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Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's Going On?

I tried to post this last night, but for some reason Blogger was having some hiccups and wouldn't save my posts or actually post them. So, here it is today, instead. (Also, the title reminds me of a lot of foolishness I had with my best friend while living on campus. If you're familiar with that song, "What's Going On", you'll understand. But, it definitely led to a lot of screaming downtown in the middle of the night, and in the elevators, and anywhere else, really. Ahhh ahh ahh ahh uh ahh yeeeeeeaaaaaaah yeeeeeeeaaaaaah I said "HEY? What's going on?"--this will officially be in my head for the next week.)

 I'll be starting with our relationship books! I just got them in the mail, so it's not like I can give you a detailed breakdown, or even a review, but I would like to talk a little bit about my general first impressions of them so far. I had a really hard time deciding which book to read first (which is really always the problem!), but I finally decided on For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men [Hardcover], by Shaunti Feldhahn. I'm already about halfway through it because I can't put it down. It's a really really easy read, so no complaining here. I feel like I'm learning a lot from it, even though some parts don't quite fit Tony.

I guess the general concept of the book is that she was writing a fiction book and needed some research on the way men behaved and felt. She was so surprised by the feedback she was getting from different men that she decided to collaborate with some research people (who knew how to create a legitimate, scholarly survey) to create a survey to randomly poll 100+ men. The results were broken down into the most important bits and voila, the book was written. With that in mind, you'll understand why the book has some survey questions and the results included with each chapter. So far, I've polled Tony on two that I've seen and he fell in the minority category each time. There isn't a right or a wrong answer, so that's not what's important; besides, I already knew Tony wasn't a "normal" guy (that's why I love him!). Despite this "minority" result, I still know that a lot of what this book talks about (like respect) is still very important to him, even if he doesn't realize it. Reading through has shown me a few different places where I know I'm guilty, and I'm glad for it. I can now attempt to right these little blemishes and know that we can have an even better relationship because of it. One of the only "negative" things I've seen so far is that there is a mention of Christianity, Jesus and other bits of religion thrown in. While it isn't overwhelming, it is slightly annoying. I'm not religious at all, and Tony is a self-professed agnostic. So, I'm very thankful that 1) I was already aware of this, because the blog I took the suggestions from mentioned it (and they were true to their word: the book is incredibly readable no matter what religion you are.) and 2) Some of the pieces of religion that are mentioned, I find interesting. It basically takes one or two lines from the bible, and then breaks them down and gives you a different way to interpret it based on the topic being covered in the book. I think it does this in a astonishingly creative way, and it is actually very interesting, religious or not.

I haven't done too much more than crack the other books open, read through the table of contents and leaf through them, so I can't give my opinions one way or another; though I feel that they are all going to be interesting and very helpful. Looking forward to reading them.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I found a few different DIY blogs (specifically about weddings), so expect to see some information from me. I'm back to researching today and tomorrow. The weekend is for electronics-free enjoyment and relaxation. Tony and I did some quick shopping after class tonight and got: stuff for s'mores, water shoes (because I'm terrified that a snapping turtle or something is going to chomp off my toes), snacks for the ride back and forth, and some health related things like travel packs of aspirin and tums! God knows I would be very very very very sad if I didn't have some type of antacid with me. :-(

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What the Hell Have I Been Up To?

I haven't posted lately, and that's for a few different reasons:

1) I've been reading a lot of wedding blogs (instead of researching)
2) We've been looking at rings!!

I've been reading a lot of interesting blogs, obviously wedding related, over the last couple of days/weeks, so that's why I haven't had too many new ideas for you. First of all, most of the blogs I am reading are more about the stresses and other happenings surrounding a wedding. I'm clearly not to that point yet, so I can't talk to you about how I went to try on dresses, because I didn't. And, I can't talk to you about looking at vendors, venues or food testings, because we either haven't done it or don't plan to. So, from what I've seen, I'm in a little category all of my own. Yet, I've really taken a lot away from reading different bride's accounts of their planning processes. Of course, it being summer, a lot of the wedding blogs I have read are getting ready to transform into "post wedding blogs" because their weddings are going to be happening soon. I'm really enjoying going back through the archives and reading from the beginning because the brides have all made a huge transformation. This means that I am going to work extra hard to maintain this blog, because I want that transformation as well.

Wedding rings! Well, I wouldn't call it serious "looking", because I've basically been trolling Ebay, Amazon and occasionally Craigslist (and doing a lot of Googling) seeing what types of rings I actually like. I personally like the marquise style center ring (LOVE, is more like it), and Tony knows this, so no worry there. BUT, I am struggling with diamond vs CZ. I told Tony that I think it's ridiculous to spend a ton of money on a wedding/engagement ring when we can barely afford any of the other things we need to pay for. Not to mention that I'm a total cheap ass, and I don't know if I could stand having close to a grand on my hand! Tony is concerned because he WANTS to get me whatever I want, but he still wants to feel like he is doing his best as a "provider" to get me a real diamond. I say that CZ's and diamonds look the same! Why buy one rock over another just because one is more expensive!?

Anybody who knows me, however, knows that while I am cheap, I also have expensive taste. So, this is another fantastic reason to get a CZ--the "real" diamonds I will want will be way too expensive. Case in point:

Oops. I totally fell in love with this ring on Ebay. It was custom bought/made by buying each piece separately (center stone and setting), the seller paid almost $3000 for it and he's offering it at a "Buy it Now" price of $1700. Tony wants to get me one at the highest price of $700. Whoops, only $1000 over budget. Of course, the seller also has it listed under bidding as well; which started at $100. But, the catch is that he also states that he won't sell it for "a couple hundred", he's looking to make at least some money on his purchase, which is understandable. Needless to say, we aren't getting this ring, but I fear that I put myself into a predicament because I really love this ring. This is going to be the one that I compare everything else to. 


Tony and I basically cuddled up together and mourned the ring we cannot have. Sappy, yes. But, at least I know the poor guy would buy it if he could; and honestly, I don't want him to. We don't have the money. And this is why my CZ argument is stronger than ever. 

Of course, the flip side of this is that I also found a couple rings that I really like; except they are cheap in probably more ways than just the price! They aren't even real silver, for one, and Tony really hates that. Which I understand, I mean, this is supposed to be an engagement ring. How bad would I look if it turned my finger green!?

