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These days, more and more couples are asking: “Are paperless (email) wedding invitations an appropriate option for my celebration?” Now I am a little biased, but I think online wedding invitations are a smart, savvy and sophisticated choice. My husband and I sent email wedding invitations for our own wedding in 2007 (supplemented with a handful of paper invitations for our older relatives). Our guests loved them and they made wedding planning SO much easier for us.

Based on my own experience, plus feedback from couples who are using Glö to send their save the dates and invites online, here are some of the key reasons why paperless can be a great option:

1) Done well, they can be beautiful and sophisticated

Today’s paperless invitations are a far cry from the eVites we’re used to seeing for more casual events. A sophisticated paperless invitation will essentially “look and feel” exactly like a paper invitation (e.g. arrive in an envelope and open to reveal the invitation) and will feel incredibly special and appropriate for such an important celebration.

2) They save time and stress

Let’s face it – you are busy! It’s not like work, your social life, or other activities and obligations simply dissolve because you’re planning a wedding. Think about the time it takes to address envelopes and stuff them (not to mention sticking stamps) and your head can start to spin. I also found that it was WAY easier to collect my guests’ email addresses, as opposed to their snail mail addresses. I had most of the emails to begin with, and I haven’t collected mailing addresses in a book since my summer camp days.

3) They save trees

Now I don’t know exactly how many trees it takes for all the world’s couples to get married each year, but between wedding cards, envelopes, RSVP cards, RSVP envelopes, and anything else stuffed inside envelopes – It’s a lot! Yikes!

4) They save your budget

No matter what size the budget, I find that couples are always thinking about where they’d like to spend more and where they’d like to spend a little less. The postage alone for 150 invitations and RSVP reply cards costs around AUS $180. That’s in addition to the cost of the save the dates, invitations, reply cards and envelopes. These days, many couples are deciding that they would rather have that budget go towards food, wine and music instead.

5) They offer instant RSVP Gratification

The thing we loved the most about sending wedding invites and collecting RSVPs online was that we could instantly see who had opened them and who had RSVPd. It was like having signed delivery and instant courier service all in one! The night we sent our invitations, we stayed up until 3am refreshing the page and giggling with happiness at each ‘YES!’ response.

6) They are convenient for your guests

One thing I hear over and over from couples is how much their guests have loved receiving email invitations and RSVPing online. With email wedding invitations and a wedding website, guests have all the information they need at their fingertips and can easily RSVP for themselves and anyone else in their party. Plus they can access the information at any time on a computer or smart phone, or they can decide whether to print anything out and stick it on the wall or carry it with them.

7) They offer flexibility

The best part about online invitations is that they are totally flexible to fit your celebration and needs. Want to send email invitations to your friends and family and paper invitations to your relatives? – you can totally do it. Want to send out a last minute reminder to everyone the week before your celebration? – yep, that’s also easy to do. Decided to start the ceremony 30 minutes early even though invitations have already gone out? – not a problem. Today’s wedding celebrations can be complex to plan with numerous events and geographically dispersed guests. Going online means you’ll have more control and flexibility, resulting in much less stress.

Email wedding invitations aren’t right for every couple, but they definitely make a statement. They say, “we’re modern, smart and savvy, and we care about making our wedding fun and easy for our guests to attend.”

I am constantly amazed at how each of our couples’ personalities shine through in their email wedding invitations and wedding website designs. For some inspiration – check out the Real Glö-bie posts on glo-bride.com

Images by Glö

Ms Gingham says: I remember a friend calling me the day after she had posted all her wedding invitations, stressed out because it was raining and she was convinced it would ruin them! Food for thought.

About Taryn: Taryn is the founder of Glö, which offers uber-personalized email wedding invitations and save the dates, wedding websites and online RSVPs.  Follow Taryn on Twitter @GloWedding.

Chocolate Sphere with message inside

Everyone loves chocolate. Okay maybe not everyone but the great thing about chocolate is that there is someone close by who definitely wouldn’t mind your share. Chocolate as a wedding favor works beautifully and is the perfect after dinner treat.

