Monday, December 12, 2011

DIY Giraffe Invitations

Hive, have you seen the new Randomizer series? I have, and it's awesome! It seriously put me into "wanting to do recaps" mode just so I could participate. I feel like before I can start recapping, I should share one of my favorite things with you: our invitations!

Our invitation suite was a DIY affair. . . and it ended up taking longer than I thought (which is how it always happens, right?!). I'll break the whole process down for you, but it'll probably be easy to do in pictures :-D.

The first step was to create the invitation suite. As much as I loved all those modern invitations I kept talking about so many months ago, I really wanted something that looked fresh, but ultimately traditional. I spend all day, every day designing hip, modern things . . . for my wedding, I decided to follow my little designer-heart and create something that I loved, even if it wasn't exactly "cool" and seemed traditional. That was my inspiration. . . .

That and I really wanted an invitation suite with multiple pieces. I don't know why, but I wanted my invitation to have a whole bunch of pieces for people to read and look at. This is also why I didn't want pocket fold, I wanted just pieces everywhere. Weird, I know. I made the pieces a few different sizes so they'd "stack up" nicely.

And lastly, I wanted something that could dictate the look of other printed materials for our big day (table numbers, programs, escort cards, etc). Having one look I could essentially "re-use" over and over made things easy, and look cohesive. But more on that later!

I designed the whole set in Adobe Illustrator, using the fonts Burgues Script and Mrs. Eaves (for the small caps).

We didn't have a 'theme', but since I used hearts on our Save the Dates, I carried hearts over into the invitations.

The Invitation (5x7"), RSVP card (3.5x5"), and Reception card (3.5x5"). (Click for a larger view.)

Our Map (4x6") and Accommodations card (4x6"). (Click for a larger view.)

Next, I cut out bellybands while Mr. G embossed the flap of our envelopes with my Cuttlebug.
I believe Mr. G said at this point, "Now, you can't say that I haven't done anything for this wedding ever again." Haha.

Well. . . after I got all our invitations printed (through, Mr. G took off for his Bachelor week of skiing/camping with our Best Man. Luckily, the Giraffe Parents picked up the slack!

The photo above shows how I used our not-theme of "hearts". You can click the photo to make it larger and see more clearly, but there were hearts everywhere! The address labels were heart shaped, as were the return address labels, and every bellyband had a heart tage around it that listed our guests' names.

The labels on the front of our envelopes were printed on my parents' HP printer, and the cut out with my Cricut (the same goes for the labels on the back). Our labels on our RSVP envelopes were smaller versions of the ones you see here (but with our address, of course!).

The back with our return address labels and Cuttlebug embossing. Gotta love those metallic envelopes!

I made the envelope liners using the heart-gyle, I had designed for our website. I bought a ream of 11x17" blue paper from OfficeMax, and was able to print 3 liners per page. . . Of course, I also bought a ream of blue paper from Staples so I could compare the "blueness" of each. Needless to say, 6 months after the wedding, I still have a ton of blue paper.
I stacked all the pieces of the invitation from big to small (with a small wallet sized e-photo of us on the top), wrapped a belly band around it, wrapped baker's twine around that, and attached a heart tag with the twine.
Okay, okay, Daddy G did the stacking and tying, but I put them in the envelopes!

There were so many! The DIYing went on forever!
So there they are! They whole kit and caboodle (. . . until recently, I thought it was 'kitten caboodle'). I'm pretty happy with the final product and I head a lot of nice things from our guests, and that's what counts :).

If I did it all over again, I probably still design my own invitations, but I don't know if I'd go through all the work of doing the extra pieces! I spent a looooooong time trying to set up my Cricut to cut the hearts correctly and I got super frustrated at times. I loved how it looked, but I don't think I needed all that stress at the time.

Did you take on the daunting tasking on DIYing invites? Would you do it again?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giraffe Showers

Hive, I had my bridal shower a looong time ago. I mean, I've been married for six months now, so that should be indication enough that's it's been a while. It was actually last February, so we're getting closer and closer to the 'year away' mark. I loved my shower, and had always wanted to share it with you guys, but it happened right before crazy-wedding-frenzy-mode and I never got the time. I was thinking about it today, and I decided that there's no better time than the present!

My mom planned my shower, but after mucho begging from me, I got to help. I know, I know, Wedding Planning for Dummies actually told me that I should have absolutely no part in planning the shower, but I still lived at my parents' house, and I have all the crafting goodies my mom could've have needed (not to mention I love planning parties) so she let me help.

