Posts Tagged ‘Save the Date’

The making of the Save the Date sign: Let there be light(s)



If you’re a loyal reader, you know I have been determined to create a clever Save the Date for our pending (as in, “Holy cow, fast approaching, someone slow this thing down!”) nuptials. I wanted it to look as cool as something the hipsters would’ve devised, although they would have done it minus my angst, my gotta-get-this-right stress, but with the addition of their, “We could be doing something so much better right now” blank-faced flair.






I was after something like this. (See my absolute favorite Save the Date*, below). Although, to be fair–or accurate, really–these people can’t be hipsters; their faces convey too much human emotion:  an oxymoronical combination of worrisome glee.






Literally saving the date copyImage via Lydiasnextstep






*Excuse me, but I must interrupt my blog post to make a very important aside. When one is doing a lot of talking and thinking and scribbly note making about materializing Save the Dates and sending out Save the Dates, etc., one soon finds it is easier to resort to shorthand and discovers the handy acronym: STDs. And then one bursts into peals of laughter over the hilarity. I mean take the word “sign” off this blog post title, insert acronym, and it has a very different meaning, indeed. Come on, tell me that made at least someone smile, if not just guffaw.








Back to the scheduled post. I think I liked this Save the Date so much because they were actually saving the date. So I racked my brain. Dates. Saving. Thoughts, thoughts, chin tapping, brow scratching. Nada. Then I decided I could play the date and pretend to be tied to train tracks, like a damsel (or date, in this case) in need of saving. I could pull off looking delicate and distressed. (I think.) However, my idea also sounded like the other “D” word. No, not dumb: “DANGEROUS!”





So I came up with this, instead…






Hand holding save the dateYes, you are witnessing my real hand. No models were involved. And, you guessed it, that is an authentic dried date.  Points for originality. Am I right?






Because I recently tried a brussel sprout recipe that involved dates, (I do have a hipster moment now and then), we happened to have a box of dried dates in our fridge. So I whipped up a toothpick-inserted sign for my date and headed to…where else? The railroad tracks.





Save the date with real date




The problem, as though I need to tell you, the perceptive viewer, is obvious as witnessed above. But, I’ll spell it out for you anyway: my date and “Save me!” sign were so tiny, in order to show enough tracks to give context, the date and sign became but a speck of something resembling a small sausage or animal dropping. So I picked up my turd-shaped date, watched as a train zoomed past us, and then crossed the tracks to my car and drove home with my head hung low.





Save the date on tracks



Not to mention, (but to totally mention), before I left the house JB declared my literal sense of humor was likely a sign of having a really bad sense of humor or no sense of humor at all. Nice. But, rest assured, despite my fizzling ego, the wedding is still on.



I arrived back at home, so unenthused, I surely could’ve been mistaken for a true hipster.



Enter: JB, who has these moments of brilliance. This was one of those moments. While I was out tramping on the tracks (as in walking, no midriff baring shirts were worn on this day, or any day, really), he was at home making a mock-up of a sign we could use for the STD photo. (Tee hee.)




Cardboard save the date signInspiration a la Lite Brite, cira 1985.





I loved it. So JB cut a piece of plywood to size to create the sign we’d use for the actual photoshoot. I wrote in chalk (and evidently dark pencil) to loosely mark the numbers and used a 5/16″ drill bit to create holes that were large enough to fit Christmas light bulbs through.





Wood save the date sign




Once the holes were drilled, I painted the sign with black acrylic paint. When the paint had dried, I popped a bulb through each light, plugged in the end of the strand and we had this…






Save the Date signWho has a Redwood tree in their front yard in So Cal? We do.




Insert humans (us) and we had this…





Save the date poses 2




and this…





Save the date poses 1




to choose from. And we chose this one….





Save the Date final with datePhoto credit goes to Lyn Gianni (aka: Mom).



In retrospect you can hardly make out that there is an actual date in JB’s hand, only the “Save Me!” sign which makes it look a whole lot like he is requesting to be saved from…marrying me? While that certainly wasn’t our intended message, this was the only one in which we both looked generally excited, not too posed–so unhipster, it was probably hipper than hipster. Not to mention, in this one JB looks like he just spotted a unicorn and is waving hello with his single jazz hand.




Save the Date card




We used a template from (see above) because JB liked the idea that if you’re going to send out STDs (chuckle, chuckle), it should be done the ecologically-minded, paperless post way. And did I mention it’s inexpensive? Many of the templates are free, including the one we chose, but to send the posts is another story. You can send out as many as 75 invites for free, but they will be accompanied by an ad. For $10 they offer a single-use, ad-free premium design that you can send to up to 2,500 guests (I’m guessing this option is for really popular people). We decided to be big spenders and choose the deluxe $30 package that includes the use of ad-free premium designs (although we happened to pick a free one) that can be sent for one year to 250 people (because we’re not that popular?). This package also includes two free printed post cards to be sent to yourself, or a friend, as a keepsake or to your parents who are wondering what you have against paper.






