Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Going to Moon My Honey

Hee hee. I'm so clever. This is another post about our honeymoon, although I do the above as well.

As I mentioned, we're going to Bali for our honeymoon. A few days at a beach-y place (I'm thinking Jimbaran Bay), and the rest of the time in Ubud, which is in the central area and known for allowing visitors to get a sense of Balinese culture with museums, marketplace, etc.

This is our honeymoon.  There is hardly any other excuse in one's life to do some serious splurging for our trip.  So while our other vacations are filled with third-choice locations, we wanted to do this honeymoon proper.

Is this ridiculous? It's a lot of money. Oh the guilt. *Pause*. Ok I'm over it.

In Jimbaran Bay, we have been considering several options for lodging. For 3 to 4-star places (this is our honeymoon, after all), there actually isn't a huge selection. In general, you can get so much more for your money in Bali than you would at other places--like, way more than my booger-sized NYC apartment, and you also get flowers in the tub!

Having said that, one place that totally busts the you-get-more-for-what-you-pay rule is The Four Seasons:

I would love to stay here, but alas, at about $600-700 per night without taxes and service charge, Kevin started eyeing my engagement ring and muttering something about "pawn shop".

Okay, moving on to second choice.  Second choice is still good! We considered the Jamahal resort in Jimbaran Bay--a more reasonably priced option (but admittedly still a bit of a splurge). The Jamahal also has great reviews on TripAdvisor.


Then we looked at Jimbaran Puri Bali--which also has really good reviews on TripAdvisor.


While Jamahal was the least expensive option, there is a busy road separating the resort from the beach. While this didn't seem to be a big issue with any of the reviewers and they have hotel staff to help you cross the road, we decided that since we are only staying for a few nights and want to make the most of it, that we would pay a little more and stay at the Jimbaran Puri Bali (so no playing real-life Frogger for us).

As for Ubud, there are a ton of places to stay and I spent much time looking at TripAdvisor. Our favorites included Villa Semana:


and Komaneka:


Komaneka has three properties, of which the Komaneka at Bisma (pictured above) is the newest. I mean, who can resist that infinity pool. And there is a restaurant with a balcony that has this view.  I could just die.  While one of the other Komaneka properties, Komaneka at Monkey Forest, is closest to the center of Ubud, we are willing to forego the short walking distance for this really beautiful property. 

Are you staying in one place for your honeymoon or are you moving around?  Any tips for Bali?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Honeymoons are not for Brawling

Traveling with friends/family/significant others is a very interesting and revealing experience.  I believe that people's travel habits speak volumes about their priorities and preferences.  Hostels or hotels? Museums or hiking? Make reservations or just fly by the seat of the pants? Plan out every minute or just let things happen?

The thought process surrounding our honeymoon decision revealed something about our relationship dynamics. Our original plan was to go to the Umbria and Le Marche regions in Italy, and drive from town to town and stay in different agriturismos. I spent a whole lotta time researching all the cities and looking for cute places to stay.

However, the more we talked about it, the more Kevin brought up doubts.  But why honey? Dontcha wanna honeymoon with me?  The answer was yes, but as long as we were not at each others' throats.

Going on a multi-city trip where we have to rent a car, drive around, and pack up and move every few days? After the hectic last rush leading up to the wedding? It might work for some couples (bless you and your ability to take it easy), but for us we knew we would be tense and stressed. An okay combination for a boxing match, not a lovey-dovey honeymoon.


(this is about how intimidating I would be as a boxer)

How do we know this? Sadly, from previous experiences screaming at each other when neither of us can understand the map or even the GPS.  While we have worked hard at getting better at this, I still I had to agree with his observation--we needed to go a place that didn't involve driving and lots of logistics.

In addition, we had to consider our preferences. I can sit on a beach all day, or by the pool with a drink, or in a spa. As in, I can have a wonderful vacation in a very limited amount of space.


Kevin, on the other hand, needs museums, he needs culture, he needs lots and lots and lots of walking! And he had always wanted to go to Bali (not for the beaches, but because of the culture--I know, I found the one and only person who thinks of Bali for its music and rice paddies, not its beaches).