It all started with the invitation. Mama Giraffe chose a theme of "bright colors, polka dots, and stripes." She was worried at first that it didn't match our wedding colors, but it turned out great and was so "me." After an extensive online search for invitations and finding nothing, she had finally agreed to let me help and had me create them. She "art directed" the whole thing, I just created it on the computer for her. She made up a rhyme for the invitations, and continued rhyming throughout the rest of the shower.

She used bright colors for the rest of the decorations. I made the "Congrats" banner with my Cricut and scrapbooking paper. The photos on the table were in bright frames from IKEA and had a picture of us from each year Mr. G and I have been together.

One of the coolest thing Mama Giraffe did was buy a large platter from Target and porcelain markers from Michael's. Everyone signed the platter with the markers, and later my mom baked it at 350. That set in the marker so now I can have it forever :).
The centerpieces looked amazing, and they were all created by my mom. She bought bright colored paper plates from Party City, fun vases from Walgreens, and "Festival Pom" flowers from Jewel. The flowers were placed on the plates and each table had a different bright candy on them. I repeatedly visited the people at the Pretzel M&Ms table because they were so good (my table had gummy bears).
Mama Giraffe put together favors of mini loufas and mini shower gels and bath bubbles for everyone. The tags on the favor bags went with our rhyming theme and were labels stuck on to different scrapbook paper.
I also got a billion presents!
Whooo all our dishes!You might also notice my super super cute outfit. My dress came from Kohl's (new, especially for the shower, and on sale!), and the adorable and perfectly matching headband came from the amazing Mrs. Sloth. It was so very nice of her to send it my way and I appreciated it so very very much.

If you remember, Mr. G and I have a thing about Uglydolls, and he even used one to propose; My super talented and amazing friend Helena ordered me a Wage Uglydoll and dressed in up in my wedding dress. She later gave me Babo in a tux. This was quite possibly the best gift ever, and we displayed them at our wedding and now display them in our home.
Overall, my shower was one of the best days ever, which is way I had to share it with you. I had so much fun, and continued to have fun with my thank you cards.

Mr. G and I set up the presents in my parents dining room and posed with all our awesome new stuff. (Seriously, it was so awesome. It's hard to believe so many people were so generous and just bought new things for us).

So there it is - the best shower ever! I had a great time, and I think I even had a better time because I got to help plan all the fun and games (and boy were there games!).

Help plan your own shower? Did you enjoy it more because of it?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bridesmaid Hair, Take Two!

As I told you guys a couple weeks ago, I was a bridesmaid in Bridesmaid Marie's wedding. That's the way to do it folks: if you're planning a wedding, find an engaged bff and plan them together - it makes it way more fun!

Anyway, I shared some hairstyle photos with you guys, and I ended up looking pretty hot :-), so I figured I better fill you in on the details!

Even though I showed the Hive a couple of options, the next day I threw 'em out the window and bought these babies to the hair salon with me.

I know, I know, they're awesome. Believe it or not, the first image was the leading inspiration for my own wedding hair, until Mr. G mentioned (at the rehearsal dinner!) that he wanted me to wear my hair down. I was glad that the hairstyle got to make an appearance somewhere :). I've always loved braids and you can certainly dress them up and dress 'em down.

So how did it turn out, you ask? Awesome! Better than I could imagine.

The super nice lady who did my hair did a french braid that started at the top of my head, and wrapped all the way down the side, to the bottom. Then we curled the rest of the hair and tucked it in with bobby pins (70, to be exact - Mr. G and I counted them when we took them out at the end of the night). It's kind of hard to describe, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. I'll show you a few so you can see it from different sides.

All of these are personal photos, most by me and the Mister.

My hairstylist was so nice!Getting ready at the Groom's Grandma's house.
I love that Mr. G got this photo of me blowing bubbles - it's a great view of the top of my head and the non-braided side. It's all natural - no bump-it at all!

Okay, okay, I admit it. Those last two photos had nothing to do with my hair, I just wanted you all to see what a good time I had. Rock on, team, rock on!

Hair inspiration? How do you find it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why You Need to Hire a Videographer

Hive, I know I've been absently recently. There's a lot going on, and even though I haven't shared my recaps yet, I feel like this is a very important post for me to write, so I'll be dropping in some images from the big day. Don' worry about them though, I'll catch you up on everything once I start recapping.

In the beginning, I was anti-video. Don't get me wrong, I think wedding videos are gorgeous, and watching a few made me tear up a little, but I also thought it was a dumb investment. I scrapbook, and love flipping through albums, so spending moolah on photos made sense, but on video?