Happily Ever After light sign







Yes, I know this is a design blog. So here you go. You don’t really need plywood to make one of these signs; you could use cardboard or stretched canvas. I was inspired by our sign and decided to quickly make another one that said “Happily Ever After” out of a plywood scrap we had lying around. I figured it could hang on the wall or lean against a tree as a prop at our outdoor wedding. Unfortunately, I made it so quickly I forgot my own advice of plugging in the strand before popping each bulb into a hole. Save yourself a headache–and from your results looking as spotty as mine do above–and keep the strands plugged in as you insert them through the holes so you don’t bother wasting time with a busted bulb.




Note: You will end up with a scraggly bundle of Christmas light cords on the back which you can flatten to a manageable lump by using long strands of duct tape taped across the back of your board. If you use plywood, you can insert screw eyes to attach wire and hang the board. If you want a more finished look, you can purchase trim molding from Home Depot and spray paint it any color you like–think gold for a gilded look. Use a miter saw to cut the corners. Use brads and hot glue to attach the molding to the front of the frame. Or, large-scale rope (left natural or spray painted gold) can be attached with brads to the perimeter of your board to create a rope “frame”.


The possibilities are almost endless: “Peace” or “Noel” at Christmas; “Boo” for Halloween, “Love” for Valentine’s Day–or any day. A simple word like “Wonderful” or “More” would be intriguing and kind of Pop Art-ish, as well.



One last design thought while we’re on the subject of drills and design. The other evening, JB and I went to Chipotle (because their food is yummy and all their meat is Humanely Raised) and, while there, I noticed this wall…





Chipotle hole wallChipotle Wall. La Cumbre Shopping Center, Santa Barbara.




It’s really a simple concept: a wall of raw plywood in front of a lit niche that has been painted a contrasting color. However, you could take it so much further. You could customize it by painting the plywood, using the holes to spell out a word, phrase, line from a poem–or even a family crest or company logo. In other words, by using a drill bit, plywood, and lights, you can get a whole lot of “wow” for not much money.



And that’s something to get excited about!




Chipotle wall detailChipotle wall detail.




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Marching ahead: We have a wedding site in sight!



Our procrastination and foot dragging has been rewarded. Big time.





If you ran into me this week, I likely spilled forth a soliloquy on the subject so, for you, this is oh-so-yesterday’s newsflash, but for the virgin ears:  We found a site for our wedding! Or, I should say, it found us! I’m not kidding; it was like the stars aligned…and shone their luck down on us like laser beams.





Save the date writing on facesImage source, Rachel Schulz






Remember how I said I was in molasses-mode about planning our September holy-cow-that’s-3 1/2-months-away wedding?






Save the date red fingerprintsImage source, unknown.








Save the date black fingerprintsImage via Dynamite Weddings





Well, the other day, something magical happened. But it didn’t start out that magical. It started with a simple walk. My mom had stopped over to walk my dog, Lilo, with me. My usual walk is up a steep hill, and down, and then up again, and back, but my mom was feeling tired, so she suggested somewhere flatter, shorter, different. Get that? This is example Number One of “What were the odds?”





Save the date shadow signImage source, unknown.





I’ve only taken this short route two other times, (in the nine months since JB and I moved here), so, not only was it highly unusual that I would be there, but I almost never run into anyone on my walks, so it was highly unusual that anyone else would be there, either. But, low and behold, we spotted a couple. (Hint: This is the, “It was fate!” detail number 2.)






Faceless save the dateImage source, unknown.




A couple I recognized as two fun and friendly people I helped pick floors for about three years ago. I remember they had a very neat, arty house. And that they liked seagrass and wool carpet. And that was about it. I mean, come on, that was three years ago.





Save the date Scrabble tilesImage source, unknown.





So we quickly caught up. Their house had burned down (ohhhh!)  been rebuilt (ohhhh?) and they had just moved back in the week before (ohhhh!). (Last and third coincidence: Since they’d only just moved back into the neighborhood, we would NOT have been able to run into one another, until now.) Ooh eee ooh = the sound of destiny unfolding.





Save the date with dogImage via The Frosted Petticoat





I shared that my fiancee’ and I had bought a house–which turns out is only a few blocks from theirs–back in September. (More “Ohhhh’s”, but, from them, this time.) When the wife asked me the date of the wedding, I think she looked a little stricken when I said, “September,” but even more so when I added I was still looking for a location. And then these words passed her lips, “We have a house!” and I’m sure I looked whatever the opposite of stricken is. (Gleeful!)





Save the date banner and trainImage source, unknown.






