How to host the perfect end-of-summer party

Labor day partySummer is quickly drawing to a close, and the school year is just around the corner. With Labor Day weekend being the unofficial end of summer for many, it’s time to fire up the grill and light up the tiki torches for one final summer soiree. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for hosting the perfect end-of-summer party this Labor Day weekend!

Host a lawn game party!

What better way to enjoy the final days of summer than by bringing your closest friends and family together for an afternoon or evening of lawn games? Set up your volleyball net, get out the bocce ball and croquet sets, or get creative with these DIY giant Jenga, DIY cornhole game, and DIY Twister ideas.

Treat guests to your favorite summer desserts

Just because summer is ending doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all of your favorite summer treats one last time! We love this slideshow of end-of-summer party desserts, including a decadent s’mores icebox cake, key lime pie fudge, and individual pina colada pies.

Decorate, decorate, decorate

There is no better way to get guests in the spirit than by adding some fun, patriotic decor to your end-of-summer festivities! You could get crafty with some of these Labor Day craft ideas, wow guests with beautiful floral centerpieces that highlight flowers grown in your summer garden, or stick to a simple string of twinkle lights to add a magical touch to your evening.

Stick to cookout classics

When it comes to planning the main course and sides for an end-of-summer party, you cannot go wrong with cookout classics. It’s your final chance to indulge in your go-to pasta or potato salad, corn on the cob, summer dips, and your favorite grilled burgers, hot dogs and kebabs – so make it count!

Indulge in summery drinks – one last time

Saying so long to summer with a fun warm-weather cocktail will make it a little easier! You can try your hand at some of these tropical, summer favorites or keep it super simple by trying out these make ahead punches so that you can kick up your feet and relax at your party.

Go out with a bang!

Nothing says summer like sparklers! So why not enjoy them as you say farewell to the long, warm days of summer? You can hand sparklers out to guests and let them do their own thing, or we also love the idea of using solo cups as sparkler stands for a super entertaining end to your Labor Day festivities.

Labor Day is only a few weeks away, and it is time to start your party planning! If you are looking for an easy online store to fulfill all of the sparkler needs for your end-of-summer party, you’ve come to the right place. Our 20 inch sparklers and 36 inch sparklers work perfectly for any event – and will ensure your party goes out with a bang!

DIY Fall Wedding Decor Ideas

DIY Fall Wedding Decor IdeasThe end of summer is just around the corner, which means that for those planning weddings this fall, it is time to stop procrastinating and get to work tying up any loose ends. If you are planning a wedding this September or October, you have most likely already planned the main details of the ceremony and reception such as the venue, catering, and your dress. However, you may not have fully decided on decor details. If you are planning a wedding this fall and looking for some fun and easy DIY decor ideas that won’t take a lot of time (or money), we have you covered! Read on to learn more about six of our favorite ideas for fall wedding decor.

1. Leaf Place Cards

If you are in search of an affordable yet elegant idea for place cards, you may want to consider rolling up your sleeves and getting to work on these DIY gilded leaf place cards. All you will need is an assortment of leaves, a gold leafing pen, and a black or white pen to write the guest’s name. DIY wedding decor doesn’t get much easier than this!

2. Pumpkin Centerpieces

Yes, it may seem a little cliche, but with a little creativity, a DIY pumpkin centerpiece is anything but ordinary! Dress them up with paint, hollow them out and use them as one-of-a-kind vases for seasonal floral arrangements, or carve designs into them to create elegant lanterns. The possibilities are endless for this DIY fall wedding decor idea.

3. Wreaths of Leaves

Wreaths aren’t just for doors anymore! We love the idea of incorporating fall foliage into your fall wedding decor using hand-made leaf wreaths as seat markers during your ceremony. Looking for a tutorial? We love this guide for making DIY leaf wreaths for your big day!

4. Maple Leaf Candle Holders

For those embracing a rustic, fall theme, these maple leaf mason jar lanterns will add a perfect touch. All you need to create this DIY project is mason jars, fresh fall foliage, tea light candles, some old-fashioned mod podge, and a little bit of creativity.

