Registry Must-Haves

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In my last post (which was actually supposed to be this post – it just kind of morphed into a different thing), I talked about the wedding registries with the best perks. Today, I’ll be discussing some must-haves that you should add to your wedding registry!

  • Nice everyday dishes. My husband and I love, love, love our dishes. We put them on our registry and could not be happier about that decision. We use them every night. Even if you’ve lived together for some time, go ahead and find some new dishes to add to your list. We went with a super classic, all white dish, with the modern twist of a square plate in both large and small sizes. We also added accent colors with our soup/cereal bowls.Crate & Barrel Boxed Appetizer Plates
  • In the same breath, we also love the silverware we registered for.Crate & Barrel Kenton Silverware
  • Vacuum cleaner. We knew that we were going to get a dog eventually, so when we registered for a vacuum, we looked for one that was tailored to having pets in the house.
  • Bed sheets, comforter set. These are expensive, but even if no one buys you it, if you plan it out just right, you can cash in on those percentages off post-wedding.
  • Fun kitchen appliances. These seem to be a guest favorite. Hand-mixers, caramel brulee torch, potato masher, Keurig, panini maker, bread maker, wine opener. Plus side to this is that many come at a variety of price ranges!
  • Good bath towels. If anyone can tell me the difference between a bath towel and a bath sheet, I’m still wondering years later.
  • This one could totally go under “fun kitchen appliances”, but I feel like it deserves its own category simply for being that awesome. This multi-cooker cooks white rice in under 12 minutes. Honestly, I’m sure this does other really cool things, but 99.9% of the time, we use it to cook rice.
  • Any type of organization tool, whether it’s drawer organization, or tupperware. This is forgotten about, but so useful to have. Especially right after you get married and are trying to figure out how to cook for two… and not 10… and you end up with days of leftovers. Not that that ever happened in our house……

Remember your registry perks, and try to add a varied number of gifts per price range! Aim for at least one gift per couple/family you invite to the wedding to start with.

What are your favorite wedding registry adds? Comment below!!

Best Wedding Registries

I remember when hubby and I got engaged. We decided we wanted a shorter, relatively speaking, engagement. So everything moved kind of fast. Within a week, we had the big stuff planned: date, venue, church, colors. Part of this, too, was the fact that someone was having another knee surgery and would be on crutches for 6+ weeks. An advantage to this time was being able to put together our registry essentials online.

Being the “list” person that I am, I pulled at least three different checklists for registry must-haves. Each one had items I knew we would never need or use, and I think both of us got overwhelmed with the entire process. I would definitely suggest “shopping” different stores for their registry perks.

Target has some really nice features for wedding registries. First of all, they are a national chain, so non-local guests can still go into a store and get your wedding or shower gift. Secondly, the return process is amazing. If you got doubles of something you put on your list, but didn’t get a gift receipt (it happens more often than not), you can return it to a Target store. For up to a year after the wedding. Also, for the gifts you add to the registry that aren’t purchased, you’ll get a 15% discount after the wedding. So go ahead. Add that set of 700 count bed sheets. Even if no one buys them for you, you’ll get them at a discount after the Big Day.

Amazon is another great place to house your wedding registry. They’re the largest online retailer, so you can find a lot of brands in one spot. Almost all of your wedding guests will feel comfortable purchasing online through Amazon. They also have a completion discount – 20% for Prime Members, 10% for non-Prime.

Bed Bath & Beyond was one of our registries. I loved that people could use coupons to get gifts. Because in case you didn’t know, BBB is really good with coupons. Sign up for their e-mails, and you’ll get 20% off right away. And if you don’t have a coupon, they’re pretty easy to find online. Pro tip: you can use BuyBuy Baby coupons at Bed Bath & Beyond and vice versa.. you know, for later in life… BBB also hosts a “Rock Your Registry” event where you can meet with a registry expert over food and drinks. You’ll also get a fun little tote bag. Win.

Crate and Barrel was another one of our registries. There’s a Private Registry Event here too. You’ll get a personalized tour of the store and walk away with a freebie. And who doesn’t love free stuff?? Plus, I really like their categories. They have items broken down into price brackets. After your Big Day, you’ll get a 10% reusable coupon that’s good for 6 months.

Macy’s has an interesting program that could be a huge draw for Macy’s Card Holders. For every eligible purchase you make, you’ll get 10% cash back. For every eligible gift you recieve off your registry, you’ll get 5% back. They also have events with appetizers and champagne. Everything’s better with champagne.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Just a review and outline of the most popular ones. Almost every store has some type of wedding registry available to you if you want to create one. Remember when you’re registering for gifts, have gifts in each price bracket. You don’t want to have all high-end products. At the same time, you certainly don’t want to limit yourself to only gifts under $50. Many people (especially family members) will go in on a larger gift together.

