Friday, December 24, 2010

Wedding Favors - Giving Back

Wedding favors seem to be less and less common as budgets get tighter and hosts realize that all those little trinkets don't seem to ever get any real use. I have found that edible treats are still a fun way to thank your guests, but for our wedding we wanted to do something more personal and meaningful to us as a family. Donating to your favorite charity in your guest's honor has become more and more popular and we found it to be the best way for us to say thanks and take the opportunity to give back.

My Uncle Tom died of Cystic Fibrosis when I was 3 years old. We as a family have been involved in raising money for a cure in one way or another for my entire life. More recently, my husband and his family have taken part as well. It is an organization close to our hearts and we thought that donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was the best way to thank our guests and honor my Uncle on our special day. To convey our thanks and inform our guests of the donation, I created cards that were placed at each person's seat.

Each card informed the guest of our donation, included some background information on the disease and our reason for choosing this particular charity and thanked them for attending our wedding. I wanted to take the opportunity to continue our theme, so I printed each card on white cardstock in our chosen fonts and rounded the corners. I affixed a button in either aqua or spring green to the top of the card using a small ribbon in the alternate color.

I used the same swirl stamp that we embossed on our invitations at the bottom of each card in the same color as the ribbon.

I created half the cards using an aqua button and green ribbon/ink and half the cards using a green button and aqua ribbon/ink. We alternated the different color cards at each table setting as well.

This was the final project I created myself and thus concludes the posts on our wedding details. This is also the final post before the holidays so I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will be away until the new year spending the holidays with family and friends so I will see you again in 2011!

Photos by Kyle @ 918 Photo

When I return: Planning a Baby Shower

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Escort Cards

Table assignments are often a key component to any party or reception. How do guests know where to sit? Why an escort card, of course. Placing a table number on each table and creating escort cards for your guests is a common way of letting them know this is where you should go to eat, mingle and relax. They are called escort cards because they literally escort the guest to the correct table. Traditional escort cards are small rectangle cards folded in half so that you can stand them on a table near the entrance to a reception. There are a lot of fun non-traditional ways to create escort cards using a variety of materials. I have seen corks for a wine themed party, polished stones for a zen-like theme, or mini-plants for a garden themed gathering. You can use just about anything that you can write on or affix a small card to, the possibilities are endless.

I wanted our escort cards to be whimsical and fun while also keeping with our theme. I created tags punched from pool cardstock like the tags initially used on our invitations. I printed each person's name and table number onto the cardstock in our chosen font. Then I affixed a small, spring green button between their name and table number to incorporate our button theme. The tags looked like this...

I decided to create a clothesline of cards using aqua baker's twine and mini clothespins. I wanted a unique way to display the cards and have guests remove them from the line as they walked into the reception. We hung the clothesline between two posts to the right of the main entrance to the tent. Each card hung from a small loop of green baker's twine that was pinned with a mini clothespin to the line. I just love the look of hanging non-traditional items from a clothesline. I've also incorporated this idea into other events using photographs.

 The concept was a big hit at our wedding and a fairly simple one to execute. Guests took the opportunity to clip the cards to their lapels with the mini-clothespins and everyone had a lot of fun with it.

Escort cards are an easy way to continue your theme and involve your guests. So be creative!

Card & Lapel photo by Uncle Tim
Clothesline photo by Vic Pellicier @ Pellicier a.p.d.

Next: Wedding Favors

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guestbook - Sign Here!

Guestbooks sometimes feel like old relics of weddings past with just a plain cover and lined pages to write your name, but there are so many new ways you can have your guests leave you well wishes. I wanted to do something creative and unique with our guestbook and I found tons of ideas. I thought of using recipe cards and having guests write a message to us and stick it in a recipe box (we love to cook) and I thought about doing a family tree scenario where guests created a leaf with their thumbprint and wrote their names on branches (kinda a mess). Ultimately, we went with something much simpler, but still creative and meaningful.

These days an engagement shoot is standard practice with a wedding photography package. We chose our first photographer (yeah, I said first) very early on in the process. We did an engagement shoot with him in November 2009 and we used the pictures on our Save-the-Date postcards. Then in January 2010 he informed us that he would be having back surgery in the fall and needed to cancel on us (stress!). So we searched again and found our 2nd photographer about a month or so later (thank goodness!). It turned out for the best as we LOVE Vic and got to do another engagement shoot with him. We wanted to be able to use those pictures in a fun way, so we created a photo engagement book on Shutterfly.

