Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's that time of year again

It's wildfire season here in California.  You may have heard about a few that are raging right now in the high desert north of Los Angeles.  We're getting married smack dab in the middle of wildfire season in an area that's most prone to uncontrollable wildfires - the mountains.  I never even thought about this when we were booking our venue.  We're having an unusually mild summer this year, which normally translates into less wildfires.  I've been keeping my fingers crossed that we'd stay wildfire free this year, but that wish has obviously not been granted.  So now, on top of all the other things I have to think about over the next two months, I'll have wildfires in the back of my mind too.  I know that statistically the chances of my venue burning down or a fire impeding our ability to get up to the mountains are slim, but that's not the only concern.  The smoke and ash from wildfires in nearby areas could put a serious hamper on our outdoor ceremony and reception.

My fear is completely based in reality.  The particular area of the mountains where we are getting married was hit with a massive wildfire back in 2003.  This fire actually came down the mountains and was stopped just a few blocks from my FILs house.


Do you have any fears about disasters impacting your wedding?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guestbook ingenuity

While eating lunch at our favorite local Mexican joint Sunday afternoon, the Mister and I were discussing our guestbook troubles.  A while back we had settled on doing a Quaker marriage certificate instead of a traditional guestbook.  We loved the idea of having our vows to each other written out and then having our guests signing the certificate and promising to support our union.  But when push came to shove we were having trouble agreeing on the design and just weren't loving anything that we came up with.  The plan was to print the certificate poster sized through Zazzle and hang it in our house, but if we don't love the design we won't hang it up, and it will just collect dust and waste precious space.  So.  We were both kinda over the Quaker marriage certificate idea.

The conversation moved on to our ceremony script.  I just started drafting it this past week (more on that in another post) and we were discussing what we wanted to put it in for the ceremony so the officiant isn't just reading off of loose leaf paper.  We were discussing moleskines and leather journals, when all of a sudden the Mister got really excited and said he knew what to do about our guestbook.  Whatever we print out our ceremony script in will double as a guestbook, so once the ceremony is over we can sign it and then our guests can sign it.  It encompasses everything we love about the Quaker marriage certificate without having to worry about aesthetics.

But this is where it gets good.  I told the Mister I loved it and was 100% on board and he gave this huge sigh of relief.  He was relieved not because he was afraid I wouldn't like the idea, but because he was afraid that I was going to say that I'd seen something like it before on the blogs and that it was a big trend right now.  Kinda like I did with his family photos as decorations idea.  When I confirmed that I had not seen anything like it before on the blogs and that it's not the hot trend right now, he yelled "Blog it!  Blog it like you've never blogged before!"

So here it is.  Just for you, honey.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Card box conundrum

Early into our engagement, the Mister's parents bought us this lovely lil chest to use as a card box.  They just happened to see it when they were out shopping at Home Goods, it was cheap, and they thought we would like it.  We thought it was perfect for our rustic outdoorsy wedding, and I'm all about accepting freebies!  So it has been sitting on a ledge along our stairwell for a good year now, and I'm thinking that after the wedding we'll use it to store wedding keepsakes like the invitation we mailed to ourselves, our RSVPs, etc.

So what's the conundrum?

Security.  When they gave this to us, the Mister's Mom made a comment about how the only problem with it was that anyone could just reach in and take the cards.  We've discussed various ways to make it more secure.  The Mister and I decided a while back on just getting some cardboard and cutting a slit in it and fastening it over the opening.  Easy peasy.

So last night I took the chest off the ledge and decided to start making this bad boy more secure. I quickly realized that our idea was not going to work.  The base of the chest is not deep enough, so when people put a card in the slot it will not fall flat onto the bottom of the chest.  This lead to the following conversation:

Me:  I'm thinking we don't need to do anything to the card box.  How concerned are you about people stealing cards?

Mr.:  I wasn't concerned until you told me you were concerned.

Me:  I wasn't concerned until your Mom told me she was concerned.


In all fairness, the Mister's mom isn't concerned about our guests.  Her thinking was that it's the other people - wait staff and others - who we don't know and can't trust.  But at this stage in the game, we've minimized our vendors so that the only people who will be there who aren't guests are our photographers (who we love and trust not to be thieves) and a couple of waiters.  We both realize that the most we can do is make it harder for someone to steal cards; we can't prevent it entirely.  If someone really wants to steal, they will.  So all of this makes me think that modifying the chest is completely unnecessary.