This is why we're not really "looking", just browsing. But at least we are headed in the right direction. Tony has also found a couple bands that he likes, which is awesome! Our major problem was that Cody (the friend's wedding we were in) just happened to end up getting a wedding band that Tony really wanted! This is the problem when you have friends getting married, I guess, you have similar tastes. So, obviously Tony doesn't want a ring exactly like the one his friend has, but at the same time yes. he. does. So, we found a couple that he REALLY likes that are just different enough, but still the same concept of what he wanted. 

I would love if I could completely mimic my parent's wedding rings and just add the things I want to them; silver instead of gold, and a marquise instead of whatever it is my mom's engagement ring has. Of course, I haven't seen ONE single ring that even looks like theirs. Not even remotely. I guess I'm still doing everything "the hard way". The downside to this is that I doubt I'll get a ring like I really want because there's no way we can afford a custom ring, and it would be ridiculous to shell out a ton of money for a custom ring just to put a CZ into it. Ahhhh, the fun we have. 

On an awesome note: our relationship books came in!! Yay! Tony and I (and my parents)+ miscellaneous other family members are going on a short vacation together for the fourth; this means we can relax and go through our books together. I'm probably a ton more excited about this than Tony is, but that's what happens when a reader marries a dyslexic. He just doesn't enjoy reading because it becomes a chore, obviously stripping away any of the enjoyment he would get out of it. He has graciously agreed to work through the books with me, because he loves me. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Birdcage Veil and Sashes

Remember the pretty little flower clip I bought yesterday? Here's a reminder if you forgot:

I bought it because I'd like to use it for either a veil or a birdcage style veil. I have found two awesome tutorials for both, and of course, I'm going to share them with you. First up is the birdcage veil. Here's a picture from the tutorial:
Tutorial here.

So pretty; but I don't know how it will look on me. Of course, all of this stuff is so cheap (the materials), that I can easily make one just to find out. Or, cheat and go to a bridal store and try one on (but do not purchase!) I've also been thinking that I might switch it up for the ceremony and the reception. I mean, what the heck will I do if I love both looks? The answer is simple: wear them both! Though, not at the same time! I can wear one for the ceremony (probably the veil), and one for the reception (probably birdcage just because it's short and won't be in the way of dancing, I won't accidentally sit on it, have it pulled out when giving hugs, etc.)

Here's a video tutorial I found on YouTube on how to make your own veil, and it is incredibly easy. I can't wait to make this and save so much money. :-) The other awesome news is that the little flower clip I bought can EASILY be worn as a daily accessory because it's small enough to just be a regular old hair clip. I can be reminded of my wedding day every time I wear it.

Simple, right? I commented and asked what the size of fabric she used was: and it's 45'' X 45'', very simple (and gorgeous).

I don't know if I will need, or want sashes for any of the "big day" dresses, but I found a really simple tutorial for them, if I do need them. You can find it here. There's really no need to post a picture, because we all know what a sash looks like. There also really isn't a need for a sash tutorial, either; just take a length of fabric and hem it however you want to; but I think I'll definitely need this tutorial if I decide to make them, because I won't know what the hell I'm doing. :-)

So, I think that's about all for now, but I do want to leave you with a little advice that Jess gave me last night. If you are thinking of making your own anything and you just need some simple fabric; price the fabric per yard at the fabric store (multiple fabric stores if you're really dedicated), and then price how much it would cost to buy the same color/etc in sheets or curtains. Genius, right? My mom used to make curtains out of sheets, so I get the general concept of using one thing to make something totally different. This is such a simple tip! She also recommends looking at a lot of yard sales and flea markets (though, she says yard sales usually have the best stuff). Just remember that it's going to be hard to find that same exact material again (especially if you buy at a thrift store or yard sale), so be sure that what you are buying is going to have enough fabric to complete whatever project you are doing.

Pictures: Getting Everybody to Come Together and Upload Them at the Same Place

Ohhh boy, so many things! First: we went to visit Cody and Jess last night (to give them their belated wedding gift, and otherwise chit chat), Jess and I got on the subject of wedding stuff, which isn't a surprise since she just got done planning hers, and I've been planning ours. I finally have somebody who is not only completely supportive of making all our flowers out of paper, but who actually wanted to do it for her own wedding. So, at the very least I can call her for support if some Debbie Downers try to change my mind.

We also went and picked up the mirrors and the flower hair clip yesterday. Not much to say about that really, except the mirrors are very nicely packaged (in tissue paper), and the clip is very pretty.

So, on to the stuff I've found. Do you remember when I said I wanted to have a photo-sharing website for all of our guests to upload their pictures to? Well, I've been researching some different websites, and it seems I can't find one that I like (that I also think my family will be able to navigate) this is also free. However, I did find one that costs about $24 for a whole year; so I think that's pretty reasonable. It's worth it, in my opinion, to just pony up the money as long as it's easy to use. A free service won't do us any good if our friends and family members can't navigate their way around the website.

Some criteria I looked for during my search:

  • Ease of use.
    • This included navigating the website, uploading photos, getting to the website itself, being able to upload without signing up for the website, etc
  • Price.
    • Obviously, it isn't worth it if I'm not going to be saving money, so it was important to find something cost effective. The website I chose charges considerably less; I saw a few websites (that I really liked) that charged $100. It also has to be completely free for the guests to use. 
  • Ability for multiple people to upload their own photos into one album.
    • Some places limited the number of people who could upload photos. This is a no-no for me. Even if it's likely that we wouldn't get close to being over the number of people; I don't even want to chance it. 
  • Ability for users to download or print other people's photos. 
    • This is important because I want this to be a true file sharing place. I want everybody to have access to everybody else's photos. (I'm toying around with the idea of making everybody CD's with the wedding pictures, or a collection of the really great pictures, but I'm not sure how that will work)
  • Unlimited amount of photos
    • Duh. I mean, this seems like given, but you'd be surprised to find out that a lot of websites have a limit (usually based on MB uploaded). One website actually limited how many times a picture could be viewed; it's highly unlikely that our wedding would ever reach those numbers, but I'm definitely not chancing it. 
  • Unlimited number of guests allowed to upload photos
    • Some websites only allow a certain number of people to upload. Like I said before; I doubt we'd reach those numbers, but it's better to be safe than sorry. 
So, after all of the researching, I think I found a simple website that does want I want, and includes most of the features I listed above. Including price! Which clocks in at $24 for a year. This works because I want to have guests started on this as soon as we start having events (like an engagement party, shower, get together with my BM's to craft, etc), and I also want it to carry over for a month or two after the wedding itself. So, I can easily start the subscription in December or January, and it will carry on until next January; plenty of time to encompass all our events. One website that I really really liked (but charged over $100) allowed you to set up photo albums for different events, like shower and the wedding itself. However, with the one I (think) I decided on, you can create different events; so I think it's similar. Thankfully they give you a 14 day trial, so I'll probably utilize that sometime in December or January (and likely upload engagement pictures, or something), just to get a better feel for it. 

