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How To Find Wedding Gift Boxes In South Africa
Date: May 10, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Favors & Gifts & Shopping

Hi Everyone,

I received this question:

“I am looking for a gift shop that makes lovely wedding gift boxes. Do you know of any shops in Cape Town?”

This was my reply:

Thanks for your email. Although I am not familiar with Cape Town’s shops personally I did find the following information for you.

How about Theletterpresscompany.co.za who are based in Cape Town. They sell a selection of handmade linen boxes, lined in paper and tied with satin ribbon - I had a look on their website and they look beautiful. Their contact details are:

P.O. Box 50189, Waterfront 8002, Cape Town
Email: info@theletterpresscompany.co.za

I also found a selection of handmade gift boxes in a variety of sizes made in Cape Town at Capementalhealth.co.za.

Alternatively, how about checking out online retailers at Bidorbuy.co.za. I found these reasonably priced handmade boxes which looked very pretty.

You could also consider buying from an online seller at Ebay.com. I found many sellers on Ebay who are willing to ship their gift boxes to South Africa. Of course you will incur a standard international flat rate shipping fee but you might well recoup this with the savings you make by buying from an Ebay seller.

Finally, you should take a look at artisan studios or craft markets in and around Cape Town. If craft markets are anything like British ones then will be an ideal place for you to find stalls with people selling their unique gift boxes. When I researched it I found that craft markets are held regularly at Kirstenbosch and Hout Bay.

I hope that this information helps you. Good luck with your wedding plans!

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78 Free Wedding Tips And Book

As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore. For example tips on wedding djs, getting guests to mingle, giving a great speech and tipping wedding suppliers to name just a few!

To give you a flavour of what to expect I have copied the types of wedding tips you will receive below:

Sample Tip 1 :

At the reception hall, fill baskets in the bathroom with miniature hand lotions, breath mints, hair sprays, and hair gels for emergency touch-ups. You may also want to put out a basket with a few inexpensive pairs of pantyhose and
some clear nail polish.

"Thanks for all the tips..and for making them genuinely "free".... the tips I found most helpful of your's were about etiquette ... it helps to remind brides of other people's feelings when they are getting caught up in their own! And that idea about giving framed pictures to the parents is one I will definately do! Blessings!" - Suzanne, US

Sample Tip 2 :

Don’t forget grandparents and other relatives who may feel “left out” during the preparations before the wedding. Take a camera along when you are shopping for your dress or looking at flowers.

Send pictures with a quick note that says, “Here’s me rubbing my feet after trying on shoes that were murder!” Or “Aunt Joan, the flowers were beautiful, but I wish you could have been there.”

"Just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful tips! I enjoy reading them every week!! I will use you're advice throughout the planning of my wedding and on the big day! Thanks again" - Dan

Sample Tip 3 :

For bridesmaids' dresses, consider separates, especially if you have attendants whose sizes and shapes vary widely. Skip the bridal stores and check out department stores for evening skirts and separate tops that are made of luxurious fabrics and trimmed with beading or embroidered details.

"Dear Emily your tips have been very helpful to me in planning for my wedding thank you for all of your help, looking forward to receiving other tips from you. Best Regards" - Cornelia, US


How To Customize Your Wedding With Beads
Date: March 22, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Books & Dresses & Favors & Flower & Decorations & Gifts & Invitations & Announcements & Jewelry & Reviews & Stationery & Unique Ideas

I wanted to let you all know about “Beaded Weddings” by Jean Campbell. This book is a fantastic craft guide which is sure to encourage even the most reluctant DIYer to have a go. Not only does the book give you unique and inspirational ideas but it also teaches DIY novices basic craft skills. There are over 75 fabulous ideas for DIY projects which would,

“give your wedding a unique, unforgettable style of its own”.

Please take a look at my 6 minute video review of the book by clicking on the play button below. Alternatively you can visit Google Video or YouTube.com.

This book is very easy to read with friendly narrative and beautiful photos. It is broken down into 6 sections including invitations, thank you notes, reception décor, wedding finery, accessories and gifts.

One thing I like about this book is that there is a real variety of choices for skilled beaders or novice beaders (like myself!). For the braver DIYers amongst you there is a section on wedding dress embellishments, showing you how to jazz up your wedding dress. For the less skilled amongst you (this would include me!) or for those of you that do not have a lot of time on your hands to take on DIY projects in the run up to your wedding, there are things like bridal bobby pins which are so simple to make and yet they look as pretty and sparkly as shop-bought accessories.

One of my favorite DIY projects in the book is the beaded gift bag. You simply slip a pretty bead of your choice onto the end of a drawstring on an organza bag and there you have it – an effortless, yet eye-catching, result! A personalized gift bag which you could use for wedding favors, gifts for your bridal party or for future gift-giving occasions. How about wowing your wedding guests with how creative you are - try the cake stand necklace. It combines India glass and Czech fired polished beads with ivory and crystal seed beads. You could really dress up a plain glass cake stand with this very inexpensively.

Techniques used throughout the book include crimping, wire wrapping, bead embroidery, simple fringe and knotting. This might all sound highly technical to you but you really have nothing to worry about – this book takes you through each technique step by step with clear color pictures and diagrams to guide you along the way. It is all very well laid out. A perfect example is the elegant pearl necklace. There is a list of materials and tools needed so that you can get yourself equipped and organized before you start. The narrative then describes how to put the necklace together with diagrams showing how to tie the specific knots needed and it also gives you a lovely big photo of the end result – a stunning pearl necklace custom made to your own specifications.

