Category Archives: creative

the details, part five: desserts

You guys might already know I didn’t want a cake.

You guys might also already know I had sworn off DIY that involved dishes and glassware.

Well, in the end the no cake principle stood. The DIY dessert plates , well… let’s just say that my resolve crumbled. Kind of like a crumb cake. Because marriage has clearly dulled my edge, and now I cannot think of a more clever metaphor than that.

I turned back towards the dark side of DIY because honestly, it was going to be cheaper than buying new plates and stands on which to present the desserts at the wedding, even if they were very basic. And I figured that what had gone wrong with the first tiered dessert stand I made was the the stems of the glassware were probably too delicate to be supporting a number of heavy plates, hence the the snapping and the breaking. I also figured that I could get around that by:

  1. Limiting the dessert stands to just one layer; i.e., one plate and one glass.
  2. Using sturdier glasses.

So with that rough plan in mind, we set off to hunt the thrift stores. At the first two stores we didn’t have much luck. I didn’t really have a plan for what I wanted the damn dessert stands to look like, I just wanted them done. I mean, at this point we were three weeks from the wedding and we were drowning in our task list. So I’d go around the store, picking up any plate that didn’t sear my eyeballs or break my soul and holding it up for the beau to see. Eh? What about this? He’d always shrug: “I dunno.” So I’d sigh, and put it down. GOD. I JUST WANTED PLATES. WHY IS EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH WEDDINGS SO INFERNALLY DIFFICULT?

But then! Then. The third store we went to, I saw these:

I got that look in my eye.

$5 later, I walked out of the thrift store with these plates, plus five glasses and a doily. And the next store? Dear lord, I hit the motherlode:

I loved these things. The beau? He wasn’t incredibly enthusiastic about them. But he didn’t hate them either. And at that point all it really took was for one of us to like something in order to sway the other. So with his blessing, I went about grabbing up every plate I liked. Besides the ones pictured above, I also picked up a plate of Hoover Tower on the campus of Stanford University, a plate of Santa Barbara City High School, a Jimmy Carter presidential plate, a plain plate with a green stripe, and so on. It didn’t matter whether or not it matched any of the other plates. It didn’t matter what color it was. It didn’t even matter what size. I just got what I liked.

And in retrospect I think that’s the thing that really worked for us about the wedding: we didn’t buy something unless we liked it. Sometimes this caused frustration, like all the times we went searching for something only to walk away empty handed. But when it worked, it really worked.

As for the glasses, I tried to get them in a variety of heights so that the dessert stands wouldn’t be all on the same level. I picked up old jars, old drinking glasses, decorative candy dishes, decorative ice cream dishes — anything that looked like it was durable and solid enough to support a plate.

I just winged it. I didn’t really know what I was getting, or how much of it to get. In addition to the plates and glasses, I ended up getting some basic serving trays at the thrift stores, too. We spent about $0.30 to $3.00 on each item.

Two days before the wedding, we broke out the Plumbers’ Goop and made an impromptu assembly line: I picked out which plate and glass went with each other, and the beau glued them together. It went pretty fast, I think. In all, it wasn’t that bad of a project.

Also, I want to just say that Fabio took such a keen liking to the Jimmy Carter presidential plate that I gave it to him the day after the wedding. Thanks for coming! Here’s your commemorative dessert stand.

Okay okay okay, and what about the desserts you actually put on them, you say? Well, I should tell you that we had five pies: two apple, one cherry, one pumpkin, and one mixed berry. We also had about four dozen peanut butter cookies, about six dozen miniature brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar, one dozen vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing, and one dozen vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing. Sounds like a lot, huh? Sounds like we got in way over our heads.

Well. We had 95 guests, and not one dessert was left by the end of the night. In fact, I only got to have a taste of apple pie, and one peanut butter cookie. The beau? He didn’t get to try anything. Yeah. All gone. And I’m not really sure what happened, here. I saw my uncle stuffing cookies in his pockets, and I heard a story recently about my aunt wrapping some in a napkin and putting them in her purse. And maybe some of the staff ate some? And I thought I heard something about my brigadier taking part of a pie, or maybe a whole pie? I don’t know all the details. All I know is that EVERYTHING WAS GONE. This was good, because we weren’t interested in toting loads of leftovers back home. But this was also bad because my family is still like, I NEVER GOT TO TRY THAT PIE. Sheesh. You can’t please everyone so you may as well not even try.

And with that I think I’ll leave you with some shots of the desserts in action, courtesy of our photographers:


Tell me about your dessert plan. What did you do, or plan to do?

_______________________________________________________
Photos 1-7 by me, of what dessert stands we have left (I kept a lot… I couldn’t part with all of them). Photos 8 and 9 by Aaron Rosenblatt. Photos 10-14 by Christina Richards.

the details part four: guestbook

So. The guestbook. We didn’t have one in the traditional sense. But we also did have one! We did and we didn’t! At the same time! Oh, my god. I think a seam in the universe was ripped.

