About Me

I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

Follow Me!



Entries in Invitations (15)


When Photographers Wed

Have you seen these yet? A friend sent this link to me and I could NOT resist sharing. I was hoping for a little DIY tutortial on these and if I do get it, will totally share. But until then, look at how creative! 

Seriously, some people's creativity just makes me angry. More specifically, green with a jealous rage.


Holiday Save the Dates {DIY Style!}

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Just so we're clear: I am not a graphic designer. However, I often play one on this blog. I trip and shuffle my way through color fills and fonts, pdf files and clip art. I can get a job done, but since I lack the required skills and training of a professional, it takes me DECADES to manipulate my work.

That being said, I'll have to admit that I was both overjoyed and terrified when my friend Marie asked me to do her Holiday Save the Dates. Marie and I go way back. WAY back. We were lab partners in biology our sophomore year in high school - that's how we met. We became friends over the dissection of our fetal pig we named Wilma. Good times have ensued ever since. And now she's getting married and I couldn't be happier for her. Like me, she too waited (and waited) until she found the right guy! And I love the fact that she met her love at a wedding. At his twin sister's wedding. In Bali. That's right, Bali. I'm sure you know the one. Cool, right?

Marie is a laid back kind of gal. Her mom is not. Her mom is more like me - specific in her likes and dislikes. I knew I could make Marie happy, but I was so worried about her mom. I wanted to do the best job I could, but was concerned that I was lacking in a skill set that would result in hideous Save the Dates. Hideous! No one wants hideous.

So I jumped in with both feet and hoped for the best. There was a specific design the bride was liking, so I took it and basically knocked it off to suit the couple. I emailed layouts and texted pictures to the bride pretty much all of last week. I lined up paper colors I'd narrowed down, sent font options - all that kind of stuff. We were all juggling different ideas - should I mail them from here? Do we want return address labels? Envelope liners? It's hard to do it all via text and email! So last week I sent off two completed Save the Dates and then held my breath. Marie called me on Friday and set up a three way call that included her mom. I swear, I thought I was going to faint when I heard her voice. My immediate thoughts were, "She hates them. I have to start over. What am I going to do if she hates them? She hates them. She hates me. What if Marie hates them too?" Oh, my mind was going in a bazillion directions at once.

And then the gushing began. And the thank yous. And more gushing. They did not hate them at all. They LOVED them! I swear, I sat down, put my head on the table and nearly started to cry I was so relieved. I just didn't want to mess up my friend's Save the Dates. I wanted her to be over-the-moon happy with them because you know what? A bride SHOULD be over-the-moon happy with everything associated with her wedding. And yes, I wanted to please her mom too.

So without further adieu, here are the Save the Dates I did.

All the paper came from Paper Source. We used A7 folded cards in Superfine Soft White with A7 envelopes in Red. I lined the envelopes with their bulk paper in Leaf using an A7 liner template. I used a corner punch to get the top of the liner rounded just right as I wasn't totally digging the template corner. It was just too fat of a corner for the envelopes. The design idea came from a Save the Date the bride found on-line. Clearly, I am not as clever as this Save the Date may portray me to be. All the patterns and fills and art came from free online sources. I simply recolored them and dropped them in (I say "simply" but it's anything but simple when you're only playing the part of a graphic designer.). These were my "practice" pieces, so they aren't exactly perfect.

*Santa not included.

The inside was pretty basic - I used the Juice font for the stuff in red and Gabriola in dark gray for everything else.Then I decided that I couldn't just do the cards and liners. I mean, they had to have some sort of snazziness to them, so I decided to do some envelope wrappers. There are plenty of downloadable formats on-line, but I couldn't find one that I could manipulate the way I wanted. So once again, I started pretending I was a graphic designer. By the time I got those damn things done, I wanted to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick. They drove me crazy!!! But I finally got them done.

I did some last minute return address labels for the back in the same design style as the front. Not sure if they are going to use them or not, but I sent them along just in case they decide to. I think there were 111 cards total. Whew! That pales in comparison to the fifty or so that The Candyman and I cranked out!

