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Wedding Swag: Wedding favor ideas

Everyone loves ‘swag’ and weddings are no different.  For the Island Wedding we hosted for the Road Warrior’s Daughter, we tried to extend hospitality through the gifts we left each night (along with a personal hand-written note) in each guest’s room.

Welcome Bag

Welcome Bag included:  Sandcastle book, playing cards, sunscreen, bug wipes (not pictured), hat, (not pictured) muslin bag for collecting shells, and a note from the hosts welcoming everyone to the island.

Wedding Gift Bag

Other favors:  Custom wedding tote bag with Map of wedding venue, Sea Glass Candies, Personalized S’mores, Print of handpainted map of wedding venue, customized note, bag with seashell soaps and Necker Island Box of seashells.

3 Tips for choosing wedding favors:

Remember, it’s the thought that counts, so choose favors that are thoughtful (hats, umbrellas, sunscreen, bug spray, etc).

The favors should fit the venue, the bride or groom’s personality—or both!

If it’s a destination wedding make sure it’s something that can be taken home easily.  Otherwise your guests may leave it behind or have to make special arrangements to ship gifts home.

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Island Wedding Invitation in a bottle

Earlier this year the Road Warrior’s Daughter was married in the British Virgin Islands.   Although it was a small (immediate family only) affair, we did want to send out Save The Date Announcements that would set the tone for the upcoming destination wedding.


Necker Island-793

An invitation in a bottle was the obvious choice along with island inspired details such as: a map of the BVI on the label, starfish, sand, sea glass and shells.  If you’re  planning an island wedding this isn’t a difficult invitation to DIY.

Wedding Invitation in a bottle

If I could change anything about this invitation I would have aged the bottle. Other than that, I’m happy with how it came out. Most importantly, the bride was too.


 Resources to DIY your own Island Wedding Invitation in a bottle:




Sea Glass

Sand – pick up from the beach or use white play sand

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DIY Pirate Party

This year we hosted a Pirate Party for our Birthday Buccaneers.  I hope this party inspires you to create your own themed event.

DIY Pirate Party


I’ve always said that the invitation sets the tone for an event and that’s even more true with themed events.  For this event I created a Pirate Invitation in a bottle using an aging technique on the bottle and corks.

Each invitation had a custom label with the Buccaneer Guest’s name.  Most of the invitations were hand delivered but a couple were mailed packed in Spanish Moss and a narrow white box.

DIY Pirate Party Invitation in a Bottle



Pirate Party Decor

The party was held  in the heart of Florida Cracker Country so my challenge was to make this rustic setting fit a pirate themed party.  Using a pond on the property, we created a ‘Pirate Lagoon’  as the backdrop for this party and the location of our shipwreck.

Pirate Plank

Pirate Lagoon

Pirate Boat

Masts were created for these tables using the DIY Pirate Mast Centerpiece instructions

pirate party-40


Pirate sword fight

The boys had one request for their party: they wanted to play a lot of games with their friends.  This Pirate Party was packed full of non-stop entertainment including a Treasure Hunt that involved riddles and clues and a Scavenger Hunt for Treasure Boxes containing the next clue.

Pirate scavenger hunt

Other games included: Capture the flag, Cannon Ball Toss, Pirate Sword Pop, Swab the Deck relay race and a Pirates Life for Me Obstacle Course.

pirate boat race

Our band of merry Pirates

pirate costumes


After all the non-stop actions we served up a buffet to feed our band of hungry Pirates.  When it comes to a kids’ parties you cannot go wrong with a buffet.

Pirate Beverages

The Pirate Theme was carried over to the buffet where playful buffet cards were made for the menu which included:

Buffet for Pirate Party

Pirate Punch,

PBJ Planks,

Pirate Ship Hot Dogs,

Pirate Peg Legs

Mr. Smee’s Deviled Eggs

pirate Buffet

Pirates Booty

Fishy Snacks

Watermelon Slices

Roasted Pig

DIY Pirate Party Buffet


Pirate Party Resources:

Make your own Pirate Invitation in a bottle

Visit my Pirate Party Resource Page for more information on resources used in this party.

The Sherbert Party Punch Recipe makes a great Pirate Punch

Download the Pirate Party Entertainment PDF to read more about the games we played and what you need for them. (coming soon!)

