Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Not Just For Wiping!

Photo: Wedding Thrift. All Rights Reserved.

Toilet paper, that is. Yes, I seem to have a thing with toilet paper.

Yes, we all rip a sheet off here and there for random things: sink spills, make up removal, lip stick blotting, or nose blowing. But have you ever considered making clothes out of toilet paper? Let me get a bit more specific.

Have you ever considered making your wedding dress out of toilet paper?

No? Well, get with it, ladies. 

At least one woman has successfully done it:

Photo courtesy of the

Not bad. Adds a whole new dimension to the DIY wedding dress concept.

Though it kind of makes me wonder what happens if it rains. Or if someone spills wine on your crotch.

(Another view and info here.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Emergency Gift Idea!

I like to make my own cards as gifts. But when I stumbled upon this amazing, awesome, gorgeous graphic from MWM Graphics, it was love at first site. So I decided to give these away as gifts for some people, instead of making homemade cards from scratch. Even though I don't celebrate Xmas myself, I know plenty of people who do!

So I got to work, printing these babies out on cardstock, cutting them to the same size, and wrapping them with yarn and other little charming paraphernalia. I actually made them folding cards by downloading the cards from the site, selecting one card (dragging the box/cursor over one of the card squares) and then pasting it to Microsoft Word and sizing it accordingly. Basically this way you can fit two cards per page. And I added a "Happy Holidays" line at the bottom, in all different colors. The postcard idea like they have on the webpage is good, but I was using only semi-heavy weight cardstock, and if I wrote on the back, the ink would be visible through to the front of the card. Can you tell I found this out the hard way?

As you can see, I just wrapped the cards up in little cute bundles, and off they went to their thankful recipients. I used some of the ideas I mentioned here, including beads on string and punching out snowflake shapes out of gold paper (which was really the inside of the envelopes from some fancy, generic Happy Holidays cards I received!):

I got a huge box of plain white envelopes two years ago for free on Craig's list, and used them here. To spice them up a bit, I glued on (with a glue dot or two) these cardboard/paper "button" pieces I had laying around the house, in all different colors. Here you only see the white and off white version on the backs of these particular cards, but they also came in brown, red, grey, black, etc.:

You have no idea how thankful people were for a gift they could use--and now! If you are too close to Xmas for your friends/family to use these, they can do so next year. Add a candy cane, and the present will be that much sweeter!

Sometimes simple really is best.

Honestly, if I was having a winter wedding...I would be seriously tempted to use these cards as my invites, seat assignment cards, or save the dates. You should see how colorful these look when printed. Brilliant design.

Wedding As Memory

There are certain things about which people do not talk. You aren't supposed to talk about such things, especially not on a do-it-yourself wedding blog. But I want to talk about them, because they are real and important and worth talking about.

You may recall me writing a post about a friend dying of cancer just before my wedding, and the resulting sadness I felt. Now, I want to mention a similar scenario, sort of flipped. Sort of.

I had mentioned that we had several relatives coming from international places. One such relative was my Aunt, who was 83 at the time, and had difficulty walking. Despite this, she traveled 5400 miles just to see me get married. It was touching and brave, and the rest of her family even traveled with her everywhere, to make sure she was OK, and to help her get through jet lag as smoothly as possible. She was not very frail or ill, just achey with some hip/leg trouble, and traveling or walking long distances was not easy for her.

It was so special to have her with me on my wedding day. Not just that day, but the dinner the night before at my parents' house, the next day as we prepared odds and ends for Sunday, the next night's dinner where both Jake and I's family commingled and got acquainted, and all the funny, silly, stressful, hurried moments in between. She was there. She got to see relatives she had not seen in a long time, and likewise, my family took great joy in reconnecting and creating new memories with her.

Fast forward almost to the month, one year later, I got a phone call from my mom. My Aunt had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The prognosis was bad, it was estimated that the cancer had already metastasized a great deal. Treatment was unlikely to be of any use. And so now it was my turn to hop on a plane and travel 5400 miles to see my Aunt. Unlike the last cross country trip, this trip didn't have a happy ending. I was with my Aunt until the very last moment, as I watched her gasp for air, and silently, mysteriously, pass.

