5 Fun & Affordable Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father's Day is fast approaching and it's time to start thinking about gift ideas for Dad. It can sometimes be hard to find a gift as special as your dad or husband. I have tried to take some of the guess work out of it for you. Here are few options that are not only fun for all kinds of dads but also affordable.

Cool Dad Personalized Picture FrameYou know that old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words'. This is so true and so meaningful. Just by adding a photo of yourself or your children to a personalized frame, you can create one of the best gifts you can give. What dad wouldn't want a photo of his kids or grandkids and by adding a personalized message to the frame, this gift has become a special keepsake that your dad or husband will have for many years.

Wedding Purse Essentials - It's All in the Bag!

Bride'd Planning Tote
On your big day the last thing you are probably thinking of is what purse to carry with your wedding dress. While you won't want to have anything hanging on you all day (other than the groom of course), it is helpful to have a small purse or clutch to match your gown with some wedding day essentials in it.

First off you need to select a cute clutch or evening bag that will coordinate with your wedding dress. Go with an elegant beaded, white or ivory bag to match your gown or choose a bag with a pop of color that accents your wedding colors and accessories. You obviously won't hold this purse during your ceremony but have it on hand before and bring it along to the reception. Give one of your bridesmaids the job of keeping track of it for you!

Bridal purses
Things you might want to include in this bag are: 

  • Compact mirror
  • Hanky or tissues
  • Lipstick or lip gloss
  • Powder
  • Small perfume spritzer
  • Pocket comb
  • Breath mints
  • Bobby pins
Choose purse or travel size beauty items to fit in your bag.

Another important bag to have on hand the day of your wedding is a larger tote bag with other emergency items and necessities. These items will be used by you and any of your bridesmaids who might be of need. Keep this bag on hand where you and your bridal party will be getting ready. For this carry-all tote bag, choose a large durable bag with fun personalization (bride-to-be or your name or monogram). These personalized totes are also great gift ideas for all of your bridesmaids.  

Personalized tote bags

Here is a list of must-haves to have on hand on the big day. Okay, so it might not all fit in one bag!
  • First aid items (Band-Aids)
  • Comb, brush, hairpins
  • Hair spray
  • Medicines for headaches, upset stomach, allergies
  • Sewing Kit with needles, thread and safety pins
  • Anti-static spray
  • Lint roller
  • Spot and stain remover
  • Eye drops and spare contacts (if the bride or groom wears them)
  • Travel iron or steamer for touch ups
  • Pen and pad of paper for last minute notes
  • Miscellaneous tools for emergency repairs to decorations (scissors, tape, stapler, super glue)
  • Nail polish for touch ups, nail file, nail glue
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Make-up kit
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste
  • Double sided fashion tape
  • Tweezers
  • Extra earring backs
  • Green floral tape and boutonniere & corsage pins
  • Crochet hook (for brides buttons and an easy way to bustle your dress)
  • A light snack and bottle of water
Pack your wedding day purse and tote bag a day or two beforehand. That way you can just grab it and go the day of. Having these items on hand will hopefully quell any big day disasters or mishaps!

The Fate of Your Wedding Gown - To Trash the Dress or Not to Trash the Dress

Wedding Dress Backlit by Window
 As if there aren't enough decisions to make, modern brides are being asked to decide the fate of their wedding gown. It was once considered an obvious choice - preserve the gown as wedding memorabilia or for future generations.  Brides now have a few other options that are becoming increasingly popular.

Many brides are giving their precious gowns away to charity. These gowns will either be given to brides who cannot afford the princess wedding of their dreams, or sold with the purpose of donating the money to a good cause. Brides Against Breast Cancer is one such charity that offers new and gently used donated gowns at slashed prices to raise money for the cure. This option is for the bleeding hearts who won't miss their dress hanging in the back of their closet because they will know their donation has helped another woman in need.

