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We love hearing from our readers, so when Meghan wrote us with this Ask Emmaline question we swooped in to help. She is planning a wedding in her hometown of Wilmington, NC, but a handful of guests are coming from out of town (she currently lives in Chicago). She says,
Hi Emmaline! Many guests are flying in for my beach wedding in North Carolina and I want them to feel comfortable in the area. I’ve heard of wedding welcome bags, but I have no idea what to put in them. Any advice?
Great question, Meghan! A wedding welcome bag is a nice way to greet guests upon arrival. It’s also a sweet gesture, since your guests have traveled to be a part of your day. Say thank you by leaving a welcome bag in their hotel room (this can be coordinated with the hotel — just be sure to tip extra generously). We’ve compiled a list of top 10 things every wedding welcome bag needs to help. You can make them yourself with just a few, easy-to-find things! Read on for the list!
What to Put in Wedding Welcome Bags
Start with a bag:
We love a bag that can be re-used, and something like this is deep enough to be filled to the brim.
Or say welcome to New York (um, it’s been waitin’ for you — I couldn’t resist a little TSwift) or any location with a map tote a la the lovely LH Calligraphy (left) or a state shape with heart on your location…
When it comes to your perfect wedding day, it starts with perfect vendors. Let’s face it: wedding vendors make or break your day! Wedding blogs help you find inspiration; handmade vendors create one-of-a-kind pieces, decor, and must-have items; wedding planners turn inspiration into fruition (and work tirelessly to coordinate every single detail), and wedding photographers capture it all for years to come. Hair stylists and makeup artists help you look your best, while seamstresses ensure your dress fits like a glove. Officiants make your ceremony memorable (and meaningful). Wedding videographers turn your memories into a full-length film to relive over and over again. Disc jockeys and bands entertain guests and provide ambiance during dinner, venue staff coordinate proper seating, lighting, and food service; and your caterer (and baker!) will be the difference between guests being satisfied (or wishing the food was better). These are just a few of the wedding vendors that make a wedding oh-so-memorable — and it takes hard work to do it. We’ve talked before about how important it is to thank your parents, how to perform random acts of wedding kindness, and 10 rules to keep your bridesmaids happy. Tipping is important, but it’s also essential to thank your wedding vendors by showing them your appreciation. Today, we’re showing you how to thank your wedding vendors right from the start. Read on to find out more PLUS enter for a chance to win a set of beautiful thank you cards from the lovely Sarka of Citrus Press. Let’s begin, shall we?
I see this happen so often: someone wants a particular handmade product and they ask another artist to make it for cheaper, essentially ripping off the design. Not only is it unfair to the originator, but it’s rude to look at someone’s work and then say, ‘Hmm, your work is nice but I’d really rather pay you to do THEIR work, and much cheaper”. If you really want something, pay for it. Same applies to wedding photographers: don’t contact one photographer and ask him or her to copy another photographer’s style for a lower price. It’s rude.
2. Only hire them if you can afford their services plus a tip.
Once a particular vendor gives you a price, that’s pretty much the price (and don’t forget to tip – see #6). There are some opportunities for negotiation, but only under very specific circumstances. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but most venues or vendors have a set price based on the amount of work (and staff) it takes to do an exceptional job. Don’t try to knock it down by saying, “Well, so-and-so charges less” — then hire so-and-so! Hard work = proper compensation.
3. Be honest.
There’s this new trend where some engaged couples are booking venues, hair appointments, or ordering cakes (just to name a few) and saying it’s just for a ‘party’ to get a better rate than the ‘wedding’ price. Don’t do that. They’ll see right through you: don’t be dishonest.
4. Treat them with kindness.
Be kind, just like your momma taught you.
5. Be forthright with what you want.
Vendors are not mind-readers. Thank your wedding vendors in advance by being very specific about what you want. Don’t assume the D.J. knows not to play a certain song during the reception (unless you tell him/her) or freak out when the photographer didn’t get a picture of you with your grandparents. If you want your eye makeup subtle, tell your makeup artist — and, fortheloveofcosmetics let her give you a trial run first! Your reception tables? Go over the final look before the wedding (instead of sweating when they look different in your mind’s eye). Be very specific. Most wedding vendors are more than happy to work with you to make your dreams = reality.
6. Tip them appropriately.
The #1 way to thank your wedding vendors? By tipping them for a job well done. Here’s a tipping cheat sheet to get you started.
7. Be flexible.
Be flexible when something does not go as planned. If something happens that is unexpected — i.e. your cake is not delivered on time, the venue has a heating issue, the disc jockey forgot to bring a particular track — it is unfortunate, however most vendors are just as bummed as you. They’ll most likely try their best to make the most out of the circumstances, so try to be flexible.
