Margarita Shower Favors

(If your name is Sarah W. stop reading now, unless you don’t care about being surprised about your shower favors.)

Everyone else, welcome to my latest adventure in creating fun, personal and inexpensive favors for a friend’s bridal shower. Sarah is a grad school friend and much of our friendship was forged while eating tacos and drinking margaritas at a local place near the University of Delaware. If you’ve been to grad school you know how important tequila can be to your survival. If you haven’t been to grad school, you may not fully understand. Anyways, we are having Sarah’s shower at a Latin restaurant in Pittsburgh PA this weekend and the margaritas will be flowing! I’m very excited about this location as it is uniquely Sarah and the food is delish. Because the location suits the Bride so well, myself and the MOH Lora wanted to be sure the invites and favors also felt like Sarah. I designed the invites using a template from WeddingPaperDivas.com and the finished favors can be seen below, read on to learn how I created them myself and just how little they cost!

A few weeks ago, I began to brainstorm about these favors and decided to give each guest a margarita magnet and a recipe card with my margarita drink recipe on it. So I went onto the internet and started to look into buying margarita magnets in bulk. To get about 30 magnets was $2 or $3 per magnet, which seemed like a lot. As I was looking at the magnets I realized they looked a lot like buttons I make at work to use for recognition for students, just with magnets on the back and not pins. I wondered to myself if I could buy buttons with magnet-backs instead of pin-backs and then use my work machine to simply press them together.  I went to our typical button supply company BadgeAMinit.com and lo and behold they do sell magnet back buttons. I was even able to find a better price with MrButton.com, so I purchased my own supplies and set out to create margarita buttons. In order to do this you would need a button press like this one (they are expensive, but if you have access to one already, supplies are reasonable, or if you would use it often it would be a good investment – fundraising as well as craft options with these things are endless):

Here are my supplies and the invite I used as inspiration.

Using simple clip art and my color printer I created these first:

I forgot to take a picture when these were in paper form, but below you’ll get to see the process start to finish. After creating the margarita magnets, I thought they looked great! At that point, I planned to write out index cards for each guest with my margarita recipe on them. I mentioned this to a coworker and she said “Can you put the recipe on a magnet?” and I thought well there’s a great idea! And I was able to format the recipe using text boxes in publisher to create these:

Next I went about making these recipes into magnets. You load the button press with the back sharp side up, then a metal disc sharp side down, then the artwork face up (like one of the recipes) and then a plastic clear disc, then simply press. The resulting button can than have a magnet simply stuck on the back. The supplies I ordered came with self-adhesive magnets but you could use a glue gun to secure them. The recipe magnets turned out great! I color coded them to showcase 4 recipes: Classic, Cadillac, Gold and Mango. Here is the result:

All my buttons are stacked up and ready to travel to Pitt!! Each guest will receive a margarita magnet as well as their choice of 1 of the 4 recipe magnets. All 50 magnets cost only $21 to create!!!  I really hope Sarah loves them as much as I do.

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The Ultimate Gettin’ Hitched Mix

I have had a “Gettin’ Hitched Mix” in my iTunes library for some time now, but recently I’ve been beefing it up to a full 4 hours+ for the getting ready process for my friend Caroline’s wedding in TN next month. I like to focus on songs about getting married or the idea of “the one.” The Bottom Line includes:

I Love You Always Forever by THE one and only Donna Lewis
Love Shack, B 52s
Various Sinatra
Love Story (pop mix), Taylor
Various Tim and Faith
Stuck Like Glue, Sugarland
My favorite Men of Country: Brad, Blake, and Dierks
Little White Church, Little Big Town
Copious amounts of John, Jason, and Train
Peppered by Natasha, Keri, and Joss
Dance tunes by Girl Talk
Hip Hop/Pop Sequence including Bruno, Usher, Beyonce, Justin, and Diddy.

Currently I’m at 56 songs aka 3.5 hours. I’m looking to get to 4 hours for sure, 5 would be spectacular. Write your suggestions in the comments below!!!

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important DATE!

Working Title: Why you need a timeline – but the other one is more catchy.

