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Punchbowl.com – The End of the Wedding Invitation?

Okay, I’ll ask the question… Do you think 10 years from now we will still be sending those expensive paper wedding  invitations through the mail? That is, if the postal system is still in existence! Take a look at the main way we communicate with friends and family today:

  •  Write a letter and send it through the USPS – are you kidding me?!?
  •  Email – this even seems to be on its decline
  •  Texting – yes, this is very popular for short, quick messages
  •  Facebook – most definitely the most widespread way to stay in touch, share pictures, have interactive discussions, etc.

Let’s face it, pretty much everyone checks Facebook to see what’s going on with friends and family. We have it on our laptops, tablets, and phones. Why? Because it’s fast, easy, logically organized so you can easily sort through messages and pictures, you automatically get updates when something new is posted, there’s no paper taking up space, and best of all its totally free! So isn’t it logical to think that eventually we will be migrating to totally digital communication to include save the dates, invitations, RSVPs, and even thank you notes? As much as I love the feel and tradition of a high quality wedding invitation, I think we may be in the last generation that will use them.

If you are feeling really brave and want to break with tradition early, there is a great option. Punchbowl.com is probably the most popular party planning site out there now, and for good reason. It does pretty much anything you would need to plan, organize, invite, track, and thank all your guests for any type of event. Plus, their system works on mobile devices and allows you to send invitations through Facebook private messages or wall posts as well as Twitter. The user interface is easy for both the planner and the guests. They have an amazing amount of customizable animated save the date and invitation designs for almost any occasion. Here’s a few samples.

punchbowl wedding invitations

Some of my favorite features includes the Date Decider. Since you want to make sure your guests are able to make the date of you your events, why not offer options and let them decide? Punchbowl.com makes it easy with the Date Decider:

punchbowl wedding planner

 

Their RSVP feature is very easy to use. Here’s a screenshot:

punchbowl wedding rsvps

And like I said, I think being able to connect the application to Facebook is essential. Here’s a screenshot of Punchbowl’s interface.

punchbowl facebook share

For many of you, taking the leap of going totally online with your wedding planning may be a little too much. Why not try it for your smaller events like your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or even just a small party?

I think Punchbowl.com is on the right track but there are a few things that I didn’t like.  The free version is loaded with ads which really takes away from the experience for the guests. You have to upgrade to the paid version to get rid of the ads.  The other thing I think Punchbowl does need to work on is provide secure RSVPs so people can only RSVP with the number of guests you invite. I believe it’s important to be able to maintain control of your guest list. We designed this feature into our wedding website product. To see what I mean sign-up for a free trial and give it a try.

So, what does the future hold? I think it will be common for brides in the 2020’s to do it all online. Send out save the dates and invitations through direct messages in Facebook, accept and manage RSVPs, manage to-do lists, find vendors, gift registries, take polls about dates to hold the events, and never send out a piece of paper. Are you ready to break with tradition? What are your thoughts?

Minted Wedding Invitations – Wedding Invitation Give Away!

Here’s the current top-rated Save the Date card on Minted. This caught my eye not only because of the simple but great design….

Minted Save the Dates

But, because of the unique interior design options! I love the idea of being able to post some fun pictures inside along with the ability to include short paragraphs of information about them and I really love the time line idea!

Minted Save the Dates

Minted is truly a unique wedding invitation company. Our Wedding Plus has been affiliated with several wedding invitations companies since we started in 2007, but we have found that Minted is significantly different from the rest because of the way they get their designs and decide which ones to sell. They use “crowd-sourcing” to pick the designs that they actually sell on their site and all their designs come from hundreds of independent designers from around the world.

So how does this work? They are continuously holding design competitions in which independent designers from around the world enter their designs, then you, their customer vote on the designs. Minted literally gets thousands of design entries and have thousands of people voting. There is a whole community out there that you can be a part of that interact in a social network. When I was writing this, since 2008 they had: 66 Challenges – 45,812 designs – 111,484 comments – 3,266,345 votes cast. Watch this video to get a good idea about how Minted operates:

So if you didn’t know about Minted and you are a designer, always had a hidden desire to design, or are just interested in stationary design go check out Minted’s Design Challenge page you can interact with hundreds of people like you, you can vote on designs that Minted will sell on their site, and if you submit designs, you may wind up make a living at doing what you love! You can start off by checking out their Leaderboard page to see what is trending. The top rated designs, designers, and commenters are all ranked on this site in real time. It’s pretty cool!

