Having an Italian Destination Wedding?

Destination weddings are a popular choice for many couples. The idea of blending the ceremony with the honeymoon is very appealing, plus who wouldn’t want to exchange their vows on a beach or in some other exotic location. One of the most splendid locations for a romantic destination wedding is Italy. Whether you choose the classic beauty of Rome, the water canals of Venice, or the Renaissance glory of Florence, you’re sure to be captivated by everything the country has to offer.

GondolierOf course, if you do choose an Italian destination wedding, then you’ll want to make sure your invitations are appropriate for the occasion as well.

Destination Wedding Invitations

Before you start choosing your invitations, you should start making plans for your destination wedding. As you may already know, a regular wedding requires a great deal of planning but if you are having a wedding on the other side of the world then you are going to need a lot of careful, well-thought out planning.

You should begin by hiring a wedding planner, preferably one who is located in Italy near where you want the ceremony to be held. If you are working with a hotel, resort, or other facility, they may have a wedding planner with whom they normally work. Otherwise, your best bet is to use the Internet to locate and check out potential Italian wedding planners. Remember to look for a wedding planner with previous experience arranging this type of affair – it’s going to be different than working with a local couple.

Obviously, you won’t be able to have as much of a hands-on role in decision making. For example, you will not get to sample different cake flavors before making a selection for your wedding cake’s tiers. Instead, you’ll probably have to trust your wedding planner. If you can afford to make at least one or two trips to Italy before the wedding, that would be a wonderful way of having a more active role in the planning process.

Sending Out Invitations

As with any destination wedding, you’ll need to send out save the date cards well before the actual day of the wedding. When you do, be sure to send along detailed information about the costs of the trip, the accommodations available, and other details. If you are able to pay for any part of the trip, make this clear to your guests, particularly your wedding party.

For your wedding invitations, choose something lavish. You probably won’t be sending out hundreds of invitations – most destination weddings have much smaller guest lists than other weddings do. If you can find invitations with images of Italy, for example, this would be a wonderful choice. You could also take a photograph of the location for your wedding and have that added as the image of your invitations to make a truly unique card.

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Wedding Thank You Cards for the Holidays

Thank You Cards for the HolidaysGetting married during the holiday season may be a great idea because your family and friends will be in town and because you’ll already have some time off from work or school, but it can also be a little hectic, especially when it comes to getting those wedding thank you cards in the mail.

Choosing Holiday Wedding Thank You Cards

Picking the right thank you cards can be difficult any time, but during the holidays you want something that fits nicely with the season and with the rest of your wedding theme. While you may want to order thank you cards that specifically match the rest of your wedding stationery, you might also consider having multiple thank you cards since you’ll be sending them to people for multiple reasons: wedding gifts, bridal shower gifts, bachelorette party, etc.

Some of the best choices for thank you cards this season are basic card inserts wrapped in colorful vellum then closed with matching seals. One of the best examples for Christmas is the Starlight variety. Both the Reflections and the Fanfare versions are also very nice and would be appropriate for mailing during the holidays.

Remember Basic Thank You Card Etiquette

Regardless of which thank you cards you choose to send, you want to remember some basic guidelines. For example, you should try to mail out the thank you cards for all pre-wedding events before the actual wedding. Not only do you want to show your appreciation while it’s still fresh in your mind but you’re going to be swamped with sending out thank you cards after the wedding.

If you receive wedding gifts in the mail, you should send thank you cards for those presents immediately. The card will let the giver know you received the present and that you liked it.

For the rest of your wedding invitations, remember that you should send them out as soon as possible after the wedding. When you return from your honeymoon, you should start working on them. The longer you wait the easier it will be to forget the task altogether. Each thank you card should include a personal but brief message even though that will take a little more time.

Don’t forget that modern etiquette rules say brides aren’t the only ones who should be working on the thank you cards. Grooms should help out, too. Find a way to divide he task: the bride writes to her family; the groom writes to his or vice versa. It’ll take less time and will be more fun if you do it as a couple.

