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Cake, Cupcakes, Candy Calculators for a Dessert Buffet

Thinking of doing cupcake and/or cookie dessert bar?   What  size cake you should order?   Wondering how much candy is needed to fill your buffet containers?   How many M&M’s are there in a pound?     Here is a collection of charts, tips, templates, and calculators to help you with your dessert bar or edible favors.
~ Happy Planning ~

icedjems.com

icedjems.com

Do you want to buy a cake stand and are not sure how big your cake will be?  Check with your baker, but this should give you a good estimate on the size tiers needed to feed the guest list.  Remember:  An option to save money is to have a smaller decorated cake and then a kitchen cake (a sheet cake made by the same baker in the same flavor as the displayed cake.)  No one will know if their piece of cake came from the displayed cake or the sheet cake once it is all cut up.

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How Much Candy Needed for a Candy Buffet????
# of Guests x 3(oz) then divide the answer by 16(oz) = Total lbs you should buy.
example 155 guests:
155 x 3= 465, then 465/16 = 29lbs of candy (for kilos divide by 2.2 = 13kg)

Some say 1/4 LB per guest, others say 1/2 LB per guest. But it’s all about the way your candy looks. Plan by how you want the display to look, not how many guests are coming.

Take your candy buffet bags/containers that the guests will be taking home with them to your local candy store and fill them the types of candy you will have for your event. Then weigh them. Multiply by how many guests, then you will get an idea of the pounds.  Or check out some of the calculators below for how much candy a container can hold.

Don’t forget to check out your local dollar store, garage sales, and thrift stores for deals on containers!

This is a Great Link for Candy Buffet – Pictures, Tips, Ideas, Links, How to….
http://www.projectwedding.com/wedding-ideas/candy-buffet-table-101

Candy Calculator

nuts.com

nuts.com

How much candy can these buffet jars, bowls, and cylinders hold?  Check out this calculator!  Pick the size and shape of your container.  Then fill it with Candy: hard candy, wrapped candy, chocolate balls, chocolate covered goodies, gum balls, chocolate hearts, kisses, licorice bites, pretzels, rock candy, taffy, jordan almonds, m&m’s, jelly bellies, espresso beans, nonpareils, etc.

Example of a 2×2 box filled with common candies.

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favorideas.com

Use this calculator by favorideas to estimate the amount of candy needed to fill your 2×2 favor boxes.  It defaults to the maximum number of candies the box can fit.  Remember, you don’t need to fill them to the top!  You can add some filler in the box to reduce the amount of candy needed.

favorideas.com

favorideas.com

Did you know there is about 530 M&M’s to a pound?
Check out this cheat chart for more estimates.

favorideas.com

favorideas.com

Thinking of doing a Dessert Bar?

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CUPCAKE Calculator:
http://calculate-this.com/how-many-cupcakes-person-calculator

COOKIE Calculator:
http://calculate-this.com/how-many-cookies-person-calculator

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Candy (AKA Sugar Coma) Sources:
This site has a giant list of places to buy candy.
http://www.big-wedding-tiny-budget.com/candy-buffet.html

This site has over 1,000 images of candy buffets for inspiration.
http://www.projectwedding.com/search?q=candy+buffet&resource=photos

Bags and Containers for your candy buffet
http://www.papermart.com/candy-bags/id=34803-INDEX
http://www.orientaltrading.com/party-supplies/candy/candy-buffet-a1-551302.fltr
http://www.koyalwholesale.com/c1207/cake-cupcake-candy-buffet-supplies.html

ruthannzaroff.com/mirkwooddesigns

ruthannzaroff.com/mirkwooddesigns

DIY container template – check out the trapezoid box, take-out box, scallop box and others.
http://www.ruthannzaroff.com/mirkwooddesigns/templates.htm
http://www.designsbymeganturnidge.com/blog/?p=935

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How to Word Wedding Invitations

Getting ready to order your invites?   Remember, consistency is important.  Keep the same fonts, colors, paper weight, and designs for the invite and rsvp.   If you spell out  the time, spell out the date  (and vice versa).    Write in the 3rd person and keep track of your pronouns.    Here are a few common tips and suggestions I make when proof reading wedding invitations.

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-Grammar – It is suggested that you never write your wedding invitation request in first person, (for example – Stephanie Jones and Adam Michaels invite you to join us at our wedding).   But if you do use first person pronouns (I, we, us, our and me), use them everywhere.
Traditionally, invites should be written in the third person, “Stephanie Jones and Adam Michaels invite you to join them at their wedding.   If your parents are hosting, still keep everything in third person.  If using third person pronouns (them, they, their), use them everywhere.

– Honor/Honour-  Be consistent with your usage of “honour/favour” or “honor/favor.” Traditionally the formal, British spelling with the “u” is preferred in proper wedding etiquette but whichever form you choose, use it in both words.    (the honor/honour of your presence – the favor/favour of a reply)

Also, the phrase “request the honour of your presence” is traditionally used for a service held in a house of worship. The variation “request the pleasure of your company” is used for a wedding held in any other location.

Capitalization – You only want to capitalize proper nouns, (person/place), and the beginning of a sentence (or each new thought on an invitation).

