The Ultimate Guide To Newly Engaged Couples

The Ultimate Guide To Newly Engaged Couples


There’s no two ways about it: getting engaged is big news. You’re marrying the love of your life and making plans for an exciting future together. Before you know it, you’ll have family and friends asking questions about the big day – often before you’ve even had a chance to pop the Champagne! Read on to discover how wedding-industry experts advise you to begin

Congratulations! We love a Christmas proposal and we hope you’ve got a ring on your finger that you adore. But that’s the easy part!

While planning a wedding is a fun task, it’s also hard work. So, before friends and family start asking you how you envision your day (trust us, they might even ask before you’ve clinked those celebratory glasses), check out what wedding-industry experts advise you to do in order to get your dream day off the ground, in eight simple steps.

Announce the news. Wedding day.

Announce the news

Whether you called your parents moments after you said yes or chose to enjoy the newly engaged bubble alone for a while, letting everyone know you’re engaged is an important next step. “Many couples send out an engagement announcement,” explains Vaishali Shah from Ananya Cards. “I think it’s especially lovely when they include a photo of the proposal!” You might prefer to bypass the cards and just post an engagement selfie on Facebook and Instagram – just be weary that not everyone is on social media so you may want to let close relatives and friends know privately before you go public.

Host a party.

Host a party

Traditionally, engagement parties were hosted by the bride’s parents to celebrate news of the happy couple’s forthcoming wedding. Today, many couples choose to host their own, giving them free rein on how, where and when they celebrate. It could be as simple as a barbecue, as elegant as a garden party or as glam as an evening of dinner and dancing in a country house – the choice is yours. It’s also a great way to practise the art of party planning on a smaller scale, before the infamous wedmin begins…

Choose a date and book your venue

Choose a date and book your venue

Booking your venue is typically the first planning step couples take – this gives you a time, date and location to make all your plans around. But there’s a lot to consider to find the perfect setting for you. “Think about the number of guests you’ll have, your budget and what time of year you’d like to get married,” suggests Wedding & Events Manager at The Bingham, Amy Braund. “There is no point looking at a venue that can only hold 60 guests if you’ve got 100 to invite.”

Send out your Save the Dates

Send out your Save the Dates

“Send out Save the Date cards once you’ve booked your venue and know the date of the wedding – especially if you’re getting married in the summer or at Christmas,” advises Vaishali. “You can give as much or little information as you like. Date and location are key, but if you already know it will be a certain type of celebration, a destination wedding, for example, let your guests know now.”

choose your bridesmaids
choose your bridesmaids

Choose your bridesmaids

Wedding planning is a bit like a rollercoaster ride. There’ll be highs when you find your dream dress, lows when you discover a supplier is fully booked and, in the end, you’ll probably wish you could relive the whole process again (even if you don’t think that at the time)! Who better to ride those emotions with you than your best friends? Choosing your bridesmaids early on means you’ll have their support throughout. “You could ask your best girls to be your bridesmaids with a scented candle featuring an engraved cover that says ‘will you be my bridesmaid?’, gifted to them as a surprise,” suggests Champagne and Flamingos’ Jane Helliwell.

Start thinking about your wedding styling and themes

Start thinking about your wedding styling and themes

Weddings are at their most joyous and beautiful when they are a perfect reflection of the two of you. Everything from the the flowers to your wedding cake can reflect this. You might find it useful to start creating different boards on Pinterest so when you begin speaking to suppliers, they have a visual point of reference. You’ll soon start to see your favourite trends emerging – even if you hadn’t realised. “A great cake designer will pull out little bits of this and design you a beautiful wedding cake that tells a story of you both and your special day”, says cake designer Suzanne Thorp from The Frostery.