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Choosing Birthday Invitations to Match Your Birthday Party Favors

Party favors abound in variety, ranging from simple to intricate. Depending on what type of birthday celebration you are hosting this year, you might consider giving your guests a token to take home in remembrance of your big day. Match the favors with the invitations, and you can create a theme that will be difficult to forget.

Why Give Favors?

Although party favors are not required, it is certainly good manners to show guests appreciation for their presence at your party. After all, people are busy, but they are taking time to celebrate your birthday and bring you a gift shows they care. Return the favor and give them a token to remember your party by and show your appreciation of their friendship.

Party FavorsThemed Favors

Depending on your interests and what type of theme your party will have, it is always fun to match favors and invitations with the designated theme. If you are having a cocktail party, you can send invitations featuring a cocktail shaker or martini glasses, and then take it one step further and hand out personalized martini glasses or cocktail shakers at the end of the party.

If you are simply having friends over for a backyard barbeque, consider sending invitations featuring bottles of barbeque sauce or a person grilling. Then, buy small bottles and fill with your favorite barbeque sauce, either store-bought or homemade, for your guests to take home. You could even personalize a label for the bottle using a computer or a local printing service.

Food Favors

If your party doesn’t have a theme, you can still incorporate creative favors into the party scheme. If you love to bake, whip up some birthday cookies and decorate them with your name and birth date and let each guest take one home. You can give guests a hint by sending invitations layered with delicious-looking birthday cookies.

If you are known as the resident chocoholic, send chocolate-colored invitations with gold or silver lettering, and then order chocolate bars with personalized wrappers. You can choose the color scheme, the message on the wrapper, as well as the type of chocolate.

Reusable Favors

If you and your friends have climbed aboard the poker bandwagon, invite everyone over for an evening of birthday poker. You can set up multiple tables if you need to, and each table could feature a different form of poker, such as Texas hold ’em and seven card stud. Preface the party with invitations featuring a poker table or a set of playing cards. Then, when it’s time for your guests to go home, send them away with a personalized deck of playing cards.

Perhaps you love flowers and want to have a birthday luncheon with a garden theme. You could decorate the tables with bouquets of your favorite flowers and send invitations featuring these flowers or concentrate on one type, like a daisy. Depending on the type of plant you choose, send guests home with seeds or a small starter plant in a pot that has been personalized with your birth date and your name. When guests see the flower blooming, they will remember how much fun your birthday party was.

Whether your party will have a theme or rely on your personality to set the mood, sending your guests away with thoughtful favors will remind them that you care.

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How to Think Like a Wedding Invitation Artist/Designer

If you’ve spent much time looking through wedding invitation choices, you’ve probably discovered that too many of them don’t look very unique. After awhile all of those colors, designs, and fonts start to run together in a blur. That’s why more couples want to create something unique. Unfortunately, the average couple’s wedding budget can’t stretch enough to accommodate hiring an actual graphic designer or artist to create that unique look.

The good news is with a little imagination you won’t need to hire a professional. You can create your own unique invitations as long as you can learn how to think like an artist.

Understand the Artist Process

DesignerGenerally what would happen if you did hire an artistic professional is that you would meet with someone who has probably graduated from a liberal arts college with a degree in art or who has attended an art institute. You’d give them a general idea of what you wanted, and they would create some ideas for you to choose from. The choice you like the best would end up at your printer’s and would become the basis of your wedding invitations.

When you take out the professional, you simply find yourself brainstorming and implementing the ideas on your own. It might sound scary but it can also be kind of fun, too.

