Assembling swag bags is a great way to give you guests a gift that will remind them of your magical day. It can also be a budget buster if you’re not careful! We love scoping out the latest goodies and customizable items that can show your friends and family you really care!

Buy in bulk! Many online retailers offer discounted rates the more you purchase! Find something simple and practical you know your guests will be able to use the of, and afterwards. We love the idea of a monogrammed koozie for cold beverages during your reception. Beach wedding? How about customized flip flops to let your guests venture onto the sand! We loved how Lauren O. Couple Em and John set up rustic boxes of flats for the ladies to kick off their heels!

Wedding Favors

 

Wedding favors can be simple and thoughtful. When in doubt, personalized cards addressed to each attendee will show them how much you appreciate them being there. It’s also a great way to jot down a message in case you don’t end up having much time with each guest on your wedding day. With so much going on, you’ll be stretching your time between dancing and mingling!

 

Wedding Thank You Cards

Seasonal touches like blankets are perfect when planning and evening or Autumn wedding. Our best tip: determine your wedding favor budget and then decide one definite item to purchase. From there, price out bulk items online or at locations like Costco where you can get seasonal appropriate swag that will be function for your guests. Many retailers have discounts for buying many of one item and will offer options to fit any budget!

Wedding Favors
Until next time, happy planning!

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Photos: RyonLockhart Photography

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Congratulations! This time of year brings us full circle for our Lauren O. Brides and eagerly making consultation appointments with our newly engaged ladies. Summer love is in the air and we are inspired by the trends and wedding themes taking shape for 2018. If you just slipped the ring on your finger, you’re ready to download our Wedding Planning Checklist. On the top of the list: planning an engagement party. Who hosts? What’s the goal? Where to begin? We have all the tips you need.

Wedding Ring Engagement Ring

Depending on how you originally shared the news, friends and family are eager to celebrate and offer their advice on your wedding planning. Planning the party is a time for everyone to hug, exchange gifts, and announce any details. We recommend waiting a little bit of time before throwing the party to give yourselves time as a couple to settle in to the new engagement. Your guests will have plenty of questions, and you may want to have a footing on some of these ideas before they start asking you to dish.

Wedding Ring Engagement Ring

The where & when:

Traditionally, the bride’s family hosts a the event either for dinner at a restaurant or at their home. We always say, breaking tradition is trending! There is no problem hosting the event yourselves, or collaborating the soiree with both families. The goal stays the same: the official announcement of your wedding to be. Whether you opt for appetizers and champagne or a full dinner with evening cocktails it is important to let the night reflect your personalities. Be relaxed about it!

Wedding Ring Engagement Ring

The invites! Give your guests at least a month’s notice for the event. In the age of social media, formal invitations are not always needed for this type of event, but are traditional. The guest list typically includes the first confirmed wedding invitees, such as close friends and family, but can extend further if you decide to have a larger gathering. No formal theme is needed and can be combined with other announcements to remain casual but exciting!

Either way you spin it, just have fun! You’ll receive many “Congratulations,” and share hugs and smiles with the ones you love.

 

Until next time, happy planning!

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Photo: JC Carley for Robert Norman Photography

 

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Happy Wedding Wednesday! We are excited to announce a new segment featuring our behind the scenes blogger who recently got engaged! Michelle’s wedding story will follow the course of two years as she plans a destination wedding in Puerto Rico, where she said “Yes!” to the ring! Destination weddings have gained popularity over the last couple years to combine the nuptials into the honeymoon, and bring friends and family on a fun vacation. We have some great tips to keep in mind while planning to say “I do,” in a different country.

Puerto Rico Beach

1. Think like you’re buying a house, it’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! For example, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds married in the charming southern town of Charleston, South Carolina. Known for its southern charm they chose the beautiful Boone Hall Plantation as their wedding venue. The historic “Avenue of Oaks”, a 3/4 mile long entrance to the house nestled between live oaks planted in 1743, welcomes guests as they travel up the drive to the property.

The historic “Avenue of Oaks”, a 3/4 mile long entrance to the house nestled between live oaks planted in 1743, welcomes guests as they travel up the drive to the property. Set behind the ornate gates is a Colonial Revival plantation house and sprawling gardens original to the property. Pick the location that best allows you to take advantage of the destination’s natural beauty.

2. Get married before you go! This might sound strange but it will save you time and money. Every destination has a specific set of rules surrounding how long you must be a resident before marrying. Filing your paperwork locally will eliminate having to spend money on the front end for extra nights and costs associated with traveling to government offices. Just make sure that you don’t change your name before your trip to avoid hassles while traveling. All of your travel documents must show the same name.

3. Most resorts have a person responsible for group accommodations. However, you should also make sure they have someone available to you who specializes in weddings. Ask the resort what services their planner is able to provide, their experience with weddings, if they have relationships with reputable local vendors and if there is a designated contact person for you and your guests. Doing so will help to eliminate unforeseen expenses and save you the expense of having to hire a wedding planner at the last minute.

4. Research your destination’s weather and local calendar of events before booking your date. Many destinations experience severe weather such as hurricanes and earthquakes during certain times of the year. Before booking, check a weather almanac to see what seasonal weather patterns the destination experiences so that you are not walking into a disaster, literally. You also want to be sure that you avoid peak tourists’ seasons. A wedding in Cancun, Mexico during Spring Break is a really bad idea unless wet t-shirt contests are your thing.

Puerto Rico Landscape

5. Purchase travel insurance. I always recommend travel insurance for my brides having destination weddings and those traveling for their honeymoons. Every wedding is an investment more so if you have a destination wedding. Wedding insurance protects this investment throughout each phase of planning, travel and the event. It is best to obtain insurance from the start of your planning. The cost of your insurance policy is dependent on what is being covered; if any of your vendors are uninsured it is also in your best interest to include them in the policy as well.