  • “corner” as in “corner of Fifth and Main Streets” is not capitalized.
  • only capitalize the first letter of the year: Two thousand twelve
  • day of the week and month are capitalized, but not the date: Saturday, the fifth of June
  • time should never be capitalized: two o’clock in the afternoon

-Zip Codes-  Are not needed on the invitation or accessory cards.  GPS does not need a zip code to find a location.  Zip codes are for the post office when sorting mail.

-Abbreviations-  Spell out your state name.  To be socially correct, all words should be spelled out on invitation, accessory cards, and envelopes.  EX: “Road” instead of “Rd.”, “Boulevard” instead of “Blvd.”, “Indiana” instead of “IN”.
*exceptions:   Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., “Jr.” or “Sr.”

-Time-   Please do not fib on the start time of your ceremony.  You are rewarding the late and punishing those that are punctual.  An early start time can be especially annoying if there is extreme temperatures.  Nothing is more annoying that showing up 15-30 min before an outdoor summer ceremony to find out that it won’t be starting for an additional 30 – 60 min because of a fibbed start time.   Those most important to your wedding ceremony should arrive early despite what the invite says.  Your wedding party and family members should be with you before the ceremony starts for photos.

The time should be spelled out and should never be capitalized.
Time, on the hour, should be followed by “o’clock” (Note: lowercase and apostrophe).  Do not use “o’clock” if the time is not on the hour.  Time, not on the hour, should be hyphenated. EX: “two-thirty” instead of “two thirty” or “two forty-five” instead of “two forty five”.   The formal way to write the time is “half after” rather than “half past.”  or “three-thirty”.  (half after three in the afternoon)
Time should  be followed by “in the morning”, “noon”, “in the afternoon”, “in the evening”, or “midnight”.

    • 12:01 a.m.-11:59 a.m. is morning.
    • 12:00 p.m. is noon.
    • 12:01 p.m. – 5:59 p.m. is afternoon.
    • 6:00 p.m.- 11:59 p.m. is evening.
    • 12:00 a.m. is midnight

-The Year-  No “and.”  There is a big discussion about the use of “and” in the year.  Some invitation sites show examples with “and” in the year and some don’t.    Many would argue that the word “and” is used when speaking of money and not the year.  (Two thousand twelve = 2012  and two thousand and twelve = $2000.12)

-Respond Date–   The R.s.v.p. date should be 2 weeks before your final head count is due.   This should give you ample time to track down missing replies.   It should not be more than 4 weeks before your wedding date.  The closer your R.s.v.p. date is to your wedding, the more accurate your guests reply will be.    Also, mail out your invites 3 or 4 weeks before the R.s.v.p. date.  When your guest receive their invites, you  want them to look at the date, check their calendar, and mail it back within 2 or 3 weeks.  If you send out your invites too far in advance, your guests will toss the invite aside or misplace it.  (“Oh, this isn’t for 4 months, I don’t need to look at this yet. ”  *or*  “Oh, this is 4 months away, I can’t think that far ahead.”)

  • Always follow up with missing R.s.v.p.’s.   The post office and mail system is not perfect.  Letters can get lost in the mail.  Don’t assume your guests did not mail in their reply.  Don’t assume your guests are not coming if you do not receive their R.s.v.p. in the mail.  Call and speak to your R.s.v.p.’s missing from your guest list  (don’t email or text),  or leave them a voicemail asking them to reply by a certain date or you will assume they are not attending.
  • Number your R.s.v.p. inserts.   Take your guest list number each social couple.  Number your R.s.v.p.’s with a small pencil number on the back.  When stuffing your invitations, put the corresponding rsvp into the envelope that matches your guest list.  This will help you sort your R.s.v.p.’s as they are returned and make it easy to check off your guest list on which replies you are still waiting on.  More importantly, if Uncle Bob forgets to write his name on the reply card, you can match up R.s.v.p. #15 to Uncle Bob on your guest list.
  • “R.s.v.p.” is capitalized since this is an abbreviation for a French sentence, “Repondez s’il vous plait.” Likewise, since the sentence means “Respond please”, never say “Please R.s.v.p.” since that would be redundant.

– Reception cards –   You will need a reception card if your  reception is at a different location than your ceremony.   The ceremony location and start time is on the invite.  The reception insert will have the reception location and start time.    If your ceremony and reception are at the same location, you may have “Reception to immediately follow” on the invite.  Only use these words on the invite if they are at the same location.

Registries – Don’t mention gift preferences, registry, gift table/card box/wishing well info on invitations–not even on the enclosures.   Doing so makes the gift seem more important than the invitation.   Convey gift preference through word of mouth or on a wedding website.   Save those little registry cards to hand off to your Maid of Honor or whomever is throwing your bridal shower.  Many guests know you are a new couple starting off and will provide money as a gift, no reason to request it.    Also, there are a select number of stores that do wedding registries, many guests can find your registry by searching those commonly used stores.   I realize this subject is a regional one, so ask around for opinions.  If your parents and family don’t believe people will be offended by a registry card, go ahead and add it.

