Archive for the ‘Gifting 101’ Category

How to Prioritize Your Budget for an Unforgettable Wedding

Monday, August 4th, 2014

unforgettable-weddingphoto – Phillip Wise Photography

Did you know American couples spent an average of $28,427 on their weddings in 2012, according to TheKnot.com, and that figure is already on the rise? Undoubtedly, getting married isn’t an inexpensive proposition and every couple wants the magical memory of their wedding day to last a lifetime. So how can couples have their dream day without flying 1,000 guests to a European castle or remote island?

If you really to create a truly memorable event, managing your wedding budget is key. Allocate your spending in terms of longevity. Attach larger amounts to the wedding elements people will remember or keep after the big day, such as quality photography. Additionally, catering and venue pricing can vary greatly depending on the season, particular week, day of the week or even the time of day. Ask your caterer about all of your options. Floral is another area where you can save. For example, arrangements and bouquets made from local and in-season flowers will be less expensive than ones flown in. More modern simplified arrangements can also cut down on the number of flowers needed.

Just keep in mind that the memories of some of these elements will be fairly short-lived, so think about prioritizing your budget in terms of the elements that will inspire the fondest memories and last the longest. One perfect example is bridesmaids gifts. You’ll want to ensure that your bridesmaids wear similar and appropriate jewelry, so it makes sense to invest a bit more in gifts that will last forever. You may be surprised at what you can afford, such as natural-color champagne diamond jewelry.

Natural-color champagne diamond jewelry from the Argyle Mine in Australia is available at many jewelry stores with prices starting as low as $150. Not only are they affordable, but these pieces make great bridesmaids gifts because they perfectly symbolize the beauty, rarity and timelessness of a lifelong friendship. Diamonds grow over millions of years and like a true friendship, last forever.

These gorgeous champagne hues from The Argyle Mine are exceptionally rare. For every one natural-color diamond (like, there are 10,000 white diamonds? Just as you may have many friends, true lifetime friends are rare. Bridesmaids assume a lot of responsibility and financial obligation during a wedding and a gift of natural champagne diamond jewelry shows your appreciation. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that Argyle Diamonds are ethically mined and that the neutral-color hues will work with any color fashion dictates over the years. For more information about natural color diamonds from The Argyle Mine, visit www.diamondswithastory.com.

Argyle Diamond Cross Pendant

Champagne and white diamond cross pendant. Fred Meyer, $399

Michael O’Connor is one of America’s leading voices on jewelry, style and accessories and has become the “go-to” resource for editors and producers seeking information on current trends and celebrity information. O’Connor as been involved in the luxury, jewelry and fashion industries in a career that spans over 25 years. Connect with Michael on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Which areas of your budget have you found it easiest to save money in? Leave a comment below and let us know.

10 Father’s Day Gifts Dad Actually Wants This Year

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Dad. He taught you so many of life’s essentials — from playing catch and learning to pick your battles with your siblings, to how to change a tire and the importance of sitting back and relaxing when things get stressful — on a hammock with a beer firmly in hand. Thank him for his years of unwavering wisdom and support this Father’s Day (Sunday, June 15th) with one of these creative, guy-approved gift ideas. We guarantee they won’t sit on a shelf and collect dust.

home-state-craft-beer-mugs

1. Home State Craft Beer Mugs, Set of Four ($47.95) – Home is where the beer is, right? If your dad’s obsessed with craft beer, he’ll love kicking back with a cold one served in one of these cool, sturdy craft beer mugs, which are engraved with the outline of his favorite state, the word “home” and come in a set of four.

motorized-grill-brush

2. Motorized Grill Brush ($39.99) – The only downside to grilling out all summer long? Cleaning your behemoth of a grill afterward. If dad’s grill looks like it hasn’t been properly cleaned in ages, let him take a load off by using this little grill cleaning gem, which makes swift work of the grimy task. Throw in a few filet mignons to cement your “favorite” status in his book. Take that, baby bro.

family-distillery-personalized-whiskey-barrel-sign

3. Family Distillery Personalized Whiskey Barrel Sign ($149.95) – If your dad frequently proclaims that drinking whiskey “is for real men” and will “put hair on your chest”, it’s safe to assume he knows his whiskey and will love displaying this unique sign made from the face of a real whiskey barrel. Personalize it for free with your family’s surname and year established.

personalized-mens-leather-watch-case

4. Personalized Men’s Leather Watch Case ($57.95) – If your dad routinely touts the importance of being early or on time to just about everything, he likely has a sizable wristwatch collection to help out with the task. Keep his precious timepieces organized and protected with this sharp leather watch case, which includes personalization and has 10 removable velvet cushions and a glass lid for displaying his watches and other valuables.

personalized-craft-beer-cooler

5. Personalized Craft Beer 12-Pack Bottle Cooler ($39.95) – If dad’s always on the run, either to go get his fish on, tailgate at the big game or catch poker night with his friends, he’ll love bringing along this 12-pack bottle cooler to easily schlep his favorite beverages, you know, just in case he gets thirsty. The cooler, which holds 12 bottles or 18 cans with ice, includes his personalized initial, an attached bottle opener, removable interior divider, front storage pocket and padded shoulder strap.

