picture this

You guys. This morning I had a dream about the best wedding idea ever.

The sad part here is that I am now apparently dreaming about weddings. As if I have nothing better to do in my sleep.

Anyway. So I know that putting Polaroid cameras on the guests’ tables has been SO DONE before, but I’m still kind of enamored of the concept. The beau and I are also big fans of the wedding photobooth — yeah, another super original idea — but not at $1,000 a pop. Using Polaroid cameras would at least be a relatively inexpensive way to amuse our guests, while getting some fabulous shots we wouldn’t normally have gotten.

That’s what I dreamt about — making a book of Polaroid pictures from our wedding. In my head, I came up with this fantastic method for arranging the pictures on each page. I was gonna take a large sheet of nice paper, carefully cut Polaroid-sized holes in it, paste up some descriptive text next to each hole, carefully lay the paper on the bed of my scanner, put the Polaroids face-down on top of the window holes, then scan everything at a high resolution. And then do this again for the next page. And the next. Then, we were going to print all these pages out and cobble them into books that we would then mail to each of our guests.

Via www.furiousphotographersblog.com

I dreamt I was doing this. My dream self was. So. Excited. But my dream self apparently failed to realized that 1) It is 2010 and holy crap, words and pictures can be laid out digitally on computers, not to mention that 2) There is no way in hell could we possibly afford to make and mail 120 books to 120 people.

The more my now-awake, slightly-more-rational self thinks about it, the more I wonder if we should even bother with Polaroids at the wedding. To start with, isn’t it kind of rude to provide Polaroid cameras to guests and then expect them to hand over the pictures for us to keep? I mean, who am I to be the picture nazi? What would that even entail? Would we need to post little signs at each table directing the guests to deliver their Polaroids to a special basket on the main table, or something? Yikes.

Assuming that we could even collect the Polaroids in a way that wasn’t totally impolite, what can we really do with them once we have them? I’ve heard of people making picture books of their weddings and gifting them to their families and wedding party, but my family’s going to be way more interested in seeing the “professional” pictures versus some Polaroids snapped by our drunken friends. So that leaves us with a pile of photos that only we will enjoy. We could make a book, yes. One book for one couple to peruse, in the privacy of our own home. But don’t printers have a minimum quantity for things like this? God knows I’m not about to try to print and bind a book myself.

Eh. I’m willing to just let it go. Put the cameras out on the tables, let guests tuck the pictures in their pockets and purses to be found later; a hidden surprise. Know that I’ll probably never see the boozy, fuzzy, blurry, trigger-happy outcome. That’s the closest they’ll get to favors, anyway, since I’m pretty sure the beau and I are going to be too lazy to worry about favors.

Are you providing your guests with any form of “entertainment?”

D-I-WTF

DIY in the real world is pretty self-explanatory: Some things you do yourself, instead of hiring someone else to do them. What exactly you choose to do yourself depends on a myriad of factors, including budget, tools, time, and ability. This is why I “DIY” my car’s oil change, after all — I have an off-street place to park, I have the basic supplies, I have the know-how, it doesn’t take very long, and it saves me money. Changing my own oil works for me. Hell, I even like it a little.

This is DIY in the real world.

DIY in the wedding world has been, for me, another thing altogether. I’ve long been flummoxed by the term, because it seems that “DIY” gets trotted out the most when describing a wedding that has a lot of handmade elements — think pinwheels, bunting, goccoed invitations. Hence, I’ve come to equate “DIY wedding” with “crafty.”

I don’t do crafty.

Two of my best friends are among the craftiest people in the world. They can knit you a scarf, make you a purse, cross-stitch the crap out of anything. Their skills continue to amaze me, for I wouldn’t trust myself to sew a button on. One of these friends once brought her sewing machine over to help make some curtains for my bathroom, and that thing scared the shit out of me. My poor pal was baffled at my horror. “It’s really easy,” she assured me. “It really takes no skill whatsoever, you just have to learn.”

Hmm. My grandfather put it a bit differently when he described his attempts to teach my dad and his sister to play the accordion. “It takes nothing at all,” he insisted. “They just didn’t have no talent. They were awful.”

Yeah. See, that’s me with crafting. Just plain no-talent awful.

So here I was, starting to bite my nails, because I knew I wanted to DIY some elements of the wedding in order to save money, but I also knew that any project that involved a trip to Michael’s and/or the purchase of a hot glue gun was going to send me screaming and kicking into the dark recesses of hell.

