Freebies!

I LOVE getting party favors when I leave any event. Free goodies, yes please! Although not all weddings include parting gifts to their guests (and it is definitely not necessary), it is always fun when they do.

Mason Jar Cookies
There are so many different ways to do this, but for this post I am going to weave in my new favorite obsession: pudding.
Did you know you can make pudding into cakes, cupcakes, cookies and shakes?  I had no idea. But you can, and it is delicious.

1. Start off by decorating your mason jars. Paint them,plaster them in glitter, or put a picture of the happy couple on them!
2. Cut out swatches of a fabric that corresponds with the wedding theme (you will use these later).
3. Next find your cookie recipe. I found this recipe on doubledippedlife.com:

  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    2 teas baking soda
    1/2 teas. salt
    2 cups butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    2 small packages of INSTANT chocolate pudding
    4 eggs
    1 teas vanilla
    3-4 cups of your favorite chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350, or a convection oven to 325.
    In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    In a very large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended.
    Stir in the eggs and vanilla.
    Blend in the flour mixture. (Dough will be very thick! I mix by hand… or my husband’s hand…)
    Finally, stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    Bake for 10-12 minutes. If you are using a convection oven, bake for 10 minutes.
    Leave cookies on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, and then transfer to cool on wire rack.

4.  Layer by layer place all the dry ingredients into the mason jar. Flour, some chocolate chips, sugar, pudding, more chocolate chips… you get the idea.
5. Once you have everything in the jar place the swatch over the opening and tightly secure the lid on top of the swatch.
6. Write (or type) out the wet ingredients guests will need to include themselves along with the baking instructions on a piece of paper.
7. Hole punch the instructions, thread ribbon through the hole and tie it around the jar. Done!

Ta-da!

Flowers
More accurately, flowers to be.

1. Buy packets of seeds (super easy to find at home improvement stores or plant nurseries) that match your wedding flowers. If you can’t find those, go ahead and just choose your favorite flower or one that grows well in your area’s climate.
2. For packaging think outside of the box. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:

  • Envelopes
    -Decorate the front with pictures, poems, or you could even hand them out after the ceremony as a cute way to give directions to the reception location.
    -Make sure to include the plant info and growing instructions on the back.
  • Potpourri bags
    -Pour seeds into the bags and tie with ribbon or twine.
    -Type up all the plant info and growing instructions on a piece of paper and attach it to the string.

    So sweet!

3. Hand them out to guests as they leave. This party favor is great because guests will always have a reminder of you in their yards!

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Numbering your tables can be more fun than you think!

Love Notes
A new twist on elementary school valentines!

  • Start buying the miniature mailboxes they sell in February  for kids’ valentines.
    -or get them on amazon.com for about $10 each
  • Label each of them with your table numbers.
  • At the reception, leave slips of paper (and envelopes if you want) at each table with pens and markers.
  • Ask guests to write messages to the bride and groom and place them in the mailboxes.
  • Designate one person to collect all the mailboxes at the end of the night and take them to the couple’s home while they are on their honeymoon.

    What’s better than returning home to dozens (even hundreds) of love notes?
    These make great keepsakes, too!

Timeline
If you don’t have too many tables this is a great option!

  • Corresponding to each number include a short story about you and your partner’s adventures together up until your wedding day.
    -For example, table #1 would be a how you met, #2 would be your first date, and so on.
  • Type up the numbers and the stories on nice paper, print them out, and frame them.
  • Get creative:
    -they don’t all need to look the same as long as they match the colors/theme of the wedding
    -include pictures with some of them
    -place the print outs in frames on the tables (frames can easily be painted to match the color scheme)

    Mixing and matching frames on a table gives the look more texture and depth!

Mason Jars
You really can use them for everything.

  • Cut the numbers 0-9 out of a piece of sturdy paper or flexible cardboard (so that it will wrap around the jar)
  • Place the stencil around the jar and paint (make sure your paint is compatible with a glass surface) the number onto the mason jar.
  • Done!
  • Mix it up:
    -use chalk paint
    -put a candle inside for a nice glow


    Leave chalk on the tables and let guests add their own messages!

     

Sweeten up the Party

You can’t beat a good wedding cake.
Especially one covered in delicious buttercream frosting that just ALWAYS tastes better on an actual wedding cake (or maybe that’s just me, I admit: I am a frosting lover and connoisseur).

Some people don’t like cake though. My sister is one of them and I will forever be confused by her preference for pie over cake.  Thankfully for her and everyone else that shares this opinion, a few new dessert trends have become quite popular in the last few years. So for all of you who don’t adore buttercream, I put together a list of my favorite alternative dessert ideas and a few different ways to put a twist on them all.

