August 7, 2018

The Ultimate Wedding Event Kit

When you’re planning a wedding, there are lots of “moving parts” because of all the various events associated with the actual wedding ceremony. And surrounding all those wedding-related events swirl a lot of wedding related questions. Who do you invite to which event? If you invite someone to a bridal shower, couples shower, bachelor or bachelorette party or engagement party, does that mean you are expected to invite them to the wedding also? Who gets marriage announcements? How do you decide who gets to bring a date? How do you handle couples with children? Who pays for what? Should you have a shower and register for gifts, or throw an all day Jack and Jill party instead? There are a million questions about wedding etiquette, so we’ve decided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help you sort out all those wedding details.

From save the date cards to reception styles, the rules of etiquette are constantly changing. One of the first rules of wedding etiquette that remains is to let those close to you know about your engagement before the rest of the world. You wouldn’t want your best friend to find out you’re getting married from a social media post, so before posting anything online be sure to let your close friends and family members in on the surprise. As to who should receive marriage announcements, you’re free to send those to anyone you’d like, although you’re not expected to send an announcement to anyone who receives an invitation. Announcements are for those people who will be happy to learn of your marriage, but who would not expect to be invited to the wedding for various reasons.

When it comes to bridal showers, couples’ showers and engagement parties, anyone who is invited to these events should also be invited to the wedding ceremony. The opposite is not true, however; you are not expected to invite everyone on the wedding guest list to the shower or engagement party. Jack and Jill parties have gained in popularity in recent years and can be a great way to combine the gift-giving element of a bridal shower or couple’s shower with the fun of a bachelor or bachelorette party.  These all-day events are designed to take the place of a traditional bridal or couple’s shower by charging an entry fee in lieu of registering for gifts. For the fee attendees receive a day of food, drink, music, dancing, and hanging out with the couple, and the couple receives money they can use to offset wedding costs, put toward the honeymoon, or setting up a house.

Your wedding invitations should reflect your own personal style as well as the overall theme or tone of your wedding. If you’re planning a traditional formal wedding complete with ceremony programs, place cards and personalized napkins at the reception, you will want your invitations to be elegant and high end. If you’re planning a destination beach wedding, the invitation would look much different.

Finally, when all is said and done and all the wedding events have finally ended, it’s time to send out thank you cards for all those great wedding gifts you received. Although letter writing has declined sharply over the years, a handwritten thank you note for an engagement or wedding gift is still proper wedding etiquette. Your friends, family, and coworkers will enjoy receiving a small thank you note in the mail expressing how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness.

July 19, 2018

Everything You Need To Know When Planning a Kid's Birthday Party

There are a lot of moving parts to planning a party and planning a child’s birthday party is no exception. From choosing the right party invitation to choosing a theme, decorating, planning games, activities, prizes, food, and all the other myriad details that go into putting a kid’s party together, a party for one small child can quickly become one huge undertaking. We’ve compiled a list of all the essentials involved in putting together a kid’s party to help make your life a little bit easier when the time comes to throw a big bash for a little person.

 Invitations. Many party invitations are centered around a theme, and you can start choosing decorations, a cake, and other party elements based on that theme. Be sure each invitation has all the vital information such as time, place, date, theme, and any special instructions you want to impart to party guests (e.g. “Be sure to bring your favorite sleeping bag for our camp out party”).  
     Thank you cards. It’s not a bad idea to pick up some thank you cards when you choose your party invitations. Whether you want to be consistent in the aesthetic and/or theme, or choose something totally different, you’ll save time by getting the thank you cards at the same time as the invitations, and you won’t have to remember to pick them up later. If possible, have your child sit down with you and help you write the thank you cards soon after the party, to help build the habit of saying thank you to the people who helped make the party fun. If your child is old enough, help them write the cards. If not, let your child sign the cards so that they play an active role in thanking party guests for their gifts and attendance at the party.

      Decorations. From inexpensive party decorations from your local dollar store to Pinterest-worthy handmade decorations that would make Martha Stewart proud, let your child be involved in the choosing, if not the making, of the decorations for the big birthday bash. It will help make the guest of honor feel as though they had a real part in helping bring everything together and put their personal stamp on the party, and most children love to help decorate, especially when it’s a party.