**** Formal Wording ****
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/wedding-invitations-and-announcements/335-wording-formal-wedding-invitations

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas  Chase
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Lou
to
Mr. Jonathan Stevens
son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stevens
on Saturday, the twentieth of March
at two o’clock in the afternoon
Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
121 Main Street
Boston, Massachusetts

-Additional Tips-

  • Be sure you order 10-25 extra invites and envelopes for add on’s and errors.  It is much cheaper to order a few extra initially than it is to rush order a few extra later.
  • Before you buy those fancy custom stamps, be sure to take a fully stuffed envelope to the post office to be weighed and measured.  You want to be sure that you are ordering the correct stamp amount for the size of your invite.
    *   Square invites cost more to mail than rectangle
    *   The smallest size envelope for a regular stamp is 3  1/2 ” high and 5″ long.  The largest is 6  1/8″ hight and 11  1/2 ” long.   It can also be no thicker than .007 inch.

Wedding Day Timeline

One of the most commonly asked questions I’ve seen is “How do I create a timeline?”.  So, here are some tips to help you create a timeline of events for your wedding day.

"Created by Hayley"

“Created by Hayley”

TIP #1 –  Talk to your officiant about how long the ceremony should last.  If at a church find out how early you can get in there and how late you can stay.

TIP #2 – Talk to your venue on how long dinner should last and when they like to cut the cake.  They might go down to a minimum staff and want the cake cut before a certain time.  Also, they would know Best how long dinner will take with the size of your guest list and the type of meal you are serving.

TIP #3 – Ask your DJ for a sample timeline.  This is their Job!  To keep the flow and momentum of the night going all night long.  Different regions do things different from others.  What is normal in your area might not be normal in another.  Also, tradition and culture might add different events to your timeline.

TIP #4 – Talk to your photographer!  You need to tell them how big your families are and the size of your wedding party.  Also, you will need to discuss your photo expectations.   Waiting to take ALL your photo combinations until After the ceremony and before dinner will drastically cut down on the number of combinations you will be able to get done.   I highly encourage you to get some photo combinations done before the ceremony with your family and wedding party.   The photographer will be able to tell you how much time to set aside to do this.

TIP #5 – Talk to your hairstylist and make-up artist about how much time they will need.  Be sure you know how many in your family and wedding party wish to also get their hair and make-up done.

TIP #6 – BUFFER!!!!  Add 10 – 15 min to every drive time.  If you home is 10 min from the ceremony location, give yourself 20 min to get there.  Put a buffer in your time line when ever you can.  If you need your family to all be at your home for pictures at 1:30, tell them to arrive at 1:00.  This gives those running late time to be “on time.”   If you wish to have pictures getting into your dress, you will want your family and bridal party IN their dresses for the shots, not in their shorts and tee’s.  Getting them at the location early gives them time to get dressed before your photos start.

TIP #7 – Look at your timeline from the point of view of your guest.  Do your best to start your ceremony on time.  Try to be no more than 10 min late  if things get delayed.  There is nothing worse than showing up to an outdoor wedding fifteen minutes early just to sit there for and additional thirty minutes waiting for the ceremony to start.  Add on the thirty minutes for when the ceremony finally begins, makes it over an hour of being in the Hot Summer sun.  Also, think of how long your guests have gone without eating.   For a 4:00 wedding, as a guest, I would need an hour for my husband and I to get ready and 30 – 60min for a drive time.  That has me eating 1:30 – 2:00 (or earlier).  If my last meal was at 1:30, I am going to be Starving if you don’t have appetizers and make me wait until 9:00pm to eat dinner because you  took pictures for 2 hrs between ceremony and reception, have  a wedding party intro, a first dance, 30 min of toasts, and a prayer all before dinner.  Check how long your guests are being asked to Sit in their chairs waiting for the dance floor to open.  If guests are being asked to sit down at 6:30 and you don’t have the dance floor open to them until 9:30, that is a long time for them to wait for all of your events to be done before they can get out on the dance floor and boogie.  Also, some of your guests with  babysitters or your elderly guests might want to leave between 9 and 10pm.

TIP #8BE SURE YOU EAT!!!!!!  Bring breakfast to your hair appointment, grab a snack on the way to the make-up artist, have non-messy snacks available while getting dressed and taking photos.  Have a straw to drink with.   Do not have your first meal at 7:30 at night.

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*** How to write your Timeline ***
First collect all of the known times.

– Reception ends at 11:00pm
–  Dinner will last for 60 – 70 min
– Cocktails/Appetizers for 50 – 60 min
– Reception starts at 6:00pm
– Driving time from Ceremony to Reception 20 min real time
– Start time of Ceremony 4:00 pm – sharp –
– Driving time from Getting ready location  (Photo location) to Ceremony 15 min real time

Then start filling in all the events on the night by working backwards.  Again, use the tips you received from your vendor on HOW LONG events should take and What Time they suggest you do them.

There are pros and cons to 1st dance before or after dinner. You need to decide which sounds like a better idea to you.

 1st dance (before dinner)

Pros

* no food in teeth
* no stains on dress/tux
* dress not wrinkled from sitting
* make-up still fresh

 Cons

* interruption in the tempo of the night – Upbeat intro, slow dance 1st dance, then mellow dinner. Then increase tempo again after dinner. When after dinner, you are building up the excitement and have it reach a plateau right after dinner.
* guests might be hungry

 If you do your dance before dinner, I suggest toasts/speeches during dinner after everything is served. That way your guests are not sitting in their seats for a long period of time with no food. When they need to sit too long to watch dances and listen to toasts the food gets cold, their drinks get empty, their tummies start to rumble, and the guests get restless.

