How to Create a Wedding Guest List

It’s officially wedding planning season! Here at Swoozie’s, we are big fans of this time of the year because it gives us all something to celebrate. And what is better to celebrate than true, undying love? 

Below is another entry from one of our own, Sarah. She will be tuning in weekly to blog about her own experience, providing tips and advice as she learns along the way. She will even solicit the advice of others and create an online dialog for all of our other recently engaged readers. 

How to Create a Wedding Guest List 

I have to be honest – creating a guest list was one of the most difficult things I have done while planning my wedding. Don’t get me wrong, we had zero issues with writing down the name of every person we would love to have in attendance. What we had a problem with was deciding who Kevin and I could actually afford to attend.

The reality is that every wedding has a budget, and it’s important that your wedding guest list keeps this in mind. Most people can’t afford to have 300 people in attendance, so below I share with you some of the tips I acquired while trying to keep everything within budget.

Understanding Your Budget

On average, a reception will cost you about 50% of your total wedding budget. While per person costs vary drastically, it seems like a solid average is around $65 a person. Yes, $65! So, let’s say you had a $20,000 total wedding budget – that would mean you could afford to have around 150 guests.

I think it’s important to break down the numbers this way, because it helps you decide how many people you can actually invite, rather than how many you want to invite.

Divide Seats Equally

This seems to be the only thing that is fair. Instead of fighting over whose guest is more important, lay down strict ground rules. If you are inviting 200 people to your wedding, the bride gets 100 and the groom gets 100. How you decide to split those invites amongst your parents is up to you. For example, I have a small family so my parents had fewer people they wanted to invite, requesting 25 of my 100 invites. Kevin, on the other hand, gave his parents 50 of the 100 invites because he has a larger family.

Create and A and B List

This has been my savior! It was inevitable that we hoped to invite more people than we could afford. So, we created an A and a B list. Those who were on the A list received the first round of invitations. If somebody from the A list replies with regrets, then we will send an invite to those on the B list in order of importance.

We hope that these tips helped you in your planning efforts. What advice have you found to be helpful? 

2014 Wedding Trends

We love wedding season! We also love seeing the beautiful and unique trends that each passing season presents. Below we share some of our favorite wedding trends of 2014.

Unique Cake Toppers

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Bride and groom figurines are so 2013.

Radiant Orchard

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The 2014 color of the year is to die for! Why wouldn’t you want to incorporate it into your wedding palette?

Personalized Glassware

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People are breaking their own wine glasses all of the time. Give them something they will really need.

Gold Glitter

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Whether it’s on your cake, in your centerpieces, or on your invitations – gold glitter is sure to add a special pizzazz!

You’re Engaged! Now What?

It’s officially wedding planning season! Here at Swoozie’s, we are big fans of this time of the year because it gives us all something to celebrate. And what is better to celebrate than true, undying love? 

In 2013 one of our very own girls, Sarah, got engaged. Eek! So, we thought it would be exciting to introduce a blogging series where Sarah will share the ups and downs of her very own wedding planning. In the following weeks, Sarah will blog about her own experience, providing tips and advice as she learns along the way. She will even solicit the advice of others and create an online dialog for all of our other recently engaged readers. 

So, without further ado, let’s get planning! 

You’re Engaged! Now What?

Hello, ladies! First, I would like to pause for a moment of exciting reflection. I am engaged!

Now, while that may or may not matter to you, the purpose of this blog is to bring all of us engaged (or married) women together so that we may share our experiences, trials, and successes as we go through these next few months with one another. Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of a women’s life. But, with that excitement can also come stress.

Before I get into a few tips that make up my first blog, I figured I would at least give you a little background on my story.

I was engaged in the latter part of 2013, when my boyfriend, Kevin, of over two years popped the question. It was a romantic night that involved flowers, dinner, wine, and a dance to “our song.” I will never forget the overwhelming emotions that were felt that night. The photo above was taken the following day during the madness of family celebration.

Since Kevin and I were engaged, we have spent a lot of time working on planning our wedding. There are a lot of details to cover, and it can easily become overwhelming. First, let’s start at the beginning. You’re engaged, and that’s awesome! But, now what?

1. Write it down, so you don’t forget

Before you begin looking at wedding dresses and contemplating flowers, pause to really reflect on this moment. In 10 years, will you remember exactly what your fiancé said when he proposed? Probably not!

Take the time to write down everything you can remember about that special moment. What was the weather like? What were you wearing? What did he say when popped the question?

