Category Archives: decorations

zomg giveaway: winner!

Hey guys!

Well, thirteen of you said you were interested in the metallic frames I used for my wedding. Sadly, only one of you can have them, unless I were to divide the seven frames evenly into thirteen pieces, which wouldn’t do anyone a lick of good.

Happily, though, there is one winner of said metallic frames, and that winner is Jess of Technicolor Wedding!

Random.org told me so. See?

Jess, I’ll be emailing you! I hope you trust me with your mailing address! Ahhhhahahahahaha! Oh.

Thank you for playing.

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.

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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.

zomg giveaway!

Sort of.

Do you remember the metallic frames from the last post? We used them to display our guest seating lists.

Some fun facts about them:

  • There are five brushed silver ones
  • There are two matte black ones
  • They are size 8.5×11″
  • They can be oriented vertically OR horizontally
  • They have those flaps in the back you can use to stand them up
  • They are free
  • I like popsicles
  • Don’t you like popsicles?
  • I am also fond of squirrels

Listen, guys. In my post-wedding fit of GET EVERYTHING WEDDING-RELATED OUT OF THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW, I nearly just handed these over to Goodwill. But something stopped me. I mean, they are fairly decent frames, and in good condition. What if someone else could use them? What if… what if one of YOU needed to use them for your wedding?

I realize this is not the coolest giveaway in the history of forever, and I also realize that these are not the most vital of items to give away. But I figure that if I can help someone cross something off of her wedding to-do list, why not do that? We’re all kind of in this together, after all.

So here’s the deal. If you are remotely interested in using these things, leave me a comment with your email address [EDIT: If you make sure to put your email address in the comment form, I’ll get it. If you put a direct link to your email in the comment body, bots could discover it and start spamming you, and I don’t want that for any of youse guys]. A week from now, on December 10, I’ll use one of the random number generator things (given that more than one person responds) to select a winner. Then, I’ll mail that person a box with the frames inside.

Terms and conditions may apply: The only condition I have is that you live in the continental United States. Since I am paying for shipping, I don’t want to have to take out a small loan.

The closing sale: Think of the things you can do with them! You can use them for the wedding! For the home! For the garden! You can glue glitter on the outside! You can melt them down for scrap! You can fill them with pictures of your exes and then place them strategically around the house and see how long it takes your partner to notice, and then when he or she angrily confronts you you can be all like, “HA HA APRIL FOOLS’!” And he or she will be like, “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, IT IS ONLY DECEMBER,” and you’ll be like, “WHATEVER, YOU ARE SO FACT-DRIVEN.”

If I post some artsy-looking shallow-focus photos, you might like them more:

 

And just so you know, I didn’t forget about the black frames:

 

Impressive, no?

So what do you say? Any takers?

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.

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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.

in which my wedding immunizations are not up-to-date

Yesterday we went to the rental place. You know, to pick out tables and chairs and dishware and silverware and blah blah blah flee in terror.

The lady who was helping us, you could tell that she was used to talking to people (brides) who care intensely about The Details. For instance, we got to the matter of the Cake Table, and the beau and I went through the whole well-we-don’t-think-we’re-having-a-cake-we’re-maybe-having-something-like-pies routine, and she looked at us and put her pen down. “You know,” she said, “we had a bride in here who did a wedding last fall, and she did a whole table with an assortment of pies!” She lowered her voice and continued: “And I wouldn’t normally tell you this, but she went out and got her pies from Costco and Marie Callender’s.”*

She went on to tell us that they were just the hugest wedding hit ever, except in retrospect she wouldn’t recommend ever putting out an apple pie, because well, they just don’t hold their shape when cut, and they don’t look very nice on a plate.

Oh honey. You had me at Costco. And then you went and lost me with presentation. It is pie. I don’t care what it looks like. I would scoop that shit up and eat it with my hands, no problem. But then again I am not as classy as some.