So! What website did I decide to use? Pictoma! Check it out here. I also think instead of spending money on individual business style cards, like these: 

(SO ADORABLE!), I might add the information directly to the program/menu/etc, and announce it at the events. However, I know that there are plenty of places online (like VistaPrint) where you can design and print things like this at a pretty reasonable cost. So, we'll see. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not Much Today

Yes, I've still been doing the crazy wedding searching all over the internet, but I've mostly been reading tips and advice (and doing less looking for actual tangible things).

I've been playing with the idea of a potluck reception (paired with some offerings of our own; a pig roast, and maybe some veggies--kabobs?) and, of course, cake. Hoping that my family won't want to kill me, but also hoping that feeding them won't break the bank. I mean, if we get any complainers, I'll give them a couple options, 1) Don't make anything. 2) Then don't come, and save us the money of having to feed you. But for pete's sake, don't complain. :-) Not that I expect any complainers (except maybe myself).

The bar also scares me, though considerably less than the food does. For one, I'm perfectly fine with serving beer (kegs) and wine, and some non-alcoholic options, and allowing the guests to be "on their own" when it comes to the hard stuff. The way I look at it is, "We're giving you beer and wine. If you don't like those options, then you're just being too picky. Neither of us is made of money, so if you only drink Jack Daniels, then you are more than welcome to bring your own."

This will be awesome because we won't have to feel guilty about not having enough alcohol, and at the same time, those picky people can have their top shelf alcohol and party as much as they want. AND, we'll eliminate the need to have a cash bar, or a really limited bar, or a early-closing bar. However, this brings in the concern for 1) Liability and 2) Safety, which ties into the liability concern. How do we cut them off? Who's going to make sure nobody's getting alcohol poisoning? So, what to do with our drunk guests? I'm not sure, short of notifying the local police that we're having a reception and they are more than welcome to patrol looking for drunken idiots (family or not; driving drunk is DUMB and that makes you an idiot. Thanks for making my wedding anniversary the same day as your death. Thanks for reminding me that I was the reason you were out drinking/driving/dying.) Seriously.

I think what we'll do is call up some local hotels (probably the Holiday Inn) and get some block rooms reserved, we'll tell the people in the invitations what's going on with the bar and that they are more than welcome to book a room if they think they'll be drinking a lot, or be too tired to drive. We will also let them know that the local authorities are WELL aware that we are having a wedding reception, and they'll be driving around frequently during the night (true or not). (Can you tell that I seriously DO NOT tolerate drunk driving?) And then at the reception we'll have a list of a bunch of different cab companies or other options of ways to get home/to the hotel, etc. I'm also thinking maybe we'll elect a couple different (willing) people with large cars/vans, etc to drive people to the hotel. But, they'd have to leave on the driver's time. Just because you're drunk and want to leave at 8pm doesn't mean that our awesome DD-elect is going to drop everything to escort you to the hotel. (Enough rambling for now!)

Also, one of the other concerns is: who the eff will be our bartender? Somebody's got to do it, otherwise it'll be a MESS. Hopefully Tony's dad knows some people at the club (the gun club--where we're hoping to have our reception at little or no cost because Larry does so much work up there). We could probably get somebody to do it if we offered a small cash incentive, or agreed to donate some money to the club-or something. Ideas very much appreciated with this one!

Well, sorry that was kind of long, and no pictures (again!). Just wanted to air some concerns and ideas before I forget them, and I also want to stay in the habit of posting.

(Tomorrow Tony and I are going to Monroeville to pick up the mirror centerpieces! Whoo! I'm also getting the fascinator from the same woman. Thank you, Craigslist!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Some awesome things I've found today

So, I usually try to group things so that each post has a theme, but not tonight. Though, I could cheat and just tell you that the theme is "wedding", and ignore the fact that the items don't really go together. This post will be a short one because I'm sure your eyes are still bleeding from that last post about budgets. AND this one will have three pictures. See, I made up for it.

Some gorgeous DIY napkin holders. Perfect for just about any occasion, but obviously to be used at the reception, and possibly the shower/engagement party/whatever the hell we decide to do.
Tutorial here.
You probably won't believe me if I tell you, but these are made with empty Saran Wrap tubes. Seriously. Some pieces of fabric, Saran Wrap tubes and glue. That're pretty much all there is to making these, and they really add such a statement to the decor. I particularly love the colors in the picture above, ours obviously won't look like this at all, but what a pretty picture! The big decision will probably end up: white napkins with black holders or black napkins with white holders?! Decisions decisions!

I know I say this a lot, but you'll NEVER never ever guess what these beautiful luminaries are made from. Even the watermark on the picture (candletech) won't give it away.

Tutorial here.
Wax, yes. But how? With water balloons! Isn't that just mind-boggling? Anyway, check out the tutorial; even if you'll never make them. It's a short tutorial, and it really leaves a lot to the imagination. BUT, the good news is that a lot of what isn't mentioned can be easily found in two ways: Google it, or look through that particular website. (Questions being: What type of wax, won't the candles inside melt the luminaries themselves? Etc)

Something that's very similar to what I've already shown you, but still pretty enough to mention again: Lace embellished Thank You cards and envelope.
Tutorial here.
So pretty. And it definitely ties in with the theme. What my main question is, is how the hell do these brides afford all of this postage! Yikes! Believe it or not, that's one of my biggest concerns about this whole wedding planning thing. Oh my goodness, how will I afford to mail out so many invitations? Is it acceptable to make guests pay for their own RSVP card stamps? How can I bypass all of this postage! 

Tony's sister, Jenny, works as a postal person, maybe I should ask her if postal people get any discounts. ;-) Okay, I know the USPS isn't Walmart, so they probably don't give discounts, but wouldn't that be awesome! 

Well, I promised you a short post, and for a rambler like me, this is as short as you get.

Budget Comparison

I used two different wedding budget planners so far (to try to get a semi-decent comparison between the two).

The first is from Wedding Wire (click the names to link to the websites), and the second is from The Knot.

The Knot's budget calculator actually gets on my nerves. I'm already getting ready to scrap it; but it does have its perks. First, it offers a really cute countdown tracker built directly into the budget. The Knot so kindly told me that my "fake" wedding day is 471 days away! What's also nice, in my opinion, is that they give you some days officially "off" from wedding planning as your date approaches. (For example: While October 6, 2012 is 471 days away, the calculator officially stops with 469 days to go). I also like that The Knot's budget gives a lot more detail with each category, labeled as "advice", which you can turn on or off. The Knot reminds you to add things such as reminding you to include small things like cuff links into the groom's accessories category. It also gives you links that relate to each category, such as "find a reception location" or "Tipping advice".