Cake Cutting

This is another event that the start time is determined by where you live and what is the norm for your area.  Some cut the cake after dinner and their first dance.  Some cut the cake near the end of the night.  Again, talk to your venue on what works best for you and them.

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*************  Be sure to check out my Post on Timeline Templates *****************

https://weddingtips101.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/timeline-templates/
***************************************************************************************
**** A Sample Timeline Ceremony-Reception ****
break down in Minutes – not actual clock time
– 0:15 – 0:00 People arrive (Bride in bridal room doing touch ups)
0:00 – 0:25  Ceremony
0:25 – 0:35  Hug/greet guests
0:30 – 1:30  Cocktail hour (Bride & Groom take pictures)
1:30 – 1:35  Guests find a seat – Wedding party lines up
1:35 – 1:45  Wedding Party Introductions – people make their way to the table
1:45 – 1:55  Bride & Groom 1st dance
1:55 – 2:00  Welcome/Prayer – Start Meal
2:00 – 3:00  Meal (2:30 – 2:45 – You can have toasts During dinner, no reason for staff to wait until 3 toast are done to start bringing out the food)  * 2:45 – 3:00 walk around to say “Hi” to guests
3:00 – 3:15  Father/Daughter – Mother/Son dance
3:15 – 3:20  Anniversary dance? to Open the Dance Floor
3:20- 4:30  Open Dance Floor
4:30 – 4:40  Cut Cake
4:40-4:55   Bouquet/Garter *serve cake
4:55 – 5:55  Open Dance
5:55 – 6:00  Last Dance

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****** How to Write your Morning of Timeline *******
Your wedding day will FLY by.  You will look at your watch and wonder where the time went.  If you do not have a coordinator to set up your decorations I BEG you to find family members (Aunts, cousins) or friends to do the set up.  You and your bridal party should be enjoying your time together getting pampered at the salon,  Not getting all hot and sticky running around hanging tulle and filling vases with water and flowers.

Give yourself 1-2hrs blocked off for Bridal hair.  *2hrs might be needed if you have really long hair and never had a trial.  You want to have a buffer in there if things are not going well and you need to start over.   50 – 60 min for Bridal make-up.  Ask the salon how many stylists they will need, and how much time, to do your family and bridal party.

Getting into your dress can take 30 min or more.  Corset ribbons take time to get flat and perfect.  Buttons loops are Super tight and you should get a Crochet Loop to help get the buttons done.

Crochet hook – from joann.com

Getting everyone out of the house is going to take 10 min.  Everyone needs to find their keys, their phones, their bags, a snack;  you need to make sure all the lights are off, the curling iron is unplugged, the dog has been taken out, the house is locked – it all takes Time.  Be sure you build a buffer into getting Out of the house and on your way.  Arrive at the ceremony location 20 – 30 min early to give you time to not be seen by your guests and get in to the bridal room for a potty break and touch ups.

mancamera_Clipart_Free

Allow about 20 – 30 min per combo

* 20 min Bridal Shots
* 30 min Bride w/wedding party and her family
* 30 min Groom w/wedding party and his family
* 20 – 40 min Bride and Groom  and Giant family shots at altar/stairs/etc
* 20 min  of just the Bride and Groom (at a pretty park?)
* 10 min of fun shots of the Bride and Groom with the wedding party (optional, but fun)

Google images

Google images

Allow 10 – 30 min for First Touch or First Look photos
* 5 -10 min first touch (10 – 20 min first look)
If you are DEAD SET against “first look” photos, please try to get some time set aside for a “first touch” session.  You will have a door or a corner blocking the site of view from your husband and yourself.  I have seen some AMAZING first touch photos and I just think they are beautiful.  It gives you a chance to hold hands to calm your nerves and say a few words of encouragement and love to each other.
Pictures examples of Grooms Blown away by their Bride – 18 of the 24 examples are “First Look.”

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**** A Sample Timeline Morning of ****
if you have no drive times you can bump everything – things are also different if you have 2 photographers

7:00AM  Wake up, shower, EAT, drive to appointment
8:00  Hair appointment
10:00  Make-up – drive to location getting dressed
11:15   EAT lunch – tell Wedding party and parents to be at location to get dressed
11:30  Start getting into dress (could take up to 30 min – stubborn button loops/twisted corset ribbon)
12:00 – 12:20  Bridal shots
12:30 – 12:55  Bride combo shots with family & wedding party
1:00 – 1:20  Groom does his combos with family and WP – Bride does touch-ups
1:20  Pack up to leave
1:30  Drive to park/beach – pretty outdoor location for photos
2:00 – 2:40  First look photo – a few bride and groom shots – B&G with Wedding Party
2:45 – 3:15 Drive to ceremony
3:20 – Arrive at Ceremony: Set up any decorations, Bride does touch ups,  Groom does some altar photos
4:00 – 4:25 Ceremony
4:25 – 4:35 hug/greet guests – move them out to do Grand Exit photo (bubbles/ribbon wands)
4:45- 5:20  Bride and Groom with Family shots
(6:00 – 6:45 Cocktails for Guests)
5:40 – 6:10 Fun outdoor shots (Bride and Groom shots, Bride & Groom with Wedding party)
6:30 Arrive at Reception
6:35 Touch ups
6:40 Gather everyone and Line up for Introduction – Guests asked to take a seat
6:45 – 6:55 Intro
6:55  Prayer    (6:55 First Dance) (7:00ish Welcome & Prayer)
7:00 Start dinner (7:10 Dinner starts)

