Articles by Mark Strutton:


Free Templates for Bridal Shower Invitations

A bridal shower is a party for a bride-to-be, where she receives gifts from her friends and family. To have this party in style you’ll want to send out an elegant invitation card. Below you’ll find our free downloadable bridal shower invitation templates.

What is supposed to happen at a bridal shower?

Bridal showers are said to come forth out of the earlier dowry practices, when the woman’s family either couldn’t afford a dowry or didn’t want to provide one. Friends of the bride would then come together and bring gifts to compensate for the absence of the dowry.

The earliest history of this appears to be around 1860 and since then it has evolved into the tradition that is today. Since around 100 years (in the USA) a bridal shower has the same purpose i.e. that of a gift-giving event, although more recently (since the 1950s) it has become a more elaborate event for which (besides the gifts) you can have a theme and where games are played.

A bridal shower is normally hosted by close friends of the bride and traditionally that’s one or more bridesmaids. Nowadays it can also be family, although that’s still not commonplace.

The event usually takes place at the host’s home, but it can also be at another location. Sometimes you’ll see “theme”-locations, where games can be played or where you can do a fun activity.

Food can be served, but that’s certainly not always the case. You would almost always see a cake or something like. A reason for this is that a bridal shower will typically take place in the afternoon and therefore small bites / cake are more appropriate.

Guests are expected to bring a gift and the opening of the gifts is often the main part of the celebration.

What are some good gift ideas for a bridal shower?

Gifts are always a thing of personal preference. If you are invited to a bridal shower then you’ll probably be quite close to the bride and know her well enough to know what she’d appreciate.

However, here’s a list of gift categories that are typical for a bridal shower:

  • clothing: a woman ALWAYS needs more clothes (or shoes) so this goes without saying;
  • lingerie / nightwear: you’ll find that bridal presents typically follow a theme towards romance and this falls nicely into that category;
  • gift cards: although a bit less personal, you can also have gift cards specifically for music or art to make it more personal;
  • personalized items for the bride or the couple: this could be things like passport covers, stamps, his & hers cups/plates etc;
  • jewelry: bracelets, earrings or necklaces would go best as a bridal shower gift and rings are less common;
  • home appliances / utilities: cutlery and appliances are still quite popular, although you may want to think twice if you want your gift to imply that the bride’s going to be serving and cleaning the rest of her life!

Hope these are inspiring you enough. Otherwise you can always browse on some popular marketplaces for arts & crafts or just the big retailers. They surely have a category “bridal shower gifts” just for this purpose.

What should you spend on a bridal shower

Since a bridal shower often takes place at the host’s home (or at one of the hosts’ home), the costs will not be that huge. Therefore it’s quite common for the host(s) to pick up the tab for organizing the event as it’s merely the costs for drinks and small bites (and/or a cake).

In case you’ll hold the shower at an event location, the costs can be a bit higher, but still not more than a couple of hundred dollars.

However nowadays you’ll sometimes see occasions where the guests are expected to pick up part of the cost. This will then be indicated in the invitation, with terms as “Dutch lunch” or “Please bring X USD towards the costs of the event”.

If you are looking for a way to budget more wedding costs, then we have a list of wedding budget spreadsheets for you.

Elegant Microsoft Word Templates

Word Templates with a floral design

Downloadable Powerpoint Templates

Bridal Shower Tutorial

Another great resource for bridal shower ideas is YouTube!

There are several great videos on bridal showers that you can watch to get inspiration for hosting a bridal shower. Some of them are more like vlogs, where you can see what happened on the day or during the days of preparation. Others can be lists of ideas or even tutorials.

The best tutorial series on “how to plan a bridal shower” is by the PinProject. Below is the first video in their series and we highly recommend it.

Free Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Templates

In this article we’ll list some beautiful free rehearsal dinner invitation templates so you can send out a stylish invitation quickly and easily. We’ve got mostly Microsoft Word templates for download, but also some cool Powerpoint templates if you prefer that format.

What is the purpose of a rehearsal dinner?

A rehearsal dinner is a wedding tradition that’s typically only found in the US. It’s a ceremony that takes place the night before the wedding and after the wedding rehearsal.