However, not everything about this budget is peaches. One of the most irritating parts about it is that when you delete a category (I deleted the flower girl expenses category), it doesn't automatically redistribute your money elsewhere. What if I wanted to take the $30.00 I wouldn't have spent on flower girl's ANYWAY, and put it somewhere that I WOULD like to spend money? Ugh.

I do like the breakdown over on The Knot, it splits things up into much nicer, logically put together categories, and then gives the breakdown of the estimated money to be spent vs the money actually spent. Aside from those few complaints, it's really not a bad budget tool. Somebody mentioned that they used The Knot, and when they put in a low number (like $2,500) The Knot spit them out a calculation that actually spent $1,300 MORE that she hadn't allotted. While I didn't have this problem, I do agree that people should be wary about it. It's also important that you remember that the budget tool isn't cut and dry. Just because the budget tool gives you an allotment of $200 for a dress, doesn't mean you should only buy dresses that are $200. (It also doesn't give you an excuse to look for a more expensive dress if the budget in your head is looking for one around $100!)

Actually, now that the look at the two different budget tools, I might actually like The Knot a little better. For instance, on WeddingWire, the budget isn't broken down quite as much, while on The Knot, if you are "allotted" $600 for catering, they tell you that you should try to spend no more than $6.00 a person (for 100 people), which is customizable. (You add how many will be in your bridal party and how many guest you expect to have. We've chosen 100 just because it seems like a reasonable number to expect. Plus, it's a plenty large enough number to ensure we invite family and friends without leaving anybody out.)

That being said, the budget gives me the willies. But, thankfully, only on certain items. For example, The Knot gives me an expected money breakdown of $15.00 for the Groom's suit or tux, while WeddingWire gives me a budget of $75.00. While the $75.00 is a lot more; it certainly isn't enough to rent a tux. Thankfully, they both give me about $150.00 for my dress; so if I can find a cheaper dress (closer to $100), then I can easily allocate that money to poor Tony. Apparently, most of these sites are still operating on the assumption that the bride is the MOST important part of a wedding. Not true at all. At least for us.  I'd be willing to give up or drastically reduce a lot of our spending so that Tony can have the type of tux that he wants. He's exactly 50% of this wedding, and he certainly deserves more than $15.00 for a suit!

The budget also makes me a little nervous because it makes me think about all of the little extras, that are actually BIG extras, like our rings and our honeymoon. Thankfully I'm cheap, and I already told Tony that I want a CZ ring. It's just not important at all to me that I have a diamond. They look the same, honestly. I'm also not in a desperate need for an extravagant honeymoon. Truthfully, I'd be SO happy if we could just have the house to ourselves for a week without any obligations (school/work). To me, that'd be perfect. We can lounge in our jammys and watch movies, cook each other dinner and otherwise just hang out together.

So, knowing that this is an incredibly boring post for everybody besides myself (there aren't even any pictures!), I think I'll wrap this up now. Besides, it's getting pretty late (we had a storm and a power outage that severely reduced by blogging time). I also changed my plans about the centerpiece mirrors; I'm going to pick them up with Tony sometime this weekend, and we are going to spend the day hanging out in Monroeville.  Hopefully we'll have a really relaxing time window-shopping.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Favor Ideas (2 and 3)

Just a few minutes ago I posted our first favor idea, melt and pour soaps. Since then, I've already found a third option for favors (which I had already slightly considered, but like a little bit more now). I'm not going to tell you what it is, though, you'll have to read the whole post first!

Our second favor idea are these adorable hanging terrariums!
Tutorial here.

What I like about them is that they are almost completely customizable (apparently this isn't a word, but it is now! ;-P). The only things that are completely necessary is the tin itself, but even that could be done in a different way (think: a box instead of a tin). We looked at this flower (you use air plants inside since there is no soil. They still need maintenance, but it's limited to spraying them with water every week or so).
Find this plant here.
However, the plants cost about a dollar a piece, and that's just really expensive for only one small aspect of the whole favor. You could always go the artificial route and just use fake moss, fake flowers, etc. No maintenance, but you run the risk of them being pointless or cheesy. They really are amazing, and I like them a lot, but I doubt they will fit into the budget. They were just too beautiful to keep off of the list, even if there's barely a chance that we'll make them. So, since it's almost impossible, we're going to talk about our surprise favor idea! And, I think it's very possible that they'll be the cheapest of them all (which is always a winner in my book!)

Custom mixed Cd's inside hand-printed origami style holders. 

Find link for free template download here.

Aren't these adorable? The only "problem" is that the template "as is" on the website is in the colors shown above. Though, this really isn't a problem because I know a few people who have Photoshop (who can quickly get rid of this for me), AND, I do have the ability to trace; so I could probably trace it and re-scan it, or do something similar. Either way, these are completely and totally do-able. I'm so confident that people will love our ceremony songs (and reception songs), that they will completely appreciate having a mixed CD of the music. While this doesn't appeal to everybody (I'm thinking of you, Grandma and Grandpa!), it does appeal to both sexes, and that's really my main concern. I'm also thinking this will cut down on costs because we'll only need to make one CD per couple/household. I mean, what's Mr. and Mrs. Doe going to do with two copies of the same CD? 

A large bundle of plain CD's don't cost very much, and I can very easily make the play list and burn all the CD's myself. It will definitely take awhile, but no more than two days. So this is easily a one or two weekend project; but the upside is that it isn't difficult at all. I can crank out CD's from my laptop, and print and fold the origami holders with the main computer and printer. At. The. Same. Time. How exciting is that?! Okay, it doesn't sound exciting, but it is for me, because I realized that I can actually cut my time in half if I do both at the same time. YAY! I think we may have officially found our favor.

Favor Ideas

Okay, so this is why I needed to take a break from researching so I could add everything I wanted to onto this blog. I thought to myself tonight, "Well self, just look through a couple different things on, like the budget option." Quickly, however, I found myself trailing off to a bunch of different vendor websites, reading a blog and otherwise straying far off topic.

So, now that I finally looked at the clock and decided it was time to kick my ass into gear, here I am. Ready to pump out a quick post so that I can go back to reading this wedding blog I found. (Sadly, while it's a wedding blog, I don't think it's going to help me in any way. It's just one of those things that I can't pull myself away from even though for me, it's kind of a waste of time!)

