Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reliving Our Wedding, One Tree at a Time

Sheesh - I can't believe it's been over two weeks since my last post.  So much for coming back "regularly," huh?  Sorry about that.  As it turns out, returning from one's honeymoon right as the holiday season is getting into full swing is perhaps even more crazy-making than wedding planning.

During this time each year, Mr. FW and I typically make a special shopping trip to buy a few new ornaments for our tree, but this year when we looked around at a house full of wedding decorations and honeymoon souvenirs, we just couldn't imagine trying to cram more stuff into our space.  So what did we do?  We repurposed.  

You remember our string balls, right?  

Well, after putting in some hard time as our lovely wedding centerpieces (and I can't wait to show you just how lovely they were!!), some of these lucky balls are once again bringing a little cheer to our lives... as ornaments!

Once the sun goes down and the string lights are turned on, the holiday warm fuzzies are in full force in our little house.  And this year, as we mark our first first holiday season as a married couple, those warm fuzzies are just a little warmer and fuzzier thanks to the wedding memories on display.  

Could you or have you repurposed any of your wedding decor for the holidays?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We're Back, and We're Married!

Oh hive, it feels like I've been away for such a long time - but I guess that's understandable since SO MUCH has happened in the last few weeks.  First and foremost, we got married (obvs)!

As expected, we haven't yet seen any pro pics, but there have also been surprisingly few pictures taken by guests, at least that we've seen.  So I'm forced to rely on only our photobooth pictures and a few other candid guest shots in order to relive our day so far.

{I think this is before our first dance, which would explain the giddily nervous smiles on our faces!}

{Thanking everyone for coming, with the cute detail of our clasped hands behind Mr. FW's back.}

Whenever people ask how the wedding went, the only reply I can come up with is "wonderful" or some similar descriptor.  Throughout our wedding day I just felt so, so happy and it seemed like everything was so blissfully amazing.  I know, of course, that nothing is ever absolutely and completely perfect, but I was made aware of precious few hiccups on the day of.  And I'm not lying when I say this, even though I know it probably sounds like an exaggeration - I honestly wasn't bothered by a single thing for longer than about two seconds.  I had this incredible Teflon-like mentality where something would come up (realizing it would rain throughout the day, feeling that things were getting a little chaotic during prep, hearing that we were running behind on our reception timeline, etc.) and then just as quickly it slid right off of me.  I was able to... let it go.  For the record, I'm not typically a person who can easily let things go, so I wish that whatever magical transformation happened that day could stick around forever!  I guess all that wedding mojo just made it easy to be consistently relaxed and in the moment, and for that I am extremely grateful.

There's tons more I want to share with all of you that I'm going to save for my recaps, but I will sum up our day by just saying that I thought our wedding was perfectly us and our reception was one hell of a party!

So yeah, we got married and then two days later we left for our epic (for us) two-week honeymoon to Australia.  I know y'all got a little sneak peek of our trip thanks to Mrs. Jaguar, when we got to meet up with her and Mrs. Teaspoon during our stay in Sydney.  (Yay for the power of the 'bee - when you can travel to the other side of the globe and see some familiar, wedding-loving faces!)  I promise to post some honeymoon recaps as soon as I can find time to pare down my 1000+ pictures.

{on the Skyrail to Kuranda}

We returned last Monday afternoon and I went back to work on Tuesday, so it's taken me the last few days to successfully transition back into my pre-wedding routine, not to mention my pre-honeymoon sleep schedule.  But now I'm back and ready to go!  While I'm waiting for our pro pics to come in, I've got several projects, thoughts, and stories to share that I didn't have time to blog before the wedding.  All that to say, you can expect to hear from me pretty regularly again starting right... now!  Because I've missed all of you!

