Friday, May 18, 2012

Wedding invitations

Dear Etsy,

I have to break up with you. Well, more importantly, my bank account has told me we have to break up. That being said, I will continue to spend hours upon hours gazing at your beautiful items as inspiration for my life, but we can no longer continue to have a relationship.

Yours truly,
The broke ass bride with big dreams.

For those of you who have spent time on Etsy or Pinterest, I understand, as I am an addict too. I don't know what people planning weddings did before these websites existed... gasp... did they read magazines? I am thankful for them, but often find things are priced at the "trust fund baby" level. Now don't get me wrong, I agree the artists creating them deserve to be compensated, as this is how many of them make their living-- I just can't be the one to do it.

This long prose gives you the background to my wedding invitations. You see, the brilliant thing about a very small wedding of only 65 invited guests, is that I can go all out on some items, and am not forced to mass produce anything. I literally spent 13 hours digging through close to 1600 wedding invitation designs on Etsy, Pinterest, and every wedding invitation manufacturer imaginable's site, to only come up empty handed. That's when I decided to take matters into my own hands in order to achieve what I kept seeing in my head.

I chose a rather simple black and white scrolling cursive for our actual invitation:

Then had this printed on white card stock from Invitations by Davids Bridal. Simple, and to the point. But, missing everything I actually wanted for my invitations in terms of a true wedding suite. And, let the record show, there are many beautiful wedding suites on Etsy.. all of which around $12 per invitation. So, $600 on invitations. Seriously. Guess this girls making her own.

In my love of all things Etsy, I found an amazingly affordable map that an artist was able to custom design using a few elements from my wedding: my colors of Navy Blue and Peach, and the theme of vintage lace and skeleton keys. Her name is Anna Malie, Anna Malie Design, and her pricing was great. I LOVE the way this map turned out, and it gave all of my out of town guests (about 90% are out of town guests), a sense of direction in booking hotel rooms, where the reception and ceremony are, and where our house is.

Once I had all of the elements printed, I sat and assembled a few prototypes, then shipped them to my best friend in California. **Note to brides: this is a GREAT idea**. She took photos of the invitations, and the condition in which they arrived, which enabled me to make a few tweaks to the design before mailing.

aka: how I became the glue dot queen...

I started by wrapping the invitation, response cards, map, and registry information- with a thick 2 inch section of cream colored lace, and affixed it to itself in the back of the invitation suite with a glue dot. Next, I took a strand of navy blue satin ribbon and affixed it in the back with a glue dot. Lastly, I affixed a small white ribbon with a rhinestone onto the front using, you guessed it! A glue dot :) Note: I purchased a ribbon of tiny bow with rhinestones, rather than purchasing them in a pack. This saved me close to $10, and all I had to do was cut the ribbons I needed off.

Once the wedding invitation suite was wrapped, I used red wax seals to affix the inner envelope.

Red wax seals:
I have read several comments on my Pinterest board about fellow brides having this turn out tragic, so I figured I would walk DIY step by step here. I purchased the red wax cubes as seen above, and my best friend found the metal stamp with "M" on it. The only other tool you need is a tea light or lighter, and wax paper, and some patience.
 ** you will need to make these one at a time, so give yourself some time, and perhaps some soothing music.. as this will get tedious.**

1. Lay out a few sheets of wax paper to work on. This enables the wax to dry and peel off for you to use.
2. Using a lighter, hold the flame near the end of the wax bar and allow a small puddle of hot wax to drip onto the wax paper in about the size of the seal you want. Keep in mind that the size will grow slightly once you place your stamp onto the hot wax.
3. Stamp the metal directly into the hot wax and allow it to cool for a moment. When you peel off the stamp, no wax should stick with it, and your impression should be solid and visible. If you notice you are not getting a full impression, press harder-- or, the wax may be too cool by the time your stamp hits it. Timing is everything- so play Goldilocks and experiment with time until you get it just right.
4. Allow the wax to fully cool after you pull your stamp away.
5. Once cool, carefully peel off your stamp and affix onto your envelope using a glue dot.

* If the wax becomes too hot, it will burn and let out tiny bits of black-- avoid this by keeping the wax far enough away from the flame so that it heats up but does not burn.
* Some people try to perform this process directly onto the envelope, I have heard this causes the wax to crack and crumble during transit. When the wax dries onto wax paper it picks up a tad of the wax from the paper and enables it to remain flexible. This, along with the glue dot, will prevent it from cracking in transit.
*Ensure you are enclosing this in the INNER envelope only.

