Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Special Delivery!

The invitations embarked on their journey into the world last week.  I had been steadily working on them since before Spring Break and had started ordering paper samples even earlier than that in February:

Turns out that the color peacock, while difficult to match in all other aspects, is also difficult to match to paper.  We ended up settling on just a navy blue linen cardstock for the pocketfolds, white linen cardstock and text weight paper for the announcement and pocket inserts, and shimmery onyx (basically shimmery black) envelopes.

I ordered my paper through several sources:
Recycled White Linen Cardstock/Text Weight Paper - Anchorpaper.com
Patriot Blue Linen Cardstock - thePapermillstore.com
Stardream Metallic Onyx Envelopes - Envelopemall.com

And what resulted what this:

I figured that if I wanted to do a darker envelope, I needed to find a way to print on them because there's no way in hell I was going to be practicing my calligraphy in the next few weeks. I also refuse to pay someone to do it.  I chose to make wrap-around address labels because I think they are fun (and what I think really is most important!).  Adam helped pick out the style and fonts and after that it was time to get a-typin'.

Let's step indoors, shall we?
Looks quite a bit different than that top one I started almost a year ago, huh? 

I made about 10 different templates and had Adam pick the style and fonts he liked best.  Since both of my sets of parents are paying for their respective halves of the wedding, we included both of their names.  According to my lady Martha (Stewart, of course), we were supposed to put "at the marriage of their daughter Lindsy Nicole TO Adam Shaun, but we liked the ampersand better.  If you read it through, it kinda sounds weird, but it made it to the final printing stage so it stays.

As for the inserts, I had originally designed them to be the different staggered sizes, but when I took the paper in to get cut at Staples, they kind of butchered my paper (for lack of a better term) with their cutter.  Since they fit so snugly in their pocket width-wise, I just arranged them how they were supposed to actually look height-wise even though they weren't cut that way.

For the Obamas and our non-technology-friendly family members, we sent postcard RSVPs as seen above.  I made sure that the card was 3.5x5 (the minimum), bought postcard stamps which are only 33 cents and slapped a return label on them.

However, most of the RSVPs look like this.  
It tells them to go to our wedding website and RSVP from there.  I am actually using Google Docs to compile all the RSVP information so anytime someone responds, it puts int in a nice spreadsheet for me.  I debated doing this, but I think eRSVPing is becoming more popular and more acceptable because it provides automatic feedback and saves the cost of postage.

Another thing we had to accomodate for was the fact that the pocketfold was technically our inner envelope.  With typical invitation etiquette, you write the official titles on the outer envelope and then include everyone's first names on the inner envelope.  Since we weren't going to write their names on the pocketfolds, we needed another way to make clear exactly who was invited to the wedding.  We decided to do this via the RSVP form by indicating how many seats we are reserving for them.  I imagine that everyone can figure out who is included in their particular number, but if we end up with some randoms in exchange for actual family members, then I suppose it's our own fault.

I made the belly band with left over scraps and printed our logos off onto linen text paper.  I backed the logo with the same shimmery onyx paper as the envelope to give it a little cohesion.

And here are all my babies in their bassinet.

I will say that it took quite a long time to put everything together.  The pocketfolds were hand-cut/folded/glued, everything was personally designed in Microsoft Publisher and printed at home, the paper was massacred at Staples (I'm not ready to talk about this yet), reprinted at home and then hand-cut, and finally stuffed, weighed, licked and stamped.  

However, I am so happy to have these finished and to have been able to make these myself. 
Are they perfect? NO  
Would I do it all over again?  YES (except the Staples part, definitely a NO there).

I will try to get a tutorial going for these sometime in the near future.  I didn't take pictures when I initially made them, but I'm sure I am going to need a few more (and I didn't accommodate for any extras at the time).  Stay tuned!  I will also share my sad Staples story (say that 5 times fast!) and perhaps a price breakdown in the upcoming days.  

Hope you like my blood, sweat and (literally) tears! Did you attempt to make your own invitations or think that is a path you are willing to go down?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

We're Going on a Honeymoon!

I'm quite excited, guys!

Initially, we weren't sure if we were going to be able to swing a honeymoon.  Adam will be graduating from K-State in May and it was all quite dependent on whether his internship would turn into a full-time position or if he would have to start the interview process.  Manhattan isn't exactly the technological hub of the world, it's growing in programming-type jobs, but Kansas City is typically where we would have been relocating to.  

Both Adam and I didn't want to take a honeymoon right after him starting a new job.  I know that probably happens quite often, but it was part of the reason that we were holding back from making any plans.  Moving to Kansas City also would mean that we would have to find somewhere else to live, and our paid-off trailer makes for some real cheap living right now.  Aaand I would have to find a new job as well.  It seemed like there were too many variables to spend an extra few thousand dollars that we really might not have to spare.

Well, good news! Adam accepted a job with the company he currently works for and it looks like we will be sticking around for awhile.  Thus, we began our search for a honeymoon location.

Adam got his passport this past Christmas, so it seemed that we should go somewhere outside the boundaries of the US.  For me, it's a given that I want to go somewhere Spanish-speaking, but Adam was pretty impartial.  He really didn't want to go to a beach, but was interested in some of the other activities that shoreline locations offered.  We both really want to go to Europe, but to see everything that we want to, we're going to need more time and funds than we currently have.

I started checking the Groupon Getaways emails and noticed there were a lot of Jamaica and Mexico vacation packages.  Adam said that one beach is no different than any other beach, so I chose Mexico.  Airfare was a bit cheaper to help sway our decision as well.

