Category Archives: save-the-dates

probably the cutest thing that’s happened all year*

I got something from my grandmother in the mail today. Upon tearing open the envelope I pulled out: A thank-you card. What? I hadn’t gotten her anything lately. Her birthday isn’t even until July.

Then I read, in her slanted, cursive handwriting:

“Thank you so much for the magnet, how cute, we have it here on the fridge.”

She sent me a thank-you card. For our save-the-date.

* Except for when the beau said, “I’d better go to the Tuesday market and get flowers.” And I asked why? And he said, “Because your family is coming, and it would be nice to have flowers out for them.”**

** OH MY GOD, he is going to kill me for posting that. I am as good as dead. Sorry. It was nice knowing you guys.

our sexually transmitted diseases are in the mail!

NOW THAT I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION. We just took our save-the-dates to the post office today and as a result, I feel like I’ve accomplished, like, everything on the face of the planet. I intend to ride this high for at least the next ten minutes or so, or until whenever I realize that the wedding itself isn’t actually over yet and I can’t just go back to lying on the couch with my laptop clicking random YouTube links.

So… I realize this is a little self-aggrandizing of me, but. I HAVE TO SHOW THEM TO YOU.* The STDs, I mean. Like, right this second. OMG! Squeeeeeeee.**

Okay okay okay. Okay! Here’s the first one. This is the magnet we had printed. We basically took a bottle of wine up to an overlook on the campus of Santa Barbara City College, and took a picture of it.*** Then, I photoshopped a new label on the bottle. Original? No. But that’s a good thing.

Now, as you are already well aware, the beau’s real name is not actually “Beau.” But in order to avoid making us more Googleable than we already are, I’ve decided to never use nor allude to his real name in this space. Hence, because I am batshit insane enormously dedicated, I have changed all the pertinent information in the images I’m showing you.

And with that out of the way, here’s the second one. We actually ended up with two save-the-dates due to a conflict between wholly separate design approaches. We’d fully intended to pick one design approach over the other, but we just couldn’t, because we are spineless, indecisive bastards. So we compromised by using one idea as the magnet, and the other as a paper insert to be tucked inside the envelope with the magnet. Bonus points: We avoided spending any additional money on the insert by utilizing our resources.****

Yes. We made some tator tots and a corn dog, put them on a plate, and then wrote our names and wedding date in ketchup. Vigilant citizens may recognize this as the tribute to Napoleon Dynamite that it is. Others may recognize it as just plain crazy. We recognized it as delicious, because, hello. TATOR TOTS.

Anyway. That’s it. There they are. Thank you for patiently suffering through my “LOOK WHAT WE DID” post. I promise to return to writing intelligent, analytical essays on cultural norms and social issues in the very near future.*****


* YES, there are more than one, stop looking at me like that.

** Shut up, I am HIGH. Quit HARSHING.

*** Aside: The day we went up to SBCC to take this picture, there was a gaggle of bums hanging around the overlook who proceeded to make fun of our decidedly middle-class problem of how to appropriately photograph a bottle of wine outdoors. I think they just wanted us to hand over the booze.

**** Also known as the laser printer at work. Shhh.

***** I promise no such thing.


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?

all i wanted was tenderness but all i got was this damn STD

Thanks, guys, for your words of encouragement. I’m feeling better than I was this morning. It helps that I am currently pretending I have no such thing as a wedding to plan (sorry, beau). Also, I have listened to General Public’s “Tenderness” about 14 times today. I challenge you to put that song on and try not to dance around in the most ridiculously ’80s way possible.* This is my new go-to song for when the stress gets poured on like gravy. What’s that you say? Why yes! Yes, the world IS full of tenderness and synchronized hand claps and peaceful multiculturalism and smiling children and everything is just fine, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

IN OTHER NEWS. I’m wondering if Meg might be wrong about the save-the-date cards.** No, not “wrong” in the judgmental way. Just wrong for us and for our guests. Receiving save-the-date cards is common in our circles. Not to mention the fact that we are one of four couples in the same group of friends getting married inside a span of seven weeks this fall.*** And that is not counting the other various weddings our friends will have to attend in 2010. Over the holidays, many pals pulled me aside and said, so wait, what day are you getting married again? Things are getting hectic, and I’d like to give plenty of advance notice so that people can plan their travel accordingly. Provide a bit of clarity in an envelope, so to speak.

