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Wedding Planning Step 2: Your Preliminary Guest List

Oct 24, 2012

My fiancé Steve and I

Hello my fellow brides-to-be! I am so excited to say that Steve and I have started to plan our wedding day! After getting engaged in the summer of 2010 (right outside of the Little Things office), my fiancé and I have set our wedding date for September 21, 2013, and we found ourselves asking, “Where do we begin?” Thanks to Erica’s extremely helpful ‘Wedding Checklist’, we now have a step-by-step guide to keep us on track. We have recently chosen our wedding venue, Michael Anthony’s in Jersey City, so now we are on to the next step – planning the guest list!

There are a few questions that you and your fiancé should ask each other before making your guest list. For example, do you envision an intimate gathering with close family and friends, or a huge bash? Steve and I do not have particularly large families, and we are both on the same page about the type of wedding we would like to have – a gathering of our close family and friends.  With that being decided, we will be inviting close to 100 guests to our wedding. After you and your fiancé have decided on an approximate number of guests, you can start to discuss how the two of you will break up the guest list. Which one of you has the larger family? Which has more friends to invite?  Once you have discussed these important factors, you will be able to see which one of you may need a little more space on the guest list.

Now on to the next step– putting together a guest list! The first people you will add would of course be your immediate families. I would start out with listing your parents, grandparents, siblings and their spouses, etc. After you have listed your closest family members, you should then list your Bridal Party (+ guests) if any of your Bridal Party members are single.  A great resource to use to get started is our guest list worksheet which you can download and print.

Once these guests are listed, you and your fiancé should begin to add extended family members, co-workers, mutual friends, and college/school friends to your guest list. If you are approaching or have exceeded your approximate number of invited guests, you and your fiancé must discuss where you may be able to make some cuts to the list.

Cutting down your wedding guest list is no easy task, but in order to stay within your budget, you may need to make a few adjustments. First, I would go over the list with your fiancé, and assign each person the letter A or B. The A’s are the definite invites, and will include your immediate family and closest friends. The B’s are for the remaining guests on your list. You and your fiancé can begin to cut down the B’s by asking yourselves a few questions:  Are you close to this person? When is the last time you saw them? Would you truly be upset if they were not there to celebrate your wedding day? Once you have answered these questions for each of the B’s, you and your fiancé should be able to make some substantial cuts to your guest list.

There are several other ways to cut your final guest list. You can start by omitting high school/college friends that you do not really keep in touch with, and will probably never see again. Also, are you both working in large offices/companies? If so, don’t feel obligated to invite everyone in the office! You can eliminate all of your co-workers and business associates from your guest list, or keep it simple by inviting just your immediate supervisor(s).

Finally, don’t beat yourself up about not being able to invite everyone to your wedding. Of course in a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to cut back on any aspect of your special day – but sometimes that is just not possible (unless you’re Kim Kardashian!) No matter what, your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life, and your friends and family will be there to share it with you!

Stay tuned for next week’s installment on our wedding planning process – choosing your perfect venue!

All the best,

Kristi

Wedding Planning Checklist – Your Wedding Planning Guide

Oct 19, 2012

Are you planning a wedding?  Here at Little Things Favors, we are always “planning” a wedding.  Right now our Office Manager, Kristi, is engaged with her wedding scheduled for September 21, 2013 – so she is just in the process of starting her planning.  Our former assistant was just married this past May, and I am always daydreaming of what my perfect wedding would be like if I was to get married again!  We live, eat and breathe weddings around here.  Over coffee this morning we were just talking about non-traditional centerpieces and unique offbeat photo shoot locations. (Look for a blog on that next week!)

So when it comes to planning, we know brides have a lot of work ahead of them!  It’s a stressful but fun filled time – and it is one that every bride-to-be should enjoy without turning into a bridezilla.  However, with so many tasks your to-do-list may feel a bit overwhelming.  Where do you start?  What do you do?  What’s the first thing to plan?  How do you plan a wedding? What do you ask vendors?

With all this bridal information thrown at you, you may feel an information overload!  Don’t worry!  I’ve got you covered.  The wedding planning process is quite simple – all you need is a wedding binder and a wedding planning checklist to keep you in focus of your tasks.  “Ugh, a wedding binder?”, You may say.  (I know I said the exact same thing when someone recommended it to me).  You may not want a binder, you may choose to use color coded folders, a notebook, a journal, and online site – even an excel spreadsheet.