The purpose is for the relatives and friends of the bride and groom to meet, relax and generally just have a good time. Although you also have a good time at the wedding, the rehearsal dinner is a much smaller occasion and more intimate. Another purpose is for the couple to thank everyone who has been helping with preparations for the wedding.

You won’t typically find a rehearsal dinner outside the US so if you’re European / Asian or from another continent – it’s normal for you to not know what it is.

Who do you invite to a rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is a smaller festive activity than the wedding. You’ll generally find all the people from the wedding rehearsal at the rehearsal dinner as well.

Typically you’ll invite:

  • immediate families of the bride and groom
  • the bridal party
  • the ceremony readers
  • your officiant

If you have a flower girl and/or ring bearer, then make sure to also include the parent(s). And you should not forget to give people to option to have their spouse(s) present of course.

Optionally you’ll invite other people as well. For example you may also want to give people the option to bring a plus-one, but that would depend on your personal preference and budget. You could also decide to invite both of your extended families (grandparents, aunts, uncles etc). The rehearsal dinner is a nice occasion for those people to get to you know each other.

Who pays for a rehearsal dinner?

Tradition dictates that the groom’s family will pay for the rehearsal dinner ( This will include food and drinks, but also the costs of the venue, the entertainment and transportation.

The groom’s family will typically be very happy to do this, because this also is a great opportunity from them to be part of the wedding and add a little bit of their own touch to the wedding festivities. They can choose the venue, food and entertainment and make it theirs – so to say.

Even all this is the tradition – lately (this is written in 2021) you’ll see more and more couples take care of the bill themselves. Sometimes because they want to do the rehearsal dinner in the place that they go to a lot (or even had their first date!) or just because they want it to be really according to their taste.

How much does a rehearsal dinner cost?

A good estimate (if you’re budgeting a wedding) for the cost of a rehearsal dinner is around 1200USD.

If you look at the previous paragraph, then you’ll notice that a lot will depend on the guest list for the rehearsal dinner. The more people you invite – the higher the cost.

Also, the venue will play a huge role in the amount you’ll spend. If you want to go really formal and more “sit-down / silver tableware” then you’ll spend more than when you do it in that cute Mexican taco place where you first met.

Our advice is to really go with your heart on this one. Make sure this is an occasion where you can spend quality time and be relaxed. Getting to know each other and spending quality time in a relaxed setting is key and that doesn’t need to cost much.

Microsoft Word Templates

Below are some free downloadable templates in Microsoft Word that we think you’ll like to use for the rehearsal dinner invitations.

More Word Templates

Microsoft Powerpoint Templates

This is a list of free powerpoint rehearsal dinner invitation templates.

Other Free Templates

47 Great Bridal Shower Invitation Examples

Congrats on getting married! Your wedding will be a great party I’m sure. Almost as awesome as your bridal shower!

If you’re looking to send out bridal shower invites in a more personal style or if you’re saving on your wedding budget, then the bridal shower invitation examples below will be of great help.

Below we have some of the nicest downloadable templates so that you can create your own invitations. All the templates are in Word or in Powerpoint. We find that that is easiest for most people.

Floral Bridal Shower Invitation Templates

A floral theme is very popular for bridal showers. After all – that’s what brides are usually showered with!

Elegant Templates for Bridal Shower Invitations

Other Free Bridal Shower Invitation Templates (in Powerpoint)

Free RSVP Templates (Word, PDF)

If you’re looking for downloadable RSVP templates then you’ve come to the right place. Use one of our free RSVP templates below to send out your RSVP requests.

What is an RSVP?

An RSVP is a request for someone to respond to an invitation. This can be a wedding invitation or an invitation to another party, such as a birthday party or an opening celebration. This helps the people, who organize the event, plan for the right amount of people.

Literally it means “respond please” as it comes from the French “Répondez s’il vous plaît“, but it’s so commonly used that people often forget this. You would almost think that RSVP is an English verb as you can hear it used in sentences like “Can you please RSVP?” and “I’ve already RSVP’d!”.

What should I mention in an RSVP?

If you’re sending RSVPs then you should include the relevant data that people need to know to make an informed decision on their presence. And you’d also need to make sure you get the right information back from them.

