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Why Are Wedding Vendors So Expensive?

July 26, 2016

Why Are Wedding Vendors So Expensive?

Oh, the dreaded wedding quotes and estimates that just don’t seem to fit the bill for you. One of the most frustrating parts of wedding planning, right? You have your dream wedding in mind, but trying to make the dream match your budget is entirely frustrating! So why are wedding vendors so expensive?

I’m going to be really straightforward and honest with you (I always am!). Wedding pros are not trying to break your bank. I promise. There’s no conspiracy to quadruple our prices just because you’re planning a wedding instead of a birthday party.

Let’s do a quick breakdown of hiring a vendor (for the purposes of this demonstration, let’s use your custom-designed stationery as an example because I know plenty about that!):

  • 3 = Number of hours I typically spend communicating via email or phone – to include initial consultations, reviewing and communicating about your proofs, and general discussion about material options and pricing
  • 1 = Number of hours I typically spend preparing a proposal to include a quote along with a mood board and color palette
  • 4-8 = Number of hours, on average, I spend sketching, conceptualizing, drawing, refining, formatting, and preparing your proofs (this number could easily go up to 12 if a very detailed design or monogram is involved)
  • 1-2 = Number of hours I spend preparing your files for print, communicating the details with the printer, and ordering your final materials 
  • 2 = Number of hours, on average, I spend assembling your invitation suites, doing a quality control check, and packaging your invitations or taking them to the post office to mail to your guests myself (this number could very well increase to 4 hours if you have a large guest list or detailed assembly)

So, on the high end of this spectrum, I could easily spend 22 hours on ONE couple. Even on the low end, I generally spend 11-12 hours on ONE couple. Break that down into a standard 40-hour work week and that means that I can take no more than three clients per week (assuming there’s a good mix of clients on the low end and the high end of the spectrum). And let’s not forget that most wedding pros only work with one couple per wedding date and that the majority of weddings happen on Saturdays and Sundays, with an occasional Friday wedding, so our calendars are very limited.

Want another example? Let’s break down the cost of floral design (again, these numbers are based on my personal experiences, so all of these numbers are going to vary from vendor to vendor!):

  • 3 = Number of hours I typically spend communicating via email, phone, or in person – to include consultations, design and proposal reviews, and general discussion about the logistics of your floral design and setup the day of the wedding
  • 1 = Number of hours I typically spend preparing a proposal to include a quote along with a mood board and color palette
  • 2-3 = Number of hours, on average, I spend refining your floral design ideas and creating a complete, comprehensive floral plan
  • 1-2 = Number of hours I spend sourcing the perfect flowers in the perfect shade of color, the perfect vessels, and/or the necessary supplies needed to create your final product
  • 10-12 = Number of hours I spend processing your flowers and creating your bouquets, arrangements, and floral design pieces for your big day
  • 2-4 = Depending on the complexity of your design, the number of hours I spend delivering bouquets and setting up at your venue (**please note, this doesn’t even include travel time!)

So on the high end of the spectrum I spend about 25 hours on ONE wedding and on the low end of the spectrum I spend about 18 hours on ONE wedding!

Want another perspective? Heather breaks down, in much more detail than I, the time and expenses involved in photography in this blog post.

But wait.

Let’s not forget that their are costs associated with each client, as well. Not only are there general upkeep costs of running a business (for a stationer…a computer, design software, art supplies depending on their style, general assembly supplies and paper samples, packaging costs…you get the point!), but for almost every wedding pro there are also material costs of actual product associated as well. Oh, but believe me there’s more. What about the cost of paying employees, consultants, contractors, advertising fees, or third party vendors?

The wedding industry is also one of the only industries where we can truly only accept a very limited number of clients per year. We are limited by calendar days (even if wedding pros worked every single Saturday and Sunday a year, excluding major holidays, that’s 98 clients per year. But think about the experience you’d be getting with a vendor who is also working with 97 other people at the same time as you! That’s a recipe for a disaster if you ask me.

So, you see, once you factor in the costs associated with one wedding (material, labor, and administrative time) along with the general administrative costs of running a business, and paying taxes (can’t forget those!), wedding vendors truly are not expensive. To be quite honest with you, we’re trying to provide a service for an industry we believe in with our whole heart – most of us aren’t doing it for the money. We’re trying to help support our families and love on our clients well while also paying some expenses we don’t really want to be paying! If we could, I can guarantee that many of us would actually charge next to nothing if our livelihood didn’t depend on it because we love what we do so much, and we love seeing this amazing moment in your life come together!

So, while it may seem like the wedding pros you’re talking to are expensive, I assure you we’re all just trying to promote the sanctity of marriage, create the most meaningful memories possible for you, pay our bills, and enjoy what we do along the way.

And if you’ve already exceeded portions of your wedding budget, I promise, that’s okay – read all about that here!

Education

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5 Reasons You Should Get to Know Your Stationer

March 2, 2016

5 Reasons You Should Get to Know Your StationerIf you’re a bride or groom, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. Who has time to get to know your stationer in the middle of this crazy roller coaster ride?!

I promise you, though, it’s so important to be candid and open with your stationer. Not only does it make the planning process so much fun when you get to know your vendors, but there are some very key reasons you and your stationer should be like peas and carrots:

We get a better sense of your style and who you are. And when we know what makes you and your fiancé tick, how you met, what your favorite things to do together are – we have a more solid foundation to create the most personalized paper goods for you! The more we know about you and your love story, the more we can create something completely unique that’s never before been created. Not only that, but when we have a good sense of who you are as a couple, we also know what style is going to work best for you, even if you aren’t quite sure! Not to mention, these unique traits make our hearts pitter-patter and we love finding those common bonds with you!

We can make suggestions you may not have considered. When we know that your favorite date together so far has been riding a tandem bike to the park on the hottest June day there ever was, and then laughing about it over a bottle of champagne and peanut butter sandwiches as you catch your breath, our wheels start turning (no pun intended). We break apart the elements of that date and figure out how to incorporate it into your day – even if no one but you and me know what it means! Whether it’s utilizing that special day as a material, a color, or an actual illustration, the more we know about you, the more we can create.

We want to make the process exciting and fun for you. One of the things we truly want to do for you is make the stationery design process exciting, fun, and easy for you. This is such a fun season in your life, it is definitely not something you should be stressing over! The more we know about you, the more we know what stationery is a priority, what timeline you would be most comfortable with, how often you prefer to hear from us, and how to best present ideas to you in a fun, exciting way. When we don’t know enough about each other, we tend to draft “by the book” email responses and go by our standard procedures. Now this is not to say that I won’t go by standard procedures and processes with every client, but when I know a little more about you, I know how to get you excited for your proofs, how to surprise you (in a good way!), and how to make you feel so loved and special throughout the process.

We are truly passionate about what we do for you. Look, we want to get to know you. This is our passion. We thrive on seeing happy couples planning their forevers together. This is why we do what we do! The more we know about you, the more enthralling the process is for all of us involved! Hearing those love stories, first date antics, and relationship quirks fills our hearts with joy…and allows us to create something so special and unique for you! (See #1 and #2 above!).

We want to gain your trust. I want you to know about me just as much as I want to know about you! I want to gain your trust as a designer so you know your stationery is in good hands. We want you to feel comfortable asking us what we do on the weekends, and what our hobbies are, and what our favorite meals are. The more we know about one another, the more we can trust one another, share candid opinions together, and create an heirloom product for one of the most special days of your life. Because our relationship built on trust, creating the most unique invitation we’ve ever created that you’ll remember 50 years from now…that is what fills us with so much joy and happiness.

So send your stationer an email today and get to know them just a little bit better. Some of my best friends are former clients, and I couldn’t imagine having it any other way.

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The ONE Way You Should Be Using Pinterest for Wedding Inspiration

February 29, 2016

The ONE Way You Should Be Using Pinterest for Wedding Inspiration

When I was planning my own wedding six years ago, Pinterest was still one of those amazing, mysterious websites that you had to be invited to in order to create an account. Remember that? Now everyone in the world is using Pinterest to get more crafty, learn new recipes, and plan the most important events of their lives.

I’m going to be brutally honest here, but most wedding professionals get very nervous when they see an email pop up with an invitation to connect to a board from a current client who is using Pinterest for wedding inspiration. We dread the fact that you may be asking us to recreate something you’ve seen done a million times before because we want to create something special and unique just for you – not what everyone else has done. By locking yourself into a very specific idea, you’re not allowing us to be as creative as we can possibly be for you. You’re not giving us the opportunity to create something for you that you never knew existed and would be even better than your wildest dreams!

But there is one very refreshing, inspiring way you can be using Pinterest for wedding inspiration! I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world that could be if you shouldn’t be using Pinterest to find visuals you love and want to incorporate into your wedding day. How in the world could you use Pinterest any other way?

Pin visuals that set the mood and tell your story when using Pinterest for wedding inspiration. 

It’s that easy. Stop pinning exact replicas of what you want to include at your wedding, because that automatically boxes in both you and the wedding pro you are working with. Instead, look for images that are not past weddings. Pin images that are not an exact replica of the invitation you want. Pin images that are not the exact bouquet you want.

Instead, look for images that make you feel how you want your wedding day to feel. Do you want a warm, cozy winter celebration? Pin images that inspire that feeling. Do you want a bright, cheerful summertime soiree? Pin bright color palettes and sunny outdoor scenes. Use your captions section effectively by noting why the image inspires you. Is it the color palette? The mood? They style? Don’t just pin the image with the previous caption, make it your own by adding new captions and comments!

When you begin to pin this way, your wedding professionals will thank you and will stop dreading the invitations to pin to your secret board! This will get the conversation started in a much deeper way than just what’s on the surface. Your wedding pros will be able to capture the feeling and mood for your wedding day that you’ve always wanted – and probably even come up with new and unique ideas you’ve never even thought of!

Here’s an example of a board I created using Pinterest for wedding inspiration for a Springtime Brunch Wedding. You can also view the entire board and how I used the captions section here.

The ONE Way You Should Be Using Pinterest for Wedding Inspiration

I promise if you start pinning this way you’ll get the most amazing wedding of your dreams! Now, pin away! 

