Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My First Bundle of {Wedding} Joy

My second post of December!  That is worthy of a Bad Blogger Award.

Nevertheless, we got a present from Vistaprint the other day!

A couple of months ago, I got an email from Groupon for a free $20 towards any purchase.  I have never made a Groupon purchase, so they have been trying to suck me in via free offers.  They started out at $10, climbed to $15 and peaked at $20.  It just so happened that there was a Vistaprint offer going on at the same time:  $54 value for $14 or $84 value for $24.  Since I had the $20 credit, I went for the $84 dollar offer, spending a whopping $4.

I raided the website high and low.  I tossed around the idea of getting some personalized gifts for my bridesmaids, but settled on:  
| _ |
(official reveal post coming soon)

...address labels (some to use now and some for after the wedding)...

...envelope seals...

...and business cards turned Picture-Sharing Information Cards.

The Save-the-Date cards I designed by myself and uploaded it as a JPEG using their blank template. The address labels and envelope seals were their own designs and I just slapped our information on them.   The business cards are actually their free ones (you get 250 as long as you don't want to do any editing to the template).  I just used the fields to put our Photobucket information on them rather than an address/phone/website/etc.

I plan on putting business cards in with the favor bags or leaving them on the tables for the guests to pick up at the reception.  I don't mind having people post the pictures to Facebook, but I would rather have them in a centralized place and then anyone can sign in, upload their own and look at the others (and they were FREE).

I think everything was on sale, but our original price would have been $97.21 for everything.  Since shipping is not covered by the groupon deal, I paid $14.32.  Add the $4 that I spent on the groupon and the total comes to $18.32 for everything!  Not too shabby.  Overall, I was pretty happy with the quality.  The printing is done well.  The only thing that I was disappointed in was the tiny font on my address labels and the date on the envelope seals.  Both of them look clear and defined online, but what we received wasn't quite so crisp.  It doesn't really stand out and kind of fades into the background.  If I had known this, I would have made the print larger.  It wasn't a big enough deal for me to call them, but I've heard that they have great customer service in the event that you care more than I do!

At this point now, I am working on addressing the Save-the-Dates so we can send those puppies out!  We got lots of wedding-related questions at Christmas so I probably should have sent them out a little sooner, but I've been busy! Aaand I still have a partially incomplete list of who we are actually inviting to the wedding fo' I've been stalling.

Anyways, hope you had a great Christmas.  Sorry for the terrible blog get a little bit of everything in a big jumbled mess!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guest Book Table - Wedding Day Modelogues #1

With our guest book having arrived a few weeks ago, it is now time for the 1st Wedding Day Modelogue blog post!

When we initially started planning this here wedding, we knew we would be doing a lot of DIY.  When we signed our lease contract with the reception hall, the Wareham, they told us that we would be able to use the hall for 4 hours on the day before the wedding (Friday) to set up decorations and such.  HOWever, if someone chooses to book the Wareham the day/night before, then we are out of luck. We can pay $450 to reserve it ourselves for an entire second day, but Mom and I discussed that this summer and she'd rather see that money be spent elsewhere than adding to the reception hall bill.  While I didn't really want to put the burden on my family to help set up decorations on our wedding day, she went ahead and volunteered them for duty.  So in the event that we cannot set up the day before, I needed a way to be organized enough that someone else could follow and recreate my ideas.  Hence, the Modelogues.

The idea behind the Modelogues is for me to set up the decorations (exactly as I want them to look) and take a picture.  I am going to include the pictures in with the materials so that someone can pick up a box that says cake table, open it, and find all the supplies for the table and the "model" picture for the set-up.

The first Modelogue is actually not for the reception, but it is the only table/set-up that I have all the parts to and is actually complete.  Wanting to bask in my productiveness, I went ahead and deemed it good enough for a Modelogue and set it up as desired for the wedding:
Please excuse the snowmen.  They are not welcome at the wedding.  Nowhere in my house did I have a white tablecloth or a white sheet, so I had to improvise.  We are planning on renting our linens from our caterer, so I'll just have to throw one in the box with the other supplies and we are set!

I'm not sure what size of tables the church has, but if they are any bigger than what I have, the guest table might look a little sparse.  I suppose we could throw some paper hearts, rose petals or tealight candles around and that would probably fill it in a bit.

