Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preparing for Marriage

Our wedding day is an important day in Mr. C and I's life.  It's a wonderful time to celebrate our love and our relationship with the most important people in our life.  But at the end of that day, Mr. C and I will have the rest of our married lives together.

In order to prepare for that, Mr. C and I signed up for pre-cana classes, which are also required to be married in the Catholic church.  Pre-cana is the Catholic church's marriage preparation classes that combines talks about religion, faith, God, and how all of this intersects with your marriage.  Mr. C and I signed up for two eight-hour sessions.  This past weekend we had our first session, two hours from where we live.  At first, we were bummed that we would have to spend a beautiful Saturday driving four hours and spending another 8 hours with a priest, but our experience was wonderful.

Although the pre-cana class is a Catholic-based class, Mr. C and I did not find the sessions to be overtly religious or preachy as we originally feared.  Rather, we had a great time hearing stories from different couples (one who had been married for 46 years, another who had been married for 22 years) and advice from a Friar, who had a background in marriage counseling prior to becoming a friar.

Mr. C and I also were really happy to realize that many of the topics discussed were things we have already talked about, whether it's communication styles, defense mechanisms, and strengths and weaknesses.  Although we openly talk about these things as needed in our relationship, pre-cana was a great opportunity to focus on these things in our relationship and talk about them outside an argument or disagreement.  Sometimes, at least in our relationship, we only focus on our communication skills (or faults) when they are absolutely needed or when we realize we're yelling at each other, and not getting anywhere.

I highly recommend some sort of pre-marital counseling, classes, or conversations with your partner.  Here are some topics that we focused on that we found to be particularly helpful:

  • Communication styles
  • Life priorities (marriage, job, kids, friends, schedules)
  • Making time for each other (always have a date night!)
  • Focusing on your relationship (don't forget to check in and see if your partner is happy)
Although our wedding day is important, thrilling, and definitely worth spending time, energy, and effort into planning, the marriage that we will hold on to at the end of that is what we'll really have forever, and that is worth far more time, energy, and effort to maintain, sustain, and hold onto.  

Have you done or are you planning on doing any pre-marital preparation?

And because this has been an entirely wordy post, here's some pictures of Mom and Dad Busy Bee's puppy J-Dog, because she's pretty adorable:

Personal Photo


Personal Photo



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Perfect Pear

Our venue is fairly well decorated, and although I wanted to add personal details to the decor, I couldn't do too much as I thought it would take away from the beauty of the room.  So rather than add excessive decor, I'm looking to add other small details to include some personal touches.

I was perusing the Weddingbee DIY Boards one day, and came across these photos:

Via Weddingbee

Via Weddingbee

How adorable are these flags?  I imagined them sitting on the bar at our wedding, and what a great, but soft and subtle, touch they would add to the reception.  I loved the flags with ribbon, but I didn't have any lying around, and I wanted to work with what I had.

Instead, I pulled out purple and orange paper I already had in my scrapbooking supplies.  I also looked to my (very small) stamp collection and found the perfect stamp for these flags:

Photo Source
See the stamp there?  To a perfect PEAR?!  So adorable, right?  

So off to work I got, but first I needed to find something to glue these cute little flags on to.  I did a lot of searching on Amazon and Ebay, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.  I mentioned to my FMIL that I was looking for some sort of cocktail stirrers, but I didn't want them to be red.  She reached into her magical closet, and pulled out somewhere around 500 stirrers.  (I'm telling you, I really lucked out in the in-law department!)

I tried different orders of the process, but I think what worked best was stamping, trimming the paper down to flag size, cutting off the ends, and then gluing.  (Bridesmaid AF helped with the first round...so maybe I should say SHE figured out what worked best).

I made sure to not ink the part of the stamp that said "To" but it wasn't always perfect

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I used two glue dots for each flag.  One on the center to hold the straw, and one on the end to keep it closed.

Personal photo.

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 Ta-dah!  Flag!

Personal photo.

Look how cute it is in the glass!

Personal photo.
 And how they'll look all together in a glass on the bar.


Personal photo.

I'm really happy with how they turned out.  They're a fairly easy, cute and for me, free project!  I better see people using them at the reception!

What's your favorite pun?  I love a good play on words.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Invitation Cost Break Down

At the beginning of wedding planning, I knew that invitations could be a significant part of the budget, so it was important to Mr. C and I to be able to DIY as much as we could and save some cash, if possible.  Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the cost breakdown of our invitations.  They came way under budget, which I know isn't something that always happens when you DIY for the sake of saving dough.  We also totally lucked out with our friendor, which was a huge surprise to Mr. C and I.