We knew from the start that we didn’t want a book that people simply wrote in. I just couldn’t really see our future selves ever bothering to pour a big glass of wine, pull that kind of guestbook down off the shelf, and snuggle up for a night of reminiscing over our guests’ signatures. Because even if they DID write a personal note next to their names, I knew that 9 times out of 10 it would be something generic like “Congratulations!” I knew that because I’ve been that guest. I mean, come on. You just walked into the reception. You may or may not have already been handed a drink. You’ve spotted someone you haven’t seen in a while over in the corner. You’re on the spot. What are you going to do? Scrawl the first thing that comes to mind and flee. Like I said: I’ve been that guest before.

So we didn’t want a regular guestbook. We wanted a creative guestbook. Which: sounds easy, right? Like maybe I’ll just go to Amazon, conduct a search for “creative guestbook,” and toss that thing in my virtual cart. DONE, right? Except not so much. For months, I was stumped. Months and months. I was crazy about Bowie Bride’s Mad Lib guestbook, but at just a couple of weeks before the wedding my brain was starting to disintegrate, and the thought of coming up with a storyline and printing out the sheets of paper was too much to deal with. And I probably would have just copied Mouse’s idea for a wish tree (sorry, Mouse) and used that as our guestbook if I’d heard about it before our wedding, but… I didn’t. All of a sudden my indecision was catching up with me and I was getting desperate. I just wanted to figure it out already, dammit.

And then, just like that, the beau had an idea. An idea that incorporated our desire for a photobooth with our need for a “alternative” guestbook: why not get an instant camera and let the guests take photos of themselves and sign them? Hmmm. Why not, indeed?

Once we had ironed out the details and addressed some questions (how will we make sure guests know what to do, how do we make sure guests don’t waste all the film before everyone has their turn, and so on), we researched and bought the Fujifilm Instax 210. We settled on it mainly because 1) the prints featured a large white border upon which guests could write, and 2) it was one of the cheapest instant camera options. We paid almost $200 for the camera and additional packs of film on Wal-mart’s website. I am not normally the hugest fan of Wal-mart but it was the best deal we could find, and besides, weddings are anything but normal. And at that point in the planning process I could barely hear myself think over my coping mantra, which went something like I DON’T CARE WHAT IT IS OR WHERE OR HOW WE GET IT AS LONG AS IT’S DONE.

Here’s a list of the supplies we gathered for the setup:

  • The camera, extra packs of film, and extra batteries.
  • Archival pens and archival notecards, in case someone felt inspired to write something that required more space than the border of a photo.
  • A sign explaining the situation. Read the full text of the sign here.
  • Props: a mullet wig, a cowboy hat, a giant sombrero, a paper umbrella, a plastic flower lei, and three pairs of cheap aviator sunglasses. We got some props from a friend, the sombrero for $5 at a thrift store, the aviator sunglasses for $9 on Amazon, and we already had the mullet wig and lei.
  • A container in which to store the props, which ended up being a small antique suitcase that we borrowed from a friend.
  • A container in which guests could drop their photos and notecards, which ended up being a retro bowling bag that we borrowed from a friend.
  • Labels so that everything was clear.

So. How did it turn out? I’ll let you see for yourself:

The sign that explained to guests what to do.
The prop box also held the camera and extra film.
The bowling bag where guests could drop off their photos.
Another shot of the prop box and table.

And here are some shots of what happened when the guests got their hands on these things.

Sombrero city.
The beau’s mom rocked several props at once!
Gettin’ it all SET UP.

Umbrella mullet time!

Things that worked about this guestbook:

  • We got to see photographic evidence of our guests having fun when we weren’t around.
  • Guests were enthusiastic about the process and had fun.
  • People actually used the props. Like, REALLY used them. A lot.
  • Guests actually used the props when they weren’t even taking pictures. Especially when it was later at night. And they had been drinking. Kind of like this:
Hint: this is not his real hair. You probably feel a little bit better inside, yes?

BUT. There were also things that didn’t work so well about this guestbook:

  • Not everybody participated. Nearly everybody did, but my side of the family in particular were standing in a clump at the opposite end of the courtyard, and I didn’t have the presence of mind at the time to encourage them to go over and make sure they “signed” the guestbook. Yeah. Hardly a travesty, but I could have handled it better. I could have perhaps had the DJ make an announcement or something, you know?
  • Maybe it’s because the sign urged them to conserve film so that everyone got a chance to have their photo taken, but we put like six 20-packs of film out — the equivalent of 120 prints for about 95 guests — and we got half of them back. People really took that note to heart, I guess. Here’s where I wish, again, that I would have handled it better. I wish I would have thought to check in on the amount of film we had left later in the night and encourage our friends to use it up. Think of the photos we could have gotten!
  • The notecards we put out were pointless. We got maybe a grand total of three back. Everyone wanted to write on the photos themselves. Which leads us to the biggest drawback about our guestbook…
  • The pens. The pens. We went and got archival pens so that the writing on the photos wouldn’t fade over time, so that we could tuck our guestbook photos away in an archival album and have them forever. And these particular pens? They did not like the glossy surface of the prints. Instead of preserving the writing for years to come, this ink immediately smudged and made the writing illegible. See?
The beau’s parents represent… something.
My adorable aunt wore that cowboy hat well. Her words, however, did not turn out so well.
It’s not a wedding until someone takes his shirt off and starts wearing his girlfriend’s purse. I sense that the diagrams at bottom could be instructional and enlightening if only I could make them out…

Oh, my heart aches whenever I pull these photos out and see the ink smeared all over the place. Why didn’t we test the pens? Why didn’t I just know that type of pen would smudge on a glossy surface? I mean, did know. I have a fucking art degree. I have worked with ink on various surfaces before. But I didn’t think about it. I had wedding brain. Feverish, horrid, scrambled-eggs wedding brain.

The pens are my biggest, baddest regret from the wedding. Still, I’m glad we did our guestbook this way. Even if not everyone had their photo taken, and even if we have no clue what they inscribed to us at the time, we now have photographic evidence that our guests are total goofy nutballs.

But I guess I already knew that, or I wouldn’t have invited them.

_______________________________________________________
Photos 1-3, 5, 6, and 10 by Christina Richards. Photos 4, 7-9 by Aaron Rosenblatt. Last three photos by our guests!

the details, part three: photo line

At some point during the planning process we decided to — get this — take photographs of ourselves from youth to present day and clip them to a string like laundry on a clothesline. It would be like our version of a projected slideshow, you see? Except using real photos! And in a fashion sort of reminiscent of your grandmother’s backyard!1

What’s that, you say? What? Huh? You’ve never seen anything like this anywhere else? Yes, I know. The beau and I are the originators of this photo line idea. We really should have started our own style blog; we’d most certainly be independently wealthy by now.

At one end of the reception courtyard we had this… structure. It was like a small pergola, just chillin’ off by itself. We briefly considered putting a table under it and then setting our desserts on top of the table, but we decided it wouldn’t make much sense to place the desserts in some kind of awkward wasteland on the opposite side of the dance floor, away from the rest of the food. So we decided to use the pergola to display our pictures instead.

On the morning of the wedding the beau got up and went over to the venue and wound some twine around the outer posts, then used miniature clothespins to clip the photos on the twine. I was initially concerned that the photos would blow away in a stiff breeze, but the flimsy little clothespins held fast during the whole day.

I would have helped him set up, but I was too busy getting my hair done and drinking mimosas during that time. Thank you, I appreciate your condolences.

The beau then topped off the look by hanging some fabric bunting above the photo lines. That’s right, I said fabric bunting. I commissioned my brigadier to make it for us, and it’s gorgeous. It’s only a matter of time before the wedding design mavens and home fashion gurus swoop in to copy this shit and paste it all over the place. And I’ll be busy laughing gaily and burying myself up to my neck in my millions, just like a grinning Scrooge McDuck going for a swim in his pool of gold coins. YEAH. JUST LIKE THAT.

Oh. What? Sorry.

The end result seemed to come together pretty well. I’ll let you judge for yourself:

Note: I love this picture of my parents.

 

Annnnnd one last neat one of our friends checking out the photo line whilst I loom like a blurry specter in the foreground:

All right. That’s that.

Did/will you put up photos at your wedding?

All photos by Christina Richards, except for the last one by Aaron Rosenblatt.

___________________________________________________

1 My grandmother still puts her laundry out on the line to dry. Underwear and all. My other grandmother, before she departed this rock, used to use an old-fashioned open-top electric washer that would agitate grimy water all over the floor before making you feed the clothes through a hand-operated wringer and hang them on the line. I used to help with this chore when I was a kid, and I loved doing it because it enabled me to pretend I was acting out a scene from Little House on the Prairie, if I simply ignored the part with the electric agitation. A few years before she died, my father broke down and bought her a brand-new washer and dryer set, and she was happy as a clam.

the details, part two: signs… of the times

Three weeks before the wedding, I suddenly turned to the beau and exclaimed: “Oh, shit! We’re gonna need signs and stuff!”

The beau looked at me. “Shit,” he said.

True dat.

We needed signs. A food menu sign. A bar menu sign. Signs for the table seating charts. Signs for the dessert table. Table name signs. Signs for the guestbook table. And so on.

Now, here’s where I developed a condition that could only be retroactively diagnosed as General Anxiety Regarding Prettiness and Details and Logistics Disorder (GARPDLD).1 How big did the signs need to be? Should they all maintain a similar look and feel? What should that look and feel be? Chalkboard or print? How to frame them? Huh? Huh? Oh god we are going to pick the wrong thing and we are all going to die and the wedding will be ruined.