Do you imagine yourself having a Teflon-like mentality on your wedding day? I highly recommend it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Time

It's 1:00 a.m. on the day of our wedding, and I'm writing this from my hotel room.  Party Person N is asleep nearby and junior party person M is asleep in the living room (yes, my hotel room has a living room!), yet here I am so amped up that I can barely even fathom the thought of closing my eyes.  I know I need to sleep, but I feel this intense need to keep my eyes open and take all of this in - like sleeping for even a second might mean missing out on part of this crazy-wonderful-magical time.  I've been sensing the 'wedding bubble' around me all day today, and I know that the feeling of this moment won't last forever.  I'm trying very hard to take the sage advice offered in my bee twin Miss Seal's last post, and just breathe and stay in that moment for as long as I can.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up and do a little bit of a decoration set-up, then I will sit back and wait for all the rest of the meticulously planned pieces to fall into place.  To say that I'm thrilled wouldn't even begin to cover it.  :-)

To the hive: Thank you so much for all of your help, advice, support, and kind words over these last few months.  Sharing our planning with you has been an amazing journey, and I've learned so much about myself along the way.  I look forward to having some time post-wedding to write more about the personal aspects of our planning process, and of course I can't wait to show you how all the details come together!

To Mr. FW: Tonight when you teared up as I was reading my vows at the rehearsal, I was reminded of why I'm marrying you - because you are deeply touched by this commitment we are making to each other, and I know you don't take that for granted.  Right now those vows are just words on a page, but you know that those words are truly written in my heart and that this little wedding thing we're doing tomorrow is just the incredible celebration of a love that's already rock solid.  After so many months and years of planning and preparation for this day, I am ready beyond words.  

And with that, I'm finally turning in for the night.  See you all on the other side!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Artistry, of the Hair and Makeup Variety

Of the many things that I love about my appearance, perhaps my very favorite physical features are my eyes and my hair.  Nearly every time I look in the mirror, I notice one or both of those and I can't help but smile at my reflection.  It's not vanity, and I hope it doesn't come across that way.  It's just that I truly believe everyone should have aspects of themselves (physical, relational, emotional, intellectual, etc.) that they can acknowledge as strong, positive features (even if, at times ,it's simultaneous with with less positive features - for instance my acne-prone skin).

So, given this love affair I have with my eyes and hair, you'd think I'd have spent more time considering my wedding hair and makeup.  But, in actuality, I had one very brief moment of hair inspiration and zero ideas about makeup.  I don't know if it was anxiety or just feeling overwhelmed with other stuff, but I showed up to my trial session with one inspiration picture and almost no ability to articulate what I was looking for.  Thankfully my amazing hair and makeup artist Lucy Flint knew just what questions to ask to get a sense of my wedding day vision, and then she began to work her magic.  (Side note: She even continued with said magic as the building was rocked by a 3.8 magnitude earthquake.  That's running a business in the Bay Area for ya!)

Over the course of a few hours we tried out a makeup look, with and without false lashes, and two different hairstyles.  I was so pleased, relieved, and excited about how great everything turned out that I wanted to go back for a second trial to do a bit of a different hair version.  You know how I love me some options!

Forgive the poor lighting - it was dark by the time we finished.

{half-up hairstyle, makeup with no lashes, and post-work sleepy eyes}

{low messy side bun, with lashes}

{with the headband}

From this trial I learned that even relatively heavy makeup can look quite light in pictures, so we're going to pump up the eyes and lips a bit on the wedding day until it looks just right in our photographs.  Also, I am absolutely going with the false lashes because they looked amazing!  Lastly, although the low side bun was oh-so-lovely, I realized that I really had my heart set on a half-up hairstyle.  The only uncertainty I had was about those frizzies along my hairline.  Hmm...

So today I returned, complete with updated hair color, to try a curlier look.

{curlier half-up 'do, my regular makeup}

Ignoring the crazy curl wisps escaping on the top of my head (which we'll smooth down in the final look), I'm thinking I like the curlier style better.  The frizzies are still there, but they're much less noticeable.  Also, this style probably has a better chance of making it through the night without becoming a frizzball since my curls weren't brushed out (as they were in my initial trial).  Mostly though, this whole look just feels a little more "me."

The only thing I'm now trying to decide is how much to pull my hair over my forehead.  The sideswept hair is very different from how I normally wear my hair, so it feels more special.

Whereas I think the pinned-back hair opens up my face more.

I'm leaning towards the side-swept hair, but if anyone has a reality check for me please let me know!  Otherwise, I'm feeling great about how my beloved eyes and hair will be showcased on our wedding day.  Yay!