overnight-leather-cigar-case

6. Overnight Leather Cigar Case ($128) – Stogie-loving dads will flip for this leather cigar case that’s perfect for home or travel. This sharp, zip-around bonded leather case has an interior mahogany tray secured with a leather strap to separate and protect four cigars and includes a jet flame lighter with a built-in punch and stainless steel cutter. Light ‘em up!

personalized-whiskey-barrel-duck-call

7. Whiskey Barrel Duck Call ($89.95) – Hunters, this is no ordinary duck call. Prepare to really impress dad with this duck call handcrafted from a real whiskey barrel (your choice of Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark). The lightweight duck call is pre-tuned to perfectly suit every calling situation, from small ponds and marshes to large lakes. Engrave it with two lines of custom text for free.

personalized-mens-toiletry-bag-with-grooming-tools

8. Personalized Men’s Toiletry Bag with Grooming Tools ($29.95) – If dad’s often on the road for work or play or just likes to keep things organized at home, this is the gift for him. This sleek, microfiber toiletry bag has multiple internal compartments, zippered top and bottom enclosures and elasticized grips. It also comes with all the essentials: a pocket comb, nail scissors, cuticle groomer, nail file, tweezers and clippers. Embroider it with his initials for free for a personal touch.

cast-iron-bacon-press

9. Cast-Iron Bacon Press ($15) – If friends and family often describe your dad as the “baconator” (translation: “bacon fanatic”) who loads the delectable pork strips on top of everything from burgers to ice cream, look no further. Rock his bacon-bedecked world with this ingenious cast-iron bacon press, which flattens bacon for quick, even cooking and reduces shrinkage (‘nuff said). He’ll also love using it for grilling up sammies and ‘dillas.

personalized-reversible-beer-growler-serving-board

10. Bamboo Beer Growler Serving Board ($42.95) – Perfect for foodie dads and beer lovers alike, this unusual bamboo growler-shaped serving board, which doubles as a cutting board, features his engraved initial on one side and the names of nearly every beer you can think of on the other. Just add his favorite beer, pretzels and mustard to knock this Father’s Day gift out of the park.

Which one of these man-approved gifts would be perfect for your dad?

Connect with post author Kara Horner on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

How to Buy U.S. Groomsmen Gifts if You Live in Canada

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

canada-flag-over-water

When it comes to buying gifts for their groomsmen, our friends north of the border oftentimes find themselves at the short end of the stick. Finding the right gifts isn’t necessarily the problem — there’s some pretty cool stuff out there. The trouble comes when it’s time to ship them to Canada from a U.S. warehouse. While this can be quite frustrating, it’s no reason to give up on that perfect gift you’ve found. With the five tips below, you can easily do it (even on a budget).

Order early: Shipping to Canada from the U.S. often tacks on a few extra days to the shipping time frame, so it really pays to order early. To avoid finding yourself empty handed the day of your wedding, make sure to order early. When ordering personalized or bulk gifts, it’s important to order at least three weeks ahead of your wedding or rehearsal dinner date.

Look for discounts: Coupons are always out there. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Sites like The Man Registry have been known to lend a helping hand with coupon codes for larger orders.

Ask questions: Of course, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. This is especially true when it comes to making an important purchase online. Once you’ve found a website you’d like to buy from, make sure to inquire about shipping rates, time frames and the availability of certain products for international shipment.

Ship to the US: If you live near the U.S.-Canada border or have friends in the States that frequently travel between countries, you can save on shipping costs by shipping your order to a U.S. address. Many websites boast free shipping offers that are only applicable to U.S. orders. Shipping to a U.S. address can also help cut down or eliminate duty fees.

Find a trustworthy site: Also make sure to find a website you can really trust. A simple Google search will reveal that there are plenty of retail sites out there. Before making a purchase over international lines, it’s important to read reviews, determine that the website is secure, and even give the company phone call to make sure there’s a real person on the other end. A reputable company will list their business phone number through their website, so this shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish.

Following these tips will make the buying process much less stressful . If you need a little help getting started finding the right gift, here are three ideas that are all easily shipped to Canada:

custom casks to age your own home  whiskey in

Age your own bourbon, wine or rum in this custom cask made from American Oak. You can even have each groomsman’s initials etched into the barrel face. [Shop here]

steel flasks that are shaped like hockey pucks that feature the logos of NHL teams

These stainless steel “biscuits” are designed to look just like a hockey puck — but it’s what’s inside that counts. The flasks will hold 5oz. of booze and are available for all 30 NHL teams. [Shop here]

personalized pub signs that can easily ship to Canada for groomsmen gifts

Pub signs are a great way to celebrate the individuality of each of your friends. With themed-designs ranging from fishing to hockey to man caves, there’s no doubt you’ll find something for everyone. [Shop designs here]

Live in Canada? Are you shopping locally for groomsmen gifts or searching online?

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Connect with post author Chris Easter on Google+, Pinterest and Facebook.