We are accommodating both our preferences by spending half the time in a beach place (Jimbaran Bay), and half the time in Ubud (considered the cultural center of Bali).  We can hire a driver for a day for relatively little money ($50), so we can stay in relatively few places and take day trips to other locations (i.e. no driving for us).

Anything about the honeymoon or wedding planning process that has taught you how to take care of your relationship so it doesn't turn into a brawl?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Florist's Dud Job

No, I'm not talking about the quality of our florist.  She's great.  I'm talking about the dud job for which she probably wishes she hadn't signed a contract, the dud job at a fancy hotel that will barely reap a profit.  That dud job would be our wedding--no fault of her own, we're the lame ones. 

Let me back up.  Here are the kinds of flowers, available in March (tulips, hyacinth, freesia, lisianthus, etc.), that I was dreaming about for my bouquet:
 Source (my fave)

(I'm not sure I'm an all-tulip kind of girl, but these look like Easter eggs don't they I just wanna crack 'em) 

Beautiful bouquets, eh? How lovely it would be to hold thee. Until I saw the estimate from my florist. 

Since we are definitely splurging on the venue/food, I was really hoping not to spend that much on flowers other than for dinner table centerpieces and cocktail hour table arrangements. 

I met with our lovely florist at the Ritz on one of my trips out to the Bay Area.  She was awesome.  Warm, funny, conscientious (took copious notes), and talented.  Below are the items that I first discussed with her and for which she drew up an estimate. 

1 Nosegay (yeah, not even a bouquet)

1 Boutonniere 
Flowers for dogs (don't laugh, fools) 
Cocktail Hour table arrangements 
Escort card table arrangement 
Reception table centerpieces 
Cake table flowers 
Candles on windowsills 

After seeing the her estimate, here is the list I sent back to her, with my strikethroughs to indicate what we had to drop in order to get close to our budget.  I used red font in the email for extra effect!

1 Nosegay
1 Boutonniere 
Flowers for dogs 
Cocktail Hour table arrangements
Escort card table arrangement 
Reception table centerpieces
Cake table flowers 
Candles on windowsills  

That's 2 out of 8, i.e. we approved a mere 25% of what she originally envisioned for us. I am surprised that our florist is even talking to us anymore. 

Sigh.  Must DIY a little.  For the cake table, I'm going to be buying freeze dried petals instead, probably from flyboynaturals, to scatter on the table.

For the candles on the windowsills I think the Ritz can do a big chunk of that. Double sigh. I guess the words "festooned" and "profusion" will not apply to my wedding as far as flowers go. 

Anyone else have to cut far, far back on an item so you almost felt embarrassed telling a vendor?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feel Me Up

Last time, I talked about paper weight as one of the factors you may want to consider in choosing paper for your wedding stationery. Now I present factor #2, paper finishes.  By that I mean the texture of the paper, the feel you get from running your fingers all over the paper--ooooh, indecent! 

Paper finish
The first time I ordered paper samples, I wanted really thick paper, so I got 200lb. There I was, all excited, ripping open the envelope, rubbing my grubby fingers all over the paper, only to be like eh? Errhh? It felt like posterboard. Because I think it was posterboard. Shiny, slick finish. I didn't want my invitations to look like a 4th grade arts project.
If you're ordering from a place that has a wide selection of paper, you will want to pay attention to finish.  

Some common finishes (it's really hard to find close-up pictures but thepapermillstore has a page that explains them): 

Nice and nubby, with a tight enough weave so that it's not a 3D topographic map.

Also nice and nubby, with a bit looser weave than the felt for more discernable texture that gives more the feel of wide ridges (like in a farm when you have rows of mounds of dirt that you are planting seeds in)

Tight grid weave with thin "strands" criss-crossing, like linen. This is a really lovely finish but I've heard that you should test your printing method on a sheet before committing because of the contrast between the raised relief threads and the background plane (i.e. ink may not print evenly).
 All pics of paper finishes courtesy of The Paper Mill Store 

Um, that pic doesn't accurately portray a linen finish.  Instead, close your eyes and picture a linen tablecloth.  There you go.