When I returned home, I was haunted by the vision of her on her deathbed, and the way she had looked the last few weeks, days. Barely recognizing me or her family, eating nothing, drinking even less. This phase lasted for quite a while. But eventually, I started to remember other things about her. The most vivid memory I had of her was her smile on my wedding day, her gentle support, her warm, loving hand on my bare shoulder on that sunny, wonderful day in July. Slowly, I was able to replace the haunting vision of her ghost, with the images of her enjoying her time with me, a year before.

These are the real reasons why we plan a wedding. So we can share our joy with others. The true friends and family--the ones who truly love you for you--they don't care about wedding favors, or how the dessert table looks. They care about you, and seeing you happy. And you too will remember back to your day, and think not only of some of the funny things that went wrong, but of the people who stood by you, and cherished your day because they loved you.

I have heard so many people (myself included) say that they feel like they "missed" their wedding--everything flew by so fast. While seemingly inevitable when throwing any big party, I urge you, beg you, to make sure to spend time with the people you love on your day. Make them feel special. Make them glad they made the effort to drive, fly, walk, bus to your event. That is what I did with my Aunt, and you better believe it was one of the best decisions I made on that day. At the same time, the people who love you most are also the ones who don't expect you to spend extra time with them. They understand that the day is demanding and stressful and they don't judge you based on your behavior the day you finally host your own shindig; trying to mingle with guests, coordinate logistics, and juggle tasks. Still, try to dote at least a bit on your most cherished guests.

After all, love is a gift, not a given. I will hold close to my heart the memories of my Aunt on that day and weekend for the rest of my life. The vision I had of her ill has been replaced by photos of her laughing and smiling, surrounded by family--at my wedding. I'm just thankful that I got to share it with her, that she got to know my husband, and that she gave me the gift of love.

Next time you find yourself stressing out about some random part of your wedding--thinking it all has to be perfect, that things just have to go a certain way--stop yourself. And remember to focus on what's most important: the people who love you and are truly happy for you. You know who they are.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Alternative Bridal Bouquet

In case you didn't love the bouquet in my last post, I found another! I stumbled across another very cool tutorial  (see above photo) from Once Wed a while back, for an alternative to a live flower bridal (or wedding party) bouquet. I think this would be amazing for a fall wedding. And given that the pine trees are still losing their pine cones, you have time to gather some of these natural beauties for this project. They don't wilt, dry up, or require maintenance like live flowers do, so you could make these well in advance and keep them in a safe place until your big day. And they will almost positively be less expensive than live flowers.

You could even turn this into a theme, and use some of Martha Stewart's ideas for making various Pine Cone Crafts, such as using pine cones to embellish Place Cards, or making Pine Cone Napkin Holders for your guest's tables. You could continue the pine cone theme for decoration, too: see both here and here for some ideas and the tutorials (see photos below)!

I made the pine cone bouquet recently and put it in a vase (no ribbons or fancy decorations) and it looks great. I love incorporating natural elements into my home, especially since I have to actively seek them out, living here in the urban jungle and all! Once you get used to working with pine cones, the possibilities are truly endless, and the creative juice will start flowing. You can even make it is simple as scattering some on your guest tables, food tables, or hanging some from a nearby tree with a simple string. I love pine cones, and just randomly scatter them on my window sill with some candles and it feels so cozy:
Wedding Thrift, All Rights Reserved.

The cones in the pine cone make tying string around them very easy and stable. These projects are good to keep in mind for the upcoming holidays. And, of course, they make a precious gift from nature for decorating on your wedding day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wrap To Your Heart's Content!