Also, in the introductory section of the book it gives you a description of each material you might be using including beads, clasps, pins, wires, fabric, ribbon, glue and tools. Don’t worry though, it’s not like a home maintenance manual (if you’ve other tried to follow one of those!) - this book has easy to understand lingo and the terms used are not too technical.

If you are unsure about where the materials recommended come from then all you have to do is flick to the back of the book where there is a list of suppliers. Most of them have websites through which you can order what you need. When I’ve attempted DIY craft projects myself I’ve discovered that most of the raw materials are far cheaper and much more widely available than I previously thought.

Do bear in mind that there is a vast range of items in this book ranging from straightforward to the more complicated. As you can imagine some projects take more time than others. This book provides you with a list of time estimates. For example a tiara can take up to 3 hours whilst cute table favors can take only 2 minutes each.

I have to admit I was not a huge fan of beads before I read this book but now I am a convert! The designs using semiprecious stones, glass pearls and crystals, amongst other materials, are simple, elegant and most importantly unique.

“Beads can make a gorgeous contribution to wedding-day pieces”.

So what are the advantages to you of reading this book?

♥ You get the chance to learn a new skill which could well prove to be invaluable to you both with your wedding planning and in the future.

♥ You are custom making these items to your own specifications. You can add your own unique twists to the designs in the book and adapt any of the projects to suit your own wedding palette and style. There are no rules to say that you must stick to the same colors and styles of beads used in the book. Let your creativity and your imagination run wild!

♥ One of the most important advantages to you is that you will be saving oodles of money! Rather than buying jewelry, wedding stationary and other wedding items from commercial vendors you are only paying out for the materials which you use.

♥ One of the biggest rewards you should get from reading this book is having fun! The book suggests that you recruit helpers to assist you with making your chosen items, so how about hosting a beading party with your friends.

Without hesitation I totally recommend this book for those of you who are not afraid of getting stuck in to some DIY craft projects either on a small or large scale. Go ahead and get creative! Whether you end up with stunning results or something less than perfect, the most important thing for you to bear in mind in the run up to your wedding is to have lots and lots of fun!

Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

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How To Save Money On Wedding Supplies - Be A Savvy Sale Shopper!
Date: December 03, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attendants & Budgeting & Cameras & Coupons & Favors & Gifts & Shopping

We all know that the cost of wedding decorations and supplies can mount up when you are planning your wedding. If you want to shave money off your wedding costs for these items then my top tip is to take a look at clearance sales. Although not all wedding items will be placed on sale you might just be lucky and find exactly what you are looking for to use at your own wedding at a greatly reduced price. Even if your wedding isn’t happening for another few months it’s always best to grab these bargains when they are available as you can’t guarantee you will see them at such a low price again as your wedding date draws closer. Don’t we all envy shrewd brides-to-be who manage to nab the best bridal bargains? It always makes sense to check wedding supply websites out when they have a sale on.

That is why I recommend that you take a look at TheKnot.com tomorrow as they start their 2 day sale. They are offering great discounts of up to 75% off of wedding items including gifts for each other, attendant’s gifts, unique personalized wedding favors and ceremony accessories. The best bargains I saw on their website were the disposable cameras which start at $3.99 each and are available in a wide range of colors to match your wedding theme and the ring pillow which has been reduced from $15.95 to $3.99 – what a steal! Additionally you can enter the promotional code HOHOHO at the checkout and save an extra 10% off if your order values $85 or more.

Another web-site which has a bargain-filled sale on is Americanbridal.com. They are having a huge close-out sale to make way for their new stock, so their sale items are priced at up to 70% off. I had a peek at their sale items and if you are looking for a tiara or wedding jewelry they have a great selection at heavily discounted prices.

Happy bargain hunting!

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The Perfect Favor For Your Wine Loving Guests
Date: November 10, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Favors & Shopping & Sponsored Reviews & Unique Ideas

This is a sponsored review.

Choosing wedding favors is one of easiest and fun parts of planning your wedding. You get to choose a gift for your guests which will serve as a memento of the happiest day of your life. Nowadays couples planning their wedding are looking for favors which will show their wedding guests in a unique and creative way how much they appreciate that guest sharing their special day with them.

What better way to stamp your own personal style on your wedding favors than to give your guests a gift which is everlasting, practical and truly unique - a personalized wine bottle stopper.

Seafoamwoodturning.com is a company which produces beautiful hand-made wooden bottle stoppers that are sure to add a touch of sophistication to your wedding reception. Whether they are wine connoisseurs or not your guests will adore the style of the stoppers which are handcrafted by skilled artisans from the finest maple wood. These stoppers are not only attractive to look at but they are perfectly practical too and would be sure to dress up any bottle of wine!

“Let your guests know that their presence at your wedding is truly appreciated by giving them unique and personalized wedding favors which will be used and treasured for years to come.”

Prices start at $7.40 CDN per stopper (depending on the quantity you order) and the stoppers can be personalized with your own message of up to 32 characters. You could add you and your fiancé’s names and the date of your wedding or you could be creative and add your own personal words to your guests.