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clipartsfree.net


Some other GREAT tips here   –>  www.stylemepretty.com/2011/06/27/wedding-day-timing-tips-from-robert-kathleen-photographers/

********  A Photographer’s Sample Breakdown ********

After the ceremony, I allot 45 minutes for the following at the altar or on the grounds of the ceremony site:

B/G/Officiant

B/G/Bride’s Parents
B/G/Both sets of Parents
B/G/Bride’s immediate family
B/G/Bride’s extended family (one shot and everyone in such as aunts, grandma, etc)

B/G/Groom’s Parents
B/G/Groom’s immediate family
B/G/G’s extended family

This list becomes MUCH more complicated if there are divorces, remarriages, or additional shots requested….

After those shots are done, I do:
Bridal party at altar/ceremony site with bride and groom
Bride and groom at altar

The list above (starting with Officiant and ending with bride and groom at altar) takes 45 minutes to be safe. A good rule of thumb is allow 5 minutes per image. Someone will wander off, it takes five minutes for people to make their way back inside, someone is using the restroom, etc.

Then, we take the bridal party and bride and groom alone and work with them for 45 minutes at another location, or in a more casual setting.

*** In 45 to 60 minutes, you can do 9 to 12 different combinations of people, less if they are very large shots and more if they are small combinations of people.

– Kristen Wynn Photography  – reply posted on a question on weddingwire.com

AND ……
A few more links to sample detailed timelines, if you rather look at someone else’s and try to make it your own.


~ Morning of Timeline ~
http://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-forums/please-share-your-day-of-schedule/fe527567358a1a05.html

~ Reception timelines ~
http://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-forums/wedding-time-schedule/160e7b6b50c89909.html

Monograms

monogram1

To design your monogram in Microsoft Word:

  • Choose Insert -> Textbox. Type and format the letter the way you like it. Do this three times.
  • Now click on all textboxes and choose Format->Textbox.
  • Choose Color: No Fill (so you can overlap letters) and Line: No Line.
  • Select all letters, right click, and choose Group to lock in the arrangement.
  • You can now copy your image into Microsoft Paint and save in several formats, such as JPEG.

– Picture Step-by-Step Instructions on creating a monogram –  very simple to follow
http://www.projectwedding.com/wedding-ideas/diy-wedding-challenge-how-to-design-your-own-monogram-in-microsoft-word

Here is a site that let’s you design a FREE MONOGRAM – http://www.weddingchicks.com/freebies/custom-monograms/

  • Free Invites and Save the Dates too! Weddingchicks.com

DIY Monogram Aisle Runner – I have never done it myself, so I can only direct you to sites that have posted instructions.  Tips they have suggested: put wax paper on the table so that when the paint bleeds threw the runner it does not dry to your table.  So trace the monogram lightly right on to the runner then place wax paper under it – or – trace the monogram onto wax paper while over the monogram paper print out .   If you trace onto the wax paper you will want to be sure it is dark enough to see through the runner.

Instructions

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by WhitneyWoods2B – projectwedding.com

http://www.projectwedding.com/wedding-ideas/diy-aisle-runner-2
or

DIY_Aisle_Runner_(23)

By Heather Drive – roadtotheaisle.blogspot.com

http://roadtotheaisle.blogspot.com/2007/07/diy-aisle-runner.html
or

This site gives instructions on how to create the actual runner from a tube and fabric.
http://www.weddingbee.com/2006/12/26/diy-aisle-runner/
Some Free Clip art you might want to download to go with your monograms.

www.clker.com

Some Free Fonts that you might want to download.

Dafont  or   1001 Free Fonts  or FontSpace   to name a few

font example

And a link to the “rules” of Monograms.
http://www.themonogrammerchant.com/content.php?content_id=1008
The Woman’s name is on the left, the Man’s name is on the right, then the couple’s surname  is represented by a larger letter in the middle.

Traditional etiquette on Monograms states that you should not use your married monogram until after you are married.  Initial monograms are not “supposed” to be used on Save the Date, Invites, Programs, or Runners.  Once you are married, you can use your monogram at the reception: menu’s favors, cups, napkins, linens, cake, and/or dance floor.  * A modern alternative is to use a combination of the Bride and Groom’s first names/initials separated by a small decorative motif for invites and things at the ceremony.

Love the Price of Vistaprint, but not their designs?

Any of you love the price of the hauls you are seeing, but can’t find any designs that you love on the site?  Well, you don’t have to use the templates you see while clicking through the pages.  You have a few options.