Bride Running in a Muddy Field
Another option that is growing in popularity defies all of the above traditions. The is the infamous Trash The Dress photo shoot. If you haven't heard of this phenomenon, it is where the Bride puts on her wedding attire and gets all dressed up for a professional photo shoot after the wedding. Sometimes the Groom even joins gets a few photos snapped. The catch? The location is chosen because of its contrast to the formal wear - this means beaches, painting studios, muddy fields, swampy rivers, and anywhere a bride would avoid like the plague while wearing her dress before the big day. The results are fun, un-posed, often stunning and artistic photos... and a completely trashed dress. Of course a little dirt doesn't necessarily mean the dress will be ruined forever. A good dry cleaning would probably return your dress to savable condition - unless you opt to cut, burn, or paint it during your photo shoot. The idea is that the bride has made a forever commitment and has no need of a wedding dress anymore. It is also a way to get great photographs. While Trashing the Dress isn't for everyone, it does provide some intriguing images. This is for the trendy bride, who is perfectly happy treasuring her wedding gown forever via amazing photographs like the ones shown below.

Underwater Bride and Groom

Splatter Painted Bride and Groom- Trash The Dress

Bride and Horse in Yellow Field

What ever you decide, enjoy your day and enjoy that fabulous dress!

~ Jenna

Additional photo credit: Hanging Wedding Dress, Bride in Muddy Boots

How to Add a Personalized Touch to Your Son or Daughters Graduation Party

'Picture Perfect' Personalized Photo Cocktail NapkinsIt is that time of year when many parents are filled with pride at the thought of their son or daughter getting ready to graduate from High School or College. This is a very special time not only for your child but also for the parents. If you are anything like me, you want the graduation party to be filled with special touches that your child and your guests will remember for years to come. Here are a few ideas on how to add a few personalized touches to your party.

Picture perfect photo napkins are a fun and inexpensive way to add a personal touch to any graduation party. You can have a photo of your child printed on the napkins with their name, school name and graduation year. The photo napkins are also a great way to add some humor into the day. If you have some old photos of your child that you would like to add to the napkins with some funny quotes this is sure to be a party pleaser.

Personalized Stadium Cups

Personalized cups are another fun idea. This is not only a great way to add personalization to the day but it is a gift that the guest can take home with them and use over and over again. The personalized cups can be printed on both sides and you can add a graduation design and/ or your graduates name, school name, date and so on.

Monogrammed Canvas Guest Signature Mat 
  Monogrammed canvas guest signature mat is my favorite idea for your graduation party. You can have the canvas monogrammed with your child’s last name or first name initial. You can also add there name and the date of their graduation. All of the guest can sign the mat and then your son or daughter will have a keepsake that they will be able to cherish for many years.

6 x 3 x 11 Personalized Lunch Style Graduation Gift BagsPersonalized lunch bags are another great way to add a special touch to the day. The bags can be used for favors and snacks for your guests. Another idea is to use the bags for your guest to pack a slice of cake or some left over’s in to take home with them.

It truly is the small things in life that mean so much. By adding a few small personalized touches to the gradation party you are planning you will in turn add a large amount of fun and memories that will last a lifetime.

Shabby Chic Made Easy at Found Vintage Rentals

Have you ever wondered where to get all that vintage, shabby chic wedding decor you've been swooning over?  Jeni, founder of Found Vintage Rentals, has made it easy from you.

Vintage decor from Found Vintage Rentals
Vintage decor from Found Vintage Rentals
Vintage decor from Found Vintage Rentals

With connections across the country, Found is a vintage prop resource based out of Southern California that rents one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for your wedding or event.  From tables and chairs to the smallest accessories, Found's inventory is nearly endless.  And if by some chance you can't find what you're looking for, you can contact Jeni for a custom search.  It's about time someone took the idea behind the hit show 'American Pickers' and turned it into something the wedding world can benefit from...I just wish I would have thought of it first =).

To learn more, visit Found Vintage Rentals to check out their current inventory.

Happy Planning!

Stay On Time On the Big Day...Planning Your Wedding Reception Timeline

Stay on time on the big day

So you've set the date, bought the dress, ordered the flowers, booked the DJ and planned your little heart out. Your wedding date is almost here and the last minute details need taken care of. Your wedding reception is a time to relax and bask in the joy of your new marriage with friends and family. A carefree time right? Well it should be and will if you plan and layout your wedding reception timeline in advance. This should be an hour by hour breakdown of the events for the evening, taking into account things like the toasts, dancing, dinner, and cake cutting. Make these plans before hand and put someone else in charge of keeping to the schedule on the big day. Give your schedule to your wedding planner, DJ or Emcee for the night to keep things on time. This way you can relax and enjoy yourself!

The average length of a wedding reception is between 3 and 5 hours long. Here is a sample layout for a 4 to 5 hour long reception, start to finish!