Helpful or hateful (because I'm mentioning too many choices)?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paper Buffet

Let's hop back for a moment and revisit my decision to make my own save the dates.

I figured that if I was going to go DIY our wedding stationery, I might as well look into paper choices that I wouldn't necessarily have if I had gotten pre-printed save the dates. So the first thing I looked at was the heftiness of my paper choices.

Paper weight
There are several types of paper--cover, text, writing and bond (for those in the paper industry, don't shoot me if I'm wrong). The paper is further categorized by weight (in pounds)--meaning the weight of a certain number of sheets.  For a much better explanation of paper weight, go to The Paper Mill Store--they have a pdf packet explaining all this mumbo jumbo.


If you don't want to read in-depth, here's a tip: you want cover paper. It's the heavier weight. 80lb is about the lightest I would go, although for a nice thick feel and paper that does not waver in the wind when you hold it, 110lb and above was the choice for me.

On the other hand, 80lb is usually the heaviest recommended weight for inkjet printers (which I'm assuming most of you would be using at home unless you are STEALING FROM YOUR EMPLOYER and using the laser printer--I am *positive* that none of you do that).  But don't fear, there are some inkjet printers that can do the job, like the top-loading Canon ip2600 inket printer we have at home:
Source ($49 at Amazon)

Actually, in my experience, laser printers (yes, the ones at work--lips zipped, ladies), actually had a harder time pulling in the 110 lb paper than this inkjet printer.

I'll save the another aspect of the paper selection process, paper finish, for the next post.

Any aspects of paper selection you found fascinating?   Anybody have good luck with printing heavy paper with a home printer?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Goldilocks: Too Small and Just Right

And here we come to the last two chapters of Goldilocks' search for the perfect venue. If there is such a thing.

If you remember, our heroine was on an epic journey from NYC to San Francisco Bay Area for a venue suitable for 50-70 guests, allowed dogs, and had great food (or would allow you to bring great food, at least as much that could fit into Goldilocks' basket...or is that Red Riding Hood).

Anyway, the "too small" candidates--the ones that were just a wee bit small.

Kevin is the type of guy who wants New York City Hall, which I admit seems pretty romantic.  It was also just dun up real purdy, although even the old one had its own bureaucratic rundown charm. 

After I dissuaded him from a city hall-only idea with threats that my immediate family "would kill us", we started looking to have a wedding celebration elsewhere. 

In San Francisco, one of our options was Boulevard (I weep when thinking about losing out on the food there but it was too cramped). This restaurant is a San Francisco institution, with Nancy Oakes at the helm. The food is delicious, and the restaurant has a gorgeous Belle Epoque style.


Boulevard has a private room downstairs. While the room *could* fit our group (60 people), it was going to be a really tight fit with very little space for cocktail mingling. One phrase that I do not want people to use to describe my wedding is "lots of unintentional sexual harassment."  Goldilocks does not want to go to jail.

In the end, Goldilocks was faced with two final options, both that were just about right.

Hotel Healdsburg. Promising. Doable price, restaurant with great reputation, fun area for people to explore and do wine tasting, and pet friendly! (pic from Hotel Healdsburg website)

Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay. There's no suspense we ended up choosing this one. Wonderful reputation for service, restaurant with a great reputation (Navio), and pet friendly!


It was a torturous decision between Hotel Healdsburg and the Ritz Carlton. I spent many a dinner ruining Kevin's appetite with pros and cons about each venue, and even sent my sister, brother-in-law and my mom to each venue to scope them out.  Wine country was so appealing, but so was the Ritz! In the end we selected the Ritz because we felt like we would get excellent service there and our guests would feel like it was a real treat. And check out the room where we will be having our dinner reception!

Goldilocks found her venue! How did we get here from an NYC City Hall wedding? Who cares. I am incredibly thankful that we can have a wedding at this venue. It's gorgeous and I'm excited. I can't wait to boss around their "Ladies and Gentlemen"* like my serfs on the day of.

