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Website Comparison Chart


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Number of Stars
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Free Trial
7 days
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14 days
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Features
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Album
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Unlimited
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100+ Albums
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Multiple Templates
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Standard Templates
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Customizable Templates
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Picture Printing
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Calendar
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Blog
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Flash Intro
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Bios
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Gift Registry
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Guest Book
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Music
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Video
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Polls / Quizes
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Own Domain Name
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Photo Printing
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e-Save The Date
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Bulk e-mail
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Planning Tools
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Budget Tool
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RSVP Manager
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Site Counter
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e-mail accounts
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Travel Resources for Your Beach Wedding

With the stress of planning a wedding, the last thing you want to do is pile on more. But generally speaking if you are planning a destination or beach wedding you will have to deal with travel, not only for yourself but possibly your guests. So, how can you make arrangements and keep stress levels low? Here are some tips for planning a perfect beach wedding and keeping your sanity.

Remember, you are not responsible for the travel plans for guests, but it's a good idea get gather all the information yourself and spread the word to everyone.  You are responsible for hotel accomodations for your wedding party but not their flights. If your wedding will be small, you might want to take on the responsibility of coordinating everything related to travel (or delegate it to someone).  Most, if not all, your research can be done online and most things can be booked online.  Or doing all the research but letting a good travel agent work the remaining details is a good idea as well.  They have a better opportunity to shop around for flight and hotel packages and discounts for you using their inhouse tools.  We recommend you narrow down to the time of year you want to get married and a couple of different hotels and let a travel agent do the rest.

There are a couple of things to consider when travel planning. During high tourist seasons, prices are at their peak. If you can go during the less traveled times of the year, you will pay less. You can often find times of the year, though, that are less busy but just as beautiful as far as weather and accommodations. An added bonus is that there will be less congestion in the area and fewer people on the beaches. Secondly, you may think that buying a destination wedding package is far more expensive than taking care of every aspect yourself. Often, though, you can book an excellent package that includes travel, accommodations, and more for less than you would spend booking them separately. This is especially true for an All-Inclusive. And you also get the benefit of a hotel with destination wedding experience.  Most All-Inclusive hotels and very good and providing weddings.

Tour Operators that have All-Inclusive packages year around to most major hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico are FunJet, Apple Vacations & Cheap Carribean. You can also find All-Inclusive packages with Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity. But they are less likely to have the same hotel packages year round. But they are good options for comparisons.

A great way to read reviews for your hotel or location choices is at Trip Advisdor.  My advice is to read through the negative reviews in detail to see if I can 'live with' the things they don't like.

Some great sources for weather around the world are:  Weather.com, Farmers Almanac, Weather Underground.

To see what the US Government had to say about travel in different locations regarding health and safety, see: CDC.gov

We generally believe it's a good idea to insure your trip.  Tour Operators usually offer insurance and most of the time you can cancel up to one day before for any reason.  I've done this before and was very glad I was able to only lose the cost of the insurance. If you book your trip in another way but would still like to take advantage of insurance, go to: Insure My Trip or Quote Wright.

To insure not only your trip, but your wedding, read our wedding insurance information and resources article.

Shopping for Beach Wedding Shoes

Shopping for your beach wedding shoes can be quite a bit different from shopping for wedding shoes with nothing more in mind than style, a reasonable amount of comfort, and the color of your dress. This is especially true if you will be exchanging vows right on the sand. Finding the perfect beach wedding "shoes" can be as easy as wearing no shoes at all!

Going Barefoot to your Wedding

If you are wearing a light summery wedding gown, a Hawaiian holuku (a fitted mu`u mu`u that is flares at the bottom with the hem rising slightly in the front) like Joan Blackman wore when she married Elvis in Blue Hawaii, or a sarong, then not wearing anything on your feet but a pretty pedicure is a perfect option. In fact, many beach wedding dresses lend themselves to this look. Another option is the barefoot sandal. Basically this allows you to go barefoot but in style. Barefoot sandals consist of a T strap that is adorned with ornaments such as shells, pearls or flower and an ankle strap. Barefoot sandals don't have soles, so you are still barefoot. Click here to read about and see a selection of barefoot sandals.