Therefore you should include at least the following in an RSVP:

  • the guest name(s)
    You’ll also often see a blank space instead, so the guest can enter his/her/their name(s)
  • due date for the reply
  • will attend / will not attend
  • choice of entree (in case this is an event that features served meals)

The above are the formal versions of what you should include in your RSVP cards. You can of course phrase them as you like. If you (or the event) are more casual by nature, then you may have some fun with the terms as well of course.

RSVP templates for Wedding Invitations

What does the M stand for in the RSVP card?

On RSVP cards for wedding invites (or other invites that allow you to specify your own guests), you’ll often find a blank line that starts with an M.

This is the area where you will typically fill in the name of the guest(s) that are responding. So that’s you.

The M indicates the first letter of the honorific that precedes the name(s) of the party attending. Since all of the forms of address start with an M, this explains why the M is there.

When you’re filling out an RSVP you’ll then add the rest of the line. Therefore it will look something like:

  • Mrs and Mr Jones
  • Ms Jackson
  • Mr Henderson

Free Colorful RSVP templates

When should I expect an answer on an RSVP?

You should expect your guests to stick to RSVP due date in most of the cases. The more formal or grand your event is, the more you can expect people to respond in a timely fashion.

A general rule of thumb is that you should start calling people if they didn’t reply to the RSVP after the due date has passed one week ago. That way there’s plenty of time for mail issues to get sorted. You won’t come across as pushy if you check after that time.

When following up on an RSVP it is important to remember that you’re celebrating something and that’s usually a joyous event. The follow up call should therefore also be a one you’re happy to make and not one that feels like getting a call from a debt collector.

Stylish RSVP templates in Word and Powerpoint

What is good RSVP etiquette in 2021?

Etiquette is of all times in two ways. One – social norms and behaviors have been something that’s (supposed to be) instilled by your parents. They way you are raised so to say. Two – etiquette is also very much cultural open to cultural change.

In the last 50 years we’ve been going through a technological revolution and the last 10 years this has accelerated a lot. We now use electronic devices for everything and this ALSO affects etiquette – and by extension, RSVP etiquette.

While in the past it was standard to send an RSVP card back to acknowledge that were (or were not) coming, today an email can suffice. Or for some people even a text message or a WhatsApp.

Mind you that this may be OK to you, but not to the one you’re sending it to!

A good rule for 2021 is to use the same medium to respond to the RSVP as with which is was sent. So if you’re getting an online RSVP request – then you can RSVP online. But if you’re getting a RSVP card in the mail – use it! Sure, you may not have stamps lying around, but walking to the post office so that you can properly go to a party is the least you can do!

Other than how to reply to the RSVP in 2021, there’s not much that has chanced. You should still (and also in the future) respond on time. You should still mention who is coming and who you’re bringing. And you should still select your entree if the choice is offered.

Free Beautiful Wedding Invitation Templates (2021)

When you start planning your wedding, one of the first thing you’d want to do is send out invitations. With one of free wedding invitation templates below you can do this in a jiffy. We have downloadable templates in Microsoft Word and PDF.

If you’re looking to save money on your wedding then one of them may come in handy! And they’re stylish to boot!

What should be in a wedding invitation?

A wedding invitation should have all the information that your guests need to not only come to your wedding, but also to know what to expect.

This means it should include:

  • The names of the hosts
    The hosts are typically the people who pay for the wedding. Usually you’ll see a line with the names of the hosts followed by something like “Invite You to Celebrate the Marriage of,”
  • You and your partners names
  • Date and time of the ceremony
  • Location of the ceremony and the reception
    Note that this could be different locations so make it very clear to avoid confusion
  • Dress code
    This may not be needed anymore in 2021, but if it is – make sure it’s included. If you want that black tie wedding it would be a shame if you have people showing up in casual attire.
  • RSVP details
    You may want to include an RSVP card if you’re still going the paper invitation way. Make sure that people, who are not familiar with RSVP etiquette, know when to reply.
  • Other details such as event details (think parking / overnight information), return address, your wedding website’s address etc.

You’ll see that the templates below usually cover these details.

When should I send our wedding invitations?

In general you should send wedding invites out six to eight weeks in advance (according to, but there are many exceptions to this rule of thumb.

If you have international guests, then it makes sense to give them more advanced notice. If this means you don’t have a paper invite ready yet, don’t worry about that. Give them a call and ask them to put the date on the calendar – even if it’s months in advance. They may want to make travel arrangements and book time off after all.