Education

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Three Ways to Stay on Task Throughout the Day

February 19, 2016

3 Ways to Stay On Task Throughout the Day
Photo by Heather Chipps Photography | Styling by Amanda Day Rose

With so many distractions (hello, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, email, phone consultations, family, and iPhones!), it’s a wonder any of us are able to stay on task and focused throughout the day. In this day and age it is not easy put all distractions aside, focus our attention, and get. stuff. done.

That’s why I’m so hoping these three tips are going to help you as you move forward in your business and create a more productive routine!

Invest in a good planner…and really use it to it’s advantage! Whether it’s an old-fashioned paper planner (one of my all-time favorite things to do is write in my Simplified Planner!) or an electronic calendar, I highly recommend figuring out what works best for you and getting in the habit of using it! I write everything in my planner – especially during the busy seasons. Dates with my husband, phone consultations, project due dates, what’s for dinner….jot it (or type it!) all down. And then really pay attention to those schedules and lists you’ve created for yourself. I have some friends who own a planner and when they open it up to check a date, there is nothing written in it. It baffles me how they even know which way is up, not to mention, what their schedule is that day! I encourage you to really use your planner to it’s full potential. So if you get distracted on Instagram one day and then you see on your calendar that your supposed to be working on Mary Jane’s branding project, you’ll immediately get back on task!

Set aside some planning time every week. I like to do my planning on Sunday afternoons, but pick a time that you know is going to work best with your schedule, and you know you’ll have a few moments of quiet to think. Use your planner to write down all the tasks you know need to get done during the week ahead, appointments you already have scheduled, meals, and any family events. Leave space each day for daily tasks you know will arise (for instance, I don’t schedule anything before 9:30 because I know I need at least an hour each morning to check emails and respond to inquiries) and a “cushion” every few days for projects that take a little longer than expected and/or unexpected tasks that arise. Having this cushion helps me to feel more at east when something comes up unexpectedly that I hadn’t anticipated!

Trust your scheduling judgement. Now that you have a schedule and it’s written in stone (or paper…), it’s time for you to trust yourself. Trust that you actually didn’t put in a 3 hour buffer to scroll through Instagram feeds for a reason. Trust that you didn’t build in time for the black hole that can be the internet for a reason. Trust that you were focused and organized when you created your schedule so that when you find yourself getting sucked into social media or procrastinating on a project, you’ll know it’s necessary to get back on task.

If you learn nothing today, I hope you learn that scheduling is key to staying on task. Make an appointment with yourself to finish XYZ project at Starbucks if you have to! Pencil time in to respond to emails, cook dinner, spend time with family, or schedule posts on social media. Make a schedule that is feasible for you and your day-to-day routine, write it down, and then trust that you made wise decisions to help you stay on task during your focused scheduling date.

Put it into action: take 10 minutes this weekend to schedule next week’s activities, appointments, and projects to help you stay on task! Report back on Instagram or Facebook when you’re done!

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Three Reasons to Hire A Professional Florist

February 10, 2016

Three Reasons to Hire a Professional FloristPhoto by Caroline Lima | Florals by Amanda Day Rose

If you’re currently planning the wedding of your dreams, you probably are also trying to find creative ways to stay within your budget, right? (And if that’s the case, I highly encourage you to contact me after reading this post to help you out with your budgeting needs!) Well, I’m here to tell you that DIYing your flowers is not the way to cut costs, friend! I know it seems easy, but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes of a floral designer!

I could go on and on about why you should hire a professional florist, but today I’m sharing my top three reasons with you:

  1. We are a wealth of botanical knowledge. Sure, you know about roses and hydrangeas and tulips – and perhaps plenty of other well-known flowers. But florists know hundreds of other flowers you’ve never even heard of…not to mention how to properly care for them so they are blooming and gorgeous at the exact time they need to be!
  2. We are pros at the logistical aspects. Between transporting flowers (can you fathom transporting 15+ centerpieces and bouquets…filled with water…in your car…to your ceremony and/or reception venue?), knowing exactly how to process your flowers (a lot of work goes into preparing your flowers before arranging them!), and setting them up so they are in full, beautiful bloom on your wedding day, a lot of logistics go into ensuring your flowers are absolutely perfect. These are all things you really don’t want to worry about on the day of your wedding!
  3. It’s more than just flowers. The size and style of the vase we recommend for you is directly related to the size and type of centerpiece you dream about for your wedding day. We know that some vases work better than others; that some look really small, but actually take a lot of flowers; and that some just simply aren’t going to hold up properly. It’s about more than just the looks, friends! A lot of education and experimentation has happened in the past to learn this information! Not only that, we know how to make sure your flowers look beautiful in person AND in photos, how to properly secure a bouquet so you don’t get pricked or get your dress dirty, and what tools work best for creating specific arrangements.

So before you decide to DIY your flowers, I highly encourage you to think about all of this and trust your friendly florists. We do so much more than place pretty stems in a vase for your wedding day! And if you’re still on the fence, have questions, or are ready to get started…let’s chat

Education

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5 Common Wedding Invitation Mistakes to Avoid

February 3, 2016

5 Common Wedding Invitation Mistakes to AvoidBackground photo by Caroline Lima

I think it’s safe to say your invitations are one of the most important aspects of your celebration, so you definitely want to take the time to avoid wedding invitation mistakes! Your wedding invitations set the tone for the style and mood of your event and give your guests pertinent information about the event itself along with other logistical details for out-of-town guests.

Here are 5 wedding invitation mistakes to avoid and keep in mind as you begin working with your designer:

Mistake #1: Trying to match an exact color palette. If you’re trying to match the exact color of your bridesmaids’ dresses, an exact flower, or an eact linen, you are likely going to be disappointed. Colors printed on paper are never going to be an exact replica of another tangible object, so it’s best to just avoid an exact match altogether. Instead, work with your designer to stay in the same color family and/or portray your overall style, rather than trying to color match.

Mistake #2: Not having someone else proofread for you. It’s easy to fall in love with a beautiful invitation design when you see your proof, but the design means nothing if the details of the event are incorrect. Your designer will most likely do a quick proofread for you when they are putting your proofs together (I definitely do!), but they also don’t know the exact spelling of venues, streets, and proper names. They also don’t know if things such as the time of your wedding are accurate! After you review your proofs, have a friend or family member review them, too, to ensure no details were overlooked.

Mistake #3: Waiting too late to place your order. While it may seem like getting your custom invitations created is a quick and easy process, I am here to tell you it definitely is not. Custom invitation designers want you to have a unique, personalized design that reflects you, not someone else. Because of that, we often start with a blank piece of paper and spend time getting to know you. Not to mention, most of us custom invitation designers want the experience for you to be amazing! We want to love on you through the process, and it’s hard to do that when we don’t have plenty of time to work with you. Plan to order your invitations about 4-6 months before you actually need them in your hands in order to enjoy the process.

Mistake #4: Saving money in all the wrong places. I get it. You feel like you’re spending money left and right for your wedding day and you’re trying to find ways to save money. You’re even considering printing the design yourself. Let me just tell you right now, before you even have that thought for one more second, it is not that easy. You could even end up spending more money just by trying to save money on areas like this! As a custom invitation designer, I’ve worked for years to hand-pick tons of papers, material options, and printers. This research and vetting is not going to be possible for you to master in just a couple of weeks (as an example, I am still constantly sourcing new materials and vendors!). Save yourself the stress, and quite possibly money you may end up spending to print and reprint, and trust your designer to do their job.

Mistake #5: Ordering too few invitations. This is so important, y’all! Make sure you order plenty of invitations, even if it means ordering extras you aren’t even sure you’ll use. I know you want to save money where you can (see #4 above), but I guarantee you’ll end up spending more money if you don’t order the correct quantity the first time around. Almost every custom invitation designer I know will have increased costs for reprints – this isn’t because we’re trying to make more money, it’s because often times there are costs involved that you don’t necessarily see – creating a custom plate again, ordering smaller quantities of supplies, a shorter turnaround time…all of these things cost money and most of those fees are the same regardless of ordering 100 invitations or 20 invitations. So do a really thorough guest count prior to placing your final order, and always, always plan to order more than you expect you’ll need!

Now that you’re armed with these common wedding invitation mistakes to avoid, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the invitation process! Let’s get started on your custom design today! 

Education

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Your Customized Wedding Budget Guide

January 26, 2016

Your Customized Wedding Budget Guide

YOU GUYS. I am SO excited to finally be sharing this post with you today! Who knew I’d be so excited to share something that has more to do with budgeting and numbers than it does with visual things?! See, the thing is, I believe everyone should have the wedding of their dreams, regardless of their budget! Your wedding day is a day you’ll share memories from for the rest of the life…a day you’ll create new family heirlooms and put old ones to use. That’s why I am so excited to share a new budgeting service with you that will help make the wedding of your dreams become a reality!

More and more over the years, I’ve chatted with couples who honestly just don’t know where to begin when creating a budget for their wedding day…or even how much they should plan on investing in each of their vendors! The truth is, there is no cookie cutter budget you should be using for one of the most important days of your life. Your wedding celebration will look and feel so much different from your best friend’s or sister’s or cousin’s, so why should you be using the same budgeting information?

That’s why I’ve created a Customized Wedding Budget Guide just for you! 

Before creating your budget guide, I’ll chat with you about what details are most important, the logistics of your wedding day, and what special ways you’d like to customize your celebration. After our conversations, I’ll get to work creating your customized guide that fits with your budget and celebration…not your sister’s or cousin’s or best friend’s!

Each purchase of the Customized Wedding Budget Guide will receive:

  • An easy-to-read detailed budget outline based on your wedding day
  • Worksheets and workspace to keep track of your actual costs and payment schedules
  • A comprehensive outline and customized recommendations to stay within your budget and still have the wedding of your dreams!
  • A few sweet surprises to make staying on your budget extra-easy!

Believe me when I tell you I want you to have the most amazing day ever, so each budget guide is completely customized and well thought-out for your celebration. And the best part? The Budget Guide fee is included in your budget guide, so you don’t waste a single penny!

Your Customized Wedding Budget Guide is $250 and the cost will be absorbed in your overall budget. To purchase your Customized Wedding Budget Guide, contact me or learn more here.