This house to which she referred, did she mean the newly built one they had just finished explaining is all glass and metal (no more of that flammable material called wood!) and nothing short of amazing? Yes, she did. “Call us!” she said and I floated the rest of the way home.





Save the date 50s homemakers

Image via Craig Clement






Then I let a week and a half go by. I told you, when it comes to this wedding, I have been dragging my feet all zombie-style. But last weekend, I dutifully checked my To Do list and like a good, trying-not-to-procrastinate-any-longer engaged person, I made the call.





Save the date letters on the grassImage source, unknown.





The call that changed everything! The call that prompted the super duper, incredibly nice and generous couple to say, “Come on over and check it out.” So we did. I took photos and drooled and smiled and my inspiration banks started filling because this was one of the most impressive houses I have ever seen. (Big, big statement here since 1) Their house before was pretty rockin’ and, 2) Well, this is Santa Barbara and all, where there is no dearth of dreamy houses.)  This house was wowwwww with its modern juxtaposition of weather-worn corrugated Corten steel siding and sleek stucco walls, towering doors, swooping roof lines, and staggering mountain views. All–could this get any better?–within walking distance form our house.





Literally saving the date copyGenius image via Lydias Next Step





Inside, adjacent walls were painted lime, red, and deep eggplant. And it worked, brilliantly, says the white walls devotee (me). A motorized garage door separated her office from the open floor plan living room/dining room/kitchen with all the “Woah, check it out!” mountain views. In the guest bath, instead of cupboards under the countertop, there was a bicycle. Oh, and there was an elevator. An elevator! Everywhere I looked, I saw modern art, giant fans (from the Big Ass Fan company), and ceilings as tall as Barbie’s legs are long. And down below, next to the Olympic-sized pool, was a beautiful orchard of oak trees.





Save the date on balloonsImage source, unknown.





The kind of orchard you picture all done up with twinkly lights and long tables adorned with succulent centerpieces, burlap ribbon, and, you know, Pinterest stuff. “I love it,” I said, and then mustered enough confidence to ask, gulp, “How much will it cost?”




“Nothing! It’s our wedding present to you!”




And I’m sure I looked as far from stricken as possible. (Bursting with glee.)





What!?!? As JB’s friend, Chris, said when he heard we got engaged, “Head explodes!” (I can only hope Chris meant it as a good thing, but that’s definitely how I mean it.)






Save the date credit cardImage via The Bridal Detective





I mean, I was a bad delayer, putting off finding a site like there was…something around the corner that was just meant to be and…it turned out, there was!





Just when the news is all about the bad folks killing the good folks, and you wonder, “Why? Why? Why?” you meet people who are so, unexpectedly, I can hardly believe it, do-they-really-make-people-like-this-anymore? nice, and it makes me happy to be human again.





Tying the knot save the dateImage source, unknown





And not want to give up on mankind. Not when there are some good souls. And your silly stalling is rewarded–for a site that is better than you could ever have imagined!






Save the date written on bootsImage source, unknown.





All because you took a walk–because your mom was tired–in a different direction.






PrintImage source, unknown.





While I snapped about twenty photos with my iPad, I have yet to ask formal permission to post any of the photos of the house so I’ll limit my sharing to this one of the exterior. I think it sums up the genius of this couple. It is their Steinway piano (once a shiny red Baby Grand) that was burned in the fire and is now placed outside as a piece of sculpture. Brilliant, isn’t it?





Steinway piano sculpture










Save the date library cardImage source, unknown.





Of course, the next step is to send out our Save the Dates–hence the proliferation of themed photos in this post.





I know I included a mass of them, but each one was so darn creative, I couldn’t bear to give it the boot.




I’m studying them like mad, now. And prodding JB, “Hey, look at this one. And this one. Oh, and this one.” He is not only being kindly patient, but when I said, “I love them all, but we need to come up with our own creative version and vision,” he came up with something. Just in case we can actually pull this off, I don’t want to give it away entirely, but I’ll say it involves his bicep, a fake tattoo of my name on said bicep, a tattoo shop and a tattoo needle in my hand. Now, all we have to do is find a tattoo parlor that is willing to let us turn this bizarre photo shoot idea into a reality. (Wish us luck with this one!)






Save the date suitcase copyImage via Wedding Paper Divas




And to stop procrastinating! A big thank you to our neighbors who have offered their brand new, amazing home as a wedding site. Now that we know the where, this all finally feels real. And for that, I am the three G’s: grateful, glad, and giddy!




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Too trendy? The search for wedding ideas that haven’t been done to “Death do us part.”

There’s a whole lotta wishful thinking when I tell you we are!/were?/are! getting married in July. Truthfully, I don’t know if we can pull it off. And that makes me feel bad because we carefully chose the date ourselves and, normally, we’d do anything we could to avoid missing a deadline. So how can we allow ourselves to possibly miss the greatest deadline of our lives, thus far?



