5 Details from Harry and Meghan’s Royal Wedding You Can Incorporate Into Your Own Wedding

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

It’s the Monday following the Royal Wedding and I admit, I still haven’t come down off of cloud nine after watching the entire thing from start to finish. Yup, I set my alarm on Friday night to wake up bright and early at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning so I wouldn’t miss a thing. (My British Nana was awfully proud of me!)

While the wedding was something out of a dream and was so perfect it almost hurt, don’t worry. There are definitely several elements you can incorporate into your own wedding even if you’re not a member of the Royal Family. Here they are…

Image: Alexi Lubomirski

Image: Alexi Lubomirski

Contemporary Music

A contemporary rendition of ‘Stand by Me’ performed by a gospel choir is probably not what most guests were expecting as a primary musical selection at a Royal Wedding which, to me, made it even that much more amazing. The voices were pure and sincere and gave me the best case of the chills I’ve had in a long long time. Even though it’s a technically an American pop song, it was arranged and delivered in a respectful, beautiful way. If you’re getting married in a church where traditional “church music” is the protocol, it may not hurt to consider contemporary, church-appropriate arrangements of American pop songs. The advantage? The lyrics could grip the minds and hearts of the guests in attendance, just like they did at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex over the weekend.

Meaningful Flowers

I’ve been reading on many social media posts and blogs that people were underwhelmed by Meghan Markle’s bouquet and thought it should be much grander for a Royal Wedding. However, not so fast. The bouquet was loaded with significant symbolism which is far more powerful than an over-the-top bouquet designed for the sake of being over-the-top. Not only did Harry reportedly handpick some of the flowers the day before the ceremony, the couple also opted to incorporate forget-me-nots, allegedly Princess Diana’s favorite flower. (I’m tearing up all over again over here, you guys!) Anyway, consider using a flower that has a known meaning, something that resonates with you. If you have a garden, you may even consider asking your florist to add a sprig or two from your own supply.

Image: Ben Stansall

Image: Ben Stansall

Symbolic Embroidery

While Meghan Markle’s gown was simple and chic, her veil was ornate with much more detail. Designed by Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of French couture house Givenchy, the veil was 5 meters long and featured all 53 members of the Commonwealth family of nations. The veil featured distinctive flora of each country and also contained two of Markle’s favorite flowers: wintersweet which grows on the grounds of Kensingtion Palace and the California poppy as a nod where she was born. Obviously something so ornate isn’t realistic for every wedding but taking this idea and implementing it on a smaller scale is a nice touch such as a small bit of embroidery on the inside of the gown to represent something special to you. Or, even some custom embroidery on your wedding garter.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Charitable Giving

According to CNN and other sources, flowers from the Royal Wedding were graciously donated by Meghan and Harry to various charities and hospices on the day following the wedding. The florals were designed by London-based Phillippa Craddock and adorned both St. George’s Chapel and St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle. You can consider doing the same with your own florals. Organizations like Repeat Roses make this easy to accomplish!

Personalized Welcome Bags

While not entirely sure how the celebrity and VIP wedding guests were welcomed to town, we do know that the approximate 2000 guests invited to view the happenings within the grounds of Windsor Castle were gifted  personalized goodie bags from Harry and Meghan. The bags contained a program, fridge magnet, tin of shortbread, chocolate coin depicting Harry and Meghan, a Windsor Castle water bottle and even a 20% off voucher for the Windsor gift shop. Rumor has it these are now selling on eBay for huge amounts of money upwards of 50,000 GBP. While you obviously don’t need to spend 50,000 GBP on welcome bags, it’s a nice thing to work into your budget as a way of welcoming your guests to town and thanking them for investing the time and money to be there!

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Which of these elements were your favorite and do you plan to incorporate any of these into your big day? We always love hearing from you so drop us a note in the comments of you can always reach out via our contact page. Oh, and wish me luck coming back down from the clouds so I can get back into the swing of things around here!

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Beach-Inspired Welcome Baskets for Destination Wedding in Dominican Republic

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

When a D.C. area wedding designer Jessica Marie of Social Supply Events reached out needing help creating tropical, beach-inspired wedding welcome gifts for her own upcoming destination wedding, we could hardly wait to begin the design process. While we generally don’t create custom gifts for events outside the U.S., we made an exception and were thrilled to hear that these custom welcome baskets successfully made it all the way to the Dominican Republic in the bride’s luggage!