DIY Salt Water labels 

Check-out my Pirate Party Pinterest Board for more inspiring ideas



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White Party: Necker Island

This post is part of a wedding series covering details and ideas for an Island Destination Wedding.  All pictures are from the destination wedding we hosted earlier this year for the Road Warrior’s daughter.

White Party Ideas

A White Party is the perfect way to kick off an island destination wedding and get guests in the mood for the upcoming nuptials.  White parties aren’t limited to just weddings, so even if there isn’t a wedding in your immediate future, there are still some elegant takeaways you can apply to your next dinner party or stylish white party.

white dinner party

 How to create a White Party Tablescape

white party flowers

1. Use varied simple white floral arrangements to add interest to the table.  In this tablescape 3 different types of flowers were used yet they were grouped individually in 3 different vases.  This type of arrangement is very easy to DIY.

White Party Tablescape

2. Use white linens and napkin rings in different hues.  Pictured above is an off white napkin with white napkin ring place card.  White comes in many different tones, layer them for the most dramatic effect.

White party lanterns

3.) Candlelight is the perfect white light!  Use string lights and candles generously.  If you’re using lanterns, don’t forget to add lights to the inside for a nice glow.

Other details from the evening:

To add a little fun to this evening party we used LED balloons, bracelets and glow bar-ware.

Glow Glasses

After dinner the guests headed out to the beach where we watched fireworks over the ocean.  It was the perfect way to end our evening and begin the weekend.

Karin Katherine Taylor

Candids from the evening

White Party attire

I love this picture of me with one of our sons, standing by the bonfire.  It was our first evening in the British Virgin Islands and we arrived 3 hours later than planned, due to a mechanical issue with the plane!   I was very overwhelmed by all that needed to be done and I distinctly remember that this moment, near the end of the evening, was the first time I remembered to just breathe and relax.

Karin Katherine White Party

My dress (and necklace) is by Lanvin and it was so comfortable.  The Road Warrior encouraged me to buy it the year before when we were in Las Vegas on a business trip. At the time I wondered when I’d ever have an occasion to wear a long white gown, but I didn’t want to put a damper on his enthusiasm with picking out something for me.

I’m glad I didn’t.  It was the perfect dress and the most perfect evening.

White Party Resources:

Napkin Ring place cards

14″ LED balloons

Glow barware

LED Bling ring

LED white bracelets

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How to make a Pirate Party Invitation in a bottle

Ahoy there, Matey!

There be a Pirate Party on the Horizon!  Here’s the details on how to host your own Buccaneer Bash.  Avast Ye, the invitation sets the tone for the party, so don’t be forgetting about it, or ye might have to walk the plank!

DIY Pirate Party Invitation in a Bottle


DIY Aged Glass Bottle Technique

Glass bottles

There are numerous ways to age glass bottles but my favorite technique for this application is to combine the sandpaper technique with a little glass enamel wash.  I think it gives it an older aged look that is perfect for a Pirate Party Invitation in a Bottle.

How to age bottles

Step One:  Using a heavy grain sandpaper (I like 80 grit) sand the bottle in various directions.

Step Two:  Mix 40 % enamel paint with  60% water to create a wash and apply evenly with a brush.

Step Three: Using a paper towel, cloth or tissue dab lightly around the bottle.  This will give texture and remove some of the paint.

Step Four: Allow to dry completely.

Pirate Party Invitations

DIY Pirate Party Invitation in a bottle

Pirate Party Invitation

Step One:Create a custom label for your invitation.   For our invitations I customized each label with the name of the guests with ‘Buccaneer’ followed by the child’s name.

Step Two: Create an invitation using parchment paper.  Try to be creative with the text.  There are a number of great websites to look up popular Pirate phrases or jargon.

Step Three: Hand tear the edges and use an ink pad on the edges. My favorite is Tim Holz’s distress ink, but a regular ink pad would work too.

Step Four: Crumple paper into a ball, and then unfold it.

Step Five: Roll paper up and wrap twine around it and tie a knot.

Step Six: Add sand to the bottle (if desired) and shake it up so the sand sticks a little to the sides of the inside of the bottle.

Step Seven: Insert roll into the bottle, leaving enough twine to hang out the side of the bottle.

Step Eight: Add a cork (not too tightly).


Pirate Party Invitation

Additional Resources

See how the party all came together in the DIY Pirate Party for Kids post (coming soon!).

Don’t forget to visit the Pirate Party Resource page for more information on where to find materials used in this project.

Learn How to age costumes


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.