*The Ritz's motto is that they are Ladies & Gentlemen serving Ladies & Gentlemen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goldilocks Searches for Venues: Too Big

For this story, Goldilocks was going through the woods, and these woods spanned New York City all the way over to San Francisco Bay Area* (it was a big forest, like Fangorn in Middle Earth).  She wandered for a long time, looking for the perfect place (called a "wedding venue" in old folklore) at which she could drop thousands of dollars.  But not too many thousands of dollars.

And she wanted to find a place that could stuff her guests silly with good food, treat them very nicely, and allow her faithful companions (i.e. pugs) to accompany her.  She found lofts, restaurants, hotels and inns during her travels.  However, most were too big or too small, and she had to look at many places in order to find the one that was just right.

First up, in the "too big" category...

Daniel. Ah, my holy grail--amazing food, lovely decor, professional service... I actually thought that Kevin might propose to me at this restaurant the one time we've been there.  With food, drinks, tax and tip, about $250-300 per person. The words I let out after figuring out that amount were not so holy. If you are getting married here, I hate you.  Do you hear me?

(note that this is the main dining room and not the private Bellecour room, but I couldn't find a photo of the Bellecour room)

Auberge du Soleil. Location for Mrs. Tomato and Mrs. Pinot Noir. Gorgeous, luxurious, and the reputation for the food is amazing. No dogs. OUT (sound of heart being ripped out of chest).

Next, the Campbell Apartment. Oooh. Perfect size, rich comfy decor and surroundings, convenient location (Grand Central Station), and an $8000 site fee. 

The woman who talked to me on the phone honestly seemed very confused at my call, making me feel like I didn't even *sound* like someone who could possibly have $8000. She was nice, though, just too intuitive.

The next step in Goldilocks' adventures: Too Small

*Goldilocks lives in NYC but has family and friends out in Bay Area, plus she used to live out there.  Goldilocks will do anything for a comfy bed and bowl of porridge that are just right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Have the Patience of a Saint

St. Impatieus, to be exact.  I know for some people, waiting for the wedding proposal can really wear on the nervous system and create anxiety, frustration, and sometimes spouts of anger. I'm not saying I was ranting and raving, throwing myself on the bed with high-pitched wails or gnashing my teeth, but there were definitely moments of impatience in waiting for the proposal.

Shortly after Kevin and I began dating, it seemed natural that we would get married (that lucky bastard). Since I knew it was going to happen I wasn't waiting on pins and needles for the proposal, and we talked about marriage openly.

However, that doesn't mean that impatience didn't raise its tiny head once in a while.

We had picked out the ring two years before he proposed. Yes, two *years*--not months, weeks, but years.  I knew he ordered the ring because smartypants accidentally sent an email to me instead of to the jeweler saying he wanted to purchase the ring. So I knew he had the ring about EIGHTEEN months before he proposed.

Once in a while, I would say things like "Honey, I don't want to wait for the ring anymore, so I have decided that we are engaged. Is that okay? I'm going to call you my fiance whether you like it or not, do you hear me?" or "Set a date! Set a date!" (in my best imitation of Charlotte York).

He eventually proposed.  When he did, I said "Where's the ring?" 

Here's my ring. It's designed by David Lee Holland, who has a lovely little shop in Soho. He creates designs based on objects found in nature, and this one happens to be based on an Australian Pine Cone. I had never heard of that before, and I still don't know what one looks in real life.  

Smile!  I don't have very good photo skills, but that's stating the obvious. I swear, I couldn't zoom in any closer than this.  It's kind of a spazz, don't you think? It looks happy, like a burst of sunshine.  

Do you feel like you had to wait a long time for a proposal? Did you decide to take matters into your own hands and propose yourself, or just declare an engagement?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stamps are for Lazy People

Lazy people like me!

In my last post in what has got to be the largest number of posts that one can squeeze from their save the date creation, I want to quickly tell you about the return address. The idea of handwriting our address 30 times (not to mention the outer invitation envelope, RSVP envelope, and many mess-ups I'm sure will ensue) did not appeal to me.  Yah, I know this number is way less than for most people, but please see "lazy" apart above.

