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! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our Ceremony Soundtrack

Now that I've confessed to my one and only princessy bridal moment, it's time to put that into some context for you.  My musical ear is pretty finely tuned, so I was super picky when it came to ceremony music - not just what songs we chose but how those songs would fit together to set the stage for our celebration.  I wanted them to create a mood, to flow from one to the other in a sensible and meaningful way.  I guess you could say that I wanted to create something of a soundtrack for our ceremony that was reflective of both our personalities as well as the significance of the occasion.

This was another one of those times where not being tied down to any traditional or venue-imposed ceremony music "rules" was both a blessing and a curse.  We had to figure out our own preferences (lyrics vs. instrumental, contemporary vs. classic, edit songs ourselves or play from the beginning) in order to narrow down an incredibly vast world of music.  Mr. FW and I pretty quickly agreed on a few songs we liked, but finding the perfect arrangements took me for-freakin'-ever. In fact I almost abandoned the project on several occasions because I couldn't find a useable copy of something, or the arrangements of two songs were each beautiful but didn't work well together, etc.

But I'm happy to report that after many days spent scouring YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and our personal music collections we finally agreed on sixty minutes worth of music.  Sheesh!  :-)  Well worth it, though, if you ask me.  So if you were a guest at the Ferris Wheel wedding (wouldn't that be awesome?!), this is what you would hear.

For the thirty minutes of music prior to the ceremony, we wanted to accompany the amazing city lights view of our venue with some classic and not-so-classic songs about San Francisco.  For all you Bay Area bees, I'm including links here for all the songs in the order they'll be played.  (If you just want to know the music for the actual ceremony, feel free to skip ahead a bit.)

{Flower Pot Men - Let's Go to San Francisco}

{Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay}
I especially like the line, "Left my home in Georgia headed for the Frisco Bay."  Like me!

{Scott McKenzie - San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)}

{Judy Garland - San Francisco}

{Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart in San Francisco}

Train - Save Me San Francisco

{Journey - When the Lights Go Down in the City}

{Vanessa Carlton - San Francisco}

Seating of the Parents
Our ceremony space is small, so it's not going to take that much time for three parents (or anyone, for that matter) to make their way down the aisle and take their places.  We considered grouping parents in with the wedding party, but ultimately we decided it made more sense for there to be some separation between them.  So we will use the first 90ish seconds of this gorgeous instrumental version of Michael Buble's "Everything" to set the stage for the rest of our ceremony.  

{piano cover of Michael Buble's "Everything" by YouTube user cdnchuchu}

Processional Part One
For the processional we looked for a song that was fun and contemporary but not so upbeat that our wedding party would feel like skipping down the aisle.  Striking the perfect balance between joy and solemnity isn't always easy, especially in under two minutes, but I think this instrumental version of Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" does just that.

{piano cover of Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" by the incredible Sunny Choi}

Processional Part Two
Because of the kinda awkward placement of the *moment* in this song, we decided to have the younger members of our wedding party enter at the beginning, then Mr. FW will enter around the one minute mark, followed lastly by me.  And just because you're dying to hear it again, here it is.

{Theme from Practical Magic}

Okay, I just love the song we chose for this.  It's one that Mr. FW would come home singing, saying that it always made him think of me, but I'd never heard it before.  Once I listened to it, I just knew we should use it on our way back up the aisle.  The lyrics of Colbie Caillat's "I Do" are adorable, and it totally reminds me of how much Mr. FW loves me!  We plan to edit/cue it so that it begins 28 seconds into the song.  Just take a listen to how utterly perfect that will be.

{Colbia Caillat - I Do}

(Which I think is the strangest word ever.)  We'll let the Colbie song play out while our wedding party makes their way back down the aisle.  Then we'll launch into another song picked by Mr. FW that I'd never heard before.  (As the person in our relationship who doesn't think the radio is just for listening to NPR, I guess it makes sense that he was so influential in choosing the music for our ceremony.) 

There are a few other songs we'll have lined up in case we still need more time at the end (including The Beatles' "All You Need is Love" and Billy Currington's "I Got a Feeling," among others).  And that's the whole shebang - the Ferris Wheel Wedding Soundtrack.

