Justin & I are both tech geeks. When it came time to design our wedding programs, I knew I wanted an infographic. There really aren’t any sites out there that we found helpful when we were trying to figure out what data to use for our relationship, so here are our lessons learned…
A hybrid timeline/infographic design works best for quantifying a relationship: Although everything in life has a timestamp, most individual moments just aren’t that momentus. A simple timeline doesn’t necessarily tell your story. However, trends that emerge from aggregated moments can be very interesting. When you’re summarizing a relationship, especially for the purpose of a wedding-related paper goods, the stand-out individual moments are pretty obvious - first meeting, first date, engagement, etc. But I felt like the flavor of our relationship was in the stuff that we did often. So we chose a split design: timeline, then summary icons, then more timeline.
What to quantify in the “summary” part? We thought a lot about what defined us as a couple - what did we do together most often, and where. Some themes were obvious…we met blues dancing, and traveled the country together to go to Lindy exchanges. Some were less obvious, and surfaced when we started looking at TimeHop and Foursquare and other apps we use regularly…it turns out we play a lot of Big Buck Hunter.
How to gather the data: To create the timeline portion of the infographic, we searched Google Calendar and pulled the dates of a few key milestones (the night we met, our first date, the night we got engaged, etc).
For the aggregated-moments section, we checked:
- Google Calendar
Foursquare was by far the most useful; if you’re an active user, it’s an excellent source of data on all of the places you’ve been in your day-to-day life. (There’s one particular vegan restaurant in the East Village that I’ve eaten at 67 times over the past year, it turns out). There’s an excellent hack built on top of Foursquare called Intersquares, which can show you all of the places that you & your significant other have checked in together. Or, if you’re more technical, there’s API; our first visualization attempt was a heatmap made from checkins pulled from that API, but it turned out we very rarely left the 10-block radius around East 9th Street so it just looked like a bulls-eye.
The other services served more as reminders of the things we’d done together. There wasn’t any way to pull out the data, so we did a lot of manual tabulating. We looked for trends in restaurants we went to, what we did on “date nights”, where we hung out. TripIt provided us with our travel stats: 34,174 miles traveled between 20 cities over 3 continents.
Creating an icon set: We had to find an interesting way to visualize the results, so we created representative icons. Some of our milestone dates had clear image pairings…Justin asking me out over Twitter = the bird logo, me moving to San Francisco = the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. The cool thing about this was that creating a relationship icon set gave us our placecard/table card design as well. We made a set of rubbers stamps of our icons, and DIY’d those.
The other side of the program was much simpler to put together - it was just the flow of our ceremony and the names of our bridal party. After everything was laid out, Justin took the files to a print shop - two programs fit on each sheet, and the printer cut them in half. Then Justin hand-stamped the top of each with the same rubber stamps we made for our invitations.
If you’re inspired by this DIY and make one, I’d really love to see what metrics you choose.
I obviously didn’t post this on the morning of my wedding, but I had a last minute, morning-of-wedding DIY project and I figured I’d share “lessons learned” from my bridesmaid bouquet disaster. Pro tip: do not use Amaryllis if you’re DIY-ing a bouquet. It is a flower for florists, not amateurs. My girls and I had planned on just wrapping it in satin ribbon with pussywillows and some greenery. Turns out there is a giant wooden dowel that runs up the center of those stems, and they fall to pieces when you remove it.
One of my amazing bridesmaids and my maid-of-honor (sister) saved the day by doing an emergency run for peonies, and we whipped up four bouquets in an hour, five hours before the wedding. I’ll update with better pictures and a how-to when I get our wedding photos.
I’ve talked a bit about my ceremony veil in other posts - it’s a killer handmade all-lace mantilla, but it won’t work at all for our swing dance reception. For the dance, I’m planning on changing into a tea-length grey dress. To still look “bride-y,” I decided to DIY a birdcage veil. I might wear it at my rehearsal dinner, too. It’s super-simple and quick to make one, and the materials cost less than $10.
What you need:
- an applique (or fascinator - though that will raise the cost a bit)
- a 9” wide piece of Russian netting (use a wider piece if you want it to cover your whole face; 9” comes to just below the eyes)
- a pack of bobby pins
- a needle and thread.
- Cut the Russian netting into a trapezoid shape. Mine was 21” long on the bottom edge.
- On each diagonal side of the trapezoid, sew in and out of the square openings, anchoring each stitch into the thick areas of the netting. As you pull the thread tighter, the material will bunch. Stop when you get to the flat top part of the trapezoid, and knot off the thread (again, into the thick area of the netting).