As promised, the topic this evening is going to be favors! Yay! We have two ideas that we really like. Actually, I'm pretty damn sure Tony isn't really concerned about the small stuff like what kind of favors we have. He's an amazingly involved groom-to-be, he helps make ALL of the decisions. But, I don't think I'd be likely to find him weeping if we decided to forgo wedding favors altogether. He is, bless his heart, delightfully a "big picture" guy when it comes to the wedding, and I'm not so much concerned, but more "excited" about the little things that will tie everything together. Thankfully we're so mismatched in this aspect, or we'd be stuff in a forever rut of picking out the right kind of doily.

So, for the first idea (the way I'm yammering on, this might need to be split up into two posts!) we have handmade soaps! Tony suggested that some guests might think we're telling them they need to bathe, or that they smell. But, I say, for any guest who looks at soap and thinks, "Gee, they must think I'm dirty!", 1) they really aren't getting the concept and 2) If you're concerned that others think you smell just because they gave you a gift, and everybody in the room got the same gift, then maybe you do smell. So, that being said, here we go!

We'd use the method known as "melt and pour" soap making, which sounds exactly like what it is. You buy a big block of soap, melt it, add whatever you want (like fragrance) and then you pour it into molds. Easy! Honestly, of the two ideas we have, this actually seems like the cheaper option. After I looked at the budget calculator over at WeddingWire, I'm starting to get nervous! They should make wedding planning into a game show! "Can they really plan an elegant wedding on $2,500 or less!? Stay tuned and see!" Talking about that will be a whole other post!

Since showing you clear blocks of soap would be really boring, here's a couple of cherry blossom soap molds I found.

Both molds found here.
The first is pretty and elegant in a very subtle way, and would require nothing more than pouring. The second, on the other hand, is much smaller (it's listed as a guest size), and would require color for the flower center and a separate pour and set time, and then either a second color for the background (or leaving it clear), with an additional pour and set time for that. So, considerably more work for a much smaller result.

The larger mold (the first one) will result in a 6oz soap, but the mold only has four cavities. The mold is priced at $7.50 (minus shipping and handling), so there's no way we could afford more than one mold. That means this will be one hell of a long project! At least we could split it up over as many weekends as we needed since the actual process doesn't take a long time, just the waiting part (for them to set and firm up).

The smaller mold (and the much more complicated) will result in an approximately 1oz soap, and the mold has six cavities. It is priced at $6.50, so it is not that much more affordable. Making the smaller soaps would really end up being a pain in the ass because we would need to give more than one soap per guest (how stingy would we look! "Here's one tiny soap. You'll probably be able to wash your hands with it twice as long as you're careful! Don't drop it and lose it down the drain of the sink!") Okay, so we're definitely not doing this one!! 

There is always the option of not doing a mold at all. Color them all one color and then just pour them into pans and after it sets, cut it into squares (or whatever). 

Then we'd have to package them up and go from there. Yikes. Just typing out everything that we'd have to do is making me tired. Maybe we won't go the soap route after all, but it's still a contender.
I loved this packaging idea, but I can't seem to find the tutorial for it. It looks simple enough, but where the hell do you find little mini doilies? (Google to the rescue, I'm sure!). Anyway, that's just one last little tid-bit for you tonight. Next up: favor idea #2

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hanging Lights, Add On

In the last post I did, I showed you a couple different ideas I had that involved mason jars with lights in them. I told you that I liked them, but I might try to make them covered in doilies instead. Well, it turns out that I already found ones that I liked, covered in lace. So, I guess that wasn't an idea that I randomly came up with; it was one I had already seen and saved. Anyway, regardless of the origin of the idea, here they are:

Tutorial here.

Pretty, right? And, if I do say so myself, much prettier than the other options I showed you. Look how beautiful that glow is when the light shines through the lace. I don't know how doilies would look, but I definitely like the lace. Maybe I'll get lucky and somebody will have some extra lace hanging around (I'd probably only need a yard or so--I think), or Joann Fabrics will send me another coupon for 50% off one item (which includes one yard of any fabric not already on clearance). Of course, it's also entirely possible that the doily option will look just as good, so we'll definitely try both just to see what we like. 

So that's all I've got to show you right now, I think I'll be back later with some ideas for favors. I have two that I really like, and I definitely will have a hard time deciding between the two. :-)

Hanging Lights

I've got some hanging light ideas that I wanted to share. Once again, I've never seen our (hopefully) venue, so I don't know if these will even work. But, I'm sure we can work something out; or just put them on tables instead (or something!)

Without further ado:

Mason jars! Apparently they are making wedding appearances more and more these days, so it's no surprise that I found two different tutorials to make them. I posted both pictures together because I'm hoping to combine them; the frosted looking ones in the first picture keep the "mason jar" aspect of them pretty muted.
Tutorial here.
 I like this idea because they don't look quite so blatantly like mason jars. Of course, I'm not a huge fan of the silhouette or heart; but they could easily be altered by using a cherry blossom cut out instead, or even leaving them entirely frosted. OR! I just thought of this. Remember the stool painted using doilies as a resist? We could use that here, which would give them a really pretty snowflake/lace type pattern. (The other option is to use adhesive spray to put the doilies directly on them; no painting required.)
Tutorial here.
I like this idea, but, like I said before, I don't like the plain mason jar. They're just a little too rustic looking for my taste. I definitely don't like the dirt used to hold the candle inside, though it does work well with the outdoor idea/theme. The wide lip on the jars make them much easier to hang, unlike the hanging flower vases I listed in the Paper Projects posts.  So, depending on our ability to find these cheap, we may be using mason jars instead. They would also work well if it turns out we can't hang anything inside the building because they can just be put on tables (like the food table).

On a completely different note, here is another type of hanging decoration or hanging light (however we decide to make them) that I really like:

Tutorial here.
These are easy to make with string and glue (or corn starch) and really look very delicate and elegant. I think they would be very pretty if they were hung in little clusters over the guest tables or the head table. I'm also heavily considering the idea of attempting to make some of these with doilies. I'd assume it can be done. I think we'd have to make them slightly smaller if we wanted to hang some over the tables, otherwise everything will look very crowded. I think one of the hardest parts about planning things in your head is that it's hard to know if everything will look right when it's all finally put together. It's also going to be hard to know what the right amount of things will be; in other words, there's a fine line between just enough decoration and too much decoration, and there's no way to know ahead of time where that line is. I guess that's why it's a good thing that we'll actually be the one's decorating, because we'll be the ones to decide when enough is enough.