Of course you can choose yourself how to present the bottle stoppers to your guests. There are many ways that you could decorate and embellish the gift-wrapping of the elegant bottle stoppers to tie in with the color theme and style of your wedding. Seafoamwoodturning.com helpfully offer a small selection of wedding favor boxes which the bottle stopper fits into perfectly. There are four styles of boxes available for you to choose from on their website and with prices starting at $0.49 CDN they are definitely an affordable option. If you can't decide which will suit you best and if you want to see for yourself the quality of the craftsmanship that goes into every handmade bottle stopper, why not order a sample pack? You can request a Wedding Favor and Gift Box Sample Pack at a cost of $7 CDN.

Also available from Seafoamwoodturning.com are a selection of unique handmade bowls and woodturnings, which would make lovely gifts for your bridal party.

If you are looking for favors which will add a stylish finishing touch to your wedding then I recommend that you take a look at Seafoamwoodturning.com’s personalized bottle stoppers. What a perfect way to express your gratitude towards your wedding guests and give them an everlasting token of your wedding day which will definitely not be banished to the back of a drawer!

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Wedaholic.com Recommends Bellenza For Elegant And Affordable Wedding Favors
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Wedaholic.com Recommends Bellenza For Elegant And Affordable Wedding Favors
Date: October 31, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Candles & Favors & Flower & Decorations & Gifts & Guests & Planning & Reviews & Shopping & Themes & Unique Ideas

Choosing wedding favors might be one of the smaller details of your wedding planning but it is certainly requires some thought and effort. You want to choose favors which add a stylish finishing touch to your wedding and which show your guests your appreciation for them being there to celebrate your special day.

For unique wedding favors, gifts and accessories take a look at Bellenza.com

What Bellenza has to offer?

Bellenza offer a vast selection of beautiful favors ranging from favor bags to porcelain keepsakes at prices starting from $0.50. Bellenza also have items which are more expensive, but of course, you don’t mind spending that bit extra for favors which your wedding guests are guaranteed to truly cherish. Remember too that depending on which favors you choose they can save you money as they might be able to double up as table decorations at your wedding reception!

I liked the huge selection of useful wedding favor bags which are available on Bellenza’s website. They come in a broad spectrum of colors and in many different styles, shapes and sizes. Another unique aspect of Bellenza’s website is that they provide you with great ideas of what to put inside your favor bags, including cookies, candies and other small wedding favors for your wedding guests.

There is more to Bellenza than simply wedding favors. They also offer elegant bridal accessories and a wide rage of attendant gifts. Handsewn stunning ring pillows and chic purses to exquisite silk bridal shawl.

Finding your way around

I found the Bellenza website really easy to navigate. They have created an attractive layout for the favors and use extensive product pictures alongside informative details specific to each favor. I thought that it was extremely helpful that Bellenza’s website had categories for customers to select from including Party Themes, Gift Ideas, Styles and Duo+ables.

The “Duo+ables” section is very innovative as it contains clever pairings of favors available for you to choose. This simplifies the process for you of choosing matching combinations of favors. I really like the pairings which they have put together. Bellenza obviously have an eye for design and have chosen colors and styles of favors which complement each other. I particularly like the Marikei Porcelain Hatbox which is wrapped in a matching Zaarni Organza Wrap Circle with Ribbon. I think it would make a beautiful wedding favor and it also makes an eye-catching table decoration too!

Bellenza also have an “Advice” section which contains lots of top tips and suggestions for wedding themes, ranging from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to “Beach Weddings”. With each theme suggested Bellenza give their ideas on which wedding favors are appropriate. I like the fact that Bellenza put emphasis on the usage and theme which applies to each of their favors and that they are giving you free advice on how to use their products to create a unique style for your wedding. Bellenza’s website gives you fantastic ideas for accessorizing your wedding and complimenting your chosen wedding theme with some stylish matching items.

Design details

“We are meticulous about selecting the right combination of materials and fabrics, while paying close attention to both texture and color in order to give our products an elegant look, as opposed to a mass-produced one.”

It is the quality of their workmanship combined with the distinctive materials and fabrics which they use is their designs which makes Bellenza’s favors stand apart from some of its contemporaries. Through their ongoing commitment to originality and artistry Bellenza are creating unique and timeless handmade wedding favors and couture-inspired bridal accessories. Sometimes when you look at wedding favor websites you see the same style and quality of products but Bellenza’s use of unique textures and materials such as seashell, rhinestone, and silver help to catch your eye!

Amongst Bellenza's line of elegant favor bags, pouches, and wraps is the Sofearélla Rose Pomander Favor Bag. This is a perfect example of Bellenza’s ability to use delicate fabrics in imaginative ways. They have carefully sewn pieces of satin and organza individually into flowers, rendering them to follow the form of a pretty Victorian pomander. To make the bags even more functional a decorative pearl handle was added allowing the bag to be used both as a favor container and a place card holder – Bellenza really do think of everything!

Their design team must have a great eye for aesthetics as they manage to combine a perfect combination of materials in a vast range of colors and embellishments to create masterpieces!

“At Bellenza, our philosophy embraces this ideal with a passion for designing products that are both creatively useful and unique.”

I think that Bellenza definitely simplify the task of choosing elegant yet affordable wedding favors, accessories and gifts. So go on, have a browse – you won’t regret it!

For more ideas about favors take a look at my blog "26 Wedding Favors Your Guests are Guaranteed to Love".