You may also have people on your list with extremely busy schedules or who have weekend obligations (news broadcasters / ER nurses etc). Although most people can reschedule things on 6 weeks notice, that may not be the case for everyone. If it’ll make you happy that they’re there – go the extra mile and give them an earlier heads-up.

What does RSVP in a wedding invitation mean?

RSVP is a French abbreviation that indicates that the sender would like to receive a response. Written out completely it is “répondez s’il vous plaît”.

The RSVP request should always be included in your wedding invite and you should expect people to reply latest 3-4 weeks before the wedding date. If people don’t respond to the RSVP request then wait a week or so after the RSVP date expires and call them. It’s not uncommon for people to forget.

Sometimes people forget to write their names on the RSVP card. A neat trick to still find out who’s RSVP card it is, is by writing the guest’s name in invisible ink before sending it. That way you’ll at least know the guest’s name (even if you don’t know who he/she brings).

If you have people RSVP online then this can save you a lot of time. Requesting an online response to an RSVP is more and more accepted in 2021.

What should a wedding invitation look like?

If you’re doing a paper wedding invite, then it will typically come in a standard envelope. Below are some of the most common wedding invitation sizes.

Wedding invitation sizes infographic.
Wedding invitation sizes most commonly used

The classic sizes above are all good ideas in terms of size.

In terms of paper quality and color it never hurts to go with the classics. Make sure the paper has a classic look and feel to it. It should not be too thin and not be too “yellow”. A little thicker than classic “office paper” is definitely recommended. Note that if you’re home printing then you may not be able to print on thick paper – so check your printer.

Other tips for the look of your wedding invitations are:

  • Choose the right font
    The font should be readable and pleasant looking.
  • Limit the font sizes and styles
    Don’t use too many different font sizes, italics, bold and all-caps unless it helps on the invite;
  • Keep the layout easy on the eye
  • Test print the invites until they feel easy-to-read, but still feel stylish and classy. Then ask for a fresh set of eyes to look at them.

Classic Wedding Invitation Templates

How much should I pay for wedding invitations?

Wedding invitations can be pricey if you send them via a service. Typically you can expect to spend around 500-700USD for an average sized wedding.

The price depends on:

  • How many guests you invite to your wedding
  • What kind of paper type you use
    E.g. Cotton fiber will be (almost) twice as expensive as Linen
  • What kind of design you use
    You can expect a higher price when you include colors, photography, calligraphy or other design elements
  • Envelope and stamp pricing
    You may want to use a custom envelope or even a custom stamp. The price will obviously be higher then. But don’t forget you need an envelope and a stamp before you negotiate pricing and try to get them included.

Stylish Wedding Invitation Templates

How do I make wedding invitations myself?

With the free wedding invitation templates on this post you can easily make your own wedding invites. All you need is a computer and a little bit of time.

After you customize the templates to your wishes, you can then decide if you also want to print them yourself or whether you want to outsource the printing. In case you don’t have a printer that can print the quality that you desire or can not print on the paper type that you require, then it makes sense to outsource the printing.

Nonetheless you can always run some test prints at home first to get the basic design fully to your wishes. Then you bring the design (and the guest list) to your print shop for printing. We would always recommend to get a test print first if possible and try to source locally as much as possible. For these kinds of things you want to have a short line of communication.

Colorful Wedding Invitation Templates

Should I use online wedding invites?

A last thing we’d like to mention is online wedding invitations. In 2021 this IS acceptable for many couples and guests. Not only will you make space in your budget for the rest of your wedding, but a lot of people actually find it more pleasant nowadays!

A good choice for online wedding invites is (not affiliated with us in any way). At that site you can actually combine online with paper invites and they can also track RSVPs for you. The online cards are based on designs from actual cards and done by top-notch designers.

How to Use a Budget Wedding Template and Save Money

With a budget wedding template you’ll be able to make a financial plan for your wedding much more easily. After all – you don’t want to be overwhelmed during the last weeks before the wedding and after your honeymoon, when all the bills start coming in.

What should your wedding budget be?

First of all – we can’t look into your wallet and bank account. So don’t take this personal. But most people that search for a wedding budget are looking to spend around 30000 USD, according to a 2018 survey.

