Aurora Meneghello Productions (also a part of Locally Grown Weddings) put together a great post for us today. It’s a double dose of  a shot list and tips. :)

 

It is the job of your wedding photographer to create a shot list for your big day. That’s why you are hiring them! However, it’s good to understand what your photographer will want to cover and how you can help her get the best pictures on your wedding day.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

Here’s a list of moments your wedding photographer will probably cover:

  • Bride Getting Ready
  • Groom Getting Ready
  • The First Look (if bride and groom are seeing each other before the
  • ceremony)
  • Ceremony
  • Posed Family Photos
  • Wedding Party Photos
  • Reception
  • Escort Cards and other Details
  • Wedding Cake
  • Toasts
  • First Dance
  • Cake Cutting
  • Bouquet Toss/Garter
  • Guests Dancing

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

It’s very important to work with your wedding photographer to make sure your wedding is
captured in all its glory.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

Here are some tips from my experience working on big and small weddings:

1. Hire a professional wedding photographer. Wedding photography is all about
knowing what is going to happen. The more weddings your photographer has worked
on, the more they’ll be familiar with the general way the event unfolds and he/she will
be able to prepare for each moment before it happens. They will also need to work fast
as there’s no time to learn on the job. A professional wedding photographer will be
familiar with their equipment, will be able to shoot in different lighting conditions
and will know how to maximize the time given to them. Practice makes perfect!

2. Talk to your photographer: even if your wedding pro has worked on hundreds of weddings, your wedding is unique. Make sure to let them know what elements you have incorporated in your wedding. For example, all photographers will take photos of your wedding dress, shoes, jewelry and rings. But let’s say you are wearing a pair
of earrings that your grandmother wore at her wedding. Your photographer might
want to spend some extra time photographing them and/or thinking of creative ways
to convey their emotional importance.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

3. Choose a planner who is a good communicator. If you are working with a planner or Day Of Coordinator, make sure to be clear about how much communication they will have with the photographer. The photographer should have a very specific timeline and be prepped on the flow of the event. If your planner is not going to communicate directly and timely with your photographer, you will have to do it. Make sure your team is going to work together.

4. Choose a photographer whose style you like: some couples like fun photos and lots of candid photos, other couples like a more romantic feel and lots of details. We often think of photographers as documenting a wedding, but even the purest photojournalist has a special way of seeing the world. Once you have the right photographer, let them know what you like. I always spend time with couples I work with to find out what’s important to them. For example, some couples are very much into family photos, some love detail shots, some want a picture of their high school friends who flew into town from far away. Make sure to let your photographer know what you love. This
way you can collaborate on the part of the shot list that is unique to your wedding.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

James Paul Correia Photography wrote today’s guest post. Thanks James, this is a wonderful source for brides.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Now that you’re engaged you must be busy planning the details of your big day, from flowers and invites to vendors such as photo and music. With all that is going on it can be easy to overlook this unique stage of your lives. It’s a time filled with anticipation, joy and love; capturing this moment in your life can often be just as exciting as your wedding day.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Whether you are keen on having your photo taken or not, the numerous benefits of taking part in an engagement shoot (popularly referred to as an e-shoot) may not be immediately apparent, so here are a few reasons you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity for that pre-wedding photoshoot!

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 1. Get yourself some sweet photos!

Sounds pretty obvious, right? But as time inches closer to the big day you start to find yourself getting busier and busier. Early in the engagement is the perfect time for an e-shoot; while the excitement of the proposal and visions of the future are still fresh in your mind, that emotion will be clearly evident in your photos.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Sure you’ll have photos on your wedding day, but this is different! Your wedding is the day planned for a party with your family and friends, but this shoot is all about YOU. While the wedding day will flash before your eyes, the e-shoot is slow paced and allows you to really soak in the time you have together. Grabbing those raw emotions just between the two of you is a rare opportunity and you’ll be glad to have this to look back on when you’re old and grey. Also, wouldn’t it be great to have some fab photos of you NOT in wedding threads? Wedding gowns and tuxedos aren’t exactly our everyday attire.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 2. A chance to let loose and get creative.