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The Autumn National Wedding Shows 2006 Preview
Date: September 20, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Cakes & Dresses & Favors & Flower & Decorations & Hair & Beauty & Honeymoon & Industry News & Jewelry & Shows & Themes & Unique Ideas

Next week sees the The National Wedding Show at London Earls Court from the 29th September to the 1st October and later on at the Birmingham NEC on the 13th to 15th October.

The Shows aim to provide everything a bride and groom could want to create their perfect wedding, all found under one roof. From designer dresses to fancy favours, wedding cakes, flowers and accessories, amazing honeymoon destinations to fireworks and photographers, there is inspiration everywhere!

The shows will include a dazzling selection of wedding dresses, from top designers to high street fashion brands, for all budgets and tastes. Visitors can admire exclusive wedding outfits by Simultane who have designed dresses for Erin O’Connor; a chic and elegant collection from top designer Marion Thomas; traditional be-spoke styles by Antonia Pugh-Thomas. Paul Simonson, a designer for ultra feminine fashion label Ghost, will be showing his own exclusive bridal range.*

Couples can sample gift lists from John Lewis, Argos, Wrap It and Debenhams. Floral arrangements will be displayed throughout the show, along with scrumptious wedding cakes from Linda Fripp Designs and Cake Couture to name a few. There will be accessories from hand made jewellery to stunning headpieces including tiaras from Isabel Kurtenbach, as well as sweet treats from Swizzle Matlow and The Original Chocolate Fountain.*

To help the bride and groom choose the honeymoon of their dreams there is an impressive selection of perfect destinations including exhibitors: Italian Retreats, Sunset Faraway Holidays, the Bahamas Tourist Office, Transpacific Holidays, Safari Consultants, and Seychelles Travel and many more.

Wedding planning can be stressful and lengthy, so the National Wedding Shows aim to make the decision processes as easy and as fun as possible. Each event features a choreographed Catwalk Show with designs to inspire the imagination, including the latest range of colours from designer dresses and suits to the high-street alternatives.

Style expert Caryn Franklin, best known for her appearances on GMTV and This Morning and as host of the BBC Clothes Show, hosts a live make over session at the ‘How To Look Good’ stage. The top tips and wedding day advice given throughout the session are tailored for a lucky bride to be, picked at random from the audience, who is transformed live on stage. A team of experts including celebrity makeup artist Ariane Poole and hairdresser Errol Douglas* will accompany Caryn for the session.

For fun and informative interaction, live Inspiration Sessions are hosted throughout the day. Celebrity florist Mathew Dickinson and patissier to the stars and royals, Eric Lanlard from Savoir Design, will be bringing their ideas to life on the stage, helping to supply top tips for the big day.

Visitors can begin the celebrations with a touch of sparkle, with the option to sit back and relax in the Champagne bar.

Tickets are available on the National Wedding Show website with ticket prices starting at £10 for the Birmingham Show and £12 for the London show. Alternatively, callers to the Box Office can purchase tickets by credit card on 0870 730 0064.

* please note that exhibitors and guest speakers differ for each show, please consult the Press Office team to check latest exhibitor information.

Future show dates for 2007: 16-18 Feb NEC Birmingham, 23-25 Feb Olympia London.

See you there!

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Review Of Confetti's Glasgow Store
Date: July 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Cameras & Candles & Favors & Flower & Decorations & Industry News & Invitations & Announcements & Planning & Reception & Reviews & Shopping & Themes & Unique Ideas

If you are local to Glasgow then you should definitely check out the Confetti store on Queen Street. As mentioned in my blog on 8th July, I visited this shop to see what they had to offer couples planning their weddings.

I was very impressed with how much they had managed to fit into quite a small shop. The store contains a cornucopia of stylish and traditional wedding must-haves from silver chocolate balls to biodegradable confetti. Confetti have thought of everything from battery operated candles to personalized paper napkins. If you wander round this shop you are unlikely to overlook any aspect of decorating your wedding venue!

Great layout and presentation

The shop’s layout is easy to move around with well thought out displays of the products for sale and signs identifying each separate section. Each section of the shop seemed to have a different theme too with 4 large round tables set up for a wedding reception in 4 unique styles. The presentation of the tables was superb. If you have looked at Confetti’s website then you will be familiar with their ubiquitous attention to detail and distinctive style. One of my favorite Confetti looks is the burgundy marabou feather in the wine glass on the tables and I was pleased to see this on one of the tables in the shop!

Table styles

My cousin (who is a bride-to-be herself) and I agreed that the most stunning table in the shop was the Scottish themed table (we might be biased as we are both Scottish!). One of its many features was the Black Watch tartan ribbon tied around white linen napkins and decorated with tiny purple thistles,. They were set off beautifully against the silver charger plates, purple organza bags and blue favor boxes which were decorated with tiny co-ordinating flowers. If I was getting married this would definitely be my perfect table setting!

I love the way that Confetti shows you how to create the look yourself for your tables with inspiring ideas for centerpieces, favours, place settings, glassware, napkins, table decorations, name cards and subtle touches such as scattered confetti, candles and even chair decorations.