8. Don’t leave a negative review, unless…
Don’t leave a negative review for a vendor unless you’ve a) let them know you were not happy with a particular service AND b) they did not work with you to correct it, during or after the wedding. Reviews are so important to wedding vendors and help them to have new clients in the future. You should, however, leave a less-than-happy review if a vendor was exceptionally poor, didn’t care that you were unhappy, AND did not try to make it better. Or, never showed. Or, a wedding vendor disappeared after being paid, never to be heard from again. That’s awful. It helps to look out for other brides-to-be.
9. Say thank you.
Often. And mean it.
Now that you know how to thank your wedding vendors, we’re giving you some thank you cards to do it! Find out more below.
Giveaway: Win 50 Thank You Cards!
When you’re ready to thank your wedding vendors, parents, wedding party, and friends and family for making your wedding amazing, you’ll need pretty thank you cards to start! We’ve teamed up with Citrus Press to offer 50 thank you cards and envelopes to one lucky reader. Here’s a preview of the thank you cards and the envelope color choices:
o Enter between 6/27/14-7/4/14 (11:59pm EST) using giveaway form below o Prize:
Beautiful flora botanical inspired Thank You cards are A2 in size and printed on heavy card stock. These also come with 50 white envelopes, ready for you to write to your guests or can be used for any occasion as it never hurts to say Thank You.
o Winner will be randomly selected and announced on 7/5; winner announced on this blog post and emailed o Winner has 72 hours to respond to email or new winner will be selected o No purchase necessary o Winner has 3 months to claim prize o Prize value: $125.00 o Free shipping included anywhere. o Past giveaway winners within 30 days not eligible to win o Use entry form below to enter o No cash value
One of our favorite handcrafted details for a wedding bar is a bespoke coaster. We’ve seen coasters given as wedding favors, used as escort cards, printed with a thank you message to wedding guests, and used as a unique advice guest book alternative, just to name a few ideas. A coaster is a conversation starter for guests and offers functionality as a drink ‘saver’ or label, as well as to protect a tabletop. As a drink saver, guests can place a coaster above the rim of their glass to signify the drink is still being consumed so it is not bussed. And, as a label, guests can identify a drink as theirs by writing their name on it (these are one example). A wedding coaster can also be used just as a festive addition to your decor. To inspire your reception, we’ve rounded up fifteen creative wedding coaster ideas below. Take a peek and let us know if you plan to use wedding coasters and, if so, tell us what yours will say!
Wedding Coaster Ideas
1. Enjoy Coaster
This wood coaster is perfect for a rustic wedding! We love the elegant calligraphy.
It’s time for another Ask Emmaline question! We received this question from bride-to-be, Lana, who asks, “Dear Emmaline, I’m planning my wedding and my parents have been so helpful, especially my mom. She has been helping with every DIY detail, even taking some of the bigger projects (my centerpieces) to eliminate my stress. I want to thank my parents for all they’ve done for our wedding; any advice?” Fantastic question! You can never thank your parents enough for all of the wonderful things they’ve done for you, and your wedding is no exception. Whether they are contributing their time, money, support, or they’re just being totally awesome per usual, it’s important to thank your parents at your wedding. In this post, we’re sharing some of our favorites ways to thank your parents at your wedding PLUS we’re giving away one of our favorite finds by Paper Street Press!
P.S. This is a must-have photo! Pin this for later! (Hover mouse over photo and click ‘pin it’.)
Present your parents with a card or letter as a thank you. For a card, write a few lines inside with specifics of why you’d like to say thanks at your wedding. If you’d like to include a longer letter, consider something along the lines of “remember when” where you write things you’re thankful for, whether before or during the wedding planning process.
6. Thank You Gifts
Present your parents with gifts of thanks. A few examples include jewelry…
And, last but not least, enjoy your wedding day. Your parents want you to be happy and savor every moment of your wedding day. You (and presumably they) have put lots of time and energy into this day, so make sure you show your appreciation by enjoying it. Practice these wedding acts of kindness and be gracious to all who help you make your day wonderful. Oh, and it goes without saying: never be a bridezilla. It doesn’t look good on anyone. And, be sure to say thank you during the planning process.
P.S. I love this cute photo of the bride’s parents!
Now that you have some ideas on how to thank parents at your wedding, it’s time to win a lovely gift! We’ve teamed up with Paper Street Press to offer a custom art print to one lucky reader (as seen below and above in #1).
