By Melissa Martin

Wedding Welcome Gifts Guests Will Love

No matter what, the people that surround you on your wedding day are the most important part of the day. Some come from only a few minutes down the road, some travel in for hours via car, and some will even have to take quite a long flight to come see you tie the knot. Ensuring they are comfortable and taken care of when they arrive at the hotel is a must! We have put together some ideas for wedding welcome gifts your guests will swoon over!

DIYing your own welcome bags chock full of goodies will be easy if you follow these steps.

beach wedding guest welcome bagStep One: Think About Your Theme

The way you decide to present your wedding welcome gifts is really up to you, but you can make it easier on yourself by thinking about the “feel” of your wedding. If you’re getting married on the beach, go with a more sun and ocean feel; if you’re hiking out on a trail to your ceremony spot, go with something useful for that setting.

You can go the practical route with the welcome bag: food, bottles of water, aspirin for the potential hangover or car-induced headache, or you can venture into a more creative realm by including items from the local area or items to be featured in the wedding.

wedding guest welcome bagStep Two: Pick The Vessel

There is no written rule anywhere saying you have to pick a box or paper bag for your welcome items! When we give our couples ideas, it’s always nice to think local: who do you know locally that could make a container to represent your style wedding? Or use a seller on Etsy who hand makes items. It’s always good to support small business!

  • Check with a local printer to see if they can custom print a bag with your names on it. Better yet, get a wedding logo made to represent your unique style as a couple!

  • If multiple guests are staying in a suite or a room block, look into who locally sells baskets or woven bags so you can do less of them, but stuff them more fully! A woven fiber basket or bag that is reusable is ideal for wedding guests.

Having a garden-themed wedding? Go with a cute little watering pail or a galvanized bucket!

wedding guest welcome boxStep Three: Select the Goods

Just as we were stating above, your wedding welcome gifts should be helpful and fun! Here are some items we recommend for any wedding:

  • bottles of water
  • gum or mints
  • sunscreen/bugspray if having an outdoor wedding
  • mini bottles of champagne
  • an itinerary for any necessary to-dos (rehearsal dinner, shuttle runs, etc)
  • a thank you/welcome noteYou really can get creative with what you include! Here are some unique items you can add on:
  • We haven’t met a wedding guest yet that isn’t fond of food. Check the local orchards for some fresh fruit that is in season, or if it is winter, purchase some small jars of their local honey or jam.
  • If you’re having a bunch of out-of-town guests, helping them navigate their way around is crucial. If you’re a local to where you’ll be getting married, create a list of must-do things for your friends and family. And if you’re not a local, don’t sweat it; the hotel concierge should be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Practical is always a winner, too. No one wants to think it will rain on their wedding day, but if it looks like it might be a downpour, invest in a few clear ponchos for guests or a few umbrellas would be worth the money!

Make it easy on yourself, and have your bridal party help with the stuffing of the bags.

Your wedding welcome gifts help to set the tone of the weekend. Go as formal or as casual as you would like because the wedding is about you! If you need suggestions, our team is always happy to help. We work with many small businesses in and around the local Lancaster, PA area we are happy to support!

 

Duty Calls: The Responsibility of Groomsmen Before and On the Wedding Day

groomsmen wedding

Photo: PhotOle Photography

We’re willing to make a bet that you’re not enlisting your bridal party the same exact day you get engaged. Believe it or not, selecting the bridal party can be a point of stress for couples. While you know and trust your partner, you may not be sure about who he is thinking of having stand by him on that day. Or maybe you are, and his groomsmen selection has you a little worried…

Groomsmen can really make or break a wedding – “bad behavior” during photographs can put you behind schedule, and a little too much Jack Daniels before a ceremony can cause some major headaches (to say the least) – this goes for bridesmaids as well!

To help your groom out and also calm your nerves, this list goes over what the groomsmen are responsible for before and during the wedding. Feel free to cut the top of this blog post off and hand it out so everyone is on the same page!

GROOMSMEN… WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

groomsmen Ryan Merriman wedding

These groomsmen backed up the groom while serenading the bride! Photo: Jeff Benzon Photography

BEFORE THE BIG DAY

Lock Down Your Attire: Like your counterparts, the bridesmaids, you’ll have to shell out some money for your wedding attire. Be sure to take the time to get a proper fitting – a good-looking suit is worth the money and time. The couple will appreciate that you’re looking your best for their wedding! If everyone lives farther apart and can’t make it to have their suits fitted at the same time, there are online programs that make the process extremely easy!

Bachelor Party Planner: While the best man usually takes the lead on planning the bachelor party, more heads are better than one; bounce ideas off of one another on what the groom would like, what everyone can afford, and something that will be a great time for all involved. Don’t feel like you have to plan a destination bachelor party, there are plenty of fun things you can do more locally.

Respond to Invitations: You may receive invitations to an engagement party, the bachelor party, the rehearsal, and of course the wedding day. Be sure to send in those RSVPs so that is one less person the couple has to chase down as the day approaches! (You’d be surprised how many people do not send in their RSVPs!)