Semi-Custom Wedding Suites

When I first started LullaBelle Design and designing wedding invitations, Etsy was my first “sale”. But I struggled with how to market what I do on that site because everything I do was custom. I also had a small portfolio when I was starting out. It never occured to me to just…. design something that wasn’t for an upcoming wedding. Duh.

Then, at the end of last year, I was brainstorming ways to improve my audience and gain more customers, and it hit me. Create a line of semi-custom wedding suites that brides can purchase at a lower price than fully custom suites. These are the perfect products to market on Etsy. Couples can customize with color choices and specific wording. They can add layers to their invite, but the amount of time I invest in the product is minimal after the initial design.

I follow wedding trends to see what brides are looking for in wedding invitations. There’s a lot of modern, simplistic, and rustic designs out there right now. So I went for it. I started my semi-custom line on Etsy.

I’m so excited to share with you the first of three (right now) that will be published on Etsy. As I add to my suite, I will continue to update them here on the website, as well as all of my social media sites, so if you haven’t followed those yet, do so at the bottom of the page!

If you’re a couple that still wants a suite that is custom, but don’t necessarily have the funds to commit to a fully custom suite, then this is the perfect choice for you.

Check out the listing, and send me a message to start your semi-custom suite today!

Easy DIY Save the Dates

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We’re in the middle of engagement season with all the pre-holiday engagements and Valentine’s Day engagements coming up soon. If you’re a newly engaged couple and looking for an easy, but elegant save the date DIY, I’ve got just the thing for you. I’m really into the vellum papers right now. I think they add a layer (literally) of elegance to any design. What I like about this design is that it’s 100% customizable to your style. You can print any picture, like all those fabulous engagement photos you just took, or maybe if you’re super artistic, a hand sketch of your wedding venue. The possibilities are endless.

Ready to dive in?

What you’ll need

  • 5×7 photograph (or the size you want your save the date to be) printed on heavy cardstock or photo paper.
  • Vellum Paper – this is a sheer type of paper that will allow your photograph to be seen in the background while also making your text legible. There are tons of different styles of vellum paper as well.
    Here's an easy DIY for your save the dates!Click To Tweet
    • Pro Tip: If you want to add a little texture to your design, there’s papers that make it look more like parchment, or woodgrain, or lace. Like I said, the possibilities truly are endless
  • Paper Cutter – This makes your edges super straight and will make your final product look professional.
  • Brads – I bought these because I liked the variety of the different metals and they came in a pack of 100, which should cover a big portion of your save the dates for a good price
  • Needle or another sharp object to create a hole for your brad
    • NOTE: I do NOT suggest using a hole punch as the hole will be way too big for your brad and will not be secure.
  • Optional – Brad Setter
    • This isn’t necessary, especially if you have a small amount of save the dates to do, but I found it very handy when dealing with a larger number. It makes the whole process go much smoother, and the hole for your brads are the perfect size. Plus, this one comes with great instructions
  1. First I started with a picture in 5×7 format. I love this particular photograph and I think that the horizontal layout really lends itself to the text on the vellum.
  2. Next, I designed the information I wanted to print on the vellum to a 5×7 format. This can be easily done in Word, but know that Word will give you a margin when printing; if you want a design that goes right to the edges, you’ll have to use another program.
    1. Information to put on your vellum – the basics: who, when, where
  3. Once I printed the design on the vellum, I lined it on top of my 5×7 photograph. Then I used this very fancy magic tool called a brad setter that created a hole right through both layers of paper. If you don’t have a brad setter or don’t want to use one, a needle or even a paperclip will work.
    1. Should you choose to go this route, I suggest to “punch” the hole on the photograph/cardstock first, and then line the vellum on top of the photo to create the hole.
  4. Insert your brad and secure the flaps on the back.
  5. Mail your save the dates and check another item off your never-ending to-do list!

Your guests can easily move the vellum to look at the picture, but everything stays together! Win-win in my book.

Are you planning to DIY your save the dates? Let me know in the comments!

2018 Monthly Calendar

Last week, I talked about starting a Vision Board and offered free printable templates to get you started on your New Year goals. In case you missed it, you can read all about it HERE!

This week, in the spirit of organization, I’m offering a FREE 2018 Monthly Calendar. What? Free, you say? Yes, free!

I’ve started putting in information and the year is filling up quick. But I definitely am one of those people who needs to write things down in addition to putting it in my phone. I’m the same way with creating pricing for customers. I just like the feel of a pen or pencil in my hand.

What’s nice about this layout is that the boxes are big enough to fit in multiple events, you can bind them up at the top with either a three hole punch, a disc-punch, or a spiral. Or you don’t have to bind them at all. The world is your oyster.

You can download your 2018 Full Size Calendar here! Now go forth and plan!