So lately I’ve been spending time preparing for my friend Caroline’s wedding in February. We grew up together in PA, and now she lives in TN with her fiance and will be married there in about 60 days (Wooohooo!!!). This past weekend we attended Caroline’s first bridal fitting and her dress fit like a glove!! Only small changes need to be made on the hem and straps and it will be good to go! We have a second fitting lined up in a month to double check things. (We also got to see the bridesmaids dresses on her friend Tracey and they look stunning as well). Following Caroline’s fitting we had a big meeting (with wine of course) to hash out her timeline details, check her photo list and generally talk shop about her BIG day.

draft of timeline from our meeting

The bulk of our time was spent on her timeline, which begins at 6:45am on a Saturday and ends at 12:45am late that night. (Can a girl get a ‘5 hour energy’ please?) In my opinion, one of the most important things to think about as you plan your wedding is the timing of the day. Especially if multiple locations and a large bridal party is involved the coordination of it all can get really complicated. Main components to consider include: locations of all events and getting ready areas (including salons and hotels), number of people involved, means of transportation, travel time from location to location, items (flowers, lighting, etc) needing to be moved or set up if any, and the order of special things happening at the reception (intros, toasts, 1st dance, cake cutting, garter/bouquet tosses, grand exit, etc.) And then there are the question to be answered: Where will the flowers be dropped off and when? When should the photographers come and where to? When will you eat? What if there is traffic? What if the limo doesn’t show? What’s plan B? Are there any last minute VIPs (close family or bridal party members) arriving the day of? Will they need to be picked up from the airport for example?

Ooof. And the list goes on. So if you don’t have a timeline for your day, it may be a good idea to start one. Basics include when you need to arrive and leave each location, include any appointments (hair/makeup/nails) and the order of things at the reception. Some are simpler than others, of course! But I don’t think you can be over prepared! Closing thought: Build in extra time. You will run a little behind at some point, and that’s ok. You can’t have a wedding without the Bride — or Groom, so don’t worry, all will wait for you, but you don’t want your guests to get too drunk while they wait for your grand entrance ;).

A Busy Wedding Guest

Currently my fridge has 4 shower invites, 3 save the date magnets, 3 save the date postcards and a photo from a wedding I went to last year. Isn’t it pretty?


So yes Wedding Season has begun! And that means lots of dates to remember, presents to wrap, errands to run, people to call, dresses to be steamed and dancing shoes to polish. I am determined this year to be a super organized wedding guest and bridesmaid. Admittedly I’m pretty organized all the time, but wedding season requires OCD level organizatoin. I’m gonna go on record and say that I use files. Every wedding I’m invited to gets a file – in it goes any save the date, invites to pre-wedding parties, receipts from gifts, travel documents if needed, and my notes on stuff I need to do for that particular wedding like alter a dress, write a speech, or make a slideshow. Usually party invites and save the dates are on the fridge until the party happens and the wedding invite arrives. I just made my master to-do list for the next few weeks this evening and it’s massive. It includes gifts needing to be ordered, RSVPs to be completed, DIY projects to complete, dresses to be altered and bachlorette parties to plan. I’ve got a lot of head of me, and it’s gonna be fun!!!

Bridesmaid Duties

Over the weekend my cousin, Bride-to-Be in October, asked me “What’s reasonable to ask of my bridesmaids?” and then yesterday a friend asked “As a maid of honor what on earth am I supposed to do?” It struck me that these two questions are rarely answered together and from both perspectives, so I thought I would take an opportunity to explain common things expected of Bridesmaids/Maids of Honor, and hopefully provide Brides with some perspective on all your Bridesmaids do for you. I hope as Brides read this they understand that while being in your wedding is truly an honor, it’s also a lot of work!

Let me start by saying that what is shared here is (as always) 100% my opinion, and is based on some research I’ve done on sites like theknot.com. Etiquette is always different depending on who you ask, so if you’re in a wedding ask your Bride what she wants. And if you’re a Bride, tell your Bridesmaids what you do and don’t expect from them. Most people can’t read minds! There are countless articles available on the net on this topic, and I would highly recommend those on theknot.com.

As a Bridesmaid, you should EXPECT to:

Buy a dress chosen by the Bride to wear on the day of the wedding. Hopefully your Bride lets you and the other BMs give some input, but she doesn’t have to. Cross your fingers and hope it’s under $200.

Host a Shower for the Bride-to-Be. All Bridesmaids should help plan and financially chip in for this, but the Maid of Honor typically runs the show and may foot more of the bill. If families are really spread out or the Bridal Party is large sometimes there are multiple showers, talk to your Bride about what she wants.

Organize a Bachlorette Party for the Bride-to-Be. Good news here is that guests usually chip in for their share. Having a per head cost stated on the invites is totally acceptable –that way guests know what they need to chip in up front and what they get for it. This could be as easy as organizing a bar tour where people pay for their own drinks and buy the Bride-to-Be drinks. Most bars and restuarants will give a package deal or drink specials to bachlorette groups.

