Download this FREE kids activity book

Having kiddies at your wedding? That means you need some kid friendly entertainment ideas to keep their little hands busy. I have one great addition to add to your stockpile of ideas. Found on Lovely Indeed these DIY wedding activity books are sure to keep the kiddos happy. And the best part? They're free and downloadable. Here's a peek:

To get your own activity book head on over to Lovely Indeed and get printing!

Just a few notes:

All you have to do is download the PDF file, hit print, and go make some copies! You'll have to do a little double-sided action to get the pages in the right order, but you get the idea.

A few pointers for printing and using the template follow below.

  • The template prints best if you actually download it and print from a Preview program. Choose Print Options, then under Scale, select “Fit to Page” for the best results.
  • The pages are not out of order. If you are printing at home, print out the page with the car on it, then on the back of that same sheet print the front cover of the booklet (ensuring that it doesn't end up upside-down). Next, print out the page with the cake on it, and on the back of that same sheet, print out the tic-tac-toe page.

Dressing it up

For a fancy finish, get some striped twine, punch two holes in the spine of the book, string the twine through from the inside, and tie a little bow on the outside. (All available from a good craft shop.) Set out some crayons and pencils at your kid table, and they'll have a ball. Have fun!

Pale blue bridesmaid gowns you'll want to keep for yourself

(Bridesmaid dresses by Dessy)

Most girls suit blue. And it's a wedding color that works for bridesmaids at spring, summer and winter weddings. (Fall has different hues to offer of course and we'd go for oranges, browns and reds at that time of year).

It's like that old wedding rhyme:

"Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue..." Which just shows that weddings and blue should go together ...

What does blue say?

The thing about light blue as a color is that it really does whisper elegance and glamor whilst eschewing overt prettiness. And it tends to suit all complexions, which is always a consideration when choosing bridesmaid dresses.

Take a look at these one-shouldered bridesmaid gowns we've picked out. They're all beautiful - and because they're by Dessy they come in a variety of shades of blue - from delicate pastels through to sophisticated midnight blues.

(All frocks above from the Jenny Yoo collection at Dessy).

Different blues for different venues

If you've having a destination wedding or you're getting married under hot sunshine, then you can choose bright blues - turquoises, azures and a jade blue. Bright colors can stand up to bright light without looking faded, although they'd look more out of place if you're having a country garden style wedding.

Then again, you could have chosen to have a more rustic theme; so choose more delicate shades of blue like cornflower - which will look beautiful with wild flowers and less formality.

Maybe you're having a city wedding or a wedding that's being held in the early evening. Then your choices might veer towards elegant deep blues with a touch of shimmer - maybe like these gowns from Dessy below.

Choose the right shade of blue for your maids too. Don't feel that you have to dress them all in one color - you can graduate the shades of blues to get an ombre effect as below. (Check out Dessy's Instagram feed for images of real girls wearing Dessy at real weddings.)

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How to set a wedding budget

What's the first thing you should do when you get engaged?

Actually it's not booking a venue, buying a dress or even setting a date. It is actually planning a wedding budget.

Now we know that doesn't sound very glamorous or exciting. But actually, it's not until you know how much you actually have to spend (and how you want to allocate it) that you can really get on with your wedding planning.

Budgets are crucial

Because your budget it going to affect everything. From the venue to choose, possibly the time of year you get married, where you get married, how many guests you have ... and so on.

The two of you need to sit down, write down your monthly income and outgoings (mortgage, rent, loans etc) and then how much you have left over after you have allowed for your financial commitments. That's what you can put towards your wedding and then you need to work out how long you need to save up to have the wedding you want. One thing is for sure, you don't want to start out married life with a big wedding debt hanging around your neck. That's a stress you really don't need.

Of course, maybe you're lucky and have a good bulk of savings in the bank, or you've just had a bonus at work, a windfall or have won the Lottery! Or maybe your parents and relatives are happy to help you out.