I feel so grateful that I somehow stumbled across an incredible hair and make-up artist who is talented, responsive, patient, and so much fun to be around.  What more could I ask for?!  Unfortunately for my Bay Area brides, Lucy is moving to New York in January.  But good news NY brides - you have an amazing resource headed your way soon!

Would you ever consider ponying up the cash for a second trial?  Why or why not?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last-Minute Dress Decision(s)

Today marks the two week point for the Ferris Wheels, and I gotta be honest that it feels crazy-making to know we're so close yet there's still so much that needs to get finished.  Some of those last-minute tasks make sense:  escort cards (because we're still trying to finalize our guest list), seating arrangements (because we're still trying to finalize our guest list), and baking stuff for the dessert buffet (because there's only so long that a baked good will last).

Then there are other tasks that I really wish had been completed earlier, but for one reason or another they're still up in the air like the videographer (because we didn't decide until the last minute that we even wanted one) and wedding party gifts (because of various snafus in the production process).  But perhaps the biggest last-minute project(s) has to do with my dress.

When I bought the dress, I didn't pay much attention to the train because that just wasn't on my priority list.  Well, now that I'm having to make final alterations decisions, apparently I have to decide whether or not I want to keep it.  My primary concern about the train is how it will fit with the limited amount of space in our ceremony venue.  If you don't recall, the ceremony room looks like this.

{Mr. FW and I will stand in that window along with our wedding party, the area leading to the window will be the aisle, and limited chairs will be squeezed in there as much as possible.}

And now here's a picture of how the original train length looks on me.

One thing's for sure: the train as it is will absolutely not fit well in the space.  For.  Sure.  Plus the alterations woman told me that, no matter what, she recommended reducing the length of the train because it's currently disproportionate to my height.  This is not something I'd ever considered before, but I suppose it makes sense.  

So I think my options are thus: 1) reduce the train, hope it fits in the ceremony space without looking stupid, then bustle it for the reception; 2) leave it bustled throughout the day, no need to worry about whether or not it fits in the ceremony space; 3) chop it off - no train, no bustle, no hassle.

For your reference, here are some pictures the seamstress took of a potential bustle for this dress (not necessarily the one I'll go with, but it's an option).

I feel torn, Hive!  If I'm being really honest with myself I can admit that I kinda like the idea of chopping off the train.  But as soon as I think that I tell myself this is probably the only time in my life when I'll get to drag around a bolt of extraneous fabric attached to a garment I'm wearing, and I question whether I'd actually want to give up that experience.  Plus - the bustle is just 'meh' for me.  I don't necessarily love it.  

So I'm looking for the invaluable insight that only a group of similarly wedding-obsessed people can provide!  Given what you know about me, my style, and our ceremony space, which train option do you think I should go with?

(insert poll)

Option 1: Let it flow then tuck it in.
Option 2: Bustle me all night long.
Option 3: No bustle, no problem.

Can't wait to see what you think!  Have you given any consideration to train changes you might want to make for your dress?

(And also, in case you were wondering, the other last-minute dress decision has to do with whether or not I'll be wearing a shrug with the dress.  I really want to, but as the days tick by without a good option on the horizon, this decision might just be made by default.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Feeling Real Now, Folks!

Yep, today Mr. FW and I made the arduous ten minute trek to City Hall, and we completed the shockingly easy task of applying for a marriage license.  As we walked up the front steps of the building I recalled that the last time I was actually inside the City Hall rotunda was a few years ago when one of my friends married his husband during the brief period of time when gay marriage was legal in California.  On that day the entire building was full of lights, cameras, press members, happy couples, and excited guests.  But today the place was silent, with only our voices echoing off the marble.

There were no signs directing us where to go, so we wandered around until we found the unassuming corridor with the door marked 'County Clerk.'  We actually arrived on time for our appointment, and if you know me at all, you know what a miracle that is.

Mr. FW lovingly offered to fill out the form for us since I was pretty busy snapping pictures of the whole process.  My favorite part of the license application was this: "At the time of application for a marriage license, one or both parties to the marriage may elect to change the middle or last names, or both, by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage...  Parties may adopt any of the following last names: the current last name of the other spouse; the last name of either spouse given at birth; a name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth; a hyphenated combination of last names."