Buy a gift for an engagement party (if there is one), the shower, and the wedding. Yes, that’s two or three gifts total. Gifts at Bachlorette parties are totally optional, and if given are usually small and more of the racy/fun variety. I’ve been asked before how much is appropriate to spend, and I don’t think there is a standard answer. You should evaluate your own lifestyle and what you can afford. Typically if you are invited to the wedding with a date, you would want to increase your gift to show it’s from two people.

Know all the wedding information inside and out. People will ask you, “Where are they registered?” “What time the ceremony starts?” “Is there an open bar?” “Where should we park?” and the list goes on. Even though all these answers may have been on the shower or wedding invitation, sometimes people just don’t read. Be patient with them. If you can’t keep it all in your head, memorize the couple’s website to refer to guests, or keep copies of invitations handy to reference.

Act as Co-Host at all wedding events. The Bride and Groom are only 2 strong, and not everyone knows each other. Help out by introducing family to friends and vice versa; look after the family of the betrothed –especially grandparents and children; take pictures; point guests toward the gift table, etc. Do not take over events planned by others, just help direct things to help it all go smoothly.

Other things a Bridesmaid MIGHT have to do…

Buy shoes chosen by the Bride to wear on the day of the wedding. Sadly, I have not found a definitive way out of this one in the past. I think suggesting that everyone wear the same color shoe, but use a pair they already have is great, but some brides just don’t go for it. It’s probably best to just go along with this one if the Bride seems set on having matching shoes. Again, cross your fingers and hope they are under $50.

Wear a certain color/style of jewelry on the day of the wedding. For example: pearls, which if you don’t already have you are doing to have to purchase. Tip: pearls from Claire’s look just fine in photos– no one will know but you.

Pay for professional hair, makeup, and/or manicure for the day of the wedding. Some Brides want everyone to be professionally made up. I’m of the opinion that if a Bride has to have this she should pay for it as a gift, but that’s just me. Tip: try to talk to your Bride about what is essential or not and if you have a friend who is good with hair and makeup who can help, instead of paying for a pro.

Carry/transport gifts from the wedding to a hotel suite or someone’s home.

Decorate the get away car and/or honeymoon suite.

Stay in the hotel the night before or night of the wedding, depending on if you traveled from afar.

Attend a Brunch the day after the wedding.

Additional duties for the Maid of Honor:

Make a Wedding Day Emergency Kit! This is serious aka not the place to slack. You need fashion tape, bandaids, deodorant, razors, q-tips, nail polish remover, clear nail polish, extra stockings (seasonal), lip gloss, tampons, safety pins, perfume, concealer, waterproof mascara, batteries (for a camera), shout wipes, bobby pins, floss, contact solution, nail clippers/nail file, mints, mouth wash, sewing kit, bottled water, granola bars or 100 cal packs, body lotion… I could go on. Try to get sample sizes, or put a few of each item in small ziplocs. Throw all of this into a cosmetic bag or a gift bag –pretty much anything with handles!

Plan and Organize the Shower for the Bride to Be. Hopefully other Bridesmaids are willing to help, both by pitching in and helping out financially, but at the end of the say the Shower is your thing. Typically all female guests invited to the wedding would be invited to a Shower, but as guestlists grow this becomes massive. I would consult your Bride about her expectations for the size, guestlist, theme, location, menu, etc. of a shower. Most Brides have a pretty clear picture of what they want. The knot also has fabulous articles on this topic, simply put in Shower on their search bar.

Write a toast (if asked by the Bride) to give at the wedding reception. Be careful with being too funny, remember grandparents are present! And it shouldn’t be any longer than you can stand to hold your glass with out your arm starting to hurt (aka 2 minutes). Traditionally the Maid of Honor’s remarks are addressed to the Groom as good wishes and tips for making his new Bride happy, but MOH’s can share a short favorite memory of the Bride or a heart felt poem or quote.

Attend wedding vendor appointments with the Bride. Give your opinion when asked, and know when to bite your tongue, haha. You know your bestie, there may be times when she doesn’t ask and she needs to hear it, but other times when you need to just Let it Be. 😉

DIY Invitations

Lately I have received more and more DIY invites to weddings. I think this can be a really wonderful way to save money and/or be more creative with your invites. There are some very beautiful, yet affordable, options out there if you shop around. Staples, Walmart and other office supply stores sell kits with invites, response cards, envelopes etc. Also sites like Etsy.com offer access to artists who can create silk screened invites or other hand made options. Or you can go serious DIY and buy paper, calligraphy pens, die cuts, paper cutter, ribbons and a unique hole puncher at craft stores like Michael’s or Joanns. I say power to you if you start from scratch!