So anyway, there we were, feeling smug in our wedding zen. At least I was. The beau was probably daydreaming about, I don’t know, maple-flavored bacon. But then shit got wild, yo. She asked us what our wedding colors were. I looked at the beau. The beau looked at me. “Well,” I said, “we don’t really have wedding colors.” The lady put her pen down again, slowly. “OK then, what’s the color of your bridesmaid dresses?” she inquired. Blank look from me. “Uh, well…” I stammered. “I don’t have a color for, uh, for those dresses yet.”

A look of alarm passed over her face. I could see it in her eyes: These people do not know what they want. This was a problem, you see, for how could we possibly select the colors and themes of the rental items if we did not know the colors and themes of the overall wedding?

She looked us up and down. “Well, I can see you are both wearing green,” she began tentatively. I glanced down, then slid my eyes sideways to check out the boy. We were indeed wearing green. What do you know about that? “Do you like green?” she asked. We nodded dimly. Yes. Yes, we like green. And that was good enough. Now she had an angle. She was in like Flynn.

From there it was all a blur. There were these racks, they had tablecloth fabric samples on them. She was a machine, a machine in motion, pulling samples down and setting a pretend table with different glassware and utensils. She was pairing sage green with rust, with copper, with burnt orange.** She was tossing teal into the mix. She threw together a satin olivino tablecloth with a satin citron napkin. She, good lord, she was putting little clippings of rosemary and lilac in the folds of the napkins!

It this impeccably casual enough? No? Yes? Help? // Source: Jen Tilley via Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jentilley/)
It this impeccably casual enough? No? Yes? Help? // Source: Jen Tilley via Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jentilley/)

And somewhere in the middle of all this I found myself suddenly caring deeply, deeply, about these colors. What if they didn’t go with our venue? What if they didn’t go with each other? What if some of our guests didn’t like the colors? What would the guests think when they approached the tables? What kind of feel would the colors generate? Moreover, did we know that for the centerpieces we could build low, long boxes and grow wheatgrass in them, and then contrast that with citrus tree branches in vases for that extra pop of color?

The beau told me later: “She really lost me when she said we should grow plants in boxes for the wedding.”

We left after two hours, in a daze. I was clutching fabric samples. I am still the same person who said that I would just get the cheapest, most boring tablecloths and call it a day, right? Then how do I explain this sudden bout of hand-wringing over color coordination?

They got to me, you guys. They got me.

For now, the fabric samples have been jammed into a drawer. I need a break. I need some time to sort the B.S. from what’s really important to us.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about making a trip to Costco. I understand they have a decent selection of pies.

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* I’m already liking this chick.

** Yes, these sound like they should be all the same color, but mysteriously, they were not.

really? because i was liking the antler idea

29 years. 29 years of life and thus far I’ve not wasted one second of it thinking about what kind of centerpieces ought to go on tables.* So why should I start now?

Oh. Oh that’s right, I’m getting married. Apparently getting married induces mind-searing self-doubt, and everything you ever knew, loved, and believed is erased and replaced with absolute unwavering faith in what the (industry) leaders say. And if the leaders say think about table centerpieces, then you think about table centerpieces.

It’s kind of like being inducted into a cult.

Yes. Anyway. Tables. I’ve been considering what will go on them for the wedding. We are going to have some flowers, sure. In fact, in the coming months we’re even going to collect various vases for the flowers. Mismatched ones, because we’re** wannabe hipsters like that. And I’m pretty sure we’re going to have tablecloths, too, so that’s cool. But then I start to wonder if flowers in vases on tablecloths are good enough for our wedding. And then I cruise by some “inspiration” blog and see centerpieces featuring meticulously arranged stacks of antique books and handmade paper fans alongside of light chain diodes in the shape of antlers and sunflowers the couple grew themselves floating in a water-filled handblown glass bowl, or some such insanity, and I’m like: Oh. Guess flowers alone definitely aren’t good enough.