Shopping assistance

The sales staff in the shop were attentive and friendly without being domineering. From what I saw, they were letting the customers in the shop browse but were more than happy to lend their opinion when asked. When I asked a member of staff for assistance with an item which appeared to be sold out she could not have been more helpful. I also noticed a couple ordering their personalised wedding stationery and the Confetti sales assistant helping them seemed very efficient. The staff at this store seem to have a real knowledge of the wedding business and all of Confetti’s products - they are not just working the tills!

What is on offer?

The shelves in the Glasgow branch of Confetti were brimming with products, including:

♥ An entire wall of table decorations.
♥ A fantastic selection of candles and huge display of favor containers from heart shaped plastic moulds to miniature top hats.
♥ A “Create Your Own” section, which was the most popular area on the day that I visited. Here they have a beautiful range of paper in a huge array of colours with all the trimmings for you to create your own stationery.
♥ There was a party section which included lots of things suitable for a hen or stag party (lots of giggling ladies hanging around this area of the store!).
♥ I loved the huge columns of different flavoured jelly beans in the centre of the shop which you can use as table decorations or as favors – either way they look and taste great!
♥ There was a whole wall devoted to their selection of wedding guide books. The variety available was amazing and I think every area of wedding planning was covered. Personally I liked the essential mini guides which are a bargain at £2.99. At this price you could buy them for your bridesmaids, best man, mother of the bride as charming gifts at the outset of your wedding planning, so that they can feel involved too!

Best-sellers

I was told that the best-selling item in the Glasgow branch were the small metal buckets (which you can fill with jelly beans or other sweeties) which are a snip at £1.49 and the white umbrellas (which cost £19.99) which I suspect are more popular in the Glasgow branch of Confetti than they are in their sister branches in the south of England!

There were some items which I think are totally unnecessary and cannot imagine anyone buying, such as the pink coloured “Just Married” passport cover or the keyrings with “Father of the Bride” etc on them. Overall though the majority of the products in the shop have made an appearance at weddings or parties I have attended.

Bargain hunting

I think that Confetti’s prices for most things are quite reasonable. If you are a bride-to-be on a tight budget though there are bargains to be had. I saw a whole section of sale items which were reduced in price. Keep a look-out in your local Confetti branch for when the items you are after become sale items and then snap them up!

Do-it-yourself

I guarantee you will come away from a visit to Confetti’s shop and want to get stuck in to some do-it-yourself wedding projects yourself. Their inexpensive yet cute organza sachet bags are crying out to be filled with scented candles or love heart sweeties. I love the way that Confetti give you ideas of how to put together favors yourself rather than paying over the top prices for ready made ones. It means that you can really personalize your wedding and ensure that it is truly unique. Confetti are encouraging bride-to-be’s to come up new innovative ideas of how to fill their favor boxes, bags, buckets and bombonieres.

Even if you are not ready to start buying items for your wedding just yet I definitely recommend you take a look at Confetti’s products as they cannot fail to give you great ideas for how you could style your wedding. Whether its sparkly confetti or party poppers you are after, get down to Confetti and be inspired!

This Saturday the Glasgow store have organised a wedding cake and sweet tasting session to mark their first birthday. They are also running an in-store competition for customers to win a £100 Confetti gift voucher.

You can find Confetti at:

15 - 17 Queen Street
Glasgow, G1 3ED
0870 766 9237
Printer friendly map and directions

Their opening times:
Monday 9.30am-6.00pm
Tuesday 9.30am-6.00pm
Wednesday 9.30am-6.00pm
Thursday 9.30am-8.00pm
Friday 9.30am-6.00pm
Saturday 9.30am-6.00pm
Sunday 12.00pm-5.00pm

Further Confetti.co.uk Reading:
Compare Confetti's Wedding Insurance to other UK products.
Confetti.co.uk Coupon - Save £10, ends 31st July 2006
Confetti's New Must-Read Magazine - Confetti Receptions

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Brand New Wedding Dresses Up For Grabs On eBay
Date: July 12, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Budgeting & Cakes & Cameras & Candles & Dresses & Favors & Flower & Decorations & Jewelry & Shoes & Shopping & Unique Ideas

Would you be interested in finding the designer wedding dress of your dreams at a fraction of the normal cost? That is exactly what happened to bride Ashley Purvis from Louisville, Kentucky when she bought her dream wedding dress from eBay for the bargain price of $161!

The dress Ashley set her heart on, made of matte satin with a beaded top, chapel train and corset back, was advertised at a retail price of $500 on the wedding online store ChicBridal.com. According to Courier-Journal.com Ashley’s mother, Tina Hunt, spotted the exact same dress up for auction on eBay. She said "I never dreamed, honestly, that it would be on eBay, but I found the exact same dress, bid on it, and got it."

Don’t assume for one moment that it was a second-hand wedding dress that Ashley wore down the aisle for her wedding on 26 May this year. The dress was in brand new condition and was shipped to her straight from the dress manufacturer’s factory. Whilst eBay do sell a wide variety of once-worn or "gently used" dresses on their popular internet auction site, Ashley bought her dress from eBay’s online wedding store, eBay.com/Bridal (also UK brides can check out bargains on eBay.co.uk).

In actual fact Ashley managed to make huge savings on most aspects of her wedding. Courier-journal.com reports that Ashley sourced her wedding bouquets, attendant’s outfits and wedding stationery all from eBay at a fraction of the cost she would have paid to wedding suppliers.