I started looking into custom rubber stamps and came across Impress Rubber Stamps, which has been blogged about before on Weddingbee.  They have a good selection of sizes, and I bought a 2" x 3" customizable stamp for $13.50.

All you have to do is, after placing an order, email them a pdf of the exact image you want on the rubber stamp. To determine what image (i.e. my address) to send, I used a really advanced design program called Microsoft Word, drew various boxes to represent the envelopes and experimented with different font types and sizes (downloaded for free from Urban Fonts) to come up with our final font size and style. For fonts, I was deciding between:


While the Cygnet is pretty, I went with Day Roman since I was a little nervous about the cursive font not coming out as well (altho since then I have seen an Impress custom stamp that had many flourishes and looked lovely--dammit). In case any of you are wondering, I had made the executive decision to stamp our return address on the back flap of all the envelopes so that the return address font and the mailing address (done a la my handwriting) did not have to match.

Anyone else make a shortcut with the envelope addressing?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mailing Address Tyranny

After all the focus on the design and Gocco'ing of the save the dates, it would have been nice to have immediately slapped those suckers in an envelope and sent them on their way.
In the non-wedding world, if you were sending a birthday card to mom, the scrawled mailing address in your handwriting does not merit a second thought. But oh no, as a *bride*, this rather pedestrian mailing address becomes an issue worth countless hours of internet research, drafts, agonizing, and lost sleep.

I know the etiquette is to handwrite the mailing addresses.  Apparently it's rude to print it. Why? I don't know.  Because I'm pretty damn sure that your guests will know that the each invitation was not handwritten, so why should your guests care about the mailing address? In addition, this etiquette tyranny dictates that mailing addresses can't be done with just any handwriting, it has to be really nice handwriting, so you folks out there who got a "C" in cursive in the 4th grade are out of luck.

Yeah, yeah, all this complaining, but I am a lemming.  I had to find a solution incorporating handwritten addresses as to not incur the wrath of etiquette tyrants.

I considered learning calligraphy. A loud obnoxious buzzing noise went off in my head nixing the idea as I remembered trying to do calligraphy for my sister's wedding back in the day and it SUCKED.

I then strongly considered shortcut DIY calligraphy. It is better explained here and executed beautifully by the likes of Mrs. Labrador, but basically you print the mailing addresses on your envelopes with a printer using very light ink, and then take your pen of choice and trace the print. Isn't that genius? And look how amazing it can turn out:

Well, that's how amazing it *can* turn out. Just as a quick test, I printed a fancy dancy calligraphic font on regular text paper and traced it. The final product looked like someone had been shocking me with a cattle prod every .3 seconds while I was trying to trace--it was horrible.

Source (I am not trying to make fun of this child)

Fed up, I decided that my own handwriting would do just fine. I bought Pentel gel ink pens (medium point, Sunburst gold) and addressed the save the date envelopes.

Source ($1.75 each)

They turned out fine, and will keep me out of the etiquette prison camp.

By the way, if you are going to use a gel pen or whatever, get a finer point--it's easier to write than with the bigger ones that make you feel like you're trying to write cursive with a magic marker.

What options did you explore for the mailing addresses?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Contribution to Gocco Tips

So, you've decided to use a Gocco.  You may not be as nervous as I was, but before I started using this magical Gocco machine, I read everything I could about Gocco in order to prepare myself.  After all, since Gocco products are no longer in production, you are dealing with a finite amount of supplies and you don't want to MESS UP (I'm kidding, it's totally okay to mess up--it's practically a rite of initiation in using the Gocco.  Also, there are DIY Gocco screen options so you don't have to worry about limited supplies--see below).

When using Gocco for the first time, you are probably going to encounter little issues that make you do this:


Anyway, so let's say you've read all the posts you can on using a Gocco.  Want more tips? Of course you do.  Here you go.  

1. Get more screens and bulbs than you think you need. They are expensive, but trust me there will be mess-ups, and there's nothing like being on a deadline and running out of essentials and not having time to order more. You will feel much more comfortable if you have extra screens and bulbs. I bought extra screens, bulbs and inks from Northwood Studios.