I realize that instruction may sound unclear; it did to me, too. I spent quite a lot of time looking for help on this, and used this tutorial - it has a few great graphics showing the trapezoid shape you’re going for. Honestly, though, don’t worry about getting it perfect, because what is really going to make this veil look good is how you pin it on. A lot of sites will tell you to sew it onto a comb, but I found that was unnecessary.
Assuming you don’t go the comb route, you’re going to pin the veil itself to your hair - use a lot of bobby pins to get it to sit just how you want it. Birdcage veils have a tendency to puff up. After it’s situated, attach the fascinator or applique to your hair as well, using it to cover up the spot where the veil is gathered. My applique had a million threads criss-crossing the underside, so I just stuck some bobby pins through and then had a friend work them into my hair. If you’d like to be more thorough, buy an alligator clip and glue it using E6000 or something similar.
An applique will sit flat on your head, so if you want something more decadent, buy a fascinator clip. There are many amazing ones on Etsy.
I know this tutorial needs a lot more photos, especially of the finished product. I’ll update it with pictures of me wearing it once I have my wedding pictures. :)
Update: this is the birdcage veil from the back, worn with the applique.
I’ve been looking for some hair decorations, and I’ve been seeing a lot of hair pins, embellished headbands, and jewelry made of bits of lace. They’re lovely. They are super-easy and cost about $5 to make, but sites like BHLDN sell them for $90+. Don’t do it. You can totally make these yourself.
Venice lace is the best for making wearable pieces of lace because it’s heavy and that makes it a good candidate for stiffening. All of the pieces you see in the photo below are from swatches I got while I was shopping for lace to make my mantilla, so they were actually free. Even if your fabric shop charges you, you can make do with 1/8 of a yard.
What you need: Elmer’s glue, venice lace, scissors, findings (hair pins, chain, etc)
How to stiffen lace:
- Using the scissors, cut the lace along the motif into the shape you want.
- Take 1/4 cup of Elmer’s glue and mix in 1/4 cup of water into a container with high sides (tupperware is great). You can try something other than Elmer’s, but be sure it dries clear. Craft glues are generally unsuitable; the lace will get too hard.
- Submerge the piece of lace into the glue & water mixture. Make sure it’s completely coated and soaked through.
- Press out as much of the mixture as you can against the side of the container. Wring it out between your thumb and forefinger, but try not to bend the lace.
- Let dry overnight on a nonstick surface (the lid of a tupperware container or a plasting cutting/craft board is perfect).
You now have stiffened lace. The rest of the photos below show me attaching it to bobby pins and barettes, using E6000 glue. (What’s not pictured is me using an dress form clamp to hold the pin to the stiffened lace - highly recommended) Once again, if you are going to use glue, be sure it dries clear. The first time I did this I used Gorilla Glue. Mistake.
Even though the lace is stiffened, you can still sew it if you use a thick enough needle; I sewed some onto a flower fascinator/birdcage veil I made for my reception. You can just as easily attach smaller pieces of lace to earring backs, or connect a chain to the two ends of a long piece to make a necklace. The possibilities are endless. :)
I have such a sentimental attachment to these favors, I knew I had to have them. I’m Italian, and as a little girl I always thought these candies were the best thing about weddings, christenings, and the like.
I decided to make these myself because most of the sites selling them pre-made used really tacky netting/ribbon or are incredibly overpriced. If you make these with one other person helping, it takes about 2 hours and supplies cost ~$60 for 100 favors.
What you need:
- A bag of Jordan almonds. I used up a 5-lb bag on 100 favors.
- Some ribbon. 3/8” is the best thickness for tying on a bow.
- Tulle. It’s super inexpensive, and most fabric and craft stores carry it.
- A rotary cutter. Trust me, this will save so much time, it’s worth the $12.
- Find a piece of round tupperware in your kitchen that’s approx 6” in diameter at the opening. That size circle will hold 5 almonds.
- Fold up the tulle into a rectangle (or if you have individual small pieces, stack them). Place the opening of the bowl on the tulle and trace around it with the rotary cutter (do this on a clean, hard surface such as a plastic cutting board - rotary cutters are sharp!) If you do this right, one go-around with the cutter should give you multiple circles.
- Place 5 almonds in the center of one of the circular pieces of tulle. Gather up the tulle around them and twist so that the almonds are in a little pouch of tulle.
- Tie approx 8” of ribbon around the twisted part of the tulle. It’s actually easier if someone else holds the little pouch while you tie the ribbon.
And that’s it! I’ll update with some photos of the finished product soon.
Update: here they are displayed in some of the silver we collected, with a little card explaining the tradition.
