We’ve created the perfect playlist for a super powerful International Women’s Day. Put it on, turn it up and sing along.
A poem by Alberto Rios.
This poem was included in December’s Patchwork LOVES newsletter. Patchwork LOVES is a place for us to celebrate the things that make us happy to be human. Each month we share stories, music, ideas and inspiration around a new theme. This month was all about GIVING. Want to sign up to get the next instalment? Click subscribe in the top left here.
Hello and a big thank you to everyone we met at Brides the Show! And an extra thank you if you entered our competition to win £100 towards your wedding registry.
Big congratulations to Sarita Mavjee. Thank you for telling us the one thing you want. Your entry of ‘Sri Lanka & Maldives’ won our Brides the Show competition!
Thank you to everyone we met at the National Wedding Show who entered our competition to win £100 towards their wedding registry.
And a big congratulations to Serena Gannon. Thank you for telling us the one thing you want! Your entry of ‘Honeymoon in Tanzania, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro’ won our National Wedding Show competition.
If you’re abstaining from alcohol for one reason or another, weddings can be a slightly daunting affair – no one wants to be stuck with a tap water in their hand while everyone cheers with elegant champagne glasses. Today we’re chatting to Laura, Co-Founder of the Mindful Drinking Festival, about what we can do to improve the way we cater for non-drinking wedding guests.
Alcohol can play a pretty big part in a wedding, can’t it?
Yes. Traditionally in the UK, weddings are pretty boozy occasions. There are many moments in the day when alcohol is expected, and they seem to be growing in number, from the Buck’s Fizz for breakfast to the speech-giving toasts. By the end of the day the free bar may have been maxed out and things can get a bit messy.
Do you think we tend to forget about non-drinking wedding guests?
We can do. One in five of your guests are likely to be trying to take it easy on the booze. It is easy to forget that you will have some guests who are not drinking, or trying not to drink much. They may be driving, have caring responsibilities, or just not feeling like drinking.
Are we making people feel left out by not catering to them?
Well, members of Club Soda, the mindful drinking movement, often share the need to sneak in alcohol-free drinks for themselves to big weddings and events, because they can’t quite manage on sweet sticky lemonade for the whole day, and water gets a bit boring after a while. Our members who are brides and grooms-to-be are anxious about not getting too smashed on their big day, and want drinks that look the part to intermingle or totally replace the alcohol they are expected to drink. After all, they want to enjoy the day as much as they can, and keep all those lovely memories.
So both for yourself, and for all your guests, it’s good to make sure that there are enough nice non-alcoholic drinks options throughout the day.
What are your top tips for making sure everyone feels loved at your party?
Plan your non-alcoholic drinks. First of all, do a bit of planning (always the place to start!). At what times and at what occasions will there be alcohol served? Welcome drinks, champagne toasts, wine with the meal, and so on? Are there non-alcoholic options for each of those? And are they drinks that people actually enjoy? Imagine how a sober person will feel, holding a tumbler of orange juice, when everyone else is making a toast with an elegant champagne flute in their hands…
If you already know your non-alcoholic drinks, great! You should have no trouble putting together an excellent drinks menu for your party. If you’re not so sure, take some time to do a bit of research: Club Soda does regular reviews and tastings of non-alcoholic drinks. And if you are in London you can even come to the Mindful Drinking Festival in August to sample all the best options out there. Tesco is the best supermarket at the moment for their non-alcoholic drinks range, and great for ideas.
What are the options? If you are looking for alternatives to champagne, then consider Eisberg alcohol-free sparkling wine or Botonique. Both look the part in a champagne glass. You can find other options in the online Alcohol-Free Shop.
Heineken® 0.0 tastes just like the real thing, and no one will know if your guests have switched in order to pace themselves. For your craft beer lovers, Big Drop Brew has some highly acclaimed beers that will look very sexy on your wedding bar.
Craft sodas work for all ages, and Fentimans pink grapefruit or botanicals tonic work as a mixer for the gin lovers, but also taste great on their own. Their wild elderflower bubbly will also work for toasts or as a nice pick-me-up on a hot and busy afternoon.
Make sure the caterers know this is important. It’s good to talk to your caterers (if you use one) early on. Unless you ask, they will most likely just offer you their standard package. Which may not be great. We have spoken to a few of them, and they are always happy to talk about more exciting options. And if they are as good as they say they are, they can get you almost any drinks you want.