What’s that?? You want a free matching mini calendar to put on your desk? Well, okay. Here you go! Mini Calendar 2018

Create Your Own Vision Board

2018! Does anyone else feel like 2017 flew by? I’m sure the addition of a little one to our lives helped to speed up the process.

Now that the holidays are over, everyone seems to be focusing on lifestyle changes for 2018. I find myself drawn to the “goal setting” versus “New Year’s Resolutions”. Goals just seem more permanent. A big trend I’ve been noticing is the Vision Board. This is a layout that sets up goals in certain categories of your life such as family, career, spiritual, and personal growth. Do you need a vision board? I won’t say that yes, you absolutely need a vision board to be successful. That being said, if you write down your goals and put them in a place that you’ll view them often, you’re more likely to achieve those goals. I promise. There’s studies on it.

I’ve just started working on mine (behind the curve a little bit, I know). But if you’re like me and you’re also a couple days behind, have no fear! In this post, I am including downloadable files for you to start your own vision board. The colors are based on the Behr 2018 Color Trends, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of the Pantone 2018 Color.

The major components of a Vision Board:

  • Goals – separate your goals into categories. This way you won’t have a running list of 50 goals. That would be overwhelming to look at and might detract you from focusing on them. Pick 2-3 goals per category.
  • Focus Word – pick a word to focus on for the year. For example, if you’re someone who struggles with not having enough hours in the day to get everything done, your focus word could be “time-management” or “prioritizing” or “consistency”.
  • Inspirational Quotes – this isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s always nice to have a little confidence booster next to your goals.

You can add as little or as much as you want, but the goal is to make it something you want to look at on a daily basis. I’ve created printable goal sheets for you to get you started. All you’ll have to do is download the Vision Board Goal Sheets, unzip them, and print. Easy, right?

You’ve got this! Set goals that are achievable and quantifiable. Set goals that make you nervous. Set goals that push your limits.

6 Reasons to Hire a Stationer

Engagement season is upon us, and soon after comes the planning. Once the date is set, the venue is selected, and the guest list is started, you can start thinking about the fun details. Wedding stationery can sometimes get overlooked in the process of picking bridesmaid dresses and flowers, but it stands to be one of the more important details of your day. How else will your guests know where and when to show up? I know there are a lot of websites out there that will let you semi-customize a wedding set. Those can get pricey quickly, and at the end of the day, you’re working with a big company who doesn’t need to pay attention to the details.

Here are 6 reasons why you should consider a personalized wedding stationery designer versus semi-customized suites.

  1. You get one-on-one personal attention. When I have a client, I always take the time to meet with them either in person or via Skype/Google Hangouts so that I can learn a little bit about them as a bride, interact with them, and try to get a feeling for their entire vision. I cannot tell you how immensely this helps me as a designer. But as a bride, I would find it invaluable.
  2. Everything is proof-read by a human being. Most likely more than one human being. Mistakes happen. It’s part of human nature, but there are some mistakes you can avoid by proof-reading. When I am working on a suite, I proof-read twice, and send it out to at least one other person to proof-read before I sent the final drafts to the bride and groom to proof-read themselves. I know of brides who have gone on to not include wedding dates on their invitations because of a proofing error. Oops!
  3. You’ll end up with a one-of-a-kind suite. What bride DOESN’T like feeling like she’s the only one with this or that?? I certainly wanted something that no one else had for my wedding. That’s what kicked this whole thing off for me. I was so bored with the standard, “fill in the missing information”, wedding invitations. I wanted to be able to customize my fonts, my wording, my colors, etc. Every single invitation suite I have designed has been uniquely different from the other weddings. How cool is that?
  4. You have ongoing communication throughout the entire process. I know this kind of ties into my first point, but I love that I can quickly e-mail my brides about a design change, and that we work together. Things change and it’s nice to have a line of communication open if something does happen.
  5. There are lots of options. I’m not just talking about design options. Many of the stationers I know offer services a la carte, meaning you aren’t paying for services that you don’t need. If you’re a crafty bride and want to put together your invitations (over wine, of course) with your entourage, you can simply order the invitations from a stationer. If you want to relax while someone else puts them together, you can add that as a service.
  6. It ends up being cheaper. In the long-run, it will ultimately be cheaper to go through a stationer, which seems a little backwards if you ask me. A lot of places, any customization will cost you extra, more colors will cost you extra. If you’re working with a stationer who only does custom designs, you won’t get charged extra for those details. Some places may end up giving you a discount if you order additional items through them, such as programs, menus, and place cards.

Have I convinced you yet? Feel free to check out some of my customized suites while you’re making up your mind.

The Ultimate Wedding Envelope Guide

You’ve gone through the process of picking out the perfect invitation suite, and now it’s time to address your envelopes. It used to be a pretty standard procedure, but now there are lots of situations to account for.