And to store it all, I have been slowly stealing paper ream boxes from work:

...and I added a label and check list that look like this:

I imagine that the check list for each box is going to change, so I wrote the Xs in pencil so that I can move items around but not have to re-write the entire list.  It's a nice way to visually see what you have purchased/still need and also have it organized together.

So what do you think of the 1st Official Wedding Modelogue?  Any opinions on the guest table set-up?  Any other ideas to spruce up the guest book table?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Our Guest

Our photo/guest book came in last week! After we got the CD of our engagement photos, it was one of the first tasks that I set out to complete.  I decided to use Shutterfly because I got a free photo book voucher from them when I bought my new camera this summer at Best Buy.  I also had in $20 credit from them that I got from David's Bridal when I set up an appointment with them at a bridal show last January.  While there will be a separate post on this later - the $20 Shutterfly cards that you get from David's Bridal and Target will NOT work with any other offers!

Here are a couple of pictures for you.  I was kind of disappointed with how the cover turned out because the design looks kind of dirty (but it doesn't look like that on the website), but everything else turned out well!  If you want to see the entire guest book, I have embedded it below so you can click through it.

As you can see, I tried to leave as much blank space as possible.  Since it is only an 8x8 book, I was really paranoid about running out of space for people to sign.  I figured some will just write their names, but I wanted to make sure that if people wanted to write us a message, that they would be able to do so.  I also was worried that I would leave too much white space and it would feel empty. Ah, the balance!

The default for Shutterfly photo books is 20 pages so I went ahead and expanded it to 29 pages to spread out some of the pictures/leave some pages completely blank.   We decided that we are not going to have a guest book attendant, but I have made a sign that we will place next to the book that tells our guests what to do.  Hopefully they write throughout the entire book, but we'll have to wait and see!

After checking the guest book off the wedding to-do list, I set out to find a pen that would work with the photo paper without smearing.  It would break my heart to find our guest book a big, messy smudge so I did some research on to see what other brides have done before me.

Most bee's suggested using either a Sharpie or an archival acid-free pen.  I went to Hobby Lobby in search of a pretty Sharpie and found this:

Looks fancy right? Turns out, its no good for our guest book.  It is only a "fine" tip, not an "ultra-fine" tip and it smudges like crazy.  I tried it out on some paper that was similar to our guest book and it was a big fail.

I went ahead and decided to give sharpie another try and bought Sharpie Ultra Fine Tip Permanent Markers and tested it out.  Much better results were achieved this time!  I also gave regular Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker a run and you can see the results below.  I wiped my finger over the ink about one second after I finished writing:

The Ultra Fine Tip, middle, definitely wins the smudge wars here.  I don't think it dries automatically, but it is set within a second or two.  Being a left-handed person (and incredibly familiar with smudge-marked hands while writing), this could still potentially cause problems, but we are working in the right direction!  I have heard that Sakura Pigma Micron pens are the way to go, so I might find myself giving them a try just yet.  Apparently they are much more fade-resistant than Sharpies are and come highly recommended on the WeddingBee circuit.

All in all, I am quite pleased with out wedding guest/photo book.  I think it will be fun for our guests to find a place to sign their name or leave us some advice/wishes.  It reminds me of yearbook signing when I was in school which was always fun.

The original price for the book was $29.99 and the extra nine pages were $9.00.
The book was free with my Best Buy code and I also had a 50% off code which made the extra pages only $4.50
Shipping at $7.99 and tax at $1.07 made the total $13.56

Not too bad in my opinion!  While it wasn't technically free like I would have liked, the cost came in equal to a plain photo book and much cheaper than a personalized photo book. And I get to check another to-do off my growing list!

Let me know what you think! Did you do (or are you planning) a photo book for your wedding?  If so, what type of pen did you use?

Check out our full wedding guest/photo book below!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Release Me

I knew when we decided on Grant to take our wedding pictures that the engagement session came with a CD and a print release for the pictures.  What I didn't realize was how important the print release was.   I have had plenty of friends that have gotten wedding CDs from their photographer, but I had never really heard them stress the importance of a release for the pictures nor had I ever heard of them actually needing to use it.