BUT (and this is a big but) at the past two weddings I've attended things have been stolen!!!  At the Mister's sister's wedding back in April, our friend was wearing a kick ass pair of Dior sunglasses that mysteriously disappeared at some point during the event.  Then, at that same friend's wedding earlier this month someone stole the hand-painted wooden "wedding" signs they made to direct people to the reception location!  Rather, someone stole one and left the other one broken into pieces.  

So, this makes me turn to you, oh mighty blogosphere, for some advice.  What would you do?  Make the card box more secure or leave it as is?  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Firsts and Finisheds

Sorry I've been posting so little.  Work has been cuh-razy the past two weeks, and when you add wedding tasks and attempting to have a social life into the mix it doesn't leave you with much time for blogging.  So here I am, eating my lunch at my desk, squeaking in a blog post.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we mailed out our invitations this past Friday, and our first RSVPs have started to roll in!

Here's the proof!  We have 6 confirmed attendees woot woot!  Please note the care with which I redacted the sensivite information. :)

Yesterday, our first wedding gift arrived!  The Mister found it on our doorstep when he got home from work around 5:45 p.m., and called me right away to tell me and we decided that he would wait for me to get home to open it.  I had to attend a public meeting for one of our clients that started at 6 p.m. and was an hour away from where we live.  These meetings typically run about an hour so I thought I'd be home by 8.  Well, this particular meeting ran 4 hours long and I didn't get home until 11 p.m.  The Mister stayed up and waited for me to open the gift even though I told him he didn't have to wait up and could open the gift without me.  Awww...

A KITCHEN AID MIXER!!!!   It was from my grandparents who live in Florida and can't make it to the wedding.  Sorry for the poor picture quality.  It was 11 p.m. and I wasn't about to bust out anything other than my Blackberry to take a picture.

And now, the finisheds.  Well, it's really only one thing that has been finished since I last posted.  I printed out our paper napkin rings and with some help from the Mister we got all of them done in 3 days!  That's acutally 100 napkins, even though it looks way smaller. 

I adhered to the KISS philosophy on this project.  I considered more detailed napkin rings but I just didn't think it was worth the effort to do anything other than a simple paper napkin ring with our names and wedding date printed on it. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Finished Product

My prediction was right...we got our invites done a day early.  Tomorrow (Saturday) was our self-imposed and completely arbitrary deadline, but we finished stuffing the envelopes last night (Thursday) and I am going to drop the invites off at the post office this morning (Friday).  We will be hand delivering a few of our invites tonight since we are having a get together with a bunch of our friends at the Mister's parent's house* and I am super excited to see people's reactions.  Since my sister lives with us she opened her invite last night and was giddy with excitement.

Before I get started revealing the details of our invitations, I'd like to take this moment to dedicate this post to the Mister.  He loves our invites, and we were equal partners in designing, printing, assembling, and addressing all 66 of them.**  He is the only person in my real life who knows about this blog and he actually reads it!  So, honey, since you were so anxious for me to blog about our invitations, here is the post you've been asking for.

We did a booklet style invitation.  We bought all of our paper from, and would definitely recommend them to others.  It's not the fanciest schmanciest website but their prices were better than any others out there and they were the only place I could find invitation backings in a wide variety of colors.

We purchased pre-drilled invitation backings in Stardream Ruby and then bought some Stardream Ruby cardstock and cut it to make the cover to our invitation.  Originally we were going to use a craft punch to punch a heart in the cover that would peak through to the colored paper underneath, but that got scrapped when we realized that, despite our numerous test runs to make sure this didn't happen, you could see the text of the invitation through the cut out.  Then the Mister came up with the idea of the belly band and honestly I think it looks way better than our original plan.  The design on the belly band was something I did for our napkin rings and we just decided to use it on the invites too.  We just used leftover vellum in Kiwi (in real life it looks much greener than in this picture) for the belly bands and affixed them with double-sided tape.

Here's a close up of the "binding" for the booklets.  We bought pewter eyelets from Michael's and a tool to secure them to the invites.