So what should you look for when choosing chocolate? It is all starts with the cocoa bean. The quality of the bean will determine the flavour and characteristics within the chocolate. An inferior bean will create chocolate that will be masked with vanilla to cover the impurities. Be aware that anything that includes vegetable oils in place of cocoa butter is not chocolate but rather a compound that compromises on quality and taste.

Image by Johl Dunn Digital Photography

Quality

When you are considering chocolate as a wedding favor it is important to look beyond the pretty packaging. Venues today are serving amazing menus and beautiful desserts. It is essential to continue to uphold the high expectations of the food. Many guests may indulge into their treats at the end of the evening and once the wrapper is removed it is the experience they will remember. Individual chocolates should be shiny and present like little jewels. Chocolate bars should snap with a clear sound to determine they are well tempered. The chocolate should not be waxy and grainy in their mouth but rather luxuriously smooth with lingering flavours.

Image by Johl Dunn Digital Photography

Image by Aliki from Soul Impression Photography

Presentation

Consider the venue and the décor. Is it modern or traditional? Could you introduce elements of colour that will enhance the space? Often a wedding favor is one of the last things a couple will think about when budgeting for their wedding. However the favor is the first thing a guest will notice and inspect upon arrival. It can influence your guests’ expectations of the evening. The style of favor will help set the scene for the evening and a thoughtful, personalized favor tells your guests that you are honored and thankful that they are present to help you enjoy your special day.

Images by Lisa Nankervis Photography

Personalise

Leave a lasting impression with a personalized option to your favor. Whether it is the guests’ names so that they double up as place cards, a special thank you message or a love quote, the extra detail will not go unnoticed. We have had many couples include their styling within their favor.  A favorite was miniature origami windmills within our chocolate spheres.  A scroll with a message is a wonderful surprise for guests to discover.

Images by Sisko Chocolate

There are so many intricate details and planning involved in creating a beautiful wedding day and the last thing you want is to overlook the small factors which make such a lasting impression on your guests. My advice to all couples is to take time to make your appreciation personal and provide an enjoyable experience for your guests. The best way to end a beautiful wedding day is to have guests walking out of the reception holding onto their favor, excited to indulge in it later and tell friends of the unique beautiful gift they received.  Quality always leaves a lasting impression.

Images by Sisko Chocolate

Additional tips to ensure great quality

  • Taste the chocolate you will be serving to your guests. Keep in mind that your favourites may not be the best choice. Serving a chilli chocolate may not be the right selection for your wedding day. Consider all your guests and have a variety, if however you must choose one type of chocolate, milk chocolate would be the safest option as even dark or white chocolate lovers enjoy some milk chocolate from time to time.
  • When choosing fresh filled chocolates, ask what the shelf life is. A fresh ganache made without preservatives will have a shelf life of 1 – 3 weeks. The taste of a freshly made chocolate and that of one which will last for 6 months is a complete different experience. Look at the bottom of a chocolate. Is the base starting to cave in? This is a sign of the chocolate no longer being fresh. A great tip when buying chocolate at any time.
  • Save money by personalizing your own favors. Paper banding and printing at home are easily accessible to many. Gather your bridal party together and create a fun workshop. Have your chocolatier show you the best methods on finishing the products in a professional manner. They should be happy to assist as this will ensure that their products are presented well.
  • Check with the venue that the air conditioner is on prior to placing the chocolate favors on the tables. Ideal temperature for the room is 20 degrees. Ensure that there is no sun beaming in through the windows onto the chocolate, this is especially of concern for lunch time weddings.  If this is a concern you may like to create a favor table which allows guests to take a favour as they leave. This also creates a lovely feature in the room.

Image by Sisko Chocolate

Ms Gingham says: I have had serious trouble editing this post! How can I be expected to look at all this amazing chocolate and not have serious cravings? It’s a tough job …

About Christina at Sisko Chocolate: “I have enjoyed being part of the wedding industry for 20 years. First as a florist creating bouquets and centerpieces, then working with a wedding coordinator in wine country, California. The past four years I have been bringing forth new concepts for weddings through my skill with sculpting and designing with chocolate. All experiences from my past are coming through in my chocolate creations, serving a visual and detailed feature that can also create a memorable delicious interactive experience.”