This is the USA average however. Note that other countries can be a lot different, for example in China they cost around 12000USD and in the UK it’s around 30000 Pounds.

How should I budget a wedding?

You should budget a wedding like you budget a project. That means you need to start early (as early as possible) and you need to PLAN. Planning means – how much will be able to save (and spend) realistically and in what season do we want to do it.

Furthermore you need to use as many references as you can to do your actual budgeting. Don’t just guess on the price of an event location or a photographer, check out prices on websites and ask people that recently got married. But also – call up some venues to see which dates are more expensive than others and whether they have discounts available depending on the group size.

Finally it helps if you keep good records of your wedding budget. Use a wedding budget template (see below) and keep it current, by continuously updating it with new costs and estimates.

How do I plan a wedding on a low budget?

Not everyone can fly to Hawaii for a sunset wedding on the beach and a 5-star reception at the Ritz. But then again – not everyone wants that either!

Low budget weddings are not only more affordable, but they can also fit you more. By including only those people you truly want and by not overspending on a ridiculous venue, you can get close to a budget that you can actually afford. That way you can pay for a down payment on your new house instead!

Further below we listed some of the best cost saving tips we’ve found on the web.

What are the typical costs of a wedding?

A wedding is an event that incurs a lot of different costs. You’ll find all of them nicely categorized in our wedding budget templates below. Here are some of the main categories of typical costs for a wedding:

  • Apparel: the wedding dress and all other clothing and outfitting you require
  • Reception: the reception is a sub-event that incurs a lot of its own costs, such as the venue fees, the music, the cake etc
  • Flowers: flowers can be very pricey and take a lot of time to select
  • Photographer: not only does this category cover the person taking the photographs (and videos), but also the albums
  • Rings: a small category, but definitely a very costly one!
  • Ceremony: similar to the reception category, this is a sub-event with a lot of different costs
  • Stationary: invitations, thank you notes etc
  • Rehearsal dinner: the 3rd sub-event of your beautiful wedding day
  • Honeymoon: don’t spend all on the wedding in case you want this category to have a decent budget!
  • Other costs: gifts, marriage license, make-up, tips etc

Free Printable Wedding Budget Templates (PDF and Word)

We have made a selection of Wedding Budget Templates in PDF or Word form in case you prefer to have a printable format. This will help you sit together and do it with pen and paper and that can be more quicker sometimes.

The only disadvantage of not using our Excel templates (see below) to do your wedding budget planning, is that you need to all the costs manually.

Free Wedding Budget Spreadsheets (Excel)

Below you’ll find some of the free Wedding Budget Excel spreadsheets we found for you. While most are set to dollars (USD or CAD), you’ll find that occasionally a template can have a different currency. If you still like the layout then please use Excel’s Find/Replace function to adapt the spreadsheet.

How do I cut wedding costs

Weddings can be VERY pricey. It’s pretty standard that costs run in the thousands with many couples spend upwards of 25000USD and quite a large percentage even over 50000USD.

It IS your special day of course so you’ll have a lifelong of reminiscing over it, so spending money is definitely worth it. But it doesn’t hurt if you can cut a bit – right?

Here are 10 saving tips that you can use to save on your wedding budget.

