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Little Things Favors

Wedding Planning Step 3: Selecting Your Wedding Venue

Nov 13, 2012

Michael Anthony's, Jersey City, NJ

Michael Anthony's, Jersey City, NJ

Hello my fellow brides-to-be! So you’ve celebrated your engagement with your family and friends – what’s next? Selecting for the perfect venue for your special day! Choosing your wedding venue is one of the first and most important steps in the wedding planning process. Steve and I have chosen the Michael Anthony’s, located in the Newport section of Jersey City. Located right near the Hudson River, our venue offers stunning views of the New York City skyline (and even a glimpse of my favorite building in NYC, the Chrysler building!) There is also a perfect view of the new One World Trade Center building that is still under construction, but always lit up in bright, beautiful lights. The restaurant itself has a modern touch, with exposed brick walls and large windows. Steve and I decided early on that we wanted a wedding venue that was out of the ordinary, but also reflected our personal style. Before you begin your search, there are several important factors you should consider.

First, and most importantly, you must decide on your wedding budget.  Will you and your fiancé be footing the bill? Will you receive help from your parents in any way? Once you have determined how much you are able to spend, you will be able to search for venues that will fit your budget.

Next, you should determine how many guests you plan to invite. This will help you narrow down the venues that will be able to accommodate the size of your wedding. You may also want to consider the fact that many venues have guest minimums for certain days. For example, Saturday is the most desirable day to have a wedding, and will require a higher minimum of guests. Fridays and Sundays will usually have a lower minimum guest requirement, as the availability will be greater for these days.

Now that the budget and amount of guests have been decided, you and your fiancé can discuss what you both envision for your special day. Do you plan on having a religious ceremony? Or are you looking for a venue that can also accommodate your ceremony? Also, do you have any particular theme in mind? Some of the most popular wedding venues/themes right now are the rustic wedding (think vintage-style barn or farm), a summertime beach wedding, a modern-style wedding (in a loft or re-purposed warehouse), and the always popular destination wedding. Ballrooms and banquet facilities are also excellent options, and can be found in any location. These venues can be blank slates that you can decorate and enhance. And don’t forget about up-lighting!  Something so simple can make all the difference in the overall look of your wedding venue.

Once you have found some wedding venues that suit your style, you can start visiting them to get a first-hand look of what they have to offer – and be sure to bring your camera! I must admit when Steve and I began visiting wedding venues, we were a little discouraged at first. I felt like we would never find a venue that would fit all of our needs, because each one had its pros and cons. The first venue we visited, a modern loft space, had an odd layout, and would not be able to comfortably accommodate the amount of guests we planned to invite. The second venue we visited was a beautiful re-purposed warehouse, but it did not have ample parking for our guests. You may come across similar bumps in the road, but don’t give up hope!

Here are a few questions to keep in mind once you have chosen that perfect wedding venue:

-Do you have to choose an outside caterer, or do they provide on-site catering services?

-Would you have to supply your own alcohol, or do they offer packages that include this?

-Do they have any wedding decorations (centerpieces, etc.) that you would be able to use for your reception? If so, is there any additional set-up fee if you choose to use them?

-Do they provide linens and chairs or if you will have to rent these from an outside vendor?

-Would you be able to hold your rehearsal at the venue prior to your wedding day (if you choose to have your ceremony/reception at the same location)?

-Are there any restrictions with the space (for example: no confetti, etc.)

-Is there a cake cutting fee? (some venues will add on an additional fee per person for cutting and serving your wedding cake)

-Is there a contingency plan? (should there be inclement weather, and your ceremony was to take place outside)

Do you have any other helpful tips to offer our fellow brides-to-be who are still searching for their perfect wedding venue? I’d love to hear them!

And if you’re still planning, or just beginning to plan your wedding, be sure to check out our wedding planning tips

All the best,

Kristi

Our Founder, In The Media

Nov 8, 2012

Erica’s been getting some media love lately and we’d like to share the press!

Fairground Media, Erica weighed in on the topic of Should You Pay For Advertising on Websites + Blogs – given Little Things has tested and re-tested so many advertising methods online, Erica had much to say!  For those fellow websites and bloggers, she’d love to hear your unique experiences in regards to your experience with online advertising.

YFSEntrepreneur (Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed) has also done a featured Entrepreneur profile on Erica and how she formed our company, Little Things Favors.  Want to see what it takes?  Check out the article: Entrepreneur, Erica Tevis Finds Big Success In One-Stop Shop Wedding Website, Little Things Favors

And finally, one of our favorite vendors of personalized event favors, Event Blossom, did a Q & A session with Erica about the business., which you can read here: Quick Q & A with Little Things Favors

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Our Town

Nov 5, 2012

To Our Customers and Friends,

First of all we hope that everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Sandy is safe and sound.

Many of you may not know, but our offices and most of our employees homes are located in Sayreville, NJ or the surrounding towns.  We lost power Monday night as Sandy hit and our offices were without power until last night.  Our area runs along the Raritan River and many of our friends and family members have completely lost homes and and have been displaced by the storm.  Our schools are shut down until November 13, as more than 1/2 of Sayreville remains without power. We are thankful and grateful to the Alabama Power Company who has been here in Sayreville helping our power company restore power.

If you would like to see some of the devastation that has happened to our small town, here is a video provided by the NJ Star Ledger and NJ.com:

Sayreville coping with serious flood damage, no power

Despite the hurricane, we moved one of our computers to a friend’s house in New York last week who had power and we were working diligently around the clock to try and answer your emails, live chats and process your orders.  It was a slow process, but we did the best we could under the circumstances.

At this time, we have power restored to our offices and we are fully operational again.  We are taking orders.  We are shipping again. All of our computers are up and running, our warehouses are shipping and we are here to answer your questions and help you anyway we can.

All orders will be shipping as fast as humanly possible.  As I write this, our warehouses have been open all weekend long trying to catch up and all orders will go out ASAP.  We thank you for your thoughts, prayers and well wishes that we have received during this time.

We have been in contact with the American Red Cross to set up a fundraising campaign.  We are awaiting their response to see if they will accept us and allow us to sponsor a fundraising drive.  We will offer 5% off all orders and we will donate 5% of the orders who use the coupon to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to the Red Cross.  As soon as we receive a response from the Red Cross we will let you know.

Our offices are located at 137 Main Street in Sayreville, NJ.  Anyone in the area who has been affected by the Hurricane and is still without power is welcome to come here, warm up and charge their electronics.  We wish we could help more!

It amazes me that in times of natural disasters, how we Americans ban together to help each other.  I am overwhelmed by our local situation and I am thankful and appreciate all the help that people from out of state have done to help not only our community, but everyone affected by Sandy.  We will rebuild!

Stay strong, stay safe.  We will continue to update our Facebook page and this blog in the coming days.  In the meantime we ask that you be patient with us as New Jersey, New York and the entire East Coast recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy.

If there is anything we can do to assist you, please let us know.

All the best,

Erica Tevis,

Founder, www.LittleThingsFavors.com

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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