"I got my wedding dress, my veil, the tiara, the ring-bearer's tux, the flower girl's dress. These are brand-new items. I didn't buy used. We got the invitations off eBay, too, and my bridal bouquet. Yeah, it was crazy. We saved a whole lot of money."

Like Ashley, by using the bargain-hunting marketplace of eBay couples can shave up to 80% off of their wedding budgets. In addition to the items which Ashley bought off of eBay you can also buy favors, disposable cameras, wedding cakes, jewelry including wedding rings, attire for the wedding party, gifts for the wedding party and the all-important honeymoon, all at fantastic prices!

If you find navigating your way around eBay’s online wedding store a minefield, try reading the guidebook, "How to Buy Everything for Your Wedding on eBay... and Save a Fortune! at Amazon.com" and Amazon.co.uk which is a snip at only $11.02 or £6.59. This book is written by Dennis Prince who is the author of other instructional books about eBay and his co-authors Dan Joya and Sarah Manongdo are newlyweds who saved big money when they planned their wedding using eBay – so these people are guaranteed to know what they are taking about when it comes to shopping for your wedding using eBay. The book guides you through strategies for searching for and bidding for wedding items on eBay, how to resell items after the wedding and advice from 60 eBay wedding PowerSellers on how to bag the best wedding bargains on eBay.

Here are my top tips for buying a new wedding dress from eBay’s online wedding store at a discount price:

♥ Once you have found your dream wedding dress either in a magazine, at a wedding fair or at your local wedding dress shop it is worth having a look on eBay’s online wedding store to check if the same dress appears there on their auction pages.

♥ If you are unsure what type of dress you are looking for you could browse through eBay’s Dresses & Gowns pages. Select your dress size and location (e.g. USA, Europe, Worldwide) and then have some fun perusing the index list and picture galleries of available dresses. If you see a dress which you like the look of click on the link or picture to see a larger photo and the seller’s description.

♥ eBay usually have a huge selection of dresses available in every conceivable style and color so do take a trip to your local wedding boutique first, if possible, so that you have some idea of what style, color, size and even brand of dress you are looking for. This will help you to narrow down your search on eBay.

♥ Of course you cannot try on the wedding dresses before you bid for them on eBay but a lot of sellers will allow you to return the dress if it does not fit – it is always worth asking an eBay seller whether they have a returns policy in place.

♥ Beware as a lot of the stores selling wedding dresses on eBay are either going out of business and disposing of their stock or they are selling off discontinued styles. Do make sure that you find out prior to bidding if the store has a returns policy.

♥ Always order wedding dresses from eBay to fit your largest body measurement because it is far easier to take in a dress bought in advance of your wedding than it is to accommodate pounds gained in the stressful run up to your wedding!

♥ Remember that if you fall in love with a dress on eBay but it is too big, you will be able to afford the cost of altering it with the money you have saved overall on your bargain eBay wedding dress!

♥ Never bid on a dress without first seeing a picture of it (obvious I know!).

♥ If you do decide to buy a once-worn wedding dress from eBay ask the seller as many questions as possible about the condition of the dress.

♥ How about recouping some of your own wedding costs by selling your once-worn wedding dress on eBay?

I think that buying your wedding dress is a great way of saving money – it’s much better than buying a full price gown. Let’s face it, no one will ever know except you!

Happy bidding!!

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Betting Slips And Lotto Tickets - The New Trend In Wedding Favors!
Date: June 30, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Favors & Funny & Shopping & Unique Ideas

An innovative couple from London have come up with a unique favor for guests at their wedding - betting slips! What a great idea - much more fun for the guests than almonds or a book of commemorative matches!

Newlyweds James Walton, 31, and Faye, 30, came up with the idea of creating "The Faye and James Wedding Special" bet which cost £1 and was for a treble win: England to win the World Cup, England to win the 2005 Ashes cricket series, and Carlisle to win the League Two title 2005/2006. Faye told the News and Star "We decided to give out betting slips as it was a bit different and sporty." James' family are from Silloth in Cumbria so they are ardent Carlisle football fans. Their local footbal team became heroes (and managed to win some of their wedding guests their bets) when they won the League Two title in May this year. They also gave out different variants on the treble bet and so far two of the bets have been successful. If England win the World Cup next week more of their guests will be cashing in!

The couple also gave the female guests at their wedding lottery tickets. Whilst none of the female guests won the jackpot three women managed to win £2, £10 and £40.

This couple's creative choice of favor is a variation on the new trend of giving lottery tickets to guests as wedding favors. Nowadays couples planning their wedding are looking for alternative favor ideas to show their guests in a unique and creative way how much they appreciate that guest sharing their special day with them. Lottery tickets, lotto tickets and scratch cards are definately an up and coming trend and always bring a smile to guest's faces (especially when they win!). Who doesn't love to scratch off lotto tickets? How exciting would it be if one of your guests scratched their lotto ticket and won $100 or even $10,000!

To keep pace with this new trend most wedding favor suppliers now provide envelopes, cards, scroll ribbons or miniature favor boxes to attractively present the lottery ticket, scratch card etc to the wedding guests. The most popular option nowadays is to conceal the ticket in an envelope or a custom-printed favor box. Confetti.co.uk offer cute silver coloured cards with "Lucky in Love" printed on the front at £4.99 for a pack of 10.