That's great, but you'll still need to allocate your wedding money into different areas - for flowers, catering, clothing, music, wine, champagne, gifts ... and all the other things that will creep in.

The Knot has come up with a very handy infographic that we like which shows very clearly how you should allocate your wedding budget, with some useful suggestions.

We think having a float of about 5% of your budget could prove lifesaving for unforeseen emergencies.

Take a close look and study this, because there may be some aspects here that you hadn't considered.

wedding budget infographic

Children at weddings. Cute or annoying?

So what are you going to do about kids on your big day?

Are you going to make your family and friends' children welcome? Or make it a day for grown ups only?

Hmm. Personally we think it depends on the type of wedding you're having. If it's a chic city affair in the evening then just adults might be the way. But there's something about kids at weddings - with all the noise, activity, running around and excitement they bring - that creates a fabulous atmosphere.

Thinking about kids at weddings

  • First off, if you ask your friends not to bring their offspring, then you're going to find that many of them have to decline the invitation. Particularly if you're getting married a distance away from where they live because childcare might turn out to be a problem. On the other hand, give them the option to bring their children and they might decline in favour of a bit of peace and quiet for a day!
  • If you're having young flowergirls and pageboys then you can't really ban kids. Because it looks a bit weird if you welcome some children and not others. Besides which, your young attendants are likely to get bored if they don't have others of their age group to play with.
  • Keep those children busy. At the ceremony, hand out confetti for them to throw afterwards. They'll love being involved and it will make for some great photographs.
  • A children's table is a great idea. Have two or three for different age groups (because toddlers aren't going to get along with eight year olds). Lay out children's activity packs to keep them going through the speeches.
  • You might like to think about a different menu for the children. Young kids won't particularly enjoy rich food and might do better with snacks on the table or little packed lunchboxes of their own.
  • If you're having a garden wedding, think about garden games like giant Jenga. Have a bouncy castle (but make sure it's monitored by an adult).
  • An entertainer or magician is not only fun for the adults, but a good one will keep children mesmerised.
  • Older children might like a camera scavenger hunt. Give older kids a list of things to photograph with a disposable camera
  • Don't forget to have a picture of the bride and groom taken with all the kids - they will love being involved!
  • Kids love photo booths. Remember the dressing up/props box. Just make sure they don't monopolise the camera!
  • Young kids love dancing (and it wears them out). Ask for a few recent X-Factor favourites - the DJ should have some good ideas.

wedding activity for kids

LOVE this printed personalised wedding activity book from Etsy!

Wedding table decor ideas that will get you inspired!

(Image via Pinterest)

Wedding table decorations set the scene from the moment your guests arrive at your reception. You want your friends and family to have an AMAZING time. Make the decor in your venue inviting and you'll get the party started the way you want it.

Ceremony to reception

Don't forget, some table decorations will make the transition from the wedding ceremony to the reception venue very easily - doubling your wedding budget potential. (See the illuminated Mason jars below.)

 

Here's a creative idea for a kids' table. Not expensive either. Package up crayons, add a lollipop and a plain notepad. It's the way they are put together that is so appealing, don't you think?

Put these coasters on your wedding tables and guests can fill them in with their advice on being happily married. You might want to add the finished product to a wedding album or include in your wedding guest book. Fantastic idea and not expensive either, they work out at $1 each.

From BHLDN and you can order here.

If you're having a winter wedding, or maybe a summer wedding that looks likely to go on until late, then these illuminated Mason jars from Amazon are just perfect. They contain battery-operated fairy lights that will brighten your tables so romantically!

This idea is so easy. Place a flower in a vase, add water and float a candle on the top. Waxy flowers work best here - orchids are ideal, although you can use roses too. Ask your florist for advice.

Love this idea for an autumn wedding table centre. It's so simple but so perfect.



Here's an idea for a Christmas or winter wedding (via Pinterest). You'l have to spray the cones with frosting,

Candles are their own decoration too - place an array of candles (Mason jars look good) along the centre of the table. Mirrors aren't expensive and can work very effectively on a bridal table setting, especially when combined with candles.