That's all for this afternoon, I'll likely be back with more in the evening, after we get back from class. On a side note: I heard back from the woman who is selling the mirrors and the fascinator, and I am meeting her in Pittsburgh on Friday. Yay!

Paper Projects, Part Two

I started to ramble a little in the last post (in a tasteful, coherent way), so I decided to split this post up into two sections. I still have more to show you!

Let's start with some roses. I bet you can't guess what they're made of:
Tutorial here.

Did you guess dyed paper coffee filters? If so, you're both correct and a little creepy (I also don't believe you). The tutorial for this looks a little tricky, but after reading the Martha Stewart tutorial from the last post, this one makes a lot more sense to me. The Martha Stewart ones were made from crepe paper and/or tissue paper, I believe. I've read so many paper flower tutorials, I can't keep them all straight. Anyway, there just isn't that much I can say about these that I haven't already said: they're flowers, made of paper! I might use them, I might not!

Onward, then. If you guess what this flower is made of, well, I won't be surprised: 

Tutorial here.

A dictionary page! If you guessed "book", then you still get credit, because you could do this with any book. Tony's not very fond of this one, but I like it a lot just because I'm a HUGE reader. Tony's not a reader at all, really, so that's probably why this flower doesn't evoke the same emotions for him. I'd love to slip a couple of these here and there. I don't want a huge bouquet of them, but I think it would be fun to have maybe five or less in the whole decor, just to see if anybody notices them. The real problem I'm going to have with making these is deciding which book to deface. *Gasp* You ought to know that I might not be able to do this craft, just because I will not part with any of my books; and I don't think I have any in bad enough shape to justify ripping pages out of it. Maybe I'll download an e-book and print out the page? It won't have that texture or wear like a real book has, but I can dye the paper with tea to give it the right color. (I'm actually enjoying a small sigh of relief over here; I really don't want to rip up a book!)

Okay, one more craft! I'm cheating again, because this isn't made of paper; but it will be when I make it!

Tutorial here.

This is a really pretty chair garland made from real flowers. Though, because we cannot (absolutely cannot) afford real flowers, and we won't have the time to care for and maintain real flowers, these will probably be made with either paper flowers or artificial ones. (Remember when I said we probably won't have a lot of flowers--I might have lied again). 

Truth be told, I really really really (really) want either chair covers or chair sashes (since I'm in fantasy land--I'd like both, please). I think they really add a lot of elegance to a reception. Sadly, they cost a lot to rent, and they are about the same price to buy outright. I'd imagine they also cost a bundle to make. Chair sashes might not cost too much to buy, rent or make, but would still put a reasonably big dent in our budget. (And at this point, we're more concerned about feeding our guests rather than having chair covers or sashes). If I can find them somewhere cheap, and we have room in the budget, then maybe we'll get them. Like I mentioned before, the wedding will still be amazing chair covers or not. So, I'm not too concerned about it. 

BUT! (And this is a good "but"), these flower garlands might be a nice compromise. They can be made or purchased (as in buying artificial flowers) at a reasonable price. They'll definitely be pretty and they would satisfy my need to make the chairs prettier. Yeah, this is one idea I feel pretty confident that we'll use, or at least, use to some extent; we'll probably modify it to an extent. 

So, this ends the second installment of paper projects (both of which ended up being almost entirely flowers). I have more goodies for you coming soon. 

Paper Projects Part One

I just went through my enormous list of stuff, and truth be told, I'm so excited to post that I'm not sure how to categorize my items today. I think we are going to go with miscellaneous paper crafts for this post. 

So, onward!

Let's start with vintage place-card dolls.

Tutorial here.
They're cute, right? There are a couple problems that go with these, however. They don't match our theme. I did find a similar tutorial which showed you how to make Japanese women, like pretty little geisha's. However, there was a lot of effort and time needed to complete those; so I went to this tutorial because these ones are simply printed and cut out. The reason I saved them is so that I remember to research Japanese women cut outs. Another problem is that I don't actually like these pictures. There's something irritating about the women looking very polished and the men being in robes (yes, I know they are smoking jackets--but they look like robes). A third problem is that I don't actually like that they are folded and put on the wine glasses. Luckily, this problem is very easily solved: don't do it like that! The easy fix is to turn them into table number assignments. You know, the ones they put on the table when you first enter? They have the name and table number, people grab them and head to their seats based on that information. If you're already thinking what I'm thinking, you realize that I already had an idea for table assignment cards. (See the cherry blossom embellishment post). So, what the hell will we do with these? I don't know, and we might not use them at all! But, the point of having a lot of ideas is that you can narrow them down; and you are committed to just one idea or project.

How about some beautiful paper flowers?? 
Amazing tutorial here.
These are from Martha Stewart Weddings. They also have one of the best (non-video) tutorials I've ever seen. That damn Martha can do just about anything. This makes me hate her, but it's also incredibly lucky for me, because these paper flowers are gorgeous and I desperately want to make them. Plenty of people (including myself) have mentioned to me that this is going to be an incredibly daunting task. Which is true, making a bunch of paper flowers would probably drive me crazy; but if you think about it, we really won't need that many. We've already got the centerpieces taken care of, and they won't require any paper flowers to be made. We'll have to have bouquets, of course. And, we'll probably need more flowers in other places that I haven't even thought of yet; so, there's that. BUT, the nice thing about making these flowers is that I can quit and buy artificial ones whenever I want. Also, Martha Stewart has an uncanny ability to make anybody feel like they can do any craft they choose; she's kind of like the Bob Ross of crafts. So, if Martha says I can make these flowers, no sweat, then by god, I'm going to do them! I can imagine that there will be a really great feeling of pride and accomplishment looking around and knowing I made them by hand. They also look much much harder to do than I (think) they actually are. Go look at the tutorial, you'll see what I'm talking about.

How about some hanging flowers?

"You cheated", you're thinking to yourself, "This craft doesn't even have paper in it!"
True. There isn't any paper. But, I kind of like the idea, so I'm thinking of putting paper flowers in them. What's funny is that I don't even know what our reception venue will look like, so I have no clue if this idea is even possible. Ah, the fun of ass-backwards planning. It's a good thing that I don't have my heart set on anything particular. I won't be upset if we don't have these hanging flowers, just like I won't be upset if we don't have any of the other ideas we've come up with. The reason behind this is very simple; I don't need a big wedding, and I don't need one that is ridiculously decorated. As long as I have Tony to marry, and my friends and family there to celebrate, I'll be happy. Honestly. I think this is what most brides realize after the wedding is over. Once they realize that they spent the equivalent of a down payment on a house, or a brand new car, or even a couple years of college, they realize that it's not the money that makes the wedding; it's the people. Would your $40,000 wedding be as amazing if nobody showed up? No, not at all. Weddings don't need to cost a fortune, and you don't need to wait until you can afford a fortune before you have a wedding. If you're ready to get married, get married. Why the hell should money stop you? For richer or poorer, right?