Chalkboard signImage via Southern Weddings (We are not Virginia or Henry although those are very nice names.)



Because I have wedding planning block. And it doesn’t stem from the fact that we’re still knee-deep in the trenches of sample selection and the what-will-go-where? stage of our remodel and that I’m hardly anxious for anyone to see the house while it’s very much in its Before state. (Did I mention we plan to host the reception at home? Oh yeah.) Or because I have spent the time since we became engaged daydreaming about, and working on, setting up this blog, instead of reflecting on which wedding dress styles would look smashing or if we should choose cupcakes or something tiered.



Rose Wedding dress



And it’s not cold feet–although JB will tell you my feet feel like wedges of ice, especially lying in bed, mid-winter.  No, the real reason behind this block is because for a while I was paying attention (pre-engagement) and I saw all these amazing crafty wedding ideas. Ideas that made me think, “How clever/original/wonderful! Who are these brilliant minds who thought that up?” And then I saw them over and over again.



Rustic wedding stagImage via Rustic Wedding Chic 




Roses and orchids



Don’t get me wrong. It is with a big smile on my face that I acknowledge we are living in a fine time for planning a wedding on a budget (which we’re definitely on). Five years ago, you couldn’t fake stylish. It came one way. At a hotel or sprawling rented house, tables festooned with vases stuffed with thousands of dethroned roses,  a shot glass or magnet printed with the date of your wedding resting at every place setting, and a three-tiered–at minimum–cake. These days a decent backyard trumps the confines of a stuffy ballroom, mason jars stuffed with lavender and wild flowers are beyond passable–they’re preferred; the party favor is a poem typed on an old typewriter, and instead of slicing into a $400+ cake creation, the bride just smashed a cupcake (that her sister made, gluten-free) into her groom’s moustached face.



Outdoor wedding

Image via Bridal Guide



Today, having a DIY wedding doesn’t mean you’ll appear low on funds--but, instead, incredibly hip! And so, you may ask, why are my feet still dragging when they could be trying on some ballet flats I might bedeck in glue and glitter for the big day?



Glittered ballet flatsImage via Elizabeth Anne Designs 



Because, it’s starting to feel like every good idea has already been done. For example, if we got married anytime between now and the last five years, this is how our Save the Date would look. (Except we’re not actually these people.) Incidentally, my best friend just pointed out if we’re planning on sending out Save the Dates for July, we’re officially behind schedule.

Save the date hipsters


We’d wear vintage threads, stand side by side relaxing our faces into expressions that read, “This is nothing special. Really, there are a lot more important things we could be doing right now. Truth.”



Save the date grocery cart

Image via Paper Source.

Or pose, while one of us rides a grocery cart, the other pushes, and we lean in for a charming kiss. (I actually really like this one!)



We would have chalkboard everything from the font on the invitation….



Chalkboard wedding invitationImage via

To the actual wedding



Chalkboard wedding backdrop



To the decor




Chalkboard chair signs




There would be stumps here




Stump wedding decorImage via One King’s Lane



And there




Succulent Wedding cake

(I made this cake for my best friend’s wedding, last September. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the stump was giant, almost 3′ in diameter, and heavy!)



Mason jars for vases



Flowers in mason jars




A burlap “Just Married” banner–possibly one resembling Scrabble tiles, like this…



Just Married Burlap Banner



And burlap and wine barrels at the cake table dessert station



Wedding wine barrels

Image via The Very Last Detail 



A rustic sign leading guests to the action…




Rustic wedding signImage via Ruffled blog 



A vintage chandelier hung in the garden



Wedding chandelierImage via One True Love Vintage Rentals



A station with an old fashioned typewriter so guests can share the keys to marital bliss



Typewriter wedding

Image via Jitterbug Vintage Weddings



And a beautiful succulent bouquet….



Succulent bouquet

Note: I read a suggestion somewhere that you can plant your succulent bouquet directly into the ground and it will begin to root and grow…along with your love.



But I’m determined to switch it up a bit. Do something that hasn’t been done.



Burlap wrapped silverware

Image via MarryMeTampaBay 



I’m curious about the next trend in wedding design. I’d rather be on its cutting edge than on the tail wind of what was done last year. Or the year before, or the year before.  And sometimes that takes more than the allotted time (T minus five months) to figure out.



Happily Ever After signImage via Crossroads4kids 



But as I look through these images, I admit, I love every one of them! Perhaps it’s okay to not reinvent the (wedding) wheel, but just roll with the inspiration. Borrowing ideas might be just fine. There is supposed to be “something borrowed, something blue,” right?  How about you? Have you come up with any amazing ideas to set your wedding apart? I’d be happy to hear them!


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