Use whatever method you like to use to organize your wedding – but you need this for two reasons:

  1. A place to keep your inspiration ideas.  When you visit a florist, for instance – you need to show them what you had in mind.  A binder or folder for each vendor will keep all of your ideas, photos, clippings and inspiration in one place.  Prefer to do it online?  Open a Pinterest account – but I would still encourage you to print up copies of the inspiration photos to give to your vendors so they know what you want.  They probably won’t go on your Pinterest account – but they will look at samples you physically provide.
  2. A place to keep your contracts & receipts. If you’re anything like me, you misplace receipts, contracts and slips.  A folder or binder keeps all the important documents you need in one handy place.  You truly do need something to hold your contracts – they are binding legal documents and if something God forbid should happen that affects your vendors, the only recourse you will have is to know your contracts and have copies on hand.

Now for the next steps ….

wedding planning

The budget is the very next thing you need to work on.  Ask your parents how much (if any) they can contribute or if there are certain areas of the wedding they would like to help out with.  Decide how much you and your fiancé can afford without breaking the bank.  Half that number, and that’s your ballpark figure for your reception and catering.  Once you know your budget you can ballpark out how many guests you can invite and how much per head you can spend on food.  After you have these figures you are ready to scout out reception locations.

Stay tuned, this is the beginning of the wedding planning process and we’re going to continue to blog in this series, every step of the process to help you along the way.

For this step we encourage you to print up our handy wedding planning checklists - these are 10 different printable PDF checklists that you can use to help plan your wedding.

Also be sure to print up our wedding vendor checklists - with questions for each of your vendors these are useful to have when you interview your wedding vendors.

And stay tuned – we have seating chart templates coming soon that you can download and use to help plan your reception seating.

Have a great weekend wedding planning!

- Erica & Team Little Things

Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

Oct 18, 2012

Lace Hearts Filigree Paper Cupcake Wraps

Lace Hearts Filigree Paper Cupcake Wraps

Happy National Chocolate Cupcake day!  Did you know that today we celebrate these scrumptious little morsels of sweet goodness?  We at Little Things, LOVE chocolate – we don’t need a holiday to enjoy it – any day will do to indulge in chocolate in our office.  That’s why we were delighted when we found out there is a day that we can celebrate by eating more chocolate!

Let’s face it, who doesn’t like chocolate or cupcakes?  (If you are one of the rare ones who doesn’t like either, stop reading now!)

Cupcakes are so fabulous for so many events – parties, showers and yes, even weddings.  They are simple to make, easy to decorate and fun to eat.  Just look at these gorgeous little treats – any guest would be happy to eat one of these bad boys!

If you’re not a baker, (and its ok, not everyone is) go ahead and buy a better than average cupcake mix in a grocery store (I can vouch that BJs carries delicious Ghirardelli cupcake mix and frosting that is big enough to make a batch for a party) and whip some up for your next party.  Also purchase a frosting bag kit (I personally use Wilton’s Cupcake Decorating Set) which makes it easy to pipe out your frosting like a pro.  Trust me if you can move your wrist in circles, you can make cupcakes that look exactly like these shown.  Decorate with a little sugared glitter and use something like our Lace Hearts Filigree Paper Cupcake Wraps to dress them up.  Don’t forget if you are having a formal affair like a wedding, you’ll also want to offer personalized cocktail napkins and a pretty display stand for guests to ogle over your little treats. And if you want your guests to take home one of them as their wedding favors, you also will need some pretty boxes to carry them home in such as our Cupcake Favor Boxes set.

Cupcake Favor Boxes

Cupcake Favor Boxes

Personalized Cocktail Napkins

Personalized Cocktail Napkins

Grand Display Tower for Cupcakes Love Bird Damask Design

Display Tower for Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we’re at chocolate cupcakes, I came across these mouth watering cupcakes and gorgeous cupcake display which I think is perfect for our rustic / woodland and country themed brides:

Chocolate Cupcakes & Rustic Display Stand from www.sweetopia.net

We love peanut butter and chocolate combinations and just looking at Sweetopia’s blog makes me want to go home and whip up a batch tonight.  As a matter of fact she’s got her Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing recipe listed over there as well for these cupcakes so if you’d like to try your hand at baking, these sound like a yummy way to start.

Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

Bold & Daring Bridal Ideas

Oct 9, 2012

I love when brides decide, “screw tradition – I’m gonna do this MY way,” and the result is often something that’s completely one of a kind.  I especially love when this is done with wedding gowns, bridal accessories, hair, makeup, etc.  Today many brides aren’t afraid to go for bold and daring wedding looks – here are some reoccurring ones for the modern bride.

High Necklines – This is a look that I personally would never dare to wear – I’m a V-neck tee shirt kind of girl and don’t like anything confining me like that. High necklines combined with sleeves is a look that’s a little outdated, but a halter-like cut is flattering on some women (especially those with amazingly toned shoulders and arms).

The Birdcage Veil – What once used to be something considered audacious now seems almost as common as the white wedding dress.  Now this 1920s fashion is everywhere, but can everyone pull it off?  I think with the right hairstyle, the birdcage veil can look great on anybody.  I’m a fan of it worn with simple, low updo’s – and you can’t go wrong with adding a pretty flower or a feather fascinator.

Red Lipstick – Like the birdcage veil, this is another trend that used to be considered bold and is now an everyday look.  Red lipstick is definitely not to be worn by everyone.  On the bright side, there’s a ton of different shades to try and find one that matches your skin tone, though it may not be the classic Marilyn Monroe look you were going for.

Black or Colored Wedding Dresses – Let me start off by saying I absolutely LOVE black wedding dresses and would totally consider wearing one.  But a gown that isn’t a variation of white or ivory will most definitely shock your guests. So if that’s a fashion statement that no one would ever expect of you, skip it (unless that’s what you’re going for).

Short Wedding Dresses – It’s easy to get away with wearing a short style wedding dress if you’re having an outdoor, spring or summer wedding.  Obviously short dresses are a lot more casual than a gown, so go this route if your ceremony and reception won’t be over the top.

Bold Wedding Necklaces – A recent bridal trend I”ve been seeing a lot lately is big, bold wedding necklaces.  The key to rocking an awesome necklace with any outfit is to let it be the focal point.  You can’t have a lot going on up top, or else your ensemble is going to look too crowded.  So, opt for studs or no earrings at all, a simple hairstyle and the right dress.  The best gown to pair a fancy necklace with is one that is strapless.

Tattoos – Of course, tattoos aren’t a bridal accessory or a piece of jewelry, but a part of a person.  Can every bride with a sleeve pull it off while wearing her wedding gown?  If she can rock the ink in the first place, then my answer is yes.  But for those who have tattoos that they regret, attempt to cover it with makeup.

Did you have a unique or eye-catching wedding look? We’d love to see it! And be sure to check out our selection of bridal accessories where you may find some inspiration for your special wedding ensemble!

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Wedding Planning Checklists

Oct 7, 2012

If your just starting your journey into the world of wedding planning, you may have tons of questions and not know where to begin.  If you’ve already started your guest list, have a general idea of how many people will attend and know the date you want to get married – the next step is to start interviewing your reception and ceremony locations before you start booking your vendors.

This process can be quite overwhelming – so much so that many brides become a “bitch” to their friends, family and even fiancé - or as affectionately known in the wedding industry, they become a “bridezilla”.  You can be in control and be the Boss without being bitchy, by knowing in advance exactly what you want, what you can afford and most of all, knowing the right questions to ask your vendors.

Don’t waste your time or your vendor’s time by booking an appointment and arriving without knowing what to ask or what you are looking for.  Approach every vendor with a plan in mind.  Your time is as valuable as there’s and a well prepared bride is a pleasure to work with.  Don’t be afraid to go to them with visuals of what you are looking for and an open mind to see what they have creatively designed.  And while you’re happily dreaming of your perfect wedding you may forget to ask some important questions, so show that not only you are the Bride but the Boss too, by being well prepared and printing out our 10 Wedding Vendor Checklists - consisting of vendor specific questions every bride should print out and take with them when wedding planning.

Dear Bridezilla: Reponse to the Viral Crazy Email

Oct 5, 2012

If you’re somebody who’s up to date on social media (or just opened up Yahoo! today and saw the latest news like we did here) you may have seen this:  Bridezilla’s Crazy Email to Bridesmaids Goes Viral.

The email was sent anonymously to Gawker (you can find their article and the letter in its entirety here) and is a legitimate note sent from a bride to her 10 potential bridesmaids. In the lengthy email she lets the girls know what she will be expecting of them if they agree to be in her wedding party, and if not…”see ya!”