However. I’m not so sure about the older people, specifically my parents’ childhood friends. Would they be confused, as many of Meg’s guests were, by receiving a save-the-date card? I’ve casually mentioned save-the-dates around my family a few times, and nobody seemed to bat an eye, but then again maybe they just thought I was spewing crazy wedding-speak. I know my mother, personally, would love to get a save-the-date card, because she would scrapbook the shit out of that. So would some of my aunts, probably. They live for that kind of stuff. It’s like a family disease.****

Anyway. I’ve come up with some potential STD solutions:*****

1. Mail save-the-date to everyone.

2. Mail save-the-date to most people; leave off those who might be confused and just mail them invitations later.

3. Forget about mailing save-the-date entirely; send email version of save-the-date only to friends who need to plan around the hectic wedding schedule.

4. Save a tree, or some portion thereof: Email save-the-date to everyone.

Yeah. So there’s that to consider. Thoughts?

IN YET MORE OTHER NEWS. Today is the 5th anniversary of the day I boarded the plane with a one-way ticket to California. I didn’t know why I was going, really, except I was unhappy with my situation; or how I’d earn any money once I got there; or whether I’d fail completely and have to return to the private hell that was post-college life in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. And I sure as hell couldn’t have known that, five years from that day, I would find myself smarter from the additional education under my belt, happier in a different career, buoyed by an ever-widening group of friends, and engaged to a stellar person with whom I’m planning a wedding.

Oh, right. wedding planning. We need  to plan a wedding. And we need to resolve the STD question. And I need to look for a dress. And I need to figure out —


— Oh. Yessssss.



* Hint: lots of exaggerated arm movements. And bopping up and down.

** Namely, she thinks they’re unnecessary.

*** I’ve come to refer to this as the wedding clusterfuck.

**** Good news: you don’t die. Bad news: you spend an inordinate amount of time in hot pursuit of Michael’s coupons.

***** Prevention is key. Wear protection every time, or better yet, abstain entirely.

i caught you a delicious bass

The beau was thinking about potential themes for our overall wedding look.* The beau does that kind of thing.

See, we don’t strongly share any particular interest. It’s not like, say, we met while rummaging through the bargain bin in the basement of the local record shop, and as we began swapping our music collections we gradually fell in love, and now our whole house is chock full of stacks of vinyl, and we’re engaged, and so it makes utter and complete sense to mock up an album cover with our faces for the save-the-dates, and to mail guests little round cards with holes punched through the middle and our names and the wedding date on the label as the invitations, and to build a playlist with all our favorites on the website, and to string old records up above the courtyard so that at the reception they twist gently in the breeze, and so on and so forth.

Yeah, so it’s not like that at all.**

I mean, a theme is not the point. It’s not going to make the wedding. But at this point, it sure as hell feels like it would be easier to create all this stuff if only I had a simple idea to latch onto.

So, we’ve been racking our brains, searching for the commonality between us. Both of us. Which brings me back to the beau, and his Napoleon Dynamite-inspired idea. Do you remember the opening scenes of that movie? Of course you do. Who can forget creative writing with condiments?

Hell yeah, tots!

We kind of think this approach would work best for the save-the-dates, and maybe the website. And we’d adapt it to suit us, of course (even though tater tots and ketchup already suit us pretty damn well). Anyway. It’s just a thought.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Napoleon Dynamite was only the entire reason we ever met. But that’s a story for another time.

* Did I just type “wedding look?” Yes, yes I did.

** But now I so wish it was.