5. Fall Foliage Backdrop

Another DIY fall wedding decor idea that we love is creating a fall foliage backdrop out of colorful leaves. This will not only create a lovely space for your wedding photos, but also a fun, seasonal photo opt for guests!

6. Rustic Sparkler Display

If you plan on using wedding sparklers in your wedding send off, why not DIY a cute display that can serve as decor during the reception? This DIY display from a rustic barn wedding would be easy to recreate, as would this one. Want to keep it really simple? You can’t go wrong with a simple galvanized metal bucket or vase with a cute chalkboard note.

If you are planning on incorporating wedding sparklers into your fall wedding send off we offer both 36 inch and 20 inch sparklers that will work perfectly with rustic sparkler display ideas.

Non-floral Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

Non-floral wedding centerpiece
Photo courtesy of Noelle Turner

If flowers aren’t your style, or floral arrangements simply aren’t in the budget, there are a variety of non-floral wedding centerpiece alternatives that will work for every season and every price point! Just because you ditch the flowers, doesn’t mean your guests won’t enjoy a beautiful tablescape that reflects your wedding’s theme. Read on to get inspired by some of the most popular non-floral wedding centerpiece ideas on the internet.

1. Seashells

Whether you are planning a seaside wedding, or just want to incorporate a beachy theme into your reception, beach-themed centerpieces will perfectly set the mood. You can keep it simple with a basic shell tablescape or add in driftwood and coral for a more dramatic effect.

2. Fall Harvest

If you are planning a Fall wedding and want to embrace the harvest season, we love the idea of substituting fall foliage, dried wheat, and other seasonal decor for traditional flower arrangements. Two of our favorite ideas include celebrating the season with beautiful and elegant branches of colorful leaves or creating rustic arrangements from dried wheat and grass tied up in satin bows.

3. Lanterns

If you want your centerpiece to double as the perfect mood lighting, we suggest opting for lanterns. Metal lanterns with a vintage feel will add a cozy touch to fall or winter weddings, while more modern, white lanterns work well for spring and summer festivities. You can even let your guests take the lanterns home as a fun favor that they will use for years to come!

4. Goldfish

For a totally unique centerpiece, why not incorporate fish bowls into a tablescape? You can stick with traditional goldfish bowls, or create elegant vases filled with aquatic designs. Either way, this is a fun centerpiece that will lead to plenty of conversation between guests, while also doubling as a wedding favor that kids and adults alike will love.

5. Balloons

We love the idea of incorporating balloons into a daytime wedding! You can make this playful touch elegant by tying twine to large white balloons and anchoring them to the table with a rock wrapped in a sleek material. This decor idea can also double as a fun send off if you have guests untie the balloons and release them into the air during your grand exit.

6. Sparklers

Another centerpiece that doubles as a wedding send off idea is sparklers. This is an easy and affordable centerpiece idea that will add a magical touch to your table settings. Some easy and fun ideas include placing them in glass jars with matching ribbons, adorning them with cute labels that include your wedding date, or placing them in an elegant vase filled with glitter. If you are looking for wedding sparklers to create a non-floral wedding centerpiece for your big day, check out our 36 inch and 20 inch options that will work perfectly in any display.

5 Hidden Wedding Expenses to Keep in Mind

hidden wedding expenses
Photo Courtesy of Kristin Holt

Most couples have the best intentions when it comes to sticking to their wedding budget. However, even the most scrupulous spender can be blindsided by hidden wedding expenses like tips, taxes, and hidden fees. Read on to learn about some common hidden wedding expenses and what you can do to ensure you don’t let them blow your budget!

1. Postage

When it comes to wedding invites, most couples focus on finding a beautiful design that reflects their wedding theme. However, it is important to consider the weight and size of the invitations you choose, as both invites weighing in over one ounce and square shaped invites require additional postage. It may not seem like a big cost, but postage prices can quickly add up to a few hundred dollars if you are not careful. Be sure to keep this hidden wedding expense in mind as you choose the perfect invites for your special day!

2. Tips & Taxes

When you are getting quotes from caterers, staffing companies, DJs, makeup artists and other wedding day vendors be sure to check if the contracts include taxes and gratuity. Some vendors automatically factor tip and tax into the price, however, some do not, and this is an easy way to go over budget without even knowing that you are doing so.