The goal of the gifts was to create a little excitement upon the guest’s arrival and provide some comfort during their stay. We opted for seagrass baskets with neutral elements to compliment the elevated beach vibe of the wedding, planned by Virginia-based Strawberry Milk Events. For snacks, we selected coconut chips, plantain chips, and dried apricots tied with twine and a wax seal.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

In addition to sweet and savory snacks, the gift boxes also included useful items such as Voss water and custom hangover kits with Advil, Pepto, and the cutest little bottles of sunscreen. We packaged them in our signature drawstring pouches with a soft grey first aid symbol for added customization.

Image: Red October Photography

Image: Red October Photography

For a really special addition, we added striped turkish towels and fun sunglasses for guests to use during the weekend. Due to lack of room inside the baskets, we opted to present them on the outside of the baskets, tucked underneath the ribbon, and were pretty thrilled with how they turned out!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

We included welcome notes featuring modern calligraphy and packaged in vellum paper. The notes outlined all of the details of the weekends’ events! We finished off the gifts with a sprig of eucalyptus, tied off with tan raw-edge ribbon and personalized gift tags. Instead of generic tags with “Welcome to the Dominican Republic”, we had each guest’s name printed on their very own gift tag which took the level of thoughtfulness to a whole new level.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

These are totally in the running for one of our absolute favorite custom gift designs of 2018 and its only early April! We hope the guests enjoyed them as much as we loved creating them. For more information on our Custom Gift Design Service, reach out via our contact page or visit here. We’d love to hear from you and learn more about your gifting goals.

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How To Avoid Logistical Mistakes With Your Wedding Welcome Gifts // Part 3 of 3

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Our 2018 Wedding Welcome Gift Blog Series has flown by! (Catch yourself up here on what to include in your gift bags and here on how to create a welcome letter for your gift boxes). Today is our third and final installment and we’re sharing our best tips on making sure your wedding welcome gifts go off without a hitch. Logistics are often the most overlooked part of creating wedding welcome gifts but are absolutely the part that can make or break your wedding gifting experience. Sure, the gifts still need to be well curated, unique and beautiful no matter what. But these things don’t matter if the gifts don’t arrive when and where they’re supposed to. Without further adieu, let’s talk execution!

Image: Red October Photography

Image: Red October Photography

Order in Advance

This might seem like a no-brainer but I can’t tell you how many brides I hear from in a panic because they hoped to create welcome gifts on their own but were shocked to see how long lead times were on some items! Be sure to prepare early and add some buffer time to your ordering to avoid missing items days before your wedding. Also factor in additional time if the gift contents you order are breakable. It’s not uncommon for a few to show up damaged and then the ordering process to replace those starts all over again.

Plan for Perishables 

On the other end of the spectrum, perishable items should be picked up as close to the wedding date as possible. No one likes a stale cookie or muffin. If you are making the gifts yourself, be sure to assign a bridesmaid or family member to help out with the pick-up and gift building so you minimize the number of days between when the perishables arrive and when the gifts are assembled and actually delivered.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Review Rooming Lists

Double (and triple) check the rooming lists for your hotel blocks to ensure everyone who deserves a gift actually receives a gift! It’s pretty standard to provide one box per couple but if two friends without “plus ones” are sharing a hotel room, we assign two gifts to that room!

Let the Hotel Know you are Coming

There’s nothing worse for a hotel concierge team than having 100+ welcome gifts show up out of nowhere when they’re in the middle of assisting other guests. Avoid overwhelming the hotel staff by letting them know when you’re planning to drop off welcome gifts and the size and quantity of the gifts. When you arrive, it’s time to review the info again. Go over the rooming lists and any special requests with them (ie rooms with food allergies) so they are clear on the instructions. The hotels will really appreciate the heads up and most importantly, it will help them avoid mistakes.

Image: Red October Photography

Image: Red October Photography

To inquire about Custom Gift Design Service, fill out our short inquiry form here or reach out via our contact page. We’d love to hear from you!

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How to Create a Welcome Letter for your Wedding Welcome Bags // Part 2 of 3

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

We’re back today with Part Two of our three-part Wedding Series and if you didn’t catch Part One it’s not too late to catch up here with tips on what to include in your wedding welcome bags. Today, we’re talking about one of our all-time favorite topics…welcome letters! One of the best ways to make your out-of-town guests feel VIP is to include a wedding welcome letter or booklet inside your wedding welcome gifts. But it’s not just for show. These letters and booklets are useful too! They guide your guests around unfamiliar territory (especially if you are having a destination wedding!) and most importantly, provide them with all the details of your wedding weekend itinerary. Wedding welcome letters can also offer a sneak peak into the design and overall feel of your wedding as well as sincere messages of appreciation from you. And who doesn’t want to feel appreciated as they’re welcomed to town?