About the Prize
Kleenex not included! Bring your mama to tears with these personalized, sentimental wedding-day gifts. You will receive a unique pair of fully-customized 8″ x 10″ prints; one for each set of parents. Additional prints are available for just $10 each.
o Enter between 5/15/14-5/21/14 (11:59pm EST) o Prize: Personalized Pair of Parents Thank You Prints o Winner will be randomly selected and announced on 5/22; winner announced on this blog post and emailed o Winner has 72 hours to respond to email or new winner will be selected o FREE shipping included to U.S. and Canada o No purchase necessary o Winner has 1 year to claim prize o Prize value: $40 | No cash value o Past giveaway winners within 30 days not eligible to win o Use entry form below to enter
Hi, loves! We’ve talked about the loveliness that is Alternative Journals before, but have you seen their metallic guest books? This collection is just one of the new metallic-infused items we’re digging from their shop. Read on to see a close-up of the metallic guest books we love…
Metallic Guest Books
The metallic guest book collection features super shiny, pretty, lightly distressed texture in leather. The dimensions are 8×8 inches and 1 inch thick with 192 pages. There is a hand sewn headband as an adornment at the top and bottom of the book spine. Each of these guest books is totally handmade just for you.
If you love these metallic guest books, take a peek at the metallic stationery and thank you cards they also offer.
It’s time for another Ask Emmaline question! We received this message from Anna who asks, “I’m writing thank you cards as I receive wedding gifts. I received a gift of cash and I don’t know what to say in the card. Any advice?” Writing a proper thank you for cash gift is easy to do and requires just a few tips. Read on to see a sample thank you for cash gift, see a few thank you cards, and enter for a chance to win a set of forty thank you cards for your big day!
If you receive a cash gift, the number one rule is to write how you plan to use it. Guests like to know that their gift of money will be enjoyed. For example, you can say something like, “Thank you for the gift of money. We plan to use it as part of our down payment on a house.” Or, “Thank you for the generous check. We are saving for a new car and this will help us reach our goal.” Most importantly? Be honest and sincere. Here’s an example:
Example Thank You for Cash Gift
Dear Aunt Louise and Uncle Fran,
Thank you for your generous gift of money. We are saving for a new home and we will be able to use it towards our down payment. Thank for you thinking of us and sharing our special day. Love, Mary and Tom
Example Thank You (If They Couldn’t Attend)
Dear Aunt Louise and Uncle Fran,
Thank you for your generous gift of money. We are saving for a new home and we will be able to use it towards our down payment. Thank for you thinking of us. We are sorry you could not attend our wedding but we hope to see you soon. Love, Mary and Tom
Hope it helps!
Have a question for us? Just Ask Emmaline! It’s free and your question could appear in an upcoming post.
If you’re looking for thank you cards, we spotted these over at Ponto Mountain Paper (we’re giving away a set!) and love ’em. Pick a design you love that coordinates with your wedding theme.
Now that you have an idea of how to write them, it’s time to win them! We’ve teamed up with Ponto Mountain Paper to give away a set of 40 thank you cards (and envelopes) to one lucky reader. The design is shown below:
o Enter between 4/29/14-5/5/14 (11:59pm EST) o Prize: 40 Thank You Cards and Envelopes by Ponto Mountain Paper. Design shown above. Not customizable. o Winner will be randomly selected and announced on 5/6; winner announced on this blog post and emailed o Winner has 72 hours to respond to email or new winner will be selected o FREE shipping included to U.S. o No purchase necessary o Winner has 3 months to claim prize o Prize value: $60 | No cash value o Past giveaway winners within 30 days not eligible to win o Use entry form below to enter
Hi, loves! You know at Emmaline Bride we’re nuts for wedding details that do two things at once, since we love to save you time. And money. And stress. So, when we spotted the thank you menu combination over at Paper Street Press, we couldn’t wait to share it with you. This is a great idea AND the entire Art Deco wedding invitation suite has us inspired in full Gatsby-like grandeur. So, without further adieu, we introduce… the thank you menu!
Thank you Menu
What is a Thank You Menu? Essentially it’s a thank you card and dinner menu in one. At the top, it shares a heartfelt (+ custom) thank you greeting for guests. The bottom half clues your guests in to what’s cooking up for dinner. Here’s a closer look:
Here’s the thank you portion…
… and the menu portion underneath:
Art Deco Collection
This thank you menu features an art deco wedding style. We recommend pairing it with other complementing pieces such as the wedding invitation and return address stamp. Here’s a closer look:
And the return address stamp:
This is just a sample of the beautiful items you’ll find at Paper Street Press. Browse the shop to see more!