However, when you do it yourself there are some things to think about since you as a Bride are not a stationery professional and likely haven’t done this before. Think of writing your invites like you did assignments in Elementary School– Who, What, Where, When all need to be included. Also the How is achieved with guest information cards and perhaps a listing of your website, which would serve as a back up for all this information. It’s my opinion that your website should not take the place of any event details though, unless your intention is to have a paper free wedding! (An undertaking I would love to see).

Invitation:
Usually a 5″ x 7″ish card on heavy paper announcing your marriage. Information to be included: Parents hosting, bride and groom’s names, ceremony day, date, year, time and ceremony venue including town and state. There are lots of phrasing resources on the net, so I won’t duplicate those efforts here. ***Optional: You may put on the same sheet at the bottom “Reception immediately to follow” and the place of your reception, if you don’t want to have a separate reception card.


Reception Card:
Traditionally Reception info is usually listed on a smaller card, approximately 4″ x 5,” included with the invitation. This card might say “Reception immediately to Follow” or “Dinner and Dancing” with the location information. Contrary to popular belief this is not the same as a response card. Guests will keep this card for their information.

Response Card:
This is what guests return to you with their regrets or acceptance, and perhaps their food choice. Since they are sending this back to you, it should not be the only place pertinent information is listed on their invitation, such as the the location of your reception, website, or the hotel information. I suggest discreetly numbering these cards on the back in case you can’t read someone’s handwriting. This way if an illegible card is returned to you, you can check the code # against your master guest list to tell you to whom you mailed the invitation with the corresponding number.


Accommodation Information Card:
Most Hotels these days have a prepared card they will give you when you reserve a block of rooms. These fit conveniently in with the rest of the invitation package. Or you could make small sheets on your computer with a small map on one side and hotel information as well as directions on the other. This would be your resources piece of your invitation. This could also be a nice place to put your website.


Inner Envelope:
All the items listed above go inside an inner envelope. Do not seal this envelope. On the outside, write the first names of the intended guest(s). This can be informal, for example your parents’ could say “Mom and Dad” and your friend’s could say “Liz and Guest.” This is also where single unmarried guests will take their cue on whether or not you’re inviting them with a date. So your single friend Liz’s may just say “Liz” as well.


Some of the samples I found (like the one shown above) featured a folder instead of an inner envelope, you could write on the back of this as well.

Outer Envelope:
Now you slide that envelope into this one. On the outside you’ll need neatly printed mailing addresses with formal salutations. If you have lousy handwriting like me, I recommend computer printed stick-on labels, especially the clear ones which look less obvious. Don’t forget your return address in the left corner or on the back on the envelope flap, and a cute love stamp too!

P.S. The USPS now offers custom stamps! You can upload a photo of you and your fiance, your dog with a red heart in its paws, or anything your heart desires to be made into your very own custom stamps!

Photo credits: blue and red invite, Etsy – Mwilson Shop; inkjet reception card, ehow.com; response card and accommodation card photographed by me and created by Bride Lissa Bee; and Best Occasions Invite Kit available at Walmart.

Coworker Plus Ones?

A friend asked me for advice on giving coworkers plus ones or not after reading the “Date Dilemma” post from last month. I’ve read some conflicting advice on this topic. If you look on the knot.com you can find lots of helpful guest list Q&A, so I would encourage you to look it over. I think my best advice is to assess your specific group of invited coworkers. Personally I would make this decision by asking myself a few questions…

1. How crammed is my guest list already?
2. Do I (or my spouse-to-be) know my coworkers spouses, sig. others, partners etc. well?
3. Are the majority of invited coworkers married?
4. Married or not, could my work crew all attend as a group of singles and still have fun?
5. Are there other singles being invited who they could mingle with?

If my guest list is kinda tight…I would seriously assess if the work crew could all attend as singles and have a good time together and/or with other singles. Even though some may have spouses, I likely don’t know them, so I think saying to your work friends, “Yes I would love for you to be a part of my special day, but due to my big family, I’m inviting people from the office to come stag,” is totally acceptable. Chances are all your work friends will love to hang out as a group.

If my guest list is not super tight… I would still have the above thought (no reason to spend extra cash). However if 9 out of the 10 co workers you’re inviting are married I would probably just invite all the Couples and give that one person a plus one. Seems fair.

Anytime with the singles, just decide what’s best for your event, your guest list and YOUR HEART and stick with it. I think more than anything guests notice consistency when it comes to who got invited with or without dates.