     Games, activities, and prizes. Again, tap into the things your child likes and wants to do at a party when planning games and activities. Whether you choose traditional party games or decide to teach party guests some old family favorites, the games and activities are usually the part of the birthday bash the kids enjoy the most, so let the birthday boy or girl be part of deciding what fun things they’ll do on party day.

      Cake and other food. If your child has a food allergy, be sure and mention in your invitations that the cake and party food will accommodate said allergy (such as a gluten-free cake, peanut free treats, sugar-free ice cream, etc.) Many parents will appreciate this information ahead of time, especially if they also have a child who suffers from food allergies. Consider having a variety of healthy, kid-friendly snacks available to help balance out the sugar buzz they’ll experience from cake and ice cream. Finger foods like pretzels or pretzel bites, popcorn, fruit, yogurt pops, quesadillas, sweet potato fries, and dippable veggies can help fill their tummies and keep the craziness to a minimum.
We hope this handy checklist will assist you when it comes time to plan your next kid’s birthday party.

June 25, 2018

Ti's the Season for Outdoor Gatherings & BBQ's

Summertime brings with it a lot of fun outdoor activities, and one of the favorite things for many families to do on a bright summer day is host an outdoor barbeque. When planning your summer gathering to celebrate the 4th of July or just to get together with friends and family and revel in the glorious sunny days of summer, there are a few things you’ll want to be sure to include on your party invitations:

1.     Besides the obvious need for an address and party date, including the time you’ll be serving food can help keep the grilling expert from spending the entire day slaving over the grill to make sure everyone gets hot food. If your event is a potluck, this also helps ensure all the food gets there in time for people to be served everything at one sitting.
2.     Theme/attire. If you have a pool, include a note for guests to bring their swimsuits. If you’re having a garden party, say something like “wear your favorite sundress and floppy hat” or if you’re planning an outdoor cocktail party, be clear that it’s a dressier event, so guests can come appropriately dressed and be comfortable knowing their attire is in keeping with your theme.
3.     If you want guests to bring food or drinks, be sure to include a note to that effect on the invitation.
4.     If you live in an area prone to summer rainstorms, let people know you’ll be partying rain or shine, indoors or outdoors.

If you have outdoor furniture, your patio table may be a great place to stage drinks or plates, cups, and flatware, but you may need more table space for all the food. One creative way to add some extra serving space without buying a new table is to place a hollow core door or thick piece of plywood over evenly spaced sawhorses and cover it with a plastic tablecloth or extra fabric from your sewing room.

For a fun alternative to coolers for keeping drinks cold, galvanized buckets or plastic buckets can be purchased from your local hardware or home goods store and placed strategically around your outdoor party area. Strings of colorful paper lanterns or twinkle lights are a great way to add additional lighting to your outdoor space. Last but not least, don’t forget the background music! A speaker or two and your favorite playlist will provide ambient music for those times when conversation lulls, help set the mood, and keep the party going.

Celebrate National Photography Month & Gradutation

National Photography Month was officially recognized by Congress in 1987 and has been a favorite time of year for both amateur shutterbugs and professional photographers ever since. This month, people all over the nation are doing their best to use cameras of all sizes, shapes, and models to elevate photography to an art form. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we agree. Ever since the first photograph was taken, images focusing on all types of subjects have been taken by photographers all around the world. Photographs have been around for almost 200 years, and many are unforgettable.

A camera can capture a fleeting moment in time and make the viewer feel as though they were there, experiencing the moment. Photographs can evoke emotion, stirring empathy in the heart of the viewer, showcase a location so well that simply looking at the picture transports the soul of the person gazing at it until they imagine they are physically present in the scene captured by the camera. Photographs can freeze time, seizing a moment of youth to be relived through the years. Photos can encapsulate memories to be relished and relived year after year. A child’s various stages of growth and development can be chronicled through photographs, marking the changes that each new year brings. Scholastic achievements, sports trophies, school dances, plays, volunteer events, all are wonderful fodder for memorable photos.