How much latitude did you have in choosing your ceremony music, and were you picky about it like I was?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dah Dum t'Dumm, Dah Dum t'Dumm

You can tell that's the bridal march, right?  ;-)

I heard a lot of the dah dum t'dumms growing up because my mom was (and still is) our church organist and she played at many of the congregants' weddings.  When I went through my teenage phase of "I wanna be completely different from everyone in the whole wide world," I decided I wouldn't be a person who came down the aisle to the bridal march if/when I ever got married, and I never changed my mind about that.  But in all the years since then, I also haven't been that interested in getting married in general, so I've given precious little thought to any other specific things that I did or didn't want at my potential future wedding.  Except this one thing....

Hive, I'm gonna just come right out and say it.  This one thing is kind of a diva moment.  It is the ONLY princessy wedding thing I've ever latched onto, dreamed about, and held close to my heart.  And now that it's closer to becoming a reality, I'm having to really own what a diva moment it actually is.  So, I'm telling all of the internet about it and I'm trying to own it.  

It all started with the movie Practical Magic, which I adore.  Watching it in the theater, I vividly recall this one swell in the music that gave me chills, and in that moment I thought, "That would make an amazing bridal entrance."  I own the movie soundtrack, and I'm still caught breathless every time I hear it.  (I suggest you start at about 1:08 to get the full effect, but *the moment* starts about 1:30.)

It's princessy, right?  And totally diva-ish?  I know.  I know!  Yet as much as those two words really don't describe me, I just can't imagine myself walking down the aisle to any other music.  So I will do my best to conjure all of my inner diva confidence, absolutely rock out the moment, and just hope it lives up to all the emotional hype.

Like it or not, do you or your partner find that you'll be embracing any diva moments at your wedding?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Floral Avoidance and Uncertainty Run Amok

Let's talk about our floral alternatives, also known as the self-created wedding dilemma that is so unreasonably stressful to think about that I avoid it at all costs.  Previously I told you that I'm torn about how we're incorporating floral elements into our wedding.  Well, I still haven't resolved this particular conflict so I'm turning to the hive for some much-needed perspective.

Here's the deal: yes, we like the look of wedding party members carrying bouquets and we fully intend(ed) to go that route.  But...  we're a little over two months out and I still haven't started any of it.  I plan to make a bouquet for myself no matter what, but I don't know exactly how long it will take to make one, much less six or seven of them.  I'm seriously considering the possibility that this might be one of those times where I've bitten off more DIY than I can chew.  It's okay, I can admit that it happens sometimes.  (But not often, of course.  Because I'm amazing and I can do anything.)

When Mr. FW and I started talking about non-bouquet options, we came up with two possibilities that we actually really liked because both would resolve some of our ambivalent feelings about how gendered the florals were going to be.  (When you're looking at these options, recall that the wedding party dresses are gray with black trim.)

Option #1 was inspired by this picture:

bracelet by Etsy seller BCGirls

I'm imagining it in black, which I think would be totally gorgeous.  The bonus is that I could probably make it myself pretty easily and, if the ribbon was long enough, it could be worn again post-wedding as a sparkly belt or headband.  The downside is that it wouldn't give our dress-wearers anything to carry (which has been expressed as a concern), and it's different that what the bout-wearers are sporting.

Option #2 is to stick with the bracelet idea, but instead of the applique I would use the same ribbon flowers that I used in the bouts.

The upsides to this option are that I already know how to make these flowers and they would create a cohesive look across our entire wedding party.  The minus here is the same nothing-too-carry issue as option #1, plus it would be a bit more time intensive.

Option #3 is to remain committed to the original plan and just power through the necessary flower making.

{Witness the one, ONE, anenome I've made so far.  Thank goodness I adore it!}

The pro here is that I will already be making a lot of these flowers for my own bouquet (what's another couple hundred petals really?), it will create a unified look with my own bouquet, and it will give our peeps something to carry.  The con, as you already know, is the amount of time it would take to make them.

There are the options.  Now I'd love to get your thoughts, suggestions, opinions about which choice I should make.  So vote first, then in the comments tell me why you chose the option you did (because I need to hear reasoning other than my own broken record right now!)

Option #1: Lovely and re-wearable
Option #2: Easy and cohesive
Option #3: Original and carry-able
Option #4: Something else altogether

Was there ever a time you needed a little extra perspective when you were wedding planning?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Their Way Into The World

Can you guess what's in this box?

Here's a hint - this is what came next.