The picture on the left is the front cover and the picture on the right is one of the pages. My husband created the photo collage pages in Photoshop and uploaded them to Shutterfly. We left a blank page on the opposite side of each photo page for people to sign and write us messages. This way we are able to enjoy both our engagement photos and the messages our friends and family wrote to us. To make sure guests knew that they were to write in this photobook, I created a sign in the same manner as the table numbers.

We highly recommend purchasing photobooks from Shutterfly. My husband created an album of our wedding photos using the same collage technique as our guestbook and they turned out fabulous. They are such a wonderful keepsake at a reasonable price and no dealing with individual photos.

Engagement Photos by Vic Pellicier @ Pellicier a.p.d.
Photo Collages & Sign Photo by Kyle @ 918 Photo

Next: Escort Cards

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hanging Pom Poms

Our wedding ceremony and reception was held at an outdoor venue in a park. The reception was held in a white tent with white lights strung across and hanging chandeliers. I saw so much inspiration for tent decor in my online research that I wanted to include some hanging decorations as well. I found a tissue paper pom-pom kit by Martha Stewart at Michaels in our color scheme and I knew I had to have it. A few weeks later the kit was drastically marked down in price and so I didn't hesitate to grab a bunch.

As you know, I used a similar, smaller version of this technique for the centerpieces so they fit in perfectly with the rest of the decor. The kit includes everything you need to make 7 hanging pom-poms of varying sizes and shades of aqua. They were fairly large and due to space issues and not wanting them to crumple before the big day, I ended up making these two days before our wedding and giving them to our caterer to bring with them. Our good friend and wife of one of the Best Men hung them from the tent alternating sizes and colors. They added a beautiful and festive element and continued our theme into the reception. It was well worth the time spent at the last minute because it helped us create the perfect party atmosphere.

There are some fabulous do-it-yourself kits out there that take some of the pressure off finding the right materials for executing a project. Don't be afraid to try them as they are a happy medium between DIY and hiring someone to create something for you.

Kit photo by Kyle @ 918 Photo
Wedding photo by Vic Pellicier @ Pellicier a.p.d.
Next: Guestbook

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Table Centerpieces

Once I decided to have Meg @ Princess Lasertron create our bouquets and boutonnieres, I also decided that we would not use fresh flowers at all in our decor. So when it came time to decide on the table centerpieces, I wanted to keep it simple, fun and handmade. I found two different techniques for creating flowers out of alternative materials. One technique uses yarn to create pom pom flowers and the other uses tissue paper to create carnations. The pom pom flower tutorial came from a 2008 post at Domestifluff and the tissue paper carnations came from Martha Stewart. I modified this tutorial on a Pom Pom Car Decoration and used wire for a stem instead of twine for a garland.

I created pom pom and carnation flowers out of various shades of aqua and moss/chartreuse green. I decided to do multiple bud vases in varying heights using both clear and milk glass at each table.
One vase had pom pom flowers...

And the others had tissue paper carnations. I made some solid colored carnations and some with two colors of tissue paper.

I added any extra buttons I had to the bottom of the clear bud vases to continue incorporating the button theme.

In addition to the vases of flowers, the center of each table included a table number. I purchased white double-sided Tolsby frames from IKEA for 99 cents each. I printed each table number twice onto pool cardstock cut to the size of the frame. I used a dot-themed border punch to punch a design around the outside of the pool cardstock. Then I cut spring green cardstock to the size of the frame and placed it in between the two table number cards. This way you could see the table number from both sides of the frame and the green cardstock came through where the dot-themed punch was used.

To finish out the table decor we added a few tealight candles to each centerpiece. Every table was slightly different yet they all coincided with our theme. These took some time to put together, but in the end they saved us money and looked fabulous.

Photos by Kyle @ 918 Photo
Next: Tent Decor

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ceremony Programs

The next major paper craft I created was the program for our wedding ceremony. I wanted to make our programs unique, but informative. We conducted our ceremony outdoors and my husband's uncle officiated. We wrote the ceremony ourselves and designed it to be short, sweet and personal. I designed the programs to be small so that you could fit them in your purse and used the same fonts as the invitations to keep all the printed elements cohesive. I wanted a personalized stamp made with our names and wedding date to use on the front cover. We ended up with a stamp that started a secondary theme: birds.

The programs were designed as small, square booklets tied together with aqua baker's twine. I wanted to keep them simple since I needed to produce so many myself. The front and back cover was made with pool cardstock. The front had a vertical band of moss green paper and our personalized stamp centered over it.

Each booklet consisted of 8 pages of information. The first page was a note from my husband and I thanking everyone for attending the event.