Flip Flops

The most casual in footwear, flip-flops are available in many styles, from plain to very pretty, even fancy. Flip-flops are a favorite among beach goers because they can be kicked off so easily. Keep in mind, though, they do flip and flop a lot making them sometimes difficult to wear in the sand. If you are going to have a walkway or are getting married in an outdoor site that overlooks the beach, then flips flops are nice option. Another perfect wedding match for flip-flops is the beach themed wedding that isn’t actually held on the sand.

Sandals

Whether your wedding is on the beach or at a beachfront resort, sandals are a perfect complement for a beach wedding dress. These may be designer sandals or quite inexpensive; the main thing is that they match the style of your wedding dress. Finally, no matter what type of shoe you decide to buy, if you are exchanging vows on the sand, opt for a thick heel or wedge heel to prevent your heel from sinking too much into the sand. With so many options for beach wedding shoes, what's a bride-to-be to do? Start shopping!

Barefoot Sandals for Your Beach Wedding

Getting married on the beach means you can combine the best of both worlds – chic fashion and natural beauty. This is exactly what barefoot sandals do.

A barefoot sandal is actually more foot jewelry than a sandal, but it can add a dressy and fun touch to otherwise bare feet, making barefoot sandals a wonderful choice for beach wedding attire. These sexy sandals come in many different styles and will go with just about any beach wedding gown. Basically, a barefoot sandal consists of an anklet and toe ring that are connected with a beaded T strap across the top of the foot. Before their recent surge in popularity at beach weddings, they were probably most often associated with belly dancing.

The barefoot sandal is the perfect solution for the beach bride who wants something in between barefoot and conventional. While flip flops, for this reason, are a popular choice for beach wedding brides, they are usually not a good choice. For one thing, flip flops flip up sand and water. They also can be difficult to use on the sand. Many of us who wear them to the beach end up kicking them off as soon as we get to the sand.

Conversely, barefoot sandals look lovely, are comfortable and are not cumbersome in any way. They also allow you to wiggle your toes in the sand; in other words, barefoot sandals are super comfortable, allowing you to focus on your vows without being distracted by sore feet. Because barefoot sandals are so popular, you won't have any trouble finding the perfect ones to complement your beach wedding gown, whether you are seeking a natural look such as shells or an exquisite Swarovski crystal.

Many of the bridal retailers carry them, as well as small businesses online. Some will even customize them for you. You may also be able to locate a local jeweler who will create the perfect barefoot sandal for you.  There are hundreds of online photo galleries to give you an idea of exactly what you’ll be buying as you begin to consider your barefoot sandals.

Many of those who enjoy barefoot sandals and who also enjoy beading, make their own. The materials needed depend entirely upon the look you wish to achieve. Making your own barefoot sandals can certainly add the personal touch you’re looking for to your wedding.

If you decide to wear barefoot sandals to your wedding, treat yourself to a nice pedicure, and remember to match your toenail polish as well as your barefoot jewelry with your dress.

A Unique Out of Town Gift Bag Welcomes Your Wedding Guests

Your wedding guests will come from near and far for your special day and nothing says, “welcome” more than a thoughtful out of town gift bag, also known as OOT bags. Imagine your guests’ delight when they’re greeted upon arrival with a gift bag full of goodies, chosen especially with them in mind. Aunt Minnie and Uncle Tom from Iowa would love a local “I love the Bahamas” souvenir T-shirt or a travel guide to make them feel right at home.

It’s your big day, and your guests know you planned literally hundreds of details to make it the perfect occasion. That’s just one reason why adding the caring touch of an out of town gift bag will have special meaning for them. They will sincerely appreciate having this personal “thank you” from you and your groom.

Even if you’ve already chosen favors for your guests, OOT bags can still be given separately. Now that you’ve decided to honor your guests with this special treat, just how do you create an out of town gift bag? Let’s start with budget. OOT bags can be as simple or elaborate as your wedding expenses allow. The amount you choose to spend will determine the scope of the out of town gift bag ideas you include.

First, decide whether all of your OOT bags be the same. If you need options to accommodate special guests and the wedding party, you might want to reserve a larger part of your budget for these. Once you know your budget, deciding on the type of bag or container for your out of town gift bag is the first step and sometimes most challenging. Options might include a basket or tote bag -- and if you can find one made by local artisans, so much the better! If the budget doesn’t allow for that, don't worry. You can find many lovely inexpensive tote bags with an icon of the location in its design or pretty baskets.