Here are some of the items to include:

Heartfelt Note

Write a gracious and heartfelt note to your guests. Convey your thanks for making the trip to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime occasion that surely wouldn’t be the same without them there with you. While most all of your guests know you well and are familiar with your love story, there may be “plus ones” who don’t know you as well. You might reference a special detail or two about how you met or why your wedding location has special significance to you and your relationship.

Weekend Itinerary

One of the most common items to include in a welcome wedding letter is the itinerary for the wedding weekend. Make sure to clearly state the event, venue location, address, time, and don’t forget to specify attire. The ceremony and reception locations are most commonly included but don’t forget the smaller events surrounding the wedding such as welcome dinner, wedding after-party, morning-after brunch and/or any other group activities and excursions.

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography; Paper: High Wing Creative

Transportation 

Bus pick-up times and locations! This is SO important. We’ve heard horror stories of guests not knowing where or when to be picked up and getting left behind. Just like with the wedding itinerary, clearly state the pick-up locations and times. If you’re not offering group transportation, that’s okay. You can still offer your guests help but offering phone numbers to local, reputable cab companies and of course, Uber and Lyft if available in the area. Uber even offers options specifically for events, info found here.

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Things to Do

This part can be a lot of fun! When guests are coming in from out of town, they may have some downtime during the wedding weekend especially if they decide to extend their stay beyond the weekend. In your ‘Things To Do’ section, spill the beans on your favorite restaurants, bars, activities, and opportunities for sightseeing. If any of these places have special meaning to you, let your guests know why. It will mean more to them when they visit.

Walking Map

Custom maps are not only unique and memorable but can be extremely functional. For example, for weddings in cities where guests have the ability to walk from place to place, we love the idea of a custom-designed walking map. Include the basics such the ceremony and receptions venues but also notable landmarks and useful locations such as pharmacies, Starbucks and other frequently-visited spots your guests may need during their stay.

Contact Information

If you’re the one getting married, please please please resist the urge to offer your contact information in the welcome letter! Even if you have an award-winning wedding planner, you will still be busy. Why add a number at all, you ask? Well, emergencies can happen. Someone gets lost or issues may arise with the hotel. While it’s not up to you to fix it, it’s up to you to provide an emergency contact. The best point of contact is your wedding planner or someone not in your wedding party but reliable and familiar with the wedding weekend schedule. But pretty please, anyone but you!

Who’s Who

Wedding guests tend to have a better time when they know other people who are attending! It can be fun to clue your guests in on who’s who ahead of time. This can mean introducing the wedding party in your welcome booklet or taking it a step further and offering a guide of who’s coming to the wedding. Guesterly does an awesome job of this and makes it incredibly easy for you to pull the guest info together and even helps you present it in a fun, creative way.

Make it Blend

Once you have the important content figured out, now you can focus on the aesthetics of the welcome letter. This is the fun part! Make sure the design coordinates well with the style and color palette of your welcome gifts. Ideally, your welcome inserts can be designed along with your other wedding paper…invitations, signage, day-of paper, etc.

We hope these tips have helped you map out your welcome letter and get started! Often times, getting started is half the battle. For more information on our signature Custom Gift Design Service, including welcome letters and booklets, visit us here.

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What to Include in Wedding Welcome Bags // Part 1 of 3

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

As a professional gift designer, I often get asked for advice on what to include when curating wedding welcome gifts so I figured it was time for a three-part blog series all about these types of gifts and today is Part One! When designing wedding welcome bags, I take into consideration many factors such as location, wedding style, budget, color palette and even the personalities and interests of the couple. But overall, the most important thing is to make sure the gift are as well-balanced and as unique to the couple and their wedding as possible. Read on for some ideas today and then stay tuned because we have two more posts coming in this series later this week and next!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Local Keepsake

Including a meaningful keepsake is a fantastic way to leave your guests with something to remember your wedding by. I adore city-specific coasters or even a notecard set featuring artwork depicting landmarks of the city where you’re getting married. You can even let your gift packaging double as a keepsake by choosing a tote with a screen-printed map of the area. You can also highlight hobbies or interests that play a role in your relationship. Have fun and get creative!