Book a wedding dress appointment

Book a wedding dress appointment

You may already know exactly what you want or have absolutely no idea. Fear not, the earlier you start, the less stressful wedding dress shopping will be. Maria Yiannikaris from Mirror Mirror wishes everyone would plan ahead as much as possible. “We’re living in an Amazon world, where we all think we can just click ‘buy’ and it’ll be delivered the next day by drone! But gowns, whether they’re bespoke or made-to-measure take a lot of care and time to create. We think purchasing a dress eight months in advance is ideal – to allow fittings and alterations to take place without a lot of last-minute stress”. 

Once you’ve booked your first appointment, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of what you like and don’t like. Remember, it’s true what everyone says about keeping an open-mind. “Listen to the advice of the person that’s leading the appointment; they know what they’re doing and, quite often, you’ll be surprised by what you end up with”, advises Katherine Radford at Suzanne Neville.

Step up a gift list

Step up a gift list

One of the great perks of throwing a wedding is all the presents you’ll receive. If you want to give your guests a helping hand, it’s a good idea to set up a gift list. “It’s great to start thinking about your gift list nice and early. Start thinking about the items you have always wished for, and items you already own that you might like to replace as you wedding list is the perfect time to upgrade your home”, says Georgie Evans from The Wedding Present Co. You’ll want to ensure the details of any gift lists are set up before you design your wedding invitations so all the info can be included.

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How Much Do Wedding Invitations Cost?

Wedding Invitations Near Me

Need to send out invitations for your wedding day, but no idea where to start and how much to spend? This informative guide by an industry expert is here to help.

Sondra from The Silver Letter, an award-winning, Los Angeles-based luxury stationery design studio, talks us through the ins and outs of wedding invitations.

You’ve got your ring, the wedding date is decided, and the venue is booked. The wedding of your dreams is happening! So, what next? Well, at the top of your to-do list should be wedding invitations. 

This first glimpse into your big day sets the scene of what guests can expect from your special day. No matter your budget (there’s a stationer for budgets high and low), a great designer will help you create the perfect window into to your wedding day.

Do I have to send wedding invitations?

Do I have to send wedding invitations?

First things first: why are you spending money on stationery?

“An invitation is a super-important part of your wedding-planning process,” says Kendra from Sunnyvale Invites. “It is the communicator; the way that all your guests learn about your wedding – not only the date, time and location, but it’ll also give them a glimpse of the vibe of your day. 

“An invitation can portray a theme, and give clues as to what kind of day guests can expect.

Stationer Sandy Morris also makes a wonderful point: 

“I have three special mementos from my wedding: my dress, my photographs and an invitation. Things you can touch are incredibly powerful in recalling memories from the past.

” Your wedding isn’t an ordinary occasion, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, and sending invitations reflects that significance to your guests.

Sanjay from Nati’s Creative explains: 

“In this day and age, with so much technology at our fingertips, the excitement of receiving post is so easily lost. I want to help couples bring that excitement back for their guests.”

How much of my budget should I allocate to wedding invitations?

How much of my budget should I allocate to wedding invitations?

The amount you should be spending on invitations is very dependent on your total wedding budget. 

To give you an idea, though, the US Wedding Stationery Collective (USWSC) suggests you should be putting aside around at least 5% of your total budget on stationery – this includes your invitation suite and items for the actual day, such as place cards, menus and table plans.

For example, for an ‘average’ $30,000-budget wedding, you could put $1,500 of it to one side for invites. If you love stationery, then I always suggest you steal some more of your budget from the things you don’t love so much. Loathe it? Do the reverse. There are no hard-and-fast rules.

What goes into the cost of invitations?

What goes into the cost of invitations? 

Like most things wedding, how much invitations cost is really a case of ‘how long is a piece of string?’ – or perhaps, in this case, ribbon! To give you a rough, ready and realistic idea, the USWSC put together some guidelines based on an average 60 sets, which include invites and RSVPs.

If you’re looking for no special finishes and an off-the-shelf design? Budget for around $250 or over.

Want off the shelf with hot foil, letterpress, calligraphy or any other special finishes? You’ll need to allocate $500+.

