Good Things for Destination Weddings
Ask hotel staffers to have your guests add their room numbers to our downloadable "Looking for Someone" phone list at check-in. The directory will be kept at the front desk throughout the weekend, and your guests will be able to access it when they need to track someone down.
These details go the distance (everything is easy to pack or ship) so your wedding will be far and away the one you always wanted.
Not only do hibiscus trees look gorgeous, they're available at nurseries all over the world. For a stunning ceremony marker, set two like-size topiaries in simple pots and stand in front of them as you say "I do." Afterward, consider planting them nearby.
Planters Resource bamboo planters (212-206-7687).
Once you've set a date and chosen a location, it's time to let friends and family in on your plans. One ingenious way? A telegram-style invitation suite, which looks remarkably like the real thing. For the save-the-date, visit Telegram Stop's website (telegramstop.com), pen your short message, upload friends' addresses, and hit "send" to have them mailed. Each is less than $4. Invitations are designed through the site, but they'll be sent to you, not your guests. That way, you can insert any special extras, such as maps, and apply your own stamps. Invites are $4 each and come with clever "R.S.V.P." luggage tags.
Keep Them Cool
The hostess with the mostest (that's you) always has her guests' comfort in mind. Help loved ones beat the heat before a sun-drenched ceremony. Set up a self-serve station in the shade, and stock it with refreshing amenities. Dip towels in ice water, wring them out, and roll them up. For extra credit, scent them with a spritz of Lothantique Linen Water in lavender or grapefruit. Hydrate guests with water flavored with lemon, cucumber, or fruit slices. And so no one gets burned, set out paper parasols (pearlriver.com) and sunscreen wipes like these shown, from La Fresh.
Warm Them Up
If the forecast is frosty, offer these cozy extras instead. Place a stack of shawls (beltoutlet.com) at the entrance to your ceremony, or drape one over every other chair at your reception.
Tea for Me
Dress up herbal tea bags with our "Enjoy!" tag, and serve them before or after your vows.
Behold, a trio of uses for this narrow cloth from Grayline Linen. It's inexpensive and comes in a rainbow of pretty colors.
Making this no-sew decoration is as easy as basic math thanks to the fabric's long, skinny shape and finished edges. Add the table length to the overhang amount for each end, then cut to size.
Fabric Welcome Bags
Stock this durable, beach-bound tote with goodies for your weary travelers -- but first, ask your bridesmaids to help you make them. Cut 3 feet of fabric, sew a 1/2-inch hem on each end, and stitch on jute braided trim (mjtrim.com) to create handles. Finish by sewing edges together, right sides facing in, then turn right side out.
Turn the tote at left (sans strap) upside down for instant chair decor. Choose this pink-and-yellow scheme for a tropical or desert locale, or opt for Grayline's crisp blue-and-white stripes at the beach.
The first sign of a great party? Drinks -- even better if they guide merrymakers to their tables, too. Sail smoothly from ceremony to reception by offering beverages that indicate guests' table assignments. Set out glasses alphabetically (or send servers around with trays).
Everything here can be made in advance; print table numbers and name bands from our website, and cut them out before you go. On location, affix the name bands to rental glasses (snipping to fit), and slip numbers onto Aardvark 10 1/2-inch jumbo straws (thesugardiva.com).
Seating Cards in a Bottle
This escort-card display is clever and inexpensive. To create it, purchase a miniature cork-topped vial for every guest (steer clear of tapered necks, since they make note-removal difficult).
Write the name on one side of a 2-by-3-inch piece of paper and the table number on the other. Roll up the paper and slide it into a bottle with the name facing outward, and cork it. Then fill a shallow glass dish with sand, and arrange the bottles so that the writing is visible. Lastly, scatter in small seashells. Note: For large events, use several dishes and organize by letter.
Map Photo-Booth Backdrop
Affix an oversize map of the state or country where you're tying the knot in your picture station. Simply secure it to a wall with poster tack and pin a heart to your location. (Model is wearing a Shoshanna dress, neimanmarcus.com, and Monica Vinader earrings, Net-a-Porter.com.)
Texas wall map (shop.nationalgeographic.com).
Map Favor Boxes
Wrap guests' gifts in maps that represent your wedding locale, and finish with a flourish of coordinating ribbon.
Create for Less ribbon in torrid orange.
Cut charts to fit around cylinders of various heights, then attach them with double-stick tape and fill each with flowers or a candle.
Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies glass cylinders.
Map Picture Frames
Using a craft knife, trim maps to cover photo mats from your favorite frames. When finished, lay the map on top of the mat (you don't even have to tape it), and cover with the glass.
West Elm white gallery frame.
Give your groomsmen a little something to remember their trip. These links can be custom-made with the topographical chart of your choice.
Tomato-Made "Connor" cuff links.
Ideas from the Ocean: Charmworks ship's wheel. Precious Accents sailboat. Rembrandt Charms sand dollar. Hot Diamonds Madam Trout Pout, preciousaccents.com. Charmworks scallop. Rembrandt Charms compass. Thomas Sabo aircraft, preciousaccents.com. C.H.A.R.M. passport. Sarit Simayof car.
Just because you're throwing a wedding away from home doesn't mean you have to scrimp on style. The trick? Rely on materials that pack flat for effortless shipping and can be used in multiple ways to make a big impact. Here, just a few supplies -- vellum paper, scissors, and tape -- turn a simply set table into something worth raising your glass to. Better yet, the four doable ideas shown here are unbelievably affordable.
If you're getting married on an island or in a remote locale, you might not have the luxury of working with a rental company. So if the selection of chairs, tables, and plates is limited, fear not: White is almost always an option, and it just so happens to be a perfect base to build upon.
A Bouquet for Any Location
No matter where in the world you wed, white blooms are almost always available and in season. Start there, and mix in regional filler for freshness and flair.
For Country Weddings
Rattlesnake grass (in bouquet at left) looks soft and lovely against a background of rolling fields. Also consider wildflowers, lavender, or rosemary.
For Beach Unions
Shells or foliage are stunning in sandy spots. Also consider ginger flower, palm fronds, or sea grass.
For Mountain Nuptials
Pinecones or cedar sprigs fit rugged settings. Also consider pine, berries, or ferns.
Scented Candles as Favors
One whiff of the right fragrance will remind friends of their wonderful weekend with you long after they've returned home. Choose candles in travel-friendly tins, like those shown here, and in an apropos scent -- limoncello for an Italian wedding, for example, vanilla to conjure up Mexico, or gardenia to recall Hawaii (find these fragrances and others at paddywax.com). Then add a custom label printed with your wedding-day details.
Paddywax tin travel candles in mint mojito. Paper Presentation round colored labels.
International Thank-You Cards
Express your gratitude with a card that highlights the language of the place where you just wed. Simply download our clip art, print it onto card stock, and cut out. Then circle the appropriate phrase for your destination, and write your own message on the back.
Paper Presentation A7 envelope in desert storm.