We had a tense moment one afternoon when I pulled all our empty frames2 out of the closets and laid them in the middle of the living room floor and proceeded to talk at considerable length with the beau about what he thought of using them for the wedding. Sample conversation:

Me: “So what do you THINK?”
Beau: “I don’t know! They are all fine. I don’t really care.”
Me: “… but how do you FEEL about them?”

I finally decided, with very little help from the beau thank you very much, that no, these wouldn’t do at all. So then we went on a tense trip to Aaron Brothers to look at their frames, but they were all too expensive and confusing. Needless to say, things were getting… tense.

Then, something snapped. I must have inadvertently swallowed a chill pill or eaten some kind of magic wedding mushroom that caused me to just not care anymore. I decided — BAM! — we’d use chalkboards for the menus and as one of the guestbook props.3 I decided — BAM! — we’d go out and find plain and inexpensive photo frames in which to put the guest seating lists. I decided — BAM! — something else. I don’t entirely remember that period of time anymore. I probably decided to have a drink. Yes, that must have been it.

For the bar menu sign, I salvaged a large (roughly 16×20″) pale greenish frame from an old painting the beau’s parents had given us. For the guestbook prop, I dug out an 8×10″ ugly gold ornate monstrosity I’d found abandoned on the sidewalk down our block, and spray painted it a nice turquoise for no reason other than that was the color of available spray paint that I liked best. Then, for the dinner buffet menu, we found a 12×18″  black wooden frame in a thrift store for $3. We ripped out the fine artwork — a thoughtfully illustrated poem dedicated to an outhouse — it contained, and threw it away. I know. I don’t know what we were thinking, either.

Having carefully measured the interior dimensions of the frames, we went to our local hardware store and had them cut pieces of 1/8″ masonite down to size. Then we covered the masonite in a few coats of chalkboard paint, and stapled them inside the frames. Here they are, put to good use:

My brigadier was the one who kindly wrote out the bar and dinner menus out on the chalkboards. Here’s a bonus shot by one of our guests of (part of) the menu sign in action:

As for the guest seating, we went so far as to assign them tables, but not specific seats. We found some 8.5×11 metallic diploma frames on sale at Target, which ended up working really well, because all we had to do was print out the seating list for each table on letter-sized paper and slap it inside a frame. The ones we sorta liked were a brushed silver color, but Target tragically did not have enough of them in stock. So we got two extra black ones, because we just. Did. Not. Want. To. Think. Anymore. These frames really didn’t go with anything else in the wedding, but if you’ll recall my special magic wedding mushrooms, I was past the point of caring. Metallic! Wood! Antique! Modern! Black! Silver! Turquoise! Whatever! Hell, let’s do it all!

Here’s a shot of a table with many of the aforementioned signs at work during the wedding. Over to the left you can kind of make out the metallic frames in question. We ended up only needing to use one black frame, so we put our head table seating list inside of it, so that everyone would know we were Very Special Indeed.

The last thing I did, quite literally two days before the wedding, was make the table name signs and the other assorted labels that we needed. At first I waffled a bit on the table name signs, thinking that we needed to buy mini chalkboards to “go” with our bigger chalkboards. But then another part of my brain said: gurrrrl, pshhht. It was a fair point. So we got some basic metal card holders to display the printed table names instead.

For the sake of ease, I made it so that the table names were half the size of a standard letter-sized sheet of paper (5.5×8.5″), and that the dessert signs were half the size of the table names (4.25×5.5″). I fretted briefly over how to display the dessert signs, but then the beau said, “Why don’t we just print them on cardstock, fold them in half, and stand them up like little tents?” Brilliant, beau. I knew there was a reason I was marrying you.

So it was fairly simple. I used a variety of the same fonts we used on our invitations, we had a copy shop print them on cardstock and trim them, and then we folded the labels over like tents. Done. See, look:

We had a multitude — dare I say a plethora — of various desserts, so we needed signs for them so that people would know what they were getting into. Unfortunately, we don’t have many pictures of them in use, so I guess you can use your imagination for the rest of them (Hint: they look just like the above! Except with different names and in different fonts!). In think they’re kind of cute for being half-assed. Then again I think a lot of it is because Christina Richards is an awesome photographer.

And here are our table name signs, replete with holders:

For those of you wondering just what the hell “Arcade Fire” is about, we decided to name our tables after bands we like who we’d seen play live. This is a great idea in theory, but a poor idea in execution. Really, it would have made more sense if we’d put in the show date and venue in smaller type below the band name. In fact, that’s what I’d originally intended to do, but when I went to make these signs I just completely forgot. My brain was scrambled eggs by this point. Like, old rubbery scrambled eggs that have been left in the pan too long and now they kind of have that weird skin. Yeah.

