Jean M

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Courtesy of Jean M

As the founder of the enormously popular Jean M Accessories and Invitations line, Jean M Andersen knows all about how details can transform a wedding from an enjoyable party into an unforgettable celebration. Here, she talks about invitation style, whether favors are really required and what wedding details you shouldn't worry about. —Kathryn Papanek

Recently, we're heard from brides who want to know they can skip the favors in order to save money. What do you think about this? Are favors required at a wedding?

Favors are not "required" at a wedding, but I would strongly recommend

There's more!

having something that can be given to the guests as your way of saying "We so appreciate you for coming and want to thank you for attending our wedding celebration." Using an item for two purposes is a great way to save some money without cutting out major elements of a wedding. If you do not have favors, I would make it a priority to greet and talk with every guest in person and thank them for coming.

For most guests, the wedding invitation is the first indication of the type of celebration that will follow. What factors should brides keep in mind in order to choose an invitation that properly reflects the style of their wedding?

To help you choose the invitation that reflects the style of your wedding keep in mind the mood and impression you want to convey. If you are having a formal wedding, your invitation can reflect it by being in a neutral paper color with small hints of color in the ink or ribbon. If you are planning a destination, seasonal or informal wedding, you can choose bold colors in papers, ribbons and inks to create a fun and fashionable look.

The last thing any bride wants to have find lots of extra favors at the end of the wedding that guests decided not to take. What are your favorite ideas for favors that guests definitely won't leave behind?

I always recommend an edible favor. Chocolate is my favorite but locally made cookies, cupcakes, mints are also great. Even if the guest doesn't eat sweets they know someone who does! I have never seen "food favors" left behind! Of course how the favors are presented is what guests will remember most. The details don't have to cost a lot of money. White favor boxes for the candy tied with a colorful ribbon can look great at each table.

We see a lot of brides become very concerned about the every aspect of the wedding. What do you see brides worry about that you don't think guests really notice?

That's a tough question to answer for someone who is so into the details! Sometimes the "small stuff" makes all the difference! I suggest that brides ask others close to them, who they trust, to take care of the smaller details such as directing guests at the wedding and reception and making sure the DJ and Band are on time. These are important details but the bride doesn't need to worry about them.

Some small things that guests may not notice even if they aren't perfect are:

If the bathrooms don't have a care basket.

If the DJ or Band plays songs in the wrong order.

If you don't use an aisle runner.

If there are no decorations other than the dining tables.

On your site, you offer wedding details organized by theme. Are you seeing any wedding themes that are especially exciting or popular right now?

Many brides use color as a theme and it translates easily through the entire wedding. A newer trend is using damask patterns, especially in black and white. Fall wedding themes are real hot, and brides tend to use either fall colors like orange, gold, brown and spice or leaves as their main theme. I also see more and more floral designs being used on invitations—especially in bright colors.

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