Enjoy!

1. The Candy Bar

This is a great way to make sure that all your guests get to enjoy a dessert that they like and you can do this on a fairly small budget (or go all out depending on where you buy the candy, for example: Hershey’s vs. Ghirardelli).
All you need is a variety of candy and a variety of containers to display it all in. Speaking of containers, you can use mason jars for this project!!!
-Head to the store and buy all sorts of candy. Red hots, lemon heads, M&M’s, Peanut butter cups, licorice, jelly beans- any and everything really.
-Mix and match cute jars or bowls for display.
-Make cute name cards to label each candy.
-At the reception have a designated table for the dessert and place the containers full of candy all over it. Go ahead and decorate the table however you choose (example: sprinkle glitter or flower petals over the table cloth) and set up the candy bowls!
-Don’t forget to label them, especially since some guests might have food allergies, and definitely don’t forget to put a serving utensil in each one!

So delicious.

2. Cookie Buffet

Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter, Sugar, Lemon… this list could go on forever. There are two ways to go about this. First, have a bunch of cookies baked and lay them out for guests to pick and choose from. Second, have a bunch of cookies baked into shapes (brides, grooms, hearts) and let guests decorate them! Not only will this taste good, but it will be fun too!

At each table where guests will be sitting put out an assortment of decorating items: frosting, sprinkles, candy and more. Encourage people to get as creative as possible and take pictures of their cookies before they eat them.

Most importantly, make sure you leave plenty of napkins for their sticky hands!

Available on Amazon.com for $7.66/set!

3. Cupcakes

So cupcakes and cake are pretty much the same thing (I assume, I’m not a pastry chef so I could be wrong) but they have taken the world by storm. They even have their own show on TLC, DC Cupcakes.

The upside to cupcakes instead of cake is that you can please more people in regards to variety. Instead of one flavor, you can choose literally as many flavors of cupcakes that you can think of and they can all be decorated in different themes!

* Cake Pops also fall into this category of “it’s-cake-but-it’s-not” *

These adorable cake pops are made
in a nearby
local bakery from Round Rock, Texas!!!
http://www.paigesbakehouse.com/

That is ALL cupcakes. Imagine the possibilities!

Celebrate Your Love (and your Loved Ones too!)

When most of us think of what represents a wedding or a marriage we only think of the obvious: bride, groom and maybe some cake being smashed into the smiling faces of the newly married couple. Now let’s take a second thought and think about how that couple came together. Where did they come from, what life events brought them to meeting each other, who instilled the values in them that their significant other loves so dearly? These are the facets to a couple that a wedding can sometimes forget to mention.

So, while  you have all of the people you care about most in your life in one room, why not take the opportunity and honor them, too?  Chances are you wouldn’t be standing up at that alter with the love of your life without the help and support of all those people sniffling happily in the pews behind you.

1. Display your story

  • So, I saw this adorable idea on pinterest.com (http://pinterest.com/pin/7740630579597507/) awhile back.
  • And then I had an idea to take it one step further!
    Hang fishing line, lace, ribbon (whatever you want to use really) across a room or along the wall in the reception area. Starting on one side of the fishing line hang pictures of the bride or groom chronicling their life right up until they met their significant other; repeat the process on the other side. In the middle, place pictures of the couple together that tell their story. You can even write out the timeline like the one on the chalkboard above on pieces of paper and stick those into the mix of photos.
    -for a more symbolic look you can post the photos onto the wall with poster putty and intertwine the middle photos to represent a knot or the infinity sign.
    -if you are really feeling this idea, branch it out to include a timeline of each others families.
    **You might need a pretty big space for this!**

2. Involve the guests

  • When you send out your invitations to the wedding ask guests to bring a copy (so they can keep their original!) of their favorite picture of them with either the bride, groom or both. When guests arrive at the reception have a photo album laid out on a table with instructions for guests. Ask everyone to tape/glue/somehow make their photo stick onto a page in the album and write a note next to it. This is a great idea for a few reasons, the first being who actually looks through a typical guest book years later? “Oh honey, do you remember John Givzoan… wait no, I think it says Gibzoan? Well, nevermind. John G. Do you remember him?” Exactly. Even if you do, you might not be able to read half the names. But a photo album with warm wishes for a happy marriage and pictures of you and your favorite people?  That’s a keeper.


    Check out our pinterest account for more ideas!
    http://pinterest.com/gtownchamber/

You found The One and have The Ring… what about The Place?

