Experts offer tips for saluting couples in style
In recent years, wedding traditions have changed dramatically, and the bride and groom aren't the only ones affected. People postponing marriage until later in life and more couples living together before tying the knot are just a few of the social changes impacting today's weddings.
Gift-giving trends and pre-wedding rituals, like showers and bachelorette parties, have also become more sophisticated and complex.
One could say that modern wedding celebrations are more reflective of reality. As one card from American Greetings points out, today's couples have a bond that transcends any ceremony. The front of the card, adorned in Tiffany blue simply reads, "Cherish," in silver. The inside greeting reads, "Congratulations on your forever friendship and your promise of love."
Celebrating a marriage today is similar to making any relationship work. It requires understanding, thoughtfulness and patience.
Gift Giving for Any Wedding
Finding the perfect wedding gift has never been more difficult. With the need for the traditional "starter" gifts minimized to some extent by many couples choosing to live together before they marry, and a desire to choose something that really represents the couple, is there even such a thing as the "perfect wedding gift" anymore?
"The key to finding the perfect gift is to try and match the couple's taste, and to celebrate what makes the relationship special," said Angela Thompson Everyday Cards Product Manager for Target at American Greetings. "In designing cards, wrap and accessories for weddings, we strive to create products that are appropriate for a wide range of brides, grooms and their guests."
Thompson offers the following gifting tips:
Let them know who it is from -- Be sure to add a little bit of yourself to the gift. --Give them a scrapbook with photos and keepsakes that reflect times that you have spent together.
Celebrate their relationship -- A gift that comes from the heart will mean a great deal to them, so take some time to really think about the couple when selecting a gift.
- A gift certificate for an experience that they can enjoy together is a terrific idea. With health on the top of everyone's mind, many couples might enjoy a gift certificate for yoga or a cooking class.
- In addition to being more health conscious, many couples today are more socially aware. A gift in the couple's name to a charity that means something to them is a wonderfully thoughtful gesture.
Have some fun -- In the end, you want the couple to enjoy your gift, so take some time to enjoy the process of selecting one.
- Instead of getting them an item for their kitchen, create a basket of spices, fun cooking utensils and a homemade recipe book. They will have as much fun using everything as you did picking it all out.
- Pair a gift with a gift certificate to show thoughtfulness, and flexibility. Pick out a frame that would go with their decor and give them a gift certificate from their photographer for a favorite print to include.
Celebrating the Bachelorette Party
While friends and family have been influenced by changes in today's weddings, no group has seen more challenges than the bridesmaids. Celebrating established relationships and more independent brides is a difficult task. To assist these loyal friends, here are a few suggestions for bachelorette party themes:
Friends and family -- The traditional bachelorette party doesn't have to be so ... traditional. One of the key elements of any good bachelorette party is the location, so choose a spot that everyone will appreciate. An area such as an outdoor shopping center will allow everyone to come together for a manicure or spa treatment, go off on their own to shop and then reunite for a casual group dinner.
A night on the town -- For those who like to celebrate, a night on the town or a wine tasting at a local winery is a perfect option. Another activity that can include everyone is a progressive dinner. You start out at a trendy location for drinks and appetizers, move to a favorite restaurant for dinner and end at a fun little spot to enjoy dessert.
Road trip or spa day -- A growing trend is for the bridal party to come together with the bride for a day trip or a day at the spa to unwind from all of the planning just before the actual wedding. This is a great way to be alone together as a group one last time.
No matter what option you choose, be sure that there is no evidence left behind the next day.
How to Make Your Gift the Second Best Dressed Thing at the Wedding
With many people today waiting longer before they marry, weddings have begun to reflect more matured styles. To keep up with these fashionable weddings, guests are striving to impress with the presentation of their gifts. Thompson says to be creative in presenting your gift, and if you are having trouble coming up with ideas, let the gift itself act as your inspiration:
Consider non-traditional color combinations -- Since every bride has her own style and taste in color, guests shouldn't feel limited by the traditional wedding palettes.
"Brides take a great deal of time in coordinating the colors or tone of their weddings," said Thompson. "The colors in a wedding reflect the bride and groom's personality, so matching your gift wrap and accessories to their color scheme will ensure a presentation more aligned with their tastes and styles."
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize -- Weddings are a fun occasion and the gifts should reflect that. One easy way to accentuate any gift is to embellish it with a thoughtful or fun accessory.
"Accessorizing your gift can add a little personality, which is perfectly in line with modern wedding trends," said Thompson. One easy suggestion is to add a simple yet elegant fabric flower as a beautifully unexpected "bow" for the top of your gift.
Think outside of the box ... literally -- While gorgeous paper and accessories are always fashionable, a new trend in gifting is for more personalized presentations that reflect the gift-giver, the couple or the ceremony.
"Weddings today are very personalized and guests are also getting into the spirit," said Thompson. She suggests using the gift itself as part of the presentation to show off your own style.
"You can actually use the gift as a centerpiece or container to create a look that really stands out. For example, if you purchase a magazine rack, use it to hold the rest of your presents, such as a cozy blanket or other items for the couple's living room. This will make your preparation much simpler and the result more beautiful."
Innovative gifts are made even more memorable with stylish presentations. A trendy tea set display could double as a scene from a catalog. Add frosted cellophane wrap and ribbon to accentuate the overall look, while maintaining the focus on the beautiful presentation.
Wedding shower traditions have evolved to incorporate more vibrant color schemes. The colors of today's weddings make a statement about the bride and groom. Guests who want to make an impression can coordinate cards and gifts with the chosen color scheme of the wedding.
Whatever your gift, love and friendship are the best gifts anyone could offer. You can share your love and friendship by giving a Keepsake Wedding Magazine as a wedding gift, wedding announcement, bridal shower gift or other wedding event.
Courtesy of: American Greetings, Family Features and Keepsake Magazines