DIY Alternative Wedding/Bridal Registry Shower Gift Idea!

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The wedding registry has received a huge makeover in the last decade. Couples no longer have to even visit a store to create a registry. They can do it while hanging out on the couch with laptops in hand and do the whole thing online. Couples also have options such as one registry that includes multiple stores, online registries that provide endless product options (e.g. Amazon) and even sites where couples can collect money in lieu of actual gifts to help them with date nights and their honeymoon fund. The latter options have become popular among couples who live together prior to the wedding who feel like they have all the household items they need already.

There is some debate over cash gifts and registry funds. Some guests and brides love them and some guests prefer physically picking out and buying a gift. What do you do if you have everything your household needs already but still want the registry experience and gift options?

I may have an alternative to offer you.

Your bridal party (with your input) can create milestone/everyday/date night baskets. The idea is that guests can buy items and gift cards to create baskets that give the couple practical things they need or even great dates or time together. Guests could choose a basket to create themselves or go in on a group basket. I have ideas for baskets posted below.

So the tricky part now is how to do you have people choose baskets and not repeat or buy duplicates? There is a FREE site called SignUpGenius I used it to make an example sign up for a bridal shower using the baskets below. It took me less than 10 minutes to pick a theme, create the sign up sheet and publish it. It is FREE!!!! You can simply include a link to the registry with instructions in the invitation for the shower. Here are some screen shots of the process and product from SignUpGenius which also allows you to make customizations and control the settings!

Link to My Sample Registry Page from SignUpGenius

 

 

Here are some basket ideas. You don’t have to include all of these items in to the baskets. These are just some starter ideas! You may notice that a good bottle of wine can fit pretty much any theme!

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Spring Cleaning

  • Swiffer products
  • cleaning supplies
  • bandanna
  • laundry basket
  • feather duster
  • gift card to a housecleaning service

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Making Memories

  • scrapbooking materials
  • gift card to photo service or photo book site (The couple can make photo books with their honeymoon photos, shower photos etc…)
  • photo storage subscription
  • SD card
  • photo booth props (if having a photo booth at the wedding or just to have on hand for funny future photos)
  • usb drive
  • photo albums
  • photo Christmas ornament
  • picture frames
  • picture coasters

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Take Out Night

  • Redbox rental gift certificate
  • gift certificates to local restaurants and eateries that offer take out
  • fun paper plates and disposable cutlery
  • snuggly blanket
  • slippers
  • candelabra
  • tablecloth
  • bottle of wine

 

 

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Picnic in the Park

  • Frisbee
  • picnic basket
  • picnic blanket
  • ice bucket
  • cooler
  • drink coozies
  • plastic wine glasses
  • bottle of wine
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • thermos
  • Citronella candle
  • portable music player speaker

 

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Movie Night

  • bottle of wine
  • popcorn popper
  • microwave popcorn
  • popcorn seasoning
  • Redbox gift certificate or Netflix membership
  • snuggly blanket
  • movie theater gift certificate
  • fun wedding movie (see my list here for another unique bridal shower gift and wedding movie ideas).
  • popcorn bowl

 

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Day at the Beach/Lake/Pool

  • Barnes and Noble gift card for beach reading
  • beach chairs
  • beach umbrella
  • beach towels
  • beach blanket
  • sunblock
  • bride/groom flip flops
  • cooler
  • sunglasses
  • frisbee
  • volleyball
  • sand shovel
  • portable music speaker
  • mister bottles
  • beer or wine coolers
  • bottle opener

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Sports Fan Basket

  • assortment of clothing, household, tailgating items that represent the couple’s favorite sports team
  • tickets to a game

 

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For the Pet Lover

  • gift card to a pet store
  • animal food
  • treats
  • “Just Married” animal outfit or groom/bride outfit
  • animal bowels
  • fancy pet treats
  • animal themed frame
  • Christmas ornament with the pet’s name or paw print

 

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Lucky in Love

  • frame holding scratch-offs and lottery tickets

 

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Honeymoon Basket

  • Dramamine
  • luggage tags
  • carry-on bag
  • toiletry bag
  • travel neck pillows
  • headsets
  • sunblock
  • photo book gift certificate
  • honeymoon frame
  • resort gift certificate
  • animal boarding gift certificate
  • pedicure gift certificate

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Let’s Cook!