I can create my own budget, why do I need someone else to create it for me?

Yes, you are so right! You can absolutely create your own budget! But after almost 10 years in the wedding industry and working with dozens and dozens of wedding professionals (and working in the floral, stationery, and planning world myself!), I understand the importance of a customized budget that isn’t cookie-cutter. I’ll save you hours and hours of research by creating a budget that works for you while still creating the wedding of your dreams.

But, Amanda, doesn’t it defeat the purpose to pay for budget creation?

Absolutely not! Ensuring you have a budget that was created from years and years of research, hands-on knowledge, and hours of working in the wedding industry is like gold, y’all! Not to mention the $250 fee will be incorporated into your overall budget! And don’t forget, you’ll also receive a comprehensive outline and customized recommendations to make sure you stay on budget while still having the wedding of your dreams! (And a few surprises will be included, too!)

So are you ready to take the most stressful part of your wedding planning off your plate? I can’t wait to ease your mind and help ensure your wedding day is everything you dreamed it would be and more….regardless of your budget! Let’s get started with your customized budget guide!

 

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5 Must-Haves for Your Wedding Invitations

September 30, 2015

5 Must Haves for Wedding Invitations

You guys. You’re going to think I’ve gone off the deep end with this post! But believe me, these common pieces of information are overlooked more often than you think. And really, let’s be honest here. This is most likely your first time planning a wedding, so how are you supposed to know the standard protocol?! That’s why us wedding pros are here to help! (Side note: never underestimate the knowledge of a good wedding pro!).

So if you haven’t yet started discussing your wedding invitations, I want you to bookmark this page. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, done? Great! Now, when you do begin discussing your invitations with your fiancé and/or family, I want you to go back to your bookmarks and pull this page up to make absolute certain you’re not forgetting these key pieces of information for your guests, okay?

Without further ado, here are the pieces of information you most certainly do not want to forget on your wedding invitations:

Your Names. Duh. I really hope this isn’t a piece of information you’d forget, buuuut I’m throwing it out there. Just in case.

Your Wedding Date. This might seem obvious, but you guys! I’ve had couples forget to send me that little tidbit of information. You want all your favorite people there partying with you, right? So you better make darn sure the date’s on there!

Your Ceremony Time. This is right there with your wedding date. You want your favorites to show up, so make sure they know what time!

Your Ceremony Location. Now how in the world do you expect your guests to know where to go if you don’t tell them where they are supposed to witness you get hitched? Bonus: If your reception is in a different location from your ceremony, I highly recommend including your reception location as well, so your guests can plan their weekend accordingly.

An RSVP date. THIS. This is important, friends! A lot of times, it is hard enough just to get your guests to reply on time without you pestering them three days before the reply date, so I beg you – do not leave this open-ended! You’ll thank me three days after your response date.

I know you think I’m crazy, but I have couples forget to disclose this information without being prompted all the time. It’s no surprise, really – you’re excited. You’ve spent months (if not years!) planning this day in your head, so you are under the assumption everyone else knows when and where to be, too! You have a lot of things going on. I get it. That’s why it’s so important for you to bookmark this page (you were already supposed to do that, remember?) and refer back to it when you’re ready to get started with your stationer!

Got invitation etiquette questions, or just need advice on invitations in general? Send me an email, I’m happy to help!

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Decoding Printing Methods

September 29, 2015

Decoding Printing Methods: A Wedding Invitation Guide

The questions I get more than anything else as a wedding stationer are centered around the various types of printing methods. If you’re not in the design or printing industry, I know the world of printing can seem so incredibly daunting. And you want your invitations to be a true reflection of you, so it’s important to know what printing method would be a perfect match for the design you work so hard with your stationer on!

When it comes to wedding invitations, these are some of the most common printing methods:

Letterpress Printing. Letterpress printing is a traditional printing method that involves creating a relief of your design using a press. In order to create the relief, a plate is made by washing away the blank areas, leaving the designed areas that will become your relief. Each color requires it’s own plate, and each color needs to go through the press separately, making 2 or more colored letterpress invitations more costly. I work with letterpress printers who manage traditional letterpresses (meaning an actual person runs every single piece of paper through the press manually – so an order of 100 invitations and response cards goes through the press 200 times; add a second color and it goes through 400 times!). Every time a new design is created, a new plate must be made. There are a variety of papers out there capable of handling the relief of letterpress printing. My printers stock luxurious Italian stocks in white, ivory, and deckled (torn) edge.

Decoding Printing Methods

A letterpress invitation suite on ivory cardstock with foil stamped envelope liners

Foil Stamping. Similar to letterpress printing, foil stamping requires a die to be made of the areas that will be printed in metallic foil. The metallic foil is applied to the paper with the heated die. Also similar to letterpress, a new die must be made for every new metallic foil design. I work with printers who stock a variety of metallic foil colors on a variety of paper stock options including textured, smooth, kraft, and recycled.

Decoding Printing Methods

A digitally printed invitation suite with the names and swirl detail stamped in gold metallic foil with glitter envelope liners

Die Cutting. While die cutting isn’t a printing method, it can be just as important to the overall look of your invitation. Die cut cards can be cut into a variety of shapes to add character to your invitations. Rounded and inverted corners are also an option that can be used in place of die cutting.

Decoding Printing Methods

Digitally printed programs with a custom die cut shape

Heat Embossing. Heat embossing is the process of creating a stamp, adding ink to your stamp, and pouring embossing powder on top. The excess powder is then removed from the paper to create your design.

Flat Foil Printing. Flat foil printing is similar to the foil stamping method, but more cost effective. Rather than making a die, a specialty printer is used to print metallic ink directly onto the paper. The difference between this method and foil stamping is that the entire design must be printed in metallic ink, and the paper options and sizes are much more limited.

Decoding Printing Methods

Flat gold foil printing

Digital Printing. Digital printing is the most cost-effective way to print your invitations. The process involves printing your digital design directly onto the paper. This method is perfect for small run jobs, like wedding invitations. I use a variety of printers who stock several styles and colors of paper stock for digital printing, but the paper stocks that run through a digital printer do not match the thickness and quality of several other printing methods. This is a great option for designs that have a wide array of colors and thin lines or design elements. Unlike other methods, digital printing must be done on a stock that is lighter in color than the ink colors being printed.

Decoding Printing Methods

Digitally printed invitation suite. The large areas of charcoal gray background were achieved by printing charcoal gray overlaid with white text

Many of these printing methods can be combined to achieve a unique look, too!

While this is not a comprehensive list, these are the most common printing methods I use for my clients, but the sky really is the limit! Other printing options include white ink printing, blind embossing, thermography, offset lithography, and so much more!

Got a question about a specific printing method? Leave it in the comments, or contact me! I’m happy to help!

All photos, with the exception of the die cut photo, are taken by the talented Caroline Lima.

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Things Wedding Stationers Do You Probably Never Knew

June 29, 2015

Things Your Wedding Stationers Do You Probably Never Knew

Custom wedding invitations and paper goods are such a beautiful aspect to your wedding day. They give your guests a first impression of your event, portray your overall style, and oftentimes are a one-of-a-kind design that is unique to you and your fiancé. And most of the time, they look effortless. Like your designer was able to come up with the design in an instant and then put the idea to paper in a matter of minutes. Sometimes, this is actually true. Other times, though, it takes much longer than that for the idea to come to fruition.

Here are some of the things your wedding stationer often does that you probably would never even know about:

Develop scar tissue for you.

This may sound a little extreme, but…it’s true. Over the years, I’ve developed numerous callouses and scars from deep exact-o knife and scissor cuts. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Spend countless hours searching for the perfect paper.

If you don’t spend day in and day out working with paper, you may not realize there are literally thousands of paper options to choose from (and don’t even get me started on which printing methods work best with which papers on top of that…). We spend countless hours making sure the paper texture and color we print your final design on is going to enhance the overall look and feel without being too overwhelming…and that your chosen printing method works well with the final paper choice. And then we find the perfect envelope to match that perfect paper. You can see how this starts to add up in the time department, right?

Become BFFs with the post office (or FedEx, or UPS…).

Ah, yes. The post office, FedEx, and UPS all know me by name now – and about my life. I get paper supply deliveries from UPS and FedEx on almost a daily basis, so it’s hard not to become friends with them. I also ship my packages through FedEx, so I’m constantly in the store. They have actually been known to call me on several occasions, and in fact, my husband has even run into them at a grocery store and he’s handed my husband my packages. The post office, on the other hand, probably can’t stand me. I’m constantly having to ask them if a specific invitation style needs extra postage, asking very specific questions about postage designs, and dropping off hundreds upon hundreds of envelopes to be mailed out.

Wash our hands constantly.

I am always so nervous that I’m going to get even the tiniest speck of dirt on a piece of paper I’m working with, so I wash my hands about a million times a day. If I leave my office just once and touch something that is not paper or ribbon, I will wash my hands. This also means my hands are forever dry and cracking…because the only time I can moisturize them is at night.

Spend embarrassingly too long trimming ribbon until it is just so.

Both sides of the ribbon must be exactly the same length. And then if I trim it too much and it’s too short altogether, I take it off and start all over. There’s a science to all this, I promise.

Spend hours comparing butter to marigold to sunflower to sunshine.

Because everyone knows those are completely different shades of yellow, right? Whether it’s a shade of pink, green, or blue you are looking for, we spend tons of time searching for that perfect shade that will balance your invitation suite and achieve the style you are going for.

Hand-fold every single envelope liner.

Believe it or not, envelope liners don’t come pre-folded, and they certainly don’t come already in the envelopes. Someone has to put the liners in your envelopes for you…that someone is more than likely your stationer. I couldn’t even tell you how many envelope liners I’ve assembled over the years. Oh, and if I can’t find an envelope liner printer who will print the exact color ink I want in my pattern, on the exact paper I want, in the exact size I need…I will create the envelope liners myself and hand-cut every single one of them before I assemble them in the envelopes. This is real life, y’all – and I absolutely love doing every single one of them!

Test out countless watercolor brushstrokes and colors until the perfect one is achieved.