Attend the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner: Once the wedding day is practically upon the couple, you’ll most likely be asked to attend the rehearsal. Do the couple a favor and show up on time and focus while at the rehearsal! The sooner everyone focuses and listens to the officiant or wedding planner, the quicker everyone can leave and get to the rehearsal dinner.

Gift It: Go in with another groomsmen or two to create the perfect wedding gift for the groom and the couple. Think of their style and what they would like or what they need, and you’ll hit a homerun!

groomsmen wedding

Photo: Jeff Fransden Photography

ON THE BIG DAY

Show Up On Time: Be sure to arrive to the getting ready site when the couple tells you to (or preferably a few minutes early).

Help Quell the Nerves: Even for the most cool-headed groom, the emotions of the day can quickly become overwhelming. Help him out with staying calm. Sometimes, nerves can drive people to drink a bit too much before the wedding – help him steer clear of this potential disaster, too!

Go in for the Assist: Your overall job on the wedding day is to help out wherever possible. Moms of the couple need a cooler carried? Check. Groom needs you to assist with his tie? Check. Whatever the wedding day throws at the couple, help out in any way you can!

Usher in the Love: About an hour out from the wedding ceremony, many couples appoint a handful or all of their groomsmen to assist in guest seating. Depending on religious beliefs and traditions, seating will differ. Elderly guests should always be seated first.

Be Prepared to Give A Toast: Usually the best man and maid/matron of honor are asked to give a toast during the wedding reception but sometimes additional bridal party members are too. If you are asked, be sure to prepare something in advance.

Help Clean Up: At the end of the night the wedding planner and caterer will pack everything up, but groomsmen can be a big help by helping to load the extra alcohol and decorations into someone’s car so that the groom does not have to help.

groomsmen wedding

Photo: Jeff Fransden Photography

While this list isn’t exhaustive of what the groomsmen can assist with, it’s a great starting point! It never hurts to have more hands on deck the day of your wedding to organize the bridal parties.  Our team members at Stylish Occasions are experts in “herding” bridal party members and ensuring the timeline is adhered to as closely as possible. Give us a call if you want to talk about our packages and how we can help you with your wedding!

Wedding day hair

You’ve put a lot into planning your wedding, from the wedding dress to the wedding cake, and everything in between. As your big day approaches, you want to look perfect from head to toe. The toe part is easy – get a pedicure! Here are some tips for the head (aka – hair) part!

  • Decide if you want an up-do or if you want to let your hair down. Look through magazines and websites to see what you like.
  • Check with your stylist to see if they specialize in wedding styles. If not, then you may want to do research on some other local stylists. Get a referral from your stylist as well as referrals from friends or your wedding planner.
  • After you find a wedding stylist have them do a trial run. Take along pictures of the style you’ve found that you like. A trial run is very important for several reasons. First, to make sure the stylist you chose can do the style you want. Second, the style may look good on the model in the magazine, but once you have it done on you it may not look right with your face shape or with the neckline of your dress. It’s better to find this out a few weeks before the wedding rather than the morning of the wedding!
  • When you go for the trial run take several pictures with you – your first choice and then a second (and possibly even third) choice. Any good stylist should be able to tell you up front if your first choice of hairstyle will look good on your face shape or not.
  • Take your veil and accessories (earrings, necklace, etc.) along to your trial run to make sure the style works with them.
  • Take lots of pictures at the trial run so you and your stylist can remember exactly what it looked like.
  • If you’re not happy with your style, tell your hair stylist as soon as possible. Don’t hide it from them. It’s your big day and they want you to be happy. Most likely they can do a few little tweaks and get it how you want it.
  • Whatever type of hairstyle you choose to go with, make sure you are comfortable with it.
  • After your trial run, if you can, try on your dress to make sure the whole look works!

 

Here are some tips for your wedding day:

  • Wear a button down or zippered top on your wedding morning when you go to get your hair and makeup done. This will be much easier than pulling a shirt off over your hair. There’s nothing worse than trying to maneuver out of a small neck hole while keeping your tresses intact!
  • If you’re getting an up-do, don’t wash your hair that morning. Hair that is a day or two old will hold styles better. Freshly washed hair won’t hold curls as well or tease as well.
  • If the rest of your look is simple, consider using a hair accessory such as a flower or sophisticated headband. This can add some high drama to your look. However, don’t go overboard. If you are wearing a statement necklace or an elaborate dress, skip the hair accessory as it may draw attention away from the other piece.

Now relax and have fun during this special time! Happy planning!

Wedding Tips for A Blended Family

blended family second marriageMost people know they’ve fallen madly in love when they’ve spent enough time around their partner to feel comfortable, safe, and loved in return. But what happens when there are other feelings to take into account other than just the two of yours? A blended family may face certain challenges other relationships won’t, including how to take the next step in the relationship when you’d like to tie the knot!