Then I experienced a newsflash: DIYing my wedding doesn’t have to involve crafting if I don’t want it to. All ya’ll probably already know this, because you are smarter and wiser than I. But this was my call to get back to DIY basics. A reaffirmation of the “do what works for me” philosophy.

I started by trying to bring it down to street level. What are my skills? What do I actually like to do? OK, I’m a designer. I like to design. That means I can… you know, design things. Things like the save-the-dates, the invitations, and the wedding website. I already have the entire Adobe Creative Suite sitting right here on my MacBook Pro, after all. And I already have web hosting set up — all I have to do is purchase a domain name for our wedding site. Good! Right?

But I still felt conflicted. What with my perfectionist tendencies, designing these things is going to suck up all my free time. Moreover, save-the-dates and websites have been called out recently by the blogosphere as two of the least important wedding elements. Did I really want to waste a lot of effort and energy on things that I already know won’t matter in the long run?

Then I decided: Yes. Yes, I do.

Yeah, I know I could save buttloads of time by just picking out a readymade invitation suite. And I can’t even argue that building my own website will save us any money, because I can go out to the Knot, pick some colors and upload some pictures, and have a wedding website in under an hour for free. But do you know. How much. That would make me. HURT inside? My pride couldn’t stand a blow like that. My type-A personality would chafe under the knowledge that rrrrrghhhh this is just a template that somebody else made, and oh my god, I don’t even like this stupid scroll pattern but it’s the least offensive design of all of them.

So this is my DIY plan of action. It won’t save me much on time, but it’ll save me a little bit of money. I already have the tools on hand, and I’ll get to exercise my skills on something that’s important to me. This is what works for me.

What works for you?

deviance, pt. 5

Lest you think all I do is post pictures anymore, let me assure you that I tried my best to hammer out a “real” post today. But I’ve come down with a cold, and I can’t. I just can’t. I just keep staring at the screen, thinking everything I attempt to write sounds stupid. So! Here’s another picture!

Thanks for your all your positive comments, by the way. I’m glad you like ’em.


More:

Deviance, pt. 4Deviance, pt. 3Deviance, pt. 2 | Deviance, pt. 1

deviance, pt. 4

Because Becca so very kindly linked out to my little corner of the internet, I am posting a bonus set of new scanned bridal magazine ads. Well, I guess they’re not ads anymore so much as they are, uh… little… nuggets of snark? I dunno what to call ’em yet.

In the meantime, let us not forget the ads for bridesmaid dresses. Oh no. They do not get a free pass from the snarkery.


More:

Deviance, pt. 3Deviance, pt. 2 | Deviance, pt. 1

bringing down the house

Ah yes! It’s the old iPod versus DJ debate. It’s almost a right of passage for engaged couples now. I have read so many pro/con lists that I feel like it’s all been said.

But I’m going to say it anyway.

For a long, long while I was convinced I’d go iPod all the way. Music is extraordinarily important to me and I the last thing I want at the wedding* is some schlocky DJ sporting excessively gelled hair cavorting around the audio booth, spewing forth cheesy aphorisms in a pop radio-ready voice and playing jams so lousy that guests are congregating in the corners for fear of being spotted within several feet of the empty dance floor.**

I even spent hours developing an ultimate master playlist of songs that flowed from lounge-like to progressively dancier.*** I took into account our guests’ varied musical interests; frontloading the list with older, softer tunes ranging from Patsy Cline to Velvet Underground to early DJ Shadow and saving the Lyrics Born, Beastie Boys, and Gogol Bordello for the wilder, alcohol-induced, grandparents-have-gone-to-bed part of the evening. Yep, this way we’d hear what meant the most to us and our guests. Plus, we’d save a ton of money! The iPod was clearly the superior choice.

What convinced me I might be wrong after all?

I started reading**** accounts of others’ experience with DJs. I started to see how they could be vital to establishing a flow, reading a crowd, and elevating spirits. As an added bonus, neither the beau and I nor any of our friends would have to be distracted from the evening’s festivities by rushing over to the iPod to change playlists or add new music on the fly.

Via http://media.createdigitalmedia.net

I warmed to the DJ idea pretty much immediately. And it didn’t hurt that one of my brigadiers has a cousin whose husband***** is in the music biz in L.A. We plan to try to make contact with some potential “underground” DJs (a.k.a., they don’t typically do weddings) via this tiny network. If that dead-ends, I figure we can toss up a Craigslist post and try to find someone cool that way.

