I like to think of myself as the Sandra Lee of Wedding DIY. I kinda DIY'd my invitations. I kinda DIY'd my OOT bags. I definitely made my own favors, but kinda DIY'd the packaging. Trust me, if I could have made the time to do every single fold, crease and tag punch-out myself, I would have. The reality is that I'm a working girl and did not have the time, so I DIY'd based on what I had available to me. You should too - whether it's from scratch or with a lot of help from planners, friends, family or Michaels. Just make it your own! This is the place for all things DIY!


La Invitation, Part Une

A few days after The Candyman and I got engaged we thought we'd have a September 2009 wedding. A few weeks and 2 melt downs later (me, not The Candyman), we decided to wait to set a date since venue hunting was proving to be overwhelming for The Thirty-Something Bride. We decided to take our time, not set a date, you know - casual-like. When we went to Mere Bulles and fell in love with the place, we actually set our date based on their incredible Sunday rates. Suddenly, we (OK, me) were in full-tilt wedding planning mode!

Somewhere between booking the venue, the chapel and pulling my head out of my ass, I found a picture of this cake and knew that my colors would be as such:

Ivory, chocolate brown and a touch of sandalwood (OK, it's beige. Beige in Bridal lingo is Sandalwood). By the way, props to this cake designer Collette Foley of Alice's Teacup in NYC. Once I had a color palette, my mind started racing. This is about the same time I discovered Bridal Blogs. Oh, the wonderment and hours of clicking on link to link to link. It's like a never ending game for me. It's why I started this blog, I wanted a home base to click back to and share all my ideas. I am a bride, so it's all about me, right? Kidding.

So The Candyman thought the picture of the cake was pretty ("Can we eat that now?") and I was off to the races! I wanted ivory 100 pound card stock with chocolate brown, letter press printing. I wanted fonts and scrolls and map cards and personalized stamps and hand calligraphy! I wanted it all! I also wanted it at the low, low price of $2.00 per invite. G'head. You can laugh. I was an Invitation Virgin.

While I *heart* Style Me Pretty and Snippet and Ink with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns, their constant reminders of the invitations I wasn't going to have was getting me down. I was afraid my new wedding blog addiction was going to be squelched by budget restraints. That's when I found Budget Savvy Bride. About the time I was headed for another wedding planning meltdown, I ran into her blog just as she was finishing up her gorgeous, DIY invitations.

It was just the creative kick-in-the-pants I needed! I'm a freakin' product designer, why can't I DMO (Do My Own) like this talented Twenty-Something? Well, I can and I will, thunk I. Reality check. I just didn't have that kind of time. Also, I work in ACDSee and suck at Adobe and PhotoShop. I believe my self-tutorials in either one of these programs would spawn Meltdown Nombre Quatre. Since Miss Budget Savvy Bride lives here in lovely Middle Tennessee, I shot her a quick email to see if she'd be willing to design my invites! She replied with a quick quote (and friendly banter) and I hit the Internet hard looking at pocket folds and card stocks and postage (oh my!).

Here is the first challenge regarding DIY invites that goes hand in hand with ordering them. I need 60 invitations. Most invitations, paper, envelopes, etc. are ordered in increments of 25. Everything I wanted, I would have to order 75 of since 50 wouldn't cover it, thus increasing my per invite cost drastically. Uber-lame, my friends. I did several cost analyses based on a pocket fold-type invite with RSVP cards/envelopes. I priced printing at Kinkos using Kinkos paper against printing at Kinkos using my own paper. I checked cutting paper at Kinkos versus pre-cut card stock. By the way, did everyone know that Kinkos is now FedEx Office?
Anyway, I checked a lot of stuff that just made my little anal-retentive heart sing with joy. I'll share that little nugget with you tomorrow.

It's late, my little wedding blogger buddies. Part Duex, demain.


Back to the Grind

So,the last few posts have not necessarily been about The Thirty-Something Bride's quest for wedding day bliss. Hopefully, anyone reading this (so far one dedicated follower - thanks Kristina!) will find the extra stuff fun too.

Once I found my fabulous photographer Jonathon Campbell, I turned my attention to invitations. We had already sent out Save the Dates post cards as most of our family and friends live outside the Nashville area. Since I hadn't decided on colors or themes or anything really, I wanted a Save the Date that was generic enough, but one that had a little style too. The Candyman and I decided upon the talents of The Anderson Thomas Design Group's Spirit of Nashville postcards. In 2003 the designers of Anderson Design Group created a calendar that featured 14 posters, designed in the tradition of the “Golden Age of Poster Art”—a style that was popular from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. The group created The Spirit of Nashville web site to make the collection available to the general public. And each year since 2003, the group has created a new series of prints, adding to the collection. There are over 60 designs celebrating Nashville's most beloved landmarks, people and institutions. I was able to order a box of 57 postcards, a perfect number for our small-ish wedding!

Once I received the post cards, I set up a document in Microsoft Word using a 3"x4" Avery template. This allowed for 6 spaces on a 8.5"x11" sheet of paper. I purchased a pack of Avery White Laser Printer Labels Full Sheet. I set up the info I wanted printed on my Save the Date and included on my template using a Castellar font, size 10 and Papyrus, size 8. Once I had the info I wanted in, I rotated the text direction so that the verbiage was reading in the longer direction. I printed the pages in a dark brown text (Red 102, Blue 51, Green 0) to match the feel of the postcards. I didn't feel the need to invest in a paper-cutter just for this one project (although I am totally rethinking this decision), so used my rotary blade and a non-slip quilting ruler to cut them out.

The Candyman and I peeled and stuck the labels on the left sides of the postcards, addressed and mailed! The total cost of the postcards, plus the label paper and postage was $58.76, or $1.13 each. The downside is that I know at least two people did not receive their postcards. They could have gotten lost in the mail or amongst the shuffle of fliers, junk mail etc. I think brides should keep that in mind when thinking about the postcard-style response card. Save the Dates are one thing, but when you're counting on the final count, you don't want to mess around, right?



While I did not include my registry information here, I have included it on our wedding website. Rule of thumb is to let family and friends share this info via word of mouth. While I'm all for propriety and proper etiquette, the reality is that most people don't have time for all that these days. I know I don't. I sincerely doubt my friends and family will hold it against me. While we have included the standard gift registry locations, we have also included a non-profit organization that is meaningful to me and The Candyman. Our guests can choose to bless us with a cast-iron skillet (every good Southern home should have one or more) or to bless a soul in need. Or both. :)







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