Ideas for Thinking Like an Artist

Here are some ways for you to start thinking like an artist so you’ll be able to brainstorm some amazing ideas for your unique wedding invitations:

1) Start seeing beauty in everything – Artists have a natural gift for noticing that everything has its own beauty. From the way the chair at your dining table is angled to the lone flower growing among a plot of weeds, artists can sense what is interesting to the human eye and mind. Most of us could do this to but because we don’t think of ourselves as artists we just roam through our day not paying attention to these little slices of beauty. To think like an artist, you need to force yourself to look around yourself every day.

2) Avoid conformity – The best art ever created was art that had never been done before. By taking risks and pushing the envelope, artists free themselves from the conventions of their craft and are able to create masterpieces others have never dreamed of. You may not be interested in painting the next Mona Lisa, but when you start forcing yourself to think outside the box you’ll start generating the fresh, unique ideas you want for your wedding invitation.

3) Allow yourself to make mistakes – Often an artist’s best work isn’t something that was planned. The idea may have started out one way but as the artist continued his or her craft it became something totally different and equally wonderful. That’s how art works sometimes. If you keep stopping every time something isn’t going the way you think it should, then you may never end up getting a finished product.

Remember as you start brainstorming ideas for your own invitations you need to begin following the steps above so you can begin thinking like an artist and, inevitably, creating like one.

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Fabulous Fiftieth Anniversary Party Ideas for You and Your Guests

You honored your vows and loved each other through even the most difficult of times in the last five decades. You raised a beautiful family and sent them out into the world to seek good fortune and an endless amount of happiness for themselves. You left your job to pursue a lifetime of relaxation and leisure activities. You earned it, right? You put in your time, paid your dues, and have a strong, successful relationship with your spouse. What is there left for you to do? How about throwing an amazing 50th anniversary party for you and your loved ones?

Making It a Memorable Milestone

Fabulous Fiftieth Anniversary PartyCommemorating a milestone this large will take time and a few extra set of hands. Why not enlist the help of your children or other family members? No matter how big or small the task, having a team of ready and willing participants will cut down on costs and allow you the luxury of thinking outside the box. Assign a task to each person and make sure to follow up with them regularly. One person cannot do everything alone, so having the extra support will free up the time and resources necessary for throwing a one-of-a-kind event that everyone will enjoy.

Choosing Your Theme

A theme can be anything you would like it to be. If you love Hawaii but can’t afford to send everyone to the island, perhaps you can make it easier on yourself by holding a luau in your own backyard. Anniversary parties can mimic actual wedding receptions of any size or budget. Take the time to determine what is important to you and run some ideas by your spouse. If possible, try to combine two ideas into one to create a unique experience completely reflective of you.

Want a great conversation piece but don’t know where to look? Pictures of you and your significant other at different ages can be featured throughout the room. In fact, it is very easy to get life size photos made. You can visit a print shop and have your wedding photograph enlarged for very little money. Do the same with a current photograph and place the two next to each other. Delight in all the comments left behind by guests who view both pictures.

Set the tone. Play popular music from the era in which you got married. Dance the same way you did when you first met. Create a video tribute to your loved one and highlight your happiest moments together. Give extra copies to your children as a cherished keepsake.

Cast yourself in gold. Gold is the official color of 50th wedding anniversaries. Find a way to incorporate this precious metal into your theme. You can find a religious figure that will assist you in renewing your vows, and during the ceremony, you can lavish each other with gold watches or other forms of gold jewelry.

No party of this size can be complete without sharing a memory or two. Make your guests a part of the process by inviting them to attend your truly remarkable marital celebration!

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Team Work Theme Inspired Invitations for Your Corporate Party

Throwing a corporate party can have a huge impact on your business. You can win new clients, secure orders for your new products or services, inspire increased loyalty from your current clients, or more. However, you want to be sure to send the right message to your guests before, during, and after your party in order to achieve that desired impact.

The question is what do you need to do while you’re planning this corporate party to ensure its success and the achievement of your larger goals whatever they may be.