9 Mother’s Day Gifts Your Mom Will Truly Love

Friday, April 25th, 2014

She’s always had your back. Now it’s time to show Mom how much you appreciate everything she does for you. With Mother’s Day quickly approaching (May 11th — hint, hint!), it’s time to skip the cheesy, last-minute gifts this year and show your mama some well-deserved love with one of these nine unique, heartfelt gift ideas.

This modern engraved keepsake box with corkboard interior makes a great sentimental gift for moms, bridesmaids and brides.

Perfect for moms who love sentimental gifts, this modern Engraved Keepsake Box with Cork Board Interior features a study wood frame, a glass flip-top lid and an internal cork board surface for displaying keepsakes and trinkets. Engrave the lid of the keepsake box, which comes in white or black, with her initial and fill it with mementos from a favorite vacation, anniversary trip, wedding day, and other special occasions

all-that-i-am-or-hope-to-be-print

What mom wouldn’t love to hear this Abraham Lincoln quote? This All That I Am or Hope to Be I Owe to My Mother Print features an original 8×10 illustration of the sweet quote on a woman’s silhouette on thick cardstock in a range of custom colors and background patterns.

This unique live, laugh, love personalized wine barrel sign makes a perfect gift for any wine lover.

Wine connoisseur moms will love this Live Laugh Love Personalized Wine Barrel Sign. Designed to resemble the signs that hang in wineries, this 22-inch circular oak sign is crafted from the face of an authentic wine barrel and is personalized with a family name and year. This unique sign is perfect for decorating her kitchen, dining room or wine cellar.

custom-mothers-day-gift-set

What mom couldn’t use a little R&R? Give her the gift of much-needed relaxation with this Custom Mother’s Day Gift Set. This eco-friendly boxed set includes skin rescue balm, muscle relaxation balm and your choice of soap, lip balm and bath salt.

This personalized United States bamboo serving board is a perfect entertaining piece to add to your collection.

If she’s the life of the party and loves hosting get-togethers for friends and family, this Personalized USA Map Bamboo Serving Board will make a great addition to her entertaining collection. The 100% bamboo wood serving board features her engraved initial in the center for an extra personal touch. She’ll love using it to serve cheese, crackers, crudités, dips and other finger foods at her next event.

gold-legacy-necklace

If your mom loves showing off her family pride, she’ll love this Gold Legacy Necklace. Available in sterling silver or gold plate with a 16- to 18-inch adjustable chain, this family system necklace begins with a circular or rectangular center charm with names, a date or special message, and can include as many square or rectangular single initial charms as she likes – one for each child or pet.

Foodies and chefs alike will love this vintage-inspired customized family bistro canvas print.

Foodies and chefs alike will love showing off this Customized Family Bistro Canvas Print at the next family dinner. The 18- by 24-inch sign, which features a vintage-inspired fork and spoon design, the word ‘Eat’, and is personalized with a family name, adds a heartfelt touch to any dining room or kitchen.

This black leather personalized women's jewelry box will keep her baubles protected and organized.

If your mom has too many baubles to keep track of, she’ll really appreciate this black leather Personalized Women’s Jewelry Box. The jewelry box has 10 compartments with removable jewelry pillows to keep her jewelry safe and organized. The box’s hinged glass lid, which is personalized with her name, opens and closes with a polished-nickel lock.

Show mom how royal she is with this pillow boasting a crown

Treat your mother like royalty with this stately Cotton Throw Pillow, which features a crown and says that “Mom is a Title Just Above Queen”. The pillow measures 12 by 12 inches and will surely become a popular mainstay on mom’s favorite couch or chair.

Which of these gift ideas would be perfect for your mom? Tell us in the comment section below.

Connect with post author Kara Horner on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

Subscribe Your Groomsmen to Monthly Boxes of Awesome

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Bespoke-Lifestyle-2-original

Want to give your groomsmen a truly unique gift that keeps on giving after the wedding day? We recently discovered a manly service that does just that. Bespoke Post, a subscription box club for men, will deliver a new Box of Awesome to your groomsmen each month. Each of the service’s boxes includes a selection of theme-driven products focused on food, drink, fashion, grooming and more, to fit a range of personalities and interests. For example, the Sweat box (pictured below), which features a stylish, custom-made gym bag and a supplement starter kit, is perfect for gym rats, while the Aged box includes creatively designed tumblers and an aging kit to let liquor connoisseurs age their own blends at home.

family-2

Bespoke Post offers grooms the option of gifting either a digital or physical gift card (for a subscription of one, two, three, four, five, six or 12 months of service), or one gift box paired with a physical gift card (for a subscription of two, three, four, five, six or 12 months of service). Once a recipient redeems a subscription, they’ll receive an email on the first of each month detailing the contents of that month’s box and can choose to ship the featured selection or skip it at no charge and wait for the next box (with the option to skip as many boxes as they’d like).

A one-month Bespoke Post gift card is $55, but if you choose a time period greater than one month, the monthly cost is $45. Best of all: Right now, GroomsAdvice readers can enter code “GROOMSADVICE” at checkout to receive 10% off their total orders. For more information, visit Bespoke Post, or if you’re interested in purchasing gifts for five or more recipients, email Bespoke Post at concierge@bespokepost.com to connect with a gift concierge.

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Connect with post author Kara Horner on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

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