Invitation Budget: $600

Paper Products from Cards and Pockets:

Envelopes:

Paper:

Pockets:

Printing: Free, done by friendor

Ribbon from Michael's:  Approximately $30 (I lost track of how many spools we bought on sale, so I'm doing a generous guestimate, here)

Supplies from FMIL: Orange paper, purple paper, monogram stamp, embossing powder, and all our tools - Free

Postage
  • 179 guests invited 
  • 88 invitations sent 
  • 5 International 
  • 2 Canadian
  • $42.24 spent on postage for RSVP envelopes
  • $82.25 spent on postage for invitations ($0.88 domestic, $1.28 Canadian, $2.02 international)
  • Total postage: $124.49
Total Cost of 88 Invitations: $270.71

Cost Per Invitation: $3.07

Cost Per Invitation, Sans Postage: $2.19 



Mr. C and I were so pleased with how the invitations turned out and how the total cost broke down.  I always found it frustrating when I was searching for invitation inspiration to hear about the free stuff someone got from here or there, thinking that would never happen to me, and couldn't be something I budgeted for.  So we didn't, but we still managed to use our resources wisely, connect with friends who were willing to help, and we had great success in keeping our invitation budget low.

Also, I highly, highly recommend working with Cards and Pockets.  The customer service was incredible, the shipping was fast, the prices were reasonable, and even the printing service was great (we just opted not to use it since we had access to free printing).  The customer service team was easy to get in touch with, whether we had questions about how fast and accurate the ship date was, or whether some of the products arrived damaged (the card stock arrived with bent corners, and Cards and Pockets quickly refunded our money for that product).

I hope this breakdown is helpful rather than frustrating.  As I said, Mr. C and I had no expectations about having some of this process done for us by a friend, but we reached out to a few people we knew were in the industry, and people just seemed really eager to help us out! So be sure to talk to everyone you know, see who they know, and you never know what sort of help you may stumble upon!

Have you used any friendors in your wedding planning process?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh So Pretty

Last week I showed you my hair-spiration, and now I get to show how that translated to an up-do on my own head.  First, let me tell you a bit about my hairstylist, K.  K has been doing my mom's hair for about 10 years.  She is hilarious.  She is older, but loves to go out and have a good time and loves to tell stories about the guys she dates.  She also has no problem telling you how it is.  My sister went in recently to have her hair cut into a bob, and K refused to cut it that short because she said Sister J's hair wouldn't hold up well in a bob.  So Sister J got her hair cut to her shoulders.  That's just how it is with K.

I went in for my appointment for a trim and while K was shampooing my hair, I told her my big plan to wear my hair trial to the wedding I was heading to that evening.  That was the moment when K refused.  She told me she would not allow me to attend a wedding with the hair I would have two months later at my own wedding.  So although we did the trial, it was fairly loose, and K took it out right after and did my hair for the wedding.  I know some people would be really annoyed with this situation...how will I know my hair will last 8+ hours???  But I have so much faith in K, and I know that my hair will be perfect and solid on the wedding day.

Enough talk, time for pictures


 I originally wanted it more to the side, but I love the way my hair looks all piled up in the back.



Obviously, the curls would be tighter and secured to my head better.  K also mentioned that on the morning of the wedding, she would use hot-roll curlers rather than the curling iron, because she thinks my hair will take better to that than the curling iron.


I also asked that the part on the top of my head go further back, because I had too much of a Snooki bump going on.



Although my hair was like this for about 3 minutes, I really did love it.  K is going to do a great job.

Here's why my hair looked like after she pulled it out.  I was pretty happy with that too.  And let me tell you, it held up even when I busted out my jumping dance moves to "Shout!"



Do you have a style expert in your life who tells you how it really is?


All personal photos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Invitation How-To: How we DIY'd our invites

Now that you've seen the invitations as a guest, here's how we spent countless hours putting those bad boys together.

It all started around Christmas 2010 - FMIL gifted me a computer program that can be used for making scrapbooks, cards, and other projects. 


My Digital Studio Logo by Stampin' Up / Source

For those of you who may not be familiar with Stampin' Up, it's a company that sells stamps, card making and scrapbooking tools, and lots of other super nifty products.  My FMIL has been really into Stampin' Up for about 10 years or so: she teaches classes, demonstrates, sells products, attends conferences, and about 90% of their basement is devoted to her amazingly-organized Stampin' Up equipment.

Knowing my love of crafting, but the small space I live in, FMIL thought this product would be a great way for me to be able to design cards and scrapbook pages without filling up Mr. C and I's apartment with paper, scissors, glue dots, and the millions of other awesome products one might use in these projects.  My brain immediately started to think about how I could use this program for other design purposes: specifically, our invitations.

At this point in the process, Mr. C and I were pretty dead set on designing our invitations ourselves.  We have a few friends who are graphic designers professionally, so we decided they would be our back up plan (not that we asked them first...).  Basically, our design process consisted of finding some pretty fonts from dafont.com:


Chopin Script from dafont.com / Photo Source


Optimus Princeps from dafont.com / Photo Source

Once we found that, we focused on finding appropriate wording, via the ever knowing Google.  At the end of the day, we turned to a book given to me by Bridesmaid AF: The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss.  That gave us the wording we wanted, and then we used some of the stock images from MDS to add a flourish that I was looking for. 

The flourish from the Baroque Motif was exactly what I wanted, and even better, FMIL actually owned the stamp set, so if we decided to use that in other paper products, she could stamp the flourish later.