Forgive me for saying this, but I'm sometimes glad I don't celebrate Christmas. Don't misunderstand, I am not in any way against the holiday, I am just against the gift-buying madness that ensues because of it. I haven't set foot in any major store since mid-November. I get pushed around enough on the subway, I don't need to get elbowed and jabbed at Macy's as well. One could argue that both Chanukkah and Kwanzaa invoke large scale gift-giving, and I'm sure for some families it does. But not mine or most people I know. Regardless, one must admit that Christmas is obviously the big retail attraction of December.

Of course, some of my closest friends and colleagues celebrate Christmas and I love giving people small tokens on special days. So for the past few months, I have been making a nice assortment of small gifts that I have made myself. In small chunks, I have thus managed to give small, personal and unique presents to at least 35 people so far--and enjoy the process!

But the real point for my post today, is that after the gift is made (or bought), there comes the wrapping dilemma. I have seen so many joyous, sparkly looks in people's eyes upon receiving a well decorated gift, that I know that wrapping IS important. Taking the time to decorate your gifts adds so so much to them and can really get someone excited. And if done right, it can be fun and incorporate your personal aesthetic touch into something that may otherwise be nondescript.

And even though it is you getting married, I bet that there will be more than one occasion throughout your planning, when you will be the gift giver. Whether it be for your wedding party, a thank you to all those who chipped in to help, the parents of your new spouse, or wedding favors for all the guests--be prepared. I'm choosing to post this now in hopes that it applies not only to wedding gifts, but can help you with your last minute holiday decorating as well. These small things, like wrapping a gift, are so simple if you think about them well in advance of when you need them, and then plan to do them in small manageable chunks. But for you procrastinators or super busy people, this can help you out as well, I promise! Read on.

This article from the Wall Street Journal (of all places) is a good starting point to consider. I still think it encourages readers to buy their supplies instead of use what is already available in their homes, and it wastes a lot of wrapping (my opinion) but I think it makes some interesting suggestions. It would certainly be good for someone who is just now getting into making some of their wrapping as opposed to buying it all. Most notably, it has a video and a how-to-gift-wrap diagram which is nice. Check it out.

I have developed my own gift wrapping ideas over the years, based on things I concocted and things I have seen, and since I like to share ideas:

  • Use magazine pages with interesting designs or ads for the wrapping. Since most gifts are bigger than a magazine page, I tape together several pages and then treat it as one big wrapping sheet. I can't tell you how many times people have thought this was the most clever & cool wrapping they had ever seen. And here I thought I was just being cheap. If you can get your hands on Photography magazines, these produce the most interesting wrapping. Years ago, I got about 75 photo magazines (those thick paged, large artsy ones) off Craig's List (to my husband's horror), for free, of course, and am still using them for wrapping gifts. I'll try to get it together to take a picture and post an example.
  • Make your own bows out of magazine, colored paper, anything really. I have done this a dozen times and the result is really unique. Instructions on how to make the bows can be found --> here by How About Orange.
  • Save all your ribbons from any gifts you receive. Unlike wrapping paper that rips, bows and ribbons stay intact even after the gift is opened. Save them and reuse!
  • Forget about the ribbon if you don't have any. How about some yarn? You can combine different color yarn strands to make a really nice display on your gift. Make stripes all across the gift, or use one delicate simple yarn and tie a bow. I snooped around and even found some ideas for yarn at Martha Stewart! Check out these pretty gifts from her website:
    Check out this and more wrapping ideas here.

