The Wedding Planner’s Guide to Wedding Invitations

wonderland purple invitation As your guests eagerly open their wedding invitations, this will be the first hint they get of the fabulous day that you have in store for them. Your invitation sets the scene, so consider this when choosing your perfect invite design.

Picking the theme

As mentioned above, a wedding invitation is your guests first insight to the theme of your wedding. It’s best to get an idea of what you want, ask yourselves questions like are we more traditional or contemporary? Begin with this theme in mind, but don’t worry if it goes out the window once you see the invitation samples you love. It is great to have a scrap book with pictures from magazines, or a Pinterest board with all your ideas, so you can return to what first inspired you, but keep an open mind and let things unfold naturally. Don’t let an idea restrict you, be flexible.
Email Wedding invitations

Even in this modern day and age, an emailed wedding invitation is not considered polite. People want to really feel your wedding, nobody wants to open an email and see distorted pixilated images inviting them to your big day. It’s a bit underwhelming. This is your special day; so make sure the people you love the most will be just as excited as you are.

Facebook Event Invite
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but there was a recent episode of ‘Don’t tell the Bride’ where the Groom to be sent out invites to his wedding via a Facebook Event page. Do not, and I repeat, do not do it.

Cost
You may have taken a good look around at wedding stationery already, but if haven’t then it may be fair for us to warn you that invitations can get pricey. It can also be quite difficult for you to compare different stationery prices. Some companies have a price per card, that includes everything you need with no hidden extras, but others have a price per card and then the insert paper, envelopes and personalisation costs are all extra. So make sure that you add in any hidden costs, from the beginning, when you compare the prices of your favourite designs.

It’s also possible to have DIY invitations, where you buy the materials that you need and assemble the invitations yourself. You can save huge amounts by buying this way, they are much more personal and also when you’re ready to assemble your invitations, what better excuse for a get together with your girlfriends and your favourite bottle of wine!

Invitation wording

The great thing about planning a wedding today is the fantastic personalisation you can put into your wedding invitation. Adding your own unique personality and style to the invitation gives your wedding that exciting little edge. Though, don’t lose sight of the fact that your wedding invitation has a job to do. Your guests need to know exactly when and where to go, so make sure the text is clear, legible and has all the important stuff on  it. These things include your names, the hosts, the venue, time, date and any RSVP details required. You’d be amazed how many people forget to include the time!

Time to send

The general rule for sending wedding invitations is 2 to 3 months before your wedding day. This is dependant on the time of year you’re getting married. If it’s a Spring wedding then you may want to post a bit earlier with the Christmas period. If it’s a summer wedding then it’s best to send save the date cards at least 8 months before your big day. You don’t want an Aunt or Uncle losing money on that cruise they just booked or even worse not turning up! It’s also good practice to give guests living abroad an extra month or two of planning.

The Do’s and Do Not’s of a Wedding Invitation

The Do’s and Do Not’s of a weddingIf you’re making invitations yourself, or using one of the many personalisation websites available it’s important to know exactly what to write on a wedding invitation. Below we list the Do’s and Do Not’s.

Do’s

Do write everything on a wedding card in third person
Do write the time and date first
Do write the venue last
Do include children’s full names
Do use the correct titles such as (Dr.)
Do use a strict cut off date for RSVP’s
Do send save the date cards
Do add your unique personality and style to your invitation

Don’ts

Do not place the groom’s name before the brides
Do not put names, times and places on the same lines
Do not forget to include a note if you can’t accommodate children
Do not email your wedding invitation

10 Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

Destination WeddingPhoto Credit: Fete Blog and Hoffman Photographer

Planning a destination wedding is so much fun for a plethora of reasons — how could it not be as you chose paradise for the big day?! But it comes with it’s own set of challenges and etiquette rules — some of which are in your control and others (like a potentially laissez-faire attitude of your island vendors) that are simply not. Many of your decisions leading up to your long weekend (or week!) are made from afar, which can feel stressful. The key is to plan as best you can and then let the rest go and unfold along with your journey, enjoying this incredibly heart-warming time with those who have traveled from all over to celebrate your union. Here are 10 tips to help you plan smart for your destination wedding.