Source

After Mr. C and I finalized our design (after much tweaking, many reviews, and a few practice print-outs), we had to look into how we were going to have these bad boys printed.  We explored a few options, including having Cards and Pockets send us a sample, knowing they would print the paper as well as cut it all, saving us a lot of work.  But the, FMIL stepped in again and saved the day (maybe I should buy her a cape, huh?).  A good friend of hers works for a printing press and agreed to print all of our invitations, inserts, and RSVP cards FOR FREE.  This was life saving, and definitely cash saving.

We ordered our pockets, envelopes, RSVP envelopes and paper from Cards and Pockets, and then sent the paper off to be printed on.  When we got it all back, we planned a weekend up at Mr. C's parents for a weekend of assembly.  To be honest, at the time, I thought this would take us half a day.  Instead, it took about 10 hours on Saturday, and a few hours on Sunday for finishing up.  And this was with Mr. C, FMIL, FFIL and myself all working hard.  So it was definitely time consuming, but worth the money we saved. 

What were we so busy doing?

 
FMIL and Mr. C making cuts / Personal photo
FMIL and Mr. C calculated that they made well over 2,000 cuts to size down all the inserts, invitations and RSVPs.  I left them to do this, because it involved a lot of math and patience, and I was too anxious to be good at either.  Mr. C has demanded that he never be asked to use a paper cutter again.  I'll probably allow that, because the man did good work that day.

While FMIL and Mr. C cut away, I was busy stamping the envelopes and the RSVP envelopes with our custom-ordered return address stamp


Personal Photo


It takes intense concentration / Personal Photo

Inking the stamp / Personal Photo

Success! / Personal photo

We lined up cut pieces for assembly / Personal photo

Mr. C trimming orange card stock / Personal Photo

With all the paper-cutting happening, I got to work on some ribbon-trimming.  We used ribbon from Michael's, and FMIL's tape runner to adhere the tape to the pocketfold.


Pre-cut pieces of ribbon / Personal photo

My ghetto measuring technique / Personal photo

We measured in advance, and I used this piece of paper to mark where the ribbon should line up on the pocketfold.  I held the paper along the edge as I folded the ribbon along the pocketfold.  It was nearly perfect every time!
 
Personal photo
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We started the ribbon along the main body of the fold, so it would tuck easily behind the invitation, and brought it along to the pocket it, and tucked it in there.  Next, we glued on orange backing to enhance the invitation.  We used FMIL's tape runner again for this piece, as well as gluing the main invitation piece on top.  Again, Mr. C's fantastic math skills came in handy to expose just enough orange border.


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Almost done! / Personal photo

From there, we were left with assembling the inserts, which after creating organized piles, with four of us stuffing the pockets, it only took a few moments, and before we knew it, we had stacks of invitations almost entirely ready to be sent off!

Personal photo

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I don't have any photos of creating our monograms (I was getting pretty cranky at this point), but we used one of FMIL's punches to punch purple cardstock, and then embossed the "T" using one of her stamps.  We adhered them to the front using glue dots, and opted to not use the monogram to fully close the pocket, as it was pulling and tearing the ribbon.  So the invitations never fully seal, but I still think they're pretty great. 

All that was left was labeling the RSVP cards in case any came back unnamed, as well as filling in the number of seats reserved for each guest.  I spent a weeknight completing that task and numbering our spreadsheet, and then Sister J and I teamed up to print the envelopes, stuff them, stamp them, and send them off. 

I'm so relieved that our invitations are done!  It was a long and hard task that literally took us seven months to complete.  But I think the hard work was worth the final (beautiful!) product. 

How much time would you be willing to put into DIY invitations?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You're Invited to JennyandMrCWeddingExtravaganza...

As an official guest to the JennyandMrCWeddingExtravaganza, you would have received a very special package...





And here is what you would see when you pulled it out of the envelope...

Ohhh, fancy monogram!


All the pieces in their proper place...


And all the pieces pulled out.  What was that I heard?  Requests for close ups?



The main body of the invitation...


Directions & Map Insert


Accommodations Insert


Reception Information Insert


RSVP Card


Stacks and stacks of these bad boys were made, and we finally got them all mailed out...


RSVPs have been coming in, and Mr. C seriously loves getting the mail everyday.  We make sure to take turns opening the envelopes, and get super pumped to see people accepting, and a little bummed out when people decline.  I don't think either of us has ever been so competitive about getting the mail before.

Our invitations were a labor of love, and I think it shows.  We've gotten tons of compliments, and we saved a buttload (yup, a whollllle buttload) of money, so after all the hard work, the tears, the arguing, the stress...the invitations were actually worth it all.  They are exactly how I envisioned them and I think they are getting people excited for the big day.

Now that you've seen the final product, I'll post about the process we took in designing them and a cost break down.

Did you DIY your invitations?  Did it end up saving you money or costing you more?


All personal photos.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nah-Nah-Nah-Poo-Poo

Subtitle:  Our Invitation Teaser  (I'm laughing so hard at the title of this post.  I hope you are too, but seriously, I crack myself up sometimes!)

We mailed our invitations out about two weeks ago, which I think is finally enough time to begin to tease you with some shots of these beauties...


Personal photo

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I can't wait to break everything down for you and share the long drawn-out tear-inducing fun process!