3. Dress Alterations

Have you found the perfect dress for your big day? Congratulations! When making the purchase, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of wedding dress retailers do not incorporate dress alterations into the dress price, and these alterations can be quite time consuming and costly. If you think your dress is going to need last minute alterations, be sure to ask the retailer what it will cost up front. This will keep you from having this hidden wedding expense surprise you at the last minute.

4. Venue Setup and Cleanup Fees

Be sure to carefully review your wedding venue contract to see if setup and takedown fees are included in the overall price. This can vary based on the venue you book. For instance, full-service venues do not charge for services like garbage removal and clean up, but if your venue is not full-service this may be an added fee. Even full-service venues typically require setup and takedown to occur on the same day of the wedding. This can mean extra fees for early setup or a late night clean up after an extra long reception that goes past midnight.

5. Last-Minute Wedding Expenses

Couples tend to remember the most obvious details of wedding planning such as hiring a caterer, purchasing a cake, hiring a DJ and finding the perfect attire when it comes to planning their special day. However, often times the smaller details like party favors, wedding send off ideas, and even the marriage license get overlooked until the last minute. These last-minute expenses, although not typically high-cost items, can still throw off your budget if they are saved until the very end of your planning when your budget is most likely already stretched to its limit. Be sure to research prices and budget for these smaller items at the beginning of your planning process to avoid being blindsided by them at the end of your planning process.

Want to get a jump start on budgeting for hidden wedding expenses? If you are considering using wedding sparklers in your grand wedding send off, you can learn more about our products and pricing, here.

Wedding Favor Ideas for a Summer Wedding

summer wedding favor ideasWhile swept up in wedding planning, one important detail that many couples often overlook is wedding favors. If you are in the middle of wedding planning and happen to have let this little detail slip your mind—fear not! Memorable wedding favors don’t have to break the bank, and there are tons of cute seasonal wedding favor ideas that work for summer weddings and are easy to pull off at the last minute. Below we share five of our favorite wedding favor ideas that will add a fun touch to your special day.

1. Sunglasses

Wedding favors that also serve a purpose during the event are always appreciated by guests! If you are planning a wedding in the afternoon, sunglasses are an excellent favor idea. Guests that didn’t come prepared for the sun will thank you for the thoughtful touch, and they will provide friends and family with years of use following your big day! We love this basket of basic wafers with a cute sign and these cute shades with personalized tags for an extra special touch.

2. Flip Flops

Planning a beach wedding? Why not provide your guests with flip flops so that they don’t have to worry about walking around on the sand in dress shoes? Providing comfortable footwear is also an easy way to guarantee the dance floor will be full of guests having a blast all night long! Buy in bulk and fill up a cute basket like this, or even personalize your flip flops for an extra memorable wedding favor idea.

3. S’more Supplies

Since summer is all about spending as much time as possible outdoors, mini s’more kits make an adorable wedding favor idea! This is a quick and budget-friendly idea for couples that have put off wedding favor planning til the last minute. Even better? It is guaranteed to delight children and adults alike!

4. Paper Fans

Paper fans add an elegant touch to any summer wedding and will help guests keep cool if the day happens to be especially warm. This is yet another summer wedding favor idea that will be of use to guests during your special day and for years to come. You can stick with classic paper fans like these or even create personalized fans for an extra cute touch.

5. Sparklers

Since your grand exit will conclude the evening, why not incorporate personalized wedding sparkler favors into your wedding send off? There is a wide selection of adorable wedding favor ideas for personalizing sparklers on the internet, some of our favorites of which include these DIY labels that conveniently include a match for easy lighting and these “Let Love Shine” labels that work perfectly for a rustic theme. An added bonus is that these sparkler favors can add to decor during the event and look super cute in photos.

Planning to DIY personalized sparklers as your summer wedding favor? We have you covered! Our convenient online store offers a variety of wedding sparklers that will work perfectly as favors, no matter what you have planned.

