7 ways to use your wedding photos

You spend a lot of money making sure your wedding photos are absolutely perfect. But after the big day is complete and the album is on the shelf, what do you do with all those photos? Here are 7 ideas to use the photos you paid so much for.


1. The first and most common way to use your wedding photos is to get a few framed to display in your house. This is especially nice if you’ve just purchased a house together and are in need of art on the walls.


2. Another way you can use wedding photos is for your thank you cards. Putting a photo on the thank you cards is especially nice because it gives your friends and family a memento from the day.


3. Although engagement photos aren’t from the big day, they are often included in the wedding photo packages. You can use these photos for your save the dates. This is a nice touch because people love photos and it’s a very popular way to send your save the dates. What’s more, you can even order postcards to save on postage and the time it takes to stuff envelopes. Sites like invitations.michaels.com have a variety of options where you can even customize the cards with your own information.


4. Is your wedding scheduled for the fall? If so, you can use wedding photos for your holiday cards. Even distant relatives that may not have been invited or able to make it to your wedding will appreciate seeing a glimpse of the big day.


5. Photo albums are popular for the bride and groom and often the photography package includes a photo album option. But chances are that your parents would also love and album to keep the memories. Use a site like MiDesign@Michaels(TM) to create photo albums for your parents as well. This way they can show their friends when they’re entertaining and show off the event.


Other ways of using your photos are surely out there. Great places to look are websites dedicated to photography like Photojojo. You can also look on Pinterest for ideas and of course all the wedding magazines and blogs will have some ideas as well. The important thing is to keep the memories alive and to make sure that day is a fixture in your lives and your home.

Are Save the Date Cards Required?

To answer the title simply: No, save the date cards are not required for brides and grooms. This, however, does not mean that they may not be necessary for any given wedding, and there are good reasons for and against having them as a part of a complete wedding stationary order.

First, what you already know. Save the date cards are small, postcard type mailings that go out well before the wedding invitations and inform people, quite simply, on which date the wedding has been planned. This informs guests to keep that day open and not plan other events on it if they can help it. It is also a pre-invitation, and lets people know well ahead of time if they should expect or not expect a formal invitation later. These formal invitations are typically sent half a year or so before the wedding, sometimes sooner, and have the full names of the bride and groom, their parents, the address of the wedding, time, location and time of the reception, and other details.

As far as style, save the date cards tend to be fun and unique, often including objects (buttons, candy bars…) printed with the details or (very popularly) having an image of the couple with the date and ‘save the date’ written on their bodies somewhere. Invites are more decorative and usually leave off actual pictures of the bride and groom, instead sticking to formal names, calligraphy, and elegant colors and construction.

The case against save the dates involves redundancy. The two cards do much the same thing: why not just invite the guests instead of warning them to be invited? And indeed, for my wedding, that was the case. We were getting married in June and had already informed most of our extended family when the wedding would be. Thus we could wait and send invites when we were ready.

But save the dates are incredibly valuable when things get rushed. For instance, say you are planning a wedding in six months: the date will be December 22. Unlike June, December 22 is not a date where most people will be free. Quite the opposite in fact. In this situation, putting together a quick card and sending it out immediately will help people set aside some time, in turn giving the wedding planners time to arrange a location, a time, and design good wedding invitations to be sent out a month or two later.

Because  of busy lives and unique designs, save the dates have been growing much more popular in the past decade, and are expected to continue to grow in popularity in this one. Their influence is even affecting the older tradition of wedding favors, so that it is much more common now to find photo wedding invitations like those available in the templates at invitations.michales.com. This trend also correlates with a loosening of the rigid wedding wording standards of centuries past. Regardless of whether you choose to go with save the dates or just invitations by themselves, make sure you have the time that you need to put together a design that truly suites you and your wedding. 

Avoid these 10 Common Wedding Reception Mistakes

Every little girl fantasizes about her wedding day and wants everything to come off without a hitch. For those with professional wedding planners much of the stress is taken out of their hands. But if you are tackling the planning, organization, and execution yourself you should definitely pay attention to this article and avoid the following 10 common wedding reception mistakes.