You have an opportunity to take some truly unique photos, different from any you’ve had before, so make good use of it! Start with the location and pick a place that means something to both of you. It can be where you got engaged, a first date or just a very memorable date, where you met (maybe your highschool/university). It can be any place that puts you at ease, something familiar that naturally makes you feel good, such as the zoo, a beach, or even your regular coffee shop. Where ever you decide, make it mean something to you.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Don’t forget to get creative! You can create a theme (bake some cookies together) or bring props (maybe you are Scrabble junkies). Whatever it is, think colorful, let loose and tap into your imagination.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 3. Your photos are actually pretty useful!

Speaking of creativity, your photos aren’t limited to the confines of a picture frame! Many savvy do-it-yourselfers are using their e-shoot photos in many crafty ways. Use them for save-the-date cards, receptions seating charts and table indicators, wedding programs, guest books, or even just a really awesome coffee table book for home.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 4. Practice for the big day.

Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot is a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more on each other. Your nerves will calm and your stress will float away. Your interactions with each other will become more natural and you’ll learn to avoid the innate reflex to stiff up and smile directly into the camera.

If you want to really make it a true dry run, try coordinating your e-shoot with your hair and makeup trials; it will allow you the chance to see how they show up in photos.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 5. Letting your photographer get to know YOU.

Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for your photographer. It allows him/her to see how you interact; to learn if you are timid or big on the PDA. They will learn about your personalities, whether you are goofy or serious, and how much direction you’ll need or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love story, chat about your wedding plans, and push to see how affectionate you can get in front of the camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able to communicate what you like and don’t like, as well as your preference for angles, expressions, lighting, and editing styles. All this will allow them to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 6. Getting to know your photographer.

It’s great to have your photographer get to know you, but it’s more important that you get to know THEM. Get a taste of their shooting style and learn how they direct you. It will be very similar to how they direct you on the wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Chat with them about your wedding plans and get tips about planning out the schedule. Your photographer has seen it all and probably has a ton of advice on how to organize the day and minimize rushing and delays.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Lastly, think about this, you will likely see your photographer more than anyone else on your wedding day … including your fiancé! The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform your photographer from a ‘stranger’ taking your photos to a ‘friend’ taking your photos. Establish a relationship with your photographer (and all your vendors for that matter). Get to know his personality & hobbies to the point where you feel comfortable enough with them that you’ll look forward to spending time with them on your wedding day.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

By the end of it all you’ll be ready for anything the day throws at you, you’ll have some fantastic photos and you’ll be pumped for the big day! Keep Smiling!

Thank you Jackie from VT Enchanted Events for today’s guest post!

VT Enchanted Events WeddingPlannerLove

For many engaged couples, it can be a scary and difficult process to hand over the control to someone else.  After all, this is your big day and you have put so much thought and work into it, why on earth would you give all your ideas and visions to a complete stranger? Let me be the first to say as a wedding planner we are not here to take over. On the contrary, we are here to become your partner in planning.  So before you dismiss the idea of a planner don’t think of us as someone who is going to take over your dreams and visions but someone who is going to lend that extra hand where it is needed.

VT Enchanted Events WeddingPlannerLove
Photo by Paul Reynolds Photography.

The right planner can do many things such as:

  • Helping to choose the right vendors that match your needs, wants, and budget.

  • Helping you follow through with your visions of colors, patterns, and lending advice on new ideas.

  • Coordinating. This can start from the very beginning to the very end. As planners we are here to help you with the flow of your wedding that means making sure all vendors are on time and all your needs and wants are in place.

  • Picture perfect, planners go in the day of and set everything up the way you have talked about. Your planner and you have made a precise design and it is now up to them to carry it out with the tablecloths, place settings, flowers and so much more. It is your time as now you the couple get to sit back and enjoy the day and let it all unfold.

  • My personal favorite part of being a planner is being there for the bride & grooms to be. We create these great partnerships with each couple and within each partnership will come support, strength, and our immense devotion to making sure that you have the day that you want.

Best Wishes & Lots of Laughter!

Learn more about VT Enchanted Events on WeddingPlannerLove or visit their site.

 

 

Today’s guest post comes from the wonderful duo at Asteria Photography. Thank you Caroline and Dan for contributing, our planning brides will find your post very helpful!

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Sometimes if it sounds too good to be true, it is. When shopping for a wedding photographer price is something you should never skimp on. In no way am I saying that you should spend thousands and thousands of dollars, but be wary of “good deals.” Sometimes the reason a photographer is only priced at $500 is because they’re only worth that much. There’s a good chance that you might have some guy show up at your wedding with a camera that’s barely better than a disposable and has no idea what he’s doing. If you spend time and energy planning your wedding, you’re going to want better shots than mediocre pictures that don’t reflect who you are and the work you’ve put into every tiny detail for your big day!