Beat the heat with these summer wedding tips

summer wedding tipsIf you are planning a summer wedding, you are not alone! Summer is the most popular wedding season of the year thanks to longer days, warmer temperatures, outdoor venues, and the promise of sunny weather. Although Summer is a beautiful season to have a wedding, there are some issues that can come along with it. Here are a few tips to ensure you beat the heat and plan your perfect wedding day.

Provide shaded areas for guests

Nothing can beat a warm, sunny wedding day. However, be sure to set up comfortable seating in shaded areas so that guests (and you!) can cool off and take a break if they become overheated.

Offer guests warm-weather essentials

If you are opting for an outdoor wedding, it is important to provide summer essentials like bug spray, sunscreen, and electronic or paper fans for your guests. Making sure they have everything that they need to stay cool and comfortable will ensure they have a great time. You can even make personalized fans like these that can double as party favors.

Ensure your guests stay hydrated

When hosting a hot, summer wedding it is important to set up plenty of drink stations to make sure your guests don’t get dehydrated in the heat. In addition to a fun warm-weather cocktail, we suggest setting up dispensers of classic beverages like tea, lemonade, and water.

Consider a location that offers indoor and outdoor spaces

Yes, one of the main perks of planning a summer wedding is that you get to utilize beautiful outdoor spaces. However, in addition to the potential of being too hot for some guests, summer weather can also be unpredictable, and you never know when a thunderstorm might roll in. To get the best of both worlds, consider booking an indoor/outdoor location.

Choose your flowers wisely

Another perk of choosing to have a summer wedding is the wide variety of floral options that are available during this season. When deciding on your flowers, be sure to keep the heat in mind and pick flowers that will hold up well even in sweltering conditions. Be sure to keep your flowers out of the heat and sunlight until right before the event to ensure optimal freshness.

Embrace the outdoor space

If you have chosen to plan an outdoor summer wedding be sure to take advantage of the many opportunities for fun that come with an outdoor venue! Try setting up yard games like cornhole, giant Jenga, and croquet. When it comes to wedding send off ideas, having an outdoor event opens up many options that may not always work for indoor spaces like bubbles, silly string, sky lanterns, and sparklers!

If you decide to incorporate a little magic into your send off with sparklers, be sure to check out our selection of wedding sparklers that will work beautifully for your summer wedding.

How to host the perfect 4th of July party

4th of july sparklers
Photo Credit: Julia Dennebaum

Can you believe that the Fourth of July is next Tuesday? Whether you have been planning an epic blowout for months or are just now piecing together a last-minute gathering for friends and family, here are a few tips for hosting a fun, patriotic Fourth of July party that your guests will remember for years to come.

1. Entertain guests with classic yard games

One key to hosting an enjoyable Fourth of July party or cookout is keeping your guests entertained while they wait for the headlining event of the day: fireworks! An easy way to keep kids (and adults) busy all day long is to set up classic yard games like a ring toss, horseshoes, cornhole, croquet, and even badminton. If you opt for a ring toss, we love this customized Fourth of July version.

2. Mix up some red, white, and blue drinks!

What’s a Fourth of July party without some refreshing and patriotic beverages? If you are looking for some fun ideas, we love these red-white-and-blue Jell-O shots, this patriotic punch that can easily serve a crowd, and these festive Fourth of July wine spritzers. For those that don’t drink, there are plenty of alcohol-free ideas out there, like this bucket of berry flavored refreshments or these fun red-white-and-blue layered drinks.

3. Test out some patriotic recipes

No Fourth of July party is complete without some fun, red-white-and-blue snacks! Keep it simple and healthy with patriotic fruit kebabs, test out some American flag popsicles, or wow the crowd with this elaborate American Flag cake for dessert. If you want to make ordinary cookout food look extra festive for the big event, try adding miniature flags for an adorable and patriotic touch.

4. Decorate with some DIY ideas

An important part of hosting a festive Fourth of July party is setting up plenty of Patriotic decor to get your guests in the party spirit. The good news is that there are tons of easy DIY options out there that won’t break the bank. A red-white-and-blue lollipop bouquet makes for a fun centerpiece that kids will love.  Want to try your hand at an easy garland? It doesn’t get easier than this one made from red and blue solo cups! We also love this balloon flag that doubles as a game.