First, let’s cover what a blended family is. A blended family is a couple who is together who also has children from previous relationships and perhaps the current relationship.

The Stylish Occasions team works with a wide variety of couples, and we want to celebrate the blended families we’ve worked with. If you and your partner are working to weave together your families seamlessly, we’ve compiled some advice for what to do when creating your unique wedding ceremony. 

We’re assuming by this point, you’ve either met your partner’s kids or you’ve introduced your partner to your kids (if not, check out this helpful article on how to meet your partner’s kids).

Keep the Kids in the Loop 

Nothing will make the kids feel more left out and alienated than not being included in the wedding plans. They need to be made to feel secure and valued, and that includes on the wedding day. It’s a busy, stressful day for everyone, including them, so be sure to clue them in to what’s going on and what their role will be the day of the wedding.

Document Your Love (ALL of Your Love!)

blended family second marriage

This couple decided to give puzzle piece key chains to their kids during the ceremony to commemorate them coming together as a new family.

Depending on how old the kids are, ask them to be a part of your engagement photos. Have fun together as a family goofing around and taking photos. When you get your proofs back, pick one and order a print (or several, or better yet: create an album together!) to hang up in your home. It will serve as a constant reminder you’re all in this together and excited for the future. Share your photographs in real life with your loved ones!

Let Them Shine

It can be easy to get caught up in the love you have for your partner and your excitement at starting a new life together, and that is TOTALLY acceptable! It is your wedding, and you should be throwing in some elements that feel like YOU.

Just don’t forget to let the kids have some time to shine on the day of the wedding!

Here are some simple ways to let the kids creativity shine to create a perfect blended family wedding ceremony:

  1. Let them contribute to the playlist! They’ll love hearing their song come on during the reception and getting to dance to it.
  2. Get them to help you DIY your decorations. Put your kids to work if they are the crafty-type!
  3. Let them pick a piece (or all) of their attire for the wedding day.
  4. Let your kids pick some menu items if they are foodies! We’ve seen some weddings do a late night French-fry bar for guests, and it was a huge hit with young and old.

There’s so many ways to make sure your kids are included on the day of the wedding. Get creative!

Acknowledge Your Blended Family During Your Ceremony

blended family second marriage

This couple had a sand ceremony with sand for each of them as well as the groom’s son to pour during the ceremony to signify them blending together.

Depending on the ages of the kids, you’ll have to get creative with how you incorporate your blended family into your wedding ceremony. If you have an older child, maybe put him or her in charge of the rings. Some of our families have had a family prayer circle during the ceremony, or have planted a tree as a ceremony to show unity in their family. Pick something special to you, your partner, and your kids.

Through the planning process, don’t forget to carve out time for just the two of you. It’s important to invest in one another so you can invest in your family.

 

The StylishO Team wants to hear from you! Do you have a blended family? What suggestions would you give to those getting married who will be bringing together two families?

Electronic Save the Dates – Yay or Nay?

In this day and age of technology, almost everyone has a smart phone, or at least a computer. Because of this many of our couples ask us if it’s ok for them to send Save the Dates electronically.

Before deciding whether you are going to send them electronically or if you are going to send printed Save the Dates, here are some things to consider:

Formality

save the date

Love this simple yet beautiful Save the Date from Paperless Post. This can be sent electronically or printed. And you can customize the colors!

While your Save the Dates don’t need to match your wedding invitations, Save the Dates do give your guests a clue as to the formality of the wedding. If you are having a black tie wedding then you may want to skip the electronic version and opt for a printed one. If your wedding is a little more laid back, then by all means go with an electronic Save the Date!

Cost and convenience

save the date

Love this Save the Date, also form Paperless Post, because you can put three photos in. Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one!

Electronic Save the Dates are often a much lower cost than printed (there are even some free ones but they are not usually as customizable). Plus, you don’t have to pay for the postage! And they save you time…no stuffing envelopes or putting on stamps. They can also be sent out much quicker since you don’t have to wait for them to be printed and shipped to you.

Email isn’t always reliable

save the date

Here’s a cute Save the Date we love from GreenVelope.

One downfall of electronic Save the Dates is that emails can sometimes get sent to a guest’s spam folder. Or you may not have their current email address. You may need to do a little more research to ensure you do have everyones correct email addresses. Also, keep in mind some guests (i.e. grandparents) may not have email!

Tangibility

save the date

Check out this cute Kate Spade designed Save the Date on Paperless Post! Again, the colors can be changed to match your colors.

When you send a printed Save the Date it will often get hung on your guest’s refrigerator. An electronic version can’t do this and once they are read they may be forgotten about.

On the other hand, some people immediately throw away the printed Save the Dates which ends up being a waste of money for you.

 

There is no right or wrong answer as to whether you should send printed or electronic Save the Dates. You’ll have to take into account the details of your own wedding. If you do decide for electronic, some of our favorite sites are Paperless Post, GreenVelope, and Evite.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and what you did!