Like those wedded friends before me, I wanted the flexibility of being able to choose the pictures I liked and select the printing company of my choice.  I am a huge sucker for bargains, so being able to shop around was nice (although Grant's prices from his website are incredibly affordable).  In addition, having the CD meant that I could use the pictures to create other elements of our wedding day, namely the guest book and our Save-The-Dates. By having access to those high-quality files, I could manipulate the images and use them as needed.

It actually wasn't until my third trip to the Walgreens Photo Department that I needed a copy of the print release.  I had printed off our engagement photos two other previous times, but they didn't seem to catch it:
The first time, they were amongst a million other pictures - easy mistake
The second time I ordered a (FREE!) 8x10 collage of solely our engagement pictures - kinda obvious?
The third time I ordered about 20 of the different Save-The-Date designs that I had saved as image files.   I like to think that it's because my designs are so darn professional looking!

After I had sent in that third order, I got a phone call from Walgreens stating that it looked like the pictures had been taken professionally and asking if I could bring in a copy of the print release.  Sure thing.  When I went in, they asked for my print release, gave me my pictures and said thank you.  Looking back, I probably sounded kind of snobby, but I didn't realize that they keep your print release, so I asked if I could have it back. The girl looked at me strangely, but then we realized my misunderstanding and she went and made a copy of it so that I could have MY original back (I might have been in slight panic mode after seeing the cashier walk away with my release).

Now, they only asked for the release 1/3 times, so 33% doesn't seem like an effective rate for Walgreens.  It seems like taking a gamble would probably get results, or using a service that ships the images to you like Shutterfly would be effective too.  I, however, am a little too paranoid and a terrible liar, so I wouldn't feel comfortable with hoping.  I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are paying someone to take your wedding pictures and are receiving a CD, get a print release from them.  Even if you are just having a friend take your pictures, get a print release.  It will save you the hassle of trying to hunt them down later, in the event that the company that is printing your pictures requests it.  Not only does it make life easier, but it actually protects the work of the photographer and gives them credit for their images.  And don't forget to make copies of your print release.

As for my last bit on print releases, I'm sure there are plenty of templates available on the interweb, but if you are wondering what our print release looks like, here it is:

To Whom It May Concern:
My name is (Photographer), I am the owner, photographer, and copyright holder of all images taken by (Company Name).  I hereby grant (Client) my permission to make prints using this CD.

If you should have any questions regarding the authenticity of this document or the terms here with, please contact me at:


Hope that gives you an idea on print releases.  It was pretty uncharted territory for me as of a month ago.  I still have a hard time grasping the concept that you have an image in your hand, of yourself, that you have paid for, but it isn't technically your property because of copyright mumble jumble.  However, the feds will not be knocking down my door for photographic copyright infringement!

Oh, and take a shot for each time I used the word release.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Work in Progress: Save the Dates

As promised in my last post, here are my Save the Dates that I have designed thus far.

Basically, I found styles that I liked online and mimicked/tweaked them.  I started by using Microsoft Word, but you can't really save them as image files, so I moved over to PowerPoint.  I don't have Photoshop, or the skills to use it, but PowerPoint seemed to do almost everything I wanted.  I do have the free photo-editing program Gimp, which is very similar that I might mess around with, but it's still pretty out-of-my-league.

I did blur out our wedding website (eventually it will have more personal information than I care to share online!), but that should be the only thing missing.

I went ahead and sent these images in to Walgreens so that I could have a physical copy of them.  My goal for the next few days is to go through the examples with Adam and finalize the fonts, pictures, and layout of the design. Then we can get on to ordering these babies!

Let me know what you think!  What is your favorite?
(The white ones tend to blend into the background quite a bit.  If you click on the image it will be easier to see where it begins and ends!)
Horizontal 1

 Horizontal 2
 Horizontal 3

 Horizontal 4

Horizontal 5

Horizontal 6

Vertical 1 & 2 

 Vertical 3 & 4

Vertical 5 & 6

I think that Horizontal 5 is my favorite out of all the designs because it incorporates our wedding colors.  Adam already told me that he didn't like the white ones though when he was flipping through them this week.  He was looking more at the pictures and the fonts, rather than the design, so we're going to have to take a closer look and play around some more.  Another thing, is that if I upload my images to Vistaprint, part of the design is cut off around the outside edges.  I'm going to have to go back in and create a larger template to accommodate for the "bleed area" that the printers don't get to.