The next two pages listed the key individuals participating in our ceremony and our wedding party.

Next, we outlined our ceremony and included our chosen reading so that guests could follow along.

We also wanted to include a passage that was meaningful and personal to us. So we chose to include excerpts from "I Like You" by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. If you have not read this book, check it out. It is so sweet and really spoke to my husband and I since we had been together for 13 years prior to getting married.

The final page was a tribute to our family members who could not be with us on our special day.

Once I had designed the content of the program, the rest of the work consisted of printing, cutting and folding. The process was simple, yet time consuming, but ultimately worth it. We ended up with a very unique and personal program that tied in perfectly with our theme and the overall impression of our wedding.

Photos by Kyle @ 918 Photo
Next: Reception Decor

Friday, December 10, 2010

How To - Embossing

I have used this embossing technique on many of my paper crafts including invitations, thank you cards, placecards, etc. As I've said before, it's very easy, yet very impressive. To start you will need the following supplies:

1. Paper or card to emboss
2. Rubber stamp with your chosen design
3. Ink in your chosen color
4. Clear embossing powder
5. Embossing heat gun

I recommend putting a scrap piece of cardstock under your work so the cleanup is that much easier. The first thing you need to do is decide where you are embossing your design on the card. Once you know where you are going to stamp, you will need to work fairly quickly through the next few steps.

Step 1: Stamp your design onto the card in your chosen ink color.

Step 2: Cover the wet ink with the clear embossing powder. (Don't be afraid to dump a lot of powder on the stamp to fully cover it, the excess powder will go back into your jar to be used again.) 

Step 3: Shake the excess powder off of the card onto the scrap piece of cardstock underneath.

 Step 4: Pour the excess powder back into the jar.

Step 5: Direct the heat gun at the powder until it is fully melted and the design is slightly raised. (You will be able to easily tell when the powder is melted as it seems to disappear and become the color of your ink.)


Step 6: Let the card dry for about 30 seconds and you're done!

You can use this technique with any stamp and any color ink. Happy Crafting!

Photos by Kyle @ 918 Photo

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding Invitations - Part 2

On to the second part of the wedding invitation posts... In addition to the invite card, we included a card with accommodations/directions and a RSVP postcard. We had a lot of out-of-towners invited to our wedding so it was important for us to include accommodation selections and directions with a map. The accommodations were also included on our save-the-date cards and wedding website, but we wanted to put them as many places as possible so guests would not have to go far to find the information. I again used the eco white cards from Paper Source and printed the hotel listings with address and phone number on one side. I used the Aquarelle font in aqua for the title and in black for the hotel names and Souvenir font in black for the hotel details. I chose to bring our button theme into play by embossing a button in moss green at the bottom of the card.

On the other side of this card we printed the directions and map to our venue. I created a simple map of the area in Powerpoint like so...

To create the map, I copied a section of the area in google maps into a Powerpoint slide. I adjusted the size until it included everything I wanted and then I traced over the major roads and landmarks with the drawing function. Once I had traced everything I wanted to include (roads, park, river, etc.) then I deleted the google maps picture and was left with the map above. I added color, the names of the major landmarks in the same fonts as our invite and different icons for our venue, hotel, highways, and the Basketball Hall of Fame. I then inserted the map into a Word document and added a title and the written directions.

The next piece was the RSVP postcard. We chose to do a postcard instead of a card and separate envelope for a couple reasons.
1. Save money 
2. A postcard fit better with our more laid-back, whimsical theme
3. Save money :)
I highly recommend going with a RSVP postcard as it's easy, more cost effective both in supplies and postage and we received a lot of positive feedback from our guests. We chose postcard-sized cards in pool from Paper Source so that we knew we could use the cheaper postcard stamps. We printed "R.S.V.P." as well as the due date for responses on the front of the postcard in black Aquarelle font.

Then on the back I created a postcard format with a vertical dotted line and space for a stamp. I added the RSVP details on the left and our return address on the right. We had our ceremony and reception at the same location, so we added a response for the wedding and one for the brunch the following morning. We included a space to request a favorite song for the reception at the bottom. I also rounded all of the corners on both the accommodations/directions card and RSVP postcard.

Because we only used one envelope, I wanted to add another detail indicating each individual invited and to make sure they knew that they could bring a guest if they were single. I also needed a way to package all three parts together, so I purchased aqua baker's twine from Divine Twine @ Whisker Graphics (highly recommended!) and punched buttons out of spring green cardstock. I typed everybody's first name (and guest, if applicable) and punched out tags with their names on them. I tied the whole package together with the twine looping through the button and name tag.