The week Kevin and I were engaged I bought a journal and have been writing about the experience since the beginning. This is a special time in your life and you should document the pivotal moments along the way.

2. Talk timeline

Only you and your fiancé know what a realistic timeline looks like. While most couples give themselves a year to plan a wedding, determine what it best for you. Kevin and I have a very busy schedule in 2014 and knew that the only month we could realistically get married was in June. However, that was going to limit the amount of time we had to plan.

I vote for scheduling more time than less. It will help alleviate the stress of feeling like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it.

3. Breakdown a realistic budget

I put an emphasis on realistic for a reason. I plan on addressing this topic more in-depth at a later date, but I think it’s important that you understand how much money you have to spend before you start any planning (or dreaming).

Getting married can be expensive, and with Pinterest, wedding blogs and magazines, it’s easy to get lost in the romance of it all. However, that romance comes with a price. Understanding what you realistically have to spend will help you determine a lot of the specifics. Be honest. This will help prevent future disappointment.

What do you think? Do you have any tips for those who are recently engaged? We’d love to hear from you by commenting below! 

Top 21 Gifts of the Season

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and that means that it’s time for the holidays! Have you made your shopping list yet? While your friends and family top your list, there are other important people in your life who deserve a thoughtful gift this holiday season as well.  Here at Swoozie’s, we LOVE helping you find the perfect gift for each person on your list. Below is the top 21 gifts of the season. With a list like this, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list (and maybe a thing or two for yourself)!

1. GoVino Cocktail Glass Set

Govino is made from a food-safe, BPA-free polymer, which reflects a cocktail’s color and aromatics much like crystal. It is recyclable (#1), but better yet it is reusable.

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2. Scout Pleasure Chest

This fun cooler is great for toting around your favorite things and drinks!

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3. CHILL Pouring Spout 

Keep the party going with this built-in, drip free pour spout. The CHILL lets you cool while you pour.

Cool, pour and preserve with the CHILL.  Just pour the first glass, insert the cooling pour spout and enjoy perfectly chilled wine!  After just two hours in the freezer, your CHILL is ready to do the hard work for you.

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4. Scout Wine Tote

Stylish tote for your favorite wine, bubbly, or spirit! Made collapsible for easy handling and storage.

Scout Wine Tote

5. Whiskey Rocks 

Soapstone Rocks can be used as Whiskey Rocks, Wine Stones, or Coffee Stones. Sustain the temperature of your drink without watering it down.

Whiskey Rocks

6. Dammit Doll

For those days when nothing goes right and you just want to hit the wall, take solace in a Dammit Doll – a friend you can slam, whack, pull and squeeze while yelling your favorite obscenities.

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7. Loopdedoo

Imagine, dream, and then create your masterpiece in minutes. Bracelets, belts, zipper pulls, key chains, anything is possible with the incredible Loopdedoo Kit – Spinning Loom

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8. Bamboo Cutting Board 

This simple cutting board gets Swoozie’s style with laser engraved personalization! Choose from over 20 designs, one of which is sure to catch your eye. Can be personalized in the center or in the lower right corner, your choice.

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9. The Brew2Go

Meet your newest drinking buddy! This tumbler, with a close-able lid,  holds 16oz of beer, prevents spills, condensation and keeps the bugs out. This beer tumbler is sure to make your outdoor (and indoor) beer drinking fun, easy and safe.

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10. Red Cup Living

This collection takes the red solo cup to a new level! Washable and reusable, the collection includes coffee must, wine glasses, shot glasses, margarita glasses, and more! Yep, no snobs allowed.

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11. The Deano

The must-have everyday carry-all is also the classic tote ideal for travel and the beach. The durable poly is water resistant, easily wipes clean, and shakes free of sand.

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12. Family Frame 

This adorable family frame reads “Family The ones you live with, laugh with, and love.”

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13. Individually Yours Mug

Individually boxed, these oversized porcelein mugs make an ideal gift for every day of the year.

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14. Jumbo Wine Glass

This double wall wine acrylic tumbler is perfect for keeping any beverage cold and makes a great gift for all your girlfriends!

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15. Phone Dock

Walk down memory lane with phone dock or give to the tech obsessed that has everything!

Phone Dock

16. Cake/Cupcake Stands 

A sturdy cake stand for any and everyday, this melamine cake stand will proudly serve your tastiest treats. Large enough for a dozen cupcakes or a very big cake! (Comes in a variety of colors)

Cake Stand

17. Trinket Tray

Pick a single initial or buy several to spell a word! Each letter features a different type and color. Porcelain plate is dishwasher and food safe so it’s easy to clean and use for any occasion.