  • cookbook
  • cooking utensils
  • recipe and ingredients
  • recipe box
  • recipe cards
  • family heirloom recipe book
  • fire extinguisher
  • spices
  • oven mitts
  • bottle of wine
  • menu chalkboard/dry erase board
  • shopping list pad
  • gift card to food delivery service such as Purple Carrot or gift card to a supermarket
  • aprons
  • chef hats
  • spoon rest
  • personalized kitchen sign

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First Christmas

  • Just Married ornament
  • personalized tree skirt
  • stockings
  • Christmas lights
  • holiday door mat
  • holiday yard flag
  • cookie tins
  • Christmas movie
  • Christmas music or Itunes gift card
  • holiday themed air freshener
  • holiday themed decorative towels and/or tablecloth
  • matching ugly Christmas sweaters

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Yard Work!

  • garden statue
  • personalized yard flag
  • packets of seeds
  • gardening tools
  • gardening gloves
  • watering can
  • plant markers
  • a plant

 

Free Shutterfly Photo Book= Free Custom Guest Book!

Right now you can get a FREE photo book from Shutterfly or $20 off any $20 purchase using the promotional code BIGTHANKS by Sunday, 01/22. This does not include shipping. However this is an awesome deal for those of you looking to buy some Save the Dates or make your own photo guest book!

Check out mine below! I made my guest book using a free promo code. My guests loved it and it is a great, sturdy keepsake that captures our life together up until our big day!

Get the deal at Shutterfly.com!

If you go through Ebates first you will also earn 2% cash back! Every little bit adds up! I earned$46.00 just this quarter alone on all my little online purchases!

 

This post may contain affiliate content or links. Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you want to make your own wedding invitations…here’s what you need to know!

BRIDES Magazine Invitation Kit $29.99 retail before coupons for 30 complete invites

 

 

The wedding invitation is kind of a double edge sword. It’s an expense that will mostly wind up in the recycling bin after being opened with the exception of the RSVP and main invite. However many feel the invite sets the tone for the wedding. It gives a preview of what to expect and builds excitement. It’s a chance to send a statement to your guests saying..”Hey, This is US!”

I am a personalization addict. I like to have my own spin on everything. My water bottle is decorated with stickers, my walls are painted with murals, my ice cream must have toppings! It’s my thing! When it came to our wedding invitations, I was in a panic. I couldn’t afford more than $150 dollars for our wedding invitations but I wanted something personal, something that felt like us. I shopped around and came up with prices from $1.50 an invite (with no frills) to a whopping $12 an invitation (after processing my dream invite). I went home. I had a panic attack, ate some ice cream with toppings and recovered. I then decided I was going to be brave and take matters into my own hands. I made a trip to Michaels and was lucky enough to find a set of print your own invitations in my exact color scheme. I then drove all around the tri-state area scooping up as many of these clearance kits as I could muster in case anybody else was on a budget looking for silver lined invitations in February.

I did make our invitations and I loved it so much that it is framed and on a shelf in the living room where I get to glance at it each day. It’s also on display because it took about as much hard work and training as it would take to win a medal or a trophy which would also be on display.

Printing and designing your own invitations is rewarding, fun and sentimental. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper! However before you go stalking clearance sections in all the local craft stores in a 100 mile radius, read on to my tips and insight to see if this is the best decision for you…maybe not financially but mentally!

Tip #1 How savvy are you in Word or other editing software?

If you can cut and paste, work with text wrapping and download and import images…you have a good leg up on this! I made our invitation in Word using the template that came with the kit (I highly recommend a kit for the template help!). I even took a graphic and adapted it using Word to change colors, texture, alignment and size. You can even use autoshapes to make your own logo or graphic. If you want to buy one and save yourself hours of time, you can check out sites that allow you to purchase individual images or search public domain images for one that fits your theme or look. You want to have some experience with downloading and manipulating text. This will help you find fonts to personalize your look, move things around and recover your invite when you hit TAB one time too many and the whole thing goes Picasso looking on you.