Sure, I could just put my foot down. Say whatever, flowers alone are good enough, and move on and be happy. Maybe — maybe — I could even frolic a little. But then I begin to think that I do want more than just flowers on the tables, and that’s where things get mystifying. Because that sounds exactly like something the wedding industry would tell me to want.

Let’s consider the term “wedding industry” for a second. It used to be that the wedding industry meant traditional, and tradition set the standards. And then the indie/DIY movement came along and said, we are going to punch your standards in the eye. And they did! And many people cheered and clapped. But then that indie/DIY movement became its own set of standards, replete with all the trends and frippery that goes along with that. It doesn’t matter if it’s the “alternative” option if the alternative option is making you feel like your stuff is shit in comparison.

What’s my point? I don’t know. I’m still kind of working this out in my head. Trying to figure out why I have such an adverse, snarky reaction to the wedding world of late. I think a lot of it is about coming to grips with the word bride, because bride is such a loaded word in the same way that wife is such a loaded word. Those words define who we are as individuals, but they also become roles we play for others. Hence, I don’t trust the wedding industry, even the indie/DIY faction, because I suspect that playing along with them will make me fall into some kind of bride trap where I suddenly, desperately care about things that don’t actually matter in the scope of life. And afterwards, I will smack my forehead and say, I WAS SO DUMB FOR CARING ABOUT CENTERPIECES. The consequences of which being: If I begin to show the slightest interest in centerpieces, I don’t trust my intentions. Who are you? Who are you listening to? Has the wedding industry come calling again?

You know, this wasn’t meant to be some big serious deal. I came here to write a funny post about centerpieces and it somehow turned into a rambling analysis of self versus other. My apologies. Friday posts are supposed to be light and fluffy, right? Save the drama for your mama, or better yet, Mondays, when we’re all depressed about going back to work anyway.

The bright spot in this mess of a post: I figured out for sure that I want something more than just flowers on the damn tables. Now to just figure out what that is.

It is not going to involve handmade paper fans, that’s for damn sure.

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* OK. There was that one time last year I was setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner and thought, it would look nicer if something was on here, so I covered the table with a bed sheet and threw some candesticks in the middle, but that seems like less of a centerpiece and more of a desperate cry for help. At least the bed sheet was clean.

** And by we I mean I.

un petit diversion

The other day someone asked if I’d given any thought to what I want in a dress. I kind of surprised myself by answering no. I’ve seen countless dresses on the blogs I troll, but they all sort of just whiz over my head. Details are background noise; I’m too focused on finding a venue right now. Somehow I feel like: if we just get the venue and date nailed down, that’s half of the work right there. I mean, as long as we had a predetermined place and time for people to congregate, we could show up in our pajamas with a few cases of Little Debbie snack cakes to pass around. And some two buck chuck. Right? *

Yet, I’m not made of stone. Sometimes I see things (details!) that give me little thrills, and I promptly File Away for Later.

Like these light bulb vases I spotted hanging in the windows of a custom frame shop:

bulb_vase1bulb_vase2

The glass I photographed them through was a bit dirty and smudgy, but you get the drift.

I can totally imagine a few dozen of these strung up around our reception (or ceremony!) site, filled with bright and colorful wildflowers. Plus: how incredibly cheap are these? What we couldn’t collect from our own house and purge from our friends, we could make up for by buying at the dollar store. For (obviously) $24/per 24 pack.

What gets me excited are the possibilities. We could change up the shapes of the bulbs—using a mix of regular, chandelier, globe, outdoor, etc. (but ONLY with incandescent bulbs; fluorescent or halogen = danger, Will Robinson). We could hang the vases using ribbons or twine instead of wire. We could paint the outside of the bulbs, too—but I’m usually more of a fan of the simple clear glass look.

Here’s a pretty specific how-to that walks through the steps of making these, in case anyone else is interested.

Until later, vases…

* Someone needs to do this and release the pictures into weddingblogland.