That brushstroke or illustration or watercolor palette you see on your invitation? It didn’t happen in a matter of seconds. Most likely, it happened over a matter of hours or even days of practicing to get the correct color tone, brushstroke width, and texture. So even though it may look simple and quick to you, trust me, it took much longer than you probably think!

So tell me, are these a surprise to you?

Photo by Bamber Photography.
Styling by Sarah Ervin.

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The Importance of Wedding Invitations

June 24, 2015

Reasons Your Wedding Invitation Are Important

I read an article the other day claiming that wedding invitations aren’t really that important so not to worry about them and not to spend a lot of time and money on them. This, of course, made me cringe. Not only because it was written by a wedding planner, but because I disagreed with everything that was mentioned. While I don’t think you have to spend a lot of money on your invitations, I do think putting in the time to make sure they are an accurate reflection of your wedding day is important. Not to mention, if you don’t worry about them and end up sending them out late, who’s to say your guests are even going to be available to come? In a nutshell, your invitations are absolutely an important part of your wedding day.

Here are just a few of the reasons detailing the importance of wedding invitations:

You’ll cherish them for years to come – and so will your family

This past weekend, my in-laws came to visit and they brought my father-in-law’s parent’s wedding album with them. It was falling apart, the pages were yellowing, and pieces had come unglued. Which made it absolutely beautiful in my eyes.  In the back of the album was an original wedding invitation from their wedding in 1948. A hand-painted, layered invitation with gorgeous typesetting. No one had given a single thought to this little piece of paper for years and years, but the second it was found, memories were remembered and a sense of family history was solidified. While you may not look at an album containing your wedding invitation and stationery every single day, I guarantee you’ll cherish it when you do pull it out to take a look at it. And you’ll be so thankful it’s there.

They carry a little piece of your family history on them

Whether you’re having a traditional Irish wedding with Celtic symbols adorning your invitation, or a sweet Southern wedding with a monogrammed invitation, your stationery is likely to have bits and pieces of family history on them – even in the simplest of ways. Listing your parents names, a family church, an illustration of your grandma’s favorite flower, or even just a simple color palette inspired by your love of nature that began as a child. Each element of your invitation was carefully selected because of your family history and/or your preferences that were formed as you were raised by your family. You don’t throw away old family photos (in fact, you probably cherish them even more the older they get), so why would you throw away a wedding invitation that provides the exact same value?

They are the first glimpse of your wedding your guests get to see

Your wedding invitations are the very first visual aspect of your wedding that your guests will see. For such a special celebration that you’ll remember for the rest of your life (and your close family members probably will, too), why would you want to wait until the last minute to throw something together – knowing it’s the first glimpse of one of the most special days of your life? This is a perfect opportunity to show your guests how important this exchange of vows is to you, through a carefully selected invitation. (Note: careful selection does not have to mean expensive!)

They become beautiful keepsakes

Wedding invitations are absolutely beautiful when framed – either alone or with a favorite photo from your wedding day. My mom framed our wedding invitation as a gift for us, and it now stands on the wall directly in front of our bedroom, reminding us day in and day out of the promises we made to one another. I guarantee if you have your wedding invitation framed, it will be one of the items you are most careful with as you move homes throughout the years.

They are an extension of you as a couple

Not only are your invitations filled with family history, but they are also one of the first things you design and compromise on as a couple. You may want a traditional invitation with formal, black script text while your fiancé wants a less formal invitation with block text. You compromise by doing your names in a formal script and everything else in block text. This is a beautiful visual element of you as a couple.

They delight your guests instantaneously

Let’s be honest. Very few people get good snail mail anymore. Most often the mailbox is filled with junk mail and bills. Think about how excited you would be to receive a beautifully crafted envelope with a gorgeous invitation in it just for you – amongst the junk and bills. That’s what your guests will receive – and they will be instantaneously excited for you and your marriage vows.

They set expectations for your guests

Since your wedding invitations are the first glimpse into your celebration your guests will receive, this also means this is where expectations are set. If you send out an invitation that you clearly did not care about, and threw together at the last minute, your guests will feel like they don’t have to RSVP right away and may wonder if your celebration is even something worth attending for them. On the other hand, if you send them a carefully designed invitation that is clearly a blend of your and your fiancé’s personality and family history, they will be much more excited to celebrate with you – and the expectation will be set that your wedding day is so important to you.

Ready to get started on the wedding invitations of your dream? Be sure to ask your stationer these questions when you get started!

jean

First photo by Caroline Lima Photography

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Let Love Grow: Benefits of Fruit-Bearing Trees & Vines

June 18, 2015

Let Love Grow: Benefits of Fruit-Bearing Trees & VinesLet me be honest with you for a few minutes (I mean, I’m always honest with you, but you know what I mean). There was a time in my life when I did not have a green thumb. Like, at all. In fact it was probably more like a black thumb or a rotting thumb or a why-can’t-you-even-keep-a-cactus-alive thumb. (If this is you, there is hope! You can grow all sorts of things, I promise you!). So, in those days growing anything seemed far-fetched, much less vines and trees that get humongous.

Let me let you in on a little secret, though.

Fruit-bearing trees and vines are one of the easiest things you can grow, care for, and maintain. I promise you. Here are some benefits of fruit-bearing trees and vines, along with some tips on growing and caring for them:

They need little maintenance

As mentioned above, fruit-bearing trees and vines need very little maintenance once they start growing. When they are small, they will need a little TLC to ensure they thrive in your environment, but after that, they’re ready to leave the nest and grow on their own. For new, small trees, I highly recommend watering bags. You just secure them around the tree, zip them up, fill them with water, and the water will slowly release throughout the day. You should only fill the watering bag every 5-7 days, so once a week would be fine to check on it! That’s nothing compared to the water needed for smaller vegetable plants. As the trees start to get taller and stronger, you won’t even need the watering bags anymore.

They produce year after year

Fruit-bearing trees and vines will produce year after year without any care whatsoever. The first fruit-bearing plants I planted were a fig tree and a blueberry bush. The teeny tiny ones you get at the garden store in the little bags that fit right in your hand. That was years ago and they still produce every year without any sort of care at all. I water them occasionally when I water the garden, but only because I’m right there. They sit outside all winter long and as soon as spring weather returns, they begin producing gorgeous green leaves, and later fruit.

They provide shade

Most large fruit-bearing trees (think: apples, peaches, pears) provide wonderful shade for your home, which, in turn could lower your electricity bill!

They multiply all on their own

Fruits with lots of seeds in them, like the blackberries shown above, will multiple exponentially all on their own. If you have limited space, this might not be such a good thing, but if you have plenty of area for them to multiply (say, on the very edge of your yard or near a wooded area), they will continuously grow and produce for you. I have more blackberries than I know what to do with these days!

They’re versatile

Even if you grow more fruit than you know what to do with (which can happen if you plant a lot of trees and vines!), you have so many options for saving and preserving them. Obviously, you can eat them fresh, but you can also bake with them, freeze them, juice them, and make jam with them. All easy and great ideas for entertaining and gift-giving!

Before this year, I planted blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapes and figs. This year, I added peach trees, and pear trees, plum trees; and we have three apple trees on our property, too. Besides the watering bags, we’ve done nothing else to them and they are thriving already! If you have the space, I highly encourage you to try planting a fruit-bearing tree or vine and see just how easy the fruits of your labor produce (Is that a horribly lame pun?).

Interested in learning more about gardening? You can see all my gardening posts in one place here!

 

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What Every Engaged Couple Needs to Know That No One Ever Tells You

June 17, 2015

Things Engaged Couples Need to Know That No One Ever Tells You

Yay, you’re engaged! Now the fun part begins – planning one of the most special days of your life! That being said, make sure your fully prepared to plan your wedding celebration without any unexpected surprises or bumps in the road. Here are some things to take into consideration when you begin the planning process:

You May Question Your Sanity

It’s so, so easy to get overwhelmed when you first begin wedding planning. The thing is, before you even start, you probably think you know exactly what your dream wedding will look like. And then you see other ideas you never even thought about (uh, hello, Pinterest!). Or you realize that cake you thought was going to be the easiest cake in the world to get made is actually way, way, way outside your cake budget (I don’t know from experience or anything…). Wait, did you just say cake budget? I need a budget for my cake? All these questions and ideas can make you feel certifiably insane. I’m here to tell you, friends, it will come together beautifully! And you will love every single minute of your wedding day, regardless of what cake you choose or what your centerpieces look like, because you’re marrying your best friend, and what can be better than that?

Set Up a Separate Email Account

This tip was actually brought up to me be a sweet client of mine who is tying the knot in just a few weeks. And it makes total sense to me! When you first get engaged, you’re so excited to sign up for e-newsletters and websites and may even contact several vendors before settling on your favorites. Having a separate email account will help you keep all wedding-related items of business separate from your personal or professional email account so everything you need is in one place and you aren’t overwhelmed with random wedding emails twelve times an hour. And how fun is it to tell your vendors your email address is jenandbengethitched@yahoo.com?!

Do Your Research Before Planning Your Budget

More than likely, you haven’t planned a wedding anytime in the last year or two, right? So, it’s pretty safe to say you might be a little clueless when it comes to expenses involved. I recommend pricing a wedding based on what you really want – the dream venue, the dream flowers, the dream dress. If that’s within a realistic budget for you, than that’s great! Your budget is all set! If it’s way outside of what your ideal budget is, you can start choosing the items that are most important to you. For instance, your dream flowers may be double what your flower budget should realistically be. There’s no right or wrong way to outline your budget, so pick and choose what’s the most important to you. And if you need help with your budget, I’m your girl – learn more here!

You Really, Really, Really Want to Consider a Wedding Planner or Stylist

If you and your fiancé both work full-time, it’s safe to say you may want someone in your corner helping you along the way. Wedding planners and stylists have relationships with tons of vendors and can help ensure your dream wedding comes to life. They also have the ability to talk to these vendors during the day (because, well, that’s their job!), whereas you may have to take time off work just to meet with vendors. The best part? A lot of planners and stylists will let you be involved as much or as little as you’d like. Lastly, a wedding planner, stylist, or coordinator will also set everything up for you the day of the wedding so you can relax and know your event is in good hands.