Sample wedding reception timeline
Oh and by the way, don't stress if you don't stay on your schedule to the minute. Remember, ultimately a reception is a party and certain aspects of the evening may run longer or shorter than planned. Don't worry, your schedule can always be adjusted. Be flexible and have fun!

Delicious Menu Ideas for Your Summer Wedding

Wedding Menu
Summer brides may just have the least amount of stress when it comes to planning their wedding reception menu. Outdoor weddings and exotic warm-weather venues offer inspiration for the types of food you can serve.  Keep your guests tastes in mind but remember that it is okay to choose your own personal favorites and have fun with it. Need ideas? Check out a few of our favorite menus for summer events.

Candy and dessert buffets have been a big hit for the past year. They have branched out to encompass ice cream bars, cupcake topping bars, brownie buffets, and you name a dessert and someone's already turned it into a lovely buffet! The ever talented Amy Atlas took this idea in a new direction with a beautiful display of fruit and veggies. This Fruit and Veggie bar goes beyond that standard round veggie tray and offers your guest delicious treats. This would be a refreshing feast on a hot summer day!
Amy Atlas Veggie Bar
Amy Atlas Veggie Bar courtesy of Pink Blossom List

Another favorite summer reception menu is a seafood smorgasbord. Beach and New England backyard weddings alike are perfect settings for a clam or lobster bake! Fry up some fish and offer your guests a raw bar of steamed oysters, clams, and shrimp. Don't forget the hush puppies -yum!
Lobster Bake Reception
Photo Credit: Oysters from Prepare to Wed, Lobster Bake Plate from The Sweetest Occasion, Lobster Crate from Clam Bakes Etc.

Last but not least is the summer barbecue. This menu involves honey barbecued ribs, fried chicken, some mashed taters and homemade macaroni and cheese. Roast corn on the cob on easy to handle sticks and have a little fun with appetizers trays full of sliders and mini cups of ketchup and fries. Keeping with your finger food theme -add in some mini apple pies and you have an appetizing all American menu that I would choose over gourmet grub any day! If your little backyard wedding has a country chic feel, this is the menu for you and your hubby to be.
Wedding BBQ
Photo Credit: Slider Tray from The Vegas Wedding Planner, Ribs from Bridal Buds, Fried Chicken from Elizabeth Anne Designs, BBQ Sauce Favor  and Corn Cobs on a stick from Manolo Brides, Buffet plate from Old Carolina, Mini Pocket Apple Pies from Darlini

While you're planning your reception don't forget the personalized napkins - all these finger foods can get messy! Adding personalized napkins or cups to your reception allows you to dress up the tables by matching your colors or decor. These practical items also give you a chance to share an inside joke, a memorable quote, or tie in that custom designed monogram you love.



Finding the Wedding Hair Accessories That Will Compliment Your Style

You have the dress, and the hairstyle picked out but what will look best in your hair? The best way to determine this is to select a hair accessory that will not only compliment your dress and hair but that will compliment your style and taste. The traditional veil is not the only option that brides are turning to these days. Here is a list of some different options to consider.

Vintage Inspired Crystal Petal Hair CombHair Combs: A hair comb or bridal comb is a beautiful and elegant way to sweep your hair away from your face. A comb is also a great idea when your hair is short and you want to add a unique hair accessory to your wedding hairstyle. Hair combs also come in many styles, so whether you are looking for something formal or more informal this is the way to go.

Sinamay Rose Wedding Comb with Ostrich Feathers
Fascinators: A hair fascinator would represent any flowers, feathers, jewels or netting that is attached to a hair pin or headband. The hair fascinators are for the bride that may be looking for something a little over the top, like peacock feathers or any kind of feathers for that matter. A hair fascinator is a great way to show off your true style or add a splash of color or excitement to your wedding hairstyle.

Ivory Gardenia Wedding Flower Hair ClipFlowers: A single flower pinned in your hair is truly romantic and beautiful. I love this look for a beach wedding or any kind of outdoor wedding. This look brings nature to the hairstyle and gives you the feeling of simplicity and sweetness. This look is also a great way to add a splash of color to your hairstyle and also to your bridesmaid’s hairstyles.

bridal hair pins
Hair Pins: Hair pins are used most often in the formal up-dos, but they can be used for so much more. Whether you wear your hair up or down, short hair or long hair, pins can be added to any style. Hair pins also come in so many different options that they are perfect for any bride.

bridal headbandHeadbands: A headband is great look for a bride that wants to keep her hair down yet wants to also add some drama. Headbands range from simple to elaborate and will go with any hairstyle or dress. A simple veil can also be added to your headband to complete the look.