The first page of the invite is a vellum overlay in Kiwi.  Again, it looks much brighter in person.  Since it's vellum, you can read the text of the invite through it, so I had to block out our names was and retype the text of the quote over where the Mister's name was showing through.  Sorry!

Then you get to the meat of the invitation.  We staggered the length of the pages so they have a tabbed look.  We used Honey Script and Balham for our fonts.  Both were free from!  As I mentioned before we designed everything in Microsoft Word (except for the map, that was done in PowerPoint) and printed at home using our laser printer.

For the RSVPs, we did a postcard.  We bought a perforating blade for our paper cutter and used that so our guesst can just rip the postcard out from the invitation.  We also cut little slits in the postcard so we could slide one of our engagement photos in for our guests to keep.

Finally, our envelopes.  I knew from day one that I wanted to use kraft paper envelopes.  We addressed them pretty informally, just using people's first and last names and forgetting Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., etc.

These invitations were time-consuming, no doubt.  They've been a work in progress for months now but we took things slow so we didn't burn out and get sloppy.  We love how they turned out and love even more how cheap they were.  Our budget spreadsheet says we spent a grand total of $217.50, but I don't think the Mister has updated it to include the postage, which was about $72.  So, we're well under our $300 budget and still have a ton of paper and stamps left over.  I actually let my sister use some of the leftovers to make our Jack and Jill wedding shower invites, which are also going out in the mail soon, and will use the rest for signs and other things, I'm sure.

Well, there you have it folks!  Hope you like them, 'cuz we sure do.

*It was going to be at our friends' house who live in the same neighborhood as the Mister's parents, but it was 108 DEGREES yesterday and is supposed to be just as hot today and the Mister's parents have a swimming pool.  Lordy.  We went from "where's summer?" to "good lord it's so hot I can't breath" overnight.  But I digress.

**Note that I did not include paper cutting in this list of shared tasks.  I think he cut five sheets of paper and I did the rest.  Don't worry honey, I still love you!  But you owe me...bwahahahaha.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One Foot Out The Door

Our invitations are almost done folks!  We finished assembling them this evening and all that's left to do is print the envelopes, throw on a stamp, and send these bad boys on their way.  Our target is to get them in the mail by Saturday, which is totally feasible.  At the rate we're moving, we may even get them in the mail Friday!

Anyway, I don't feel like doing a whole post on the invitations since we're getting close to bed time here in California (yes, I go to bed at 10 p.m.), but I'll leave you with a teaser pic!

a beautiful stack of 67 handmade, home printed, designed in Word wedding invitations.

Yes, that is my wedding checklist underneath the stack of invitations.  The wedding has almost completely taken over our dining set.  I fight on a daily basis to keep at least one spot free for someone (namely me) to sit and eat dinner.  If I'm having a good day, I might even try for two spots.  I think most of you out there less than 3 months out can probably sympathize...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lessons Learned

In case you haven't noticed, I've been M.I.A. the past week.  The Mister and I flew to Colorado Thursday morning and just got back Sunday afternoon to attend our officiant's wedding.  The Mister was the best man, so we got in early to help them out as much as we could.  And boy did we.

The lesson I took away from this weekend was that if you want to DIY a ton of stuff in the days before your wedding, you need to make sure you've got the appropriate amount of helpers to get the job done.  And you need to make sure those helpers are reliable and will actually work instead of just sitting around and treating your project time like a social hour.  If you can't secure the help, you need to scale your DIY plans back or else you run the risk of burning out those helpers you do have.  While I was more than happy to volunteer to work (and work hard) toward making their day beautiful, I didn't just work hard...I was worked to the bone.

Case in point:  The bride had asked 8 or so ladies to help out with cleaning, wiring and trimming $1100 worth of wholesale flowers, and I'd say that 80% of that work was done by me and one other girl, and we did it in one six hour marathon session.  Most of the helpers didn't even show up, and one had the balls to show up four hours into the process, do about a half hour of work, then sit around for an hour and watch us work, and then leave because she "had stuff to do."  The flowers were just the tip of the iceberg.  My group of friends were not supposed to help out with setting up the reception, but when we arrived at the reception site to drop off the flowers two hours before the start time, they had done NOTHING and the people who were assigned to set up were (mostly) just sitting around talking.  The 9 or so of us who transported the flowers kicked into hyperdrive and got.shit.done.  And thank god we did, because I honestly think that they would not have gotten it done without us.