6. If you are traveling to a foreign country make sure you educate yourself on their entry requirements. A passport is now required for entry into most foreign countries. Check the U.S. Government’s travel website for entry requirements and any travel alerts for your destination.

7. Be kind to your guests. Give guests lots of time to plan and pay for the trip. Secure a group rate and provide several options for accommodations at all price points so every budget has an option to consider. Also, pick a location that has a little something for each of your guests.

When researching pay close attention to excursions offered, fine dining choices, spa services and kid friendly activities if you are allowing children. Finally, if your budget allows you to do so, host a welcome dinner or a group excursion to thank your guests for traveling to your wedding. Just be careful to not pack their schedule full of activities, they want to explore too!

 

Puerto Rico Beach Engagement

 

Now, to introduce Michelle!

We asked a couple questions how she’s transitioning from being a beauty blogger to a bride-to-be. Do you feel like you already have an advantage knowing a lot about wedding planning? How is your timeline going to play out over to years? Any date?

No date yet. We’re focusing on enjoying the moment. That’s a tip I learned from the Bride Next Door! We told all our friends and family but haven’t jumped to make any major decisions yet… except for the fact we want it to be in Puerto Rico where we got engaged. Everyone we’ve talked to loves the idea and we think it’s only fair to let people save up and plan. We want it to be the ultimate vacation. We’re just too excited to start pinning down any details yet. There are so many beautiful options we want to take our time.

 

 

Stay tuned for more coming up from our Blogger To Bride. We’ll be checking in with our Bride Next Door who is finalizing her details as she counts down to being 6 months away from her wedding date!

 

Until next time, happy planning!

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We love wedding websites. In last week’s blog, we mentioned how important it is to update guests on your wedding details via your wedding website. There are many outlets to create one for your big day without an technology or coding degrees. We did a little digging on the most user friendly ways to create, and offer our advice on what to include to make your website informative and aesthetically appealing. Shout out to our graphic designer friends for some tips!

Team Photo with Laptop Lauren O Events

Don’t go overboard! Incorporate small details from your theme even if you are just selecting one or two colors. You don’t want to give away your entire wedding! Let your website be a reflection of you and your fiance as a couple. Include neutral accents and large, distinct text so no one misses a detail. Your website is meant to be a hub of information, not extra fluff on how much you love each other. Save it for the vows! You want your guests to be able to check up on the date, attire, location, lodging accommodations, directions, and anything else you think is pertinent to their attendance. You can add in some fun mentions of food or entertainment, but it’s not necessary. You know your guests better than anyone, so think of what will help them prepare for your celebration.

Wedding Website Details

Do I need one? Wedding websites are so new, technology savvy brides are kicking up their planning a notch by incorporating these websites for a creative outlet. They are meant to be fun, adding an extra element to interact with guests before the big day. We get so much mail nowadays, but everyone has access to the internet. We hate to admit it, but sometimes invitations can get shuffled in the mix. It’s helpful to have a spot people can look up details for themselves, rather than add an extra layer of stress calling with question after question.

The knot wedding website creator

Where do I start?

The Knot, WeddingWire, and many other wedding focused websites offer a free building tool to create a quick page without any knowledge of coding. If you want to practice some skills and take your website to the next level, hosting platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix allow you to choose and customize themes for more freedom and information.

 

Until next time, happy planning!

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1. Photo: Rhymes with Sky Photography Make Up: Ashley Matta
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Our Bride Next Door has been busy planning her dream wedding. With her planning timeline halfway done, we wanted to check in on where she’s at and what advice she has so far to newly engaged ladies.
Bride Next Door Wedding Planning White Board
1. What major items have you knocked off your checklist that left you with a “Phewww!” moment?
So far, we have the DJ (DJ Craig G, what whaaaat), the photographer (Rhymes with Sky), I got my dress at Everthine and have decided on the company who will print our invitations and paper goods. It feels so good to have the big things out of the way and the deposits paid but it also feels like those were the easy things. Now its the little details we are focusing on, which take a lot more brain power. And finalizing the guest list haha!
2. Do you have a theme? What vendors are you looking into?
If I had to put our wedding in a box, i’d call it Boho Chic. A mix of Boho Chic and Thrifty haha. I am trying to keep the cost down while still getting the vibe I want. Everyone who knows me know I am all over the place though, so theme has been a real challenge for me. One day I love boho, the next day I’m in Fila and the next I’m glammed out. I need to find a way to create and Alyssa themed wedding. Boho dress, Puma sneakers and my black moonstone choker lol!
We began talking to a florist who I will hire. She has been very helpful because I am not creative and need some ideas!
Bride Next Door Wedding Planning
3. What has you hung up on the guest list? Advice to newly engaged brides?
We have the guest list about 97% complete. I would say our biggest “issue” was the fact that we are having a Kid-Free wedding. We are also not handing out a lot of plus-ones. We realize this will cause a little push back and have experienced a little already. Honestly, there is one thing new brides need to just say over and over-like a mantra- IT IS YOUR DAY! It is no one else day. It is easy to lose sight of that when people have lots of opinions, or get angry about certain decisions you make but remember..it is coming out of your wallet (for us at least) and IT IS YOUR DAY! WOOSAH!
4. Save The Dates? Are you ready to make it “officially official”?
We finally decided on a design! This has been a challenge because I am not artsy and we don’t have a solid theme. We also didn’t want our picture on it. A lot goes into these- I need to have the guest list decided, I need to have an idea about the direction I want the wedding to go in a long time before the actual date. I can’t order ocean themed save the dates and decide to have a rustic themed wedding! It is just a lot. And to me, A big milestone. But design is done! All we need is the completed guest list! Next? Start collecting addresses..
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