1. Show up on time. This one is a problem so often it becomes absurd. No matter how much fun you may be having between the wedding and reception you owe it to your guests to begin the festivities (mainly, the food) on time. Too much delay creates a strange time where everyone is there, waiting, hungry, with nothing to do, in a room where they only know a minority (and often a small minority) of the other guests. Pick a time when you will arrive and be on time so that no one has to sit and check their watch waiting for you.

2. And don’t leave too early either. Your guests came from near and far to see you on your wedding day. Not staying the whole length of the reception could be construed as an insult. This is the only time many of your relatives will get to see you, especially with the week before the wedding usually consumed by planning.

3. Don’t seat older adults directly in front of the music entertainment. Older generations are at a wedding typically to socialize with their family and friends. They need to be able to talk over the music. Younger family and friends are usually a better choice to go near the speakers instead.

4. Set up and label all the tables ahead of time, even the night before if possible, so that when vendors arrive they can easily follow instructions and place your orders where they belong, so that things only need to be slightly adjusted and not totally rearranged later.

5. The bride and groom should not be drunk at a wedding. It should be a happy, but dignified, occasion. The bridal party has more leeway, but no one should be throwing up.

6. Make sure you greet ALL your guests. Going to a wedding and feeling sidelined, forgotten, and ignored because the bride and groom took no notice of you is hard, and should be avoided.

7. Avoid going past your reservation, and know what it will cost you if you do. Allow for cleanup time as well.

8. If you have fun wedding favors such as glow in the dark wristbands, disposable Polaroid cameras, or others make sure they go out at the proper time so that they are not used up before the dancing. Also keep kids out of them if possible. Candy favor boxes or other edible favors should go out before the guests arrive so that they have something to snack on before the party gets started.

9. Keep the music palatable to a general audience, as not all members of your wedding will like certain kinds of music that may be expected by others.

10. Remember to have fun! Busy as the wedding is the reception should be a  set of amazing memories, not just a blur as you try to keep things going smoothly.

8 Party Planning Errors And How To Avoid Them

Planning a party for adults can be tricky. Ironically weddings, for all the work that they are, often go better than simple dinner engagements because the vast wealth of wedding traditions help remind and insulate us all from forgetting things.  Check this list, copy it down, and hopefully you can avoid some bad situations before your big night, or big day, arrives.


Error 1:  Neglecting a guest list

When people feel excluded, even if they weren’t meant to be, it can hurt and cause deep rifts. This is especially true with family, and can be truer still if their exclusion was an oversight, an accident. No one wants to be a half hour through a party and then go ‘where Jack? It’s not like him to be late. Did he say anything?’ ‘How would I know, I thought you invited him.” Take the time to put together a thorough guest list and intentionally make sure that everyone who should hear about your party does.


Error 2: Sending the invitation out too late-or too early.

While party invites aren’t necessary for every single event, if you do mean to send them you had best do it in the right time frame. Too soon can cause guests to forget, commit when they really have no idea what is going on, and can even cause them to view your party planning attempt as ostentatious. Too late can, of course, cause your guests to panic if they are suddenly overbooked or miss the invitation entirely. Take the time that you need to pick, customize, and order your party invites so that they can be filled out and mailed with a few weeks to spare.


Error 3: Forgetting info on your invitations

Your party invites should let people know when, where, the atmosphere, the occasion, the condition of food, beverages, and what they should wear. Take time to include everything necessary.


Error 4: Not getting RSVPs

It may take phone calls last minute, but you need to make sure you have a good idea of who is coming ahead of time so that you can adjust your plan if you need too.


Error 5: Not considering your guests needs

When you host a party at home or somewhere you are familiar with it is very easy to view everything through your eyes, and not your guest’s. Consider where they will put their effects, where they will sit, stand, if the bathrooms are visible, what music they would want and how loud, and other little physical chores. Plan so that no one needs to stand around in confusion, waiting and wondering.


Error 6: Over or under inviting guests based on the space available.

Don’t crowd or leave people feeling intimidated by empty space. Tailor your guest list appropriately.