Or, if you’d love something entirely bespoke with all the bells and whistles, you’ll be looking at spending around $1000 and over.

As an example, Anita Wilson of Anita Wilson Designs says, “for a bespoke illustrated suite with hot foil, on average, my brides spend around $2,500 on all stationery and save the dates, as well as stationery on the day. This often works out as 7% of their total budget.”

Why so expensive? Those special finishes are labour-intensive to create and take a lot of expertise, materials and time.

Martin at Collie Studio explains it well:

Pinterest and Instagram are awash with calligraphy and, because it’s everywhere, we’re fooled into thinking it’s easily attainable.

“However, calligraphy can be back-breaking work, especially if you’ve spent hours on end churning out gorgeous lettering. The amount of work doesn’t decrease like with printing, as each new piece must be put through its own individual set-up process. If a mistake is made, the process must be started again from scratch. Most calligraphers won’t calligraph 100 copies of your invitation by hand for this reason and, if they do, expect to pay a lot!”

Be wary of what you see on Pinterest

Be wary of what you see on Pinterest

Pinterest – the haven for all brides-to-be, but often a stationers worst enemy! Those beautiful Pinterest invitations have often been created exclusively for a photo shoot, using seriously advanced methods, which are unrealistic for most couples (in budget terms) to recreate for their wedding. 

What this means is that, while we absolutely can replicate something for you, you probably aren’t going to like it when we quote you in the $1000’s for those hand-painted, foiled, letter-pressed, gold-leafed, all-bells-and-whistles invitations. A better alternative is to use those photos purely as inspiration, and the results can often be even more beautiful.

Where to splurge and where to save

Where to splurge and where to save

I advise all my clients to focus on the invitation – the star of your paper show. This is especially important when it comes to spending on Save the Dates. It’s very tempting to spend big early on in your wedding planning, but wedding costs tend to pile up quickly. I have many a client blow the budget on a hot-foiled Save the Date and then have to reign it in later on with the invitation. 

I also love to suggest you mix and match your finishes. If, for example, you love hot foil, use it on your invite and keep the rest of the suite simple. You most certainly do not need a hot-foiled RSVP (however beautiful) and it’s going to end up back on your doormat in no time. 

Costs racking up and need to save somewhere? Wedding websites are becoming more popular and are an inexpensive way of giving your guests more information. Most stationers are more than happy to add your website to your invitation to direct your guests to RSVP.

Each wedding is as individual as the couple but, no matter what you do, an invitation with your wedding details is always essential.

Stationery for your wedding day

Stationery for your wedding day

How about on the day itself? This depends on your set up, but if your guests have allocated seating then you’ll certainly need a table plan. This can be on a traditional board – or you can do something more inventive.

“One of the main reasons for starting our table plan flag line was so that couples had something that was more realistic as a keepsake,” says Molly, one half of Blue Mansion Weddings. “A1l table plan boards can look pretty, but once they’ve served their purpose, they might get shifted around the garage for a bit and then inevitably make their way to the bin. We’ve had customers repurpose their flags into smaller hangings that are perfect for display in the home. One couple even repurposed theirs into a cushion cover for their first child’s nursery. Wedding keepsake goals right there!”

With designated seating, don’t forget place cards (combining this with a favour is also a great option). Laura at True Wonder Calligraphy advises “using something like agate for your place card. This is a great way to save some money and your guests get to keep a beautiful personalised keepsake from your wedding.”

Having a church wedding? An Order of Service is essential. The contents will often be dictated by your vicar, but the design is largely up to you.

Calligraphy invitations near me

Get Searching

So, stationery – love it or loathe it – is next on your planning list! Hopefully we’ve armed you with some insider knowledge on how to make stationery decisions all that much easier!

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Shabby Chic Wedding Theme Inspiration

shabby chic wedding ideas

Shabby chic is a term that is floated about quite a lot in the weddings world, but it is often an area that is difficult to define as it blurs the line between vintage and rustic. Put simply, shabby chic is a gorgeous theme that incorporates a slightly worn, home-made feel into any décor for an effortlessly stylish look.