How incredible is that?!  I love the flexibility that California law allows for both parties when it comes to changing names with the marriage license.  (Also, I know I haven't posted about mine and Mr. FW's thoughts when it comes to name changes, but I will later if it interests anyone.)

A few minutes later and our form was all processed and ready to go.  We were given the information about what our "officiant" (aka deputized sister of the groom) needs to fill out, which we promptly forgot and will have to research again later.

And that was it.  So quick and so simple, this legal process to get married.  Mr. FW commented on our way out that, for how easy it was to get a marriage license, it somehow makes it even more sad and ridiculous that not everyone can get married - in this state or so many other places.  And I certainly agree.  *sigh*  Maybe one day...

As for us, our license is good until January of 2012 so let's just hope we can pull off a wedding sometime between now and then!

Was anyone else amazed by how easy the marriage license process was?  (I think I remember my mother telling stories that, back in the day, they required bloodwork in order to secure a marriage license.  Sheesh!  So, so glad we've moved on from that.)  :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

History, and Old School Photoshop

You know how I said that my mom and I were going through her wedding stuff this past weekend?  Well as part of that conversation I found out the most fascinating thing about her wedding photos - something I'd never noticed in all my years of casually flipping through her wedding album every now and then.

She showed me this picture:

And she focused my attention on one particular detail.

Notice anything about this close-up, besides the fact that my mom is absolutely gorgeous?  Anyone thinking that her eyelashes are amazing in this picture?  Well, they should be.  Those lashes were given the old school photoshop treatment.  If you don't have the slightest clue what that could mean, then you're in good company because I'd never heard of this particular technique either.

It means that those lashes were actually painted onto the printed photo itself!!  Can you believe that?!

I was completely floored when she told me, but as I flipped through her album looking for additional evidence of old school photoshopping, I saw it everywhere.  There were pictures where the photographer painted in sections of my mom's hair because the tip of her ear was peeking through, and multiple examples of him painting in eyes on my father because my dad was squinting in many of the photos.

It's incredible to me that I never noticed this before, but I guess it's proof that no one scrutinizes your wedding photos like you do.  That's certainly a good lesson for a perfectionist like me.  It also made me really happy that there are more advanced photo manipulation techniques available to modern photographers.  Of course, the minute I have that thought I flash forward to the day we'll flip through our wedding album with our kids and they will scoff at how dated those now-so-modern Photoshop effects are.  Ahhh, the neverending march of time (and technology).

Was anyone else aware of photographers painting/drawing directly onto printed images?  I'm curious how widespread this practice was.

A Little Piece of History

This past weekend I flew back to Georgia to spend a weekend with my mom, brothers, and my grandparents.  In all the crazy hustle and bustle of last-minute wedding planning (24 days and counting, gah!), it was nice to get away from the stress for a bit and reconnect with family.

While I was home there was a lot of wedding talk of course, which spurred my mom to pull out some of her own wedding stuff.  As soon as I saw her veil and headpiece in the dress box, I couldn't resist trying it on.

Here's my beautiful mother wearing her veil over thirty years ago.

And here I am - proving that this look was much better on her than it is on me.

The headpiece may not be the right style for me, but I actually liked the edging on the veil and I started to wonder whether I could find a way to re-purpose my mom's veil as my veil.  So I gathered it up and held it in a way that kind of imitated what it would look like if the veil was attached to a comb rather than the lace headpiece.

It has a little more body than I might have chosen otherwise, but the history and symbolism of it being my mom's veil way outweigh any tiny preference I have about length or puffiness.  The only question now is whether the color is a close enough match to my dress.  In the overhead lighting of the house it looked as white as the day my mom wore it, but in the bright SF sunshine it was looking a bit more cream.

I have my first dress fitting today, so that will give me a chance to see if the coloring will work.  If it does, then you can pretty much bet this will make its way onto the "must have" project list.  I'm not-so-secretly hoping that it does!

What little pieces of history will you be incorporating on your wedding day?  And does anyone have any tips for me about how to attach tulle to a comb?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Identifying the Yummies

After this wedding, I'm pretty sure I'll never want to create any sort of signage/labels/tags ever again.  Because let me tell ya, our guests are going to be the most fully-informed, non-confused, wedding guests ever.  As things have gotten down to the wire we decided to nix a few of the signs on our list because, in all of our wedding brain craziness, we came to our senses and realized our guests could probably figure some stuff out on their own (like, say, where the bathrooms are or how in the world to navigate the fifteen feet between the elevators and the ceremony space).

