Last week I was playing around online, googling for wedding stuff and and getting ideas for new designs I’m working on. One thing lead to another, and I came across this cute face:
This is Gigi, from Not So Traditional Bride. She’s a wedding planner in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Central NC) and she’s pretty rad.
Gigi has been planning events for almost ten years, so she knows what’s what. She and I have been chatting back and forth and her experience planning her own wedding is very similar to mine. Here she is, in her own words:
“Years ago, I was planning my own wedding and I found that most wedding vendors did not want to deal with me because I had a small budget and a small guest count. It really put a damper on my wedding planning process and I wanted to give Brides the opportunity to not only save some serious money but have their wedding day turn out their way.”
That is so similar to my experience with wedding vendors when I was planning my wedding! I feel strongly that a wedding should reflect the couple and their personalities, not just be another cookie cutter run of the mill event, and Gigi’s approach to wedding planning matches that philosophy to a T.
Gigi has a background in floral arranging and event catering, two staples of the wedding industry. Her experience in these areas have given her the experience needed to assist with bouquets and boutonnieres and table top design, as well as act as a liaison between the couple and vendors. Her specialty is day of coordination and weddings on a budget – in fact, she loves DIY brides and can provide some crafty goodness as well as whatever else is needed. Gigi believes (as do I) that a wedding doesn’t need to cost the same as your college tuition to pull off. The sole purpose of her business is to help the bride – or groom – achieve her/his perfect day, her/his way.
If you are in the Triangle area, I strongly suggest you get in touch with Gigi. She’s easy to get along with, is really creative and knows this business inside out. Whatever your needs are, she can help. As she says,
“Weddings should be fun! I think more couples need to be reminded of that. So should the people working in the wedding industry!”
Foil invitations – they’re all the rage right now. And I get it, they’re beautiful and funky and it’s really hard not to love them. It’s something that I’ve wanted to offer my clients, but being a small business owner I wasn’t really sure how. Well… last night I did some experimenting, and things went very well.
This was my first attempt, and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ll try duplicating it today and if all goes well it looks like this will be something I’ll be offering on the website! I’m so excited!
I’ve got ideas for the above, but also polka dots and maybe offering a chevron pattern in foil as well. Is there anything you’d like to see? I did one last night with just the names in foil and that looked very classy as well.
Foil is available in all kinds of cool colors. Check it out:
Oh yeah. So excited. I’ve already placed my order for a bunch of different colors and cannot wait to start playing. It’s happening, baby.
All Mario, all the time. I have a son… that should explain a lot.
This is my professional blog, for my wedding invitations. But I put a lot of work into the birthday parties I throw for my kids, and I thought, maybe another mom out there might appreciate some of the stuff I’ve done. Maybe some of my ideas might help them when they’re planning a party for their kiddletons. And maybe some of my brides have kids.
Plan it out.
Last year the Kamikaze Kid turned six. He was obsessed with Mario, and asked for a Mario party. This is what I came up with. Let me start by saying that everything in the stores was Lego themed, and it was hard to find much Mario and Luigi stuff. This year I decided to go easy on myself and convinced him to go with a Lego party – and everything in the stores is Mario themed. I can’t find anything with a Lego block on it. FOR THE LOVE OF KING TITAN WHY IS MY LIFE LIKE THIS.
The first step in my party planning (or wedding planning) is aways to come up with a basic color palette. For a Mario theme, I knew the colors would have to be red, blue and bright green and yellow – a true primary color scheme. I repainted a picture frame I bought at Goodwill a zillion years ago and printed out something I MacGyver’d together in photoshop to make this sign for our front door.
I made a lot of the decorations – I usually do. Because of time constraints I try to buy more than I used to (I used to insist on making EVERYTHING but who has time for that?) but I always end up making at least a few things. With Mario stuff being so hard to find, I ended up DIY-ing quite a few things for this party.
Like everyone else online, I went to Home Depot and bought some PVC pipe, then spray painted it green. As always, I was asked for my ID and told condescendingly not to “huff the spray paint”. I’m not sure what kind of vibe I’m giving those people to warrant the lecture, but I wouldn’t even know how to start “huffing” spray paint and didn’t even know you could get high from it until they told me. In my day, you would ask someone’s older sibling to buy you a mickey of something at the LCBO and get tipsy at the edge of a wheat field like a normal teenager. #Canadian #digression #ThanksForAskingForMyID
Anyway, the pipe really does make the perfect tunnels that mimic the ones in the game. I then cut out a triangle from some styrofoam balls (for the mouths of these – what are these red dotted things anyway?) and painted them. I had trouble finding something sturdy enough to hold them up, and couldn’t face making another trip to Michael’s, so I used green popsicle sticks which I raided from the kids’ craft drawer. A year later and the Kamikaze Kid is still playing with these things, so I’m gonna call this a crafting success – and they looked pretty awesome on the food table at the party, too.