And now I present to you, our honeymoon locale:  Cancún, México
(all photos from www.krystal-hotels.com)

We bought a 5-night all-inclusive package at the Krystal Cancún for $945.  We get all our meals paid with the option to dine out at other hotels/restaurants, free room-service, all the alcohol my body can handle, a deluxe ocean-view room, beach access and snacks! It's kind of strange to believe we're going to pay almost $200 per night to stay here, but when we add up all the food and beverages we would normally pay for, I imagine that will equal out to the extra $100 per day. At least this way I won't feel bad about getting another drink!  Adam said he could handle hanging out at the beach as long as he could get drunk.  We're so perfect for each other!

Our hotel is right in the middle of the hotel zone, it seems to have a great bus system to get around the area and we can take a taxi from the airport once we arrive.  I haven't done a lot of researching, but there are some islands that are a ferry trip away, Mayan ruins, water activities and more.  I'm going to try and avoid micromanaging this trip and let us just enjoy the time together. By the time we spend two days traveling, it will only give us 4 full days there, so I shouldn't ruin it by running us all over the place, eh?

I ordered our plane tickets through Travelocity and the airline already changed our connecting flight so that there isn't enough time to board on time.  I spent about an hour on the phone today changing our flight out of Houston, but we should be all set now...hopefully!

For now, I just can't wait to get this school year over, have Adam graduate, do this wedding business and then sit on the beach, work on our ring tan-lines and have a margarita with my husband.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Post about Wedding Napkins

Originally, I was going to make personalized napkins:  

I felt that $30 for 100 napkins was just plain silly.  I can buy the napkins for $5 and do it myself for half the cost.  I already had the heat gun, I just needed to find the right stamp, ink and embossing powder.   

Well, change of plans!  Theknot.com was having a sale, $10 for 100 personalized napkins.  So I got 3 sets.  And yes, I spent $30 on napkins (which was what I originally was trying to avoid in the first place), but lemme explain:  
I was only going to get 2 sets of 100.  Okay, $20.  Well, shipping ended up being about $8, so $28.  But The Knot was offering Free Shipping on orders of $25+.  So instead of spending $28 on 200 napkins, I spent $30 on 300 napkins and slept just fine that night.

Could I have done it for less?  Yes.
Did I feel like saving a little money was worth the time it would take to make them myself (plus the cost of the extra supplies)?  Not so much. 
Do I regret having to cross something off my DIY list that I did not DIY? Nope.

So thus we have our napkins in 3 different colors and designs:

Overall, I was really happy with my purchase.  The quality was great, the price was unbeatable and the amount of work involved was minimal.  I had read some reviews saying that some of the napkins had stuck together and didn't get printed on, but they actually sent around 110 napkins in each box and I only had 5 napkins that I won't be using:

My only complaint:  it took over a month from the time I purchased them to the time that they shipped.  Wowsers.  Don't wait until the last minute for these guys!  And don't forget to sign up for their emails so that you can get in on these deals!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prom: Round #7

Holy Heavens, it's been awhile.  The last 3 weeks I have been putting in long hours at work to accomplish this:

Oh, Prom.  I only went once in high school.  This year marks the sixth time I've gone in my adult life.  

Working in a small high school, I am the Junior Class Sponsor.  Our theme this year was "Enchanted Evening," and boy was it enchanting.  In years past, we have decorated the ceiling using tulle or gossamer, but this year we thought a balloon ceiling would be something new and unique.  I bought a net and we filled it with balloons.  It wasn't without flaw, but it was definitely cheaper than filling those 1200 balloons with helium.

What is really wedding-relevant about this post is:
1.  After 5 years, it has taught me a lot about planning events.  This particular celebration seated 80 students whereas our wedding will be more like 125.  For our wedding reception we won't be spending time and money to decorate the walls or have the large theme items, but we also won't get the Friday before to decorate.   Most importantly, I've found that the more thorough my check lists are, the more efficient my helpers could be to find something to work on.

2. Flowers!  I had been planning on buying our flowers from Sam's Club for the wedding.  I have been reading the reviews and everyone had seemed to have positive experiences.  So, I decided to give it a trial run with the prom flowers (use someone else's money, right?).  I let my Prom Committee pick what type/color they wanted from their website and they chose red and white carnations.  They were $52.98 for 100 stems (the price has gone up a little since), so for $106 we got 200 carnation stems with free shipping.
They get shipped overnight and are dried/closed up.  I had them delivered on Wednesday since I figured that carnations last a long time and it would give them an extra day or so to bloom.  As soon as they arrive, you have to cut the stems and then hydrate them in water/plant food mix.  I borrowed buckets from the school to store them in, but 100 stems per bucket did get a little crowded.  They started blooming quick (especially in my 80 degree classroom) and the white ones were full by the end of the afternoon.  On Friday, I changed the water and arranged them in our vases.  We only needed enough to fill 8 vases/centerpieces, but we ended up having enough to fill 5 extra vases.
The whole experience was incredibly easy.  I purchased them almost a month in advance online and picked my shipping date. They bloomed well, I didn't have a single broken stem and they were cheaper than any florist I talked with in town.  Thus, I'm super excited to order our wedding flowers from Sam's Club now.  Adam and I went and got a membership about a month ago to buy the alcohol for the wedding, so this is another way our membership is paying off.  Also, if you have a college/university student I.D., make sure to show it when signing up - they give you a $15 gift card to offset the $40 membership price!

Arranging the flowers gave me another round of practice for the wedding as well.  At this point, I feel pretty comfortable knowing that I can make the bouquets and centerpieces in a few hours time without too much drama.

And now it's back to my normal life.  I took today off work and slept half of it away.  I made a spreadsheet of all the hours that we put into Prom.  I worked an extra 50 hours over the past 3 weeks and all together we put in almost 300 hours.  Wow.  It's probably a good thing I haven't made a spreadsheet of all the hours I've contributed to wedding planning!