But. There is always a but.

Our venue is going to kick us out at 10:00pm. Well, we’re actually supposed to be mostly gone by then, so I guess the party will start switching gears around 9:30pm. To put it bluntly, this kinda jacks the flow. 9:30pm is generally the wedding witching hour when the guests have a few drinks in them and their blood sugar levels are spiking from dessert. But instead of kicking things into high gear, we’ll be herding people onto the street. Boo.

I’m not saying this will ruin the whole evening, of course. But it’ll definitely be a real interruption. Not everyone will choose to continue with us to the after-party, so we’ll have to say some goodbyes a tad prematurely, and that will be kinda sad.

The after-party. We haven’t officially secured it yet, but we’re 98% sure that the second floor of a bar on State St. is going to be all ours. We’re not allowed to use our own iPod in there, nor bring in our own DJ (not to mention that would be complicated), so that means we’ll be subject to whatever the DJ downstairs chooses to play that night. Which will probably be your average pop/rap beats. This can be fun sometimes. But I’ve really been looking forward to having a massive dance party at some point during the evening, with some of the music I don’t usually hear in the average bar or club. And I’m kinda afraid that our luck will run out and we’ll get a downstairs DJ who is really into playing, I don’t know, Julio Iglesias Jr. and Ciara remixes, and so nobody will be in the mood to bust a move.

This also brings up another issue I’m grappling with: we are having an outdoor wedding that will start shutting down at 9:30pm. Do we really wanna hire a DJ when we won’t even be able to utilize him during the part of the night that’s most danceable? Is it really worth it just to hire somebody to play music during the cocktail hour and dinner?

As always, there are some options:

  1. Hire the DJ but move the ceremony start time back to 3:30 so that we have an earlier dinner and maybe an extra hour or so of dancing and talking with everyone before the party moves on to another location. At the after-party, deal with whatever random DJ is working the bar.
  2. Use an iPod during the ceremony and reception. Try to find somebody cheap who will agree to wrangle it on our behalf, plus act as psuedo-MC. At the after-party, deal with whatever random DJ is working the bar.
  3. Hire a local band during the ceremony and reception (ka-ching!). Look for a different place to have the after-party where we might be able to bring in our own DJ (ka-ching! ka-ching!)
  4. Various other combinations of all of the above that I don’t care to write out here lest you be rendered so bored and sleepy that you pass out and faceplant into your keyboard, and the “U” key gets kind of stuck into your forehead, and you don’t realize this until later when you wake up and you are clicking through the archives of your favorite web comic and the key falls off and plops into your mug of coffee and the coffee splatters on your new favorite sweater, and you’re like, goddamnit, I just washed this stupid sweater.
  5. Call off the wedding and stay home eating cookies.

Yeah. I’m liking #5.

__________________________________________

* Besides a brawl to suddenly break out between my family and the beau’s, that is.

** Let me derail for a moment with a side story: I went to a wedding once where the DJ played only one song I wanted to dance to. The entire night. The rest of the songs made me want to pull a Monty Python and run away, run away! Dude, nobody should be expected to listen to — let alone get down to — Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” That DJ was an utter disgrace. I can’t even postulate that he was skewing the songs towards the bride’s individual tastes, because I think I saw her on the floor a grand total of once during the evening. I can only hope that she wasn’t in a bathroom sobbing, “Oh God, somebody please make him turn off ‘Barbie Girl.'”

*** I started building this before we even got engaged, because wow, I’m super obsessive-compulsive awesome rad.

**** Reading. It’ll get you in trouble all the time.

***** You following this?

in which i learn to stand up straighter

Have you ever looked at the ads in bridal magazines? I mean, taken a real good, long gander? And if so, have you ever noticed how the models in 80% of these ads look like they’ve ingested excessive doses of Valium before each photo shoot? Seriously. Apparently you’re not couture in wedding fashion world unless you’re awkwardly leaning against a wall or slouching over a inanimate object, slack-jawed and expressionless.

I mean, take a look at this stuff:

Yeah, I scanned ’em all just for you. Also: I KNOW RIGHT??

What’s the takeaway here? That plunking down five grand on a Monique Lhuillier gown for my big day will make me feel limp, unenthusiastic, and maybe even a little robotic? Awesome.

If that’s the case, I’m buying a $29 sundress at Forever Twelve and keeping my happy face on.