If you’re thinking of including shabby chic elements in your big day then extra wedding points to you, as one of the key wedding trends for 2018 is all about the use of weathered materials and natural elements in the décor.

If you’re stuck for inspiration then read on, as we’ve got 17 shabby chic wedding ideas that are sure to turn any wedding décor from drab to fab.

Shabby Chic Invites

The shabby chic theme and wedding invitations are two things that go hand in hand, seeing as it’s super easy to convey the look this way. Brown card, string, rough edges and swatches of contrasting materials and prints are all great ways to achieve the look if you’re making the invites yourself.

To prevent your shabby chic wedding invitations from looking too ‘scruffy’, make sure that your invite fonts are neat and tidy to highlight the formality and importance of the occasion.

We love this invite from Eaton Cards and Stationery, which completely nails the shabby chic look.

Shabby chic wedding invitations
Shabby chic wedding invitations

Signs

Signs are a great way to inject character and personalization into your wedding day. If your wedding reception is outdoors then direct your guests with rustic wooden wedding signs like this one here – extra points for the pops of color and quirky hanging letters!

Shabby chic wedding signs
Shabby chic wedding signs

Image Credit: Trenderway Farm

Chalkboard signs demonstrate shabby chic wonderfully and are a sure fire way to grab your guests’ attention. We love this vintage style photo booth sign from Wedding in a Teacup, which is super easy to hang up around your venue.

Shabby chic wedding signs
Shabby chic wedding signs

Frames

Romantic quotes are an easy peasy yet sentimental way to beautify your décor. For a great shabby chic wedding idea, choose a framed quote on a hessian print or neutral colored canvas like this customised one from Etsy. Adding the names or initials of you and your partner is also a great way to personalise your wedding.

Shabby chic wedding frames
Shabby chic wedding frames

Image Credit: Etsy

A Vintage Trunk

We love vintage inspired wedding décor and older items that have a distressed or worn look about them are perfect for a shabby chic theme. Got any old suitcases or trunks lying around at home? If so, then these would be an excellent way to collect cards and gifts from your guests.

This world map suitcase from Not on the High Street would also be ideal for this job, or you could just use it just as a decoration if you’re planning a travel themed wedding. We also love the addition of DIY luggage tag bunting to the case.

Shabby chic wedding vintage trunk
Shabby chic wedding vintage trunk

Image Credit: The Wedding Of My Dreams at Not on the High Street

Birdcages

Birdcages are a very popular accessory for wedding receptions as they can be used in so many different ways. Our favourite idea is a large, distressed looking birdcage that is transformed once filled with lots of fresh, seasonal wedding flowers. Voila – shabby chic centrepiece sorted!

Shabby chic wedding birdcages
Shabby chic wedding birdcages

Order of the Day

Make the schedule of the day fun by writing it out on a chalkboard for a personal touch. The handwritten element is a cute touch and makes the proceedings feel less formal.

Shabby chic wedding chalkboard
Shabby chic wedding chalkboard

Image Credit: Winters Barns

Flowers

Continue the shabby chic wedding theme into your flowers and opt for a posy wedding bouquet filled with lots of lovely dusky-colored roses that are fully open. Amnesia roses have a gorgeously faded pink and purple hue that would be perfect for a bouquet like this.

Shabby chic wedding flowers
Shabby chic wedding flowers

Image Credit: Rhubarb and Bramley

Instead of recycling old bottles, clean them and keep them for your reception flowers instead! Lime bottles like these contrast well with some bold summer wedding flowers.

Shabby chic wedding flowers
Shabby chic wedding flowers

Get creative with your wedding flowers and display them in any old item that you can get your hands on. Baskets, weathered metal buckets, boxes, jars, draws and bird cages are all super inventive ways to display your wedding blooms.