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Another important aspect is the photographer’s personality. It seems like that’s something that really shouldn’t matter. It’s their talent that’s most important, right? Well, partially.. yes. But if you’re laid back would you want someone who’s going to force you out of your comfort zone and make you feel awkward all day? Or if you’re really outgoing would you want a really meek photographer? You have to find someone you get along with and feel truly comfortable with. Hiring a studio that offers two full-time photographers for your big day is a definite benefit in this respect. Our studio works well because I’m really energetic and enthusiastic and love getting people excited too. My partner is very laid back and reserved and balances me out. We have a good system going because we’re so different, but we love the same thing… and that’s making people happy.

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Speaking of making people happy… that’s another important quality to look for in a photographer! You have to hire someone who LOVES what they do and wants YOU to love what THEY do. You want someone who’s not burnt out on doing weddings, someone who is doing this because it’s their passion and they aren’t just trying to pay their bills.

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 And most importantly, SIGN A CONTRACT! That’s the most important thing you can do because it protects you. If your photographer doesn’t show up on the day of your wedding and you don’t have a signed contract, what can you do? I know people that’s happened to, and that kind of added stress is definitely not something anyone needs right before their wedding!

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Good luck to everyone And don’t forget to remind yourself to enjoy your big day! It goes by too fast if you don’t stop to take it all in.

 

Hiring a wedding photographer is such an important part of your wedding planning. It’s ideal for you to strike up a great relationship with your photographer, after all – he/she will be spending your wedding day with you! Brian of BH Photography has put together a great guest post for us today to help you find the perfect photographer!  Thank you Brian for this post!

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

When planning your wedding, you want to make the best choice possible, especially when it involves the one thing that will stand the test of time, your photographs and wedding album. From our experience, most couples aren’t quite sure what questions to ask photographers, let alone what the right answers for them are. We are pleased to help with the top 10 questions that you should ask photographers when meeting with them.

1. Will you be photographing our wedding?

Some studios employ multiple photographers. It is key for you to meet with the person who will be covering your wedding, and see their work. Personality is the most important thing you should consider when choosing a photographer, if your not comfortable with them, your photos may suffer.

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

2. What will you wear on my wedding day?

You don’t want your photographer to embarrass you on your wedding day by showing up in jeans and a t-shirt. Unfortunately, there are a number of “photographers” who feel that jeans and t-shirts are acceptable for weddings. We always wear black dress pants, black dress shirt and a tie at a minimum. Dressing in black allows us to be less noticeable and blend in.

3. Do you have backup equipment?

Cameras are mechanical devices, just like your cell phone and dvd player. They can fail at any moment and without warning. It is essential that your photographer has a full set of backup cameras, lenses and flashes.

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

4. Can we see a complete wedding?

With the digital age upon us, anybody can get a few great images per thousand. As photographers, we do show our best work on our websites. However we have no problem showing you a complete wedding album. This allows you to imagine the quality of work that will be in your wedding album.

5. What products do you offer?

Your photographic prints should only be part of your package. There are a number of great album styles available, as well as canvases, thank you cards, save the date cards, etc. Make sure the photographer can provide everything you are looking for. Ask about warranties. Most high quality album companies offer lifetime warranties. We only use Canadian companies that offer lifetime warranties.

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

6. If my wedding goes longer than expected, will you stay longer? If so, how much?

This is a good question to ask, as sometimes due to reasons out of your control, your wedding may be delayed slightly. Ask if they are willing to stay overtime to ensure you get the amount of coverage you invisioned.

7. Do you work with an assistant?

Weddings are a very fast paced for photographers. Having an assistant to hold lights & reflectors, as well as set up equipment is essential so that the photographer can work quickly and not miss any special moments while off setting up equipment.

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

8. What happens if you are sick on my wedding day?

Even wedding photographers are human and can get ill. Most are willing to work through minor colds & illness. However if something major happens, we have a network of experienced photographers we can call on at a moment’s notice to fill in.

9. Do you back up our photos? If so, when?

Professional digital memory is extremely reliable, however there is still a possibility that it can fail. To avoid this, we use smaller memory cards rather than one large memory card. If one fails only 30-60 images would be affected, instead of your whole wedding. To avoid any problems after the wedding, we create 3 copies of every image before leaving a wedding. If any image did happen to get damaged, we could re-create it before leaving.