So, exactly what goes into an out of town gift bag? Think about what you would like to have when you visit a place you’ve never been. Your wedding guests will also greatly appreciate items such as guides to local attractions they might want to explore on their own time or a listing of local restaurants. Other items could be an itinerary of the wedding events, as well as delicious and locally prepared goodies.

For presentation, have the OOT bag waiting for your guests in their hotel room. A special note from you welcoming them to your wedding destination and thanking them for taking the time to come and share your special day will make them feel honored and right at home.

How to Choose Beach Wedding Favors

A beach themed wedding, whether on a beach or in a church, calls for beach wedding favors that match the romance and fun of your seaside wedding. While not all weddings that take place on beaches are beach themed, (some have other themes such as such a favorite movie), many couples do choose to go with a beach theme. Some beach weddings have more specific sand, surf, or nautical themes, such as shells, scuba diving, dolphins, sailing, or actual tropical locations like Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Mexico. There are several things you may want to think about as you shop for beach wedding favors. One point to consider is that like all the other elements of your wedding, the wedding favors should reflect your personalities as well as the style of your beach wedding, whether casual or elegant, romantic or fun (or both). Second, keep in mind that a wedding favor may be treasured for years by family and friends as a special memento of your day, or it may be something enjoyed just that one day but savored in memory for years come. You should choose a great favor accordingly. Finally, think about the fact that a wedding favor is also a way for you and your groom to thank your wedding guests, so making the right selection is essential.

 

Choosing the Favor

A beach wedding evokes pictures of blue and turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, palm trees and romantic sunsets, especially when the wedding destination is a place like the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. Your favors could play on this angle or a specific beach/ocean theme. For example, a couple who are avid scuba divers could provide for their beach wedding favors miniature treasure chests figurines or candles in the form of two dolphins or kissing fish. Shells and nautical themes lend themselves very well to wedding favors. You can find many beach wedding favors that feature shells, from shell shaped mints to candles decorated with shells. Sailboat wedding favors are popular with nautical couples. Other nautical beach wedding favors range from key chains with whimsical sailboats to miniature, glass blown sailboats. Wedding favors may double as place cards showing guests where they are to sit for the reception. Miniature beach pails with shovels with the guest’s name is an example of a place card wedding favor that works well with a whimsical, fun wedding style. The same holds true for beach balls. One couple had their names printed on beach balls, one for each guest to inflate after the meal, since the reception actually took place on the beach. For a casual, elegant look, consider miniature, silver flip-flops. Foods are also popular wedding favors. Miniature rum cakes would be perfect for a Caribbean beach wedding. A treat like this might be decorated with a ribbon in a color that matches the wedding colors. Some couples offer cookies with a recipe attached. A natural for a sand and sea wedding would be pecan sandies! As you may imagine, planning your beach wedding favors can be a really fun step in planning your beach wedding.

Considering Honeymoon Registry

The honeymoon registry is a unique new idea to help couples create, and pay for, the ultimate vacation. As most brides and grooms know, the perfect wedding often requires a large budget, so honeymoon expenses are an important consideration. However, if you’re not ready yet to give up the idea of toasting each other with expensive champagne from a balcony overlooking some exotic locale, the honeymoon registry will allow you to choose an entirely customized vacation to begin your life together-and it will all be paid for in advance, a gift from friends and loved ones. Just what is a honeymoon registry?

Very similar to a gift registry, couples register for their ideal honeymoon, complete with luxurious extras and delightful touches, and then receive each feature as a wedding gift. Would you like to fly off to Aruba, stay in a luxurious hotel, dine at fine restaurants and sip expensive wine? A honeymoon registry website allows couples to create their complete itinerary, listing each and every item that could fashion the ultimate honeymoon. Once this is done, they send this link to friends and family who can pick and choose whether they want to give a bottle of fine wine, pay for the bridal suite for one or more nights, or purchase airline tickets or side trip adventures.

Two things make this an ideal concept. First, there are elements in all price ranges so it’s easy for anyone to find something to give. Secondly, imagine the delight of loved ones as they picture the happy couple enjoying the limo ride or candle lit meal they purchased. The honeymoon registry allows them to participate in the creation of memories that will last a lifetime. Honeymoon registry tools to look for include easy set up, online and toll-free phone support, easy payment options, free announcement cards and email postcards, plus expert help in sending out thank you notes. Design options may include graphics for your links and photo borders, while “Still Need” lists to help registry visitors determine at a glance which gifts are still available to purchase. In addition, you can add little narratives about why this particular gift might mean a lot to you. For instance, “We’ve discovered that many side trips are located in isolated spots so a rental car will help us explore.”