And if for some reason you really struggle to provide the non-alcoholic drink you’d like, there is always one last resort. Most non-drinking people already know what they like, and where to get it. So you can ask the venue if it’s ok for your guests to bring their own bottles, with a corkage fee if necessary. That way, all your guests will come to your special day safe in the knowledge that they will have something nice to drink, and you will have one less thing to worry about.
Thanks so much Laura. When’s the mindful drinking festival on?
The Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival is on 13th August, from midday to 6pm, at Bermondsey Square, London SE1 3UN. Entry is free, but you can RSVP online at mindfuldrinkingfestival.com.
How do I enter?
Just create your patchwork between 1/7/17 and 31/7/17 and we’ll let you know if you’re the lucky winner on the 2/8/17.
If you’re planning to use Patchwork to ask for money towards your honeymoon, check out our top tips before you get started:
Keep it simple
Although honeymoon funds are increasingly popular, not all of your guests will be familiar with the concept and some may be expecting a traditional gift list. So when welcoming people to your page make sure you’re clear about what you’d like people to contribute towards and why. Including ‘Honeymoon fund’ in your title always helps. Then you can use your description to share your plans and add a simple set of instructions (so even your 90 year old Nan will know what to do). Something like:
“Having lived together for 5 years we’ve already got a toaster and all the crockery we’ll ever need. So instead of traditional gifts we’d really appreciate a contribution towards an amazing honeymoon that we’ll treasure forever. Just click around our patchwork to choose which experience you’d like to treat us to. With love and thanks.”
Make it personal
Your friends and family know and love you and will want to hear about your plans for your first adventure as a married couple. So don’t be afraid to make your honeymoon registry personal. Use your images and words to share not just what you want but also something about you both as a couple.
This doesn’t have to mean creating a patchwork from scratch. If you know where you are going on honeymoon you can customise one of our readymade patchworks of your chosen destination. Or use our ‘Beautiful Island of Somewhere’ patchwork if you haven’t decided yet. Then simply tweak a few words to personalise it and add or delete patches to suit your likes and dislikes.
You can also add a banner image of you both, a profile photo or even include photos of you within your patchwork. So there are lots of opportunities for your friends to see your happy faces, remember how much they love you, and then give generously!
Spread the cost
The best way to raise the most money for your honeymoon fund is to make it possible for everyone to contribute something – no matter how little. If the cost of all your honeymoon experiences are £50 upwards, you’re in danger of excluding people who will then give you nothing. So it makes sense to offer a range of prices across your patchwork – from £1 for a bottle of beer to £500 for a night in a hotel. This way the people who can afford to can add multiple gifts to their cart – to a maximum spend of £1300 per transaction. And those on a budget can still treat to you a meaningful experience for a fiver and leave a message along with their gift.
Remember people are attracted to beautiful things
They just are. And whilst beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no-one likes a pixelated image. We’ve got a gorgeous image gallery, so whether you’re customising one of our honeymoon templates or creating your patchwork from scratch we’ve got lots of high quality photos for you to use. But if you want to use your own images check they don’t pixelate when you add them to your patchwork. It might sound weird, but people will choose to click on quality images (and give more generously) if it looks like you’ve made an effort to make your patchwork appeal to them.
Enjoy playing around
You can customise and publish a readymade honeymoon patchwork in less than 5 minutes by adding a title and linking it to your PayPal account. But if you’ve got half an hour with a cup or tea or a glass of wine it can be fun to play around. Whether you’re creating a patchwork from scratch or using a readymade template it’s easy to crop, rotate and replace images within your patches, add new patches or delete ones you don’t want. And if you’re a Pinterest addict you’ll love the ability to resize patches and move them around your page until you’re happy with your layout. Just drag and drop them wherever you like and use the pink corners to resize and reshape.
Don’t limit the choice of gifts for your guests
You can set a quantity for each item or experience within a patch. So if you want two return flights, seven nights in a hotel and one tandem skydive you can set these quantities once you’ve set your prices. Just click to answer the question ‘How many do you want?’ and enter the number. Then, once this number of items or experiences have been bought, the patches will say ‘Sold out’.
