{a little sneak peek…how cool are those trees!}
Once upon a time I thought that invitations were really, really important to me. I love graphic design and I go kind of gaga over pretty fonts and pretty paper. This was going to be the one project into which I invested the most of my time and effort. Boy, was I right (about the time and effort part). Luckily, I met the uber-talented, rad designer Jamie from A Desert Fete and she took over the design and printing. She really saved us there because my Photoshop knowledge is basic and she is the real deal. I told Jamie that I wanted our invites to be a little package and surprise for our guests. She came up with the beautiful concept of using fabrics and leather cording. She basically branded our entire wedding and we used the fabrics she chose as inspiration for our table runners and napkins. We turned some of her designs into stamps and were able to use them on everything from gift bags to thank you notes. Jamie designed and printed the paper invitations and then handed them over to me to take care of the rest. I totally underestimated how much blood, sweat and tears would go into this project. Who knew sewing 70 linen rectangles and 70 pockets and gluing fabric onto 140 pieces of paper, then tying it up with leather cording and hand-stamping each envelope could be so much work! I’m sure reading that you’re like “uh, duh” but I obviously did not realize until it was too late.
In the end, of course, I love our invites and they are beautiful and unique. But was it worth it? I honestly can’t say. Hopefully, most of our guests will keep their invites for a little while or at least find another use for the pocket (credit card holder, anyone?) but I know that some of my hard work will just end up in the trash.
SO with that said…the other day I went into Michaels and was surprised by the variety of invitations they carry now. I remember it was not so long ago that they only had a few cheesy options but I think even the pickiest of couples would be able to find something that suited their style. I had to even stop in Target and ooh and aah over their choices. Someone in their
design/purchasing department must be browsing Etsy.
And speaking of Etsy…shopping at big chain stores isn’t really the kind of thing I like to promote. There are also a lot of designers that offer a PDF option where you can just print out the invitation they design (typically they have a bunch from which you can choose), stick it in an envelope and send it on its way. This is a cost-effective option plus you can support independent designers. Here are some of my favorites:
Do what I say and not what I do. If the invitations are super important to you then by all means pour your heart and soul into them. But if you know (like I do now) that they are just a source of information that will most likely get recycled (hopefully!) or thrown out then don’t cause yourself more stress. There are plenty of DIY/template options and a lot of independent designers out there (and on Etsy) that would be willing to work with your money and your time budgets.

Davina, one half of the uber-awesome photography duo Davina + Daniel, wrote a rad piece about choosing the perfect photographer for your wedding. It just so happens that Davina + Daniel are our photographers. No, they are our photography soulmates. The universe put us together and I am so ecstatic for that. This quote from Davina about choosing HER wedding photographer is EXACTLY why I love them and can’t wait for them to document our day.

“…we didn’t want to be spending our day posing and listening to our photographer tell us what to do. we wanted all the special moments and emotions of our day captured without needing to pay attention or worry about photography.”

Though I’m sure we’ll do some group shots to frame for the parents I mostly want to look back and see my fiance’s big goofy grin, me laughing wide-mouthed and my friends fist pumping to Bon Jovi.
More advice from Davina –
“so once you’ve found what you’re looking for, i’d suggest NOT following all the advice you’ve read in bridal magazines (now this is davina the photographer speaking, not davina the bride). nothing makes me cringe more than seeing a bridal magazine recommend that brides bring shot lists to their photographers. eek! would you bring a list to your dentist that says, “check bottom and top teeth for cavities. clean between each tooth carefully. remove tartar buildup as necessary.” then why would you give your photographer a list that says: ”photograph bride walking down aisle… first kiss… first dance.” (by the way, i’m not even exaggerating) you should hire vendors that you trust. especially the ones who are doing creative work.

this brings me to my final point. on your wedding day, let. it. go. i mean really: relax. you’ll have a better experience and you’ll have nicer pictures! trust. your. vendors. then all you have left to do is enjoy your wedding day and get married! isn’t that what it’s all about?”

I’m really digging these Noming Vases. I was looking for biodegradable vases and, though these are not, with materials made with 51% chalk they are more eco-friendly than traditional plastic.

{my fiance and I being big dorks in the photo booth}
I don’t know about you but I spend way too much time looking at wedding blogs. There are times when I see a certain trend in weddings over and over again and I wonder if it’s overdone. Then I remember that the normal human being does not have over 100 blogs in their google reader. So if there is something you have been dying to do (photo booth is the big one for me) but you are afraid it’s too trendy remember that the majority of your guests don’t read Style Me Pretty or Offbeat Bride. This trend for you will be completely new to them. For example, this past weekend I set up a photo booth for my friends 29th birthday. We had a table of props and a backdrop and I took photos of all the guests with my Polaroid camera. Every single person was impressed with the idea. They had never seen a mock photo booth anywhere before and thought it was totally originally. So do the thing you have your heart set on and don’t correct anyone when they tell you what a great idea it is!
  • hifiweddings - April 20, 2010 - 4:00 pm

    this is such a good post! hear hear! :)ReplyCancel

  • Dognbird - April 21, 2010 - 7:53 am

    well said!ReplyCancel

Last Friday I laid out my advice for having a less stressful, more practical and happier wedding planning experience. This week I thought I would talk more about what has kept me (somewhat) sane through my own wedding planning. Everyone organizes their life and work differently so if this is not how you process information don’t worry! There are many options for organizing. You just have to find the one that is right for you. 

I know by admitting this I am filling you in on my deep, dark, inner geekdom but I love me some spreadsheets. Seriously, I am the spreadsheet and database queen. Give me some information and I will set up some columns and rows before your very eyes! Google Docs has saved my life. Not only can you create a document, spreadsheet, presentationor drawing, you can also share all your information and let other people edit (or NOT!*).

I especially found this helpful while working on the guest list. I just shared the document with my family and my fiance’s family and they added their guest list to the document. I didn’t have to spend hours merging different lists and worrying about making errors. The tricky part about this is months, after I thought the list was complete, mystery guests would pop up. I advise setting a deadline and then locking that puppy up!
Columns you can include are:
  • Assign each guest a number. You can write this number on the RSVP card in case someone forgets to write in their name.
  • Guest Name
  • Number of guests
  • Address, city/state/zip
  • Any children?
  • Were they sent a Save-the-date?
  • Were they sent an invite?
  • Attending? One column for yes and one column for now. Mark this with the number of guests attending so you can added up the column at the end.
  • If there are any other activities add these as well and write in the number of guests that are attending for each person.
  • Gift Received
  • Thank you note sent

This will help you not only plan your guest list but keep a record invites that were sent out and who is attending.


Another worksheet I made was for all my DIY projects I wanted to do. Any time I saw a project I might want to incorporate I put it into this spreadsheet and tracked the process even if I just ended up chucking the idea later.

Columns you might include:

  • Project Name
  • Who could/will complete?
  • Due Date
  • How many?
  • Materials needed
  • Status (In process, Done, Will not do, etc.)
  • Notes

Other documents I made were for keeping track of the budget, what things I needed to rent/buy, my vows and accommodations/travel.

If you have any questions about organizing information or tips leave me a comment or email me!

*Sometimes it is helpful (for you) if your friends and family can just SEE the work you have done and not actually manipulate it in any way.

  • Eco Yogini - April 19, 2010 - 8:24 am

    ok, excel kinda scares me, however this is a fantastic idea. i need to do this… :)
    thank you so much for sharing and even including possible columns. :) I am with you on the geekdom!ReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - April 19, 2010 - 2:20 pm

    Excel is your friend! :) Let me know if you need any help with your spreadsheets and I would be happy to help.ReplyCancel