Bliss Weddings suggest that you place the ticket in a glassine envelope and add a penny minted in the same year as your wedding so that the guests can use it to scratch their tickets. Additionally they offer a range of personalised labels which you could use to decorate the envelopes. They sell 50 glassine envelopes for $7.99.

This great card is available from PartyBlock and it can either be left blank or can be personalized with a message from you to your guests, along with your names and wedding date.

If you are on a budget or if you just feel like being creative you could use some card to make holders for the lottery tickets yourself and decorate them to match the theme of your wedding. You could choose some card to match your wedding colors and cut it into postcard size pieces. Cut slits into the card and tuck the corners of the lotto ticket in so that it is secured in place in the middle of the card. Add some narrative to the card, such as "Lucky in love" or "Wishing you riches from the New Mr. and Mrs. XXX". Remember to add your names and wedding date too.

Whilst being an economical choice of wedding favor, at just $1 per lotto ticket, the tickets will also bring a fun element to your wedding day. I'm afraid there are no guarantees that your guests will win anything but there is a definite guarantee that they will have fun trying!

To read more about fun and unique wedding favors click here.

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To Tip Or Not To Tip - Gratuities For Your Wedding Suppliers

Recently I received the following question on tipping wedding suppliers:

"I would like to know if I need to tip the hired photographer and the piano player at the wedding ceremony? In fact, who do I have to tip according to etiquette?"

Here is my response:

Please note: Although I have referred to the tipping amounts within this article in US dollars for UK-based readers the figures remain the same.

Etiquette

Tipping etiquette at a wedding is a common area of confusion. Although we tip service providers in everyday life when it comes to your wedding day the etiquette of to whom and how much to tip can be bewildering. Tipping is supposed to be voluntary. However service providers do expect tips nowadays. Traditional wedding custom is to tip a wedding supplier if you think that they did a great job or provided you with outstanding service. Tipping should be based on the quality of service provided to you on your wedding day and in the run up to your wedding. By tipping them you are letting them know that you are happy with the service they provided you with prior to and/or on your wedding day. If you appreciate the work that they have done for you then you can show your appreciation by tipping them.

The Oxford dictionary defines a tip as a small sum of money given to someone for performing a service. Whilst most wedding suppliers are not contractually obligated to receive a tip they might expect one.

Budget

Tipping is an additional cost which you should include in to your wedding budget so that you ensure that you have money allocated for this purpose. Wherever possible calculate the tips you intend to give before your actual wedding day, using the guide set out below. Wedding tips are commonly overlooked when couples set up their wedding budget. It is important to calculate as much as possible prior to your wedding how much you can afford to tip your wedding suppliers. This cost and a contingency amount for extra tips which arise prior to and on your wedding day must be added to your overall wedding budget. Use the following information as a guideline but also use your personal judgment. Whilst tipping costs should be factored into your budget you must remember that they are discretionary and if you are on a tight wedding budget you should not feel obligated to tip.

It is not always necessary to provide a monetary tip to suppliers to whom you wish to show your appreciation. If you think your wedding supplier did a great job then an alternative idea is to send them a gift with a thank you note after the wedding. Remember that the most valuable gratuity you can give to any wedding supplier is your recommendation of them to others! You could show your appreciation to the service provider by sending them a personal letter of recommendation.

You should calculate your budget on the basis that, if you can afford to, you will tip most of your wedding service providers and then you can make the final decision on the wedding day as to whether the services provided exceed your expectations. Do bear in mind that your decision on whether or not to tip is entirely at your discretion. If a wedding supplier has gone above and beyond the call of duty for your wedding then tip them to show your appreciation of their extra effort they put into making your wedding day truly perfect. Sometimes in the run up to your wedding day some wedding suppliers work wonders to accommodate you and your hectic schedule. If this is the case for you then it would be nice gesture to give them a tip to show that you appreciate their extra efforts for you.

Contracts - read the small print

I recommend that you thoroughly read your contract with each supplier to see if a tip is included in their price. Some wedding package rates include tips (particularly if you are getting married abroad). You should note that some wedding suppliers, most notably caterers, add a gratuity to the foot of their bill and they usually call it a service fee or service charge. Most wedding suppliers will inform you of their tipping policy when you enter into an agreement with them for their services. If you are at all confused then ask the supplier directly for an explanation of their service charges and tipping policies. You must be clear about what each wedding supplier is being paid so that you can make judgment calls on whether or not additional tipping might or might not be necessary. Another good reason for being clear about the tipping policy for each supplier is to that you do not end up double tipping them!

Tipping Guidelines

There are some wedding suppliers who you will be expected to tip and there are suppliers who whilst not expecting a tip would greatly appreciate it. Below are some tipping guidelines which suggest amounts each service provider should be tipped according to wedding etiquette:

Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Beautician - You should expect to tip these service providers just as you would on a normal visit to a salon. Tips should be 15% - 20% of your total bill.

Officiant (Clergy, Priest, Minister etc) - Although officiants do not usually ask for financial recompense for their services they do expect you to make a donation to the church or their organization. As to the amount of the donation, traditionally they will suggest an amount when you finalize arrangements with them. The amount varies from a flat fee to an honorarium and can range from $50 up to $500. If you are expecting the officiant to travel outside of their local area then you should also compensate them for their travel costs. Do not directly offer a tip to an officiant. The nominated tip giver should pass the agreed amount to the officiant after the ceremony. If you are using the services of a civil servant, such as a judge, Justice of the Peace or a City Clerk, then you are allowed to tip them (although it should be called a “donation” rather than “tip”) provided you do not exceed $75 and you must ensure that it is paid to them outside of court/office hours.