All in all, I'm pretty happy to say that I created these and would be happy to send these out to our family and friends.  I have no design skills whatsoever, just time and lots of patience!  If there is a design that you like, feel free to send me a private message and I can send you the "template."

So what do you think? Should I keep my day job? :)

Photo Projects Galore

About 2 weeks ago we got our engagement CD in the mail.

Since then, I have been quite a busy bee:

1.  I ordered 4x6 prints of our picture session

2.  Walgreens emailed me with a Free 8x10 Collage offer, so of course I had to take up on it.  I've spent more money framing/matting it than the $5 that I saved, but we now have some wall art!

3.  I ordered our Photo Guest Book through Shutterfly (post coming soon!)

4.  I've been working on designing the Save-The-Dates and printed off samples

5.  I've been trying to decide where to get our Save-The-Dates printed:  Walgreens, Shutterfly or Vistaprint (I'm pretty sure Vistaprint is winning).

Needless to say, it's been a busy few weeks.  I have started to feel like the projects are adding up and that it might be time to do some real decision-making rather than researching.  I have a feeling that is going to be a problem for me in the next few months; I've had so much time to find the best deals/cheapest ideas for the last 10 months because nothing was urgent, but now we're getting to the point where decisions need to be made and I don't feel fully educated about my choices and am hesitant to act!

I'll post the Save-The-Date ideas in my next post, so you'll have to tell me what you think!

Did you feel like you had a ton of projects to begin once you got your engagement pictures back?  Did you send Save the Dates? Did you design them yourself?  What company did you use?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Engagement Pictures (Pic Heavy)!

I have been looking forward to writing this post for SO long!  As you have probably heard, Adam and I don't have many pictures together.  Well, many good pictures together.  Thus, going in to our engagement session two weeks ago, I was a little worried.

We started out by having a late lunch at one of our favorite places, the Hibachi Hut.

Now, the Hibachi Hut not only has great food, but they have these amazing Long Island Iced Teas.  As encouraged by our awesome photographer, Grant Watkins, we decided to loosen up a bit with one each over lunch.  This may have not been the best idea for me, as evidenced by some pictures of my cheese-grin, but it worked wonders for Adam.  After our dinner and drink-age, we were ready to commence the picture-taking.

The afternoon flew by.  Grant was great with getting us comfortable and relaxed. We started out around campus, made our way to the old KSU stadium and then headed for a few photographic shots in our bar "district," Aggieville.  We ended our day out at Scenic Overlook at sunset.  It's this little point of interest out on the side of the highway that shows off the Flinthills and the Konza Prairie, both very Kansas features. We like to forget that we are native Kansans most of the time (Dorothy, please), but it was a nice addition to our Urban/Rural theme(?).

Grant told us that we would get our pictures back in a week.  In that week's time, I started to worry more and more.  I figured we are going to be the couple that can never post their pictures on their walls, that we'll have a home with no children and bare walls, and my plan for using our pictures for Save-The-Dates and our guestbook would have to get thrown out.  Well, I should have given Grant (and us) a little more credit because last week we got our pictures back and I am quite pleased.    So, let's see some of my favorites (all photos below by Grant Watkins Photography):



All in all, we have about 30 pictures that I am happy with and will use for my upcoming projects.  There are about 20 more that Adam and I agreed on that we will not use, mostly because of one of us isn't fully camera ready.  Based on our picture-taking experience, and after viewing our pictures, I do have a couple of regrets/future advice for couples:

  1. Don't chew gum - Adam and I are gum addicts.  Neither of us really thought about it, but there are some pictures of us laughing where you can see our gum (not acceptable for Save-The-Dates!)
  2. Wear clothes that you are super comfortable with - The sunset pictures happen to be my/Adam's least favorite because we aren't happy with the clothes that we picked out.  I didn't have good posture in a lot of those photos, and the shirt that I chose makes that very obvious.  Adam didn't like his shirt either, and there are several where he has really puffy arms or the back is really loose.  You could also tell we weren't as comfortable as it translated into the pictures quite clearly.
  3. Have fun, but be serious too - I feel like we were a little too goofy.  I mean, that's how we typically are with each other, but with the extra alcohol and being nervous, we have lots of silly pictures.  We did have a few good love-y ones, but I think there is an absence of romantic pictures and no kissing pictures!  We did try a couple of kissing pictures, but apparently we are ugly kissers and need to practice before the wedding!  There is one that made it onto the CD, but our hands are in our pockets and we are leaning awkwardly toward each other...weirdos.
All in all, I am so glad that we were able to take engagement pictures together before the wedding.  It really gave us an idea about what to expect when the wedding comes, and to have a sense of what to do/not do in our wedding pictures.  I have such a round face that I am going to have to pay more attention to how I pose to avoid the double chin and my posture is another thing that I need to work on.  As for Adam, I am really happy with his pictures.  It makes me wonder if he has been tricking me all along to think that he couldn't take pictures. I'd rather like to think that he has secretly been practicing in the mirror the last couple of months! 

So yes, engagement pictures are checked off the list now.  It's starting to feel real that we are getting married in 8 months...yikes!

How did your engagement session go?  Better/worse than expected?  Any things that surprised you?  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

DIY Unity Candle

When we left off last time, I decided that I was going to design/create my unity candle set this weekend. Well, the internet has spoken the truth and I have some pictures and a tutorial to show you.  In all honesty, this idea came from Pinterest, and specifically A Girl in Paradise's Blog.  Much thanks goes out to her and this idea because it turned out great!


Tissue paper
Printer paper
Scotch tape
Hair dryer
Wax paper

1.  I made my templates using Microsoft Word.  I tried out several designs that I liked and had Adam pick his favorite. He said he didn't care, but if he did, then he would pick #2. Thus, #2 it was.

2. I printed it out a couple of times to make sure it fit my candle appropriately.  Our names were too big the first couple of times so I had to condense them down a bit.

3.  Then I took a piece of tissue paper and taped in onto a piece of printer paper.  I tried to smooth it out as much as possible, but there were still a few wrinkles.  I also made sure the edges of the tape were smooth so that I wouldn't jam my printer.

4.  I crossed my fingers, pushed print and sent the paper through the printer.  Success!

5.  I roughly cut out the shape, separated the tissue paper from the printer paper and then cut around the shape as closely as possible.

6.  I positioned the tissue paper onto the candle.  I was a little worried because there was such a color contrast between the candle and the paper, but it goes away after step 8.

7.  I wrapped a piece of wax paper around the candle (with the waxy side touching the candle).  I tore a big enough piece that I had some extra to hold on to at the back of the candle.

8.  Using a hair dryer, I heated up the candle.  I went over the design (back-and-forth, up-and-down) quite a bit to make sure that it was heating evenly.  It does get a little toasty on your hands!  Some people have mentioned that their candles started to drip, but mine never did that.  It might be because I was using a hair dryer rather than a heating tool or that they heated their candle longer than I did.  I probably heated it for 45 seconds and then peeled the wax paper off of the candle.

9.  Once you peel off the wax paper, your tissue paper should have melted into the candle and it should be difficult to see the lines of your design.  If it didn't melt right, you can always put the wax paper back on and heat it again to get your desired results!

To get the official look, I dug out the candle holder that I got at Goodwill for $2.50 and put it all together.  The lighting/glare in my house is terrible, but I'm really happy with how it turned out!  It is simple (which is what I wanted) and turned out better than to be expected.  The only thing that I'm thinking about doing is adding an "L" to the left tapered candle and an "A" to the right one.

Total Cost:
Candle holder:  $2.50
Pillar Candle: $5.99 (Wal-mart)
Tapered Candles: $1.50 (.75 ea at Wal-mart)
Tissue paper, printer paper, ink, and tape:  on hand
Before Tax: $9.99

Considering that you can spend $20 on a plain candle set at Hobby Lobby, I am incredibly happy with out $10 unity candle set and holder, and ours is personalized! I'm thinking that I will make a memorial candle in the same fashion to place somewhere at our reception.  My grandmother passed away 3 years ago and was a big part of my life and I think this would be a nice way to remember her.  Adam has a ton of family members that have passed and I think his parents would appreciate the gesture.

So what do you think?  Would you add something extra or leave it as it is?  Did you/are you planning on having a unity candle at your wedding?