with the groom. An older child could just as easily fill these roles also. They might remember the ceremony and recognize their importance in it more than a younger child would.

sandceremony

The unity sand ceremony is a tradition with three vases at the altar, two filled with different colors of sand and one empty. After the bride and groom exchange rings and vows, they each take their respective containers of sand and pour them together into the empty vase. The unity sand ceremony symbolizes the joining of two different people, or families, into one. To include your children, there should be a container filled with different colored sand for each child. After you and your fiance pour your sand together, have each child pour theirs as well.

wedding-favor-bag

You can put the children in charge of, or just to help with, the wedding guest favors. A common favor at weddings is bubbles, which almost every child loves. Others include coloring books for kids, mini engraved candles, or tiny bells. If it’s in your budget, consider letting each child contribute one small favor to a goodie bag. That way, each guest will go home with a piece from each member of your new family.

brideandchild

Include the children in your before and after wedding shoot. Before the wedding means your engagement photos; this way you can let all of your friends and family know that it isn’t just about you and your fiance, but a whole new family. The photos you take after your wedding could be perfect for your new house together. Younger children don’t always have the same attention span as an adult so don’t plan for them to be in a lot of pictures. Talk with your photographer before hand about taking the photos with the children first, so that they can relax and have fun while you finish your photo shoot.

Other roles include letting the children pass out programs before the ceremony or pass out the wedding favors instead of placing them on the tables. Also, when reciting your vows, have you and your fiance add a verse or two at the end to include promises to your children. You may also buy an item for each child to symbolize your joining as a family. This item does not need to be expensive, it could be a plastic ring for play or matching bracelets. As long as it holds meaning for you as a family and shows the children they are welcome and loved.

-Nikki

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Gift for the Groom

The perfect present for your fiancé doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be thoughtful. Your hubby will love and appreciate whatever you decide to give him.

cologne

Give your fiancé a bottle of his favorite cologne, and if he doesn’t have one then pick a fragrance that you would enjoy on him. He will like the fragrance simply because you like it.

Engraved-Cufflinks

Get a pair of cufflinks engraved with your fiancé’s initials for him to wear the day of the wedding. Cufflinks are something that he can always use for any formal occasion and they will remind him of you when he wears them. You could also get them engraved with both of your initials, or even the date of the wedding.

universal remote

A universal remote sounds silly but the majority of men would love this gift! You can program it to control almost everything electronic in your house, the television, the lights, or even the alarm system. If you already have one or think your fiancé would prefer something else, try another techy gadget instead, like an iPad or a kindle.

sports-tickets

Give your hubby tickets for his favorite sports team the next time they play, or for a big rivalry game that usually has a large attendance. If he isn’t a big sports fan then maybe he would enjoy tickets to a different kind of event.

men's watch

A nice watch is the classic gift to give your fiancé. You can customize it by size, color, shape, digital or analog. A watch is another good gift to get engraved. Since it has more space on it you could engrave both of your initials and the wedding date on the inside band.

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The Big Question

maid of honor

Once you’ve been asked the big question and start planning your wedding, it’s your turn to ask another big question: who will be my maid of honor, and who will be my bridesmaids? This shouldn’t be difficult but sometimes feelings get hurt, there are family obligations or budget issues. Below are some tips to help you but ultimately, it’s your wedding, and your friends and family should be happy to attend whether they are a part of the bridal party or not.

  • For aesthetic purposes there should be the same amount of bridesmaids as there are groomsmen, but this is not necessary.
  • 12 is considered to be the maximum amount, including the maid of honor.
  • It is typically good to have at least one groomsman and one bridesmaid for every 50 guests.
  • Make a list of all possible candidates, including your fiance’s picks.
  • The maid of honor should be someone very close to the bride. (They usually help plan the bridal shower and help pick the bride’s gown)
  • The maid of honor/bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and travel expenses, so consider budgets in your planning.
  • Will you be dependent on your maid of honor/bridesmaids? If so, are they reliable?
  • What expectations do you have for your maid of honor/bridesmaids and can they meet them?