You’ll Likely Have a Lull in Planning

Unless you have a really, really short engagement, there will likely be a period of time when it seems like there’s a lull in the planning process. You’ve ordered your invitations, you’ve picked out your dress and flowers and cake, you’ve secured a venue…now what? When you get the larger parts of planning done, the smaller details don’t take up as much time so it can seem like there’s a lull. If you’ve planned properly, this is normal and that means the big things are covered! Yay!

The Season May Affect Your Budget

There are several ways the season can affect your budget. Many venues (and vendors) are not busy in the winter, so often offer lower rates than the busy “wedding seasons” of spring and fall. At the same time, if you want a winter wedding with a bouquet full of out-of-season flowers, you’re going to end up paying a pretty penny for florals. Being mindful of the details you want will help you choose the most cost-effective season for yourself.

Factor Tipping into Your Budget

One part of the budget many couples often overlook is tipping vendors the evening of the wedding. Depending on the overall budget of your event, tipping can end up costing upwards of $1,000 after all is said in done. If you factor tips into your overall initial budget, you won’t have any surprises the day of your wedding! This is a really great guide to tipping your wedding vendors.

You may also want to check out these 10 questions to ask your wedding stationer, many of which are great questions to ask other wedding vendors!

What else would you add to this list that couples often overlook?

Photo courtesy of Caroline Lima Photography

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Let Love Grow: Vegetable Gardening Tips

June 8, 2015

Vegetable Gardening Tips
Although I absolutely adore growing my own cut flowers and playing with them, I have to admit vegetable gardening is my first true (gardening) love. My husband and I decided to do our very first vegetable garden together right after we got married and we have both been hooked every since, expanding our garden more and more with each passing year.

Last year, we also had our very first fall garden and it was a huge success for us. While I know I don’t have all the answers when it comes to gardening (I’m certainly not a pro!), I do know what does and doesn’t work for us and our little garden!

Here are a few vegetable gardening tips we try to keep in mind when we notice our garden isn’t performing as well as we’d like it to.

A little TLC goes a long way

You certainly don’t need to check up on your garden multiple times a day – or even once a day! But checking in a few times a week will help keep weeds and pests at bay and ensure your garden is getting plenty of nutrients and water. If you plan to pull weeds, get rid of rotting vegetables and leaves, and water your garden a few times a week, for just a few minutes each time, you’ll likely have more success with a lush garden full of vegetables come midsummer!

Follow your instincts

Pay attention to the overall look and feel when you check on your garden. Does something not “feel” right? Take a closer look and make sure there are no holes in the soil that could be new homes for rodents. Does one plant seem to be struggling to stay alive? Determine whether it’s because it’s too shaded (potentially from other larger plants that are blocking the sun), not getting enough water (is the soil around it too dry?), getting too much water (do the roots and/or bottom stems seem very wet and fragile?), not getting enough nutrients (are weeds growing around the source of that plant?), or maybe just a plant that struggled to survive! Once you’re able to get to the root of the problem (ahem, no pun intended…), you’ll know how to best help the plant survive and hopefully thrive!

Get familiar with the vegetables you’re planting and how they grow

Before you plant too many vegetables, make sure you’re familiar with how they’ll grow. They may seem very small now, but believe me, in a month or two they are going to be huge! Keep this in mind when planting. For instance, tomato plants will likely need to be staked, so make sure your prepared to stake them properly. You’ll also want to make sure the large, staked tomato plants won’t be blocking the sun for other plants down the road. If you’re planting crawlers (like squash, cucumbers, or pumpkins), I know they look very small and easy to manage right now, but make sure they have plenty of room to crawl once they start to grow. This also means you’ll want to make sure there are no plants in the area where they will be crawling. As they grow, you can “train” them to crawl in a certain area with a little bit of care and help, so if you plant around one side of them, you can train them to crawl the other way. If you’re planting broccoli or kale, or other leafy greens,  make sure there’s a large enough circle around them that they won’t block other plants from the sun and water.

Mix it up with flowers

It’s a great idea to mix up your vegetable garden with a few flowers – either in the bed itself or in surrounding areas in the soil or pots. Flowers are great for attracting bees, which will help pollinate many of your vegetables. Chrysanthemums, dahlias, sunflowers, and marigolds are great for repelling insects and will hopefully keep pests at bay on your plant leaves. You may also want to consider mixing herbs in your vegetable garden as well. Many herbs, like lavender and basil, will also help guard against flies and bugs.

Water in the early morning

If possible, try to water your garden before it gets too hot in the morning. This will help ensure your plants receive most of the water before it evaporates off from the sun. If mornings are difficult, you can also water them after the sun sets in that area. The idea here is just to make sure your plants are getting all the water – not the air.

Frost might make your vegetables taste better

Many leafy greens really enjoy the colder temperatures, and actually end up tasting better after a frost has covered them. This is not to say they won’t be wonderful to grow in the summer, but it may be a good option for testing out a fall garden full of bright leafy greens! Try them out both in a spring/summer garden as well as a fall garden when frost will be hitting them and see which one you prefer!

Haven’t quite started your garden yet? Here are my previous posts about getting your garden started!

 

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Let Love Grow: Creating a Gardening Routine

June 1, 2015

Creating a Gardening Routine

Last week, in my gardening series, I talked about how the basics of how to get started with your garden. And that’s all fine and well…if you put in a little bit of time to maintain your garden as it begins to grow. Without giving it a little TLC, it will probably end up being a dried up bed of brown leaves, mushy vegetables or flowers that never grew, and weeds.

Getting in a gardening routine doesn’t have to be very time consuming, though. Once you set a timeline that works well with your schedule, it’s much easier to manage your garden, and for the time you spend in your garden to be relaxing and fulfilling!

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your own personal gardening routine:

Set aside time to water your garden several times a week

You want to ensure your garden is getting plenty of water, so if your area is prone to dry spells in the summer, you’ll likely need to do most of the watering yourself. I, personally, am in a location that gets very hot in the summer and doesn’t get enough rain, so I set my timer on my hose to run for a few minutes before sunrise and again a few minutes after sunset. It’s best to water at the least hot time of the day so the water doesn’t quickly evaporate. If you are able to get an inexpensive timer at your local hardware or gardening shop, I personally think that’s the best route to take because you don’t have to worry about doing any of the watering! If not, set aside a few minutes each morning and/or evening to water your garden. You’ll be surprised how relaxing it can become, and how much you enjoy it! In fact, there are many days where I remove my hose from the timer and water everything myself just because I enjoy it.

Keep an eye on pests and weeds

You’ll want to keep an eye out for pests and weeds as your vegetables or flowers begin to grow, so you can stay on top of managing them before they take over your garden and kill all the plants you put so much hard work into planting. When you see weeds starting to sprout up, try and remove them immediately so they don’t suck up nutrients from the soil that should be going to your vegetables and flowers. If you catch them early, weeds are very easy to remove by the root and don’t require any tools besides your hands. For pests, you may begin to notice insects crawling on the leaves or even see tiny holes in the leaves where pests have gnawed through. There are several ways to combat pests, depending on the type of plant they are interested in. Anything from eggshells to planting flowers they resist to essential oils will help keep pests away. Once you’ve determined the type of pest, you can do a little more digging into the best remedy to get rid of them. And pests don’t go away after your vegetables have grown and are ready for harvesting! Many larger animals will be more than happy to pluck off of your fruit and vegetable plants. The best remedy I’ve found for more mature plants is either netting over top of them, if they are small enough plants, or large, plastic snakes and owls sitting near your plant in question. Quickly check your plants for pests and weeds 1-2 times a week, and you’ll be in good shape!

Pruning

You won’t need to do hardly any pruning when your plants are very small, but as they start to grow, you’ll want to stay on top of keeping them in shape. For vegetables, remove any dead leaves and edibles that are overripe or decaying. This is also a good time to make sure all plants are getting plenty of sun and their vines or leaves aren’t overlapping another plant, preventing it from getting enough sunlight and water. For flowers, remove spent flowers and leaves to encourage more blooms. For large trees and bushes, the best time to shape them and cut them back is after they have bloomed and the blooms have fallen off. I know it seems counterproductive to cut them back, but believe me, they will grow back much more lush and full!

Harvesting

As your vegetables and flowers begin to ripen, you’ll want to set aside time to harvest everything – the part of the process you’ve been waiting for for months! Depending on the size of your garden, you may need to harvest vegetables and flowers every day when they’ve matured. For smaller gardens, set aside time a couple of times a week to harvest all the fruits of your labor. Take a large basket or bucket with you, a pair of clippers, and clip all those ripe fruits, vegetables, and flowers! They’ll continue to grow as long as the climate stays ideal and they are getting enough water.

As you can see, your gardening routine may change over time as your plants mature. As long as your setting aside some “gardening time” several times a week, you’ll have plenty of time to make sure your plants are healthy and growing! If you have plants scattered throughout your yard, try to tend to all of your plants during your dedicated gardening time to ensure everything gets proper attention. Keep your gardening tools in a designated area so you never have to search for anything, and you’ll be set up for success.

Now I want to know – what is your gardening routine? Do you check your garden every day (like me!) or just a few times a week?

Photo courtesy of Live View Studios during a styled shoot I participated in at RiverOaks.

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Let Love Grow: Beginner Gardening Tips

May 22, 2015

Let Love Grow: Beginner's Guide to GardeningYOU GUYS. I’m so excited about this new series! Recently, my sweet, talented friend, Ashley Bush, gave me the brilliant idea to blog about gardening after she saw a photo I posted on Instagram. My initial reaction was, “No way! I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just learning as I go.”

But then I slept on it.

And when I woke up the next day and went outside to check my vegetable garden (which is literally one of my favorite parts of my day), I saw that it had grown exponentially within just a week and we have more food than we know what to do with from our tiny 8′ square garden.

And then I thought about how when I rebranded earlier this year with the amazing Kathryn Duckett of Creme Brandsso much of my brand was inspired by my love for history, gardening, and growing. Not just that, but a lot of the rebrand was also inspired by my grandmother, who was an avid gardener, and gardening is now one of my and my husband’s favorite things to do together. It’s not uncommon to find us spending a date night gardening together, and then concocting our own meal from what was available in the garden that day.