Option #1

Check the drop down menu next to the invites, some of them come in different colors.

match dropdown menu

Option #2

Download the blank template for the size document you plan to use and design your own invite.  Then upload the complete design.  – or –  Send the blank template to an etsy seller and have an invite designed for you to fit the vistaprint documents.

upload help

Click to Download templates off VP

Download VP templates is located at the bottom of their page under
“Services – Design Uploads”

**WARNING**  PLEASE READ*

Vistaprint has Very unusually sized documents.  Please be aware of the size of the document you plan to use when uploading a design.  Vistaprint invites will usually have a little area above and below the uploaded design that you will need to trim off if you wish to fit them in a pocket fold envelope.  Also, if you plan to upload a design but use the VP envelopes, be sure your design is created to fit the dimensions of the document.  If you do not design your invite on the template you might be stretching your design to reach all 4 edges and some of the original design may be be cropped off.

invite size

Option #3 –  

Check out the designs in the business section.  If you are trying to save money, you might want to buy the business products instead of the invites.  The XL postcards are the same size as the 6×9 invite.  The Rack cards are the same size as the 4×8 invite/menu/program.  The regular sized postcards are the same size as the 5.5×4 inserts.  You can look at the designs that VP provides on their business products and try to create invites on them.  Or you can have VP customer service help you out.  Put the invite design that you like into your cart.  Then put a blank postcard into your cart.  Click on the “help” in the top right.  Under the FAQ is a link is a “Still need Help” link.  You can use the chat feature to ask customer service to transfer a design from one document to another.  The customer service will also create matching documents for you if you can not find your design on all the products you wish to use.

When using the business products as invites, I suggest you upgrade your paper.  The business products come with a Free Premium, 80-lb.  glossy card stock.  For a small upgrade fee you can get the 100-lb. Premium Matte Recycled Paper.  It’s the same weight as the premium paper card stock used on the invites. The paper is smooth with slightly more visible fibers than traditional matte paper.   Even with this upgrade, the postcards cost less than the invites, but are the same size.

Option #4

Use Vistaprint’s “Get more Customization options” link located over the invite after you select a design. This takes you to the advanced edit screen.  Once you are at the advanced edit screen you can build your invitation right on VP with the add image and add text boxes.  You can hit the space bar to erase all the default wording, or use the drop down to actually delete the text boxes.  I personally do not like the spacing of all those little text boxes and put all of my invite wording in 1 text box with the names getting their own separate text box.

adv edit screen

You have a few options on how to “create your own” on VP.

A. Some items give you a blank template option in the top right corner.

blank template

B. You might need to find a plain white invite and start adding images to it.

blank

INVITES

If you are confused on what size the invites are that you are looking at, select “all designs” and then use the “Filter by” to select the invite size you wish to use.   Or place a keyword into the search (ie. white) and then filter by invite size.

You might notice that some of the invites have a fancy script font on the names.  For example “Spun Elegance” has a black background image with some white flourish around the names.  The names are in the font “AnnabelleJF”  This font is not in the normal drop down menu if you start with a blank invite.  You might want to create you invite Over this design just so you can take advantage of the font.

Hope this helps!  ~ Happy Planning ~
“Hayley C”
Read more in my “How to design invites only using the Vistaprint Software”  – coming soon

Using a Groupon with VP – Step by Step

******************************************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Vistaprint seems to slowly be taking away all the deals that made using them such a deal for people on a budget.   First they took away the 10 free items and made it 2 free items.  They stopped the $70 groupons and have been releasing $45 ones.  (and even those are hard to find – no more daily groupons available)  On 1/9 it was observed that the Retailmenot 50% link has expired.    Also, when you get to your cart there is now a “promo code” box.  The site Never had that before.  They might finally be closing all of our loop holes.  Sorry to say, it might be the end of the Vistaprint Hauls.

*****************************************************************************************************

First, know that there is pretty much ALWAYS a Groupon or Living Social deal available.  These sites list them everyday, so be sure to search through them when it’s time for you to get your Groupon:

www.dailydibs.com/topic/Groupon

www.daddyodeals.com/phpBB/today-s-national-groupon-deals-updated-daily-hot-t209855.html

Below we share how to get the best bang for your buck using a Groupon — please read ALL the way through and come back to reference it when you are building your cart!!  The importance of clicking links IN ORDER cannot be stressed enough!!

* It appears that the loophole with the Living Social deal has been discovered and you no longer can double up a Living Social deal with the Retail me Not sale links.  The Groupon/RetailmeNot (RTMN) CAN still be doubled up, for now…..  *******UPDATE at the bottom ***********

STEP ONE – RESEARCH

Sample Kit

First, be sure to get the free sample kit of their papers so you can see and feel what VP offers and decide which time of paper is best for your needs.

Build Your Cart

The best way to get started with your VP haul is to do research.  Look through the Vistaprint website to see what items you want and/or could use — think outside the box!  Rack cards as programs, I Spy cards or hotel “Do Not Disturb” signs; business cards as place/escort cards or favor tags; a lawn sign to direct people or inform them of your unplugged ceremony.

Also remember that some of the marketing materials are the same sizes as invites but will come out cheaper than ordering what VP calls invitations.