5 Ways You Could Damage Your Engagement Ring

(Image by Jennifer Dickert)

Now that you're engaged you probably don't ever want to take your beautiful engagement ring off, you want to just stare at it and watch how it sparkles. But even though we totally agree with you, there are moments that could in fact damage your engagement ring


If you're cleaning and washing anything

Whether you're at the sink doing dishes, or down on your knees scrubbing your tub, you should not be wearing your engagement ring. The chemicals can damage the band of the ring and the diamond.

If you let anyone try it on

There will always be one person who will ask if they can try on your ring, whether it is close family member, friend or co-worker. We strongly suggest not allowing anyone to try your ring on, especially if they do not have the same size finger as you do.

engagementring1

Image by Noble Photography

A post shared by Engagement Rings Gallery (@thecaratclub) on


If You Do Manual Labor

If your job requires you to do any kind of manual labor, don't wear your ring to work. It can easily get lost and/or damaged.

Gardening

If you're a keen gardener, it's best not to wear your ring when you're weeding or cutting the grass - you could scratch the stones or worse still, lose it.

A post shared by Victor Barboné Jewelry (@victorbarbonejewelry) on

If you play any kind of sports

Like to play golf or tennis? Don't wear your ring. Enjoy rock climbing and softball? Not a good time to be showing off the bling. Don't wear it while swimming either, the chlorine can ruin any precious metals.

If you're cooking/baking

If you don't want to lose your ring in the cupcake mix that is about to bake in the oven, don't wear your engagement ring here either.

So you're probably thinking when can you wear your engagement ring?

You can wear it at work, if you don't use your hands in harsh ways. You will want to wear it to any wedding-related function like your engagement photo shoot, your bridal shower, your bachelorette party (be careful at the bachelorette party with your ring, especially if it's a nice bit of crazy fun!).

Wedding guest book ideas all DIY brides need to know about

I love the idea of wedding guest books - after all you want a record of your big day, remembering who came along and shared all the fun and excitement.

Don't hide your guest book away

I just don't like the idea of a formal book that gets shut after the wedding and then spends its life sitting on a shelf in your house - being pulled off to be looked at when you happen to remember.

There are so many other ways of remembering your guests. There's a wedding guest tree, which you can frame afterwards and hang on the wall. (Here's a free template for making one.) You can theme the fingerprint colors to your season - blues and yellows for spring and summer, rich reds and golds for fall - you get the idea.

A wedding guest book plate

If you're into junk shop finds and have a creative streak, then you'll love this quirky idea for wedding guest books that I found via Martha Stewart Weddings.

Just rummage through jumble sales and junk shops looking for white plates with a colored patterned rim. They don't have to match but you need to have some sort of a theme going on - florals, geometrics, golds, silvers or a color.

At the entrance to your reception, leave the blank plates out with a note encouraging the guests to sign them and write their good wishes and messages. Use a permanent marker pen in black, silver or gold that is water resistant (although these plates are ultimately designed to be hung on your walls, not used for serving food!)

Then you'll have a visible reminder of your big day to look at.

Did you have a wedding guest book? Was it a traditional book or did you do something a little different?


Credits: Main image via Martha Stewart.


6 ideas that will make a beach wedding really stylish

(Image by Suki McDonald Photography on Destination Weddings)

So you're going for the option of blue skies, palm trees, the sea breaking on the shore .... in other words you're having a beach wedding ceremony.

Whether it's an intimate occasion for just the two of you and a couple of witnesses - or whether you're making a party of it with a host of family and friends, there are a few do's and don't with beach weddings.

Beach Weddings Need To Be Thought About In A Different Way

For example, it's not a good idea to wear an ornate, really detailed wedding dress. Don't go for the long veil and the heavy, full skirted wedding gown. Think light fabrics like chiffon ... it's going to be hot.