I made the little food sign – the “fire power” sign by the cheese balls – out of a wooden stand I got at Michaels. I usually buy them when they are on sale or I have a bunch of coupons, and then hold on to them. I always end up using them for something. I printed out the Luigi picture from photoshop and glued it on, then painted the bottom of the stand green and the “stem” of the stand red with white dots to match the red headed mushroom thingies I had made. It looked pretty good! I made a few food stands like this.
Good and sugared.
These marshmallow treats were a HUGE hit. HUGE. I’ve discovered that anytime you put a marshmallow on a stick (or in this case a straw, since the sticks I had kept breaking and I didn’t trust using them without getting splinters into kids’ mouths) and toss a bit of icing into the deal you are going to have some seriously happy children. I love how these turned out, and they weren’t very hard to make at all. The first step is putting the marshmallow on the straw, so you can put the icing on the marshmallow without smudging it. I learned the hard way – you can see the smudge on the first one I did before I figured this out. The marshmallows were gone in about 7.8 seconds.
For the first time, the Kamikaze Kid had opinions about his cake and how it should look. I let him describe his wishes to the (very patient) baker behind the counter at our favorite bakery, and she gave him exactly what he asked for. It was absolutely delicious! The sides have all the different Mario characters on it. If you live in the Austin Texas area, I recommend checking out Sweet – we go to them whenever we need a cake or other sweet treat. Their prices are competitive, they are friendly and have always given us exactly what we have asked for. My daughter’s Nightmare Before Christmas birthday cake was unbelievable.
More decorations… because it never ends.
I think the table turned out pretty cute. Usually, there isn’t a formal “sit down and eat your cake here” area. This year the kids were older, and since we had a pool party I didn’t want them to drip all over my house. I hand painted the clouds on the cardstock squares because apparently, I’m a crazy person. Yup. Nothing but the best for my kids. They’d better throw me one awesome retirement party one day, I’m telling you…
The favor boxes were a lucky find, I found them here. The sign says “Game over, thanks for coming. Please take a gift box!” The frame is from Ikea.
Do you like Mario? Is Mario taking over your house? Is the Mario theme song running through your head now? You’re welcome… And if you have a Mario party, please leave a link in the comments so I can see what you got up to!
My invitations are handmade. Yup, I make all the invitations you guys order BY HAND. No automation or robotic involvement anywhere! Well, I have the inserts printed by a professional printer, but I make all the pockets and add the rhinestones and whatnot by hand.
Recently I ordered some samples from some other invitation companies, just to see what my competition was doing. And they were very nice – I have no complaints. The samples were fine. Just – fine. Nice.
However, it was very obvious that these were factory made. The pockets from the different companies were identical, but assembled in different types of paper. I found that a bit of a bummer – two different companies, yet the pockets were the same. They had obviously been purchased from a wholesaler somewhere.
The ink was printed right onto the cardstock rather than onto blank inserts. I’m sure this was a cost saving measure… but you definitely get what you pay for, because it didn’t feel very luxe or personal to me. Basically, all of the samples seemed very “cookie cutter”, as though a line of nano robots were spitting them out assembly line style. Wow, that’s quite the image, eh?
Now, I don’t want to slam these invitations – I realize people have different budgets, and for some this may fit within their budget or preferences and that’s fine. But for those who are like me and just cannot do things like everybody else, I offer my handmade invitations as an alternative. Because each one goes through my hands, I make sure every single invitation is up to my high standards before shipping it out. I painstakingly create a tiny reflection of you and your partner to present to your guests while allowing you to be a part of the creative process. While the inserts are at the printer, I begin to cut the cardstock that will become the handmade pockets and outer wrap. When everything is back from print I assemble it all myself. I am a perfectionist and have set a very high standard for myself. I am very proud of the work that I do and the high quality I provide.
My try to exclusively use Bazzil cardstock when creating my handmade invitations. If Bazzil isn’t available in a particular color that has been requested (which doesn’t happen often) I will go with another brand that is of the same quality, but it is my favorite cardstock to use because of the thickness, texture and variety.
There is also a huge variety of colors and even certain gold foil patterns that I’m somewhat in love with. I’m a bit of a paper snob, so this is a topic I should probably write a separate post about.
When planning your next event, I hope you will consider using my invitations. I really do believe that a beautiful handcrafted invite sets the tone for your wedding. Contact me for a free sample!