By the way Minted.com is set-up, you can be sure to find not only truly unique designs, but ones that have been through the scrutiny of thousands of people just like you so the ones that are sold on the site are the best.

Here are a couple of winning wedding invitations from a couple of their recent design challenges held this last fall.

minted wedding invitations

minted wedding invitations

Okay, I’m sure by now you are interested in checking out Minted. So, what about the wedding invitation give away mentioned in the title of this post? Minted is currently running their 3rd Annual Wedding Invitation Give Away! One lucky entrant will win $500 in Minted credit each week until March 9th, good towards all Minted wedding stationery. All you have to do is click on this link:  Wedding Invitation Giveaway, and enter your information by mid-night (Pacific Time) on March 8th, 2012. So, go check them out and let us know about your experience with Minted!

Most Popular Save the Dates – The Top Three Best Sellers!

Since Wedding Paper Divas is having a big sale on Save the Dates I figured I’d dedicate this post to some of their most popular designs. First off, all save the dates are 20% off at Wedding Paper Divas and if you spend $149 or more, you save 25%! Just use PROMO CODE: WEDSAVE25. This sale is only through Feb 16, 2012 so it might be over a little quickly for you folks just getting engaged on Valentine’s Day!

Circle Save the Dates
Circle save the dates seem to be becoming more popular. These are another unique way to catch your guest’s attention so your save the date doesn’t get lost in the rest of the mail. This one shown here is a great option for a vineyard wedding since it looks like the bottom of a wooden cask. They are shown here with their matching wedding invitations.  Click on the image to get more information.

They are each cut in 5.25 inch circles and square white envelopes are included for free. But please take note that the USPS charges extra (0.20 to 0.44 extra per card) for square or uniquely shaped cards. This can add up if you are sending out a lot!

Save the dates are definitely a good idea to help prepare your guests for your wedding. This is especially true if your guests will have to travel and definitely a requirement if you are planning a destination wedding. This will help them plan their vacation and travel plans long enough ahead. So, I recommend you start looking for the save the date design that goes with your wedding theme early and then order them once you set the date for your wedding. You don’t need to include a bunch of information at this point but it is a good idea to include your wedding website address along with the date and location of your wedding.

It seems the most popular save the date designs are those with pictures of the couple on them. These cards are easy to make online at WPD and if you had engagement photos taken I’m sure you have plenty of great photos to use.
Here’s some examples of the current top three best selling save the dates at Wedding Paper Divas along with their matching invitations.  Just click on the images to get more information.

Top Selling Save the Dates with Matching Invitation

Most Popular Save the Dates with Matching Invitations

Save the Date with Matching Invitation

What are you looking for in a Save the Date?  Share your ideas!

Unique Wedding Invitations!

Send Unique Wedding Invitations to Set the Stage!

Everyone wants their wedding to be memorable and special; not only for themselves but also for their guests. So what can you do that’s different from the rest? In many cases the first impression your guests are going to get about your wedding will be when your unique wedding invitations shows up in their mailbox. As soon as they open your invitation they will start forming an image of your wedding in their mind. Is it going to be a typical wedding or is this going to be something that will set the standard? As you know, when a typical wedding invitation shows up in your mail box, the reaction is “oh yeah, we got (fill in the blank)’s wedding invitation in the mail today.” But when a unique wedding invitation shows up it will be something like, “you have got to see (fill in the blank)’s wedding invitation! I have never seen anything like it!” And, because it’s so unique, they will bring it to work the next day to show everyone the most unique wedding invitations they’ve seen!

What kind of wedding invitations will get such a reaction? We have found a few that we think are over the top but aren’t custom made so the prices are still affordable. But you can still be sure that when these show up in the mail it will be a topic of dinner conversation and best of all will get your guests excited about going to your wedding!

