Saturday, May 31, 2008

My new fav wedding trend - Cupcakes!

If you couldn't tell by now...May has been a VERY busy month here at Simply Perfect Weddings! I haven't been able to blog much lately, but I wanted to share one of my new fav trends in weddings...cupcakes! While cupcakes are not extremely new to the industry as a whole, a growing number of brides in Pittsburgh, including several of my brides are opting for cupcakes rather than the traditional wedding cake. This past week, I had the privilege of meeting with James, co-owner of Dozen Cupcakes and Dozen Bakeshop. Dozen Bakeshop (where you'll go if you wish to have cupcakes at your wedding) is located at 3511 Butler Street in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood. The cupcakes are absolutely adorable and extremely affordable! Cupcakes are priced at $2.00 per cupcake for any flavor including design/customization. With the average wedding cake slice (basic flavors and simple design) starting at $2.50 per slice, it's easy to see where your savings begin! They offer 3 very simple package choices to make things easy on you...choose from 100, 150, or 200 cupcakes. These quantities are typically the most common in which people choose to purchase; however, there is no minimum or maximum to the number of cupcakes you purchase! The cupcakes are baked the morning of your wedding and are delivered and set up for you. They are set up in a tier shape and decorated with your choice of colored ribbon. You can even choose to have a 6" inch cake at the top of the cupcake tier to take home with you!

For more information, including their wedding photo gallery, check out the Dozen Bakeshop for yourself! Dates are booking up fast and many dates in 2009 are already booked, so your best bet is to book as early as possible!

Friday, May 9, 2008

D-I-Y Seating Cards

Our next segment in our DIY blog series is all about seating cards. Seating cards are extremely important to the reception as they provide each guest with an assigned seat for the evening. Believe it or not, guests actually appreciate seating cards. Often times guests can feel pressure about where they choose to sit if not given an assigned seat. Having seating cards allows you to place your guests at a table where they will feel most comfortable and will likely know most of the guests at their table. On a side note, seating cards are also an excellent way to continue with the theme or color scheme of your wedding.

First, let's discuss the proper etiquette when distributing seating cards:

  • It's important that every guest receive their own seating card. Even couples who are married should receive separate cards.

  • If you have someone that is bringing a date that you are not familiar with yet, writing 'and guest' is never acceptable for a seating or place card. Take the time to find out their name. It will make them feel more comfortable and appreciated.

  • The most common way to distribute seating cards is to arrange them in alphabetical order on a separate table near the entrance of the reception. Often times, at more formal occasions, a host or usher is assigned to guide guests to their seats.

  • Lastly, be sure to include a table number on each seating card to guide guests to their assigned table. Alternatively, place cards are placed at each guests seat and do NOT include a table number, as they are already "placed" in the assigned seat.

Next, let's discuss what goes into actually making seating cards:

  • Once guests have RSVP'd and a seating chart is complete, you are ready to begin creating your seating cards! I recommend using a seating card template that can easily be run through your printer and then cut out afterwards. Or, if you choose to hand write guests names, a template and a ruler will ensure that your seating cards all look similar to one another.

  • Many craft stores have numerous seating card templates to choose from, or you can do a web search and find them online. DIY Bride has wonderful wedding project templates that are free to download. Login is required for this site.

    • Seating and place cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Everything from the traditional white seating cards to chocolate boxes to seating card trees, as seen below.

    Here are some ideas to get you started:

    Images courtesy of The Knot.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Postage Rate Increase

    For those of you that do not know yet...the US Postal Service is increasing postage rates effective May 12, 2008 (next Monday). Postal rates for First Class Mail letters will increase by 1 cent; therefore, stamps will now be .42 cents. This is very important to keep in mind as the summer wedding season approaches. The upcoming months will likely be a time when most of you start to send out your invitations. Please be sure to verify that the correct postage is attached to all of your invites as the post office WILL send your invitations back to you if you are short - even by just a penny. For more information regarding the price increase, visit the USPS directly.

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    D-I-Y Ceremony Programs

    This week I wanted to do a blog series dedicated entirely to DIY (do-it-yourself) wedding projects. Today we are featuring ceremony programs - one of my favorite DIY wedding projects! If the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on paper alone for your programs makes your cringe, you're not alone! Let's face it, custom ceremony programs are expensive and often times run just as high as your invitations if you choose to order from a printing or wedding stationary company. My advice? Create them yourself at home!

    First things first, let's discuss what actually goes into a ceremony program:

    • Full names of both the bride & groom, wedding date, and the city/state where ceremony is taking place

    • Basic elements of ceremony including music selections, composers, and any performers

    • Titles of any readings, including authors and reader names

    • Wedding party members, including both sets of parents (It is also proper etiquette to list the officiant's name in this section as well)

    • Lastly, a thank you note to both sets of parents, as well as guests.

    Other items you may wish to add:

    • A memorial page honoring deceased loved ones

    • Any lyrics or poems that are especially meaningful to you

    • Information about the reception

    • Any traditions or ethnic customs that may be unfamiliar to guests

    Next, let's discuss how to create them at home:

    Paper selection is very important when deciding to create your own programs at home. You probably don't want the thin, flimsy, and practically see through paper that many churches offer for their ceremony programs, or else you would just go directly to them to create your program for you, right? However, on the other hand, you need to pay close attention to the thickness of your paper as well. If you choose a paper that is too thick, you may have difficulty running the paper through your home printer. One of my favorite papers for programs is linen card stock. This is what I used for my own wedding and I recommend to all of my clients. Paper and more is an excellent online company for ordering paper. The quality is top notch and best of all, the prices are very reasonable! For example, Bright white linen card stock #80 (8 1/2 x 11) runs $15.99 for 100 sheets. The same exact paper at Michael's runs $.79 per, if you plan to invite 200 + guests to your wedding... well, you do the math!

    Here are a few examples of relatively simple programs you can make at home:

    1. Booklet Ribbon Tied Programs - One of the easiest ways to create programs yourself. Paper and ribbon selection should match your wedding colors. Don't be afraid to try other paper colors besides white; however, do keep in mind your printer's ability to print in colors other than black. At home printers do not always print in white, so be careful when choosing dark paper colors.

    2. Ribbon Tied Programs (cont.)- Same idea as above; however, ribbon is instead placed at top of program. Some may find it easier to create this type of program rather than the booklet ribbon tied program above.

    3. Layered Program - I personally like this style a lot (although I would tie a ribbon at the top instead of the paper boarder). This isn't something you see very often, so if you are looking for uniqueness, give this one a try! This takes a little more time and skill to create this type of program, so plan ahead and start experimenting least 2-3 months in advance.

    4. Fan Programs - These are very popular for outdoor or summer weddings. Often times many churches do not have air conditioning, so these are a nice gesture to keep your guests cool while following along during your ceremony. Many websites have instructions and templates for creating these types of programs. I also have templates and instructions for this type of program, as well as all the above types. Email me if you'd like me to send you any.

    After you've decided on paper and a specific style, it's time to think about printing them. Most of the time, you can easily print your programs at home. You may go through an ink cartridge or two, but you'll save in the end! If you are not comfortable printing them at home, another option is to head to a printing shop like Kinko's. Kinko's is very reasonably priced for their printing services and the best part is most Kinko's are open 24 hours a day!

    Lastly, it's important to make a sample FIRST, before ordering large amounts of supplies for your programs. You don't want to get home with 100 + sheets of paper and 100 yards of ribbon only to realize you don't like the way they turned out. Prepare in advance and experiment with color/paper combinations and you'll be well on your way to creating your own programs at home!