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

10. Do you get along with your photographer?

This question is for you. As we mentioned in question #1, personality should be a major consideration when it comes to choosing your photographer. If you get along and click with them, they will be happy to be at your wedding. The less photographing feels like work, the more fun we have. The more fun we have the better the images.

BH Photography WeddingPhotoLove

I hope these questions help you with your search for Your wedding photographer. You are more than welcome to share these questions with any of your friends & Family who are also planning their perfect wedding.

Today’s guest post is from Nan, author of EatBreatheBlog, a healthy lifestyle and parenting blog. She is sharing some great advice with us on planning your wedding online. Thanks so much, Nan!

Planning Your Wedding Online

Remembering how we functioned before doing everything before the Internet is like remembering what your living room looked like two remodels ago: impossible.

That being said, using the web as a resource for daily life is second nature for us. But, even the most internet savvy people still can’t believe that planning a wedding online is totally possible. Maybe it’s the age-old tradition or the sacredness of the big day, but some people are hesitant to take to the web for all things wedding.

Exquisite Affairs on WeddingPlannerLoveExquisite Affairs Productions

If you’re planning an upcoming wedding, but you’re resistant to turn to the internet, don’t be. There are many great resources waiting to make your wedding planning faster, easier and more efficient. WeddingPlannerLove is a great place to start your search!

Shopping for the Ring

Buying a ring online may not be everyone’s first choice. But, think of it this way: instead of browsing a jewelry store with and being hounded by a commission driven sales person to buy more diamond than you can afford, hop online and take a look at your own leisure.

Promise Tangeman via Flickr

Whether you’re shopping for engagement rings or wedding bands, buying online means you do so at your own pace and with a wider selection. You also don’t run the risk of walking into a store where you can’t afford even the tiniest of diamonds.

Venues and Vendors

From venues for the wedding to cakes, florists and photographers, online is the easiest way to peruse a huge selection of possibilities without making any commitments just yet. Even if you’re using local vendors, you can still access their information and services online, possibly without ever having to step foot in an actual store. With the stress surrounding wedding planning, having this information at your fingertips is priceless.

Cynthia Ross Affairs WeddingPlannerLoveCynthia Ross Affairs

Our wedding venue directory, WeddingVenueLove, will be launching soon and will be a wonderful resource to help you find the perfect venue for your location and budget.

Guest List and Invitations

Internet resources like Google Docs allow you to create spreadsheets for budgets, guests, and of menu options that you can access from anywhere and share with anyone. Google Docs is free, easy to use and incredibly efficient.

Bloom Art Design Designer WeddingInviteLoveBloom Art & Design

You can find hundreds of invitation designers on WeddingInviteLove to help you set the stage for your big day. Many of the vendors work nationwide (or even worldwide!), so make sure to contact any designer that interests you!

Honeymooning

And, the best part of online wedding planning: the honeymoon. Sites like Kayak offer a comparison tool, so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal. Once you’ve gotten the logistics out of the way, you can kick back with your laptop and a glass of bubbly to plan your dream vacation.

Image by Christina Spicuzza via flickr

Happy planning! We hope that you find WeddingLovely’s vendor directories to be a resource as you plan your big day. We’re very excited, to say the least, about what is in the works for next year. We think you’re going to love it almost as much as we do!

Ring image by Promise Tangeman via flickr

Tropical beach image by Christina Spicuzza via flickr

The oh-so-talented Anita from 2bsquared designs is guest posting today about invitation etiquette. This is a very important subject, and she did a wonderful job explaining it all with great detail. Thank you so much, Anita!

So you are engaged…literally you think “what could possibly be more exciting than that”? And then it’s time to pick your dress… you look like a fairytale princess and it’s these best moment of your life. Then before you know it, you’ve picked a date, chosen the most perfect venue…EVER, decided on your flowers (original, affordable and exotic all at the same time and how you did it nobody will ever guess), booked a DJ who rocks, and a photographer who promises to make your entire wedding party look like supermodels. What could possibly be left now that all your wedding dreams are all coming true? Yes! Yes! your wedding invitations… screams the stationer. Oops, was that my outside voice? Sorry about that. Anyhoo… Shouldn’t your guests open their mailbox to find your invitation screaming…”Oh, you so wanna come to this shindig!” After all it’s not a party until they are invited, right?