So really, putting all these things out into the universe prompted Ashley to mention the gardening blog series. Which comes full circle to exactly what I wanted my brand to speak, so really, it only seems fitting that I talk to you about my gardening experiences. And after that initial panic attack of “I am not a pro! I still make gardening mistakes!” I got excited to share this journey with you.

I’m going to tell you more about how I got started in gardening (because if you had asked me about gardening 6 or more years ago, I would have looked at you like you had two heads) in a later post, but today, for my first post in the Let Love Grow series, I want to share with you a few beginner gardening tips. Every single one of these is going to be based on personal preference, so you’ll need to think about each of them before making any quick decisions. You may even want to do a little more research to determine the best gardening plan for you.

Raised bed, in-ground, or container?

How you choose to plant your garden is going to depend on a few different factors. Your personal preference, what you plan on planting, and location all play a role in making this decision for you. A raised bed is going to be a more permanent garden, but offers a longer growing season than an in-ground garden because the soil stays warmer and drains better. On the other hand, an in-ground garden is less permanent and requires less work than building and preparing a raised bed. I found UGA to be really helpful in explaining the pros and cons of both in-ground and raised bed gardens. Container gardens are a great option if you live in a city, apartment, or have limited yard space to grow your own flowers and/or vegetables. Personally, I also think containers look really pretty (I’m a sucker for a unique planter or pot). My personal preference is to do a mixture of all three, depending on what I am planting and when.

What you’ll need

If you’re interested in creating your own raised bed, you’ll need a few extra tools. As a general rule of thumb, here are some tools you’ll want to create a raised bed:

  • 4-8 pieces of wood, either purchased or scraps
  • Weed mat
  • Wood screws
  • Planting soil and/or compost

Admittedly, my husband did most of the building of our 8′ square raised bed, so I’m not going to give you detailed instructions on that today (but I am going to bat my eyelashes and try to get him to compose a guest post on that for you!).

To get your garden started, regardless of which option (raised bed, in-ground, or container) you choose, you’ll want to consider having:

  • Planting soil and/or compost
  • Gardening toolkit, typically found at any gardening or hardware store
  • Garden clippers
  • Mesh netting
  • Hose and/or sprinkler
  • Watering can
  • Heavy-duty plastic snakes and/or owls (to keep birds and rodents out!)
  • Coffee grounds (sprinkle on acidic plants – they love it!)
  • Seedlings or seeds
  • A gardening notebook
  • Plant food (skip this if you want to go the organic route)
  • Stakes (for tall plants like tomatoes)

Choosing what to plant

Now that you’ve got your garden area all prepped, it’s time to decide what you want to plant! The obvious first question is, do you want flowers or vegetables? Or both? From there, it really comes down to personal choice and seasonality. It doesn’t make any sense to plant vegetables you would never eat, so you can just scratch those off the list. Once you’ve decided on what you’d like to plant, make sure it’s the right season for it. This will vary, depending on where you live, so you may need to do some quick research. Lastly, make sure you have enough room to plant what you’re interested in. If you’re confined to container gardening, planting a bunch of runner vegetables like cucumbers, squash and pumpkins really isn’t the best idea. Once you’ve got a plan, it’s time to get to planting! Be mindful of how much sun each plant requires, and you’re already set up for success.

Maintenance & care

You’ll want to make sure your plants get plenty of TLC when they first go into the ground. Sometimes going from their small pot into the ground can be a bit of a shock to them, so make sure they get plenty of water (without drowning them!). You’ll want to water them until you see water pool on top of the soil and then sink into the soil within about 10 seconds. If the water takes any longer than that to seep in, you likely have watered them too much. If the soil is bone dry, they definitely need to be getting watered more often. You’ll want the soil to have some dampness to it pretty much all the time. I try to water everything once very early in the morning before the heat of the day and again at sunset, for about 10 minutes each time. If you’re worried you’ll forget to water your plants, you can get an inexpensive timer from a hardware store, and attach it to your hose. Just set the time you want the water to turn on and off and you don’t have to think about it again! Be sure to pick weeds as soon as you notice them, otherwise the roots may start to take nutrients from the soil away from the plants that really need it. If you notice brown or dead leaves on anything, you can pinch them off so they aren’t sucking up nutrients unnecessarily. If you’re planting flowers, many times the dead ones can be pinched off to make sure new, healthy ones grow, but do a little research based on your particular flower variety first!

Harvesting

Harvesting is going to be different, depending on the type of vegetable or flower. Generally, you should be able to tell if they are ripe and ready for picking based on smell and appearance. Make sure you use your garden clippers to snip them instead of just pulling the vegetables or flowers with your hands alone so you don’t ruin the remainder of the plant, as it will continue to produce. Enjoy your homegrown vegetables and flowers!

Floral arrangement created by me during a class with Mindy Rice.
Photo credit: Caroline Lima for Bliss & Bespoke 2015.

 

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10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Stationer

May 15, 2015

10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Stationer

If you’re in the middle of planning a wedding, you probably understand it can seem like you’re doing everything blind. Who knew choosing a cake flavor could be so difficult? Or that you’re all the sudden supposed to be an expert at naming flowers?

I think it’s so important to make sure you are completely comfortable with your vendors before signing on any dotted line! The best way to get comfortable with your vendors is to ask get to know them, and ask them questions. Lots of them! Asking your vendors important questions before you sign a contract helps you to better understand the whole process and feel more at ease with what you’re signing for. It also helps you to make sure your vision for your dream wedding is something your vendors take seriously and, more importantly, is in-line with a style they are just as passionate about!

Here are 10 of the top questions you should ask your wedding stationer:

Do you sell custom designs or do I choose from a standard invitation line?

Your stationer may design each and every invitation suite specifically for that client, or they may just use a template that multiple couples can purchase. A custom design is going to be more personalized and incorporate more of the ideas you may have in mind, while a template is going to have limited choices.

What is your overall style as a designer?

This is really important for ensuring you and your stationer will mesh well together. If you have clashing styles, the process is going to be much more difficult for both of you. On the other hand, if you have similar styles, the process will be more enjoyable than you could have ever imagined!

Can you print items besides just the save the dates and invitations?

Your designer may also be able to design and print your menus, place cards, programs, thank you cards, and anything else you need for your big day! Not only will it save you the hassle of going to multiple vendors, but you may also save money going this route, too. And as an added bonus, working with the same designer throughout the process will ensure everything is cohesive.

How many proofs are included in the price?

Almost all stationers will put a cap on the number of proofs that are included in your price. This is done for a couple of different reasons – first, it is easy, as a bride (or groom!), to be indecisive if you’re not given a cap on the number of proofs. It’s in our nature to constantly want to change things if we’re given the opportunity. Secondly, your stationer puts in a lot of time creating proofs, so at a certain point they will likely begin charging for proofs. Make sure you fully understand how many proofs are included, and be aware when you start reaching that limit.

How much can I customize the wording? If I’m unsure of wording, are you able to help me figure out the best route to take?

Your wedding invitations are a very personal part of your celebration. You want to make sure you can customize it to say exactly what you want to say. If you’re having a very informal celebration, you don’t want to have extremely formal text on the invitation! On the other hand, if you’re not exactly sure of the best way to word your invitations for your style of event, you want to make sure your stationer has the knowledge to guide you through the process.

How long does the process take?

You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time to review your proofs (preferably with other family members, too!), have your stationer print and, if needed, assemble your order, and address and stamp each invitation. The process may depend on the style of invitation you’re interested in, so be sure to share that information with your stationer, too.

Once I’ve placed my order, will I be able to see a proof before the invitations are printed?

You may even want to be more specific, depending on your timeline, and ask for a hard-copy proof so you can see exactly how your invitation looks in person. This ensures that there are no surprises when your final order is printed and ready to be mailed out.

Do you assemble my order, or will I need to set aside time to assemble it myself?

If your invitation suite requires some assembly (envelope liners, ribbons, belly bands, and pocketfolds are just some examples), it’s important to know whether your designer will assemble it or if you need to schedule time to assemble them yourself. This will also affect the time frame of your order if you have to do this portion on your own.

Can you mail the invitations for me?

This is a great question if you’re really busy – whether with work, school, or wedding planning! You’ll want to know what is involved in the mailing process if they offer this service (what postage they will use, what fee is charged, how envelopes will be addressed, and what date the invitations will be mailed).

What happens if there’s a mistake in my order?

Whether it’s a mistake made by you or the stationer, you’ll want to know how those are handled for ease of mind just in case something goes awry.

These questions will certainly make you feel at ease with what your wedding stationery designer offers, but you can always ask more specific questions! The more comfortable you are with your stationer, the more enjoyable the process will be.

What other questions would you have for your stationery designer? Leave them in the comments, I’ll be glad to help answer them!

10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Stationer

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Tips for Managing an Endless Inbox

April 23, 2015

Tips for Managing an Endless Inbox

Ahh, the endless inbox. We all have them, don’t we? Whether you’re a wedding professional who is constantly receiving inquiries, spam, and opportunities for advertising or publication; or a bride who is receiving multiple messages, follow-ups, and questions from vendors about your big day, we all have out-of-control inboxes to tame.

Sometimes an overflowing inbox can seem incredibly daunting. You begin to wonder if you’ll ever be able to respond to all your messages or have a clean, organized inbox.

I’m here to tell you it is possible! You can stay on top of your ever-growing inbox – whether your a small business owner or a bride!