Transportation (chauffeurs, limousine drivers, horse-drawn carriages, etc) - Do check to see if a gratuity has been included in their bill as this is often the case with transportation fees for weddings. If not or if you want to reward them for their service on your wedding day then the norm is to tip them 15%-20% of the total cost of the bill.

Valets and Parking Attendants - Tips should range from $1 - $2 per car.

Coat Check and Restroom Attendants - Tips should range from $1 - $2 per guest.

Waiters and waitresses - It is not necessary to tip the servers if you have already paid a gratuity in your contracted price. Check to ensure whether a service charge is included in the caterer’s contract. If there is no such provision then you should expect to tip 15% - 20% of the total food bill. Although it is not expected for you to tip individual serving staff if you decide that a particular individual has provided you with first-class service then feel free to give that server an additional tip.

Catering/Venue Manager – Traditionally the caterers and venue management will calculate a tip into their cost estimate, in the form of a service charge. Check your paperwork and if in fact a service charge has not been included then you should allow 15% - 20% of the total bill or $1 - $2 per guest.

Bartenders - Usually you will find that the bar manager will add a service charge to the bar bill. If this is not the case then you might want to tip the bartenders 10% of the total amount of the liquor bill. This amount can be shared out between them equally if there is more than one bartender.

Seamstress/dress fitter - Although it is not customary to tip your seamstress or dress fitter if you feel that they have made an extra special effort on your behalf then tip them between $15 - $30.

Wedding Planner - Wedding planners work for a set fee and will not expect a tip. If you want to show them how grateful you are for their hard work in planning your wedding then 10% of their total fee is more than adequate.

Delivery Staff (including Florist, Bakers etc.) - Staff responsible for your flowers and wedding cake do not expect to receive a tip. You will have agreed to pay their set fee and that is sufficient. However if you feel that they have provided you with exceptional service and/or outstanding quality of products then a tip of $15 - $20 per person is adequate.

Church Organist or Church Musician - This fee is usually included in the rental fee for the church. You should check your paperwork and if this is not the case you should tip them between $25 - $40 per person.

Musicians - Live musicians do not expect to receive a tip but if you consider their performance at your reception to be exceptional and worthy of a tip then you should allow $20 - $25 per band member.

DJ - As with the musicians, if you consider the DJ’s performance to have made your wedding reception swing then a tip in the range of 15% - 20% of their fee is appropriate.

Photographers - Whilst most photographers do not expect a tip if you want to reward them for their good work on your wedding day then this should be between $20 - $30. Alternatively you can indicate your satisfaction with the photographer’s work by placing a large order for additional prints – they will always greatly appreciate that.

Additional Tipping Tips!

* Traditionally it is the Best Man's duty to take care of tips on your behalf on your actual wedding day. If they are unwilling or unable to accept this responsibility then nominate one person who you feel comfortable with and who is happy to handle this task. This person should be responsible for distributing the tips amongst your wedding suppliers. To make it easier for the nominated tip distributor you should label envelopes prior to the wedding day and pass them to the nominated person to keep safe and hand out at the relevant times throughout your wedding day. By labeling them you will ensure that the correct amount of tip goes to the correct supplier. Always provide the nominated tipper with a contingency fund envelope containing a bit of extra cash just in case you have forgotten someone important who you feel deserves a tip on your wedding day or you might decide to tip someone a bit extra on the actual day.

* A common question is who should the tip be presented to with regard to groups of wedding suppliers. The answer is to hand it to the head of the group. For example with a band the tip should be given to the band leader and with waiting staff it should be presented to the head waiter or maitre d' who will ensure that it is distributed evenly amongst the team.

* If any of the wedding service providers you are utilizing are friends or family then you should definitely ensure that you tip them generously!

* An important point to note is that if you are tipping the valets, coat check and restroom attendants and particularly the bartenders (who are notorious for putting out their own “tip jars”) agree with them and the venue manager that it is unacceptable for these members of staff to accept tips directly from your guests. A sign placed near each of these services that says “No Tipping Please” should be sufficient to deter your guests from offering tips and deter the staff from accepting them!

* You might want to consider tipping your wedding service providers prior to the wedding day in the hope that they will go the extra mile and ensure that everything is faultless on your wedding day.

* Inevitably during your wedding day your wedding suppliers will need to be fed and watered. You should expect to feed your photographers, videographers, DJ and musicians. They cannot provide you with a good service if they are running on empty! Caterers will usually ask you what provision you want to be made for these service providers during your wedding reception and will make some suggestions as to menus and seating arrangements. It is important prior to the wedding day to agree with the caterers and confirm to the individual service providers where they will eating on your wedding day. This will ensure that on the day there are no slip ups or confusion. You will also be expected to bear the costs of drinks for the abovementioned wedding suppliers on your wedding day.

* If after reading this information you are at still unsure about how much you should budget for tipping those wedding suppliers who will be expecting a tip for good service then it might be better to arrange a flat fee prior to the event.

I hope that this tipping guide helps you. Remember that the most important person on your wedding day is you so relax and enjoy your wedding planning. Whether you tip or not you are sure to have truly memorable day!

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As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore.
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