I mean, when was the last time I watched one of my parents home videos? I showed some baby ones to Mr. G a few years back, but that's pretty much it. Who wants to watch a video of themselves? And, better yet, who wants to pay a ton of money for it?

Frankly, I never even considered video because I thought it was a stupid idea. Sure it'd be nice, but I just didn't think it was a "worthy" or "worth while" expense.

Now, you're probably wondering why, then, did I hire a videographer for my wedding? Well, Mama Giraffe kept saying that I should and that I would look forward to watching the video every year on my anniversary. This to me really sounded like a bunch a mushy stuff that I wouldn't do, so I let it go.

But then. . . .But then Mama Giraffe told me she regretted not having one. This changed it all for me. I might not want one now, but I would hate to be 34 years into marriage wishing I had a wedding video.
Mama Giraffe on her wedding day, with my Pawpaw

Of course, wedding viedography wasn't in our budget, so we had a crazy whirlwind of searching through "budget" videographers (one who even put his hand in front of the camera!!), but that is a post for another day.

I'm here to to tell you why you need a videographer, because even though I was anti-video, it's now become one of our best wedding decisions. Even though we only have the rough copy of our movie, it's amazing and I cry every time I see it.

Reason 1. Vows
Mr. G and I chose to say both our own vows and traditional vows. We're not normally "mushy people" so it meant a lot to hear his feeling about me, professed in front of everyone. It's funny because I remember, literally thinking "Pay attention so you can remember what he saying!" But. . .of course, four months later, I couldn't remember the beautiful, touching, perfect words my groom said to me. But hey, we have it on video!
Saying mushy vows :) / photo by Miller + Miller
Reason 2. Speeches
We had a speech by my MOH, the best man, one bridesmaid, and one groomsmen. They were wonderful! Every speech brought laughs and some brought tears, but they were perfect. Looking back, I remembered that the speeches were funny, but I could only remember bits and pieces. Watching the video totally refreshed my mind, and when I texted BM Mang to mention how funny her speech was, she told me that she didn't even remember it all! Better yet when GM Mitch (and speech giver) came over to visit, he even wanted to watch the video!
Clearly Best Man Washington said something funny, but what? / photo by Miller + Miller

Reason 3. Guests
Our videographers did a cool thing, where during dinner, they went around to a handful of people (10-15 I think?) and had them give us well wishes on video. This was great because at the time we were eating, so were our guests, so it's nice to see our friends and family relaxing and just saying "hello!" (Also, we have cousin Allison wishing us a happy marriage and mentioning how good our food was, which is something I want to remember!)
Oh hey guys, thanks for saying hi! / guest photo

Reason 4. What you didn't see
Y'know, as the bride and all, I walked down the aisle last. I didn't see my bffs follow before me, nor did I see my groom come into the church. Also, when I made that walk, I couldn't see anyone besides Mr. G - both my eyes and heart were super focused. It's nice to watch my video and see all the things I didn't get to during the big day.
We had musicians?! I didn't even see them! / photo by Miller + Miller

Reason 5 - the most important one. Family
Hive, I'm going to get serious here. I lost my grandpa this weekend, and I'm actually going to the wake today and funeral tomorrow. My heart is do deeply broken that I don't know when it will heal, but that's really why I wanted to write this post.

In the photobooth

Grandpa was at my wedding four months ago, and seemed in perfect health. He and I had a wonderful time together and even got into the photobooth! A month and a half after the wedding, he had a fall and was taken to the hospital. Turns out the fall was a seizure caused by one of the seven tumors in his brain. We had no idea. He spent the last few months having brain surgery, going to rehab, getting radiation, and fighting like no man ever did before, but he did not make it. I know he is in a better place, but I also miss him more than I ever thought I could.

But, like I said, at the wedding, no one had any idea that this would be coming in the future.

My pawpaw, as I affectionately called him, gave the blessing before we ate dinner at the reception, and now I have it on video and can watch him whenever I want, and remember how happy and proud he was at the wedding. It's one thing to look at photos, but now I can hear his voice. And, for that, I would pay a million dollars, which makes what I paid for our videographers seem like not that much.
A wonderful man giving a wonderful blessing / photo by Miller + Miller

I don't know if it was serendipitous that I ended up hiring a videographer, since I was so against it in the beginning, but I am so glad I did. Now when people ask me what to budget for in their wedding, I will tell everyone to make room for video, because really, some things are priceless.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bridesmaid Hair Options

Can you believe it's all ready Thursday? This week is fllllying by! Just in time for a long weekend.