That’s it, kids. I’ll be back later with MOAR.

All photos by Christina Richards, except for the third one by Aaron Rosenblatt, and the fourth one by a guest.

___________________________________________________

1 It was, how shall I say, a recurring condition throughout the wedding planning process.

2 Yes, I have this problem where I buy frames I love on sale and then never put anything in them.

3 More to come on that later.

the details, part one: centerpieces

So, I never really talked much about our wedding aesthetic. Or to put it another way, The Details. This is because I thought my Details would bore the shit out of you. On the other hand, I well remember from my own hazy days of wedding planning just how valuable idea sharing is in this community. To that end, I present to you: The Details Series. If you look very closely, you can detect the sarcasm in my use of title case.

I am not showing these to you in hopes that you will leave me some kind of highly complimentary comment that makes use of many more exclamation points than necessary. I’m showing them to you so that if you’re considering taking a similar tack, you can see how it turned out for me.

For those of you dear, gentle readers who are disinterested in The Details, I am truly sorry. Allow me to offer you a reading alternative.

Okay then! Let’s begin. The first installment in the series is: centerpieces. I know. Try to contain yourselves.

As a brief refresher, I collected clear, green, blue, and milk glass vases from thrift stores, and then we went to the farmer’s market and basically bought every kind of flower they had available in every color they had available. I’m not even sure what some of the names of the flowers we bought are, because I am that lame. All I know is that they were flowers, and that was good enough for me.

We also got available “filler.” In our case, this was eucalyptus branches and other assorted, like, you know… green leafy stuff. We tried to buy proportionally, but we ended up running out of filler at the end, which was stupid because that was the cheapest of all and we should have just gotten extra in the first place. But one of our groomsmen made an emergency trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some more there, so it worked out.

By the numbers:
95 guests
six 16’ tables (two 8’ tables pushed end to end)
one 24’ head table
60 vases ranging from small to medium width, and short to tall (we tried to keep it under 10 inches, though, so that people could see around them)
2-4 vases in each centerpiece
three centerpieces per guest table
seven? centerpieces at head table (sorry, I was too busy having fun at the wedding to count exactly)

If this is the kind of thing you want to do for your own wedding, I’d highly recommend is to do a trial run a few weekends before the wedding. Go to your local market or flower vendor of choice, and pick up a selection of blooms and filler. Toss them into a few of your vases so you start to get an idea of 1) how everything looks together, and 2) how much it takes to fill the vases you chose. Once you have a handle on that, you can extrapolate forward from your test results to arrive at an estimate of how much of each kind of thing you need to buy before the wedding.

Also, I cannot recommend not caring about flower type enough, because not only does it make arranging a snap, but it makes it easy to substitute another flower should you run out.

Cost:
Vases: $75
Flowers: $140
Labor: $0
__________
Total: $215

We didn’t use any kind of foam or tape to help support the flowers inside the vases, because we wanted the assembly to be as fast and easy as possible. It was just vases, flowers, filler, and water. Oh, and some scissors/pruning shears. I forgot about those. We bought four of them. I have no idea how much they cost, and I’m too lazy to look it up. Let’s assume they cost a total of $6,934.77. No wonder we were missing a large chunk of our budget. In retrospect we shouldn’t have gotten the diamond-studded ones forged from 24-carat gold.

Really, I cannot be clear enough: do not stress over the centerpieces. I know you’ve heard this before, but Nobody. Fucking. Looks. At. Them. I went to a wedding three weeks after my own, and two days later I came home from work to find a flower arrangement on my front porch. No note. So mysterious! Was it for me? Who could it be from? Who would just drop off flowers at my house? Um, yeah. Turns out it was from the bride. She’d been trying to get rid of her leftover wedding centerpieces and in desperation had abandoned one on my doorstep. I had just been to her wedding, and sat at a table with one of these centerpieces for a substantial period of time, and I did not even recognize the damn thing. I didn’t actually even figure it out until she texted me later. Oh yes! Hi! That. Right.

Nobody said anything about our centerpieces to us at the wedding, complimentary or otherwise. Some people did, however, feel compelled to take them. Since I never indicated that the centerpieces doubled as guest favors, I cannot fathom how anybody arrived at the conclusion that they had lucked into a vase free-for-all. And I am still slightly bitter about losing my favorite milk glass bud vase.

So the moral of the story is that your guests will either ignore the centerpieces or steal them. Hence, they DO NOT MATTER.

The good news is, I think that for being inconsequential, our centerpieces turned out just fine.

 

All photos by Christina Richards.

if not caring is wrong, i don’t want to be right

This past weekend the beau dabbled in the fine art of flower-arranging. By which I mean: he took apart a bouquet of flowers from the farmer’s market and spent seven or eight minutes jamming the flowers into various vases on whim. Then he sat back and said, “These look pretty good.”

And they did.