What Can We Make With Doilies?

Answer: Everything!!

Just because we can, doesn't mean we will, so don't be scared!! Tasteful is the name of the game.

Let's start off with something that I am sure we'll actually use:

Tutorial here.

Doily cones! For throwing birdseed or whatever after the happy couple is married. Of course, if you use birdseed, they would probably need to be lined; so I guess what we do with them will depend on what we decide to put in them. I'm actually not a big fan of the birdseed/bubble thing, but at the same time I always wonder where it is if I'm at a wedding that doesn't have it. I guess that means we'll be doing it. (And honestly, it doesn't matter to me, but we may as well. I guess, what it'll come down to is budget. If we have room in the budget, then we'll have them. If not, no big deal.)

Website here.
So there obviously isn't a tutorial for these because you just write the name on the doily and put it under a glass or clear plate. Since we probably won't have seating assigned that specifically (just a general table number), and we definitely cannot afford glass plates (I haven't even thought about pricing clear plates), I don't know how or if we'll even use this idea. But it's a nice idea anyway. I've basically saved this as a starting point. In other words, I'll look at this picture and try to come up with a twist on it; a way that we can use it in our wedding. As of right now, though, I've got nothing.

Tutorial here.
This is another one of those things that is a starter idea. First of all, this doily bowl is made from a fabric doily, though it is completely possible to make from a paper one (I would imagine). I just don't know how we would use this, or if it would be worth it. Honestly, I'm not even that fond of the concept. Although, what I just thought about (see the picture already started doing what it was supposed to), is that maybe we can use large doilies as liners for serving bowls, like bread, and other things that aren't going to destroy the doily. Silverware, napkins, bread? I don't know, just doing some thinking "out loud". I assume we'll either think of something, or trash the idea altogether, which is fine with me!

Onto something else that I have NO idea what we'll do with it, but it was really cute, and I wanted to save it. 

Tutorial here.
Using a doily as a resist when painting! Pretty, right? Well, like I said, we're having a wedding, not redecorating a home, so I don't know how the hell this might translate into something we can use for the wedding. Maybe we can make signs? You know, the ones that say "So and so's wedding", or "Parking this way", or even just "Wedding". Poor Tony. I'm sure he'll jump with joy if I ask him to do something like this. We'll likely scrap this, but it's also entirely possible that I'll look at this six months down the road and say, "Oh! We can do "....." with it!" So, I'm keeping it around until we start to do our final cuts. 

There are SO many wonderful things I have to show you all still. I've decided to take a break from the ongoing wedding research to try to get as much posted and talked about before I start to add more and more things to my wedding folder. I've been trying to post as much as possible, and let's face it, I really like having an "audience", even if nobody is really reading this right now. I'm still really excited to write this and have something to look forward to. I'm also sure Tony is thrilled because it means I'm bothering him less to come and look at something silly, like a stool painted using doilies! So, this is the last post for tonight, and I will definitely be back tomorrow with more amazing things to share. Now I'm going to have a quick look at Craigslist to see if anything new popped up over there. 

This weekend Tony and I are going to visit my grandparents and we are also stopping at a thrift store and an antique store, so maybe I'll find something there!


Tutorial here.

Yeah, I'm aware that this is a pretty big picture, but I decided to keep it bigger because you guys really need to see the detail of these. I love how these tiny little cherry blossoms pop off of the page, but yet, they are almost not noticeable. If you look very closely, you'll notice that the blossoms directly on the card itself are true cherry blossoms with five petals, and the ones that are raised actually have six petals. I think this is a barely noticeable difference that is completely excusable. The women that made this card found the "not quite a cherry blossom" punch at a dollar store! If you know me, you know that knowing that makes me want to scour every dollar store looking for something this great!  Obviously, if you've been keeping up with my posts you know that we already have invitations. I mentioned in that post that I would like to add some embellishments that would make the cards really stand out. Well, this is one possible option (probably in black and white to match the card's theme). Of course, another idea (which I actually like more now that I think about it) is to add this same idea/general concept to our place-cards/table numbers. 

How are we going to get the exact print from our invitations to match the rest of our paper materials? (Table numbers, name cards, etc) Well, my friends, we're going to scan them! Yes, we're sneaky little devils, aren't we? Actually, I just like to pretend that scanning them is a much more clever idea than it really is. But, if insisting that I'm smart is the most "Bridezilla-esque" that I get, then I don't think you have anything to worry about. 

Speaking of amazing ideas, I thought I would mention something that I came up with. We're thinking that it would be awesome to place little cards around (kind of like little plaques) with interesting little wedding trivia. As an example: Putting a card with the origin/reason behind wedding cakes, or flowers, or anything else that you can think of that's wedding related. Tony and I really love little "useless" facts, and I think it would be a really creative and unique way to incorporate that into the wedding, as well as offer some fun things for the guests to check out. This would also be a good way to get them to mingle around the room. When I was in my friend's wedding at the beginning of June, I was way too excited that I completely forgot to go and look at the cake (it was on the other side of the room from me). The first time I saw the cake was when somebody posted a picture of it a week or so after the wedding. SO, the trivia cards are not extremely important, but they would be nice to have. 

Wedding Song and Lyrics

Remember earlier when I told you that our wedding had a Japanese feel to it? Remember when I said that it would be barely evident to our guests? Well, I'm pretty sure I lied. I totally forgot about our wedding ceremony song; which is actually entirely in Japanese. So, yeah. I'm pretty sure any guest with his or her ears on straight will notice the Japanese influence, ohh, about as soon as the wedding starts.

Our ceremony song will be the ending song from the film Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. This song is arranged by Joe Hisaishi.

If you want to be really complicated about it, I think I've narrowed it down to seconds for when the music will start and stop. The entrance song will begin with the song and end at 4:15. The exit song will begin at 5:00 and end at 6:47.

For those of you who want to hear it (and you really should, because it's beautiful. Also watch the movie as well because it's amazing, too!):

We've also found the English/Japanese translation and we are highly considering putting it in our programs. You can find the translation here.