Some honeymoon registry sites also offer free wedding pages. If you already have a wedding page, simply add a link to the honeymoon registry so that all of your nuptial news is centrally located. Quite a few sites are jumping on the Honeymoon registry trend.

Check them out:

Beach Wedding Attire for the Groom

The blue ocean, the sound of the surf, and the soft, warm sand combine to provide a very romantic setting for a wedding, as well as inspiration for your groom's beach wedding attire. No matter how sophisticated and beautiful your beach wedding gown, your groom can look dashing standing next you, and he can do so without a tux or even a jacket.

Popular groom beach wedding attire often includes colors that are in harmony with the beach setting, such as tan, white, cream, light peach and blue. Just as the sand is sometimes speckled with black (especially in volcanic Hawaii), black works too in moderation. Professional wedding planners often suggest groom attire that includes the natural hues of the sand and sea. If you will be exchanging vows on a warm, sunny beach, a jacket is definitely not in the fashion forecast. Even for a beach resort wedding that takes place away from the sun and surf, perhaps in a gazebo next to a waterfall or indoors, a jacket is not needed. If you're exchanging vows in a beach destination that is near the surf, yet in a formal setting, your groom may want to wear a tux or nice suit, but my experience has been that even in the most luxurious and expensive of beach resorts, the look is casual – a classier casual, but still casual.

Speaking of suits, whether marrying on the sand with the waves gently lapping the shoreline behind you, or in the gazebo at a luxury resort, there are some types of suits that are preferable over others. If you want your groom to look cool (as in not wiping the sweat of his brow), go with a cotton or linen suit. If your groom is wearing slacks and a shirt, choose from the beachy pastels mentioned above. A word about white: no white pants (unless your wedding is to be a 70's theme). Save the white for a crisp white linen shirt, or go with a light cream or tan shirt with blue pants instead.

A couple of nice options for the groom's beach wedding attire are the guayabera and aloha shirts. Both of these shirts can be worn outside the trousers. The guayabera shirt, also known as the Mexican wedding shirt, is usually linen but may also be cotton and is classy casual. The aloha shirt is of course Hawaiian. Aloha shirts are usually floral printed, and while many are bright and splashy, many also are available in soft, beach tones with very classy patterns.

If your wedding is going to be super casual, as in clam-bake and beer kind of casual, then your groom may wear nice shorts instead of slacks. Gaging by most men's concern for fashion, expect to help him choose the shorts. Stone colored shorts with a nice linen or cotton short sleeved, button down shirt would be the perfect match for your casual wedding.

No matter if your groom is wearing a tux or shorts, coordinate his attire with your dress. If your dress is to be white, then choosing his colors is a cinch. Color coordination doesn’t mean you need to wear the same colors, but be sure that the colors and any prints compliment each other. One final thing – shoes! Your groom needn't wear dress shoe unless he's wearing a tux or suit. If you are marrying on the sand, sandals or going barefoot is a great option. Again, if the wedding it taking place at a beach resort, even indoors, consider loafers or nice sandals. As you may have gathered, your groom might value a beach wedding for more than its natural beauty and romantic appeal – as far as groom’s beach wedding attire goes, he's off the hook.

Buying the Perfect Beach Wedding Dress

One of the top considerations when planning a beach wedding is, of course, your dress. Whether your beach wedding calls for a formal, destination wedding dress or a casual wedding dress, selecting your beach wedding gown is a matter of personal taste – and a few practicalities. You will likely want to coordinate your beach wedding gown with the style and theme of your wedding. Beach weddings in the past were almost always casual, and many still are.

Many brides-to-be don't realize that a beach wedding dress can be formal. They can, but should you choose a formal style, your dress will be lighter and simpler. Should you have your beach wedding at a posh beachfront resort or on a deserted stretch of sand on your favorite island, the attire and decorations can be quite formal to suit your tastes.

To buy the perfect wedding dress, for a formal or casual wedding, you will need to be sure the gown is beach-proof, that is you will want to do prevent natural elements such as sand and wind from detracting from your appearance. With these things in mind, consider the following tips:

1. Long wedding gown trains fit big church weddings more than beach weddings. A long train just isn't practical with all that sand and sea breeze. A short train with a finger hold or no train at all is best when exchanging vows on the sand.