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE GUIDE: TOP 10 TRENDS IN WEDDING WELCOME GIFTS

Sweet Treat

This is a great opportunity to choose something special to you and your fiance. Do you and your fiancé have a favorite bakery nearby? Maybe an individually-wrapped brownie or cookie from this establishment would be the perfect sweet (and meaningful!) snack. Are you having a seaside wedding? Salt water taffy is a great ocean-inspired option to satisfy your guests’ sugar cravings. If you want to tie in your wedding color palette into the gift, macarons are a fantastic way to show off your wedding colors, these from Olivia Macaron. Or, perhaps you simply want to welcome your guests with a celebratory vibe. Champagne Gummy Bears or Champagne Bubbles by Sugarfina are always a Marigold & Grey favorite!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Savory Snack

Balance out the sweet with some good old-fashioned salty! Some ideas we like include salted peanuts, flavorful crackers, bagel crisps, pita chips, trail mix, popcorn, gourmet potato chips or maybe even some high-quality beef jerky.

Beverage

Let’s face it. It’s pretty annoying to check into a hotel and discover that bottled water isn’t included in the room. Help your guests stay hydrated especially since they’ll be enjoying cocktails and dancing the night away at your reception! For an added touch, consider sparkling water. Mini San Pellegrino bottles always look nice. Also, consider seasonally appropriate drinks such a gourmet hot chocolate for a winter wedding or a spring IPA beer from a local brewery.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Custom Paper Goods

Chances are, you have all the particulars spelled out on your wedding website as well as the invitation suite you mailed out. But, once guests arrive in town, they may not have easy access to all the info. Make it easy for them by creating a weekend timeline along with any necessary maps to help them get to where they need to be. Also, don’t forget a heartfelt message thanking your guests for making the trip. Take it a step further and create a booklet of the “who’s who” of your wedding party or even the background into your love story.

Finishing Touches

Lastly, pull it all together with memorable finishing touches that take the gifts to the next level and really stay in your guests memory long after the wedding is over. This means ribbon that color coordinates perfectly with your wedding palette, tied in the most perfect bow. It can even mean greenery, either inside or outside of the box or bag.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Remember to have fun with these and create something uniquely yours! Don’t have time to create welcome gifts for your guests? Find out more about our Custom Design Service here.

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Featured on BRIDES // Modern Welcome Boxes for New York City Wedding

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

We’re always honored to have our work published in national publications and this feature in Brides is certainly no exception! We loved collaborating with Baltimore-based Lemon & Lime Event Design on this one and what made it especially memorable was the fact that the bride is the sister of Katey Clark, Lemon & Lime’s co-founder. The pressure for creativity was on!

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Katey asked us to create modern, yet fun-loving, welcome gifts that would also reflect the black and white color palette of Molly & Andrew’s Tribeca rooftop celebration. So, naturally we selected chic black hat boxes as the gift packaging and built from there.

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

For contents, we really wanted to try and tell some of the couple’s love story as we always aim to do when designing custom wedding welcome gifts. (If you’re DIY’ing your gifts, here are some tips on how to achieve this!) We included items local to New York including salt water taffy and New York Seltzer cream soda. We also includes custom cookies of the couples’ alma mater, Indiana University, a sweet nod to where they first met! (cookies by Fresh Bakes). Also tucked inside each box were foldable maps of the city along with small amenity items (think: Advil, Pepto, Emergen-C) packaged in mini treat bags and closed with black and white striped washi tape!

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

We finished the gifts off with black and white striped ribbon as well as a “welcome” gift tag featuring the couple’s hashtag…#mundosinmanhattan. So fun! But let’s take a moment to talk about these custom welcome letters with a painting of the couple’s precious pup (who was very much present on wedding day!) dressed up as Lady Liberty. There are just no words for this level of cuteness so I’ll just stop right here.

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

And now for some more details from this ultra chic wedding so you can see how all the details came together including a lush bouquet of lilies, garden roses and magnolia leaves. Also, the modern black and white tablescapes with accents of gold along with the couple’s ultra-modern and super fun invitation suite.

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Thank you again to Brides magazine along with Lemon & Lime (and Molly and Andrew!) for including us in this incredible celebration. It was such an honor to create these luxury welcome boxes. It’s definitely a project we won’t soon forget! For more information on our signature Custom Gift Design Service, visit us here.

Vendor Lineup:

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Tribeca Rooftop || Event Planner: Lemon & Lime Event Design || Bride’s Dress: Amsale || Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel || Hair & Makeup: SB Beauty || Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse || Floral Design: Michelle Edgemont || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Solitaire Creations || Invitations: Cheree Berry Paper || Paper Products: MLC Designs || Music: NY Ceremony MusicBurnt Sienna Band || Cake & Catering: Apogee Events|| Welcome Boxes: Marigold & Grey || Calligraphy: Anchor Point Paper Co. || Photography: Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu || Videography: Well Spun Weddings