  1. What’s your budget?While a destination wedding can be budget friendly in that they tend to be smaller (less people = less food, drinks, décor, etc. that you have to account for). However, it isn’t always the budget-friendlier option, as travel expenses can add up fast, so try to account for it all — flight, car rental, hotel nights and additional food and activities costs.
  2. What’s the first step? If it’s in your budget to do so, hire a great wedding planner who is located in or near your destination. She or he will guide you to the best venues and local vendors for your budget, create a planning timeline and take tons of stress off your shoulders. Tip: Try not to rely solely on the event coordinator at a hotel or venue, who often has his or her own agenda. If you don’t have a budget for an outside wedding planner, add some time to your wedding planning schedule to scout out your own vendors or interview the ones the venue’s coordinator has recommended. Make sure to review their work online through videos and photos of real weddings, and request referrals from other brides. You can also arrange a Skype to interview them face-to-face if it’s too far to travel.
  3. Who made the list? Decide as a couple what your ideal headcount number is, and then make a list of all your closest friends and family members. From there, you may have to make some cuts or you may have wiggle room to slip in some “second-tier” friends. Inevitably, someone you leave off the list may not be too happy about it. Hopefully, they’ll understand, though, considering you are “keeping the guest list small.” Remember: It’s your day, your way!
  4. Should children be invited?This answer is really up to the atmosphere that you would like. If the answer is no, make sure to communicate this directly (as in, pick up the phone, not via email or text) to friends and family with children, regardless of how you address your invitations. If yes, of course, factor them into your headcount, and think about things like a potential nanny service for guests should your wedding be an evening event.
  5. When do invitations go out? Mail save the dates early so guests have time to plan their travel — up to nine months in advance is good if they are traveling quite a ways away. Invitations can be sent three to five months in advance.
  6. What should you include on the invites? Destination weddings require many more details than your average hometown affair. Instead of cluttering up your pretty invitations, create a wedding website and direct guests to the URL on the invites.
  7. How many guests will decline? This depends how far and expensive the trek is, but don’t assume your peeps won’t come — they might surprise you! Factor in that about 20 percent will say “no,” just like you would for a wedding in your hometown.
  8. What paperwork do you need? Every location will have its own set of rules to follow in regards to obtaining your marriage license. Some places might even require you to be there a few days in advance of the wedding. Be sure to research these logistics and legalities prior to selecting your destination.
  9. How much should you tip vendors?Appropriate tip amounts vary from destination to destination. Your best bet is to ask your wedding planner or hotel what is appropriate — and don’t forget to factor tips into your budget, too.
  10. How detailed should your welcome-bag itinerary be? Pretty detailed. Guests will be kicking back as it’s also a mini vacation for them, so include everything they might need to know, including where to be when and suggested attire for all of your events.

Have any must-share tips about planning a destination wedding? Do share here or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

4 Free Printable Wedding Table Games To Have At Your Wedding!

When it comes to planning the wedding reception, whilst some of the finer details may be interchangeable, one thing remains clear; we all want our guests to have fun. Whereas most guests will enjoy just relaxing in the conversation and atmosphere of your special day, it can always be a fun idea to add a few games for extra entertainment.

Wedding Table GamesSo what games can we add? Well, without breaking your bank balance, we have created four printable wedding table games that range from fun for kids to potential table riots; all of which can be downloaded and printed at your leisure.

Can’t find the ideal colour for you? Let us know in the comments below and we will try our best to arrange a new template just for you! 

I SPY: The Wedding Game

Downloadable Wedding Game

For a simple game that is both fun for guests and great for your photo album, look no further than the I SPY wedding game. In addition to making a great impression with your guests, a disposable camera is fun way to ensure that you capture hundreds of iconic wedding moments that the professional photographer may otherwise miss!

Available in four main colours, download with the links below:

Download in Grey.
Download in Peach.
Download in Lilac.
Download in Blue 

The ‘Wedding Advice: For The Happy Couple’ Game

wedding advice game downloadable

Just because you’re getting married doesn’t mean that you have it all worked out in the relationship department yet! In addition to being a hilarious read during your post-wedding jitters, the wedding advice game offers you the chance to take some key insight from family and friends who have walked down the path of marriage before you.

Download your free copy of the Wedding Advice for the Happy Couple here. 

Wedding Bingo

wedding bingo free downloadable template

Ok, let’s take a trip back in time. Imagine that first wedding you attended, remember the speeches – specifically how long and confusing they seemed. Not much fun. Now picture that same child except with this fun wedding bingo game. Much more exciting, aye? Give the kids something fun to occupy their time by leaving out this fun game of wedding bingo. Make sure to have a prize ready for the little one who stays strong and gets all the answers!

Download your free copy of Wedding Bingo here. 