There were some signs that were always non-negotiable for us though, and those were the ones that were meant to be functional while also adding some crucial design flare (and, let's be honest here, that would make for some incredibly cool detail shots).  Labels for the dessert buffet and the candy buffet definitely fell into that category.

As is probably true with all good design, these little devils look much more beautifully simplistic than they actually were to create.  We're so proud of how they turned out, though, and are immensely relived that they're finished.  So relieved, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures of the dessert buffet tags before we packed them away, which means you'll just have to wait for the pro pics to come back to see how those turned out.

But... here are some pics I did take during the process of attaching the candy buffet labels to our jars.  (And in true Ferris Wheel fashion, the ribbon I used for this has been discontinued and I ran out halfway through the job.  So cross your fingers that our feverish internet search actually yields the right replacement ribbon!)

Now, on to the pictures!

 Any chance that you'll be over-informing the guests at your wedding?  And admit it - you like pretty signs too, right?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rehearsal Plans and Rhyming Words

Apparently the theme of my posts lately is "Ms. FW brags about Mr. FW's amazingness."  So to continue with that theme, I'd like to tell you about how instrumental Mr. FW was in creating our super fun rehearsal dinner invites.  It started when we were both standing in line at Michael's (so we could have two separate transactions and thus use two separate 40% off coupons - obvs) and he wandered over to the $1 bargain section, where he picked up the cutest little silverware set rubber stamp.  He suggested that it might be nice to emboss this little knife, fork, and spoon design onto the back of whatever rehearsal dinner invite we chose.  Of course I was all for that, so we snapped up the stamp and then went looking for a coordinating invite.

We fell in love with this design from Invitation Consultants.  (FYI... we were really happy with the quality of these invites.  The paper has a slight sheen to it that feels very luxe, and they are printed in color on both sides.  Also awesome was that we snagged a $10 off coupon from Retail Me Not!)

Now let me direct your eye to the truly amazing part.  See, Mr. FW is an incredible wordsmith (seriously, he can make anything sound good) so he had no trouble coming up with the most adorable rhyme to set the tone for our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

before the knot's tied come help set the mood
we're ready to celebrate with drinks and Thai food

at our rehearsal dinner we'd like you to be
if for no other reason than because it is free

Smooth Thai is in the lobby of the Parc 55
casual dress will match the laid-back vibe

we'll eat at 6PM on the tenth of november
and we hope it will be a night to remember

so please come and join us on the eve of our day
and know that we love you more than we can say!

You're impressed, right?  Yeah, me too.  He also decided to include these little personalized timelines for each person we were mailing the invitation to, so they would know exactly when and where to show up for the rehearsal part of the day.

Then we packaged them up, did a little embossing, slapped on our favorite celebration stamps, and they were ready to go.  (Of course, this was after the font freak in me insisted we find an address font that was similar to the invitation title font - because I just knew we already had one and it made me feel so good to see what a near perfect match they were.  All that, even though I knew rationally not a single guests would ever notice the fonts.  Nope, that level of detail-consciousness was just for me!)

And that makes one more project off the to-do list, courtesy of Mr. FW.  What would I do without him?

Did you do a rehearsal, complete with invitations and everything?  Honestly we didn't really expect to, but I guess it's happening now whether we like it or not!  :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Photobooth Speech Bubbles, Minus the Chalk

I am so flippin' excited that we're going to have a photobooth at our wedding!  And yeah, I know it's one of those things that's been done everywhere at this point, but I honestly don't care about that in the slightest.  The idea of giving our guests a fun, non-dancing activity during our reception is totally worth it to me.  (Not that we don't want people to dance, of course.  We just want them to have options.)  Our photobooth package includes a box of props, which is great because it means we don't have to raid the Halloween stores on Nov. 1 to find our own (although that did sound kinda fun).  But we still wanted to find a way to personalize things just a bit.