Here are my go-to tips for keeping my inbox clean, organized, and much less overwhelming:

  1. Schedule several times throughout the day to check-in with your inbox. I’ve talked to several small business owners who insist on only checking email first thing in the morning and again at the end of the day – that’s it. Personally, I would have an anxiety attack if I only checked my email twice a day. In the back of my mind, I would know my inbox was filling up and I wouldn’t have time to respond to all my messages at the end of the day – and ending the day with important, unanswered messages would really disrupt my sleep at night. So instead, I check in several times throughout the day. This is what a typical check-in schedule looks like for me:
    1. First thing in the morning – This is when I respond to urgent messages or messages that take very little thought to respond to (such as a quick yes or no answer). Usually, I’m only about half a cup of coffee in at this point, so trying to respond to anything else could end in disaster!
    2. Mid-morning – Ahh, now I’ve had a full cup of coffee (who am I kidding? I’ve had at least two) and can respond properly to important messages that require a little more thought than the early morning emails, but weren’t quite as urgent. This ensures those important messages get a proper response in less than 24 hours, but I give myself some time to process what needs to be addressed.
    3. Lunchtime – I generally check-in with my inbox around lunchtime to see what new messages have arrived, and begin to chip away at emails that arrived in the morning, but weren’t time-sensitive. By lunchtime, I’m in my groove, so I don’t need quite as much brain power as I did first thing in the morning. This is also a great time to respond to emails that came in throughout the morning, but only need a quick response. It’s also a great time for me to touch-base and follow-up with current and potential clients.
    4. Mid-afternoon – This check-in schedule is a hybrid of the mid-morning and lunchtime schedule. I do a basic check-in to see what’s come in, follow-up with clients who may have responded to proofs, and take care of administrative items for the day so I don’t have to worry about using too much of my brain at the very end of the day when I’m hungry and tired.
    5. End of day – This is the last check-in I’ll do for the day. This is generally my time to “close out” the business day. I’ll respond to any straggling messages that were sent throughout the day and follow-up with current and potential clients as needed. This is the time I really try to make sure I’ve responded to all important and time-sensitive messages.
  2. Keep organized folders, filters, and labels for your messages. Whether you use Gmail, a mail app (such as Airmail or Postbox), or your web server, take some time to set up organized folders for your messages. It will take a bit f time to set up initially, but will be worth it in the long run. If you use Gmail, I highly recommend setting up labels. If you’re a small business owner, you could set up labels based on client project or vendor type. If you’re a bride, you could set up labels for each vendor. When you use labels in Gmail, each message that comes in with a specific subject or from a specific email address will be color-coded so you know exactly who it’s from and/or what the subject is without even having to read it. This helps you decide automatically if the email needs a response right away or if it can wait a few hours. Similarly, if you’re using a mail app, you can set up folders and filters so the emails go directly into their designated area.
  3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. If you have a busy week, or just have an influx of messages coming in, make sure to prioritize them. Urgent and time-sensitive messages should be taken care of immediately. Once you’ve responded to those, prioritize messages based on importance. Obviously, all of them are important, but some of them may have a larger window of time to respond to, while others may not. You’ll know which ones need to be responded to before others. If you’re not able to get to some of the messages with a larger timeframe in a given day, put it on your morning list of responses for the following day.
  4. Focus on one email account or subject at a time. I have three email accounts – a personal, professional, and blog email. Sometimes, if I’m really in a pinch, I will view all accounts at once so I can quickly sift through and see what needs a response. Most of the time, though, it’s better for me to focus on one of them at a time. Personal emails obviously don’t get seen as much because they likely aren’t quite as important (and anyone who has my personal email also has my professional email, too). Even if you only have one email address, try to focus on one specific subject at a given time. For instance, if you’re a wedding vendor sending an email to a specific client, go ahead and respond to all emails regarding that specific client since you’re brain is already focused on that event. Skipping around could end up costing you time because your brain has to adjust to focusing on a new project or thought process over and over.
  5. Set aside a time when you know you aren’t typically busy to draft email responses. I’m going to let you in on one of my email and workday-scheduling secrets. I specifically end my week early on Fridays because I know I’m going to spend a couple of hours on Sunday evenings drafting responses to emails. You’re probably wondering why in the world I would do this. Well, for several reasons. First, if an email comes in Friday afternoon, they likely aren’t expecting a response until Monday, anyway. Second, I am much more focused on Sunday evenings than I am on late Friday afternoons. On Friday afternoon, my mind is wandering off to what I’ll be doing over the weekend, not focusing on drafting a well-thought-out response. On Sunday evenings, my brain has adjusted to focusing on the week ahead and what needs to get done, so it’s a much better time for me to schedule responses to emails to go out on Monday morning. (BONUS: This is also the time I create a rough schedule of what my week will look like).
  6. Keep to-do tasks marked as “unread.” This one is a matter of personal preference. It drives my husband crazy when he sees a constant inbox with unread messages. For me, though, it serves as a to-do list. Messages that have not been filed or marked as read yet remind me that I owe that person a response or proof.
  7. Maintain a file of templates to use for general inquiries and emails. I put off doing this for a long, long time, but it really has helped with time management! The main reason I put off creating templates to use for emails was because I was worried my responses would look canned and uninviting. The last thing I want to do is draft a response that puts someone to sleep and makes them feel unimportant! After careful editing and consideration, I was able to draft a few responses that are warm, friendly, and still require a little work on my end to ensure the recipient feels important (because they are!). Each template has the basic information, with areas for me to plug in information such as names, dates, and ideas. Some great response templates to create include:
    • Responding to a potential client
    • Sending estimates and invoices
    • Following up with a potential client
    • Next steps in the design and proofing process

There you have it! Whew, that seems like a lot of information, but I promise once you develop a system, it becomes like second nature! I recommend taking some time to set up templates, labels/folders, and a go-to check-in schedule. In the long run, it will save you so much more time!

What tips do you have for managing your inbox?

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3 Sticky Guest List Situations (and How to Handle Them!)

April 21, 2015

3 Sticky Guest List Situations

One of the biggest concerns I see my clients run into when planning their wedding celebration is problems with their guest list. You’re planning one of the most special days of your life, the last thing you want to worry about is offending one of your guests, right?

Here are a few of the most common sticky guest list situations and how to handle them with grace and kindness:

  1. You’ve exceeded your guest list, and now need to downsize. Start off by beginning a final, master guest list with the guests you know will be invited. This includes bridal party attendants and close family. Add very close friends who you see often, until you get to your max guest list count. As a rule of thumb, it’s perfectly acceptable to cut guests from the list who you haven’t seen in a couple of years (like that college roommate you were really, really close with in college, but haven’t seen since then). If you’re worried about friends getting offended they didn’t make the cut, you may approach them prior to sending out invitations to let them know you and your fiancé have decided to have a smaller celebration than originally anticipated and you hope they’ll understand. As an alternative, you may choose to have a small, inexpensive barbecue after the wedding day festivities to celebrate with your friends in order to reserve your wedding day ceremony and reception for close family and friends.
  2. A friend asks to bring her new boyfriend and you weren’t planning on inviting him. In this case, it’s best to be open and honest with your friendInform her that due to venue and budget limitations, you and your fiancé have decided not to allow guests to bring a plus one. Keeping a hard, clear line in your guest list (i.e guests are only allowed a plus one if they are married or living together) will make this situation easier to explain to friends who may ask about bringing their new fling.
  3. A friend asks to bring her toddler, but you really don’t want children under the age of 10 at your celebration. Just like #1 above, be open and honest with your friend. Tell her you and your fiancé have decided not to allow children under the age of 10 at the reception so that all guests can enjoy the celebration together. Remind her how excited you are for her to come and you hope she’ll be able to find a babysitter so she can attend the festivities.

Bottom line: stick to your guns when it comes to your guest list – this is your celebration, and it’s most important for you to spend it with those who mean most to you, while not exceeding your budget or upsetting your venue.

Keeping clear, hard lines in your guest list helps manage your list, too, while giving you easy, honest explanations for those who may get offended by your choices. For instance, if you don’t want any guests to bring children or plus ones, don’t allow any exceptions, so as not to offend other invitees.

Lastly, as a preventative measure, be sure to word your response card and invitation clearly for your guests. Traditionally, guests who are invited will be clearly listed on the invitation envelope. Additionally, you may choose to include a line on your response card that reads, “We have reserved ___ seats in your honor” to make it as clear as possible who and how many guests are invited without having to engage in an awkward conversation that may potentially offend your guests.

For more invitation and response card wording options, head over to the Mega Guide to Invitation Wording.

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Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation

April 16, 2015

So you know those days where a lightbulb goes off? And you realize you have this brilliant idea that’s been stuck in the far corner of your brain, behind a lot of clutter and to-do lists and everyday tasks for a really long time? And when that brilliant idea finally comes to fruition, you feel sort of silly for not pulling it out sooner? Yeah. This is one of those for me.

Because I’m immersed in the wedding industry and piles of pretty paper and envelopes and invitation loveliness day in and day out, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows the ins and outs of wedding stationery. I finally realized it a couple of weeks ago when I was speaking to a client-friend of mine and started listing off products she might be interested in. She stopped me and said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

And why would she?! If you’re not immersed in paper and invitation wording and wedding ideas all day every day, it may all sound like complete gibberish to you when someone asks you if you need to include a map. (“A map? Like…a paper map, not an app?”).

So today, I am sharing with you the basic anatomy of a wedding invitation suite. Depending on the style, formality, and location of your wedding celebration, you may need more or less pieces, so your final suite may look a bit different.

Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation Infographic

Invitation.  This is the most obvious portion of your invitation suite. This card gives your guests all the vital information about your celebration – names, date, location, and time. If you’ve included all those bits of information, you’ve already won the day…just be sure to include an envelope, too.

Response card. With modern-day weddings, these are still included more often than not, but there are occasions where they may not be needed. Traditionally, though, you’ll want to include a response card with an addressed, stamped envelope (or a stamped postcard). Your response card should list a date you need your response cards returned to you – we all know how easy it is to forget things when we aren’t given a hard deadline. Depending on your celebration, you may also ask your guests to choose a meal for the reception.

Enclosure. This may or may not need to be included, and can be used for a variety of information. This card is most often used for directions or accommodations – any pertinent information you think your guests need to know about the event can go here.

Reception card. This may double as your enclosure card. If your reception is in a different location than your ceremony, you’ll want to include the location and time on this separate card.

Bellyband. This is an added item that is used for decorative purposes when you have several cards you’d like to keep all tidy together. It may be a solid color, a pretty pattern, or custom-printed with your names or other fun, decorative text. A ribbon may also be used in place of a bellyband, depending on your preference.

Envelope liner. An envelope liner is another decorative piece that is attached to the inside of your envelope. It’s a great way to add personality to your suite, or to add a layer of thickness to a formal invitation or transparent envelope. These can be used on your invitation and/or your response card envelopes. Personally, I think everyone needs more envelope liners in their life.