5. Incorporate sparklers!

It probably goes without saying, but sparklers are one of the most, if not THE MOST, important part of any classic Fourth of July gathering! You don’t have to save them for the fireworks show either. We suggest incorporating them throughout the day for some extra patriotic pizazz. Some cute ideas include packaging them up into party favors, using them as an exciting cake topper, or adding them into your decor as a centerpiece.

The Fourth of July is quickly approaching! If you are in search of quality sparklers to incorporate into your festivities we offer a wide variety of options including both 20 inch and 36 inch sparklers that will work beautifully for your celebration.

How to create a wedding day timeline

wedding day timelineWhen it comes to planning a wedding, having a detailed day-of timeline is one of the most helpful ways to ensure that everything goes smoothly. From getting ready, to your first kiss, to your grand wedding exit, here are some of our top pointers for creating a perfect wedding day timeline.

1. Factor in extra time for hair and makeup

Experts agree that hair and makeup for the bridal party almost always take longer than anticipated. When creating your wedding day timeline, be sure to allot plenty of time—factoring in extra time for hairstyle changes and makeup modifications. Once you decide how long you think your makeup and hair will take, add an additional hour of buffer time to ensure you remain on schedule no matter what.

2. Plan for your guests to arrive early

Guests typically begin to arrive at the wedding 30 minutes before the designated start time. Be sure to factor this into your wedding day timeline, having everything set up and pre-ceremony music ready to start about 30 minutes before the actual ceremony. If you are taking pre-ceremony photos in the church or venue, be sure that you are safely hidden away at least half an hour beforehand so that you don’t end up chatting with guests as they arrive.

3. Set a time limit for toasts

Yes, toasts can be a meaningful and memorable part of your wedding reception, but they also can drag on—leaving guests bored and delaying your reception timeline. When it comes to planned speeches for the best man, maid of honor, and family members, be sure to discuss length in advance. Research has found that speeches that are three to five minutes in length are best. Brides.com also suggests dispersing the speeches throughout the reception, rather than having them all at once. This is an easy way to ensure guests don’t lose interest.

4. Don’t forget to factor in plenty of time for photos

Photos can be one of the most time-consuming activities in a wedding day timeline and are also dependent on lighting, so it is important to plan this segment of your wedding day well. In order to get all of the photos that you want, create a list of shots for your photographer a few weeks before the wedding. This will allow them to streamline the process for an efficient day-of timeline. Planning on sunset photos? This is one of the best times of day to capture beautiful images, so be sure to consider when the sun sets while planning.

5. Make sure to schedule your wedding exit

As you plan the details of your wedding day timeline, don’t forget to factor in 10-15 minutes for your grand wedding send off! This can be one of the most memorable moments of your reception, and also an incredible opportunity for some final photos. Wedding planners suggest having the DJ or MC make an announcement before your getaway, directing friends and family to the appropriate exit location. If guests are lighting sparklers, blowing bubbles, or throwing rice, be sure that your wedding coordinator begins to distribute these materials about 10 minutes before you depart.

Five Tips for Planning a Quick Wedding

Planning a Quick Wedding
Photo Credit: Jenni Snyder

Although many couples spend a year or more planning an elegant black tie affair, many need to plan a quick wedding in only a matter of months. Whether you simply don’t have a year to dedicate to agonizing over every detail, have an upcoming deployment, or are just eager to say “I do,” we have you covered with these pro tips for planning an amazing wedding on short notice.

1. Get the invites out

If you are planning a wedding in three months or less, one of your top priorities should be finalizing the guest list, getting the wedding invites in the mail, and getting definitive RSVPs. Wedding planning experts suggest creating a wedding website for guests to RSVP through and ditching the traditional RSVP cards, which guests can be slow about getting in the mail.

2. Keep your bridal party small

When choosing attendants, Martha Stewart Weddings suggests keeping it very small and sticking to one or two bridesmaids and one or two groomsmen. Having a smaller wedding party simplifies choosing a date, coordinating schedules, and is a major time saver when planning a wedding in a short timeframe.