Here’s all of the test vases together:

I mean, I may be biased, but I think that for the amount of effort that went into these, they look fucking awesome. Of course, the alluring morning light helps make them appear, uh, alluring.* But seriously. For having no theme, no specific flower type or color, no matching vases, and absolutely zero desire to take flower arranging seriously, somehow it all works.

Which makes me happy, because we’ll need a lot of these vases. About 70, to be exact. Our loose plan is as follows: We’ll have long eight-foot tables for dinner seating, and each table will need three centerpieces. We’ll use at least two or three vases per centerpiece, depending on size. Each centerpiece will be comprised of vases that contrast each other, whether it be in terms of tall/short, thick/thin, round/square, or a combination thereof. The final effect will be something along the lines of this:

Except that for the actual wedding, the vases will not be sitting atop a side table in my living room. Also, fun fact alert! The little glass “vase” in the photo above is actually an old oil and vinegar bottle I found inside the built-in ironing board closet in our house. End fun fact alert.

For the number of vases we need to fill, we’ll probably end up spending a grand total of $100 – $120 on flowers. Of course, the fact that we’re not doing any bouquets or boutonnieres helps keep the cost down. Yeah, I actually did just type that. Permit me to repeat it in boldface: We are not doing any bouquets or boutonnieres. I do not want a bouquet, either made of real flowers, found objects, or otherwise, because I am 1) batshit insane, 2) not actually a woman, or 3) all of the above. I don’t know why I’m not interested in bouquets, I’m just not. And if there’s anything other blogs have taught me, it’s to concentrate only on the wedding things you care about the most. This is why I spent roughly four days trying to figure out how to get custom fonts to display on our website, and a few minutes figuring out what to put on the tables. Hence, our poor man’s centerpieces above; born of a burning desire to decorate for the least amount of money and labor possible. The takeaway? You can do whatever the sam hill you want with your wedding. Trample The Rules and make your own! Damn the torpedos, and damn the man! Or something!

Speaking of rule-trampling, let me just say I am not wholeheartedly opposed to the idea of carrying a bouquet at my wedding, of course. I’ve heard some people say that their bouquet gave them something to do with their hands, which is fair enough. So I figure that if I decide at the last second that I need to distract my evil, nervous hands from doing evil, nervous things, I’ll pluck a few stems from a nearby vase and grasp them tightly in my sweaty fists until the ceremony begins. I am also not wholeheartedly opposed to the idea of boutonnieres for all the guys, because I think they would look nice. But I am too coarse and cheap to go to a florist, too afraid of DIY to make them, and whenever I go on Etsy and look at the alternative boutonniere options, my eyes sort of glaze over and I feel the overwhelming urge to click away, CLICK AWAY! So. Since they are near the bottom of my list and very likely to fall off any second, I am already assuming we won’t have them. Feel free to make fun of me heartily in the comments, for I’m certain our marriage will not survive our ignorance of these details.

What’s on your “do not care” list?

__________________________________________________________

* I was 20 minutes late to work yesterday because I decided that I absolutely had to take pictures of the vases right that very second. You’re welcome, internet.

looky-loo

Because I did that thing with the invitations recently? And they have finally arrived at the homes of the approximately four people I know who read this blog? Of course I am going to have to show them to you now. As a refresher, this is the part where I go LOOK AT THESE and some of you kind of nod sympathetically and pretend to like them. Then you turn to your friend and go, “I don’t know WHAT she was thinking.”*

Because my computer is powered by magical unicorns, I was able to change our names and other pertinent info in the source file before making it into a picture. Which is disappointing, because I so wish my fiancé’s name was Beau Beason. Oh well, now I can pretend!

invitation_forweb

I decided on a typography-based design pretty early on in the process, namely because I had all these FONTS and I LURVED THEM and I WANTED TO USE ALL OF THEM OMG. What? I think that’s a legitimate artistic motive.

I made it so that the big blue word “wedding” is jutting out and attacking the column of information on the right. This is probably some kind of subliminal message about how the wedding is like a dagger stabbing into the heart of my life. Or something.

We saved a bit of money by printing out fewer RSVP cards than invitations and sending them only to the older people on our guest list who aren’t as computer-savvy. We made them postcard-sized, slapped a stamp on the back, and sent them on their way. Here’s the front:

And the back:

I kind of went back and forth about including more information, like the addresses of the venues and a map and directions and a list of hotels with room blocks, but you know what? 90% of our guests are traveling from out of town, and from all different directions. We can’t possibly cover each of their bases. So we just made sure that everything is clearly spelled out on the website, and we let the rest go. No hand-holding. Most guests can fend for themselves from here on out. This is the digital age, after all. All they have to do is click on our Google wedding map and they can build their own directions in a snap. The rest can be helped out by family members.