 

Tip #2 Look for unique fonts!

Nothing says “I Made It Myself” like a Times New Roman or Comic Sans font invitation. Luckily there are so many fonts available through Google or blogs and many are free. Just be sure to check the licensing and terms of use. Often brides are able to attain these fonts for free with permission to reproduce because they are being used for personal reasons not commercial. You can choose a font that is as fancy or fun as you are! Just make sure that it isn’t one preset to your Word program. You want your font to look the part!

Tip #3 Use a kit!

If you can line up cardstock and are spatially inclined you can use a paper cutter. However, the cost of a paper cutter and cardstock may surpass the cost of using a invitation kit. Kits are great because the invites often have embossed flourishes or designs which can be tricky (yet not impossible) to create on your own. You are also saving yourself a ton of time not cutting multiple different sized cards, not finding coordinating envelopes and not creating extra embellishments…time is money and in this case…your work time may not only be reduced but you may also save money with a kit!

Tip #4 Plan your theme/colors in advance!

If you know the date of your wedding and have a year or more to plan…this will help save some money! Look for invite kits on clearance right before the end of the season at your local craft store or stationary shop. Many go on sale just before the end of the season. If it is close to your big day, try and see if there are any kits on clearance that can coordinate with your colors. For instance, my colors were sage and rose (my poor bridesmaids) but I used an invitation that had a silver embellishments. I used the font and graphics to bring in my colors and used a silver pewter flower brad to add an embellishment and touch of spring time to the silver invite. In the end my invitation looked and felt like spring, despite the fact that my kit was a winter clearance item.

 

Tip #5 The kit you love is not on clearance…save your coupons or bring some friends!

If you find a kit you love…you stock up and stock up good! Call your friends to come and bring 40% off coupons with them since there is a limit of 1 per guest! It could be a bridal party outing! This can even apply to embellishments, seals or any other special touches you want to add to your invites. Every little bit helps and saving 40% is a big help!

 

Tip #6 Purchase many, many, many extra kits…and keep the receipt.

If you don’t use them, you can return them at least for a credit if it is past the return date. I bought so many kits that I thought I was being dramatic. Then printing happened. I wound up messing up so many that I opened all the kits and I was grateful for my stockpile! You never know if your kit will be found again or discontinued especially if you are buying it off season. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Tip #6 You will hate your printer and truly believe it hates you.

My printer and I used to be friends…and then I tried to print my wedding invitations. It decided that it preferred the old 8 X 11 format that it had come to love over the years and hated my off size slightly thicker cardstock invites. It didn’t matter that it had presets for the sizes. It had all the tools but not the desire! My printer decided to print things diagonally, turn my invites at the last second, spin and repeat. I had to slowly hand feed each invite into the printer, pray and still hope for the best. I would say 1 out of every 7 came out the way I wanted it! I was a little nuts and probably overthinking the precise leveling of all my text but it was important to me. There is a reason I went through so many kits! There is a learning curve to feeding uniquely sized invites into your feeder. If you stay patient …it does get better!

 

Tip #7 Addressing the invites is time consuming especially if you hate your handwriting.

I had to talk myself off a ledge. I was ready to invest in a DIY calligraphy course and set to send out my invites in style. I then stopped myself and realized that my guests will spend exactly 2 seconds looking at the address on the envelope. I think if I surveyed my guests 99 percent would not even remember what the address looked like in the first place. I decided to do clear address labels that I personalized with our graphic and colors. It’s also not easy to write on glossy envelopes so the labels saved a lot of time. Bonus…I used the same labels to mail out thank you’s after the wedding and shower!

Tip #8 Have fun and embellish!

Our theme was dragonflies. I bought (with my coupons) a small dragonfly paper punch and a set of pewter flower brads. I added the brads to the included ribbon in the kit and used the paper punch to help close my invites and later for the favor tags. My invites were simple but I felt like they were special. I knew they were unique and had details that would show guests what to expect on our day. You can embellish with glitter, rhinestones, stamps, ribbon, scrap book stickers or even adding a small fabric flower or bow. This part was the most rewarding and helped me get over my printing trauma!

