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Giving your guests disposable cameras for them to take pictures of your wedding ceremony and reception is a great way to get a variety of candid photos of the event...as well as get your guests involved in the festivities. Some wedding couples give a camera to each guest when they arrive; others leave a camera on every table at the reception.
There are a variety of designs and types of disposable wedding cameras from which to choose. Below are just a few. Expect to pay between $10 and $15 for cameras decorated to match your wedding theme. Most companies have a minimum number of cameras you must order for the cameras to be customized. Exposures vary from 10 to 27.
1. Island Wedding-Themed Cameras. These cameras are encased in a festive tropical-themed paper sleeve.
2. Wedding-Themed Cameras. Cameras decorated with a silver or white heart design, bells, and other wedding motifs.
3. Personalized Cameras. These have a wedding-themed design with the names of the bride and groom on the paper sleeve.
Many destination wedding firms, including Destination Weddings.com, offer a full selection of disposable cameras and other wedding favors. Many companies will ship these items ahead to your destination.
From the traditional to the fanciful, here are some ideas for destination wedding party favors:
Your best man and groomsmen took time off work and spent their hard-earned dollars to be a part of your destination wedding. You'll want to give them a gift or token of your appreciation at their effort. But what to get them? Girls are easy to buy for--a little makeup, a spa treatment, a picture frame and you're all set. But guys? What do you buy for them?
To reward your groomsmen, consider an activity rather than a present. If you're getting married in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, or St. Thomas, consider creating a "guys only" golf outing at a scenic, championship course. In other destinations, consider a wind-surfing or para-sailing adventure. And, don't discount the spa so quickly. Who doesn't love a massage by the beach?
If you prefer a physical gift, consider a bottle of Caribbean rum or Mexican tequila or Kahlua. Leather goods are popular (and affordable) on many Caribbean Islands. Consider a wallet, belt, or organizer.
Keep in mind whatever you give your groomsmen, there are going to have to carry the item back in their luggage. Make sure to keep your gift small, lightweight, and manageable.
Whether you have one or twenty bridesmaids, it's nice to recognize their participation in your wedding with a small gift. If your wedding takes place on an island or other tropical destination, it's nice to reflect that in your bridesmaid gifts, so that your friends will have something to remember your special day.
Traditional bridesmaid gifts include purses, makeup in a stylish makeup bag, picture frames, jewelry, and shoes. Since you are all staying together at the resort prior to the wedding, it might be fun to treat your wedding party to a "girls-only" spa day or a special luncheon in town.
Dozens of companies specialize in bridesmaid gifts, or you can select items yourself before you depart for your wedding trip. Another idea is to enlist the aid of the resort's boutique or gift shop for some ideas on site-specific bridesmaid gifts.
If you are using the services of a destination wedding specialist, such as those at Destination Weddings.com, ask if they offer a selection of bridesmaid gifts. Many such companies sell gift items.
If you're planning a medium to large-size reception in conjunction with your destination wedding, you'll want to consider how to make your table decor reflect the island and tropical theme. Sure, you can leave it to the resort's catering department to decorate the tables, but where's the fun in that? Just a few items can transform a "ho-hum" table centerpiece into a "wow."
Flowers are essential to any good table decor. Make use of island favorites, such as gardenias, hibiscus, and bougainvillea for your centerpieces. In addition, consider adding a beach-themed candle, a sand and shell candle, or other tropical-themed item.
Many destination wedding companies offer table decor as well as party favors and bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts as part of their services. There are several advantages to working with your destination wedding company. First of all, it's a company you already know and trust and secondly, they can arrange to have your table decorating items shipped directly to the resort or hotel.
Expect to pay between $5 and $20 per item plus shipping. Most companies have a minimum required per order and many offer a discount for ordering larger quantities.
Giving your destination wedding guests a little something to take home, with which to remember your nuptials is a nice and thoughtful idea. Remember, in most cases, your guests have taken considerable time and expense to be a part of your big day.