Graduating from high school or college is a wonderful time to take advantage of the power of photography to share a very special moment in time with friends, relatives, and loved ones. Graduation announcements and invitations that feature your graduate’s photograph are a fantastic way to celebrate their achievements and share their commencement into the next phase of life.

As you celebrate National Photography Month, consider announcing your student’s graduation with a photo card announcement and inviting friends, family, and classmates to the graduation festivities with a stunning photo card invitation from Fine Stationery. Remember to have a camera on hand to capture the memories of this once in a lifetime celebration!

April 17, 2018

Planning a Graduation Party

Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash

Graduation is an exciting time in a young person’s life, whether you’re celebrating a high school or college graduation. If you’re thinking of planning a graduation party for someone graduating high school or college, here are some party ideas from choosing a venue to planning a menu.

When it comes to the venue, many graduation parties are held at home, especially for high school graduates. If you’re hosting a party at your home, be sure to include your graduate in the party preparation decisions. The point of the celebration is to provide your graduate, their friends, and classmates the chance to enjoy one last event together, say goodbye to one another, and make memories to carry with them when they move on to the next stage of life, so it should include the food, guests, and activities that are important to the graduate. Include a guestbook for partygoers to sign and leave the graduate their well wishes for the future, and display a large poster board for guests to offer the new graduate advice for post-high school or post-college life.

When you compile the guest list, be sure to get your graduate’s input before you send out the invitations. Choose a style that reflects the right style and mood you want to invoke. You can narrow down the choices but let the guest of honor have the final say for their party invitations. Check with other parents when deciding on a date, so that your party will compete with as few other classmates' parties as possible, allowing students to attend multiple celebrations. Friends will most likely be traveling from party to party, no matter what day you decide upon. Your best bet is to plan for an open house type of event, since your home may be one of many hosting parties the same day. If you plan to hold your party outdoors, be sure to check the weather forecast, and be prepared with an alternate venue in case of inclement weather.

Themes for graduation parties run the gamut from casual to formal, and the menu can be anything from barbeque to buffet to finger sandwiches. It all depends on what works for the one graduating and for you, the host. Dress code for a casual party can entail tee shirts, shorts, and sandals, or focus on a specific theme such as a day at the beach, or a Hawaiian luau with guests arriving in tropical attire and sunglasses. A formal party can mean linen tablecloths and napkins, china, elegant place cards, floral centerpieces at individual tables, and an invitation for guests to wear their best. You can also build a theme around the college your student will attend, or the career path they intend to follow. Do you have a budding actor, actress, or film director? Have fun with a Hollywood themed party. Is there a mathematician in the family? Hand out horn-rimmed glasses and mini calculators as party favors, and display menus on clipboards. Does your student plan on a medical career? Think stethoscopes, lab coats, and faux prescription pads. Is journalism their thing? Pens and journals or notepads would be appropriate party accessories. Again, get your graduate involved in planning the details of the party, and it will be much more enjoyable for them.

When budgeting for your grad’s party, keep these potential costs in mind:
  • ·         Invitations, return address labels or stamper, and postage
  • ·         Venue rental (if not hosting the party at home)
  • ·         Entertainment (band, DJ, karaoke setup)
  • ·         Food/caterer
  • ·         Decorations
  • ·         Flowers
  • ·         Photographer/videographer
  • ·         Equipment rental (popcorn machine, chafing dishes, beverage machine, photo booth, etc.)
  • ·         Party favors
  • ·         Thank you cards and postage

Many graduating high school senior classes compile videos featuring students participating in various activities at different events throughout their final year of school. Putting together a video of your graduate’s life through the years can be fun and entertaining for guests at the party, just be sure to check with your student to ensure you don’t unintentionally embarrass them with a certain photo or video clip. For a simpler version of a “this is your life” display, you can create a timeline using school photos of your graduate from kindergarten through high school to hang up at the party.

You don’t need to be a professional event planner to execute a fun, memorable graduation party. Graduations don’t happen every day, and graduation parties are an occasion where friends and family can gather to celebrate and share memories. Plan your party ahead of time and allow yourself the freedom to indulge in the festivities along with everyone else. We hope these graduation party planning tips will help you on your way to making memories that your graduate will appreciate, and which will last for a lifetime.