Wedding Speech Sweepstake

Part 1

Wedding Speech Sweepstake  Downloadable TemplateDownload Part 1 of the Wedding Speech Sweepstake here.

Part 2

Part 2 of Wedding Speech Sweepstake Downloadable TemplateDownload Part 2 of the Wedding Speech Sweepstake here.

For a game that serves as both a talking point for your wedding tables and a fun way to create allure and excitement for your speeches, look no further than the Wedding Speech Sweepstake. This game simply consists of each guest at every table placing a bet on how long the speeches will last and the closest to the time wins. In our version of the speech sweepstake, you can also pencil in a few forfeits for the biggest loser!!

Like these Wedding games but can’t find your colour? Let us know in the comments and we will try our best to arrange new template just for you!

28 Super Important Questions To Ask Your Photographer

WEDDING GRAPHIC LATEST EDIT

It’s not always easy knowing if you’re booking the perfect photographer for your wedding. There are so many niggling thoughts that can build up to some serious Bridal anxiety.

Like:

- Will I feel comfortable in those truly intimate moments? 
- Does he/she have the experience I’m looking for? 
- And, of course, what if the weather isn’t perfect, say it rains and he/she has no experience of shooting in the rain? 

Wedding photography can cause some serious sleepless nights!

Fortunately, getting the right photographer almost always comes down to asking the right questions. Knowing what to ask and what type of answers you are looking for can save you a ton of worry, and can help you move on to the important aspects of your wedding, like buying that oh-so hot dress or shoe shopping! So much more important. 

To help you focus on what you desire we have devised 28 questions to ask your photographer and let us know in the comments if you have any others you would like to add… 

1. What EXACTLY is included in the package? DVD, Download, Edits?

Will the package include prints, or will it simply be digital copies? How many hours do you get on the big day and do you have an overtime rate? Make sure you know EXACTLY what you are getting for your money.

2. Do you take a deposit? If so, when is the full balance due?

An obvious question, but one that couples so often forget! Find out exactly how much you owe the photographer and when you will be expected to pay the full balance. Imagine the panic come the end of the month when the photographer expects the balance paid in full. This is the stuff of credit card horror films!

3. How much do you charge for an extra hour?

From the ceremony that easily overran, to the best man who CANNOT stop blabbering on; trust me when I say your wedding day will be gone before you know it! Make sure you have the photographer booked for the full event to ensure that they aren’t clocking off minutes before you shake your thing for the first dance.

4. Does that include prints? If not, how much do they cost?

It’s not really a “trick” but it is something you should be wary of; many photographers will leave printed photographs out of their packages. Ask directly if your package includes prints and if not how much extra prints will cost. If they aren’t included it is a great idea to get recommendations for printed photographs from your photographer, as they will have sourced their own trusted, high quality suppliers, saving you much needed precious wedding planning time.

5. What is your cancellation policy?

Will you need one? Probably not. However a cancellation policy shows you that the photographer is experienced and prepared for all eventualities.

6. How many image edits will I receive?

What? What’s an image edit? Well, let’s just say, image edits are the wedding pictures you pin on Pinterest, they are the ones your best friend uploaded on Facebook and they are the ones your photographer will advertise on his or her website. Most photographers will only provide a handful of image edits up front, as they may snap 10 or even 20 of the same shot to get the angle perfect and you are just provided with 1 of these edits. Find your value for money by accessing how many edited images you get included in your package!

7. Are digital photos supplied via USB, DVD, or Download?

How many people still own DVD players (err… HELLO, Netflix!)? Most photographers will prefer supplying via USB, yet some may still be stuck in the age of disk formatting so it is worthwhile to check.

8. How would describe your photography style?

Are you a vintage bride who is loves the dark and brooding atmosphere a vintage wedding creates? Are you a destination bride who is saying ‘I Do’ in all of suns glory? Photography can cover so many different styles, so ensure your photographer’s style matches your theme by asking them this often enlightening question.

9. Do you provide your own lighting?

Some shots, especially during the shorter days, will require lighting. Photographers will often provide their own lighting, but it’s always worth knowing in advance.

10. Are you insured?

I’m sure I don’t have to lecture you on the hectic ways of weddings. The children bouncing from room to room, the drinks flowing and, of course, the scramble for a falling bouquet are all prime opportunities for damaged cameras. Ensure your photographer has adequate insurance to cover himself for any damage to his/her oh-so expensive equipment.