    • Beads. I bet a lot of you have beads sitting around the house. If not, you can get those super cheap plastic ones at any craft or dollar store. When you are done tying your yarn/ribbon around your gift, put your yarn/ribbon through the bead and knot the end so it won't fall off. Dangling beads from a gift otherwise mundane, is simply beautiful, believe me!
    • Don't bother going out to buy all those fancy "embellishments" everyone sells. I promise you that you have "embellishments" in your house already. You just have to learn to recognize them. You can use shells, pom poms, printed photographs, flower petals, pipe cleaners or fabric scraps to turn your gift into something special. Cut a heart(s) out of fabric scraps and glue to your package. Glue or tape shells onto your ribbon, print photographs and lay them across the package, or flatten flower petals and glue to the top of your gift package. Be creative, go wild!
    • Make your gifts personal to the recipient: I love to dig up a photo of the recipient, print it out (black and white is fine to save money!) and glue/tape it on the top of the gift. Simple and impressive. Always gets a giggle. If you don't have a photo of them, how about one silly one of you? Then draw or cut/paste a conversation bubble and--bingo!--there is your built in gift tag. Even a pic from your last trip or street shots can add a zing to your package.
    • Use fabric scraps, decorative paper, or plain ole' colorful magazines to cut out the initials or full name of your recipients. Glue them to package. You can also use pipe cleaners to bend the name into shape.
    • I save up all those little paint chip samples and go to town with them! I cut them into gift tags, cut shapes out of them, punch shapes in them, tape them together across a gift, etc. The possibilities are endless and--best of all--free, compliments of your local hardware store!
    • Invest in a few really nice punches. Punch shapes out of magazines, silver/gold paper, decorative or colored paper, paint chip samples, vellum paper--anything--and glue on the gift. For example, I have a gorgeous snowflake punch. I use regular brown bag (or any solid color) for wrapping paper and then punch out about 20 snowflakes (which takes about 40 seconds) and then glue them in various patterns on the gift. Beautiful!
    • Use brown bags to wrap a gift. Seriously. These are totally underrated. So many stores even have decorative brown bags for the holidays. How perfect is that? In the same vein, newspaper makes smart and witty wrapping. Cut out a headline relevant to your gift recipient and glue it on. Same goes with a picture. Draw/cut conversation bubbles and place next to a newspaper photo or personality. Coolness. What? You need more direction? Check out this quirky video (with another cute idea for a reindeer) here. Or you can check here for an Instructables demo--see even little kids are doing it!
    • Print out gift tags (so so many free on the internet) and glue them on top of your gift in leu of a bow/ribbon. You can also use them the traditional way, hanging them off the ribbon/yarn. For especially cool gift tags, see below, with link:  

    Click here for download by Mariposa Avenue.

    Click here for download from Orange You Lucky.

    Click here for download from Eat Drink Chic.

    These are super cute, and easy to cut out because of the thick border (and there are many more on their website!). I just printed them on white cardstock and write the To/From and a message on the back. Simple!

    Go here for download from We Love To Illustrate. 

    And now for my favorites! Beware: some are raunchy but perhaps you know the perfect recipient who will appreciate the humor/cynicism:

    Click here for downloads from ExBoyfriend.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    DIY Flowerless Butterfly Bouquet!

    Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

    Who says your bouquet has to be made of flowers? Not Laura or Ben, featured on Martha Stewart's Wedding. Laura made her bouquet out of butterflies! I think the effect is gorgeous and light-hearted. If you buy these little creatures (or other animals--get creative!) already attached to wires, like many fabric stores sell, this is an easy and fast DIY project.

    Look at that color! It just pops and flirts. 

    Instructions straight from Martha Stewart Weddings, found by clicking here.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Table "Runners" on the Cheap

    Pretty early on in the wedding planning, I realized there were three considerations that were very important to me: 1) Saving money; 2) Trying to use things I already had and buy new things as little as possible; and 3) Making sure that everything we bought or used for the wedding was not wasted and could be used beyond the one day celebration. I didn't want to use the wedding as a reason to buy a whole bunch of items that would just end up in our basement and gather dust, as this seemed wasteful.

    In meeting the above goals, I found that (yet again) I had to think outside the box. I changed the way I thought about my wedding. Instead of thinking, "what could I do for my table centerpieces that would be cool?" I thought, "How can I create centerpieces that won't be expensive, and somehow be useful after the wedding?" Coolness, in other words, was by far not the most crucial consideration.