And there are tools that I used to get this done too: a bone folder, double sided tape, full sheet labels, a paper cutter and scissors. In fact, I invested in a new paper cutter to get the last bit of this done. I had to. HAD TO. My little cheap piece-of-crap paper cutter was my excuse to buy this:

Look at how beautiful my new Swingline is, all shiny and new in the morning sunshine! It took a little getting used to, but now I ♥ it. Need some paper cut? Come on over, we'll play with my Swingline.

I finished these on Friday and FedEx'd them out to the Mother of the Bride on Saturday. I am praying that they are all to her liking. I'm wigging out again though because as I was writing this blog, I noticed what might be a typo on one of the address labels. A typo. Really, Louise? After ALL of this? I swear, I felt like I checked and double checked everything a bazillion times. But, I did send extra blank cards and envelopes, just in case they needed more or I did mess something up that I didn't catch. Again, I only play a graphic designer.

So what do you think? Did I do my friend proud or should I be hanging my head in shame? Doing something DIY is SO different when it's not your own!


You're Invited. 

So we all know how I feel about RSVP's, but what about invitations? I struggled with my invites. I was completely sad when I started researching them to know how freakin' expensive they are. I thought back to all the wedding invites I had received over the years. I remember opening them, writing down the date and any pertinent info and tossing them. Immediately. Into the trash. I kept my MOH's invitations because I was her MOH and I wanted it as a keepsake. I only remember one invitation - and only because it was purple (the bride, to this day, has an unhealthy obsession to all things aubergine). 

So while I drooled over amazing letterpress creations and card stock weights, I absolutely knew that I could never ever spend that kind of money on invitations. I knew I would have to sacrifice the gorgeousness of what was deemed "standard" by the WIC yet again. I looked into multiple options. And I mean multiple. Here's a clip of my budget spreadsheet with all the different options I calculated. I had pretty much decided that DIY would be the way to go, but even that seemed expensive - and it can be, particularly if you have small wedding. We sent out 57 invitations. That extra 7? Yeah,a total bitch. You guys know how invites are sold: first tier is 25, second tier is 50, then it hops directly to 100. Those of us having between 50 and 100 guests get screwed. Paper in bulk is sold the same way. It was just ridiculous.

So that's why I ended up using the pre-made stuff from Michael's. I thought it was pretty and they sold them in packs of 40, so I didn't have to totally over pay for invites I didn't need (it also gave me some wiggle room in the "Wow! I totally effed that one up!" category). And I was able to get all the place cards and table cards and all that junk to match and no one knew that I paid less than $300 for every single piece of paper product I used in my wedding. The printing and formatting and all that was a total bitch, but it saved me a ton of money in the end.

That being said, DIY is not always the best way for every bride to go. Budget and time allowances vary from bride to bride. It may no behoove you to bust out your crafting skills and do your own thing. I get that.

So for all you non-DIY brides out there, I wanted to share some really pretty stuff I saw this weekend. Hope you like.

  I found  The House of Sugalily  through the UK version of Brides magazine. I just love all the little details of lace and buttons and trim.   

The Agatha Collection

The Celine Collection

 The Kit Collection


 Not sure where I found Regas New York, but I really like the criss-cross detail to hold all the invite goodies in. They have a few different varieties. 


And last but not least, I wanted to show off the work of some local folks I met a while back at Wedding 101. They are a super cute, quirky couple who recently moved to the Nashville area. Check out their Etsy shop Izzy and the Bean when you get a chance!

So what camp are you pitching /did you pitch your tent in? DIY invites? Etsy? Or did you go all the way with letterpress?

P.S. Winner for the Wedding Sign Contest will be announced tomorrow. That means you've got another day to enter. Do it. Do it now.


Budget Breakdown - Invitations

So little did I know about paper. Oh, so little. Card stock weight, letterpress, metallic versus matte. Good God, what a cacophony of primal fear it can bestow upon the innocent of wedding planning brides. Oh, I fell in love with some invitations. Oh, the gorgeousness of them. Stunning. Works of art. For $4000. For 100 invitations and envelopes. That didn't even COUNT the RSVP card. It really stressed me out because when you look at all this crap (and it's JUST paper, people) on-line and in stores, there's this push that you must have the most fabulous of all because it tells your guests what kind of wedding you're going to have. Really? Really? No it doesn't, you do. Who you and your groom are tells everyone they need to know. And if you can't do that then why are you inviting then to your wedding?