Before the Party

Corporate PartyWhile you’re still planning the party, you want to choose invitations that convey a strong and positive impression about your business. Team work is definitely a good message to use. Clients want to work with businesses that have a team atmosphere in which the employees work together to get things done. Team work means fewer problems and less risk of something going wrong.

Some examples of corporate party invitations that convey the all-important team work theme, include Toasting People, Party People, or Golf Feet.

During the Party

Once the party starts and your guests have arrived, you want to take the opportunity to re-emphasize your overall message without being too obvious. One way is to put the spotlight on a great example of team work from your staff. During the celebration, you may want someone to make an announcement congratulating a team for some amazing accomplishment – this not only proves that your company is dedicated to team work but also shows your guests that your team is successful. Remember people like to do business with successful people.

While spreading the message is important, you don’t want to go overboard when you’re actually communicating with your clients at the party. If they feel a sales pitch coming on, they’ll sit down their martini and be out the door like lightning. Remember to be subtle or avoid direct conversations about business.

After the Party

When the last song has been performed and the refreshment bowls are nearly empty, your guests will begin filing out of the location and returning home. That doesn’t mean your corporate party efforts should be considered finished.

To make the most of the good feelings your party hopefully established, give each of your guests a personal call the next business morning. Hopefully, you’ve thrown the party on a Friday or Saturday night so your guests will have had a chance to recover before heading into work. Start the conversation friendly enough: “Hey, I hope you had a great time at the party.” Once you’ve finished the small talk, you can work on scheduling a meeting to make an actual presentation to secure new work or to achieve other business goals.

Another idea is to drop by their office in person with a handshake and a small after-party gift, such as some fresh fruit, a fresh latte, etc. While the in person benefit may take more time, it’s going to generate better results – it’s harder to say “no” to someone in person than over the phone, especially if you’ve just been partying with them a night or two earlier.

By following these before, during, and after communication strategies, you stand a much better chance of achieving your goal.

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How to Hire a Calligrapher for Your Wedding Invitations

When your invitations are printed and ready to mail, you’ll be facing another task – addressing the inner and outer envelopes. Some couples choose to handle this task on their own, especially if their budget is tight. However, other couples love the idea of having a professional calligrapher address the envelopes for them. In fact, some couples even choose a calligrapher to write the invitations themselves.

Calligraphy, which literally means “beautiful writing,” is practiced in almost every culture. Most calligraphers today have been trained through classes and work in a freelance capacity. You may be able to locate calligraphers through your local telephone book, online, or through other wedding vendors, such as your paper vendor or printer.

CalligrapherIs Calligraphy a Good Choice for You?

Before you start your search, determine your calligraphy budget. You need to know how much you can spend since this will be a factor in who you choose to do the work. As always, you should contact as many calligraphers as possible before making a decision. Of course, your options may be limited depending on your location, especially if you would prefer to work with someone local and not an online provider.

Choosing the Right Calligrapher

When you interview potential calligraphers, you should bring along samples of fonts or styles you would like for your invitations. You don’t want to hire someone who can not complete the job in the way you desire.

Additionally, you should ask to view samples of the calligraphers work, preferably examples of his or her work with wedding invitations. Also, ask for references you can contact. If the calligrapher does provide references, don’t hesitate to contact them and ask them if they were satisfied with the job. On the positive side, unhappy brides are all too happy to pass on information about bad service, so if you hear good things then you can feel pretty confident about the calligrapher’s abilities.

Working Out the Contract Details

You should also talk about the price. Calligraphers will either quote you a price per envelope/invitation or an hourly price. If the calligrapher chooses to quote you an hourly price, you should ask for a written quote based on the number of invitations you will need addressed or written. Along with the price, you should also ask about payment policies. Generally, calligraphers will require a deposit. A second payment is often due at some point during the project, possibly when half of the invitations have been addressed. The balance is usually due at the end or near the end of the project.

Another important question involves time. Because your invitations need to be completed in a timely fashion, you must have some clear idea of how long the calligrapher will require to finish the work. Make sure to get the deadlines in writing.