Map. If your venue is difficult or confusing to find, sometimes even an app can’t help, so you may want to include a map to direct your guests exactly where they need to be. This is also a great way to personalize your suite – you can get creative and use the map to point out some of your favorite restaurants, bars, and hotels in the area if many of your guests are traveling from out of town.

Website card. A lot of times, this information can be included on your enclosure card if space allows, but if you have a lot of information to tell your guests and it won’t fit there, you may want to include a separate, smaller card that directs them to your website. Your website may have more detailed information that can’t always be included on a single enclosure card.

There you have it! The basic anatomy of an invitation suite…with a few extras thrown in for good measure. Now that you know exactly what pieces you need for your invitation suite, you can decide what wording options work best for your celebration!

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3 Wedding Invitation Etiquette Myths Debunked

April 15, 2015

3 Myths About Wedding Invitation EtiquetteAsk almost any engaged couple out there, and they’ll likely tell you the invitation process seems like a daunting task. What traditions are necessary to follow, if any? Do you need to include certain elements? What in the world sort of printing method are you drawn to? It can prove to be an exhausting process, that’s for sure! So today I am debunking three wedding invitation etiquette myths to help make the process just a bit easier! After all, this should be an exciting, fun time for you!

Myth

You need to include tissue paper in your invitation suites to separate the invitation from the other elements.

Truth

Tissue paper was originally used in wedding invitations so the ink wouldn’t bleed onto the other enclosure cards included in the suite. With modern printers, ink bleeding and smudging is no longer an issue, so tissue paper is not needed.

Myth

An inner and an outer envelope are needed for your invitation suite.

Truth

At one time, an inner envelope was used so that, once removed, the inner envelope remained nice and clean even though the outer envelope may be bent and/or smudged from mailing. This isn’t much of an issue anymore with the modern postal service machines, however, inner and outer envelopes are still occasionally used to specify exactly who is invited. For instance, if you are inviting an entire family, the outer envelope may read “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” while the inner envelope may read “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, Elizabeth and Mary”. Alternatively, you may specify exactly who is invited on the outer envelope, completely eliminating the need for an inner envelope altogether. If you are having a very formal or traditional wedding, you may want to include both envelopes for tradition’s sake.

Myth

You should follow traditional guidelines for wording used on your invitations.

Truth

While it is customary to keep your wording formal and/or traditional if you plan on having a more traditional celebration, it is not typically necessary to follow this tradition. Just like every other aspect of your wedding, your invitations should be personalized and representative of you and your significant other. Get creative here! One thing’s for sure, though – just make absolute certain you’ve included the date, time, and where you’ll be tying the knot.

What other burning invitation etiquette questions do you have?
Let me know in the comments!

 

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Involving Your Groom in Wedding Planning

August 3, 2014

Involving Your Groom in Wedding Planning

Let’s face it. You’ve been dreaming about your wedding day for a long time, and you want it to be perfect, right? So it’s not uncommon to immediately begin hashing out the details, either with your bridal party and family or a wedding planner, and making those dreams come true.

But wait.

Have you forgotten about your groom? Have you involved him in the wedding planning?

Chances are, you assumed he didn’t care as much about the details as you do. And that may be true, but he may also want to be involved, simply for the fact that it’s an opportunity to build a dream with you. This is a special day in both of your lives and it’s important for you both to feel as if you’re getting the wedding of your dreams.

Remember, your wedding is probably the first major compromise you will have to make with your spouse. You may want different things for your wedding day, and it’s important to communicate these ideas and be on the same page, as a team.

Here are just a few tips for handing over the reins for some of your wedding planning projects to your groom:

  1. Involve him in meetings with your wedding planner. This is one of the easiest and best ways to involve your groom with the wedding planning and make sure his ideas get heard just as much as yours. If both parties express their ideas and dreams for their big day to the wedding planner, your planner will be able to help you design a beautiful wedding that incorporates aspects of what you both want.
  2. Have bi-weekly progress dates. A couple of times a week (maybe more as the wedding date gets closer), plan a date with your significant other to discuss where the wedding planning process is and make sure both of your ideas are being incorporated. It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend the evening enjoying your engagement and going over the details that have already been established!
  3. Keep a running list. Keep a running list of things you want included in your wedding day. At first, you’ll have separate lists, that may be fairly long! Once you’ve established your initial lists, you can discuss the items that you feel must be factored into the wedding (things like ceremony rituals, involving family, etc.) and things you want to be factored into the wedding. Then combine your lists to make one list – the “musts” being at the top and the “wants” being at the bottom. Make sure your musts are covered before you move onto the wants.
  4. Split up the responsibilities. If you have several vendors to call within a week, split the list in half and each of you call half the vendors. Even if you’ve already decided on how the conversation will go with that vendor, you’ll both feel more involved with the whole process.
  5. Remember this is about your life together. If you find yourself taking over more than your fair share of the responsibilities and design of the wedding, take a step back and remember this is about the two of you being together. That alone will remind you to step back and realize that, in the end, this is about your marriage together, and having a beautiful, heartfelt wedding is something both of you want.

What tips do you have for involving your groom in the wedding planning process?

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The Mega Guide to Wedding Invitation Wording

March 20, 2014

The Mega Guide to Wedding Invitation Wording

It’s no secret that coming up with the proper wedding invitation wording, erring on the side of traditional etiquette, but still infusing your personality, can cause a headache for even the most laid-back couple.

While these rules are certainly not set in stone,this provides you with a strong backbone for beginning your wedding invitations. If you’re in doubt about your wording at all, just ask your stationer, they will likely have the answers for even the toughest wording etiquette questions!

So get cozy – you’ll want to grab a cup of coffee and a comfy chair – this is going to be a long one!

General Etiquette Tips for Wedding Invitation Wording:

  1. The hosts of the event should be named on your invitations.
  2. If there are two sets of hosts, or the bride’s parents are divorced, each host should be on its own line.
  3. Do not include registry information on any portion of your invitation suite.
  4. If you are having a formal wedding, dates and times should be spelled out. For informal events, this is not always necessary.
  5. Punctuation at the end of a line is unnecessary if the next phrase of text is on it’s own line.
  6. “The honor of your presence….” should only be used if your ceremony takes place in a church or house of worship.
  7. The bride’s last name is not necessary to include if her parents are listed on the invitation, and she has the same last name as her parents.
  8. The state in the location should be spelled out. A zip code and address are not necessary.
  9. It is not necessary to include a dress code.
  10. When in doubt, stick with traditional wording.

And now for the mega list of invitation wording:

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Married Parents Hosting (Ceremony in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
St. John’s Catholic Church
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Married Parents Hosting (Ceremony not in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Tuckahoe Plantation
Goochland, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Divorced Parents Hosting (Ceremony in a church)

Mr. John Smith
and
Ms. Melinda Davis
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane Smith
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
St. John’s Catholic Church
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Divorced Parents Hosting (Ceremony not in a church)

Mr. John Smith
and
Ms. Melinda Davis
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Tuckahoe Plantation
Goochland, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Divorced & Remarried Parents Hosting (Ceremony not in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Tuckahoe Plantation
Goochland, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride & Groom’s Married Parents Hosting (Ceremony in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Taylor
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Mary Jane
to
Matthew Ryan
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
St. John’s Catholic Church
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride & Groom’s Married Parents Hosting (Ceremony not in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Taylor
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Mary Jane
to
Matthew Ryan
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Tuckahoe Plantation
Goochland, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Parents Hosting, Groom’s Parents Recognized (Ceremony in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
St. John’s Catholic Church
Goochland, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride’s Parents Hosting, Groom’s Parents Recognized (Ceremony not in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane
to
Mr. Matthew Ryan Taylor
son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Groom’s Parents Hosting (Ceremony in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of
Mary Jane Smith
to
Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Central Baptist Church
Midlothian, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Groom’s Parents Hosting (Ceremony not in a church)

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of
Mary Jane Smith
to
Matthew Ryan Taylor
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Families of the Bride and Groom Hosting Along with Bride and Groom (Ceremony in a church)

Together with their families
Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Central Baptist Church
Midlothian, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Families of the Bride and Groom Hosting Along with Bride and Groom (Ceremony not in a church)

Together with their families
Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride and Groom Hosting (Ceremony in a church)

Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Central Baptist Church
Richmond, Virginia

Formal Wedding, Bride and Groom Hosting (Ceremony not in a church)

Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Richmond, Virginia

Contemporary Wording Suggestions (use etiquette rules applied above and…)

Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
invite you to celebrate their marriage
Saturday, the fifth of December
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Richmond, Virginia

———–

Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
invite you to sail away with us
as we join hands in marriage along the sea
Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Milepost 5
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

———–

Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
are tying the knot!
Please join  them at a seaside ceremony
Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Milepost 5
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

———–

[Insert a favorite quote here]
Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
invite you to join them
at their wedding celebration
Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Milepost 5
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

———–

Mary Jane Smith
and
Matthew Ryan Taylor
invite you to a weekend of love and laughter
as they join hands in marriage
Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand fifteen
at five o’clock
Milepost 5
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

RSVP Card Due Date Wording Recommendations:

  • The favor of your reply is requested by (date)
  • Kindly reply by (date)
  • The favor of your response is requested by (date)
  • Please say you’ll join us by (date)

RSVP Card Yes/No Wording Recommendations:

  • Graciously accepts/Regretfully declines
  • Accepts with pleasure/Declines with regret
  • Can’t wait to celebrate!/Will be there in spirit.
  • Will be there/Will toast from afar
  • Can’t wait!/Can’t make it.

RSVP Card Tips:

  • You may include a line such as, “We have reserved ____ seats in your honor”.
  • Include meal options if your caterer needs these ahead of time. You may do this in the form of illustrations of words – things like, chicken, beef, and vegetarian are acceptable.
  • If you’re not having a traditional event and are worried your guests will not know what the “M______________” is for, you may instead use, “Name(s)____________”.
  • You may include a section for guests to request a song, write a piece of advice, or share a special memory with you.

Additional Enclosure Cards to Consider:

  • Directions cards/maps
  • Accommodations
  • Weekend activities
  • Website link and resources

Whew! Got questions? I’ve got answers! Did I miss something here? Still unsure about your specific situation? Leave questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them for you!

Photography: Ivona Dixon

Education

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