Hopefully that at least helped you narrow down your choices.  Now comes the fun part, asking!

maid of honor

Jewelry is a classic gift when asking your maid of honor to be there on your big day. It can hold special meaning for the two of you, match the wedding theme or dress, or just be really pretty; your maid of honor will love it and be honored that you chose her.

bridesmaids

Although it is best to ask your choices in person, it is not always convenient. Send a card in the mail (or hand it to them in person); more designs can be found on Etsy.com.

maid of honor

Find a ring pop (remember those?) and mimic a proposal. This idea is best used if your maid of honor is a close friend that will appreciate the humor. Candy necklaces can be used to ask each bridesmaid, as well.

bridesmaids

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Cater to Your Guests

Guests

It’s your wedding and it’s all about you and your hubby, but you should also consider your guests. You want them to enjoy themselves at your wedding and reception, and it should be memorable for them as well.

Guests

Provide some simple flip flops for guests to put on after the wedding and formal reception. They will appreciate the comfortable footwear and it will encourage more people to get up, dance, and have a fun time!

Guests

Place different props that match your theme in a variety of creative locations (trees, sign in table, photo booth, etc.) for guests to have something to do when not eating and dancing.

Guests

Place to go boxes under the catering table to bring out after the cake has been cut. These are perfect for guests who didn’t get a chance to try it when it was served, or to help get rid of the leftovers.

Guests

If there are children, put juice boxes on a little table so they can grab one themselves. Children don’t always have the patience to wait in a drink line, and this will ensure they aren’t drinking soda, for those whose parents would prefer they didn’t.

Guests

After the meal part of the reception is over, have the caterers bring out small late night snacks for guests to grab later, if needed.

Guests

Place bags of mints at every place setting as an extra party favor and to freshen everyone’s breath after eating. Your single guests will definitely appreciate this!

Guests

Lastly, make sure you thank each and every one of your guests for attending and/or bringing a gift. You can attach tags to party favors, gift bags, or use mementos that are related to your wedding.

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Save the Date!

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The save the date announcement is the first official notification to anyone and everyone you would like to be at your wedding. It can help you set the theme, but it doesn’t have to. It could also feature your favorite engagement photo or an activity that you and your fiance enjoy doing together.

Save the Date postcard

Send customized postcards to let everyone know quickly so they can mark that day off their calendars. More custom designs like this can be found at invitationconsultants.com.

2

Be creative and have fun with these photos! This would be cute if you are planning a destination wedding or just having a destination theme.

1

This picture is better for making your announcement in the spring when most fields are green or full of blooming flowers. If there are none close by, try seeing if there are any protected wildflower areas around you. You cannot pick the flowers but they will make a beautiful backdrop!

Save the Date jerseys

Sports fans? Custom order jerseys with the new last name and the date of your wedding.

Save the Date notepad

Send a cute and catchy notepad with custom pencils that have the wedding date on them. Every time they’re being used, your guests will think of your upcoming ceremony!

Save the Date card

Add your color scheme to a classic save the date card for an elegant touch.

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Mr. & Mrs. Memorabilia

Balloons

A great way to decorate your new home together with your hubby is with Mr. & Mrs. themed memorabilia that you either received as a gift or used during your wedding. You won’t get tired of seeing everyday when you’re in the “honeymoon stage,” and it gives you time to decide together how you would like to decorate when, or if, you don’t want to use them anymore.

Wine Glasses

Wine glasses are usually always on everyone’s wedding registry so ask your guests to customize yours. You can even add designs like silhouettes, bowties, bouqets, or customized colors.

Bathroom Pictures

Baby photos are cute and slightly embarrassing but putting your baby bath photos in the bathroom is cuter and isn’t prominently displayed.

Wine Stoppers

Mr. & Mrs. wine stoppers are adorable and the perfect bridal shower gifts! You can never have too many, especially when you need to try all the wines you received from guests so that you can truthfully tell them in their thank you note that you have tasted it.

