Summer wedding themes

Summer wedding themes

Summer wedding themes

This year’s summer weddings are about small, intimate gatherings of your closest friends and family. Whether the wedding is set in a quiet park in your hometown or far away on a remote beach, nature is the perfect backdrop for your big day.

So what’s the theme? Brides are looking to a more eco-friendly wedding experience, no matter the destination. They are focusing on vintage, repurposed and home-grown decorations in natural, elegant surroundings.

Vintage wedding themes

Vintage wedding themes

Vintage wedding themes

From a beautiful back yard to an old barn, there’s no wrong place to serve up a vintage-inspired wedding. Picnic tables at the reception and wooden benches during the ceremony add a rustic look to vintage décor. Choose neutral wedding colors like champagne and khaki for a warm, inviting look. Add in dusty pink or aqua blue flowers, candles, cakes and sashes to add a splash of color.

Engagement photos in sepia or black and white are great additions to the tables at your reception. You can print them on the back of the menu, or use them as favors for all the guests who are attending your big celebration. Shop in antique stores to find unique, vintage centerpieces like vases and candleholders to fit your wedding theme. Monogram embossed napkins and ivory tones can help you achieve a vintage look for the reception.

When it comes to your wedding gown, browse thrift stores and online boutiques, or check with your friends and family. Your ideal gown may be stored in an antique hope chest in a friend’s attic!

For the bridal party, parasols and lacy gloves can add those extra special vintage touches to otherwise ordinary attire. For the groomsmen, classics like a black suit and tie or a tuxedo can be easily transformed with simple touches like handkerchiefs or pocket watches – it’s all about the details.

Beach wedding themes

Beach wedding themes

Beach wedding themes

Brighten your summer with an oceanfront wedding! Start with the fresh, cool colors of the ocean and sand, then add a splash of color like coral pink. Or go bright with the hottest color of 2012, Tangerine Tango, offset by bright blues that really pop. There’s no better way to have fun and be comfortable than with super cute flip-flops for the bridesmaids (and even yourself), paired with light fabrics for the men in fresh khaki colors.

Use sand in the bottom of vases and bright flowers to decorate the reception tables. Place cards shaped like starfish, seahorses or shells can add a touch of whimsy to the reception décor. A little brown sugar on the cake or the cake table and on dinner plates makes sweet, edible “sand” for dinner and dessert.

Flowing, breezy gowns with mists of tulle are perfect against an ocean backdrop. Or go extra casual with a shorter dress and flip-flops for super comfortable style. Tropical flowers and small details like umbrellas in drinks can lend a fun beachy feel to your wedding reception without costing a small fortune.

Garden wedding themes

Garden wedding themes

Garden wedding themes

If your wedding is going to be a day at the park, think bright! Hot pink with bright purple, green or dark blue makes for a romantic and elegant outdoor wedding. Something as simple as a hot pink napkin or a bright purple flower arrangement set against bright white linens can add a chic look to your reception décor.

A large clear vase filled with limes can add a splash of green to your food or dessert tables. Set up your reception like a picnic – use mason jars for your drinks with bright, colorful straws and fruit on the edge of the glass to match your wedding colors.

A crisp, bright white wedding gown with lots of lace can set an elegant, romantic tone to your wedding by contrasting with your bright highlight colors. Or choose a soft ivory for a warm, romantic glow. If the garden terrain is uneven, you may want to pick a long dress that covers your shoes and go with comfortable flats rather than heels that might trip you up.

Garden wedding colors

Garden wedding colors: soft ivory with bright purple and green accents

There are endless possibilities for a sophisticated, elegant and fun wedding without exceeding your spending limit. The most important thing to remember is that this day is yours. Have fun with the décor, and your guests will too.

How to write wedding thank you notes

Wedding thank you

Wedding thank you notes

When the time comes, it can be overwhelming to sit down and write all your thank you notes. Finding the time and the words is tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Now that all the wedding gifts are tucked away in their permanent place in your home, you can think about writing your notes.

First, think about the items you’ll need. Now that you’ve spent 6 months in “writing your last name 101″ class, it’s time to order personalized thank-you notes. Ordering personalized cards is the most fun part of the process. After all, it’s the first set of stationery that has your married name on it!

So, pick your favorite design, personalize it with your favorite font, and you’ve got yourself fun stationery that you and your friends and family will be excited about. Remember, there is no requirement that says it has to match your wedding theme, but it makes the wedding bliss last just a little bit longer.

You’ll also need your address book, postage stamps, your favorite writing pen, and your personalized address labels or stamps to address your envelopes. This will save you a lot of time. ;)

When will you find the time, you ask? Relax. Wedding etiquette says you have up to 3 months to send your thank you notes after you receive a wedding gift. So, plan to write 5-10 thank you notes per night. Or, if you want to get it out of the way, spend a weekend writing! Pick your favorite spot in the house, be it by the pool, in the living room, or in a luxurious bubble bath, and write away!

Writing your thank you notes

Finding the right words to express your gratitude is the next step. This can be the hardest part. Coming up with what to say is not always easy, especially if you weren’t thrilled about the gift you received. Just remember the basics: Greeting, Appreciation and Elaboration, Additional Thoughts, Regards.

The greeting

The greeting sets the tone for your thank you note and is the easiest part to write. Start with “Dear…” followed by the person’s name, and you’ve got yourself a solid greeting. If you don’t know the person well, use Miss, Mrs., or Mr., followed by the last name. It should look something like this:

Dear Aunt Suzie,
Dear Miss Jones,

Appreciation, Elaboration & Additional Thoughts

The best place to start is with “Thank You for the…” Tell the recipient how you intend to use the gift, or how often, or where it decorates your home best, depending on the gift. If you hated the gift and intend to return in (there’s typically always one), thank them for their kind thoughts using words such as “thoughtful, generous, kind,” etc. to convey your appreciation.

Don’t forget to thank your recipient for coming to the wedding if they attended. Keep in mind, they may have had to reschedule their own personal events and make travel arrangements to be there for you. Add any additional thoughts, such as when you might see them again. Now your note should look something like this:

Dear Aunt Suzie,

Thank you for the beautiful handmade quilt you gave us. We keep it on our couch to curl up under on cold evenings. I am so thankful you were able to join us at the wedding. I appreciate you traveling to be with us on our special day. We can’t wait to come see you at Thanksgiving.

Regards

Finally, it’s time to sign your note, using “sincerely” for those you may not know as well, or “love” for those you are really close to. Your handwritten signature adds the extra special touch you need to finish off your wedding thank you note.

Thank You etiquette

The finished thank you note