This first one is the Cabana Wedding Invitation from HansonEllis. This wedding invitation is ideal for a destination wedding to a tropical location. Each invitation comes in a bamboo wood gift box, with ivory cardstock, and a cabana leaf motif. These unique wedding invitations are fully customizable. You can include the invitation itself as well as other items like an RSVP card, menu card, and a map & directions. They also sell the mailing boxes to put the bamboo box in. Plus, these unique wedding invitations are completely eco-friendly! To find out more
Unique Message in a Bottle Wedding Invitations from HansonEllis.com
Unique Wedding Invitations

This next one is our old favorite, the Message in a Bottle Invitation. Again, this invitation is a great option for destination beach weddings and is from HansonEllis. These unique glass bottles are filled with sand and real mini seashells! The custom message is on natural oil paper with cedar leaves. You can add directions to your event, an RSVP card, and more in the bottle and then you use the provided cork to cork the bottle. Each bottle is decorated with a raffia ribbon. You also have the option of getting each bottle engraved with something like you and your fiancés name and the date of your wedding! Again, they also sell corrugated mailing boxes to mail these unique wedding  invitations to your guest. If you choose you can use these unique bottles as wedding favors or to send out your thank you cards. Unique Message in a Bottle Wedding Invitations from HansonEllis.com

Message in a Bottle Invitation

The Wedding Scroll Invitation Tube gives a little bit different look than the Message in a Bottle Invitation and is also great for destination beach weddings. HansonEllis, again, is the provider of these unique wedding invitations. As you can see they have some great options that will knock your guest’s socks off! Just click this link: Unique Message in a Bottle Wedding Invitations from HansonEllis.com  I recommend you go check them out to see what else they have. Anyway, these invitations come in a glass tube which comes with a cork. Again, like the Message in a Bottle Invitation, this invitation comes with sand and tiny sea shells. The paper invitation that goes in the tube is a top quality ivory linen paper scroll with a gold cord attached. The paper can have your custom message placed on it and then is rolled up like a scroll. They also have personalized labels that can be placed on the outside of the tube. Additionally, they have custom RSVP cards that can be attached. If you are interested in finding out more about this invitation just click the link above and search their site for “tube”.  It will be the only result.

Unique Wedding Invitations

If you think the last invitations were a little to “3-dimensional,” you will probably like these very unique, but can be mailed in an envelope, Passport wedding invitations from eInvite. These unique wedding invitations actually have the look and feel of a real passport, right down to the visa stamps and space for the Passport Bearer to sign their names. The cover is actually made using silver offset printing on a dark blue 90lb paper booklet cover. A really unique and creative part of this wedding invitation is the perforated tear-out response card and silver response envelope. Plus, to keep a consistent theme to the end, they also offer matching thank you cards that you can send after your wedding. If you are interested in finding out more about this invitation just click one of the images below.

Saika & Lars Passport Invitation

Passport Wedding Invitations

Finally, we will end with one more unique item but this one is a save the date. Many people send out save the dates at least a few months before the invitations go out so their guests can start planning and making arrangements. This is even more critical for destination weddings where your guests will have to plan and save for travel. These unique save the date magnets will definitely be a great precursor for and of the unique wedding invitations above. They will definitely know that you are planning an amazing event plus it will be a great decoration for their refrigerator that will serve as a constant reminder for your wedding.

This Save the Date Magnet Boat is made of real wood, has cloth sails, and genuine rope rigging. The hull is designed in a nautical wood finish, trimmed in bright white and sailor blue. Each sailboat comes with two magnets mounted on the back so the favor can be placed securely on any metal surface. You can have your names and wedding date inscribed on the front as a save the date. If you are interested in finding out more about this invitation click on the picture.

Save The Date Sailboat Magnet Favor

Of course if you are looking for some more unique wedding invitations, but also very top of the line from the most popular designers, you can check out our large supply in our wedding invitation shop.

Signature Drinks for Late Summer and Early Fall

Here’s a guest post from a great friend of Our Wedding Plus, Jonathan Pogash!  Make sure to check out the videos at the bottom of this post to see some tasty signature drinks and demonstrations of how to make them.  Checkout Jonathan’s website Wedding Cocktail Design to get a bunch of ideas for your wedding signature drinks.  Thanks again Jonathan for the great signature drink ideas and congratulations on your new son!  Here’s Jonathan’s post…

Hang on Summer! – Signature Drinks for the End of Summer

signature drinks for late summer

If you’re like me, you enjoy relaxing on the beach with the warm, salt air flowing through your hair. You enjoy the fall season as well, with its bounty of fruits, herbs, and Technicolor leaves blowing through the cool, crisp air.

As a designer of signature wedding cocktails, I’m occasionally given the mission of creating non-seasonal signature drinks – that is a drink that contains ingredients that are not in season. It’s a big deal to me that my drinks include only the best possible fruits, herbs, and vegetables. And really the only way to do this is to choose those fruits that are in season.