This makes sense for one-off items or experiences, so that the people who choose to give these gifts know that they have paid for a particular trip or treat. But overall we recommend you leave most patch items ‘unlimited’. Particularly things you plan to have a lot of – like meals, ice-creams, cocktails or glasses of wine! If someone buys you 100 beers it doesn’t mean you have to drink them all – you can just use the excess money towards something more wholesome like a massage. And if six people chose to fund a single boat trip that’s also okay. When you’re on the boat you can take a photo and upload it to your Patchwork account. Then just choose to ‘Thank by patch’ to send the photo along with a message to all of the individuals who contributed to the trip.
Leaving the majority of your patch items ‘unlimited’ enables you to collect the maximum funds and also ensures latecomers don’t try to buy you a gift on the morning of your wedding to find that all the options have ‘sold out’.
Don’t forget to say thank you
You can prepare an automatic thank you before you publish your patchwork so that your friends and family can see your message (and a photo if you’d like to add one) as soon as they’ve contributed. This is this easiest way to immediately show appreciation of your guest’s gifts. But with details of contributors’ names and emails (postal addresses are optional) in your account, along with a record of what they bought, how much they spent and the message they left, it’s easy to thank friends properly on return from your honeymoon, with photos of you enjoying your experience.
You can thank friends via your Patchwork account (individually, by patch or as a group) with an image and a message in an email. And if you’d like to post thank you cards you can download a CSV spreadsheet of everyone’s details from your account, then send thank you cards using our 20% discount with Patchwork print partner MOO.
Ready to start your patchwork? Browse our customisable honeymoon fund templates here.
If you’re planning to use Patchwork to organise a party, check out our top tips before you get started:
Keep it simple
The secret to getting people to help with a party is to be clear about the plan, set out a range of specific ways they can help and then allow them to decide what they’d like to do.
Whilst people don’t respond well to vague pleas for help, they also don’t like to be assigned tasks that may not suit their skills, available time or interest. So clarity and choice is key.
Start out by clearly setting out the plan for the party, who it’s for and why. It helps if you can summarise all of this in your patchwork title e.g. ‘Ben’s surprise 30th party’, ‘Kate’s hen do in Copenhagen’, ‘Elise’s baby shower’. Then use the patchwork description to explain exactly what it is you want people to do i.e:
‘To celebrate [insert name] [insert occasion] we want to organise the best party ever. And we’re hoping you can all help. Please click around the patchwork below and show your love for [insert name] by choosing something to fund, make or do. Love and thanks, [your name].’
Make it personal
Don’t be afraid to make your patchwork personal. Use your images and words to share more about what is it you want and who it’s for. If you’re organising a party for a friend, remind everyone how much they love him with pictures of him and an anecdote or two.
This doesn’t have to mean creating a patchwork from scratch. You can customise one of our readymade party patchworks, then simply tweak a few words to personalise it and add or delete patches to suit your needs.
You can also add a banner image and a profile photo. So there are lots of opportunities for your friends to see the giftee’s happy face, remember how much they love them, and then give generously!
Give options to fund, make or do
While some people will be cash rich and time poor, others will be the opposite. One friend might have a couple of hours to bake a cake but not much money to buy a gift. Another might want to flex their creative skills to show their love. And someone else might just prefer to pay towards a barrel of beer. There are times in our lives when we are more interested and able to contribute cash, time or skills to help make a party happen – so make sure all the options are available.
Whether you want to customise one of our readymade party patchworks or create your own from scratch you’ll see that you have the ability to assign an action to each patch. Automatically set to ‘Fund’, you can set a patch to ask people to ‘Make’ or ‘Do’.
Asking people upfront to fund a wedding party or baby shower might feel a bit uncomfortable. So including make and do options in a patchwork removes any awkwardness around the money side of things. While most people will opt for the ease of giving money, they will be grateful for having been given the choice.
Be specific about quantities
If you need 10 cakes made for the dessert table, add an image of a cake to a patch, set it to ‘Make’ and then set your quantity to 10. Then one person can choose to bake ten or 10 people can choose to bake one. Either way, once you’ve got 10 cakes being made this patch will say ‘Sold out’ for future contributors.
In your account you’ll then be able to see the person(s) who has pledged to bake your cakes so you can send individual or group messages to all bakers to discuss the details.