Jen Simpson Design Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Getting them to the Party

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…wedding invitations came in two colors- white and off-white– and the hardest decision you had to make was whether they were engraved or not. We’ve come a long way and it’s now big world of choice. Don’t get overwhelmed by your options. Consider a few keys things when choosing what works for you:

Be You – keep your invitation style as close to your personality as possible. Don’t rock the bling and bedazzle your invitation unless that’s your style. Guests should not open your invitation, see your full name in bold zebra print and say who the heck is this from because they don’t recognize you in your invitation.

Be Creative – your invitation should match the style of your event. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box a little. A formal sit dinner for 200? Turn it up a notch and instead of the classic black and white engraved invitation, engrave white ink on dark colored stock, or add a brightly colored or patterned envelope liner. A wee bit o’the Irish…work some plaid. Boating enthusiasts…anchors away!

Faue amd Co. Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Be Careful – there are many extremely talented and reputable vendors to be found on line and in your neighborhood. Do your research. Before purchasing invitations from anyone, really understand what you will be getting for money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or order samples of their work. Peek at your favorite blogs including this one for preferred vendors, ask your married friends who they used and recommend. Then pick a few designers who match your style and start an honest conversation with them.

Be Calm – it takes a village to put on a wedding and that means there will be a lot of voices and opinions clamoring to be heard as visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head. Remember everyone is entitled to an opinion but not always a vote unless they are holding the checkbook. If so then listen close! Otherwise, refrain from the overwhelming desire to shout “because I am the bride that’s why” and consider that most of those people have your best interest at heart. So it may be a good thing when its suggested you take a break from obsessively combing blogs looking for invitations. Listen to the voices of reason and the squeals of your piggy bank. Take breaks so you keep perspective. You’ll make better choices.

It’s all in the Details

A wedding invitations sole purpose is to invite your guests and to tell them when where they should show up if they are even remotely interested seeing you marry the love of your life and perhaps partake in a bit of feasting and merriment while they’re at it. So once you find one you like, here is a quick primer in 140 characters or less on getting them written right:

  • He /She who pays invites. Invitations are issued by the holder of the checkbook or checkbook(s).
  • All invitation phrasing is in the third person. Use “their” not “our”
  • Spell out all words. Yep, all of them.
  • Do not abbreviate. Only exceptions are Mr., Dr., Mrs., Jr., Sr. and Ms.
  • Going to the chapel or not. You “request the honor” of a guests presence as it’s naughty to “request the pleasure” in a house of worship.
  • What’s in a name? If her parents invite, first and middle for her and full name for him. Both parents invite – first and middle only for him and her.
  • Days and dates are always spelled out. Always.
  • The time. The hour is “at” and followed by o’clock except at noon. Married on the half hour is “half after” or “half past”. No caps please.
  • The year. The word “and” is either in or out but the first word in the year line is always capitalized.
  • Location. Location. Use the complete name of the facility. The street address of your location is only needed if you’re not using a map or direction card.
  • Only punctuation used on invitations are commas. Period.
  • Do not print zip code on invitation. If they really need it they can find it on the envelope.

White Aisle Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Traditional invitations consist of eleven lines and they are the:

  1. Invitational Line – this line tells your guest who is extending the invitation. While, traditionally invitations are sent by the bride’s parents, they may also be issued by the bride and groom or a combination of the bride and groom and their parents.
  2. Request Line – the request line invites your guests to your wedding. The wording varies according to the type of service and where your wedding is held. “Request the honour ( honor) of your presence” is always used when the wedding is in a house of worship as you cannot request the pleasure of one’s company in God’s house. Weddings held at a club, reception hall or residence use “Request the pleasure of your company.”
  3. Bride’s Name – the brides first and middle name should appear when the invitation is issued by her parents. If invitation is issued by bride and groom her full name is written.
  4. Joining word – the word “to” is used to join the names of the bride and groom on invitations issued by the parents. The word “and” is used on invitations issued by the bride and groom.
  5. Groom’s Name – the grooms full given name should always appear unless the invitation is issued by both the bride and grooms parents, then only his first and middle name is required.
  6. Date Line – the day of the week and the date of the month should be both spelled out i.e. Saturday, the twenty -ninth of July The day of the week can be proceed by “on” but is not necessary.
  7. Year Line – you can choose to write the year with as “Two thousand and thirteen” or “Two thousand thirteen” either is fine. Just remember the first word in the year line is always capitalized.
  8. Time Line – the time always appears on one line and is preceded by “at.” No uppercase letters are used. The word o’clock should always follow the hour except when married at noon. For weddings held on the half hour, they are written as “half after” or “half past” followed by the hour. Ex. half after four o’clock in the afternoon.
  9. Location – the name of the facility where your wedding will take place appears on this line. The complete name of the facility is used.
  10. Address – the street address is only necessary when there is more than one of the facility with the same name in the same town. The street address is not used when maps or direction cards are included.
  11. City and State – the last line of your invitation shows the names of the city and star where you wedding is being held. Both city and state are included but not the zip code.