That being said, if your wedding happens to be in a destination that feels like summer, while in most of the country we’re being dumped buckets of snow, have no fear! Tropical cocktails and those drinks that use typically “summer” ingredients are a very hot trend. Why not use coconut or passion fruit in a specialty drink, or strawberries, blackberries, and peaches in a refreshing, unique libation?

When thinking about your signature drinks, know that it’s about YOU and your partner…whatever you want you get, and if anyone tries to say otherwise, just shoo them away!

I’ve included a cocktail or two below that incorporate summer flavors into drinks that will work well for a fall or winter wedding. Please note, the recipes below were created specifically for the occasion. If you are interested in a unique cocktail of your own for your special day, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at jonathan@weddingcocktaildesign.com and visit my website www.WeddingCocktailDesign.com . You can also watch me mix up a few cocktails on WNBC-TV in New York and FOX Providence in Rhode Island (videos below, too)

The Royal Peach
1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
3/4 oz. St Germain Elderflower liqueur
3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Directions: STIR ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish: orange peel (option to flame the peel)

Basil Peach Smash
1/4 of a ripe peach
1 heaping tsp. maple syrup
2 basil leaves
2 oz. Brugal Anejo rum
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Yacht Club ginger beer (local from Rhode Island)
Directions: Muddle the peach and basil in the syrup and lemon juice. Add rum and shake well with ice. Strain over ice and top w/ ginger beer.
Garnish: sliced peach

Late summer cocktail recipes : foxprovidence.com

Elopement Packages – All Inclusive Caribbean Wedding Options

elopement packages

Elopement Packages – Take the Stress Out of Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful not to mention expensive!  Not only are there a lot of things to think about when planning a big event for a large amount of people, throw in the issue of making sure you don’t upset any relatives and everyone wanting to put their two cents in about who to invite, who sits where, etc.  If this sounds like you, then why not consider elopement packages!

There are many all inclusive elopement packages out there so you don’t have to think about all the planning and you can still have an amazing wedding with just you and your fiance.  Think about a beachfront sunset wedding in Jamaica, where all you have to do is show up and the photographer, the decorations, the meal, and the cake is already set up by your wedding planner!  Our affiliate partner Sandals and Beaches offers all inclusive weddings designed by Martha Stewart.  Choose an exclusive Martha Stewart signature wedding package at Sandals Resorts

Sandals and Beaches offers six different Martha Stewart wedding options each varies with different styles and color options but they all provide your own wedding coordinator who will do all the hard work.  All you have to do is let them know what you want.  But, there are some things you will have to do.  Most importantly you will have make sure you have all the required legal documentation for the island you will be getting married on.  The Sandals website has all the details and yes, they have a documentation specialist who can walk you through the process.  But, make sure to have everything you need before you leave home!

While these all inclusive weddings make great elopement packages, you can also bring guests and make this a great destination wedding option.

If this sounds like it’s for you, check out this great deal being run by Beaches at Negril, Jamaica.  This special if for those who Beaches Negril it is set on the best stretch of Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach. Within Beaches Negril there are 7 specialty restaurants, 3 pools with 2 swim-up bars among other fabulous amenities. Beaches Negril is known for their Green Star Diamond Award and Five Star Diamond Award.


Save up to 55% at Beaches Negril

Current promotions; Save up to 55% off, $150 Spa Credit, $250 Airfare Credit and best of all companion flies free runs through Oct 31, 2011!

The Pocket Square – A Small Piece of Fabric Can Make A Big Difference

Pocket SquareLooking for an easy way to get your groom and your groomsmen coordinated with your bridesmaid dresses? This can be as simple as using a pocket square! This small piece of fabric can have your groomsmen fully integrated in your wedding theme. Their pocket square will stand out against the color of the tuxedo and perfectly complimenting the bridesmaid’s dresses! The choice of styles and colors made in dressing your bridal party is something that will be remember and viewed in pictures for years to come.

The pocket square dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, with it gaining popularity in the 1920’s. At first pocket squares were actually linen handkerchiefs. The practice of putting then in the breast pocket came as a result of men not wanting them to become dirty by coins and other objects in the pant pocket. Hence a style was born. These pocket squares can also be used as a method of saving money in these hard economic times. Instead of using fresh flowers for a boutonniere a pocket square can add the right complement of color you need. Some men actually prefer a pocket square instead of a boutonniere. It can also be matched with a neck tie, bow tie or even a cravat. When using a pocket square it allows you to get creative as it can be folded into different designs. A good example of this is to complement the bridesmaid dresses neckline using an asymmetrical design. Some examples of pocket square folds include the puff fold, Astaire, the flat fold, the two corners up fold, and the straight shell. The technique applied to the pocket fold all depends on the overall look you are trying to accomplish.