I got a lot of pushback about this from various people — one told me that assuming her guests would actually bother to visit the website was her biggest mistake. She said she spent the last few weeks before her wedding fielding phone calls from guests who needed basic information. Me? I’m just hoping that our experience is different.

So there it is, folks. Thank you once again for playing along as I show you things you can’t possibly be remotely interested in.

Did you or do you plan to do your own invitations?

_________________________________________________________

* After I mailed out the save-the-dates, I asked my mom what she thought of them, and she said, “Well… they are… interesting.” Yes, mom. They are incredibly interesting. Thank you for noticing.**

** ALSO: OMG, the invitations look nothing like the save-the-dates! I am surely going to wedding aesthetic hell for this.

fun with printers, or how to lose and regain your mind in just a few short days

We have a friend.* I’ll call him Dewey.** Dewey is a visual artist. Dewey owns a fancy printer. “You should come over and print photos on my printer!” he used to tell us enthusiastically, and repeatedly. Then after we got engaged, it turned into: “You should come over and print your wedding stuff on my printer!”

Fine, Dewey. You convinced us. Saves us from having to pay to print our invitations and RSVP cards, right? And so recently we commenced Project Printington: The Printness. What follows is the project’s trip report.

ROUND ONE

We pack up our preordered paper supplies and booze and head to Dewey’s house. Look out kids, WE ARE ABOUT TO PRINT SOME SHIT.

6:30 pm: We’ve arrived. This is going to be fun!
6:51 pm: Install printer driver.
7:05 pm: Test print!
7:06 pm: No? No test print? You want me to download a driver update first? Eyeroll.
7:29 pm: WOOOO! Finally! Test print!!!!
7:32 pm: Hmmm, the color is off.
7:37 pm: Adjust color.
7:44 pm: Adjust color again.
7:49 pm: Wait, why are there lines running through the text?
7:52 pm: Clean print heads.
7:54 pm: Um, it came out sideways. And there are STILL lines.
7:56 pm: Adjust color.
8:02 pm: THIS IS SIDEWAYS.
8:06 pm: THIS IS SIDEWAYS, TOO.
8:07 pm: How the #@*% does this thing work?
8:13 pm: Fine. There’s nothing we can do about the lines. Yeah, okay, you can only see them if you look really close. I know nobody is going to look that close. Let’s just do this thing already.
8:14 pm: Send batch of ten to print!
8:28 pm: BURRITO. MORE BOOZE. It’s a celebration, bitches.
8:35 pm: Another batch of ten! We’re rolling!
8:54 pm: Okay, next batch of ten. Printing slowly. Ever. So. Slowly.
9:12 pm: Wait, these ones are coming out super streaky.
9:17 pm: Clean print heads.
9:24 pm: Ooh! Better! Let’s do another ten!
9:41 pm: #$@&*$ LINES.
9:49 pm: Clean print heads.
10:07 pm: MORE. #$@&*$. LINES.
10:28 pm: Admit defeat. 24 more invitations need to be printed, not to mention all of the RSVP cards. Plan to regroup tomorrow. Maybe the ink just needs to be replaced?
10:36 pm: Home. Feel dejected. Eat ice cream bar in hopes that it will solve all of my problems.
11:11 pm: Problems apparently still exist. Screw you, ice cream bar.

ROUND TWO

Hey! Maybe I can print the rest of the invitations at work! And the RSVP cards too! In the middle of the day, without anyone finding out!

12:23 pm: Printer error.
12:37 pm: Printer error.
12:50 pm: Printer error.
12:51 pm: $%@* !&#$%!@*&#@!$*#@!&*%$@*&#@!$
12:58 pm: Printer error.
12:59 pm: [redacted]

ROUND THREE

Back to Dewey’s house, sans beau. He has rugby practice. Printer, I shall battle you alone. And boozeless.

5:57 pm: Printer has brand new ink. Print heads have been cleaned. Prepare to submit to my will.
6:02 pm: Test print. Okay. Not perfect, but not bad. Let’s roll.
6:20 pm: First round of ten done!
6:44 pm: Second round of ten done!
7:03 pm: Third rou… wait, there are more lines than EVER. On ALL of these.
7:06 pm: Clean print heads.
7:12 pm: Now the lines are multicolored! It’s like they are all having sex and giving birth to little baby rainbow lines!
7:16 pm:  Okay. Maybe it’s just tired. Maybe the printer is revolting against its suffocating lot in life. Let’s change it up by test-printing an RSVP card.
7:25 pm: Sob.
7:31 pm: Wail.
7:35 pm: Give up. Pack up. You win, printer. So long, you miserable bastard.

ROUND FOUR

Duck out of work and go to the local copy shop.

2:34 pm: Check out available paper. Choose one.
2:42 pm: Hand over PDF files.

*** next day ***

12:10 pm: Check proof at shop.
12:12 pm: Hmm. Color is way off. Can it be adjusted?
12:13 pm: Do I wanna come back and look at a new proof? No. You know what? Just do what you can. At this point you could change it from teal and yellow to red and purple and I would probably just shrug.