By the time the reception rolled around, I was exhausted and not in the greatest mood.  Eventually I was able to relax and enjoy myself, thanks to some yummy champagne and good tunes.  But when it was all said and done, the Mister and I were lying in bed and pretty much said to each other in unison that we were NOT going to do this to our friends when it's time for our wedding.  Period, end of story.  I'd rather let details and best laid plans fall to the wayside than put that kind of pressure and stress on our friends.  It's just not worth it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You Get It, Right???

Yesterday we hit the 3 month mark for our wedding, and it was all kinds of stressful.  I'm not sure if the stress had anything to do with the fact that we are 3 months away from our wedding or not, though.  Maybe it played a part subconsciously, but the truth of the matter is that I had an epiphany:  no one in my real life "gets" the wedding we are planning.  I'm at the age where my friends are getting married left and right and no one is deviating from the Wedding Formula but me.  You know the formula - it starts with one bride who knows exactly what she wants her wedding to be and one disinterested (or interested but afraid to speak up) groom.  You mix up a bunch of "new" and "fresh" ideas and details from Martha Stewart/In Style/Real Simple/The Knot that the bride has decided she must have, and then spread those over the top of the traditional wedding format - ceremony, pictures, reception grand entrance, first dances, toasts, dinner, garter toss, bouquet toss, dancing, cake cutting, grand exit.  It's like cheese and crackers.  The traditional wedding format is your basic Ritz cracker.  You can change up what cheese you put on top, but in the end it's still just a Ritz with cheese.  But for our wedding, we're forgoing the Ritz and the people in my life just don't seem to understand it.

This epiphany came as I was thinking back to a conversation I had about a month ago with one of my newly engaged friends.  She had just shown me her dress online and then the topic of garters came up.  I said I wasn't going to wear a garter and she just had this look of disbelief on her face.  She tried to persuade me by saying "but you can get a blue one and then it can be your something blue" to which I responded, oh, I'm not doing that either, and her look of disbelief grew into a look of horror.  Looking back on this conversation then lead me to remembering all the times we've met some resistance to our tradition-bucking ways or heard a tinge of disappointment in someone's voice when we tell them that things aren't going to be as they expected.*  

Then I started browsing the email I received the other day from a friend who is getting married in a week and realized how much effort she has put into all the details for their wedding.  There will be gift bags awaiting us at our hotel, there will be a basket of flip flops for dancing, there will be bubbles for the exit from the church and sparklers for the exit from the reception, there will be framed family photos adorning the guest book table and, and, and.  

The result of all of this is that I ended up feeling like a slacker bride and questioning whether deviating from the Wedding Formula will be worth it in the end.  As strong and independent as I am, people's opinions do matter to me.  I normally won't change my decisions because of those opinions, but it still pains me to know that people don't like or understand what I am doing, and causes me to second guess myself.  Would it kill me to do a damn bouquet toss and garter toss?  No.  Nor would it kill me include any of the other ingredients in the Wedding Formula that we've omitted.  But it's not what I want.  And I'm already including so many ingredients of the Wedding Formula in our wedding that I could do without simply because the Mister wants them or omitting them is not worth the hurt it would cause (and I'm 100% okay with that).  If I added back in all the things that we've omitted because they don't matter to us and just blindly follow the Wedding Formula, I would feel like our wedding is a performance for our guests instead of a deeply personal celebration of our relationship and commitment to each other.

Long story long, I'm struggling with fear that our guests are not going to understand our wedding and the decisions we've made to carefully craft it to be a true reflection of who we are.  Instead they'll just see a lazy bride who didn't want to spend the time or energy to do the things she's supposed to do.  Or worse, a bride who just doesn't care.  I really wish I had someone in my real life (other than the Mister, of course) who got it.  But I don't, so I turn to the blogs.  So thanks for being there.

*Though, I'd like to clarify that by and large our families have been very supportive of our decisions.  I'm not trying to paint a desolate picture here.  It's more like a lot of little things adding up.  Plus, for the most part they get over the disappointment when they realize they like what we've chosen to do instead.  It's just that initial resistance/disappointment to not following the Wedding Formula.