Here are a few pointers on correct envelope addressing etiquette.

Single Person

Mr. Jonathan Smith
Ms. Mary Mack

Single Person with guest

Mr. Jonathan Smith & Guest

Couple Living Together, unmarried

Mr. Jonathan Smith & Ms. Mary Mack

Married Couple, Same Last Name

Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Smith
Mr. Jonathan & Mrs. Mary Smith

Married Couple, Different Last Name

Mr. Jonathan Smith & Mrs. Mary Mack

Married, Wife hyphenated last name

Mr. Jonathan Smith & Mrs. Mary Mack-Smith

Distinguished Titles, Doctors, Judges, Military, etc. – highest ranked person always goes first

Dr. Mary Mack & Mr. Jonathan Smith – woman kept maiden name professionally
Dr. Mary & Mr. Jonathan Smith – woman has married last name
Drs. Jonathan & Mary Smith – both are doctors
The Doctors Smith – both are doctors
The Honorable Governor of Illinois Jonathan Smith & Mrs. Mary Smith
The Honorables Smith
Colonel Mary Smith, U.S. Army & Mr. Jonathan Smith
The Colonels Smith

Separated Female, not divorced

Mrs. Jonathan Smith
Mrs. Mary Smith
Ms. Mary Smith

Divorced Female

Mrs. Mary Smith – kept husbands last name
Mrs. Mary Mack – went back to maiden name
Ms. Mary Mack – went back to maiden name

Widow

Mrs. Jonathan Smith
Mrs. Mary Smith

Families – children under 18 are not usually addressed by name on an outer envelope*

Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Smith & Family
The Smith Family

*If you do decide to name the children under 18, “Miss” is standard for girls, and boys do not generally get a title until after 18.

Children 18+ receive their own invitation

Ms. Elizabeth Smith
Mr. George Smith

Same-sex couple

Ms. Jane Monroe & Ms. Jessica Black
Mr. Edward Shaw & Mr. Henry Cooke

Remember: whether you’re addressing your own invitations, or you’re sending them off to a calligrapher or stationer is to be very clear in what you want the wording to be. Incorrect wording can lead to people showing up with guests or children you didn’t plan for.

PRO TIP! I always like to use people’s full names instead of nicknames if possible. Think Eleanor instead of Ellie or Robert instead of Bob. Unless you have a guest that you know absolutely hates being addressed by their full name, it’s a great way to make your envelopes look sophisticated and professional.

Phew. That was a lot of information to take in. I think I hit all of the major situations you might run into when addressing your envelopes. Have you run into anything else unusual? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below.

How to Change Resolution in Photoshop

Every once in a while, there’s an image that you need to make a little clearer. To do this, you have to change the resolution, or DPI. This is a very easy fix if you have access to Photoshop. First, find and save the image you need to adjust somewhere that is easily accessible. I like to have everything on my desktop when I’m working on a project because I can just drag and drop, but it does get overwhelming after a little bit…

  1. First, open Photoshop.
  2. Then go to File>Open>”your image”
  3. Your image should pop up in a new tab.
  4. Then go to Image>Image Size>Resolution: 500 pixels/inch (this is my go-to, but you can do whatever resolution you like. I wouldn’t go lower than 300 pixels/inch).

 

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Turning Accidents into Successes

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. I like things with straight, clean lines and readable text. This week, I was scrolling through my TimeHop – a morning ritual – and was reminded of a hand-painted canvas I was hired to create. It was a Christmas present for a future teacher of classroom rules that she could hang up and display. The client decided on a black canvas with metallic writing and a pop of blue. So I got started. I traced out my design on the canvas and began working.

Clean lines, fun, kid-friendly fonts. I was ready to begin with my paint. (How cute are these rules, by the way?) I love using Sharpie paint pens to create my canvases if there’s a lot of writing. Sharpie Oil Paint Pens They’re super easy to use, and you can find a lot of awesome colors. Every time I go to the store, I think I find a new favorite. Sometimes, however, there’s a defect. I started working with my metallic marker, and all of a sudden, it exploded onto my canvas as I’m shaking it. Of course, the perfectionist in me was already grabbing her keys to get a new blank canvas. But luckily, I had friends who talked me off my design ledge and helped me come up with Plan B – working with what I had accidentally created.

So, instead of heading to the nearest Michaels or Hobby Lobby, I took my project outside to my front porch and my faulty paint pen and created a metallic constellation background for the words. It was something I never would have considered as part of the initial design because, well, it’s messy and unpredictable. It’s really hard to control the spray of paint spatter as my front porch can now attest to.

Ultimately, this accident created a one-of-a-kind design that I couldn’t recreate exactly even if I tried! What are some “accidental successes” you’ve had in your line of work or personal life? Comment below!