Lisa Samartino Atelier Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Thank you Anita! Check out 2BSquared on WeddingInviteLove, or head straight to the 2BSquared’s Etsy shop to order a custom invitation directly from Anita!

Today’s guest post is by the fabulous Jackie from Sweet Little Thrills, an adorable design and life blog. When you’ve finally decided that it’s time to get wedding invitations, the process can be confusing as heck and scary, and Jackie has some great tips about invitations to make sure the process goes smoothly!

wedding invitation design letterpress by girl metro

1)  Start early

Most people greatly underestimate the time needed to browse, order, receive, address, and mail wedding invitations.

Sending your invites out approximately 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding is customary, so you’ll need to give yourself time to search, order, and assemble the invitations before mailing.

Start looking at least 4 months before your wedding to ensure you have ample time to get those little gems out on time.

2) Search within your budget.

There is nothing worse than falling in love with an invitation suite (or boots, purse, or house for that matter) that you simply cannot afford.

You will either: a) woefully settle on invites that you don’t love, b) start imagining strange ways of collecting extra money to spend on your invites, c) expand your budget again, or d) cry bitter tears until you have your fiancé select something else (a bit dramatic, I admit, but it happens).

3) Browse by color, theme, or style to match your wedding.

Your guests gain their first clues about your wedding from your invitations. Coordinating a color palette or theme pulls together the individual aspects of your wedding.

Wedding invitation websites, such as WeddingInviteLove, allow you to browse by several search fields so you can easily narrow down your choices.

If you’re working with a custom designer, show them photos or examples of other wedding choices you’ve already made. They will be able to tailor their designs to your preferences.

4) Order samples.

A fairly simple task to prevent These Don’t Look Like They Did Online Syndrome is to request samples of a few designs that you like. Samples usually cost a few bucks, but that money is well spent to avoid a rush-order invitation replacement fiasco.

Once you have the samples in hand, you can rest assured you know what you’re getting.

5) Decide on other stationery.

The standard invitation suite includes: the invitation, response card, reception card, accommodations card, and directions card. Decide which of these you’ll need first. If you aren’t having any out-of-town guests, you may decide to do without the accommodations card. Make the choices that are right for you and your wedding.

Many invitation designers also coordinate table numbers, escort cards, and thank you cards to match your invitation, so it may be worthwhile to browse the options when selecting your invites.

6) Determine how many you’ll need.

The easiest way to get an accurate number is to create an Excel spreadsheet. List each household, rather than each person, that you need to send an invitation to. The number of rows in your spreadsheet equals the number of invitations you’ll need.

The next step is to add roughly 15-20% to that number. It sounds a bit high, but trust me. Between the late guest list additions, handwriting mishaps, invites that get lost in the mail, and any you’d like leftover as keepsakes, you’ll be happy you ordered extra at the beginning.

7) Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Reread and proofread the invitation text with your crazy hat on. This is one time that you REALLY don’t want any errors. A sneaky way to catch spelling errors is to read it backwards.

Give it to your mom, bridesmaid, fiancé, or someone else you trust to proofread as well. The more eyes the better.

Make sure commas are in their rightful place, all names are spelled correctly, and please, oh please, make sure the date and year are right.

8) Place your order and breathe.

You’ve made a selection, proofread the text over and over, so the only step left is to place the official order! Pour yourself a glass of wine and take a deep breath. One step down.

You might second-guess yourself on your choice, and you wouldn’t be the only bride to do so, but the truth is: your gut reaction is the one you should trust.

Thank you Jackie! Check out her awesome blog, Sweet Little Thrills, for more awesome posts!