Sisko Chocolate are celebrating their 2nd birthday with an exclusive launch party at Gary Mehigan’s Fenix Restaurant this Monday the 18th of July. The event is a must for brides and grooms looking at incorporating chocolate into their wedding and will showcase some amazing edible chocolate centrepieces. More info at Sisko Chocolate or call (03) 9818 5772.

Image courtesy of The Ultimate Wedding Planning Party

As an experienced event planner and publicist, specialising in planning media events for unique food products and associated businesses within the lifestyle and luxury sector, 2011 threw me a curveball, when I announced my engagement! Suddenly it was going to be about me. To be honest, I had not put a huge amount of thought into this prior to my mid 30’s. Initial thoughts were when, what, where and how were we going to pull this off! Luckily I have a wonderful fiance who has total trust in me and gave me full reins in planning this wedding, to an agreed budget of course. 😉

After agreeing on a date, finding the reception venue was not easy at first. Initially, I wanted a garden wedding out of Sydney so guests could come and stay over and we could all have a mini holiday. The place I found on NSW’s central coast called Bells at Killcare ticked all my boxes, but unfortunately could not accommodate us for a Friday in November.

Each year I conduct the ‘Ultimate Wedding Planning Party‘, a fairytale playground for soon-to-be brides and grooms at the Sydney Opera House, where everyone can learn from Sydney’s leading wedding experts during a glamourous, interactive and fun evening … then the idea clicked! Let’s host our wedding at the Sydney Opera House! Hence, venue decided and hard part done. Sydney can be unpredictable with all the elements, therefore we decided to also conduct our ceremony within the Opera House, which we hope will be lovely.

Choosing a dress designer was my next big step. Important to me and for all brides. My lips are sealed on this detail as I’m sure you can understand!

I am slowly securing all my suppliers for my wedding. I have long working associations with Planet Cake and gm photographics, so both were the natural choice for my cake and photography, but I had to get in quick, as both suppliers book out quickly, especially in November. For everyone out there planning their wedding, the things that you need to decide upon and secure quickly are your desired celebrant/church, make up artist and wedding planner, if you want one.

All in all and only due to my work contacts, I am finding it a little easier than most to plan my wedding. For those of you however doing it for the first time you should consider attending Ultimate Wedding Planning Party for ideas (and not just because I’m conducting it!). The event allows brides and grooms to mingle with Sydney’s wedding industry elite and listen as they share their wisdom.

Picture this. You walk down the red carpet and enjoy Yarra Burn wines and St Germain cocktails and canapés served by Opera Point Events. Simon Sandall is the head chef and his food is delicious! You can then stroll through the interactive and visually stunning booths and meet the suppliers face-to-face to discuss their upcoming weddings. The marquee is themed as a mock wedding so there’s plenty to look at and gain inspiration from! There’s a Bridal Fashion show featuring 5 amazing bridal designers including Lisa Gowing, VELANI by Nicky and Colette Dinnigan plus UK star, Sarah Janks who will show her first collection on the night. There’s even a Funbooth photobooth!

Afterwards, the wedding suppliers take to the stage to share their advice. To finish off the night, guests can mingle more with the industry experts and enjoy the entertainment. We have the Press Club Band playing live and you can enjoy some pampering from Jo Malone or even a Bobbi Brown make-over. With all this going on our guests last year didn’t want to leave but when they eventually did go they were all carrying their amazing gift bags and some had even won a lucky door prize. (This year’s gift bag is shaping up to be pretty amazing).

Back to my wedding planning, I am currently in the process of choosing a bridesmaids dress design with my girlfriend designer who is making them and designing invitations … its all very exciting. My best advice is to enjoy the process of planning your wedding, trust your chosen  suppliers and have fun with it. We are also enjoying watching some wedding shows on Foxtel for light hearted entertainment.

Best Wishes,

Kim xx

Ms Gingham says: I think that even the grooms will be happy attending this one and what better way to plan your wedding than at an event where the best suppliers and industry experts are gathered. Thanks go to Kim for sharing her knowledge with us! You can find out more about attending the Ultimate Wedding Planning Party here.

About Kim: “The producer of the annual Ultimate Wedding Planning Party – a glam bridal planning event showcasing all the best of Sydney’s wedding suppliers and designers. The UWPP is held every Spring at the Sydney Opera House!”