Yep, our invitations have officially left the building!  And look how excited I am about it!  :-) We walked them across the street to the mailbox tonight so that they would go out first thing in the morning.  And let me just say that finishing these babies has been such a huge relief.  In fact, after we got back home Mr. Ferris Wheel said, "Today is one of those days where I feel like everything might just work out okay."

I am so anxious to reveal them to the Hive, but I need to give them a few days to get to our recipients so I won't spoil the surprise that's been 100+ hours in the making.   (For real.  Not kidding.)  But I promise they're coming to you soon.  And in the meantime, it's back to work for us.  Crossing that three month mark really lit a fire under our a**es and we are cranking our projects left and right.  Even though the to-do list seems neverending, it feels really good to be making progress.

Do you think we're crazy for spending so much time on our invites?  (It's okay, you can tell me.)  And did you have a moment in your planning when things shifted into high gear?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wedding Burn Out

Warning: ahead you will find much venting of wedding steam.  Proceed at your own risk.

You may have noticed that I've been a little more absent lately (so sorry about that!), and I'm sure you can guess that the reason is because our wedding is fast approaching.  At this point we are working on the wedding 100% of every waking hour (and when we're sleeping, we're both dreaming about the wedding so we can't even really count that as a break).  When we do take breaks, to eat or shower or whatever, we are doing so while we talk about the wedding.  In my quiet moments, I am thinking only about the wedding and it never seems I have sufficient thinking time to actually resolve any of the issues I'm thinking about in the first place.  There's no time to see friends or family, and when we do all we can talk about is the wedding.  Our tiny, lovely little house is full to the brim of wedding stuff.  There's not a single uncovered surface to be found, and until very recently none of it was organized in the slightest (which, for an overly organized person like myself, is just sheer torture).

It's.  All.  Just.  Too.  Much.

{I can't believe I'm letting the blogosphere take a tour of my house in such disarray.}

Two years ago we started planning this shindig in earnest, and back then we both thought we'd have plenty of time to take on any and every project we could possibly imagine.  What we didn't know is that there's a lot of stuff you just can't conceivably do two years before your wedding.  You need to know things like the venue, vendors, budget, timeline, guest list, style, and so many other details in order to finish a lot of the projects that need to be completed for a wedding.  Well, that's not totally true.  For some things you can do what we did, which is to just make your best guess and plug ahead.  It's not a bad option, though I will say that some of the stuff we made way in advance is very different in design than things that we're working on now, and that's just going to have to be okay.  Other things have to be scrapped altogether because they no longer work with our timeline or our budget.  I'm guessing that's just what happens when you plan a single event over a ridiculously long period of time.

So here's the truth:  No matter how much pre-planning you do, everything comes down to those last few months.  I know before I was planning this wedding I would read other bees saying those same words and I thought, "I'll be different.  I'll plan ahead.  I won't let everything pile up like that."  Haha... funny joke.  Now I know just how wrong I was, so I think it must happen to everyone.  One project gets crossed off and it feels amazing, but then we have to add two or three other new things that have popped up.  Even if you're not incorporating very much DIY into your wedding, the sheer number of things other people (your partner, vendors, friends, family members, and wedding party members) will ask you to have an opinion about is simply mind-boggling.

Then there's the fact that many things take four times as long as you thought they would (invitations, for instance), or something doesn't work out exactly as planned (like perhaps our large string balls, which are currently sad and saggy).  And there are those notorious decisions that need to be made but  thinking about them makes you feel immediately crazy and overwhelmed so you just can't bring yourself to get even close to considering them (maybe, say, floral alternatives for yourself and your bridal party).  So projects come off the list, only to go back on later.  Or they stay on the list, haunting you with their stubbornness.

Sometimes I'm sick of our plans and projects.  Sometimes I just want the wedding to be here already so I'll know that we're really and truly finished with everything, whether we like it or not.  But as soon as I think that, I immediately flash back to all those nightmares I've had where we show up at our wedding and I'm utterly devastated because nothing's been completed and no one knows what's going on.  So I think what I really want is more time.  The other day I told Mr. Ferris Wheel that I think we need at least an extra three months in order to do everything and not go crazy in the process.

Alas, we don't have an extra three months.  We just have the two we're left with - that, and a neverending list of things to do.  What option do we have but to make the best of it?  So that's what we're doing.  Trying to keep our spirits up while we're drowning in wedding tasks.  Feels like it's gonna be a long two months...

Did wedding burn out happen to you?  If so, when did it set in?