Error 7:Don’t rely on your guests to get the party going

Hopefully people will be happy to be there and conversation will break out on its own. If it doesn’t, if you have games or activities planned, take charge and lead the way. A good way is to go around and introduce shy individuals to those who they don’t know, suggesting a topic of conversation that they have in common.


5 Great Ways to Avoid the Holiday Crazies

Christmas will be here again before you know it. My mom is already starting to look for Christmas presents (and it’s barely spring as I write it!). Of course the Holiday Season is always the most wonderful and touching and cozy season—but all of that coziness and good cheer also means that things get BUSY. Parties, family, presents, recitals, decorating, graduations, travel… With everything going on, it can be easy to get stressed and lose track of the things that really matter. Fortunately there ARE some great time savers that can take some of the edge off the Holiday crazies coming soon.

Here are a few:

1. Black Friday shopping is absurd. If you are planning a long day of shopping, fresh off your turkey coma, take a few minutes to sketch out your destinations on a map. Then, when you are ready, start at your #1 door buster location and proceed through your stores in counter clockwise order. It sounds a little funny, but in fact it means you will only be taking right hand turns. Since left hand turn lanes will always be your biggest wait times in crowded mall parking lots and intersections, this is a big deal and can help more than you might think.

2. Save some time on your Christmas photo cards by using a candid photo or a photo of your family having fun, instead of going to a sit down photographer. You can take that picture, go to invitations.michaels.com or another online source, and plunk it into a Christmas card template. It’s fast, the results are great, and you can customize the text however you need. Then just ship them to your local Michael’s store, and pick up the envelopes there.

3. Before the holidays start invest in a few rolls of Christmas cookie dough and other holiday treats. Making your own is always better, but in a pinch with unexpected company over, or too much else going on, they work just as well!

4. Stock up on wrapping paper early, and go with plain jewel tones or nondescript patterns. There are a few reasons. The paper looks great, is cheaper, and you can use it for EVERY party. Birthday, Easter, Christmas with family, religious Christmas, office Christmas… you never have to second guess yourself, especially with some complementary ribbon colors.

5. Most online retailers let you ship gifts straight to their recipients, complete with gift wrap and a personal message, and return instructions too. It’s a fast way to get things done, and you don’t need to pay for shipping twice if they live far away. Give it a try!

6 Memory Projects Perfect For The Digital Age

6: Digital Canvas Printing

I’ve seen more and more these popping on friends walls these days as they provide a great alternative to normal photo portraits. By using a special printing system your chosen service can take a digital photo and apply it to canvas, the material used in oil paintings and portraits. This results in a portrait of your chosen size in great quality, but with the same texture and vibrancy of a classic painting.

5: Digital Photo Collage

Regular photo collages are a lot of fun, but like all photo projects done by hand you need to print a fair number of pictures first, to make them work, and they can get messy. Instead try taking a regular presentation program, or else a photo editor, and set the size of the canvas for the size of your project. You can then start plugging your edited pictures in, add the effects and fonts you want, and have it printed through your local office supply store to grace whatever wall or door you want to make your own!

4: Online Annotated Scrapbook

Think of it as a presentation, but instead of quarterly earnings or the history of the Crimean War, you are including your own life, love, and memories for your family and friends to enjoy. These online scrapbooks are great places to design and store your wedding slideshow and other big personal moments, so that people who are far away can still look in. There are plenty of places online to host these scrapbooks for free, and you can include your own title slides and captions as well.

3: Photobook

Photobooks are just like traditional scrapbooks, except that you design and perfect them online through a program before having them printed off and mailed to you. The advantage, of course, is that it feels like a real book. The pages are thick and glossy, the printing is uniform, and there are no plastic sheets to deal with.

2: Digitally Designed Wall Calendars

So where do you look at pictures every day besides frames and photobooks? You look at them in calendars. Why settle for a stock calendar when you can go online and have your own scrapbooking calendars printed, complete with all your best memories from the last year? They can also be great for offices and organizations, and can help get employees psyched for big upcoming annual events.

1: Digital Picture Frame Album

There are options here, and they have more to do with hardware. You can set up a computer monitor with a picture frame or get a dedicated digital picture frame, and with it and a memory card have and endless, slow-changing slideshow of your best memories. It’s like 1000 pictures in one!