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18. Humorous Cocktail Napkins

So many hilarious options, you will have a hard time finding which one you like best. You may just end up getting a pack for all of your friends. Great for stocking stuffers, these napkins will literally make you LOL.

Cocktail Napkin

19. Marty Bottle Opener

This bottle opener is adorable and makes a great addition to any gift!

Bottle Opener

20. Nam’s Bits

These homemade cookies are loaded with love. For 30 years, Nammy made delicious bits for eleven grandchildren for birthdays, holidays or just because. A lot of love has been spread throughout the family with Nam’s treasures. We think every family deserves a Nam, or at least her bits!

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21. Pillow Case 

Perfect for dog lovers! Need we say more?

Sleeps with Dogs Pillowcase

Personalize Your Upcoming Holiday Party

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s time to start planning out how you can make your celebrations the best they have ever been! By utilizing personalized touches, you can be sure to take the title of best entertainer. Below are a few suggestions on how you can make your upcoming holiday parties a personalized success!

Personalized Wine Glasses

These Govino wine glasses are made from a food-safe, BPA-free polymer, which reflects a wine’s color and aromatics much like crystal. They’re recyclable (#1), but better yet they’re reusable. Consider getting them personalized for each guest with their monogram or their first name. That way they can serve as a place holder at the table, as well as a gift to take home!

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I Am Grateful For Notecards 

These little cards are a great thing for around the Thanksgiving table! Have family and friends write down what they are thankful for at the beginning of dinner, seal it up, eat dinner, pass them around and have others read them! These come in a pack of ten and include envelope.

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Chalkboard Menu Board

These chalkboards are not only a great way to decorate, but to write cute messages to your guests. Decorate it with a cute welcome message or utilize them to post your menu. Either way, your family and friends will love the extra touch! (Oh, and you can even get your name or monogram lamented along the top of the board).

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Personalized Placemats

These personalized paper placemats can be used for every occasion and are perfect for your dinner party, cocktail soiree, holiday event, or as a hostess gift. They’re only $1.95 each! Plus, you can choose different styles and colors to match your taste.

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How do you add personalized touches to your holiday parties? We’d love to hear your ideas! Simply share them with us on Twitter (@swoozies).

Swoozie’s College Football Scene – Week 10

footballlogoThe Fall weather is cooling off but the college football competition is heating up! Our ACC and SEC correspondents weigh in – let’s see what these in-the-know ladies have to say!

ACC Updates from Charlotte 

  1. Florida State gets in-state bragging rights over Miami with another statement win on Saturday.  The Seminoles have scored at least 40 points in every game this season and remain a national title contender.
  2. UNC got their first win in NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium since 2005 on Saturday and the Wolfpack drop to 0-5 in the conference.  The Tar Heels can still reach 6 wins to become eligible and salvage an otherwise disappointing season.
  3. Virginia Tech lost to Boston College and, coming off the loss to Duke, the season could be in a downward spiral going into the game against Miami this weekend.  Both the Hokies and Canes are division title contenders and the winner will likely secure their position in the conference championship game against Florida State.
  4. Wake Forest fell to Syracuse, but what hurts more than the loss is the season-ending injury to star wide receiver Michael Campanero.  Campanero broke his collar bone in the first quarter and the 2 win the Demon Deacons need for a bowl will be a very difficult task without him.  The Orange kept their bowl hopes alive and have back-back road games against Maryland and Florida State looming.
  5. Clemson beat Virginia 59-10 and quarterback Tajh Boyd set a conference record for most career touchdowns, passing NC State’s Philip Rivers as the ACC’s all time leader.  The Tigers face Georgia Tech following a bye week and are still in line for a BCS bowl.