All of us here at Little Things read the actual letter from the bride, as well as Gawker’s post and commentary on it (which is absolutely hilarious, by the way) and then began to discuss the audacity of the bride. Not only do we work in the bridal industry, but Kristi will be getting married next fall and all of us have been asked to be in a wedding at some point. So, we started wondering, did this bride have the grounds to send such a ballsy email?

My personal answer is no. When asked to be in a wedding – especially as a bridesmaid rather than a groomsmen – the first thing anyone should be aware of are the expenses. In true tradition, a bridesmaid is required to pay for her dress and alterations, shoes, accessories and hair/makeup, and chip in for the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Oh, and don’t forget about gifts and like in this case, any hotel stays and flights if you have to travel. So it was quite rude of her to shove it in the girls’ faces first thing:  “Also if money is tight and you can’t afford to contribute to say the bachelorette party or won’t be able to afford a dress etc, then [we] don’t have time to deal with that, I’m sorry.”

This bride went a little too far. If she’s close enough with these women to ask them to be in her wedding, does she really have to be so harsh about her demands and expectations? I understand that a wedding is usually a once in a lifetime thing, you’re never able to do it twice, blah blah blah, but come on! I’m no interventionist, but bridezillas need to come to the realization that the world and other people’s lives will not stop for the wedding. She must have some sort of stable relationship with the bridesmaids-to-be, so shouldn’t she trust them enough to evaluate their personal lives and financial situations, therefore making the “right” decision of being in her wedding or not? Or even feel somewhat assured that anyone who does agree to be in the party is doing so because they value their friendship and will do all that they can to be a “perfect” bridesmaid? With that being said, shouldn’t one of these girls have turned around and literally and/or figuratively slapped this bride in the face after they received that email? Because I certainly would have. On the other hand, at least the bride was blunt about the whole thing and pretty much gave the girls fair warning. If that’s how she’s acting almost a year before her wedding, imagine what she’ll be like a month before.

All in all, if you’re a bride-to-be, be considerate of your bridesmaids. Even though it’s your special day, keep in mind that they’re not only dedicating their time and money to help make it completely special, but maintaining their patience and trying to keep their sanity.  That’s what the point of bridesmaids gifts are, to thank them for all that they’ve done!

Have a great weekend!

- Kelsey

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Check Out Our New Wedding Accessories!

Oct 4, 2012

Have you been enjoying our new website? We recently updated the site back in August, and we’ve gotten nothing but compliments on the improved navigation options and the easier methods of narrowing down your searches for wedding favors. Lately we’ve added a ton of hot new wedding and bridal accessories to the site. If you check out our new wedding accessories, you’ll find tons of stuff that’s never-before-seen at Little Things:

- Wedding Bouquet Jewelry
- Wedding Gloves
- Headbands
- Fascinators
- Birdcage Veils
- Hair Clips & Barrettes
- Hair Jewels, Pins & Tie-Ins
- DIY Wedding Supplies (Table & Menu Cards, Invitation Kits, Program Fans)
- Swarovski Crystal Cake Toppers
- Stemless Champagne Toasting Flutes
- Unity Sand Shadow Boxes (Now in black and white!)
- Reception Gift Card Holders (Now available in 3 colors)
- Dance Floor Decals & Aisle Runners (In new designs & shapes)

…and so much more! We’re especially excited about all the new bridal accessories, since we never offered such a wide selection. We have so many hair accessories, and the birdcage veils are gorgeous! As far as the other wedding supplies, I especially love the stemless champagne flutes, and brides can’t get enough of that unity sand box.  Also, keep an eye on our wedding cake toppers – some of them are now offered in different skin colors.

Stay tuned and check back on our website for new products – we add new ones every day!

Happy Thursday! – Kelsey

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Have You Seen The All New LittleThingsFavors.com?

Aug 13, 2012

Have you seen our all new, totally redesigned website?  We re-launched just a few days ago and we are happy to bring you a totally updated look and feel to our site! We have made the following improvements for you:

Easier way to narrow down your choices, with a simple and intuitive sorting system within every page, just click on your price range or color or theme or specialized ways to shop.

Our Navigation has moved from the left side to the top, just hover over any area for a full drop down menu – no more scrolling down the page to find things!

We’ve become more “social” with easier social networking buttons in every item, its now just a click away to share your finds on pinterest, facebook, twitter and more!