XL Postcards = 6 x 9 cards (invitations, save the dates, programs)

Regular Postcards = 4 x 5.5 cards (invitations, save the dates,  note cards, RSVP cards, invitation inserts)

Rack Cards = 4 x 8 cards (invitations, menu cards, programs)

These items have to be bought in higher quantities than invitations — they start at 100.  So figure out what you REALLY need.  If you need 80 invitations, it’s worth it to get 100 for less than 80 would cost you (even when you add in paper upgrades and envelopes.)  If you only need 30 invitations, we have other links for you to use.  🙂

Once you have figured out exactly what you want, put it in your cart!  But DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT check out!!  Don’t even worry about your totals just yet, we still need to click some…

Discount Links

The next step to your research is finding the best discount link for you.  Some discounts are better than others depending on your cart, but here are two popular ones to get your started:

try 50% off-free shipping – makes MOST items 50% off, but that discount does not apply to some paper upgrades and image uploads
www.retailmenot.com/out/2746533

spend more, save more – $5 off $25+, $15 off $50+, $40 off $100+
www.retailmenot.com/out/3231312

Or any other sale link that VP emails fairly regularly.  REMEMBER WHICH LINK GIVES YOU THE BEST DEAL!!  You’ll need to go back to it when you actually go to check out, so be sure you know which link is best for you!

You’ll want to click on these or any other sale link, which will take you back to your cart.  Your total will be changed, however, to much less than what it previously was.  Now, what you want to do is be as close to $95 as possible — your Groupon (assuming it’s a $17 for $70) will decrease the total you are actually paying for out of pocket to $25.  And that’s the amount needed to get free shipping.

Be sure to take a look at the Mega Hauls to see examples of carts that used these tricks.

STEP TWO – BUY YOUR GROUPON

The Right Deal

At the top of this post, there are links to look for existing Groupons.  Don’t worry about what city they are in — anyone can buy and use them, since VP is an online, national company.  Most of the deals are $17 for $70, but there are sometimes deals for lesser amounts.  If you get a smaller amounts, such as a $12 for $48, you’ll want to get your cart as close as possible to $73 to get free shipping.  For any deal, be at $25 above the deal amount for the free shipping.  The smaller deals are great if you don’t need a lot of items or are having a smaller wedding and the rare really large deals are great if you’re having a big blowout — but the $17 for $70 are the most common.

Shipping

Pay attention to how much your cart total is and how much your shipping is.  If your cart total is $11 and your shipping is $17, you are going to be charged $28 for your order.  You will actually SAVE money if you just add more items to your cart.  Once your cart gets up to $25, you get free shipping.  I always suggest you have your cart at $25 AFTER the Groupon and discount link is added to get the free shipping.  Why spend money on shipping when you can spend money on items?

**You receive FREE shipping when your cart is at $25 after the $70 Groupon is added.**   This shipping sale overrides any advertised sale link you double up with.  Even if you use the Retail Me Not 50% – $50 free shipping link,  you ONLY need to be at $25!  ****  The  $60 groupon requires $30 to get FREE Shipping ***

STEP THREE – STUFF YOUR CART

You don’t have a GREAT deal until you add some free items to your cart.  You can add up to 10*  free items to your cart, and they are limited designs but can make good gifts.  Here’s an example of how you can stuff your cart:

Free items

1. Free Car Magnet – Just Married
2. Free Father of the Bride/Groom hat
3. Free Mug  – $1.99 to remove branding
4. Free T-Shirt
5. Free NotebooK
6. Free Tote Bag – $1.99 to remove branding
7. Free Banner
8. Free Pen (keep branding)
9. Free Flip Book (upload pictures of table # or Reserved signs)
10. Free Notepad

Click the “free items” link above to get a list of links for these individual items (and more) and start adding them to your cart.  The best way to make sure you don’t override your other deal links is to add these items FIRST.  Once you’ve added your free items to your cart, you can go ahead and start getting to your best deal possible.

***VP has now limited FREE items to *2*  per order.  Yes, we were all very sad when this was discovered.

STEP FOUR – PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Apply Your Groupon

This will be the somewhat tricky part.  At this point, you should already have all the items you want to buy in your cart — your invites, thank you cards, programs, etc.  What you’ll want to do now is go to Vistaprint using the link provided by Groupon or Living Social  usually something like vistaprint.com/groupon17for70.  Be sure to look at your deal to see what the correct URL for your deal is —  different amounts will also have a different URL.

When you use the Groupon, it will automatically give you 30% off your items.  DO NOT FREAK OUT — you will get more of a discount in a minute.  At the bottom of that page will be the box for your to put in your Groupon code.  If you do not see that box, you haven’t gone to VP using the correct link — look at your Groupon and go to the specified URL and the box will appear.

Promo Code Box - Groupon/Living Social Deal Goes Here!

Promo Code Box – Groupon  Goes Here

Once you’ve typed in your code, click “APPLY” to apply your Groupon  discount — don’t worry, it hasn’t been used yet.  You’ll know it has applied the discount amount because it’ll list “$70 worth of Vistaprint products” (or whichever amount your deal is for) at the bottom of your cart, like the picture below.

Display When Groupon is Applied

Display When Groupon is Applied

Click Your Discount

Now that you’ve applied your Groupon, LEAVE THAT WINDOW/TAB OPEN.  You’ll want to open a NEW TAB and go to whichever discount link you’ve decided to use.  Go ahead and click that link in the new tab — this will take you back to your cart, which will now have additional discounts applied and the Groupon will still be applied!!  Your cart total should be around $25 since you’ve applied the Groupon deal and you’ll be getting free shipping with that!