So, after all of this... my assembly time was about 15 minutes per invitation.. about 11 hours of invitation assembly total. However, I think it was WORTH IT:

Wedding Crest-- you seriously need one.

When one conjures up the image of a wedding crest, perhaps you envision me sipping afternoon tea with my pinky in the air. Yes, it sounds rather hoity toity, but truth is, creating a wedding crest is one of the most resourceful, practical, and easy things any bride can do. I created mine from Paper Source, for about $40. I also picked up an additional colored stamp pad, which fit into the circular device, and gave me the option of sticking to my wedding colors. I know this may sound a little costly for "just a stamp", but here are a few ways you can really get your moneys worth using card stock, a punch, and a little imagination:
1. Invitation Seals:  I stamped onto high quality, bright white card stock- then took a photo of it using a high-grade camera. For the most part, this is the image you see above. Yes, I could have ordered a digital version, but that defeats the purpose of using this expensive stamp in as many ways as possible, doesn't it? I created stickers using this image, to seal my outer envelopes for the wedding invitations.
2. Personalized Jar Seals: These stickers seriously come in handy. For my out of town family guests, I am creating large canvas bags filled with Utah-based goodies. One of these goodies is a small jar of honey, with a lid the exact size of this sticker. Look at that, custom made lid labels..
3. CD stickers: Again with the stickers? Yes. Jace and I are creating a cd with our favorite songs as one of the favors, and sealing the cd jewel case with these stickers, just like what you'd buy in the store... if people actually bought cds anymore.
4. Wedding tags: Using a XL circular punch from any craft store- I stamped, then punched out card stock circular tags for our wedding favor burlap bags.
5. Centerpieces: Using the same theory as above, I tea-dyed card stock and singed the edges, then stamped and affixed onto our blue mason jars as part of our centerpieces.
6. Thank you cards: I will be stamping our thank you cards with this stamp, and any other correspondence to our friends and family will be stamped.
7. Street Artist Graffiti: Carry the stamp with you, and stamp up city street signs, walls, buildings, coffee shops, hipster hang outs, flyers,... make your wedding known to the world you stamp crazy diva! Create an underground following for your "art". :) 

So there you have it- at least 7 different cost effective uses for a wedding crest stamp. It is a very cool finishing touch to have.

Cake inspiration

Let me just say this: if I could go cake tasting every day for the rest of my life, I would be a happy woman. We have partnered with an amazing baker, Jennifer from Salt Cake City (, who has hands down, some of the best, most innovative flavors and decadent ideas in the state. Not to mention she appeals to Jace and I's nerdy sensibility, as she is getting her Ph.D. in Statistics- a lady after our own hearts. When we heard that, we knew she was our baker. After tasting 6 different flavors, we decided on a white cake with white chocolate and buttercream that melts in your mouth and is literally the stuff dreams are made of. We also decided on a white chocolate cake with raspberry filling for the second tier. I close my eyes and can still taste this cake. This is a good thing, as I've heard from many people I won't be eating much on my wedding day. That's fine, because this cake haunts my dreams.

Now, when it came down to deciding on the look of the cake, Jennifer had this amazing idea to make one tier similar to my dress- crafting lace appliques and tiny buttons down the back. I also LOVE the look of quilting on cakes, and the swagged layered fondant-- so there you have it- that's our cake. I am excited to see the final version. For now, here are a few of her other designs that we just loved:

 AND.... HERE is our final version! I ordered the cake topper from Etsy- It is very simple, custom, and turned out cuter than I had imagined! The cake itself was a "Snow White Cake" on the top and bottom layer, and "White raspberry kiss" on the middle layer.

The cake design has quilting on the bottom layer, a swag with flowers and tiny rhinestones on the middle layer, and the same lace as my dress on the top layer. Along the entire back of the cake were tiny buttons, similar to the back of my dress.

I honestly couldn't have been happier with the end result of this cake!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Glamorous life of Cassandra...

I called this post the "glamorous life of Cassandra"... because as many of you know, the world of DIY is HARD WORK. You see, us DIY-ers get these grand ideas into our heads, where we concoct brilliant colors, layouts, schemes.. then WE have to do it. Most of the time, this means reading other blogs and figuring it out as we go. Some of the time, this means inhaling spray paint even though I wore a respirator. So yes, this whole home remodel and decor thing is down right glamorous. I type this while drinking a martini and watching the pool boy. I kid. I kid. Bottom line though, is that it's worth it. I have LOTS of new things coming to the blog this week: the final reveal on the living room, a TON for the wedding DIY section, and maybe even a couple of other surprises... so stay tuned!