To help you plan your beach wedding ceremony, here are six ideas to get you thinking.

1. Get your guests ready for the beach by giving personalised beach towels as favors in advance of the ceremony.

(Image by Marcella Treybig Photography via United with Love)

2. Dress your bridesmaids in aqua colors to echo the azure blue of the sea and sky. Dessy has some wonderful bridesmaids dresses in greens and turquoises.

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3. Make the most of a hot balmy night by getting the table laid up on the beach.

(Image via Gray Likes Weddings)

4. Keep your jewellery simple and understated. Forget the bling ... freshwater pearls are a classic...

Pearl bracelet by Dessy

5. Your invitations should echo your theme. Maybe give a hint of what's to come by using the same colors you're planning on having? You can use bright shades or delicate pastels and golds as below.

(Destination wedding invitations by Ananya)

6. Never thought we'd say this, but sometimes heels should not be worn and if you're getting married on a beach then that's one of those times. Flip-flops work much better on beautifully pedicured toes.

(Flip flops by Dessy in different colours)

Free "Will you be my bridesmaid?" cards for you

bridesmaidcard1.pngbridesmaid card

Trying to find that perfect way to ask your favorite girls to be an important part of your big day? We here at The Dessy Group have a stylish solution. Stylish and might I add FREE!

Stylish, elegant and FREE!

With designs provided by our friends The Wedding Chicks, simply visit the DIY bridesmaid cards at Dessy, choose your favorite design, choose your favorite colors and download your creation. Send, and watch the smiles appear!

It's a special moment

Choosing and deciding who is going to be your bridesmaid is a very special time in your wedding planning.

You might have had a bestie in mind ever since you were a young girl, or perhaps you've decided that your maid of honor should be somebody that has been a big part of your life in more recent years.

One thing is for sure - you need to choose somebody who is unflappable and organised as your head bridesmaid. They will have a lot to help you with and so you need to know that they are reliable. Asking a friend who is busy with young children or a new baby might not always be the best idea!

Postal invitations are wonderful

Rather than send a text or an email, inviting your girls in a more timeless way will surely be appreciated.

Handwritten envelopes are always a pleasure to receive, particularly if they contain an exciting invitation - and asking somebody to be your bridesmaid with one of these cards will capture a perfect moment.

Print them out onto a good quality card and search out some envelopes that fit in with your color scheme. Then hand calligraph (or ask a friend) the addresses and pick out some suitable stamps.

Different designs

You'll find several different designs here to choose from and of course you can print them out in different colours to suit the shades and tones you've chosen for your wedding day.

And because they're free, Dessy is helping you to spread that wedding budget a little bit further ...

Destination weddings around the world

Today we have a guest blog from Fairmont Properties who've hosted weddings from Shanghai to The Plaza in New York. With all the weddings the planning staff see, they're perfectly placed to tell us about wedding trends and ideas.

What chic couples around the world are doing

Destination weddings have moved past the days when the wedding party dons their finest formal tuxes and gowns only to dress down with bare feet or flip flops. Wedding parties that don't want to compromise on couture but still want to take advantage of the beauty of the beach can get creative with ceremony set-up. Brides can keep their Louboutins for a ceremony on the sand by creating custom catwalks - turning the walk down the aisle into a walk down the runway.

"Nature and fashion are perfect partners", said Stephan Miller, Director of Catering and Special Events at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. "We essentially built a runway for one particularly stylish bride who wanted a beach wedding, but whose heart was set on wearing her designer shoes. The same strategy also works on grassy areas like our Turtle Pointe venue, which features a lovely gazebo surrounded by beautiful greenery."

#Bestweddingever

"Facebook may be great for sharing photos after the Big Day, but a number of couples have figured out that making a social media hashtag for their wedding makes it easy to connect with guests, share photos in real time, and end up with a huge trove of candid shots. There's no need for disposable cameras on the tables when guests are online with Instagram and Twitter. As an added bonus, they never run out of film!

