Thursday, August 27, 2009

Itsy Bitsy, Teensy Weensy, Super Cute Buttons!

One of my favorite things about weddings are the favors. Shallow... I know. Favors usually mean something yummy, and hopefully something unique and personal that represents the couple well. I attended the beautiful wedding of two close friends a few weeks ago, and was instructed by the bride to pick up their super-yummy favors from a local bakery... the words "local bakery" only mean one thing to me: good food. Their favors were delicious made-from-scratch speciality chocolate chip cookies, the bride's favorite snack from her college days. They were placed at each place setting in custom glassine envelopes, tied with a ribbon - great presentation! Delicious! Personal! The perfect favor. People are still talking about those cookies weeks later - talk about impact.

I have a love of vintage candy, specifically Necco wafers. I purchased wafer mini-rolls through Necco directly (did you know they have a bulk candy store online? Me neither!) and also purchased a couple pounds of Jelly Belly beans in our colors to help fill out the favor bags. However - I felt that we needed something extra. Something cute and unique. Enter Etsy yet again, where I found a super sweet custom button maker named Jeanne who was extremely helpful in getting our custom buttons done. I used Photoshop for the button design, using a template she supplied me with. I ended up modeling our button design directly after one of my favorite vintage typewriter ribbon tins - something I don't feel guilty about because well... it's cute, we ain't selling 'em, and that's about that.

I also purchased lovely little handstamped tags from another great seller, Amy Elise Designs. I've bought quite a bit of stuff from Amy over the past 2 years for my design business, so I was thrilled that I could send another order her way for our big day. She made lovely mini-tags using a vintage typeface "S" stamp (for our new last name) - the tags are inscribed with a note of "Thanks!" on the back and tied to the favor bags.

All together, a nice little gift to place at each seat... I'm pleased with how they turned out. Three cheers for Etsy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Millinery Fun, the Bridal Headpiece is DONE!

I accomplished one of the larger, looming tasks at hand for the wedding last night - a very important piece of my bridal ensemble, my headpiece. Inspired by the gorgeous hats and veils worn by brides in glamorous 1930s Hollywood films, I ordered a box full of pleated horsehair crinoline and russian veiling from Judith M Millinery Supply and set to work. I was fortunate to find a nice stryofoam hat form/head at Hobby Lobby, which really helped me flesh out my ideas for the piece. I am extremely pleased with how well this turned out.

Here's a quick shot of me modeling the piece, this is the side that our guests will see when we're standing up at the altar. The piece is so full that it completely hides my face when viewed from the other side - so delicious! I feel very flirty peeking out from underneath the brim!

I decided to use a vintage piece of jewelry to finish off the center of the hat, so I scoured my favorite antique shops here in town until I came across this sparkly stunner - I actually spoke with the woman who was selling this piece, as I was examining a few others in her case. She's a costume/rhinestone jewelry collector, and says that this brooch is early 50s vintage - not quite the 40s piece that I had in mind, but I like the look and quality of this particular brooch so much. The rhinestones are in PERFECT condition, as is the metal and the setting. It was a pretty little bargain too, at around $10.

All told, this hat cost me around $30 for materials, and only 3-4 hours of labor. The individuality and uniqueness - priceless! The piece is completely stitched using waxed thread to a small circle of ultra-stiff buckram (double-layered), and will be attached to my hair using several bobbypins instead of a comb or duckbill clip as I had originally planned. Using bobbypins makes the position of the hat much more secure... which in turn makes me feel much more secure as I'm waltzing around.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Craft Showers and Boutonnieres

In leiu of a bachelorette party, my best friend and sister held a "Craft Shower" in my honor over the weekend, which was a huge help in getting a lot of the 'bulk' wedding crafts finished up. This includes our favors, the place cards, a cute little "Lovebirds" banner for random usage, and also our cupcake pennants.

I've been plugging away on my wedding dress as well, it's coming along nicely. My goal is to have it finished up by the end of this week - totally doable. I just need to keep chugging along!

I plan on making the boutonnieres for the boys sometime next week. I stumbled across these gorgeous bespoke pieces by Fritts Rosenow a few months back, and KNEW that I had to make our boys something equally cool:

So, off I went to eBay, and bought these lovely brass airplanes; they are about 2.5 inches long and the perfect thing for our vintage airplane mini-theme. Plus, the boys think they're pretty cool. I plan on using some lovely aqua-striped grosgrain ribbon and maybe a bit of floral trim to complete each piece.

Overall, we have most of the crafting for the big day done. All I need to complete are our table numbers, the boutonnieres, my hat/veil/headpiece, and of course my dress. Tally-ho!

Friday, August 14, 2009

3 Weeks Out! Wrap-up Time.

I decided that I want cute button favors for everyone, to go along with the candy. Little 1" buttons. So I did a cute little design last night (I will admit - I stole it from a vintage typewriter ribbon tin!!)

Today I'm taking a 1/2 day off work to finish buying up craft stuff for my "Craft Shower" tomorrow. I still have a lot to do... but I'm not gonna panic. No need. I've always been a down-to-the-wire kind of person - that's just how I roll.

Also, finished up the bustier pattern for my dress last night, now I just need to do the skirt pattern, underblouse pattern, alternate skirt pattern - and sew away! Wee!

I'm ALSO getting my hair cut and touched up tomorrow too - I haven't been to the salon for AGES because I usually handle that myself, but it will be nice to have someone else do it for me. 3 weeks to let it grow out a bit, that's a good thing :)

Whew! OK. Gotta buckle down!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adventures in Patternmaking - Wedding Gown Edition

I finally got started on the pattern for my sweet little wedding dress this week. For some reason, it took me a while to get going - for a long time I've been to distracted by other pressing needs such as the invitations, various wedding crafts, dress shopping with both moms for their dresses... the list goes on and on.