  1. Do paperless invites.
    In this day and age people don’t expect paper mail so much anymore. As beautiful as a real card may look – sending emails for RSVP is a LOT cheaper. You can easily spend 100s of dollars doing this and for 99.9% of your guests this will perfectly fine. And for your grandparents? How about paying them a visit to invite them personally! In that way you get to see them AND invite them and it’s time well spent!
    We have many free invitation templates to help you with this. Here are a few:
    1. Wedding Invitation Templates
    2. RSVP Templates
    3. Engagement Party Invitation Templates
    4. Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Templates
    5. Bridal Shower Invitation Templates
  2. Use referral discounts.
    Did you hear that DJ play at your cousin’s wedding and you liked him? Ask if he’ll offer a referral discount! The same for the photographer that your best friend was using at her wedding! This easily saves hundreds of dollars AND it saves you a lot of time searching for good people!
  3. Don’t pay for a choreographer for your first dance.
    Do it yourself with YouTube instead! YouTube is an infinite resource nowadays and it’s so much more fun than having someone continuously correct you. This saves you 800-1000USD easily!
  4. Reuse the bouquets for centerpieces!
    Enough said – no need to throw them away, but use the brides’ and bridesmaids’ bouquets for your centerpieces. Good for the environment and for your wallet!
  5. Get dresses on black Friday!
    Discounts for your bridesmaids dresses (or even your own dress) can really go a long way. Black Friday discounts or other discounts (is there a store closing down?) can really be huge!
  6. Haggle!
    No need to pay full price on everything. If you take several things at the same supplier – ask for a discount. Hell, ask for a discount ALWAYS!
  7. Be original
    Don’t splurge on a location like the Ritz or the Wyndham. Go for an original location instead! Not only is it much more personal – it’s usually much cheaper as well. You’ll have a wedding that’s unique AND more affordable.
  8. Use a family ring
    Instead of going overboard on a diamond ring from Tiffany’s – consider using an heirloom instead. Very personal and classy!
  9. Invite fewer people!
    Quick reminder: the wedding is for YOUR enjoyment. It may not be for that “friend” that you haven’t talked two in three years or that nephew that you only see on your uncle’s birthday, but hasn’t spoken to you for the last 10 birthdays. Being polite is great, but think about who you want to share that special day with!
  10. Buy shoes you can reuse!
    This may be more a “guys” tip than the others, but for men shoes can often be reused for work purposes or other “dress” occasions. Be sure you buy shoes that you can reuse. That way you can go to the office in style once in a while!

Lastly – we want to leave you with a great YouTube video on how to save on your wedding budget. This is one of many, so YouTube searching may be another tip we didn’t mention!

Free Storyboard Templates (in PDF, PPT and Word)

In this post we’ll list a number of free storyboard templates that we’ve selected on quality and easy-of-use. You can use them as a blank canvas to tell your story or explain your thought process.

What is a storyboard?

A storyboard is a graphic tool that you can use to visualize a movie, animation or other (interactive) story. It is a series of images or pictures in a sequence.

By having these images in a sequence, the viewers can easily visualize how a story will develop and what is going to happen. That’s why it’s so often use as a tool to talk about stories. It makes it very easy to pitch an idea about a story when you use a storyboard.

Storyboards are most often used for the creation of creative content, such as:

  • Movies / films
  • Commercials
  • Theater Plays
  • Animations
  • YouTube Videos
  • Comic Books

But also in Business settings storyboards can be used in all kinds of settings. An example is ABC costing (a topic in accounting) where storyboards are used to develop a detailed process flowchart which shows all activities and their relationships.

This helps measuring the cost of resources and optimize the costs over all activities.

So you can find storyboards in all kinds of settings as it just makes it easier to talk about something when you can look at visuals and imagine a flow through a story or a list of events.

How to use a storyboard

You use to storyboards for three different purposes.

  1. To visualize the story
  2. To highlight the timing and the focus of the story
  3. To define other important parameters of the story depiction, such as
    1. Movements / motion
    2. Camera positioning and use
    3. Lighting
    4. Background / setting

When you draw a storyboard by hand, you usually start by creating or downloading a storyboard template. Of course you can use this page for this (see many of the usual examples).

You’ll find that most of the templates look like a blank strip comic, with empty areas for comments and dialogue.

Once you have a blank template in front of you, you’ll hold off on the actual drawing until you make a list of all the steps / scenes / sketches that you want to include. You’ll want to think about this first so that you don’t find yourself halfway into your process and discover you have too much content or are on the wrong track for another reason.

So make sure you have the list first and then you start sketching the important “scenes” in the story or “steps” in the process.

Once you have the images done, you start filling in the rest of the important store-related (or process-related) details, such as the dialogue.

The last step would then be to add all other information that’s still relevant to the depiction of the story, but not so much to the story itself. This could be environmental parameters (lighting / setting / background / timing etc) and other information you feel completes the story.

Below is a nice YouTube tutorial on storyboarding in case you’re just on your way into video making. It guides you through the different steps in the process from blank storyboard template to the final product.

Free Storyboard Templates for TV Commercials

Below are some downloadable templates in Microsoft Word that help you make storyboards for TV commercials.

Free Storyboard Templates for Movies (Word / PPT)

Free Storyboard Templates for Animation (PDF)

If you’re looking for printable templates then usually you’re looking for PDF templates. Below you can download the ones we found for you.