"We've seen couples include hashtags on everything from save-the-date cards and invitations to actually displaying it on signage at the event", said Jennifer Zajac, Internet Marketing Coordinator at Boston's Fairmont Copley Plaza. "Twitter lights up when certain weddings are in house, not only does it make it super easy for friends and family to share the fun, it also means that people who couldn't make it to the event can participate from wherever they are in the world."

Ditch the Bar & Free the Bartender

Wine or Champagne may be the beverage of choice during the wedding reception, but once the speeches are done, the party begins. Some couples are avoiding tedious cocktail lines by having mobile bars roaming the venue on carts or even attached to roving waiters. Drinks and shots with fancy names add life to the wedding, and having the bartenders rove around the festivities keeps events fun and lively all night long.

"Mobile bars can come in many shapes and sizes, and don't just have to consist of waiters walking around with pre-made drinks," says Monique Garcia, Associate Director of Events at Fairmont Makati, Philippines. "They can be stylishly imagined and offer a surprising variety of beverages. One of my favourite ideas is to make cocktails named not only after the couple, but their bridal entourage as well!"

decorated chairs at wedding

The trend of small weddings is going strong, with some receptions becoming more like intimate dinner parties for 10-20 guests. These luxurious affairs allow hotels to produce amazing plated dinners, and also allow the couple to share the day with just the people who mean the most to them.

"Small weddings allow for a lot of flexibility, and can offer a unique kind of grandeur that you just can't get with an enormous event", said Heather Courtney, Wedding Coordinator at The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary. "Especially common for people getting married for the second time, we've put together intimate affairs around regal King's Table concepts that are simply stunning."

"Smaller, more intimate weddings events are still on the rise", said Ann Renneker, Director of Catering and Conference Services at The Fairmont Dallas. "We've had requests for varied course options and table-side culinary demonstrations that simply wouldn't be possible with large groups. Couples often request several choices for selection and we now even offer a choice of appetisers, which are served according to guest response cards."

(Gold bridesmaid dresses by Dessy)

Go for the Gold

Trends are often dictated by recent events, fashion, interior design, and the vast world of print and social media. Gold has never been more popular across the board. The opulent accent adds drama to all kinds of décor, and lends an unmatched level of sophistication to everything it touches.

"If I had to pick one trend for 2013, based on my own upcoming client weddings, and London Fashion Week, it would be the use of gold as an accent colour", said Bruce Russell, London Wedding Planner for Weddings at The Savoy by Bruce Russell. "I am seeing gold accents in all kinds of décor whether it's linen, candelabras, cutlery or stationery. Florists are also being asked to create arrangements with more neutral colours, with some blooms being dipped in gold."

Tea Time Instead of Cocktail Hour

As weddings gravitate toward heightened elegance and sophistication, a new way to bring style to an event is by including teatime. After a stunning ceremony, smart couples don't let guests mill around with passed canapes and cocktails, they go all out with exquisite pastries and a fully formal afternoon tea before the reception.

"We are seeing lots of brides move beyond cutesy cupcakes and cookies", said Christo Van Wyk, Wedding and Function Coordinator at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort in South Africa. "Couples still love the idea of a variety of small bites instead of one big wedding cake, but don't want to compromise on style, so we've found that a classy tea service is the perfect segue into the reception."

"We're also seeing the trend of wedding tea in Bermuda", said Kimberley Terceira, Conference Services & Catering Manager from Fairmont Southampton. "Sometimes it's hosted en lieu of a cocktail hour, but it can also be great for pre-wedding formalities, often with brides hosting afternoon tea at Jasmine Lounge with the ladies before the event."

"We love tea for bridal showers, said Dana Schroader, Weddings Specialist at The Fairmont Olympic in Seattle. We have done several ornate showers in our Kensington Room, and with the Roaring 20s history of our hotel, the tie-ins with the hugely popular 'Great Gatsby' theme are a natural fit."

