Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wedding Guest Book...Print?

At a recent wedding, the couple chose to forgo a traditional wedding guest book and encourage guests to sign a print instead. The print was of a tree, illustrated in cartoon rather than realistic fashion. The date and the names of the couple were on the trunk. Each guest was encouraged to stamp a finger in green, chartreuse or brown ink and place their finger or thumbprint on one of the branches. Then, each guest wrote messages of congratulations somewhere in the white space of the print. The print was matted and framed, then placed on the wall of the couple's new home.

Did you do depart from the traditional guest book?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kid Friendly Wedding Favors

The flower girls (extremely plural) and the ring bearer are featured in the wedding, but your reception doesn't include children. Etiquette usually dictates, unless the parents decide otherwise, that all members of the wedding party attend the reception. If the flower girls, ring bearer and junior bridesmaids attend, you can still limit the child guest list to attendants. What if all the children in the family except a few are included in the wedding party? It would be difficult to exclude them, especially if one side of the family was represented in the wedding and not the other.

To occupy well behaved children who are attending the reception at the parents' discretion, the jordan almonds might be a miss. Consider selecting different wedding favors for the child's place setting, or choose something that all ages could enjoy. Chocolate or other more familiar candies, a mini gumball machine, or personalized pencils go over bigger than votive holders or corkscrews.

Should you decide to have a child-free wedding, that is your decision, but if a couple children attend, make them feel like welcome, rather than unwelcome guests whom you rather not have invited.

Flower Girl Baskets - and Boys Too

Typically, the flower girl carries a basket and in the spirit of leaving no child behind, a little boy serves as ring bearer. In one recent wedding, I saw a little boy carrying a basket as well. The girls had white wicker flower girl baskets and the boy had a natural brown one. Instead of flowers, he carried bubble wands and happily handed them out to guests.

The young man was a little older than the typical two to four or five year old range for a ring bearer. He was closer to seven or eight. The couple did not want to have a place in their wedding for the the daughters of a cousin and leave out their nephew, so modified a traditional role.

Never let a wedding grow to a cast of thousands just to make everyone feel included, but some traditional roles are worth modifying to fit the make up of a family.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Unique Wedding Favors: What Are Yours?

RealSimple magazine had a spread suggesting ideas for unique wedding favors that your guests might not have seen before. One suggestion was cellophane wrapped ingredients to make S'mores. Every wedding I attended features the S'more idea, so perhaps every bride read that issue this year.

The two truly different items were personalized pencils and heart sparklers. Pencils certainly are useful items that wouldn't be discarded. The names of the bride and groom and the date naturally would appear here, but maybe not. Maybe you can come up with some catchy sayings or statements of thanks for each guest.  Sparklers might work best for an outdoor wedding or reception.

Use your personality when it comes to wedding favors, whether you use the occasion to disburse your tea cup collection to guests or you choose something more standard issue. Porcelain swans can have personality, too, with the help of some bric-a-brac,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reinventing the Block

Even though snow is not in sight here, the ground is frozen. Construction starts are delayed until the spring. Much of the material used is the same as what your grandparents used on their house, with updates in foam and insulation.

There is a new green alternative in insulated concrete forms. Made from cement bonded wood fiber, Durisol now makes a product that not efficiently insulates noise barriers and wall forms, but incorporates industrial lumbar waste in addition to concrete. All of the waste is clean, such as leftover planer shavings and leftover pieces from truss makers.  No post-consumer waste is used to prevent contamination.

The material also has more design versatility over a concrete brick or building form, where a design is limited to the dimensions of the block. Insulated concrete forms can be cut with standard carpentry tools, such as a table saw, and can also be nailed and screwed without any special equipment.

The forms contain no solvents or plastics, which contributes to a cleaner indoor air environment, as well.

If you are currently planning to build a home, an addition or a play house, ICFs may be your answer.

Suspicious Beach Wedding Favors

Last winter, colleagues of mine renewed their wedding vows. Since the original wedding only included the couple, the parents and witnesses, they decided to have a big party for their anniversary.

The invites said:

No Gifts, Please.
Instead, Please bring an item for the local food pantry. 

Other than the lack of presents, the party was similar to a regular wedding reception with wedding favors and all.

Just before the reception, with no time for the renewed bride and groom to inspect the tables, a niece switched the table settings. She placed beach wedding favors, such as a porcelain star fish, treasure chests and real sand dollars near the couples' seats. The couple looked at this quizzically and thought there was some mistake. The renewed groom is quite the control freak...I mean is very detail this was extremely vexing.