    Throughout the process, there were a few aspects of the planning that proved more challenging than others. Because we had chosen a public park as our venue, we had to provide our own caterer. But it had to be a caterer that would agree to deliver the food to the park, set it up, and stay to serve it. Add to that making sure the food was phenomenally delicious, and you might start to see why we had much trouble securing our food vendor. Eventually we found the perfect vendor (not coincidentally, by thinking outside the box and pragmatically), but more on that another post. Another small thing that presented a challenge was finding table runners. I thought it would be easy enough. However our outdoor setting had picnic tables. And not the cute little petite picnic tables, but those bigger ones that fit 6-8 people per table. This means they were quite loooooong. And so, the search for the perfect runner: one that was inexpensive, and served a purpose beyond the wedding, only finally was resolved when I began applying the above "think differently" philosophy...

    We had about 15 tables. Since they were simple picnic tables, we covered them with white tablecloths, but I wanted them to have a dash of color--a little pizazz, if you will. So I decided that a table runner on each table would solve this problem. First I just went around looking for runners. I went to home stores, kitchen stores, and department stores in search of the perfect runner. Problem was, none of them were long enough to fit our abnormally long picnic table dimensions--they were all too short. And a bit pricey to boot.

    Naturally, I then decided that I would make the runners. This seemed like a great idea because I would have more fabrics and designs from which to choose. So I spent the next phase of the find-the-perfect-runner scoping out home stores and fabric stores for a cheerful pattern on linen or cotton fabric. I was pretty certain that when I went to Ikea, I would have a plethora of good options, since their textiles are generally made of simple, colorful, geometric designs. Unfortunately, what I had not noticed about their patterns, is that many of them had thick black outlines and lots of black in them in generally. Normally, if I were making window shades or a bag, this would be fine. But the high contrast dark images didn't really match the light airy outdoorsy look I wanted. Nor could I find both a fabric I liked and one that was affordable in any of these stores.

    And then one day it struck me. "Stop looking for runners," I thought! Just look for any fabric-type thing that might work. And just like that, a whole new world of ideas opened up for me. Suddenly I was considering bedding, curtains, wall hangings, even place mats (I thought I could easily sew them together) as possible candidates for completing my picnic table decor, and there was a lot from which to choose. In the end, the solution came to me while browsing in the Gap store. They were selling last season's scarves for $6.99 each. They were a nice light linen, had flowery prints on them over a white background, and came in bright yellow, purple, green, and blue flower patterns. And the yellow scarves, for some reason, were only $4.99 each. Most importantly, they were long and even had fringes on the ends. BINGO!

    For a total of about $95, I had my table decor complete. The day before the wedding, my sister graciously volunteered to iron the scarves flat, and our caterer-turned-decorator fastened them down to the tablecloths with double-sided tape. So simple! And the best part? At the end of my wedding day, 14 happy people were thrilled to take home a new fashion scarf and a great memento from our wedding! Cheap, utilitarian, not wasteful, and definitely cool--I hit all my goals in one. It still brings a smile to my face when I meet up with a friend or family and we realize we both are wearing my wedding table runners around our necks!

    A simple, inexpensive scarf from the Gap turns into a beautiful table runner for our hors d'oeuvres table!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Cutting Costs: An Introduction.