Here is what the recipient found when opening the envelope.

And here are all the parts of the package.

Photos by Kyle @ 918 Photo

Next time: Embossing - A Tutorial

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wedding Invitations - Part 1

What's a party without the people? Invitations are a key ingredient to any event and give the recipient their first taste of what they can expect from your gathering. They can contain a lot or a little information and vary greatly based on the type of event you are planning. Wedding invitations hold a variety of important information and are often expensive, so I decided to try my hand at creating our invitations myself. Our invitations consisted of 3 parts, the main invitation, a card with directions/accommodations and the RSVP card. In this post I'm going to focus on the main invitation card and envelope.

When finding and choosing supplies for all of my paper crafts, I immediately start with Paper Source. I absolutely adore this store and they have a large selection of colors, envelopes and pre-cut cards in a variety of sizes and shapes. Their prices aren't the cheapest, but they aren't outrageous and I find the quality and choices to be unmatched in my area. By purchasing everything at one store, you can make sure all the colors match each other exactly and everything fits in a corresponding envelope. I chose to use pool and eco white for all of the paper products and then use moss/chartreuse ink for some of the details.

Let's start with the envelope. I chose envelopes in Pool to fit a 5x7 invitation. I wanted to create envelope liners to give it an extra punch and I think it makes it that much more special. I chose a patterned paper I found at Paper Source that included pool and moss green.

On a side note, no longer are you forced to address your envelopes by hand or pay for expensive calligraphy. I simply printed each address on the envelope in the same swirly font we used on the invitations. It saved me time, money and still looked fabulous.

For the main invitation, we chose an eco white card over a 5x7 pool card backing. I designed the invitation information using two different fonts to be printed in black and pool ink. I used Souvenir font in black for the majority of the information so that it was easily legible and then I used Aquarelle font in aqua to highlight our names and the name of the venue. I designed it in Microsoft Word and printed it onto the eco white card on our home printer. I also wanted to include an additional design detail in moss green and chose to emboss this design on the left side of the invite.

Beaded Flourish Stamp from Impress

If you aren't familiar with embossing, essentially it raises the ink on the paper so there is an added texture. I will do a post on how to emboss as it's quite simple yet very impressive. Once the invites were embossed, I rounded their corners, attached them to the pool backing and rounded the corners of the backing as well. I find that rounding the corners on any card makes it more finished and professional. You can get a corner rounder from any local craft store (Michael's is my number one resource).

And here is the finished invite...

Photos by Kyle @ 918 Photo

Friday, December 3, 2010

Choosing A Theme

So you're planning an event... a wedding, a shower, a birthday party, a dinner party - whatever the occasion, a theme makes it feel cohesive and special. The theme will give you a jumping off point to look for inspiring ideas and will make the decision-making easier when designing all those glorious details. Keeping the theme in mind along the way will help you guarantee that all the little elements create one big picture that is your event. So needless to say, the first thing I did when planning our wedding was choose a theme.

One of the easiest ways to start is with a color scheme. When deciding on the colors for our wedding, I went through many iterations before finally coming to a decision. I think choosing the overall theme for our wedding was one of the things I spent the most time on because all of the design details followed that one concept.

Ultimately, I (or should I say "we") chose shades of aqua, moss and chartreuse green for our colors along with cream and light grey. I think it's important to decide what neutral colors you're going to use as a base for your more lively shades.
I chose these colors because my favorite color is green, I wanted something bright and fun, and it was a combination that just made me smile.

The rest of our theme came from inspiration I discovered through Weddingbee. I found so many ideas on this site and the blogs of other crafty, "DIY" women, but what really started it all was the talented Megan Hunt @ Princess Lasertron. (Check her out!) Meg makes gorgeous bridal bouquets out of vintage felt and buttons and I found true inspiration through her work. I commissioned her to make my bouquet, the bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres and corsage pins. Through her work and my love of crafting our theme evolved into buttons and handmade details.

My stash of buttons
Photo by Kyle @ 918 Photo

There is so much inspiration out there to help you choose a theme. My major wedding inspiration sources were Weddingbee, Martha StewartStyle Me Pretty and Princess Lasertron. There are so many resources out there for all types of weddings and these just happen to be the ones that resonated with me the most. Do your research and you will find something to inspire you in no time.

Photos by Vic Pellicier @ Pellicier a.p.d.
Bouquet and Boutonniere by Megan Hunt @ Princess Lasertron

Next up: Invitations!