Oh and did we mention that china tea cups are also a great way to display flowers? Read on to find out more ways to make tea cups part of your shabby chic décor.

Shabby chic wedding flowers
Shabby chic wedding flowers

Teapots

As mentioned before, old china teapots and tea cups with ditsy floral prints are a whimsical alternative to an ordinary vase.

Another key wedding trend that looks set to go big in 2016 and beyond is the inclusion of quirky Alice in Wonderland inspired details, so if you’re hosting a tea party reception then tea cups being used for anything except drinking tea would be a fitting, surreal element!

For more shabby chic wedding ideas, you could add name tags to the tea cups so that they become cute place holders for guests, or perhaps you may want to use them to hold sweet treats at a dessert table.

Shabby chic wedding teapots
Shabby chic wedding teapots

Image Credit: Susan Renee Photography

Jars

If your budget is limited when it comes to planning your reception then fear not, as there are loads of ways to do shabby chic décor on the cheap.

Keep a stash of clear jars in the lead up to the wedding (they’re also fairly cheap to buy in most home stores) and fill them with things such as beads, flowers, stones, flowers for super easy DIY wedding centrepieces.

We love these seaside appropriate jars which are a great beach wedding idea. The same idea could be applied to any style of wedding – simply fill the jars with items that highlight the theme.

Shabby chic wedding jars
Shabby chic wedding jars

These adorable jars from Not on the High Street have a lovely homemade look about them with their checked ribbon. Fill them with candles and scatter around your venue for instantly romantic lighting.

Shabby chic wedding jars
Shabby chic wedding jars

Image Credit: The Contemporary Home at Not on the High Street

Hessian Details

Hessian, also known as burlap, is a great material to use if you’re searching for shabby chic wedding ideas. There are many ways to include it in your décor, just be careful you don’t overuse it and alternate it with other colors so that it doesn’t overpower your theme.

A simple way to include hessian in your wedding is by using it for the table runners or perhaps even as a chair decoration.

Shabby chic wedding chair decoration
Shabby chic wedding chair decoration

Image Credit: Pennine Manor

Bunting

DIY bunting that looks a little frayed and unfinished is the perfect way to do shabby chic. This cake, photographed by Imaging by Susanne, ticks off two elements of the trend with the use of a mini bunting cake topper and burlap ribbon.

Shabby chic wedding bunting
Shabby chic wedding bunting

Homemade Favors

If you’re having a shabby chic themed wedding with DIY style elements then it’s only right that you treat your guests to appropriate favors! Think homemade delicacies such as mini pots of jam with frayed, fabric lids and biscuits presented in antique, retro style tins.

This one is worth putting the time into as your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to and will enjoy tucking into these amazing wedding favors!

Shabby chic wedding favors and jars
Shabby chic wedding favors and jars

Table Numbers and Placeholders

When it comes to the table numbers, think along the same lines as the wedding invitations and look for stationery in neutral colors with little vintage illustrations.

Shabby chic wedding placeholders
Shabby chic wedding placeholders

Image Credit: Nina Thomas Studio

Reuse the chalkboard idea again for your table numbers. Choose boards with colorful frames that are suitable for your color scheme. We also love the addition of a mini globe in this particular table set up – extra shabby chic points!

Shabby chic wedding chalkboard
Shabby chic wedding chalkboard

These metal heart table number holders from Wedding in a Teacup are the perfect embodiment of shabby chic. Place them in vases, birdcages or any other centerpiece that you can think of.

Shabby chic wedding placeholders
Shabby chic wedding placeholders

Table Plan

The table plan doesn’t have to be boring, draw your guests attention with this quirky wire table plan holder from Wedding in a Teacup. The wire board also comes with six bird pegs so that you can attach your own stationery – we like how it’s been styled here with a travel theme in mind.