    There exist people for whom money is no object and a boundless budget is a mindless reality. I may have even unwittingly commingled with a few of them, at some point. Based on my informal observations, there seem to be three situations underlying the behavior of such spendthrifts (the words that make up this compound noun always feel so contrary to its definition!):
    1.     They are wealthy, their family is wealthy, their future spouse is wealthy, etc.
    2.     They are not wealthy but are willing to spend most/all of their savings on their Dream Wedding.
    3.     They are not wealthy but have been lured by credit card companies who are all too willing to lend them money, usually for a very high interest rate, and they plan to charge all their expenses for their Dream Wedding.  
    Muddy Waters was right when he sang, “you can’t spend what you ain’t got.” But boy, was he wrong when he went on to sing, “you can’t lose what you don’t have” (Mr. Waters; meet Mr. Credit Card With Interest). But no worries, I’ll save my proselytizing on not accruing debt for another time.
    For the majority of us, we want/need to figure out how to reduce costs for our wedding day. Just because we are not willing to spend an extra $50 per chair for those seat covers to match our cloth napkins, does not a bad bride make. This day is truly important to us, but our pragmatic alter egos kick in, demanding we make rational decisions, based not only on our short term plans for vellum invitations and platinum wedding bands, but also on our long-term future lives with our spouses. Right? Right!
    So save your unbridled passion and sparkling eyes for friends and family, who won’t take advantage of your elated emotional state and desire to please yourself and your guests, like a vendor might. Learning about some of the traps and tricks to avoid in wedding planning is not as tough as you may think. I already mentioned one of the best tips in a recent post: Not mentioning the word wedding when buying a cake, flowers, etc. Watch as prices get cut in half, and all the oogling and coddling of strangers trying to sell you something, wanes while your wallet stays intact. Consider it an experiment and give it a try. Be brave.
    In order to jump start the cost-cutting side of your brain into action, I’m linking a helpful article from the Baltimore Sun here for your reference. It provides a great introduction or refresher to keeping your costs down. Refer back to it when you find you need to re-ground yourself or regain some perspective. It’s a jungle out there. 
    Best part of this piece is that the tips are based on the comments and experiences of brides who wrote in to the newspaper with their tried and true tips (they are referred to in the article by their names or initials). What could be easier than benefiting from others’ mistakes and triumphs? Below are some excerpts from the Sun's piece, but be sure to check the article itself for the rest of the useful tips!
    Keep things in perspective. Couples don't get married so they can have a big party; they have a big party because they're getting married. It's those years ahead that are the most important, and to me, accumulating consumer debt right at the start does not seem like an auspicious beginning.
    Set your priorities. MMK called them values, and GiGiG called them splurges, but essentially these are the non-negotiable items that make the event for you. 
    Go off-season and off the beaten path.  Get married some other time besides May through October, and you'll be in a better position to bargain with vendors --- and Lord knows, you'll avoid hurricanes. The same holds true for locations for your event. Several readers, such as Bob and RD, enjoyed lovely ceremonies and receptions at public parks, beaches or private homes. 
    Don't call it a wedding. Vendors often charge a premium if they know you're getting hitched. You could buy a bridesmaid dress in white for far less than you would pay for a wedding dress, Maryann and Laura say. The same also applies to cakes.
    Barter and bargain. This is a great time to call in the favors --- don't be shy. Friends or relatives might have a connection with a business (a membership at a museum, an employee discount at a hotel) or a personal skill like baking or DJing or photography they can contribute. 
    Cut costs that no one will miss.  Readers such as Laura suggested using the Internet to communicate to avoid save the date cards or return postage on RSVPs, and ditching the wedding favors entirely. You could tell your florist to use more greens and fewer blooms, and just have one fancy cake on display while serving sheet cakes for everyone else, according to this Smart Money article.
    The full article can be found by clicking here. Check it out.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Snap...You're On Candid Camera!

    At your own wedding, even. While the camera may not technically be hidden, you may not know you've been captured until the party's over. Read on.

    One of the many reasons we chose to have our wedding in Detroit, is the fact that it is undeniably, completely, hugely, and blissfully cheaper to do so. New York is one of the more expensive places to wed (though there are great deals to be had, don't get me wrong) and so, armed with our assistants, wedding planner, technical coordinator, wedding coach, wedding party, and creative director (that would be: Jake & I, me, Jake, me, Jake & I, and Jake & I), we headed to The Motor City--where we have family ties--to make it happen. I haven't doubted our choice once.

    Every part of our wedding has been reasonably priced, and we have met more friendly, understanding, and genuinely accommodating vendors than expected. The kind of people that congratulate you enthusiastically before you can stop them. Due to the lower costs, we were able to splurge on some parts of the wedding. Like the photographer.