*** next day ***

11:20 am: Fork over $79.
11:22 am: Leave with invitations and RSVP cards.
6:47 pm: Assemble invitations, RSVP cards, stamps.

*** next day ***

7:59 am: Deliver finished envelopes to post office.

SO. After being a week late getting out the invitations, we managed not only to extend the lateness several more days with our printer woes, but to also pay more for our troubles. What a privileged bunch of jerks we are.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. Start earlier.***
  2. Don’t trust a fancy printer.
  3. Be suspicious of people named Dewey.
  4. The color on the screen will never look remotely like the color on the paper.
  5. Ice cream doesn’t solve anything, but I will continue to eat it anyway.

__________________________________________________________

* Shocking, I know.

** I’ve begun watching syndicated episodes of Malcom in the Middle at the gym every morning. Sue me.

*** Story. Of. My. Effing. Life.

in which the details escape me

I tried, you guys. I tried to be normal. I walked to the post office, waited patiently in line, and when I got up to the counter I expressly asked for the “King and Queen of Hearts” stamps. The USPS employee looked me dead in the eyes. “Oh, we don’t have any of those,” he said. “We haven’t had them for months.”

Okay then.

He pulled some samples out of a drawer and pushed them in front of me. “Is this for a special occasion?” he asked. Yes, a wedding. He showed me a stamp with two gold bands on them. Eh. He showed me a stamp with some purple flowers and the word “love” on them. Eh. Then I spotted the ones. “This,” I said, plucking a sheet from the pile. “This will do nicely.”

I purchased four sets of “Cowboys of the Silver Screen.”

Do Hollywood cowboys of yore have anything to do with our wedding theme or location? No. Do they have anything to do with our wedding invitation design?* No. Do the beau and I share an interest in old western films? Not in the least. But you know what? They make me happy.

And at the very least, my grandparents will get a little thrill out of seeing Tom Mix on their envelope.

___________________________________________________

* To make matters worse, the only stamps they had for postcards had polar bears on them. So yeah. Polar bears and cowboys will be adorning my invitations and RSVP cards. When will the horrors ever cease?

while i’m on the subject

Listen. I have to come completely clean with you. The wine stoppers? Those weren’t the only DIY I tried. I’m sorry, OK? I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but it’s just that we’ve come to trust each other. I felt I had to tell you… that I also dabbled in tiered dessert stands.

I’ll give you a moment.

No doubt you’ve already seen a version of a DIY dessert stand tutorial floating around the wedding interwebs. Still, in order to help us all heal, I need to talk it through. So I’m gonna tell you, step by step, how I did it.

  1. First, get some plates and glasses. My glasses came from a thrift store. Plus 20 points! But I bought the plates new from World Market. CONVENIENCE PURCHASE ALERT! Minus 1,937 points. Am already flunking DIY school, and I’ve barely begun.
  2. Go the hardware store and buy some goop. Plumber’s Goop. This is different from Plumber’s Crack, which can also be found at the hardware store, provided you are vigilant enough.*
  3. Lay out all your supplies. Ed. note: Glass of booze not pictured.
  4. Play with your supplies. How do you want the glasses oriented? Up? Down? How do you want the plates stacked? Do you feel that the general themes of nineteenth century Russian literature are relevant to today’s society? Don’t you like popsicles?
  5. Eat some leftover frosting.
  6. OK! Here’s the key part: Slather goop all around the top and bottom rims of your glass. Place the glass onto the plate so that it’s centered. Ed. note: Your perception of “centered” may vary depending on the number of glasses of booze heretofore employed.
  7. Carefully set the middle plate on top of the glass.
  8. Slather goop onto the second glass, and repeat the centering thing. Finish with the final plate. Contemplate your troubled relationship with that Ke$ha song “TiK ToK.” Attempt to salvage your indie street cred by vociferously announcing to all in the room, including people you converse with on the phone who may hear it on in the background, that you’re only listening to it “ironically.”
  9. Remember that you have no indie street cred.
  10. OK, good. Now, do not move the dessert stand! Give it 24 hours to finish drying. Which means that you probably shouldn’t have built the stand right there on the dining room table, from which the stand is now emanating fumes. Whoops. Ed. note: That headache eventually goes away.

That’s it! You now have a lovely tiered dessert stand that you can use to display your favorite treats again and again, until the end of time, or at least until it shatters in the car on the way to your party while your mother is holding it in her lap. Seriously. The stems of the glasses just snapped right in half. Utterly destroyed before it even saw its first cupcake.

*throwing hands in the air*

IN SUMMARY: DIY AND I DO NOT GET ALONG. I have subsequently quit DIY and am currently in a 12-step recovery program.

Let us never speak of this again.

THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.

_______________________________________________

* Ask for Earl.