Finally, you need to ask about what happens when mistakes are made. Even professional ligraphers are not perfect, they will make mistakes. You should, of course, have extra envelopes available, but if you need even more envelopes or if mistakes are made but not caught then you and the calligrapher should have terms in place to deal with those problems.

Calligraphers, like any other wedding vendors, should be interviewed carefully so you make the right choice. Don’t forget to put everything in writing. If problems do arise, having a contract will make the issues easier to resolve.

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Thank You Notes for a Surprise Party

Your surprise birthday party was a “Kodak Moment” to say the least! Your friends and family described the look on your face as one that will keep them smiling for years. Unaware that you were the Guest of Honor at your very own surprise party, you mimicked the “deer caught in headlights” look perfectly. It was downright embarrassing how unprepared you actually were for that moment. Being the good sport that you are, you decided not to run and hide, but instead opted to put on a party hat and join in on the festivities.

Now that the streamers have fallen and the last helium-filled balloon has deflated, you have a big task at hand. How will you ever be able to repay everyone for taking part in your extra special surprise party?

Shhh SurpriseThe Importance of Thank You Cards

Sending Thank You cards is a great way to acknowledge your guests and to let them know how much you appreciated them being a part of your big celebration. Most of these guests had to keep your party a secret, which is no small feat!

You may also want to include a small gift with the Thank You card for the host who planned your surprise extravaganza. Surprise birthday parties are typically much more difficult to plan than the traditional festivities, and you can show your appreciation with kind words and a small present to the host.

As you are writing a Thank You note for a creative surprise party, you can enjoy flexibility in the stationery you choose. Of course, you can always pen your notes of appreciation on your personal stationery, but you can also use “surprise” invitations or ones that feature balloons as a backdrop to your words of thanks.

How to Address and Send the Cards

Make sure that you send your Thank You notes as soon as possible, ideally within one week of the party. You want to make sure appreciation sounds genuine, instead of an afterthought that comes months after the party.

Obtain the guest list from whoever hosted the party and address the cards accordingly. Don’t make the mistake of leaving anyone out. Send one card for each couple or family. Enclose pictures of the event for an extra special memento. Perhaps you can include a photo of your surprised face, as well as one that features the guest.

If possible, make each message personal by addressing the couple or members of a family by first name. For example, use “Jack and Jill,” or “Bill, Suzie, Chris, Michael, and Janie.” Mention their role in making your party a success. Note how much you appreciate any gifts they may have given you. Also let them know how much you look forward to your next birthday, or perhaps celebrating their upcoming birthday date together.

A gracious individual knows how much of an impact a simple gesture like sending a Thank You card may have on a person. Mind your manners and send a Thank You note to each guest – and you may enjoy surprises for many years to come!

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Choosing the Right Embellishments for Wedding Invitations

Whether your invitations are formal or informal, you’re probably not going to send them out without adding a little flair. One of the most common wedding invitation embellishments is a satin ribbon, usually chosen to match the wedding colors or to accentuate one of the primary colors in the invitation. However, there are other choices available.

What to Look for in Invitation Embellishments

Lace Black Pocket InvitationsWhen you pick embellishments, you want to choose something that makes a subtle statement. Anything too gaudy, big, or showy is going to distract people from the beauty of your actual invitations – that’s not what you want. You simply want to enhance the invitations.

You could consider choosing embellishments which carry on the theme of your invitations. For example, if your invitations include a flower print, you could choose a pressed flower, a flower charm, or even a miniature artificial bouquet. If you have a certain color theme on your invitations, then you could include ribbons or pressed flowers in matching colors.

If you have formal invitations and want to add a very small touch of elegance, you could choose adhesive diamontes or clear rhinestones. These tiny sparkling diamonds can be placed on the invitation or even on the envelope. They add an eye-catching effect without detracting from the traditional beauty of the classic invitation.