    As I have mentioned, both Jake and I are avid photographers, and we are therefore picky about pictures, particularly our own. There are certain types of photos we like, and certain types that we despise. Initially we were going to find someone from Craigslist to shoot our wedding. Especially in these tough times, there are many photographers willing to shoot your wedding at a severe discount or bare-bones cost, in an effort to expand their portfolio and hopefully sell more images. Jake and I are easily able to spot a talented photographer when we see one, based not only on style but also his/her approach, experience, equipment, and the overall quality and post-processing of the images. So we felt pretty confident we could weed out any posers and find a qualified person to do the job.

    We never even got to the point of advertising on Craigslist, because we found a fabulous photographer, with a stellar porfolio, a confident attitude and the skill set to back it all up. He was willing to work with our small budget and give us a deal. We cut out all the superfluous stuff we either didn't need or could do ourselves (albums, prints, thumb drives with all the photos) and the price was unbeatable. He completely won us over when we asked him, "What, if anything, should we provide for you regarding which shots we want?" and his response was, "How about you focus on getting married and having fun, and let me worry about the shots?" Had this come from someone with whom we were not already impressed, or a questionable photographer, it might have seemed like a cop-out. But this guy knows his stuff, and was basically letting us know that he was comfortable running the show and we should let him do what we were paying him to do. As a good photographer, he knew that the more relaxed we were and the more fun we had at our wedding, the better his shots. There was so much more about him that we liked, but that's for a later post.

    Our second option was to have friends shoot the wedding. We have a handful of friends who are also photographers, and we could have happily trusted them to capture both the important moments and subtle nuances of our wedding. But we hesitated only in that we really wanted our guests to be guests, 100% relaxed and at ease. I know many people delegate tasks to friends and family and there's nothing wrong with that. But we tried to keep it to a minimum. Our photographer friends actually truly enjoy making pictures though, and we would likely have gone with this option if we hadn't found our Super Photographer Guy. Besides, we know all too well that the job of shooting our wedding and being a guest would be a lot of pressure on our friends. Sometimes the most stressful jobs are the ones that don't pay.

    Last, but not least, enter the candid camera! I thought it was a cool idea to pass along: a company that offers a kiosk that guests slip their camera memory cards into and--bingo--the happy newlyweds just found their photographer(s) for the wedding! Of course, you will have to rely on the skill (or lack thereof) of the guest's camera-snapping abilities, but if you are on a tight budget, this may be a great option. The cost of renting the contraption = about $450 for the week--meaning you can use it for all the wedding events or any other outings that take place before or after your wedding. Not bad. Interesting idea.

    Here's an excerpt from the full article

    Rush Hambleton’s idea to start Canditto came just after his wedding in 2005. “My wife and I left the wedding on a restored Vespa motor scooter, sailing off into darkness,” he says. “The photographer missed the shot.” Thankfully, a friend happened to snap a picture, and sent a print a few weeks later. For Mr. Hambleton, a graduate student at Babson’s F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business, the experience led him to wonder how many significant photographs are taken by camera-toting guests — and how many brides and grooms never see them.
    His invention is a computer-based kiosk for events like wedding receptions. As guests leave, they are invited to insert their cameras’ memory cards into the device. The kiosk stores the photos on a thumb drive that the bride and groom can take home. The kiosk, the size of a small cabinet, has been to 11 weddings so far as well as summer camps. 
    Check it out here. It is going to be available all across the U.S. starting June 1, 2009. Shipping and return shipping is included. (Update: the link is currently not working. If it is not restored, I bet you could find a similar service in your area. If not, it's good to dream!)

    When I had mentioned this to Jake, he said, "Why not just have a computer at the reception so people could download their photos directly on it?" Hmmmm. I kind of wish we had done that, since despite our best efforts, some of our wedding guests never got our photos to us. One guest in particular (who shall remain nameless) went to the trouble of video taping our entire first dance together. And yet never gave us a copy even though she received well over 5 emails and two phone calls begging her to do so. Go figure. 

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Get Me To The Funeral Home On Time? (Don't worry, this is not a sad story)

    This story follows beautifully on my previous "thinking outside the box" post. Told you there would be a lot of that.