Coasters

Coasters are the best way to protect your furniture and are one of the easiest DIY projects on Pinterest. For more sentimentality use some marble or stone from your first house together, and then simply paint or use stickers to decorate them.

Luggage Tags

Luggage tags for the honeymoon, of course! These are especially cute because it gives the bride two tags, which if we’re being honest, is definitely needed.

T-shirts

You and your hubby can have matching shirts at the airport on your way to the honeymoon to let everyone know you’re newlyweds.

Pillows

Decorate your first bed together with cute personalized pillows that have your wedding date on them. (You can also use them to label your side and his side)

Chair Signs

This sign is adorable for the reception and you can order one for the groom, as well!

Balloons

If you’re having a simple reception or after wedding tea party, balloons are a great way to mark the entrance to the venue or above the bride and groom’s chair.

Ornaments

These ornaments are perfect for the bride and groom’s first Christmas tree together.

Most of these can be DIY, my favorite, or custom ordered on a variety of websites. If you go the DIY route, you can have a craft making activity at your bridal shower.

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Top 10 Wedding Favors

 

Deciding what to give you’re guests as wedding favors can be challenging.  Of course you want to be creative and most people want something not so traditional so here are the top 10 wedding favor ideas!

Match

Let you’re guests light up you’re love with some matches as party favors!

Beer-Holders

A koozie is a great keepsake for guests and can be used for years to come!

Limoncello

Miniature wine bottles with a thank you on the back to the guests and you’re names with the wedding date are a timeless and classy idea.

Mad-Libs

Give you’re guests some wedding mad libs to fill out during dinner or at the wedding reception for you and you’re new hubby to read through later!

Mini-Suitcases

These mini suitcases filled with candy are great party favors for a destination wedding!

Personal-Pencils

I love these engraved pencils but maybe put you and you’re husbands name on one, the wedding date on another, the destination of the wedding, and etc.

Sand-Message-In-A-Bottle

Small capsules filled with sand and corks is a great idea for a beach wedding party favor.

Seeds-In-A-Bag

Let you’re guests “watch you’re love bloom” by giving them seeds to plant after you’re wedding day.

Sparklers

Ignite you’re love with some wedding day sparklers!

e578b9aabb23f5c99e4bb4e0bd3cb97e

Giving food as a party favor is always a great idea because you can even make it yourself to save a little extra cash.  Opting to do cupcakes is a cute idea and you can add a little flare with tags that are the colors of you’re wedding.

 

Hopefully these ideas will help you choose something you would like to have at you’re wedding. I think all of these ideas are great and would compliment a wedding wonderfully!

 

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Fun Guest Activities

Advice Box

Your guests should never tell you that your wedding reception is boring, but it wouldn’t hurt to have fun activities planned just in case they do feel that way. Not everyone likes to or is able to dance, and some of these activities can even be kept for your scrapbook or photo album!

Place an advice box near the entrance to your reception or on every table. Make sure you fill it with plenty of paper and writing utensils because your guests are sure to have plenty of ideas throughout the reception.

If you’re looking for specific topics of advice, try placing pre-made cards in the advice box. More guests might participate if they are given a prompt to get their creative thinking started.

Assign each table an anniversary year and provide a book or box for guests to leave a message for you to open that year. Even better, have guests who have been married for that amount of years leave you a message; they will have better insight.

Include mad libs with the menu at every place setting with a basket/box in the center of every table. Guests will have fun filling the cards out and you and your hubby will have fun reading them later.

Provide coloring books personalized to match your wedding for all the children. When they aren’t dancing, this will give them something to do instead of running all over the room or getting into trouble (especially at non-kid-friendly venues).

 This last suggestion is less for the guests and more to complete your scrapbook with a congratulatory letter from the president. Send him your wedding invitation at least 6 weeks in advance and you’ll get an official response!

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