Pocket squares come in a variety of materials such as linen, twill, cotton and pique, but silk pocket squares are the most popular. Silk pocket squares are used mostly when one is looking for a bright display of color. Click here to find a wide variety of pocket squares in our own wedding shop! Including the one shown above.

Bridal Flip Flops – Don’t Let Your Beach Wedding Be a Flop!

bridal flip flops

Bridal Flip Flops with a touch of class

Bridal flip flops are the latest trend for beach weddings. Beach weddings are some of the most romantic wedding ceremonies, although they tend to be more on the informal side. The beautiful sunshine, the crash of the waves, the sensual smell of the ocean and not to mention the beautiful backdrop it provides for your wedding tops it all off. This is the dream wedding for many people because of the more relaxed intimate setting.

If you are looking for a unique way to keep your beach wedding informal but also tie in your wedding colors and theme, the best shoes for the job are the bridal flip flops! Not only are they functional in the sand they also make great gifts for the bridesmaids. If you are feeling really generous and they are in your budget, you can also make them your wedding favors. They are actually a versatile and affordable addition to any seaside wedding ensemble. Do yourself, the bridesmaids and your guests a favor, allow them to be able to be relaxed and enjoy the feel of sand smoothly caressing their feet while running around without having to worry about ruining their pricey pair of shoes.

bridal flip flops toteThe bridal flip flops shown above are from the Dessy Group. They offer various attractive designs and colors. They are not only comfortable but come in a variety of colors, 50 to be exact. They come in coordinating colors with whatever color scheme you are working with. They have a rubber sole for comfort and a bamboo insole to add that touch of island charm. Each slipper comes in a matching chiffon drawstring bag, how’s that for portability and presentation? You can even take advantage of the current special offer, where you buy 2 dozen bridal flip flops and receive a Moroccan reed beach tote absolutely free. It wouldn’t be right to present these flip flops at your wedding any other way than to have your guest pick their pair from this stylish beach tote!

Ballet Shoes for your Wedding?

Say what?  That’s right…after wearing those fancy heels during your wedding ceremony, the formal pictures, etc.  it’s time to relax and have fun.  So here’s a tip.  Have a pair of fashionable ballet bridal shoes that kind of match your wedding dress so you can dance and mingle without worrying about blisters, falling, or generally being uncomfortable.  So after you make your entrance at the reception, kick off those uncomfortable but beautiful shoes and throw on some very comfortable and beautiful bridal ballet shoes!

These ballet bridal shoes are from TJ Formal.  Just click on the picture to find out more about them.

wedding ballet slipperHere’s another beautiful pair of wedding ballet slippers from Dessy. I love the stylish tucks on the toe.  The great thing about these are they also come in ivory and in Dessy’s most popular bridesmaid colors!  So take pity on your bridesmaids.  Let them be comfortable too!  These stylish wedding ballet slippers will make a great gift for your bridesmaids that they (and their feet) will appreciate all night long.

wedding ballet shoes for the bridesmaids

Watercolor Save the Dates for a Destination Wedding

Watercolor Save the Dates
Winter is coming! That means the destination wedding season is also coming. If you are planning on having a destination wedding in the Caribbean or some other warm beach destination I thought you’d be interested in these beautiful and also one of their most popular Save the Dates from Wedding Paper Divas.

Aptly called “Watercolor Wonder,” they were inspired by a cool ocean breeze and are have water color accents. Unlike many beach themed save the date cards these are a little more subtle without shells or palm trees. But the wavy aqua green and blue water color accents will give your guests a hint of the elegance and relaxing atmosphere of your destination wedding!

Another great watercolor style save the date I think is perfect for a destination wedding are these, called “On The Horizon.” This one is also a subtle beach scene of a sunset with the warm pink glow of the horizon over a calm blue ocean.

Watercolor Save the Dates

Both of these cards are very high quality and use nice and heavy 110lb textured paper and of course, WPD offers a full line of matching stationary including these also very popular wedding invitations. If you are interested in finding out more about them, just click on the images!