Choosing your event center is one of the first things you should think about doing in planning for your wedding. For as long as you are planning you will be asking questions that will rely on your choice of event center, like:

  • What kind of decorations can I use?
  • Are open flames allowed?
  • What about alcohol?
  • Will my guests be able to find it easily?
  • If I have out of town guests will they be able to stay nearby?
  • How long will I have the event center for?
  • Can I bring things ahead of time for storage?The list doesn’t stop there but in interest of keeping us all sane that is where I am choosing to end it for now.

For example, in our event center we don’t allow open flames, so you can’t use candles. The cute mason jars I posted about last week? You couldn’t use those here, but you could buy floating LED lights for the same effect. The candles may seem like a drawback, but on the other hand the only alcohol fee associated with using our center for weddings is a $20/hr security guard (we find one for you). This is what picking the event center is all about: being open minded and able to meet in the middle (which is not a bad mantra for the couple-to-be, either).

Keep in mind that your event center will set the tone for your wedding. Make a list of the things you expect from your event center. Mine would read “a dance floor, open late, and close to an outdoor venue for the ceremony.” Yours may be “outdoors, shaded, close to home.” Whatever it is, use it loosely as a guide and not as a strict set of rules to live by.

Next, start searching in your community (or wherever your wedding will take place) for event centers and then go visit them. Seeing photos online won’t be enough. You need to be able to stand in the space and visualize your dream wedding (ceremony, reception, or both) in there. Bring your list of expectations and talk to the manager about how they can help you realize your list of dream qualities.Try to bring the groom and/or a friend along since they will be able to give you insights about the venue that you might overlook if you were on your own. Make sure to ask what season is the busiest and if your wedding falls in that time period, book it fast. There is nothing more heartbreaking than a bride who waits to long to book her venue and then finds herself without one.

After you book the venue don’t hesitate to call them periodically to ask questions about policies or even something as simple as the room’s dimensions. It is better to call multiple times and ask than it is to show up the day of the wedding and have decorations that are not allowed.

Last, don’t take this responsibility on alone. Weddings are all about love and relationships- not about doing things solo. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s honest opinion or to call up a friend just so they can hear you think through things out loud to yourself.

A few pointers to remember in your search:

  • any space can be fun, you just have to get creative.
  • don’t be afraid of a room that is a bit less extravagant than the others you have seen- this just gives you the chance to customize it even more.
  • always make sure you see the space in person.
  • lock down your room first because it will serve as your guide for decoration, food, alcohol, and guest count decisions.

Check our our event center on Facebook!

Do you have any other suggestions for choosing an event center or any ideas for a new post? Leave us comments and let us know!

A Jar for Every Occasion

So, I might be a little bit obsessed with mason jars. You should be, too! There are hundreds of things you can do with a mason jar, sometimes in my house we even use them as replacements for everyday cups. Did I mention how cheap they are? You can pick them up at the local grocery store (sometimes even the dollar store) in packs of at least 12 at a time. Or save your your own! Spaghetti jars, jelly jars, pickle jars. Start saving them now and you will have a smorgasbord of them by your wedding. Personally, I prefer the ones that you save yourself because the variety in jars gives your finished product much more of a bohemian feel.

Today’s idea is one that is simple, elegant and like nearly all DIY projects it is easy to fine tune with your own creative flourishes.

1. Thoroughly clean the mason jar(s) you will be using.

2. Fill the jar(s) a bit more than 2/3 of the way full with water.

3. Gently place a floating tea light in the jar, light, and enjoy the glow!

To spice things up try:

  • tying ribbon or twine that coordinates with your color scheme around the neck of the jar
  • print out wallet sized photos of the bride and groom, hole punch them, and attach them to the ribbon
  • attach a few name cards to the jars to help guests find their seats
  • using colored mason jars will alter the way the light reflects out of the jar- this can be done as a way to dim the lighting in the venue

Pricing:

  • You can buy a 12-pack of Kerr Mason Jars for about $25 (although I think this price varies greatly depending on where you buy them from). I found a 20-pack of floating candles on amazon.com for $17.
  • Total cost: $3.50 per centerpiece. If you save your own jars (ask your friends for their own jars, too) this cost goes down even more!**This idea comes from http://www.kristanlynn.com/2011/06/mason-jar-love.html**
    **Also note that some wedding venues do not allow open flames, make sure to ask first.**

Hello brides!

All brides need something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue when they walk down the aisle! But what if you could use this ages old bridal mantra and apply it to your entire wedding in an effort to save money, time and have a little fun?

That is what the Busy Bride’s Guide is here for. Every week we will post a few DIY projects, ideas on how to plan a wedding on a tight budget and a couple  updates on the newest trends in the bridal world.

Let us know what you think of our ideas or if you have any ideas of your own that you would like to share. We love to hear from our brides!