STEP FIVE – ORDER!!

You should now have a TON of stuff that you should be paying close to $25 for and getting it all with free shipping!  Happy Vistaprinting!

*** MORE TIPS ***

Examples of Vistaprint Mega Hauls  –   and how much they saved
Making Items on VP  –  how to create custom invites, get free items, create invites that will fit pocketfolds

****************************************   UPDATE   ****************************************

The  $70 groupon has not been sold since July.  Rumor has it that you CAN get the $45 groupon to double up, but it is VERY tricky.   I personally have yet to walk someone through the steps to get it to double up.  However, I HAVE chatted with someone that did it!

I believe you need to start with the groupon link and put in your code.  Then you can open a sale link via a different window.  The sale link (RTMN or email) will bump out your groupon code but it will keep the promo box on the screen.  (*in the past it would bump out the promo box)   Now that your sale link is in your cart, you can enter in your Groupon code into the promo box and cross your fingers that it doubles up.

I bought a $20 for $60 groupon on Nov 14th and was able to get the RTMN code to double up with the groupon.  It was not in the same order that the $70 ones worked, and took a little clicking/refreshing and multiple windows open.  But I DID get it to work.   I opened the groupon link but didn’t put the code in. Then I opened a new window with a sale link. Then I went back to the original window and put in the Groupon code in the promo box. I might have clicked or refreshed something else, not sure.

I have just been told you can enter the $60 groupon voucher.  Then click a sale link (retailmenot.com) to open a new window to double up your savings. The $60 groupon requires $30 to get the free shipping.    Again, if it is not working for you, try to clear out your cache and open/refresh multiple windows.

Good Luck!!!  Feel free to friend me on facebook if you want to chat if you need help.
https://www.facebook.com/leximom.wwire

Invitations – Time Lines – How to Address

Invitation Wording Examples (lots of different options)

http://www.invitationconsultants.com/samplewording.aspx?p_subcategory=1

How to address your envelopes (print to reference when addressing invites)

http://www.wedalert.com/content/articles/address_invitations.asp

Creating Address Labels without retyping everything (step by step mail merge instructions)

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/mail-merge-made-easy-TC102129550.aspx

 

**Invitations/RSVP Questions**

Invites: 6 – 8 weeks
Out of Town guests, Holiday weekend, Destination wedding invites: 8 – 10 weeks
Save The Dates: 6 – 9 months before
Destination or holiday weekend Save The Dates: 9 – 12 months before

*highly suggest Save The Date if destination or holiday weekend wedding

RSVP = 12 – 18 days before your counts are due to the venue (so no more than a month before your wedding date)

Example:
count due Aug 5th
rsvp return by July 20th
(2 weeks to track them down)

count due July 30th
rsvp July 15th … hopefully they drop them in the mail and you have them by July 21 and you have 9 days to track people down….

 

“A-List” and “B-List” – How To

First find out when your final head count is due
Then you start to work backwards

With an “A” and “B” list…. the “B” list shouldn’t be TOO big, so there shouldn’t be too many names to hunt down. Your “B” list RSVP can be around 7 -9 days before your head count is due. You would “like” the “B-list” to have 2.5 – 3 weeks to respond to the RSVP so it doesn’t “feel” like a “B-list” (the mail out date for B-list is RSVP date for A-list)

Then count back another 3 – 4 weeks for when you mail out the “A” list.
Ex. Wedding 6/30
Head count due 6/22

RSVP “B-list” June 13 (should have all back by the 18th)
RSVP “A-list” May 21th (mail out 1 B-list as each “no” comes in – this date give B-list almost 3 weeks to respond * and is 5 weeks before the wedding)
Mail out “A-list” April 20th * 10 weeks before the wedding * (They should all receive them by April 25th – gives them just under 4 weeks to respond)

Invite Someone Famous

INVITE SOMEONE FAMOUS – THEY SEND YOU A CONGRATS LETTER

President of the United States

It’s said that you will receive a letter of congratulations from the President and First Lady, suitable for framing. Two addresses for this, either should work:

President and Mrs. Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia 20500

or

The White House
Attn: Scheduling Office
Washington, District of Columbia 20502

inside envelope:
Mr. President and The First Lady

invites-wedding

The Pope

You might receive a papal blessing by sending an invitation him. His address is:

Pope Francis I
Prefettura della Casa Pontifica
00120 Citta del Vaticano, Italia

inside envelope:
His Holiness

Queen of England

It’s said that the Queen might send her regrets if she receives an invitation. But rumor has it she only replies if you are British…. Her address is:

The Secretary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Buckingham Palace
London, England SW1A 1AA

inside envelope:
Her Majesty

Disney Characters

Invite a Disney Prince and Princess (each location sends you something different, but not necessarily character based on who you address it to, so write to them both):

Mickey and Minnie Mouse
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

and

Mickey and Minnie Mouse
1675 N Buena Vista Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

disney

disneyphoto

Other Celebrities

http://www.fanmail.biz/ is the celebrity address “database.” I should think that most things get processed through their agent or publicist. You can search by name or by category. Search for your favorite actor or singer.