Now, I'm lucky that I didn't have to invite my Dad's boss's cousin. Perhaps if you're having that kind of wedding, the invitation means more. For us though, it just wasn't like that. I also thought through all the wedding invites I've ever gotten in my life. I remember one in particular because it was purple. All of them ended up in the trash, even the purple one. I have no idea if they were letterpress or what they even looked like. NO ONE DOES. Not really, not in the end. In my opinion, if you need to save someplace, do it here. It's paper, people.

About the time I was in the invitation process, I found Jessica, The Budget Savvy Bride. She is one talented lady and I almost used her to do my invites. I did a lot of research and I realized that I could DIY my own invites easy enough, just as she did. For me, time was a big issue, so I went the Michael's route and gave some pre-fab invites my own twist. In fact, I was able to get nearly every single bit of paper product from Michael's and it all coordinated. I used lots of coupons and got creative.

Here's my original breakdown and the final numbers. When I filled in my budget, I really didn't have a great idea of what things cost. I also forgot to add in the postage for RSVP cards, which is why that number is double the budget! Now, I have to admit that I am missing a few things on this template because I had a whole different page that I did some budgeting on that linked over. Below is what I paid for all the paper for my invitations, table numbers, glue dots, programs, ribbon, etc. For just the invites, they were $2.13 a piece including postage. Without postage, they were $1.26 each. Not too shabby, right?

What was nice about all of this is that I got to customize everything I did with my own font and wording that I carried throughout the wedding - from menus to table cards to place cards to programs. I'll betcha people who don't read this blog had no idea I got all that stuff at Michael's or that I did it all myself.

If you click on the above mosaic montage of mega-hot detail shots that my oh-so-fabulous photographer took (like you don't know JCP already), you can see all the printing I did myself on my little $150 HP printer. And you know what? I am not a graphic artist. I am not an artist. I am a product developer, but I don't know how to work in Photoshop. I introduced myself to Publisher for my OOT letters. I do know how to work in ACDSee, but that's it. You just have to know what you want and how to go about ripping it off and making it your own. ;) The web has a crap-load of free templates and clip art and patterns and all sort of stuff you can manipulate to make your own. It's awesome. The resources are there, it just takes a little time to find it.

Try not to get caught up in WIC (Wedding Industry Complex, if you're not down with the lingo yet) on this one. Get caught up in your creativity.

Tell me, are you stressing over invites? How did you get creative? How did you save $$$?


{Winner Announced!} Rachel Jasper Design

OK, I wasn't going to post the winner until I could get home tonight and post, but our server went down this a.m. and I found myself strangled to a blinding stop by the IT department. I had neither my email or the Internet (*gasp*) so did a manual random draw of all the winners.

Last night, I wrote down everyone's name who entered and then ticked off how many entries they had. I had that list in my purse this morning (when did I do that?). So what I did was I assigned a person a number and entered that number the number of times a person had an entry. For example, Miss Sarah Elizabeth was #1 and had five entries because she commented, blogged, tweeted, follows moi and now follows Rachel. Five entries, five little number 1's. I did this for 22 different people. I put the numbers on an Excel spreadsheet and printed them out and cut them into tiny strips.

Then I put all the numbers in a bag and gave the bag a good shake. Kind like I wanted to give to Bitchface and Dickhead this morning. *See previous post.*

Then I closed my eyes and picked a strip of paper. I don't have a photo of this because my eyes were closed. Duh. Here's the number I picked:

And here's the name that the number two corresponds with (please disregard the psychotic chicken scratch, also known as my handwriting):

So the winner of the 100 FREE Custom Save the Dates is BRITTNEY!!!!! She's got a blog too! It's Sand Dollars and Sunflowers! Miss Brittney, please email me at thethirtysomethingbride@gmail.com so I can give you the super secret password identifier code to share with Rachel.

But wait, there's more! I got an email last night from Rachel and she's decided to offer another incredible opportunity for all of you who entered, but didn't win.

If you entered the contest, place an order with Rachel by August 31st and she will give you 10 % off any pre-designed invitation set (customized with your colors)! Rachel's pre-designed sets run about $415 for 100 invitations, RSVPs and coordinating envelopes! Contact her now before she books up! racheljasperdesign@gmail.com

Thanks to everyone who commented, follows, tweeted and posted! It was a great contest! Thanks to Rachel too for the incredible contest!