SEC Updates from Kate

  1. The SEC game of the weekend was the Missouri/South Carolina game.  When they started the first quarter, Missouri was the only undefeated team in the SEC East and the Tigers hoped to keep their winning streak alive.  And for a while, they did.  Mizzou lead for the first three quarters and at the beginning of the fourth, they were winning 17-0.  Then South Carolina’s quarterback Conner Shaw took the field.  After suffering a knee injury in Week 9, Shaw came back strong against the Tigers and tied the score at 17 all with 42 seconds left to play, putting the game into overtime.  Both teams scored touchdowns in their first overtime possessions, bringing the score to 24-24 and leading to double overtime.  The Gamecocks had possession of the ball first in double overtime which resulted in a field goal.  Missouri’s placekicker, Andrew Baggett, failed to answer the Gamecock’s three-point lead as his field goal attempt bounced off the goal post.  Although the win came late and came in a surprising manner, number 21 South Carolina managed to defeat the number five Missouri Tigers, bringing the Gamecocks up to the number 14 spot in this week’s BCS standings.
  2. Now that Missouri lost, Alabama is the only undefeated team in the SEC, rolling over Tennessee 45-10 in Saturday’s game.  Nothing about the game came as a surprise since Alabama has scored 246 points against its last six opponents, while those six opponents have only scored a total of 26 points against Alabama’s defense.  There is a reason the Tide has won two consecutive national championships and remains undefeated this year.  Only LSU and Auburn stand in the way of  Bama’s chances at yet another trip to the SEC Championship game, and ultimately, another national title.
  3.  In other SEC play this weekend, Auburn copied Alabama’s score of 45-10, easily defeating Florida Atlantic, even with quarterback Nick Marshall sustaining a shoulder injury early in the first half.  Mississippi State managed to hold on against Kentucky, winning the game on Thursday 28-22 and winning its first SEC game of the season.  While LSU only had a 20-16 lead against Furman at the half, the Tigers came back strong in the second half, totaling more than 700 yards for the game and defeating the Paladins 48-16.  Ole Miss destroyed Idaho 59-14.  Texas A&M, out to prove itself after last week’s unexpected loss to Auburn, easily handled the Vanderbilt Commodores and won 56-24.  Johnny Football showed no signs of pain or discomfort from the shoulder injury he suffered in last week’s game and he threw for four touchdowns.
  4. We are entering the last month of regular college football play and for many teams in the SEC, it isn’t just their SEC competition that matters, but what the Top 10 teams are doing, as it could impact where SEC teams end up in post-season bowl play.  In Week 9, two SEC schools, Alabama and Missouri, were in the Top 10 in the BCS standings with Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina in the Top 25.  However, in the BCS standings released for Week 10, Missouri moved down to the number nine spot after their loss to South Carolina while Texas A&M jumped up four places to the number 12 position, right behind Auburn and right in front of LSU, showing that these last few games throughout the college football season are going to have a direct bearing on which SEC teams go to the best bowl games come December.
  5. As we are coming down to the end of the season, the game SEC fans should be focused on for the coming week is the Mizzou/Tennessee game.  Tennessee has been the spoiler team this year, defeating South Carolina in Week 9 and taking Georgia into overtime in Week 6.  If Mizzou defeats the Vols, it is fairly certain they will defeat Kentucky the following week, securing their position as champions of the SEC East and ensuring a trip to the SEC Championship in December.  However, if Missouri should lose, then the Florida/Georgia game (aka the World’s Largest Cocktail Party) will take on particular significance this weekend as the winner of that game will remain in the competition for the SEC East title.  In the West, Auburn will be looking to defeat Arkansas on Saturday and a win will move the Tigers closer to a showdown with Alabama on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Oh-So Versatile Paper Straw

The days of a boring, clear drinking straw are long gone. It seems now no drink is complete without its favorite new accessory: a colorful paper straw. Perusing Pinterest, we’ve seen these adorable straws popping up all over the place – but not just in drinks! They’re used in baking, as decoration, and even as party favors. We’re super inspired by all of your ideas and have collected some of our favorites to share with you:

The Cake Pop: In lieu of the traditional wooden skewer, try out some colorful paper straws as your cake pop handle. Delicious + oh-so colorful.

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Chocolate Malt Cupcake: Well, a simple chocolate cupcake would just be boring now, wouldn’t it?!

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Pinwheels: Use paper straws as your handle in this fun, kid-friendly pinwheel craft idea. Or create the pinwheels ahead of time to use as decoration and let each guest take one home as a party favor!

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Garland: Put the kids to work with this fun, colorful craft! It will add a pop of color to any blank wall and they’ll love to see their work on display for the whole party to enjoy.

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Photo Booth Accessories: Create a Photo Booth at your next party and use paper straws as part of your accessory selection. Just throw in a few hats, a feather boa, and you’re good to go!

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Dress-Up Your Straws: We simply love the extra touch of gold-glitter tape added to each of these straws. Perfect for a girl’s party.

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Cake-Topper: Let your voice be heard! Use paper straws as the posts to hang a “banner” with your favorite phrase or the name of the lucky cake-recipient. We love everything about this!

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What are some of your favorite uses of paper straws? Pin them or post them on Instagram and use #Swoozies. We’d love to see.

Feeling inspired? You can get paper straws in a multitude of colors by clicking here.