I'd seen pictures of those awesome chalkboard speech bubbles, and I thought that might be our answer.  But when I talked to Mr. FW about it he seemed concerned.  It's not that he thought it was a bad idea, no no.  He just thought it would make me freak out to be near chalkboards on our wedding day.  See...  I have a bit of a chalk phobia.  For realz, just typing out the word chalk makes me shiver.  I can't stand anything about it - the way it feels in your hand, the way it sounds when you're writing with it, the dust it creates when you erase it.  Ugh...  seriously, it's a problem.  

So Mr. FW went searching for alternatives, and he discovered the ingeniousness of white board contact paper.  Yep, it's contact paper that you can write on with dry erase markers.   You can probably purchase it a lot of places, but we're online people so we bought ours on Amazon.

Mr. FW banged out two bubbles in just a few hours, and each step was pretty simple.  Here's a little tutorial we put together for you.

We have a lot of cardbox boxes around the house lately, so Mr. FW cut up a few of those to use as the backing for our bubbles.  He sketched out both a speech bubble and a thought bubble then he got to cutting.

First he cut out the bubbles, then he used those as templates to cut out the whiteboard paper.  A little note here: We found out the hard way that the contact paper isn't super thick, so we could see the writing on the cardboard through the paper.  Mr. FW said that if he was doing it over again he'd also cut out a single piece of printer paper to attach first to the cardboard, under the contact paper.

To give them just a little extra oomph, I inked on a simple blue border with a Sharpie marker.

Mr. FW attached some paint stir sticks (is that what those are called?) to the back, and then they were finished!  We haven't tested them yet with the dry erase markers, but I feel pretty certain they're going to be fine because all the reviews of this contact paper were very complimentary.  Just in case, though, we're packing up a small spray bottle of cleaner and napkins.  Now I just can't wait to see what how creative our guests will be with these!

Any other chalk phobes out there?  Also, I can imagine a lot of other uses for these little bubbles besides a photobooth.  What would you use them for?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Talking Cake (aka Reason #25,000,001 Why I Love Mr. FW)

Tonight I came home after a long day at work and I headed to the kitchen to get some water.  I mindlessly opened the fridge, and this is the scene that greeted me.  (Please, oh please, read on past the picture because this is seriously hilarious.)

Completely unbeknownst to me, Mr. FW had taken it upon himself to whip up a sample cake for our dessert buffet because he knew it was important to me that we not serve our guests untested recipes.  What happened next is apparently best narrated by the cake itself.

Dear Ms. Ferris Wheel,

In case you couldn't tell (and there's a good chance you couldn't), I am a cake.  I am shockingly poorly put together.  It would be a great mistake to underestimate the utter lack of sturdiness in my construction.  I was virtually pieced together from crumbs as the maniac baker laughed and laughed at his lack of skill.  In all seriousness though, the idiot forgot to grease the pan.  You of the baking elite can imagine, I'm sure, what it was like to get my inners out of the pans.  Not pretty, let me tell you.

Nonetheless, the (un)baker's intentions in this little experiment were noble, and should still hold true.  He knew you wanted to be able to taste some of the products before the wedding, and you wanted them to have a homemade look (but not in their lack of professional appearance - he didn't get the memo on that one).  He had this idea to find simple recipes that communicate homemade (read: vanilla bean frosting) and combine them with simple box cakes (who knew that's the part he'd screw up?  Unbelievable).  He chose four recipes and aims to bake one a day for you to take to work (this one, of course, should never see the light of day, but hopefully this was a lesson learned). 

The person who made me hopes this eases some of your worries (he is aware of the irony, also, of producing a terrible looking item, which is a large part of your worry, but instructs you not to worry about that part, because the cakes have been assigned to you and your mother.  If he screws up the cookies, then you may proceed to worry about that too).  He also says that if you don't like this one, he is happy to try again with another recipe.  He is also happy to abandon this project should you be too horrified for him to continue.  Finally, he wants you to know that the pictures of me online were beautiful.

He sends his love.  Be careful when/if you cut into me.  I will very likely implode.

- White cake with vanilla bean frosting

I love that man.  'Nuff said.

What's the most recent falling-in-love-all-over-again moment shared by you and your partner (even if one of you wasn't technically present)?