Photo Credit: Girl Metro, Inc. on WeddingInviteLove

The wonderful Amanda from baci designer stationery + events is guest posting today about the importance of beautiful, custom, and thoughtful invitations. Thank you Amanda!

Each time I hear, “I don’t want to waste a lot of money on invitations because people just throw them away,” I cringe. Not only are invitations a large part of my life — after all, I am the owner and lead designer for baci designer stationery + events — they’re just plain wrong!

I agree, people will toss crappy invitations that glaringly show there was no thought or effort put into them. No one expects a guest to keep something even the bride and the groom don’t care about. Invitations are one of the most essential parts of planning a wedding because they set the tone of what guests are to expect on the wedding day while at the same time helping them prepare for your event. In turn it will keep them out of the trash and in the memory books! Below are a few reasons why invitations are so important and the information you should include on them in an effort to make your guests more comfortable and prepared for your big day!

Setting the Tone

Have you ever received an invitation in the mail and been able to envision the wedding day? Well, if your answer is no then you’ve probably never received an invitation that properly set the tone. If your answer is yes, that bride and groom did it right! The invitation to anything, especially a wedding, should exude the theme of the event to come.  A full-on extravagant bash complete with a fireworks send-off should have an equally extravagant invitation — imagine receiving an engraved invitation suite on Crane’s finest stock placed in a silk box, hand-tied with satin ribbon and adorned with a rhinestone brooch. You would know to dress in your finest attire and expect nothing but the best at the event, which means the invitation is setting the tone perfectly.

Below is an invitation I created for clients, Casey and Josh. It’s the perfect example to express that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the perfect invitation for your big day. The couple wanted something sweet and simple for their $5,000 Valentine’s Day Wedding and I think the invitation suite exemplifies that perfectly! Their custom monogram, c&j, and their colors — brown, pink and red — were continued throughout the entire event.


Creating Excitement and Anticipation

Receiving the perfect invitation in the mail should make you ready for the wedding to arrive. If a bride and groom put thought into what their invitation looks and feels like, it is definitely conveyed to the guest. A fun-filled wedding with a circus theme should have an invitation that makes people chomp at the bit for the big day to arrive.

Below is an example of an invitation suite I designed for clients, Alexis and Sam. Their low-key and relaxed wedding was to take place in the Bahamas where they planned a weekend of fun activities for their guests to enjoy. Their invitation expressed that perfectly, not only giving guests the proper information to book travel and pack properly, but priming them for all of the fun that was to come!


Providing Pertinent Information

Obviously one of the most important reasons for having the perfect invitation is to include all of the proper information for your guests. They certainly won’t be tossing it in the trash if it is full of useful details! Below are some of the important things to include in your invitation suite:

Who?

This seems like a bit of a “duh” thing to add, but it is incredibly important to put who the invitation is coming from. Not only should you include the bride and the groom (obviously — lol!), but if the parents are helping host the event their information should be included. Generally, the bride’s parents are the hosts, but if the groom’s parents are helping out, their names should be included as well.

One other thing to think about is to make sure people know who the bride and groom are when they receive their invitation. Maybe the groom always goes by a nickname and no one would know who he was if it wasn’t included. Feel free to make it personal, proper etiquette doesn’t always apply to each and every situation.

When?

Once again, something you would assume would be second nature, but it’s important to do it properly. Always say when the event will start — not when the music will start. The time on your invitation should be the time your bridal party will begin to walk down the aisle. As a guest, you should always plan to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the time provided on the invitation. Also, don’t forget to include when your cocktail hour and reception will begin. You may also want to say when dinner will be served because the beginning of the reception is not always the beginning of dinner — you don’t want hungry guests!

Where?

When writing the ceremony location you should include the full street address and the city. If many guests are from out of state you can include the state as well. There is no need for the zip code, it’s not very appealing on the eyes to have an extra string of numbers on your formal invitation. You can follow the same rules for the reception information.

Feel free to include directions on a separate, but matching card, especially if guests are coming in from out of town or if the route is tricky or may be under construction. To be completely helpful, include directions from the hotel to the church and from the church to the reception. Everyone has GPS nowadays, but they don’t always provide what you would consider the best route.

Dress Code?