Another type of embellishment which works for most invitation styles is the heart or the double hearts. You can use heart clips or even adhesive double hearts to accentuate your invitation and symbolize your love.

If you want something more traditional for embellishments, consider keeping it simple. Translucent sheets, overlays, and ribbons work nicely with almost any style of invitation.

Where to Find Embellishments

Of course, these are only a few ideas. You might be surprised at how many choices you truly have when it comes to embellishments if you know where to look. The first place you’re going to look is at your printer’s. Some printers do have embellishments you can order for your invitations. In fact, many printers will assemble the invitations, including the embellishments, for an extra price.

However, the selection available at printers – if they offer embellishments at all – will undoubtedly be limited. A better way to search for ideas is the Internet, especially if your creating your own unique wedding invitations. For example, if you purchase high quality stationery for your invitations, consider checking the vendor’s supply of embellishments first. They may have the perfect addition available.

Other Embellishment Tips

When you finally decide on embellishments, make sure you order a sufficient number. Just as you would order extra invitations, envelopes, or paper in case of mistakes, you should plan ahead when you order embellishments. You’ll end up saving time and money.

Once you receive all of your materials, do not procrastinate assembling your invitations and adding your embellishments. You may be surprised at how long this process takes, even if you call in your wedding party to assist. Because getting your invitations in the mail in a timely fashion should be your top priority, give yourself plenty of time. Plus, addressing those envelopes is not something you want to rush – if you’re rushing to beat a deadline you’re more likely to make mistakes.

Most importantly, remember your embellishments – like every aspect of your wedding – should be chosen because they are a reflection of your personality as a couple. If you keep that in mind while you make your choice, you’re more likely to select an embellishment you love.

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Fast and Practical Invitations for Informal Business Meetings

Informal Business MeetingsHosting a business meeting and want to send out a set of physical invitations? You have good options for professional but simple invitations.

These days so much business correspondence is conducted by e-mail or other quick electronic messaging systems. In a single work day employees may receive dozens of important e-mails – or even more. They constantly have to prioritize which e-mails require their immediate attention and which can wait to be dealt with later. As a result, many messages tend to get lost in the mix. If you are hosting a business meeting, for any purpose at all, sending out physical invitations is a good way to make sure that everyone knows they are invited. The invitation will sit out in plain sight on a desk or pinned to a bulletin board, fresh and visible to the recipient.

Attention Grabbers

Sending out actual invitations is also a great way to set the tone for your meeting. E-mails all look more or less the same, but even a simple invite can be designed with a certain effect in mind. An informal business meeting will get the attention of all those who are asked to attend if they are invited by paper invitation. To further grab attention you might try using a color other than white, or picking a large, bold font for the most important details. Compared to e-mail, invitations offer a huge array of possibilities in how you present each element.

No doubt you are very busy with your own work, and an informal meeting is not a monumental event, so naturally you want these invitations to be very quick and simple to create. There are two great options available depending on your preferences and needs.

Fill-In Invitations: If you meeting only has a small number of attendees, use cards where you can fill in the information yourself. Writing the invitations by hand will give them a personal touch, and this option also allows you flexibility since none of the information is in print until you put it there. These are great to have on hand for anything that comes up.

Flat Invitations for Laser/Inkjet Printer: If you have a larger group, are pressed for time, or have a lot of information to present, then flat invitation cards are the perfect choice. These can easily be run through a printer to efficiently include the pertinent information. Most printers should be easy to adjust to get the parameters correct, and then you are good to go. It is just as painless to print out 200 as it is to print out 10, but by creating these invitations it will really show that you have put time and thought into your business meeting.

Invitations vs. E-mails

Don’t just send another e-mail that will be forgotten beneath the daily deluge of work messages and memos. For your next meeting capture the attention of your invitees with a paper invitation. Whether you choose to fill in the information or print them out with your office printer, it’s a simple and savvy alternative.

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