2. Remember that formal doesn't necessarily equate to fussy and fancy, and it shouldn't for a beach wedding. A beach wedding, whether formal or casual, calls for a lighter touch. For example, a Cinderella gown wouldn't work, but a strapless satin sheath would. The slip dress is a popular choice for beach weddings, as are halter, strapless and sarong style dresses.

3. The beach wedding dress can be short or long, but if it is to be long, have it hemmed up enough to allow for your feet sinking into the sand. The Hawaiian holuku mu`u mu`u is cut higher in the front, is figure hugging and flares out at the bottom, making this a perfect choice for Hawaii destination wedding.

4. Whether you are saying "I do" on the sand or in a beach front gazebo, it is likely to be quite breezy, so to buy the perfect beach wedding dress, shop for straighter lined gowns rather full.

5. Keep your comfort in mind. Stay away from heavy fabrics and hose. If you feel you must cover your legs, wear a long, yet cool, dress. The perfect beach wedding dress will also be perfectly accessorized. If you have your heart set on a veil, have it weighted at the bottom (after all you don't want to look like the "Flying Nun" in your wedding photos). If you are wearing a casual beach wedding dress with a summery hat to match, be sure to have the hat pinned down well so a gust of ocean wind doesn't carry it off.

Many beach wedding brides opt for flowers instead, such as an orchid pinned behind the ear or a wreath of flowers worn like a crown (known in Hawaii as a haku lei). Shoes are another important consideration. High heels and hose just don't work for beach weddings. Choose dressy sandals, or if the wedding is casual or Hawaiian, barefoot works!

Popular places to buy classy yet casual beach wedding dress are: Nordstrom, JCrew & Ann Taylor. Popular places to buy a more formal, beach wedding gown are: David’s Bridal, Alfred Angleo Destiny Collection, and Dessy Collection.You can find more links to bridal shops on our wedding links page.

Finally, as mentioned above, the style of your gown should reflect your personal taste. Whether you choose a resort destination wedding dress or a casual beach wedding dress, the best choice is one that fits your personality and sense of style, as well as the style and theme of the wedding. With these tips in mind and your own good instincts, you are sure to buy the perfect beach wedding dress.

Beach Wedding & Beach Themed Wedding Invitations


Whether you are exchanging vows on the beach with the sound of the surf behind you, or you are tying the knot elsewhere but have decided upon a beach theme for your wedding, the perfect beach wedding invitations are essential to the overall feel of the wedding.

Keep in mind that while a wedding with a beach theme calls for beach themed invitations, a wedding with a beach setting may or may not. For example, many popular wedding themes work with beach weddings, such as vintage 60s, butterflies, and other summery themes.

Another important consideration when looking for beach wedding invitations or destination wedding invitations is your personal sense of style, the style of the wedding, and your budget.

Of course, your beach wedding may also have a beach theme. Whether you are planning to marry barefoot in the sand, on a sunset sailboat cruise, at a posh, beach resort, or in a Midwestern church -- if your wedding will have a beach theme, then the following ideas may help you in your wedding invitation search.

Message in a Bottle invitations: The message, of course, is that they are invited to your wedding. The bottle may be a simple picture on the invitation, or depending on the budget, actual bottles with wedding invitations inside could be delivered.

Invitations with Beach Graphics: A picture of a seascape, shells or a beach scene leaves no doubt as to the theme or location of your wedding.

Invitations with an Aquatic Theme: A picture of two dolphins sharing a ring or bubble of light is certain to give your guests the feel you want to achieve

"Love Boat" Invitations: This style might picture two sailboats side by side or it might actually be in the shape of a boat.

Keep in mind that your beach wedding invitation can reflect the fun and/or romantic qualities of the day. As with your wedding gown and the groom's attire, the best beach wedding invitations will match the tone and style of your wedding and will, most likely, make use of beach colors and fonts that are casual or elegant with a light touch.

Remember when shopping for your beach wedding invitations that the invitation helps to set the tone for your wedding. The invitation may be your guest's first impression of the feel of your wedding. By setting the tone, the invitation helps your guests understand the proper spirit of your special event which will make your wedding an even more joyful experience. Also, given that your wedding invitation will likely hold a precious spot in your scrapbook as well as in those of your family and friends, you can see why the invitation holds a top position on the pre-nuptials "to do list." Have fun shopping for your beach wedding invitations!

Have your wedding invitations printed online with PsPrint.com