Buying Out the Banquet Space

Some couples are taking advantage of luxury resorts by booking several banqueting rooms taking up entire wings of conference centres and event spaces for their big day. Not only does this ensure exclusivity and complete privacy, it allows guests to go back and forth between a quieter, lounge-like atmosphere and a lively dance floor.

"Couples looking for an immersive experience can make an entire area seem like their own private and exclusive enchanted palace", said Katie Rae Kugler, Wedding Coordinator at Scotland's Fairmont St Andrews. "We've seen couples offer one suite for the dinner, one for dancing, one as a relaxing room to get away from the music, and an open patio area to drink and be out under the stars. It feels like your party is the only thing happening in the whole world!"

"Lounges are popular as a way to get some respite from lively dance floors", said Meaghan Tiberio, Catering Sales Manager from Fairmont Pittsburgh. "You can create these comfy spaces right in your reception area for a more casual atmosphere, or host it in a space nearby. Couches, ottomans and pillows that match your decor create a great vibe."

Small Bites, Big Impact

Sliders, small bites and comfort food are old news, but savvy foodies know that guests still love the ease and convenience of bite-size nibbles. The sophisticated solution - Mini buffets and delectable canapes that wouldn't be out of place in any fine dining establishment.

"The most prominent trend for us is mini food buffets that offer a stunning presentation and a variety of haute cuisine options", said Kathy Robineau, Senior Catering Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs. "Guests still prefer the variety available with smaller portions, so we're presenting stylish options on glass pyramids and even floating in the air, suspended from the ceiling."

"In Cairo, candy stations are still popular, but crepe stations with chocolate, maple and honey flavours are a classier addition", said Rehab Youssef, Conference, Events & Social Sales Director at Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers. "Elaborate juice fountains where guests can fill their own glasses from freshly squeezed fruit are another great way to keep guests fuelled and ready to party all night long."

Picture Perfect

Many brides and grooms have done away with the traditional guest book and are coming up with imaginative keepsakes that they can treasure year-round. Signed photos, scrap books and more have become creative ways to bring the event home.

"We've seen many recent couples bring a picture frame with a white matte for guests to write congratulatory notes and well wishes", said Polly Xiong, Weddings Manager at The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. "Alternatively, couples will bring a picture book that includes photos with family and friends for guests to sign. One recent couple brought a scrapbook and Polaroid camera for guests to take photos and then tape their photo in the scrapbook with a note!"

Time to Talk

Weddings are a time for old friends and new to get together and celebrate. So, encouraging conversation is an important responsibility for any couple. Whether you've sat two guests together who may not be acquainted, or the couple themselves are trying to make it easier to mingle, there are multiple strategies for getting people talking.

"To ensure couples can enjoy all of their guests during the wedding banquet, we suggest keeping two free seats at each table", said Hane Cabarrus, Conference Service Manager at Quebec's Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. "Not only can the wedding couple switch tables throughout the evening instead of being isolated at the head of the room, guests can wander to other tables to chat with friends and family who may not be seated with them."

"We are also seeing more Family Style Dinners", said Kourtney McKercher, Director of Conference Services at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. "When guests share platters of main dishes instead of individual dinner selections it creates a warm, conversational dining experience."

Fairmont Hotels

Friday Festivities

Increasing numbers of couples are selecting Friday as the day for the wedding celebration. They are able to book a venue of their dreams at a value driven pricing structure and still enjoy all of the ruffles and flourishes of a Saturday evening celebration.

"The added benefit of a Friday event is that it adds an extra day of celebration for out of town family and friends", said Robert J. Mikolitch, Director of Catering at Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown. "Couples can plan to host a BBQ or post-celebration party on the following Saturday evening for friends and family who want to celebrate all weekend long."

Some interesting new ideas here from Fairmont. Future brides and grooms interested in more information on holding a wedding at Fairmont should visit Fairmont Weddings online.

Images via Fairmont Hotels