Gift bags are a nice way to reward your guests. You don't have to be Eva Longoria and Tony Parker or Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. Even a modest gift will be appreciated. Try to match your party gifts to your destination. For instance, if you are getting married on the beach beneath the palm trees, consider giving your guests candy contained in a paper palm tree. Or, give them a picture frame with a beach or shell motif. Other choices include seed packets in the shape of a heart or shell with a note inside that says "Love grows where this seed is planted."
Small gifts are preferable to large ones, unless you have a contract with the local UPS outlet. Your guests will have to carry your gift in their luggage. Make sure your gift items are manageable, light-weight, and things that won't upset the folks at US customs.
Shells, sand, palm trees, and sunsets: they all evoke the spirit and ambiance of the Caribbean. If you are planning a tropical destination wedding, consider carrying that theme through to your wedding party and guest favors. Items such as a palm tree-shaped candy containers, place card holders shaped like flip flops, and the fun "sand in a bottle" at every place setting all help to create that tropical feeling.
To find tropical wedding theme favors, look to your destination wedding specialist. Many companies stock wedding favors with a destination wedding theme to augment their destination wedding planning services. Another place to look for tropical wedding theme favors is at the resort where you will be staying. The resort's onsite shops may offer a suitable item or they can put you in touch with a local vendor.
Don't discount local artists and crafts people in your wedding destination. The Internet makes it easy to contact such artists and given enough advance notice, they can create unique, one-of-a-kind items for your wedding favors.
Destination weddings offer an opportunity for you to get creative with your wedding favors. Let the items you choose reflect your taste and the customs and culture of the destination. If your guests don't object to alcohol, consider a small bottle of rum or a rum-flavored cake for a Caribbean destination wedding. In Mexico, the local crafts and artwork provide a number of good choices, from silver jewelry to wood carvings to hand-loomed blankets. Hawaii, too, offers its unique products, such as Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, and even anthirium flowers. If you need ideas on local gifts, talk with the boutique at the resort where you'll be staying.
Don't ignore activities as destination wedding favors. Consider a watersports activity, such as para-sailing or wind-surfing, a round of golf, a spa treatment, or a hula lesson as a gift--something your guests wouldn't necessarily do on their own.
If you do decide on a gift item, make sure to keep if light-weight and small-sized. Your guests will have to find room for the item in their suitcase or lug it through the airport. Don't make them hate the item before they even get it home.
Destination wedding invitations can--and should--be a little more casual and a little more fun than the traditional, engraved cards with the matching envelopes and RSVP cards. Ideally, destination wedding invitations should evoke the feel and spirit of the place where you've chosen to get married. After all, in most cases, you're asking your guests to pay several hundred to several thousand dollars to be a part of your big day. It's good to get them a little excited about the destination.
If you're really fortunate, you have an artist friend or family member who has the time and ability to create unique wedding invitations for you. Failing that, several Web companies have "design-your-own" invitation sites, where you choose your type of destination (such as beach, cruise, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, etc.), select a card, add the text, and proof read the invitation. If you feel more comfortable seeing the actual invitation in person, most companies will send you a sample for a couple of dollars.
Expect to pay from $50 to more than $200 for 25 invitations and envelopes. Quantity discounts usually apply when you order larger numbers of invitations.
Because you're asking guests to spend several nights away from home, work, and other obligations as well as spend a considerable amount of money, it's wise to send the invitations out much earlier than you would for a hometown wedding.
While you may be getting married thousands of miles from home, that's no reason that your wedding reception can't be personalized to reflect your tastes as well as the tropical environment. Wedding favors--those small or elaborate gifts for your guests--are one way to personalize your wedding.
Wedding favors may be given directly to guests, left in their hotel rooms, given in gift bags, or more commonly used to decorate the cocktail party or reception tables and then given to guests after the party.
Ideas for wedding favors are almost limitless. Some tropical-themed ideas include shell candles, flip-flop-shaped place card holders, beach-themed coasters, "sand in a decorative bottle," tropical-themed photo albums or picture frames, disposable cameras so they can fill the albums or frames, and shell-shaped collectibles, such as silver salt and pepper shakers or wine stoppers.
Keep in mind that your guests will have to take your wedding favors home in their luggage. Avoid giving ideas that are too large or awkward to pack.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|