Tip #9 Use discount printing sites for extra cards.

Keep your graphic and use sites such as Vistaprint to print business card size information to add to your invites. Your invitation will be the largest followed by the RSVP or menu request card. However you can customize business cards to hold information such as directions, hotel information and special requests. Guests will love this because it’s easy to keep in hand in a wallet or purse. You will love it because you can print a box load for about $3!

 

Tip #10 Make invitations for yourself.

Be sure to make one to bring with you on the day of your wedding to use in photographs. Also keep two or three at home for personal display. You may want to put in a frame, scrapbook, wedding album or share with your future children one day and you sure won’t want to have to print another one!

Send those extra invitations to Mickey, Cinderella or even the President!

Inevitably you will be left with a few invitations or sample invitations. You can scrapbook one, frame one but what do you do with the rest! How about send them to Disney? Or even The White House? Both the Disney and The White House will send you back a memorable item to treasure as a keepsake for years to come! If you have the wedding invitation for a couple’s upcoming wedding, you could send it and surprise them with a unique keepsake in a frame! I would have loved that myself! This is an awesome bridal shower idea =)

 

Read below for more information and addresses. Now I just have to dig out my wedding invitation to mail out to Disney. The year 2009 shouldn’t be too belated!

 

 

photo courtesy of www.weddingpartyapp.com

Mickey and Minnie used to reply with a signed black and white photo and a  “Just Married” pin. However it seems nowadays you will received an autographed colorful postcard. I still think it is adorable!

To receive a postcard signed by Mickey and Minnie, write to Disneyland using the address below:

Mr. and Mrs. Mickey and Minnie Mouse
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521

photo courtesy of www.leodjphoto.com

Cinderella used to send back a beautiful certificate. You may get a postcard but either way, it is still pretty cool! Write to them at Disney World using the address below!:

Cinderella and Prince Charming
PO Box 1000
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

photo courtesy of www.leodjphoto.com

The White House sends a beautiful certificate.

To receive one, send your invitation to:

President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama
The White House
Greetings Office Room 39
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

How To Freeze Your Wedding Cake Tier…for a year!

Our cake was delicious! The best part was that it was included in our venue package! I love Cake Boss but an included cake saved us a ton of money and it was tasty! In fact, I ate the whole topper myself that week...it never made it into the freezer for that one year anniversary!

Our cake was delicious! The best part was that it was included in our venue package! I love Cake Boss but an included cake saved us a ton of money and it was tasty! In fact, I ate the whole topper myself that week…it never made it into the freezer for that one year anniversary!

 

Ask any of your friends how their frozen wedding cake tasted on the night of their first anniversary and chances are they said…”BLECH!” I do have one friend who said it was okay but the general consensus is that it is gross! Not only that but a frozen wedding cake takes up some serious real estate in your freezer. So my first tip would be not to freeze it! Enjoy it when it tastes the best! Did you know decorated cakes are only supposed to be frozen for up to two months?!

Eat it that week, a little each night to savor it! You can always have a small cake made from the same bakery for your anniversary. Many can even recreate the look for little extra cost. Just write down the flavor, filling and frosting and keep a good picture of it. Your taste buds will thank you later.

If tradition wins over taste, here are some tips for making it the most edible it can be!:

1. Choose wisely. Buttercream and cream cheese frosting freeze well. Meringue and whipped cream frosting do not!

2. Skip the filling. When defrosting your cake, custards and fruits with syrups will get soggy and turn your cake into mush.

3. Bring an airtight container to the venue. Ask the staff to please put the topper into the airtight container immediately after it is cut. Ideally you want to freeze the cake right away outside of a container for four hours and then wrap it up for the long haul…however something tells me this won’t be convenient for you or your venue!

4. Freeze the next day for four hours on  a tray not wrapped (this prevents the smush).

5. Next wrap it in layers of cellophane. Use a layer of foil for the final layer.

6. Freeze it and don’t buy any frozen pizzas for awhile!

7. To thaw it out, let it sit overnight in the cellophane to retain the moisture. If your cake had fondant, it may slide off or sweat.

8. ENJOY and keep a back up dessert…you just may need it!

Happy Anniversary!