And, this little Giraffe has big plans this weekend, it's finally time for Bridesmaid Marie's wedding! I've been counting down the days here, folk. Since she and I spent the last couple of years planning weddings, we've been one down and one to go since my big day in May. I was totally wedding burnt out for a few weeks after the wedding, but that passed and now I can't wait!

Bridesmaid Marie and I at my bachlorette party

We spent last weekend making programs and super cute place cards (I'll ask her if I can share them), and now the big day is almost here! Poor Marie has one heck of a cold, but hopefully she can sleep it off.

I'm pretty much ready for this weekend, but there's one thing I haven't thought of yet, and that's how I'm going to wear my hair. I have an appointment at 8am on Saturday, so I'm thinking I better figure it out!

Believe it or not, searching for hairstyles as a bridesmaid, is pretty much just like searching for ones as a bride (although Marie told me I was not allowed to wear my veil. Bummer. I paid a lot of money for it and I've only worn it once). I'm thinking half up/ half down or maybe all up because it's going to be a warm weekend and because I want to get my party on without hair in my face. Although, I haven't really worn an updo since prom, so I don't want to look outdated.

Here are the contenders:

The Winning Look / Bridal Updos

Anybody else hairstyle hunting? Where did you find good inspiration?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

DIY Save the Dates: Assembly

So, I realize the last post I wrote about Save the Dates was in January, but, as I started to move on to sharing my invitations with you guys I felt like the right thing to do would be finish off my STDs. I'm just going with a "better late than never" attitude on this one, and besides, it is on my list of things to blog about before we get our pro pics, so I'm finally getting back to it.

Where we last left off, many moons ago, I didn’t choose an STD, then I designed a million save the dates, and then we finally decided on one, and then realized I needed a postcard to put that sucker on, and then I finally shared them with you.

I never shared the assembly or budget, though, and I've always wanted to let you know how we put them together because it was so easy and simple; so, finally, our STD assembly!

To refresh your memories, here are our STDs (the bottom two photos are digital mock ups).

Okay, so basically, we had a post card and a business card sized magnet. We stuck the magnet to the card, put them in an envelope and sent them on their way.

It all started with trying to figure out how to put our magnet on our postcard, which led to me looking up how Bees before me did it.

I think I've should've pulled a Sewing here. That genius thought to mention "MAGNET!" right on her postcard. At the time, I hoped our guests figure it out . . . because I know Grandma G didn't when I showed it to her. Oh well! I think the difference between the matte postcard & glossy magnet were difference enough.

Mrs. Sewing used re-positionable tape for her STDs, and we were going to, but we found something better when we got to Michaels.
Yes, that's right: Glue dots.

Mr. G and I had been looking at sticky squares, and decided to use adhesive photo corners (even though I think they're a pain) because it seemed like it might work better than our original plan on tape. This was when we were in the scrapbook aisle. We had to make it to the other end of the store to get something else, and we happened to see Glue Dots in another aisle.

And, let me tell you, they're wonderful. They're cheap and they come in a pack of 200 (which was way more than we needed). They also come in a mini size if you need it, and, most importantly, the ones in the green box are removable (which is important because our guests had to be able to remove their magnet).

Oh and did I forget to mention that they're in a dispenser? So the Glue dot literally just rolls on, and you don't even have to worry about peeling and sticking it yourself? Yeah, they were made for this project I think.

After having the magnets and postcard printed through Vistaprint, we got to work.

I started with lining the envelopes. All I did was make a template our of paperboard, trace it onto wrapping paper, cut, and repeat.
Then, I tucked a cut out liner into an envelope, and because I'm lazy, only glued the top half down. As long as no one used a letter opener, the bottom half of the liner wouldn't fall out. . . And if then did, I'm over it :-D.
Then Mr. G stuck on a Glue Dot, and stuck a magnet to it while I stamped the fronts and back of our envelopes (or, if I wasn't paying attention, stamped the fronts of our envelopes twice, which only happened twice, thank you very much).
I realize I cut off Mr. G's head in this photo, but I wanted you guys to see the Glue Dot dispenser, which is the neon green thing by Mr. G's hand.

After that, we simple stuck our postcards into their envelopes, and they were ready to be sent on!

I still love how these turned out, many months later, especially. because of what the guests saw as soon as they (painstakingly carefully) opend the envelope.

And that's it! I hope the world's easiest assembly was worth the wait :). Tune in for the budget breakdown.

Did you DIY your STDs? How did your assembling go?