Monday, September 19, 2011

At Last, the Invitation Reveal

The RSVP's have started to trickle in, which tells me that it's finally time to reveal the Ferris Wheel invitations to the world.  Are you as excited as I am? Oooh, I certainly hope so!  Truth be told, every single step of creating these little lovelies - design, production, and packaging - was unimaginably time-consuming.  The process involved unanticipated material costs, social isolation, lack of sleep, a ridiculous amount of mistake corrections, and at least one or two probably unnecessary freak-outs ("Oh no, I think I hate them.  Do I hate them?  Should I hate them?  Will other people hate them?  Maybe we should start over from the beginning.  Agh!").  But, BUT...  At the end of all that, thankfully we adore the outcome!  That would be enough on its own, but we've heard from at least a few people that they love them too, and somehow that makes it all worth it.

Okay, enough with the words.  On to the pictures!

{envelope back}

For no particular reason, let's start with the back.  It's difficult to tell from the picture but the spirograph is embossed on there, creating that amazing glossy, raised look that only heat embossing can give you.  You can also see the bow of the baker's twine that's wrapped around the pocketfold.

{envelope front and the wrapped pocketfold that goes inside}

If you've been around the hive long enough, you'll notice right away that I drew significant packaging inspiration from Mrs. Apple Cider's invitations.  Like her, we addressed the vellum envelopes by running them through our inkjet printer and it worked just fine.  Oh, and one more thing...  I just have to give a special shout-out to those celebration stamps because Mr. FW and I are obsessed with their awesomeness.  (Side note:  we also like to say that our stamps read "celebrate George Washington."  Silly!)

{our logo}

Mr. FW created this sleek logo for us that somehow manages to incorporate so many of our elements - spirograph, wedding date, ombre ink effect - into a little one inch circle.

{open pocketfold}

When our guests unwrap the baker's twine and open the pocketfold, this is what they'll see.  To walk you through it, there's our striped "liner" (printed at home on semi-gloss paper) on both sides, the matted invitation (printed on the Gocco), four inserts (printed on our printer) with a design that lines up along the right hand side, and of course a picture of us.  The part I adore most about the invitation itself, and that you can't see because I removed our names, is how only our names and the word "love" are highlighted by the blue text.  Aww...

{all of the inserts taken out of the pocketfold}

When our guests take out the inserts they'll find cards for accommodations, map, more information, and RSVP (both front and back pictured above).

{accommodations insert}

Our accommodations card offers brief information about how our guests can reserve rooms at the venue and points them to our website for other hotel information.  I am so in love with this little card - from the spirograph in the center to the fading ink for the text. *Swoon*

{map insert}

Mr. FW created this map insert from start to finish, and it's a great example of what an excellent team we are.  This is not anything I'd know how to do, nor do I have even have the programs for it.  So he did all of it and then we just dropped it into my layout.  How adorable is that little blue star?!

{more information insert}

We needed to find a way to let guests know all of this additional information that we didn't want to squeeze onto the invitation, so we gave it its own card.  The only thing I didn't remember to include was suggested attire, so I hope people actually do check the website and see that we're going more for cocktail attire than black tie.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.   

{RSVP postcard - of course the final ones actually had a stamp on them}

I really enjoyed designing the RSVP card.  I wanted to make them fun while also trying to increase the chances that they would serve their primary funcions - tell us who's coming and what they'd like to eat.  Skipping the M____________ blank that even I still don't totally understand, I labeled the name blank with the oh-so-helpful word "name" and put pictures of the entree choices right beside it.  (But just in case, we did also use an invisible blacklight marker to number each of them.)  Instead of accept/regret options, I used the words "yay" and "boo" because those are things we actually say all the time.  The hotel information will help us to distribute the out of town bags, and if people list a favorite song then we'll try to include it in our playlist for the night.  According to our current count, we will have at least 13 guests at our wedding.  :-)

{ready to go out into the world}

In designing this suite I found out that it's not easy to make predominantly black, gray, and white elements look special or artistic, especially when you're just going to print them on a regular inkjet printer.  But as we started to put all the pieces together, it really felt like we achieved exactly the look we were going for.  Yay!

Would you ever make the crazy and yet absolutely worth it decision to design your own invitation suite?  If you have any questions about how we constructed anything, feel free to ask!