Do you expect your guests to arrive in suit and tie? Well then be sure to tell them! Also, the big one people miss in this department is telling guests your event will be held outdoors. Outdoor weddings require different attire, especially for the ladies, so be sure to let your guests know on the invitation so they can wear their flats so they don’t sink into the grass and bring a shawl to keep them warm if the day is chilly. Don’t forget to include your Plan B if the weather chooses not to cooperate.

Accommodation Information

It is common practice to reserve a block of rooms at a local hotel for your guests. A separate, but matching, card included in your invitation suite is the perfect place to provide that information. You can also include information on shuttles if the hotel is providing one to and from your event.

Wedding Website

Have a wedding website that’s full of all sorts of useful information about you, your bridal party and how the whole love affair got started? Feel free to share that with your guests, too! Be sure you’re not using the crazy long link on your invitation suite though —it makes it almost impossible for guests to properly type it into the browser. Use a site like bit.ly to shorten and customize your link.

Remember, the more personal and about you an invitation suite is, the more apparent it will be to the guests that you put your whole heart and soul into the event. Now that you’re armed with this great information on how to make your wedding invitation suite exciting and useful, go on out and create that beautiful invitation your guests will want to show off to their friends! Happy Planning!

Thank you so much Amanda! Such great and thorough information. For more about Amanda and baci stationery design + events, check out the WeddingInviteLove profile, or head straight to the baci website.

Today’s post is by the fabulously wonderful Sarah from Hip Ink, one of my first WeddingInviteLove friends to meet in person. She runs The Invitation Blog, a hilarious and informative blog about invitations, etiquette, and advice, and I’m so happy she donated a post to us today!

Have you ever had that feeling? You know the one. The one you get after looking at page after page (after page…) of wedding invitation albums, every invite looking more and more alike; each nondescript floral, pearlized dove and stuffy old typeface making you feel like you’ll never find an invitation that “fits”.

Listen to that feeling — it’s wise. That feeling is telling you that those plain-jane, boring, traditional wedding invitations just aren’t your bag, baby. You want something fresh, unique, beautiful and…well…you. And *you* ain’t gonna find it in that invitation album my friends.

Where you *will* find it is on WeddingInviteLove, where you can choose from literally hundreds of custom invitation designers who are ready and willing to take your inspirations, ideas and personalities and make them shine on paper. We’re all about the details — just like you!

I’m guessing when you dreamt of your big day, you probably didn’t dream of having an event just like everyone else’s right? Ever shown up at a party in the same outfit as someone else? Ouch. You want your wedding day to be unique, to reflect you as a couple, to be once in a lifetime, just for you. So why invite your family and friends to share that with you by sending them an invite you picked up in bulk at Wedding-Save-O-Rama?

Why else should you consider a custom invitation designer?

The Event

Have an out-of-the-ordinary event? A destination wedding, a wedding weekend, a full-on three-day blow-out? Different cultures, different languages, different ceremonies and customs? An amazing theme? A spectacular location? All great reasons to hire someone who can create an invitation that will communicate everything you need to your guests, and do it with impeccable style.

The Low-Down

Officially lost when it comes to etiquette? Mailing times? Who to send what, where and when, how and why? Confusing I know – but relax, and take a deep breath, because you have an expert on the job. A custom invitation designer is a fantastic resource and can help take the stress out of the process for you with all the timely tips and advice you need.

The Relationship

You can bet that the level of attention and service you’ll get from a custom designer is something that those big invitation companies could never even dream of offering. We’re here to get to know you, to care about what matters to you, to give you an experience that helps to relieve your stress, instead of adding to it. Think [Insert Name of Giant Invitation Retailer] can do that? Didn’t think so.

The Details

You care about the details — even the ones you probably shouldn’t care so much about. It’s a one-time thing, and you want it to be perfect. So do we. You want to create an invitation inspired by your grandmother’s family crest — we’re there. You need to match the exact colour of those beautiful orchids in your bouquet — we can do it. You want to re-imagine your matching tattoos as a monogram — we’ve got this. And we’re passionate about making it right.

So yes, hiring a designer is the perfect way to avoid “that feeling” and to ensure that your invitation is the perfect reflection of the reason you crazy kids are doing this thing anyway — your totally one-of-a-kind love.

Thank you Sarah! Check out Hip Ink on WeddingInviteLove, or head straight to the Hip Ink’s website to order a custom invitation directly from Sarah!

Photo credit: Faye & Co. on WeddingInviteLove.