Just as his concern appeared to peak, an announcement was made that everyone chipped in to send them to the beach as a second honeymoon. It was a nice winter surprise.

HCG: Be Wary of Fads

So many fad diets have come down the pipe - from the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, to many others that promote injections or pills. One of the latest diets is the HCG diet.

What exactly is it? HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone secreted during pregnancy. The hormone has a medical prescription use in regards to infertility treatment. Information about using HCG in injections for the purpose of weight loss is gaining steam, though it is not legal in the U.S. for that purpose.

The hormone therapy goes hand in hand with a very low 500 calorie diet intended to flush out fat deposits by triggering the hypothalmus. A 500 calorie diet alone will induce an individual to shed weight in an unhealthy way and quickly. A 500 calorie diet is not safe for grown adults, and proof that HCG works is sketchy. Surely the target market is individuals who feel it is their last hope.

Please, before you consider extreme measures, visit a nutritionist to create an eating regimen right for you. This and moderate exercise is the only safe and guaranteed way to shed pounds.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wedding Favor Boxes Don't Have to Be a Box at All

Chocolates, almonds, heart charms: There are so many choices for wedding favors. To house small treats, don't limit yourself to gauze and tulle bags. Boxes can certainly be used, but the box doesn't have to be a box at all.

With current trends, anything goes. Instead of a small cardboard fold-together box, how about miniature treasure chests or small tin buckets for wedding favor boxes? I have even seen a couple use cloisonne pill holders - just stay away form the "days of the week" pill boxes unless you plan to paint them up or unless the couple are doctors and want to really go overboard with the theme.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sand Ceremony: These People are to Blame

I know a wedding trend is very strong when first, it is completely off the radar, and then it is present at three weddings in a row. The last three weddings I attended included a sand ceremony. Time will tell whether its a fad or a trend, but one thing is certain: Momentum was gained with one episode of The Bachelorette.

Bachelorette Trista and her guy, Ryan, performed a sand cerempny and melded their sand. Ever since, the tradition is everywhere. The act has very vague ties to native Hawaiian culture and proof is shaky on its presence in Native American culture. No matter who thought of it, once something is on television it becomes part of the collective consciousness. The same phenomena used to rule trends in baby names, particular those adapted from those of soap heroines.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Wedding Invitations: Not the First Line of Defense

There used to be a hard and fast lead time that applied to wedding invitations. The rule of thumb was 6-8 weeks before the wedding date. This seems a little too close to the wedding for some.  The point of the invitation these days is not truly to announcement of the wedding. The guests should be aware that the wedding is happening well before, and the invite should just nail down the small details.

Those details include a solicitation of the meal choice of guests, if the reception is to be a sit down affair.  Another critical inclusion is a copy of the directions form the ceremony to the reception location.

If you use personal phone calls, "save the date" cards and newsy letters or emails well before, no guest should decline for reasons of "not knowing about it."

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Event Management Software: No More Herding Cats

Trade show registration truly aged me the time before last. Mail in the registration, or email it. Pay. Confirm. What if you had questions that didn't factor into the FAQ? In the 90s, it was followed by several phone calls to track down the right person, and today someone redirects you to the FAQ, as surely the answer is there. Then someone lost the sheet and didn't realize I was registered. 

What happened the last time if that was the time before last? Event management software saved the day. I registered, paid, received my confirmation, selected individual break out sessions and booked my room all in one online experience. The best part? The planners didn't have to call to confirm, as they weren't sure what my message meant. I just showed up...and they were expecting me.  

Has software relieved stress for you if you were a planner or an attendee?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Disposable Wedding Cameras

Digital cameras have buried the popularity of film cameras to all but the diehard aficionados. They still crop up frequently in the form of disposable wedding cameras. The reason? I have no scientific proof, but the ability to go to the one hour photo and receive prints and a CD of digital copies before the reception is over has appeal. They are easily handled by the very young and the folks who just haven't been smitten with digital, particularly your great grandparents.

The other nice feature is the ability to collect them and drop them off at the corner pharmacy and have prints and disks before the reception is over, rather than wrestling relatives for their memory sticks that cost them more than a penny. Painless.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sneaky Wedding Centerpieces

When the wedding reception is winding down, what did you do with the wedding centerpieces? Some guests expect to take them home. There is a last minute grab to see who can get the most of them. Others exercise manners and wait for instruction. There are several ways to handle the matter.

If the bride and groom wish to dispose of the centerpieces, one roasted chestnut of a way is to give the centerpiece to the person that has the distinctive honor of being the oldest, having the next birthday or some other provable distinction.

The goal is to not award any specific achievement, but to force your guests to talk to each other. Sneaky, aren't you?