11. Do you have a qualification in photography or are you self-taught?

Not that the answer to this question really matters – you can be just as talented teaching your self photography as any degree or qualification paper may verify. This question is just a way of getting an idea of your photographer’s experience and how he/she came into the photography trade. A little history lesson is always a nice ice breaker.

12. Will you have assistants with you on the day?

Assistants are a must! There are so many angles during the ceremony that a photographer will need to capture. The bride gallantly walking down the aisle, the groom waiting nervously at the altar, and of course, the all enthralling kiss to seal your marriage; all these moments need to be captured from multiple angles.

13. What will you wear on the day?

Jeans and a T-shirt? Errr, nuh. A professional photographer will have suitable clothing available, but if you have any special attire requests (Harry Potter Wedding!) then it may be best to inform the photographer in advance.

14. What is your turnaround time?

The wait for your wedding photographs can be a painful one. Make sure you know in advance when you should expect to receive them!

15. Will it be you photographing my wedding?

It may sound like a stupid question, but with the rise of proxy photography it’s always nice to have that little bit of confidence that the guy you’re interviewing for the role will be your actual photographer on the day.

16. What is your contingency plan for “illness” or “unforeseen” circumstances?

The most important question you can ask a photographer. Does your photographer have suitable contingency plans for illness? What if some unforeseen emergency arises, like a missed flight? Who will cover their place? Can we see examples of their photography too? Forget to ask these questions and you could end up compiling your wedding day album from Cousin Jeremy’s Instagram snaps!

17. Can I request certain shots?

Most photographers will be more than happy to meet any of your requirements, but they will have a pre-planned schedule of what they’d like to shoot. Invite the photographer to contribute advice when planning your schedule for the day.

18. Are you comfortable shooting me getting ready?

From capturing your final moments with Dad before you walk down the aisle, to shooting that perfect first kiss; your wedding is going to be enthralled by so many intimate moments. Make sure you and the photographer feel comfortable shooting both the emotionally intimate and skin intimate (getting ready!) moments.

19. How many weddings do you shoot per year?

Another sneaky way of saying ‘How experienced are you?’ – asking this question helps give you an idea of how experienced (and how in demand) they really are. 20 weddings per year is on the higher end for most photographers I know!

20. How much time do you allot for…? Bride/Family/Guests

Now, most photographers will have a preliminary plan of how they would like your wedding photography to pan out. Ok, most likely this will vary greatly on the actual day, but a trained photographer with plenty of experience will know to the nearest half an hour how much time they need to photograph your whole wedding party.

21. Can we see a FULL set of images from a recent wedding you shot?

Most photographers will only post their edited and best photography in online portfolios. To help you examine their qualities fairly, ask for a FULL set of shots from a recent wedding.

22. How many weddings have you shot in your career?

1, 2 or 500? Experience is key and although every wedding photographer needs to start somewhere, I’m sure we can all admit that we want the perfect photographs to remember our special day.

23. Do you have any past customers I could call?

We can check TripAdvisor for venue references, we can check Yell.com for vendor references, but when it comes to photography, apart from carefully placed reviews, finding references to give you the confidence to book can be a little tricky. Your photographer will more than likely have some past customers they would be happy for you to call, and if they don’t, well, what does that tell you? Hmm.

24. Have you worked at “Said” venue before?

A photographer with great experience, coming at a great price and with experience shooting weddings at your venue? BONUS. Always ask, they may have some advice and oh-so funny tales.

25. Do you include discount engagement sessions?

Hey – we get it ok. This may sound cheeky, but engagement sessions can be a great way to get to know your photographer. We all need a wedding discount somewhere!

26. Can you tell us our rights in terms of the images and how they can be used?

Image rights is a huge issue for photographers. In our digital world it’s so easy to claim a photograph is your original work and the use and distribution of photography is a growing problem with social media. Find out what your rights are in advance.

27. Will you be using our photos in a commercial capacity?

Don’t fancy being published in every wedding magazine for the next century? Find out if your photographer intends to use your photos in a commercial capacity. Your best photographs will more than likely appear in your photographer’s portfolio, but if you don’t want your images to be used in a commercial capacity, notify your photographer in advance.

28. Do you charge clients to transfer the rights of your photography?

Most won’t charge you to transfer the rights, but it’s always worth knowing and signing the rights in advance instead of being held to ransom after the wedding.

Looking for more Wedding Photography advice? See our Top 5 things to know for your wedding photography.

Are you worried about wedding photography? Let us know your woes in the comments below and we’ll try our best to advise!