Shabby chic wedding table plan
Shabby chic wedding table plan

Wooden Tables

Sometimes the unfinished, natural look can really pull together your wedding décor. Rather than a fussy, formal tablecloth, ask your venue for long wooden tables that are left bare. Don’t go overboard on wedding table decorations here, simply add small arrangements of fresh flowers along with your table numbers and placeholders. 

Shabby chic wedding tables
Shabby chic wedding tables

Image Credit: Pedro Portela Photography

This marquee set up is pure shabby chic perfection! We love everything about it from the long wooden tables and chairs right down to the multi-colored pastel bunting.

Shabby chic wedding tables
Shabby chic wedding tables

Image Credit: Monks Withecombe

Antique Details

Your venue may be able to provide well used antique items or furnishings that can be used as part of your décor. If not, go treasure hunting on sites like Gumtree and eBay if you’re willing to part with the cash.

At Holly and Iain’s real wedding, they used old books, teacups and jam jars in their décor and also provided this vintage typewriter which Holly found in her dad’s shed! This gave guests a unique and special way to leave their messages for the couple.

Shabby chic wedding Antique Details
Shabby chic wedding Antique Details

Image Credit: King Studios Photography

Lanterns

We love these little silver lanterns from Wedding in a Teacup. The distressed metal look is so on trend right now, plus metallics are becoming a very popular color scheme.

Hang these up outside the venue for gorgeous mood lighting when the sun sets, or you could hand them out to your guests as candle wedding favours – put scented ones in for an extra special touch.

Shabby chic wedding lanterns
Shabby chic wedding lanterns

If you love these shabby chic wedding ideas, then check out our round up of 50 vintage wedding ideas which are full of more amazing inspiration.

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Save The Date Wedding Ideas

Wedding Invitation Services

As a wedding schedule comes to be so hectic, movement of loved ones and neighbors to more remote places, planning a marriage ceremony becomes more elaborate. Input the save the date and a myriad of creations and shop the date recommendations that facilitate the selection.

What do we mean by “save-the-date”? “Save-the-date” is a card (or a magnet or other marker) that serves as an announcement that the wedding takes place and makes it possible for visitors to know when to be available on their calendars. But in addition to sharing essential information, couples even can be more creative about setting reminders.

Mostly, if you want to attract guests to your wedding, you need to work on the graphics and printing of the card. Here are few ideas based on the graphics and printing of save-the-date cards

A BLACK AND WHITE GRAPHICS PICTURE 

A daring photograph of save-the-date has its words combined with elegant and tactile letterings. A further enjoyable function of this type of card is that you can customize the back with portraits, details about hotels, your “the way we met” story or something distinct that you simply think is worth it!

A CITY PORTRAIT 

Entice guests to your vacation spot with a fun illustration. Inventive words add a smart touch to your advertisement.

A CALLIGRAPHY MADE WITH WATERCOLOR 

Quite excellent, right? The blend of beautiful writings in delicate pastel colors (or the alternative of colors) is so fun that family and acquaintances do not wish to strip it from their fridges when they paste it.

AN EVENT LIST GRAPHIC PICTURE

Align the love events between you and your lover with this clever method and show the quality moments of your relationship from the primary date to the date you say “sure, I want to.” After finishing your story, complete the design by manipulating the color (show the color scheme of your wedding).

A TAG MAGNET

This save-the-date is controlled by the use of an image that has a lasting vigor, it magnets! Ask your guests to provide their calendars with a sticky label which glues to all the surfaces of the fridges and the computers.

USAGE OF CURRENT PICTURE STYLE 

Pictures of engagement are best for registering your save-the-date. Exhibit your cool shot with this traditional picture card with a vivid, clean date.

AN ARTISTIC IMAGE

The principal details are the focus, intelligence in picking a cool image design. An identical decoration can be used to indicate a return oration in your letters.

A MARKER INVOLVING THE USE OF LETTERS

Ask your buddies and household to mark the date with this marker. A border with watermarks, flowered fringes, and deep crimson ink offers a contemporary Victorian atmosphere.

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