Hipster guestbook alert! FDH has hipster tendencies. He rides a fixie and wears selvage denim and likes bright socks with tuxedos. When we started looking at guestbook options, everything seemed kind of lame and overpriced. We don’t have spare wall space to do one of those signed-canvas things, so we decided to go with a book…a Moleskine sketchbook! We’re planning to combine the guestbook with a photo station, in hopes that the result at the end of the night will be a cool collage-book.
To get things going, we printed some of our engagement shots on Snapfish and bought photo corners and sticky-dot adhesive. We scattered our photos on pages throughout the book.
Then we downloaded an iPad app called Pocketbooth, so that we can offer the fun of a photo booth even though there’s really no room for one at our venue.
How fun is that?!
At the wedding, we plan to have an AirPrint printer and our iPad out on a table with the guestbook so that guests can take their own photos when they sign.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how this turns out. I have some doubts about keeping all of the moving parts running smoothly, but DFH’s brother volunteered to man the station.
Post-wedding update: Leave the printer at home. No one will want to print anything, it turns out, and it’s too much of a hassle to go through the setup. But definitely put an iPad running Pocketbooth out next to your guestbook! So many people took pictures, and it was really fun to go through them and add the good ones to our guestbook after the fact.
I’ve had a lot of sticker shocks while wedding planning…somehow things get marked up about 1000% if they’re explicitly for wedding use. Today it was over the price of confetti at Michael’s. :) It’s bits of paper, for crying out loud, and I’d bet that confetti isn’t the thing that guests really remember about a wedding.
Alternative: this Martha Stewart confetti heart paper punch!
It’s from the same punch series I used for the pomander hydrangeas. It makes many tiny hearts at once, and costs $18. I bought it, picked up a few pieces of nice paper in our colors (grey & burgundy), and got to work.
The down side, really, is the labor required. I am already so tired of punching paper, and I’m realizing that making enough confetti for 100 guests is going to take forever. Maybe I’ll rope Justin into taking turns.
Maybe you don’t actually want to DIY this. ;)
Update: you definitely don’t want to DIY this. Though it technically does save $$$, it takes forever and you become convinced that you’re going to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
These little flower balls are awesome, easy to make, inexpensive decor for any wedding.
One of the reasons my fiancé and I picked our venue is because it’s so gorgeously opulent in its natural state. So our ceremony decor is going to be very simple…just two large floral arrangements with us standing between them. To make the room a little bit more festive, I decided to make some of these pomander balls to hang on the chairs and doorknobs.
It’s really simple. I was inspired by this baby-shower pomander tutorial by Paula of Frog Prince Paperie, which is posted here. Her instructions are great and have way better photos than my post, so you should check them out.
What you need:
- flower paper punch - hydrangeas or daisies are particularly lovely.
- 150 pearl-head corsage pins (eBay had the best price by a lot)
- 1” wide ribbon
- Krylon H2o Latex Spray Paint (optional, but please use this brand)
- styrofoam balls - for a wedding, you want at least 5” diameter. (see the photos of mine on the chair; they’re still a little small, and they were 5”)
The reason for that very specific spray paint is this: your flowers will shift around a bit after you make them, and some of the white styrofoam underneath will show. If you’re aiming to make very dark pomanders, you can either really pack in the paper flowers, or you can start by spray-painting the balls. But!! Regular spray paint dissolves styrofoam, so please use Krylon H2o or make sure that yours works with acrylic.
Another option is to wrap the entire styrofoam ball with ribbon. The tutorial below assumes that your styrofoam ball is already painted/wrapped if you want it to be.
- Punch approximately 200 flowers out of 2-3 pieces of cardstock. That will cover a 5” ball if you’re using one of the Martha Stewart punches.
- Cut a piece of the ribbon - the length should be approx 3x the diameter of the styrofoam ball you’re using, plus however much extra you need to create a loop for hanging.
- Wrap the ribbon around the ball once and pin it in place with some of the corsage pins. Create a loop, and tuck the end back under the ribbon on the styrofoam ball. Pin that into place as well.
- Take two of your punched flower shapes, and place them one on top of the other, offset, so that they look fuller. Push a single corsage pin through the center of the two pieces of paper. You now have a “flower.”
- Pin the flower to the styrofoam ball. I start by pinning them onto the area I’ve wrapped in ribbon, to better hold it in place.
- Continue pinning flowers to the ball until it’s entirely covered.
You’re done! If you used a ball larger than 5”, make sure that the 1” wide ribbon is capable of supporting its weight when it’s hanging.
Updated w/wedding photos: