For starters, let me tell you what I am referring to when I say "stationery". First, you may have noticed it is spelled stationery and not stationary. Not that it matters, but just saying, so hopefully vendors will stop offering wedding "stationary" ;).
For stationery we refer to: the wedding invitations, of course, save the dates, and what is needed for the day itself, such as menus, programs, gift tags, order of service, table numbers, place, escort or name cards and thank you cards, which are usually sent after the wedding.
When you choose a printed design on your invitations, the coordination is pretty straight forward: You ask your professional stationer to simply carry on the design or part thereof, on all the cards and stationery you choose to purchase.
It is important that you choose a flexible vendor, who will not impose an invitation pack, instead of giving you the option to buy only the products you need. This will save you money by not having to pay for items not needed. For example, if you have a buffet dinner, you are not likely to need place cards, but still, you may choose to have a few menus printed, in order to inform your guests of their food choices. The choice should be yours. You should also have the choice of how each item should be decorated. You may want to have very pretty thank you cards and a simple rsvp, since it will come back to you in the mail.
Crafted wedding invitations, with more elements or materials, can be trickier to coordinate. There are more options and the prices can vary significantly. For example, if you have a hessian and lace invitation with a pearl brooch, with all the details printed on matt card, and everything wrapped with twine.... what elements do you combine? Do you use all elements for all products ordered? Do you use just some? Or do you simply stick to the base card for each item? The choice should ultimately be yours.
You can put the lot on all pieces: place cards, menus, programs, table numbers, thank you cards, gift tags, etc. However, it may look a bit over-the-top, without mentioning it could also be a budget buster. For some weddings, it may be perfect, while for others it may be better to use less of the common elements.
By using between 1-3 elements on each category of product it is still easy to identify a coordinated stationery group and decorating theme. To illustrate once more, you may choose hessian for the table numbers, just a twine around the place cards, and perhaps twine and an acrylic pearl on both.
One basic way of coordinating is to have all the stationery printed on the same type of paper and to use the same fonts throughout. Style, colours, shapes and the addition or removal of embellishments can then be used to create a uniqueness for each item. As long as your guest can identify elements in common among all the stationery: same font, same paper, or/ and some of the same elements, your wedding stationery will be well coordinated.
The images above show a well coordinated stationery set, where the only elements carried through the entire set were the natural card that was printed upon and the fonts used. You may choose to have the handmade or specialty paper featured on the menus and table numbers, but perhaps your table is getting busy, and the names cards can be printed just using the pain base card. it can also happen the their way: some venues may not offer chair sashes or colour other then white for table clothes and decorations.... In that case you man want add a bit of colour, bling or accents to the stationery shown at the table: i.e ribbon or bling on place cards, menus, table numbers or just on some and not on others. The choice is yours and the best person to help here, is your wedding planner or the reception organiser to discuss what elements you will have on the reception and have a better idea of what you need in terms of stationery on the day..
We all would like to know how to have the wedding dress of your dreams, and not pay 5 figures for one night's wear, right? It requires time, a bit of thought, and research. With prices as low as $500 for a wedding dress and beautiful photos all over the internet, the option of buying online is pretty tempting, However, like everything else, you need to consider the pros and cons before making this decision.
Same as us, you have probably heard plenty of stories over the years. Sometimes it goes great, with over the moon results. Sometimes it finishes in lots of tears. Hundreds of tales of poor workmanship, ill fitting dresses, or simply receiving the wrong design. Brides searching frantically for a local dress vendor, at the last moment, to try to fix or adjust the dress. I guess this situation can happen with anything bought online. Without seeing, trying, or measuring it first, there's always a risk.... but the wedding dress can't just go wrong, can it?
If you're thinking of buying your wedding dress online then it's important to do your research. Below are a few tips that might help,
1/ Know whether the dress you're buying is used, off-the-shelf or custom made, and try to buy a style where it won't matter too much if your measurements aren't exact. (Basically, the more fitted the dress, the more exact the measures needed.)
2/ Make sure you know where the dress is being shipped from. Some sites that appear to be Australian or US based are Chinese companies. Take particular caution if buying on eBay, where this information can be even harder to ascertain.
3/ If buying from overseas, make sure you know the drill when it comes to refund or fix-it policies. You won't be protected under Australian (or United States or other country as applicable) consumer law if you buy from off-shore.
4/ Try to find out where the dress is made. Many Australian based retailers are just reselling Chinese made dresses. At least though, you'll have the protection of Aussie consumer law and the seller will presumably have checked the dress for quality before offering it for sale.
5/ Regardless of whether you buy your dress online, or from an overseas or Australian supplier, write down your body measurements at the time of purchase, and take a screenshot of the ones you submitted to your vendor. You wonder why...?Often brides try to loose weigh or get toned at the gym before the big day, and you may change your body shape over the months close to the wedding. If that's the case, and you bought your dress slightly bigger than needed, you may be able to find a local vendor to adjust it and make it fit. Losing weight can be great, but maybe not so much when buying a dress online.....and it's definitely not the vendor's fault. However, in other situations it could be, so writing down the measurements can help with certain disagreements. We have heard through our clients that some local suppliers buy their dresses overseas. No surprise or issue there... But sometimes they also receive the wrong size from their manufacturers, and try to convince you that your measurements have changed. Its not good at all., and hopefully is a very small minority of stores. Either way, write down your measurements and take a photo of the ones you submit to them. Online or not, if bought from an Australian business, you are at least protected by the Australian Consumer Law.
6/ Have realistic expectations. When you buy locally in person, you have several fittings for the dress to ensure it's comfortable and hangs properly. You miss out on this when you buy online and the maker has to simply go by the measurements you provide.
7/ Talk to others, read reviews before purchasing or read online about other people's experiences with buying dresses online. You'll gain valuable insight into the process and may save yourself money and more importantly, heartache.
8/ Allow yourself plenty of time. Whilst your body may change if training or dieting, it is best to know well in advance what you are getting. That way, if the dress is not what you expected, you can always purchase a second dress locally..
Designing Your Wedding Invitations - The Basics
When designing your wedding invitations it’s a good idea to keep a few things top of mind. If you do, you’re likely to spend less money, waste less time and get a lot more enjoyment out of the process.
So what should you keep top of mind?
Your wedding theme and colours.
These will be paramount in the design. Your invitations should be a prelude to the event and give your guests guidance as to how to dress for the occasion. Formal weddings should have structured style invitations, using formal wording. A more casual wedding should have a more casual design and can use less formal wording.
Your wedding budget.
Disregard this advice at your peril. Whilst you don’t need to spend huge amounts on your invitations, there are some things that just can’t be done cheaply. Enlist the help of a professional to advise you on costs for certain printing methods and embellishments. They can be a big help to keep you on budget.
Your skill set and available equipment.
Do you have the necessary skills to do a good job yourself and, even if you do, do you have access to the right equipment? Should you be hiring a professional? What about an in-between option, where the pros do the design, layout, printing and cutting and you just do the assembly? Choose the option that best suits your skills and the equipment you have available. Buying equipment just to make your invitations is highly unlikely to save you money!
How far away is the wedding date? Do you have time between work and other commitments, to make the invitations yourself? Can you enlist unpaid help from others? Are there other options that will save you time?
Will you be happy with something that’s not quite perfect for your wedding day? It might seem strange that this is here, but it’s important and ties in with the budget and skill set points above. In other words, how fussy are you? Proper professionals guarantee the quality of their work, whereas many small operators won't. Beware the price that seems too good to be true. More and more invitation makers are reselling services out of China, India or other Asian countries where the labour is cheap. They don't offer any guarantees on the invitations and they are often made from poor quality materials and slapped together with little care, since the workers' wage is dependent upon output quantity, not quality. Check for independent feedback and ratings, like on Facebook or Google Plus or awards like the ABIA (Australian Bridal Industry Academy), where the brides votes, not an industry body.
What’s the next step?
How about browsing? Have a good look on the internet, through magazines, bridal expos and at anything you’ve received and kept aside. Try to pick out elements that you like about certain invitations. Some have ribbon, some lace, some pearls and others rhinestones. Some are flat, some fold, some have fancy papers and others are made using fabric. Some have pictorial elements printed, some just plain text. The list is endless, so if you can narrow down the things you like about an invitation, it will help when deciding what to incorporate into yours. Check prices during this process so you have an idea of the differences in costs and what elements add significantly to the price and which ones don't. Many suppliers charge fees for altering designs, yet there are others that do not.
Get some samples.
Many invitation suppliers will sell you samples at the unit price. They won’t have your details printed on them, but you’ll be able to see if you really like the invitation, the quality of the printing and construction and the real colours. If you’re intending the make them yourself, you’ll be able to see how they’re put together by a professional, although the techniques used and quality of construction does vary greatly among invitation makers.
Make a choice.
At some point you have to stop browsing and start making decisions. Deciding between handmade or just printed wedding invitations could be a major turning point. Choosing a supplier you feel you can trust to do a good job might also be a major step. Any decent invitation maker will have a phone number that you can call, so why not have a chat with the ones you're considering. It may become obvious which one you should use once you speak with them.
Ask about colours.
Most wedding invitations that you’ll see will be displayed in a certain colour, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done in other colours. Find out if the elements that make the invitation are available in other colours. For a Gothic wedding you may like black lace, but all the lace invitations seem to feature white or ivory, so ask the question.
Play around with things.
Meet with an invitation designer or go to a DIY shop and grab the bits and pieces you like and try putting them together into a design you like. Don’t worry about the printing too much at this stage. This is about getting the card and embellishments together into a package that you think looks good and is in sync with your wedding theme and colours.
Printed design elements.
Photos and other pictorial elements should only be used where appropriate. If you’ve chosen a handmade design, the printed elements should be kept simple. Add a monogram, drawn graphic or faded background picture if required. Just keep in mind that with handmade invitations, it’s usually the paper and embellishments that are the stars, so you shouldn’t try to outshine them with the printed bits. Fonts, layout and wording are important. Formal events should have formal wording and fonts. Casual affairs can have something more light and fun.
Who will make the invitations?
Labour takes time and time costs money. If you are having the invitations made professionally, expect to pay more for handmade ones. The more elements that are combined to produce the invitations, the more labour it will take and the more it will cost. If you don’t want to spend the money and don’t have the time or skills yourself, you may need to reconsider your design. Remember that point about your attitude above? Don’t get frustrated when a professional wants to charge for their product and service and it’s outside of your budget. It’s not their fault you’ve chosen something above your budget or ability to make yourself.
If you managed to check off all the above items, it’s time to get your invitations made. If you’ve decided to DIY, make sure you have all the equipment handy. Above all, relax and have fun!
Booking your honeymoon is often the last item on the wedding ‘to do’ list. Take the hassle, worry and risk out of the planning and get a honeymoon expert to plan and book your holiday for you. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and you don’t want to risk something going away. But to ensure you get the dream honeymoon you’ve always wanted, you need to make sure you brief your travel expert correctly. We’ve put together some pointers on what you need to communicate.
1. The destination:
Make sure you aren’t vague with where you want to go. If you’ve got 4 or 5 places in mind, talk to your fiancé and settle on your top 1 or 2. A travel agent is unlikely to give you the absolute best ideas and solutions if they have to put together several itineraries.
2. The budget:
Don’t be afraid to stipulate exactly how much you’ve got to spend. This helps the agent narrow down the options and make realistic suggestions.
3. Age group:
Tell your agent your age bracket. This really makes a difference to the types of activities and resorts they will recommend.
4. Wedding date:
f you aren’t travelling within 6 months of your wedding date, you often won’t receive honeymoon benefits from the resort. Make sure you advise this date as it may affect pricing and bonuses.
Think about what you are expecting to be included within your budget, eg. Activities, tours, meal plans, room type, class of airfare. And be realistic, particularly based on the time of year you’re travelling. You’re going to get less value for your money at peak times at your destination.
This is the most important part! Tell the agent a bit about your personalities – your likes and dislikes when travelling, the types of hotels/resorts you like, do you like social environments or do you want seclusion, are you active and want adventure sports, or do you want to just de-stress and relax. This all helps form a picture for the travel expert of what sort of holiday itinerary is going to suit you the best.
Need more advice? Talk to the honeymoon experts.
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