3. Pick your top priorities and focus on those

If you are planning your wedding in a few months or less, you are going to need to pick the details that are most important to you and focus on making them happen! If you have a specific venue, photographer, or band in mind, check with them right away and reserve their services. This may mean compromising on other areas like catering, flowers, or rentals, but it will all be worth it when you have your perfect day planned in a timely matter.

4. Opt for a ready-to-wear dress

Tailoring and alterations can be time-consuming, and many top bridal boutiques estimate designer dress orders to take anywhere from six to eight months. Rather than holding up your wedding for a gown that will take months to be ready (and probably cost you a small fortune), experts suggest choosing a ready-to-wear dress. This doesn’t mean you can’t find something amazing. Some pointers for finding the perfect dress on a short timeline include checking out second-hand wedding shops (as well as eBay!), outlets, and sample sales.

5. Think outside of the box!

Planning a wedding on short notice means that you will probably not be able to book all of the vendors you would like, since many of them book up over a year in advance. However this doesn’t mean that you have to do without great food, flowers, and decor. You might just have to get a little bit creative! Some ideas we love include making your own wedding playlist and nixing the DJ or band, skipping the open bar, purchasing wine and beer in bulk, and hiring a bartender or friend to serve for the evening, and contacting local bakeries about purchasing standard cakes (you can even add your own details later).

Planning a quick wedding doesn’t mean you won’t have an incredible day! By choosing the details that are most important to you, compromising on other decisions, and getting a little creative, you can quickly (and painlessly) plan a wedding in three months or less.

While you are swept up in planning your perfect day, don’t let the little details like your grand wedding exit slip your mind. If you are looking for wedding send off ideas, we offer a wide selection of wedding sparklers that are an easy and inexpensive option for a magical send off.

Five fun ways to use sparklers at your wedding

ways to use sparklers in wedding
Photo credit: C. Tyler Corvin Studio

Sparklers are a timeless wedding send off idea, which is probably why many weddings only incorporate sparklers into a grand exit. However, there are many fun and festive ways to incorporate sparklers into your entire wedding day, including both the ceremony, photos, and reception. Below we share five of our favorite ways to add some sparkle to your big day with wedding sparklers.

Use them to illuminate your first kiss

Who says you can’t incorporate wedding sparklers into your ceremony? We love the idea of handing out sparklers to guests to light as you share your first kiss as man and wife at the end of the ceremony. This is a sweet way to make the memorable moment extra special. (Insider tip: remember to pass out matches or lighters so your guests can easily light them up at the correct moment).

Spice up your wedding photos with sparklers

If you are looking for a way to add a little personality to your wedding photos, sparklers may be just the touch you’ve been waiting for. The possibilities for incorporating sparklers into your wedding photos are pretty endless. Bridal Musings suggests adding them to your formal portraits, as well as to photos of you getting ready, ceremony shots, and even casual photos at the reception. Another photo idea we love? Using them to write for totally unique photos. Some fun sparkler writing ideas include having bridesmaids spell out L-O-V-E in bridal party photos, or writing out your wedding date for a cute couple photo.

Add them to your cake cutting

Another way to add some pizzaz to your wedding day is to use sparklers in the cake cutting portion of the wedding. You could light up the cake with sparklers for a major wow factor or add sparklers to individual pieces of cake as you pass them out for an extra festive touch. This is an especially fun idea for a summer wedding at the Fourth of July.

Incorporate wedding sparklers into your first dance

What could be more romantic than enjoying your first dance as the room is illuminated with sparklers? Brides suggests having someone distribute the sparklers to guests right before your first dance and then having the DJ prompt friends and family to gather around you as you enjoy your first dance. This is not only a romantic touch, but also makes for beautiful photos!

Mix them into your decor

Planning to use sparklers in your wedding send off? Instead of saving them for the end of your big day, we suggest incorporating them into your decor! Sparklers placed into glass jars, rustic metal buckets, or sleek vases can make for beautiful centerpieces. Looking for ideas? Check out this list of sparkler decor ideas from Weddingomania!

If you plan to incorporate sparklers into your wedding day, we have an assortment of quality wedding sparklers, including 36 inch and 20 inch sparkler options. Interested in learning more about adding some sparkle to your ceremony and reception? Contact us today to learn more!