    We all have our moments where we want to toss the invites out the window, cancel the catering, and say "to hell with the flowers," I just want to get married! I know I have. And we've heard it a million times from other brides, "Don't sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day you'll still be married."

    Every once in a while, someone comes along and makes good on that advice, as did this hilarious (and resourceful!) couple, in Modesto, California, who got married at a (funeral) chapel:
    License in hand on New Year's Eve, Robert Smith and Mary Hartman just wanted to get married.
    They didn't care about flowers, a wedding gown, a tux, invitations, a photographer or any of the other costly nuptial trappings. They merely planned to say their "I dos" before a justice of the peace and get on with their life together.

    But where? The pastor at their church politely declined to officiate, citing personal convictions because Smith and Hartman are divorcés, albeit many years ago.

    So they went to the Stanislaus County clerk's office to get a marriage license Dec. 31. They wanted to be married right then and there. Wait until mid-January, they were told. No chance, Mary said. She's ready now. An employee at the clerk's office suggested they try one of the flower shops, because some of them hold weddings.

    "We were driving by Salas Brothers and she said, 'Do you mind getting married in a funeral home? They've got to have a minister in there,' " Smith said. "I said, 'No, a minister is a minister.' ...

    This is just a teaser to get you to read this funny and fabulous article written by Jeff Jardine --> click here now! (All photos courtesy of the Modesto Bee.)

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Thinking Outside the Box.

    Photo Credit: Shawn Carpenter

    There are going to be a lot of posts entitled "Think outside the box" here.

    Because thinking outside the box was the only thing that led me to have a wedding that not only reflected my principles but didn't cost me an arm and a leg. There are just so many tricks to save money. Most revolve around getting off the wedding track and just telling yourself you are having a big party. Stop thinking wedding favors, wedding centerpieces, wedding food, etc, and start thinking party gifts, party centerpieces, and party food. Trust me, a whole world will open for you and your wallet.

    More on that later.

    For now, I wanted to share an article from the New York Times. The amazing thing is that even though it is from 2008, all the tips still apply. It should get you started in your Think Outside the Box training or refresher. Saving money and making the most of the resources you already have rather than having to buy everything is a skill that will help you before and after your Big Day. Here are some of the ideas in the article:

    "Leah Brickley had her favorite flowers for her wedding last month. Luckily — given the cost of roses — her favorites were sunflowers. The white 1940s dress, bought for $59 and retailored for $100, pleased her more than any new bridal gown would have. She and Paul Hope, her fiancĂ©, also hired a photographer for $240. And with fruit pies, cookies and a chocolate cake, who needed tiers of white frosting? And because both are graduates of Johnson & Wales University’s culinary programs, the couple cooked the dinner themselves. 
    The couple cooked the dinner of tenderloin of beef (bought at Costco) and prepared salads. They poured prosecco instead of Champagne, and with dinner served only one white wine and one red wine. The entire alcohol bill was $252.
    Ms. Brickley posted an ad on Craigslist offering photographers a flat $200. She said she received 70 responses within a few hours. “We eliminated anyone who called but didn’t say congratulations,” Mr. Hope said. They selected one just starting out in wedding photography, Kat Cheng, to whom they gave an extra $40, “to rent a better lens for the day.”
    Ms. Brickley found the short white vintage dress on eBay. A 1940s hat, borrowed from her aunt, coordinated perfectly. Dozens of gorgeous cookies were made by a pastry-chef friend, and the bridegroom’s mother baked his favorite chocolate cake. For music, a friend became a D.J."

    Click here for the full article and many more tips!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    With this Ring, I Thee...Forgot the Marriage License!

    Photo Credit: wcgaskins59 on Flickr

    Don't get carried away with crafting and planning the fun stuff to the extent that you forget the necessary and pragmatic: your marriage license! Different states have different rules, so make sure to check your state law. Meaning, the state in which you are getting married! Lest you find yourself at the chuppah/altar with a bit of a problem.

    Here's an oldie but goodie, an article describing how to go about doing the above: click here.