This same principle applies to the 2 people you need to help with decorations, the 5 hours of DJ-ing required, the 15 dishes you need making, the 5 embarrassing hen do games that need organising or the 1 new-baby playlist that needs putting together.
Use your patchwork as an invite
You can add an event date in your patchwork and include venue address, contact email and any other event details. This means your page can act as an invite/event page as well as a DIY party planning tool. Handy, not just to keep all the party info in one place, but because people visiting your page to find out the plan will be inspired to help while they are there.
Gift your party patchwork
If you’re organising a party for a friend, you can ‘Gift’ them their patchwork once the party’s over so that they can read everyone’s messages and send thanks when they’re ready.
All you need to do is ‘Gift’ the patchwork from your account by adding their email address and a message, then they’ll be sent a unique login and instructions to see their gift page. A gifted Patchwork page will show your title, description and all the patch images and descriptions – which you can edit if you like. But it wont show prices or give the option to fund anymore, as this page is presented to the person receiving the gift. This person will be able to see all the messages from friends at the bottom of the patchwork (along with their happy faces if they choose to upload photos too). And then they can click to ‘Send thanks’ when they are ready.
Ready to start your patchwork? Browse our customisable party templates here.
If you’re planning to use Patchwork to organise a group gift for a loved one check out our top tips before you get started:
Make it obvious
Most people have chipped in towards a gift for a friend, work colleague or family member before, so the principle behind Patchwork won’t be a new concept. Your friends will be grateful for an easy and secure way to contribute towards a present without having to do a bank transfer or dig out some cash to chuck in a hat. All you need to do is show them the gift you’re asking them to contribute towards and tell them who it’s for and why.
It helps if you can summarise the plan in your patchwork title e.g. ‘A cot for the new baby’, ‘Holly’s Christmas Handbag’ or ‘A bee hive for mum’s 60th’. Then use the patchwork description to explain exactly what it is you want people to do, i.e:
‘There’s really only one thing [insert name] really wants/needs for their [insert occasion] and so instead of buying surprise gifts I thought it’d be nice if we could all chip in towards one. Just click around the patchwork to contribute whatever you can and leave a message with your gift at the end. Love and thanks, [your name].’
Make it personal
You’re inviting friends to chip in towards a gift for someone they know and love, so make sure your request feels personal. Use your words to share not just an idea for a group gift but also to say something about the person you all care about.
You can add a banner image, a profile image and include your own photos within your patchwork. So there are lots of opportunities for all those people contributing to see the face of the person you’ll celebrating, remember how much they love them – and then give generously!
Break it down
If you’re looking for inspiration for a group gift we’ve got tons of templates for you to choose from. So whether it’s a new bike, a work of art, a new tattoo, a cookery course, a vegetable patch or a weekend in Paris, you’ll find a readymade patchwork to customise – already broken down into a range of individually priced pieces.
However if we don’t have a template for the gift you want to fund you can do one of two things:
Create your own from scratch:
The easiest and quickest way to do this is to add a single image to your patchwork page and give it an affordable price – say £10. Then people who visit your page can simply press ‘Fund’ and then adjust the item quantity in the basket to increase their contribution i.e. 5 x £10 = £50 total. However breaking down a big ticket item or experience into a patchwork of component parts makes for a much more fun and engaging experience for contributors – allowing them to choose which piece of the gift to fund according to their budget and interest.
Our readymade patchworks are inspired by our users, so if you tell us what you want to fund, and we think it might be popular, we will create a new readymade patchwork for you and others to use made up of copyright-free imagery. Alternatively, if you have a particular image that you’d like us to ‘patchwork’ for you – you can email email@example.com and we’ll split it into 2, 4, 6 or 8 pieces for you.
Spread the cost
All of our readymade group gift patchworks contain a number of different priced patches. You can adjust these set prices when you customise one of our templates. But we do recommend that you retain a range of prices across your patchwork, whether you customise or create from scratch, so everyone can afford to contribute something. Each patch can be priced between £1 – £500 and the maximum one person can contribute in one transaction is £1300.
Don’t limit your guests choice of gifts
You can set a quantity for each item or experience within a patch. So if you’re organising a surprise trip to Paris for your mum and dad’s anniversary you might want to include 2 return Eurostar tickets, 3 nights in a hotel and 1 dinner for two at the Moulin Rouge. To do this just click to answer the question ‘How many do you want?’ after you’ve set the price for each patch, then enter the number you want. Then, once this number of items or experiences have been bought, the patches will say ‘Sold out’.