Freshwater Pearl and Rhinestone Flower Bridal TiaraTiaras: A tiara is the most glamorous of the wedding hair accessories. This is for the bride the wants to be a princess on her wedding day. Tiaras are also a great look for an up-do and any veil would go with this look. Tiaras are also great for the little flower girls in your wedding and it will make them feel like a princess too.

Be sure to look for the hair accessory that shows off you personality and style. Have fun shopping and Good Luck.


Top Summer Wedding Trends for 2011

2011 summer weddings are packed full of personal accents and childhood nostalgia. This is a year for one-of-a-kind wedding themes and accents that can only be described as so you. To find out what the top summer wedding trends are going to be, we polled our brides to see what they have decided on. Read on to see all the great ideas they came up with.

1) Themes that tell a story - Our bride's number one pick for summer weddings are themes that tell a story or relate to your childhood. Did you and your FH meet in a library? Then incorporate stacks of books as your table centerpieces, use old checkout cards as place cards, and bookmarks as your wedding favors. Do you both love photography? Incorporate your interests by having a photo booth at your reception. Unique additions like these that tell a story about you and your fiance help bring a personal feel to your wedding and make it even more meaningful.

Homemade pies via theknot.com
2) Country living - Summer weddings this year are all about getting back to the basics by bringing the 'at home' feeling of the country to your reception through outdoor venues and homemade accents. Think homemade reception signs, card boxes, wooden accents like birch tree centerpieces, and other rustic decor. Laid-back food selections and comfort food will be popular with items like mac n' cheese and fried chicken topping the list.   Homemade pies in lieu of large wedding cakes are a popular choice and really say 'made with love'. By opting for a smaller traditional wedding cake and including homemade pies made by family members, you will save money and have an effortless country accent to add to your reception.  Expect simple decor to also top the list.
3) Personalize it - Personalization is back with a bang and can be found on everything from monogrammed napkins to custom made wedding garters. To save costs, brides are adding their own stamp on their wedding through DIY crafts. Homemade monogram banners and invitations are hot right now with hand-stamped napkins and homemade wedding favors also topping the list. Embroidered wedding garters, engraved flutes, and personalized ring pillows are also popular ways to personalize your wedding accessories. File these great keepsakes away in your memory chest after your wedding and you have cherished mementos of your special day long after your wedding has passed.

Honeysuckle bridesmaid dresses via Cameron Kelly Studio
4) Refreshing color palettes - Refreshing shades of pink, yellow, and green are the hot color picks for 2011. Combine yellow and lime green together for a mix that screams summer. Honeysuckle pink paired with pale yellow brings that feeling of summer while still keeping a feminine feel to your wedding day through the unique pink shade. For a unique summer twist, bold red paired with pale blue plays on the summery feeling of firecrackers and summer cook-outs while still being modern and fun.

5) Decor that makes a statement - 2011 summer weddings are all about what's unique and your wedding decor is no exception. Brides are pulling out all the stops when it comes to creating unique decorations for their venue. Using fruit as decoration is the most popular and easiest way to add a twist on traditional decor. Add lemons, limes, and other summer fruits to your table centerpieces, wedding cake, and even your wedding bouquets and boutonnieres.

Bride and groom with vintage wedding car
6) Add vintage nostalgia - Brides in 2011 are all about vintage accents. Classic cars on display during your reception, vintage cake toppers, 1930's finger waves, and old-fashioned sundae buffets are a few additions that are increasing with popularity. It's all about what's old with this theme. When including a vintage flair, be sure to check thrifts stores and mom's attic for items like porcelain vases to use as centerpieces, retro lighting, vintage shoes, and grandma's brooch

7) Make guests feel important - Brides and grooms are paying close attention to their guests and are going out of their way to say a special thank you. In the summer heat, hand fans and personalized water bottles are popular choices to give guests to use during your ceremony. Lavish candy buffets are popping up all over reception with smaller wedding favors still being presented as guest table settings to say thank you.  To see other unique wedding favor ideas, check out our full selection of summer wedding favors.

Happy Planning!

Sources: Homemade apple pies via The Knot, Honeysuckle bridesmaids dresses via Cameron Kelly Studio
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