We have a fun interactive “Scratch & Save” sale currently going on.  Simply shop any item in our store, scratch off the “lotto” like coupon and get instant savings of 5-20% off your order.  Hurry and shop soon, our Scratch & Save sale won’t last long!

Shop at: Little Things Favors today!

Cheap Date Ideas

May 10, 2012

One of the reasons why I love summer is because the warmer weather and sunshine offer more opportunities to get out of the house – and spend less money.  So grab your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, husband or wife for a date that costs little or no cash.

Check out my recent article on free date ideas for some great suggestions for…well, free dates.  I picked my 10 favorite ideas – including Weird NJ and “locking your love,” which Erica suggested after visiting the Bridge of Love upon her last trip to Helsinki, Finland.  Couples engrave or customize their own padlock, attach it to the bridge and throw away the key, symbolizing their everlasting love.  Unfortunately, there aren’t too many bridges or structures in the US that condone this (I guess it’s a European thing), but how cute would it be to do that with your partner at one of your favorite locations?

I was surprised that I found it somewhat difficult to find date ideas that are absolutely free.  It’s quite easy for small spending to go unnoticed (like my beach/boardwalk suggestion where you may have to pay admission, or even the amount of gas it may take to get to your destination).  But I did find a ton of unique and romantic date ideas that are not only great alternatives to the typical “dinner and a movie,” but cheap too!

Arcade
Board Game Night (Good for double or group dating!)
Boardwalk
Bowling
Camping
Carnival
Comedy Club
Darts
Drinks, Appetizers & Dessert
Go-Karts
Haunted Houses
Hiking
Horseback Riding
Laser Tag
Local Play
Local Sports Game
Mini-Golf
Movie in the Park
Movies (Minus the Snacks from the Theatre)
Museum
Open Mic Night
Paintballing
Picnic
Play Pool
Restaurant Tour
Shooting Range
Stargazing
Take a Class Together
Test Drive a Luxury Car
Volunteering
Walk on the Beach or in the Park
Wine Tasting
Zoo

Now, all you need is a date, or even a friend to do all this awesome stuff with!  Have any other ideas?  Share them!

The weekend is almost here – hang in there! <3 Kelsey

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Wedding Shoe Alternatives: Casual & Comfy

May 7, 2012

Like typical girls, we here at Little Things love a good pair of shoes.  Erica is the high heel fashionista, Kristi & Jessica have flats in every color, Nikita is the boot fanatic and my closet is full of sneakers and slip-on’s.  Though we have such differing footwear preferences, we can all usually agree on a gorgeous pair of fancy bridal shoes (like some of the ones in the picture).  Then I started wondering about non-traditional bridal footwear:  what about the bride who doesn’t want to be taller than her soon to be husband?  Or the bride with bad feet?  Or the brides who just hate stilettos and heels?  So I organized this list of shoe alternatives for weddings.

TOMS® – If you’re not familiar with TOMS®, check out their website here. They’re for a great cause:  every time you buy a pair, another pair will be donated to a child in need.  A recent discovery for me, and I’m obsessed.  I want a pair to match every outfit because they’re so freakin’ comfy.  They even have wedges if you’re looking for a comfortable heel to wear.

Flip Flops – For the beach wedding, of course!  And I don’t mean the cheap, rubber thong flip flops you can buy from a dollar store.  Our Bride Flip Flops, Personalized Flip Flops or Personalized Flower Flip Flops ensure a safe and comfortable walk down the aisle.  Plus you can give a pair to the girls in your wedding party as the bridesmaid gifts.

Converse – You can’t go wrong with a pair of All-Stars.  They’re available in literally every single color, and you can have so much fun with them.  I was browsing pictures on the web, and I’ve seen the cutest photos of stuff couples did – like writing their vows on the sides of a classic pair of black Chuck high tops.

Vans Shoes® – I’m not exaggerating when I say I live in my Vans.  Like Converses, you can pretty much find them in every color.  Again, I stumbled upon some pretty cool pictures of slip-on’s worn in weddings, including complete artwork drawn in black marker on a white pair.  So cool.

I would definitely consider any of these as wedding shoe alternatives.  Though I probably wouldn’t mind a fancy pair of Louboutins (as long as my rich fiance can afford them).

Any other ideas?  We have three engaged women in the office who are dying to know!

- Kelsey

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