This makes sense for one-off items or experiences, so that the people who choose to give these gifts know that they have paid for a particular trip or treat. But overall we recommend you leave most patch items ‘unlimited’. Particularly things people will want a lot of – like meals or metro tickets, baguettes or glasses of wine.
And remember you don’t have to be too literal. Creating a patchwork is a fun and practical way to breakdown the cost of a big ticket item. But you don’t need to be too precise. For example, everyone knows a bike has two wheels, one saddle and a bell. But if you want to customise our children’s bike for a birthday present, it makes sense to leave all the patches unlimited. It really doesn’t matter if 10 people contribute towards the basket. Once you’ve collected all the cash gifts, bought the bike and your child is happily riding along with their teddy in the basket, you can take a photo and upload it to your Patchwork account. Then just choose to ‘Thank by patch’ to send the photo along with a message to all of the individuals who bought this gift.
Leaving the majority of your patch items ‘unlimited’ enables you to collect the maximum funds and ensure people don’t arrive at the patchwork to find everything has ‘sold out’.
Gift your patchwork
Once you’re ready, you can present your Patchwork page to the person receiving your group gift so they can see the digital version of their gift or experience, read everyone’s messages and send thanks when they are ready.
All you need to do is ‘Gift’ the patchwork from your account by adding their email address and a message and they’ll be sent a unique login and instructions to see their gift page. A gifted Patchwork page will show your title, description and all the patch images and descriptions – which you can edit if you like. But it wont show prices or give the option to fund anymore as this page is presented to the person receiving the gift. This person will be able to see all the messages from friends at the bottom of the patchwork (along with their happy faces if they choose to upload photos too). And then they can click to ‘Send thanks’ when they’re ready.
Don’t forget to say thank you
You can prepare an automatic thank you before you publish your patchwork so that people contributing can see a message (and a photo of the person you’re celebrating) as soon as they’ve contributed. This is this easiest way to immediately show appreciation to those giving a gift. But with details of contributors’ names and emails (postal addresses are optional) in the Patchwork account, along with a record of what people have bought, how much they’ve spent and the message they left, it’s easy for you and/or the person receiving the gift to thank everyone properly later.
Patchwork creators and those who are gifted a patchwork can thank their friends via their Patchwork account. You can do this individually, by patch or as a group with an image and a message in an email. And if you’d like to post thank you cards you can download a CSV spreadsheet of everyone’s details from your account, then send thank you cards using our 20% discount with our print partner MOO.
Ready to start your patchwork? Browse customisable templates here.
Last year Patchwork founder Olivia was asked if she would contribute to Lonely Planet’s new Honeymoon Handbook. Having become something of a honeymoon expert through Patchwork and being a huge fan of Lonely Planet guide books, she jumped at the chance. And after a lot of hard work, the Handbook is finally here. It’s a brilliant resource for anyone planning their honeymoon. And we couldn’t be more excited about it being released. This guide to honeymoon planning can be purchased on Lonely Planet’s website or you can find it in the shops.
Here’s what Lonely Planet have to say about the book:
“Getting married is the best excuse to take the romantic getaway you and your partner have always dreamed about. The Honeymoon Handbook is an essential planning tool for making it come true. Lonely Planet’s first and only travel guide for newlyweds, The Honeymoon Handbook features over 25 of the most exciting locations for couples – from Andalusia to Zambia. It starts with a quiz to determine what kind of trip to take based on what you two love the most, whether it’s backpacking in Borneo, touring Tuscany or cruising around Cuba.
Beyond the destination sections, The Honeymoon Handbook also offers safari, luxury, island and family-themed getaway ideas – even how-to’s on ‘minimoons’ and getting married abroad. Other features include budget breakdowns and alternative destinations (Can’t afford Italy? Try Croatia) and an LGBT-friendly indicator for same-sex couples.”
Liv had so much fun contributing to this brilliant book (and has fulfilled her teenage dream of becoming a Lonely Planet travel writer) and we may be biased but we think it’s a super useful resource. So make sure you pick it up when you see it on the shelves.
Want to plan a honeymoon on a budget? Why not ask friends and family to help fund it? Check out all of our customisable honeymoon templates on our honeymoon fund collection page.