And for those of you who are wondering, no, we do not have any of the other songs nailed down as of yet. Mostly because I love sappy songs like Cheap Trick's The Flame, and he likes rap and hard metal.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cherry Blossom Centerpiece #2

Tutorial here
These are our "taller" centerpiece ideas. In our heads, they go well with the theme, and they work with the smaller centerpiece ideas that we used. I don't know if this will translate as well in reality, but we can hope, right? Anyway, these are made using a branch, tissue paper, battery powered Christmas lights and a vase (filled with whatever). If we make the flowers out of tissue paper and they don't seem to be meshing well with the other Pomander ball centerpiece we plan on using, we can always use the flower petals from that project to do this project. They should, hopefully, work just as well here. Of course, who knows. My only reservations with this project is that these centerpieces would cost a little bit more money than the other ones will. (Basically because we would have to buy the lights. I've found some for about $5.00 a piece with free shipping, but we are hoping to hit some sales after Christmas and score them for cheaper). If we have 10 tables with these centerpieces on them, they will cost us $50.00 on the lights alone. This might not seem like a lot; but in comparison, the other centerpieces should cost us no more than $30 all supplies included. So, I guess this idea depends entirely on the sales we can get after Christmas. (Or, if we get lucky and find somebody who has them for sale. Craigslist to the rescue!)

Speaking of Craigslist, I found a woman in the Pittsburgh area selling twenty 11.75'' X 11.75'' mirrors for $20.00. So, I contacted her, and I might just buy them for our centerpieces!! ONE DOLLAR per mirror. I don't know much about mirrors, but that seems like a bargain, I think? She is also selling a fascinator for $3.00. I still haven't decided if I want to wear a fascinator, or a traditional veil (I would make either one from scratch), but I DO know that $3.00 is much less than I would spend on supplies to make one, so I am jumping on the opportunity. Of course, I'll need to find a reason to go to Pittsburgh, otherwise I'll be spending a total of $29 ($6 for bus fare) to go to Pittsburgh just to pick up mirrors and a headpiece. Guess I'll need to call some friends ;-)
Obviously, you didn't need to see pictures of the mirrors, but here you are!
I like the flower anyway, so even if I decide to go with something else, at least I can use the pieces from this to make something else. 
I also found a woman close to my home who is selling her wedding dress. I e-mailed her on Saturday, but I still haven't heard back from her. I'm honestly not very worried about it, I like the dress, but it isn't something I MUST have.  
Here's the pictures she put up on Craigslist. I like it, but I'm not going to be that disappointed if she never e-mails me back. It was a little over my price-point anyway. She's selling it for $200, and I'm hoping to pay somewhere around $100. I'm currently thinking about putting some of my dresses from high school and the bridesmaids dress I just wore up for sale, hopefully to add to our funds. 

I think what I am going to do this evening (after we get back from class) is set up a list of the items we have already bought, and how much we spent. This way, I can keep track of what we spent on this wedding, down to the penny. Yeah, kind of anal, but that's what I'm going to do. Besides, I'm curious to see how close we can get to our budget. (Which is around $2,500). 

Cherry Blossom Centerpiece #1

Tutorial here
Staying with our cherry blossom theme, we are likely going to make these with cherry blossoms instead of these paper flowers pictured here. I found flowers (like luau flowers--only smaller) in cherry blossoms and also pins like the ones used here in the Oriental Trading catalog (Pictures below). They are $3.00 for 100 pins and $4.00 for a package 200 flowers. And we all know Styrofoam balls aren't very expensive. These look super simple to make, so I don't think we would have any problems at all making these, and they'd be pretty cheap overall.
Found at Oriental Trading
Also from Oriental Trading
I think I am going to buy one set of each, and one Styrofoam ball just to try out this idea. Honestly though, we'll probably stick with these just because the price is so good (and it saves me from hand cutting hundreds of little flowers--plus the price of the paper and stencil, or having Tony hand draw me one). We have an additional centerpiece idea that goes with the cherry blossom theme, but it looks like this post is getting a little long, so I'll post it under Cherry Blossom Centerpiece #2. To give you a hint: we are looking at two different height arrangements, short and taller. These little balls are going to be the "short" ones.


We bought some today! We had a minor fight at Walmart about it (I was pissy, he was sick and in was almost inevitable). But, in the end, we walked out as the proud owners of 100 invitations. They are the kind that have the design already on them (and the envelopes + the reply card with design and the invitation envelopes) already in the box, and all you do is print your own information onto them. We weren't going to buy invitations, I was going to make them myself (completely handmade), which would have taken SO much time! Now, I can focus on the embellishments that I was the most excited about anyway.

We stopped at Walmart after class to pick up some printer ink, and since we were there, I wanted to price card stock and other items to get an idea of costs. While we were wandering around, we ended up in the wedding supply aisle. Lo and behold, there are invitations that are in our color scheme AND decorated with our main flower. (Black and white, and cherry blossoms). -Side note: we decided the wedding will have a slightly Japanese feel to it. Probably not blatantly obvious to the guests, but it will be there. They were also on sale. Did I mention that? ON SALE!! They are selling for $19, and we got them at $14 per 50 pack box. The link is directly under the picture as a caption (Walmart). The other links (to the tutorials) are posted under the picture.

Find these invitations here
All you do, is go to the website ( and they have templates to use so you can match your text to your invite. This is obviously a stock photo. We plan on adding some of our own ideas/embellishments to these to make them mesh even more with the theme. We plan on having a doily/lace element in the wedding as well; so we might do this for the reply card envelope (or something!) Much too delicate for the outside envelope, but they might be nice to hold the direction map, or even the reply envelope with reply card. (Maybe people would be confused and try to mail the lace envelope?):

Tutorial here.
This idea might work for the outside main envelope. We would have to try it out for a few different things: Size, ability to withstand mailing, and ability to actually address these. But, they are promising. I would like to do this in black (do they MAKE black doilies? Maybe we'll dye them?) just because the envelopes are white, and they would really pop in black.

Tutorial here. The below picture is from the same tutorial, it's just a different technique. 

THIS is the one I am most looking forward to. How pretty is this envelope liner? Of course, like I mentioned before, the envelope itself is white. But, since we saved so much money (and time!) buying them, we might be able to make the envelope liner black and then put the white doily on top of the black liner. That would be very pretty, and also tie in with the theme. (I'm making myself very VERY excited).

I hope this has been as exciting for you as it is for me! Of course, this is one of the better examples of how we put the cart before the horse. We are planning before engagement, buying invites before we buy the shower invites or Save the Dates (or even HAVING a date, for that matter). We are on our way to ass-backwards wedding bliss. And I'm going to have a damn good time doing it, too!