The design for my dress can actually be seen on the invitation preview illustration if you skip down a few posts to THIS ONE. I love the concept very much, I wanted to play off of 1940s and early 50s tradition of wearing a nice suit instead of a gown by creating a multiple piece ensemble; however, I also wanted to incorporate classic 1940s style lines in order to place the ensemble firmly in the proper time period. The close fitting pencil skirt is a bit more 50s inspired, but all together I think it's a smashing vintage look.

I finished up the bustier pattern last night, so far so good when I double-checked the bust cups against my form. I'm a bit concerned about the bust "wings" hanging properly due to the hand of the silk I will be using, but I can always just tack those down discreetly. I did manage to find a gorgeous off-white "aspirin dot" tulle for the underblouse - deep V-necks and V-backs do a body good! I'm planning on making a fuller skirt to wear with the underblouse for the reception (bustier and pencil skirt will be jettisoned at that point), so I will have plenty of room for dancing and mingling. I'm fully prepared to totter down the aisle, but a pencil skirt just won't do for a night of swing.

I'm revving to get back to my shop and finish up the peplum and underblouse patterns tonight, and possibly the pencil skirt (which will be extremely simple...). I'm on track to have finished ensemble ready to go by next Friday - so here's hoping! After I finish the dress, I will be finishing up my headpiece - a frothy concoction of pleated horsehair and russian veiling. Yum! If anyone out there is looking for a nice millinery supply store, look no further than Judith M Millinery Supply - they have a huge selection of veiling, netting and various supplies.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

One Month To Go!

Until our Big Day.

So excited.

It's been a long time coming.

Can't wait to be Mrs. instead of Miss!

Jewelry --or-- These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

We FINALLY got around to purchasing Ryan's wedding band. A very handsome ring for a very handsome man. Gotta love the iPhone - I was able to buy the band on our way to another couple's wedding! Multitasking is what separates us from the beasts of the field my friends.

Anywho, we bought the ring from an amazing shop on Etsy - The shop is run by a husband and wife jewelry making dream team, creating beautiful handmade baubles perfect for bearded manly men like Ryan.

His ring is aerospace grade titanium (wee!) with manzanita wood inlays. I can't wait for it to get here!

In other wedding ring news, we also managed to get my engagement/wedding ring cleaned and sized this past week (after 11 months - yeah, I'm lazy). It's so beautiful - I need to get some nice photos taken to show it off. It's a beautiful vintage Art Deco piece, purchased at auction, shipped from Israel. No appraisal yet, but we got a really good deal on it so hopefully it's worth more than we paid!

I think vintage rings are a great option for brides seeking an alternative to the boring offerings at the mall jewelry stores. Etsy is also another wonderful source for bits and baubles, either vintage or handmade. Custom jewelers like the shop who resized my ring are also another great source for one of a kind pieces.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This Wedsite is Stretchin' Me!

I decided to keep things simple for our RSVPs, and create an email address to which all of our guests could send their replies. That hasn't panned out as well as I hoped, generating what can possibly be termed "Mass Confusion" on the part of some family members. Something had to be done. I had to test the very outer limits of my web development knowledge. I had to tackle... the PHP web form of death!!!

I would like to announce that I am, in fact, victorious. There is one more small tweak that I need to make (Keep It Simple Silly) in the form of a confirmation/thank you page that people are redirected to once they submit the form. One user has already emailed me asking if I did in fact receive their RSVP - which I did. Works beautifully. Except for that missing "Thanks!" page.

Take a gander (complete with notes!)

You can also visit our wedsite at, featuring live sideshow performers and komodo dragons!

(Disclaimer: not all of my ridiculous promises regarding "Komodo Dragons" and "Sideshow Performers" can be fulfilled at this time)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sewing, Stamping, Mailing - I'm tired!

I finally got our invites cut out, tied up, stamped twice, sealed, stickered and out the door. Whew! Talk about a time-sucker, but they were worth it. Everyone we've heard back from LOVES the finished product, I'll get some photos of the complete package posted as soon as possible - tomorrow I hope!

Invitations are so important for a wedding, because they are the first impression of how the couple is approaching their big day - which is very helpful to guests when it comes to dress style, general feel of the wedding, etc. I personally am so sick and tired of getting generic, boring invites that speak very little visually. A wedding is a celebration of two souls uniting as one - the ultimate combination of two personalities if you ask me. So why not let your personality and at least a bit of soul flow through the paper goods for your big day? Granted, I have an advantage as a graphic designer - I was able to design and create all of our paper and web goods for our big day myself. But there are always plenty of designers out there (me! me!) who LOVE working with other couples to create the paper suite of their dreams. Hire them. It's worth it.

First impressions also get people excited to attend... believe me.

So far we've had several people RSVP whom I would never expect to get into the spirit of our vintage 40s-meets-USO show wedding. We very prominently displayed the URL for our "wedsite" as a hangtag with the finished invitation suite, directing people there for more info regarding our venues, dress etiquette, etc. Well let me tell you - almost everyone I've heard back from has ALSO included a link or note regarding the fabulous retro outfit that they're planning on wearing to our celebration. Now that's influence... all done through paper goods my friends.

I recently ran across a sweet little design company that specialized in fantastically quirky wedding invitations: Royal Steamline. Again, there are plenty of designers out there who love working with couples from all walks of life - so poke around Etsy or websites such as OffbeatBride and see what you discover. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

And if anyone out there is thinking about pursuing a custom invitation suite, feel free to give me a ring as well - I'd love to help you create the wedding invitation of your dreams. Paper perfection, I aim to amaze. You can contact me directly via!

Pictures soonly, I promise!