2. For solid objects in your images (as opposed to objects that are just outlined), like the heart between the two purple ducks in our save the dates, iron the photocopy between sheets of tracing paper in order to take off the excess carbon, or evenly distribute it, or something like that. We didn't do that the first time and the paper fibers from the solid object fused to the screen and the ink wouldn't come through onto the paper. So iron the photocopy image just to be safe.

3. For that day when you cannot find any more Gocco bulbs to be had because other DIY brides have selfishly hoarded them, please use this tutorial on the Unless Someone Likes You blog and keep it in a safe place. It's about how to keep using your Gocco even without the bulbs and screens. I haven't tried it yet but thank goodness this blogger had the creativity and dedication to come up with this.

Any useful Gocco tips out there?  Anybody having problems they need help on (for which other people can give advice because I've pretty much exhausted my Gocco knowledge)?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gocco = Good Times, Coke Bottles, and Save the Dates

After I had decided that ducks were elegant enough for our save the dates, I needed to come up with an overall design for the save the dates.  What are you looking at? Me? Oh, no no no no no. Let me direct your attention to my wonderful friend, K.  I met her the first day of college, which was, gulp, 15 years ago.  She is like a sister to me, and so incredibly talented.  She's been designing wedding invitations here and there for friends and family, and she kindly offered her design talent to our wedding!

To actually put K's design on the save the dates, my sister generously bought the Gocco (she will make way more use of it after the wedding--or at least that's what I told her). K and I converged on my sister's house one lovely weekend and we Gocco'd away! An action shot from this very exciting event:

(yes, I wear circles cut out from Coke bottles for glasses, what of it?) 

So what was the final design that K came up with?  Here's the unveiling (don't get too really, don't)

Mr. Pug excited to open the save the date in the mail

Da-na-na-na-na (sung to the tune of a burlesque stripper tune)

This is probably the first time Mr. Pug actually saw our the save the dates

A close-up

Another close-up

Her Empress is rather blase about the whole thing

Sorry, I'm not good at taking pictures.  Plus I think that Kevin had futzed with the camera settings so instead of figuring out how to fix it, I will just blame him.

The back had an explanation of the ducks and our website address.

It's illegible in the photo so there's no point in rotating it, but it basically explains the meaning of ducks in Korean tradition which I mentioned previously.

Those things on the bottom of the card are abstract representations of duck prints--I knew what they were beforehand and thought they looked great, but upon showing them to some coworkers I heard things like "fans" and "umbrellas". Whatev.

Anyone else use someone else's design services to create your wedding stationery? 

Monday, September 7, 2009

Save the Dates Phase II aka Nothing Screams "Wedding" Like a Duck

I already posted a bit about choosing the paper for our save the dates. For the design, I wanted something simple and elegant. So what did I end up with? Ducks. I mean, what else says elegance more so than ducks!

I wanted some kind of simple drawing/motif/symbol that would speak personally to us. Or at least to me, since Kevin doesn't really care. After some brain-racking, I came up with Korean wedding ducks.*

Courtesy of me

In Korean tradition, a pair a carved wooden ducks represented the married couple, as it was believed that ducks mated for life (I'm pretty sure this is false, but it's a nice idea). The position of the ducks signifies the state of the household. You place the ducks facing nose to nose when there is harmony in the marriage. However, when there is discord (say, after *someone* fibbed about having gotten you a Valentine's Day present and "left it at the office"), the ducks face apart (in other words, with their butts facing each other, because when you're mad at each other, farting on each other is acceptable).

Is there anything about your save the dates that represents you as a couple (or at least the half of the couple that is doing all the work, ahem)?

* While Kevin is not Korean, he watches Korean soap operas so I'm saying that's sufficient for the Korean ducks to mean something to both of us. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Shipping Charge: 1, Me: 0

There's a funny side story to my paper search: Limitedpapers, the company from which I purchased the save the date and invitation paper, is in Brooklyn. I was like HA! Brooklyn is not far at all, and particularly not from my office in lower Manhattan. I'll go pick those babies up and save myself a shipping fee! 

So that's how I found myself on a Friday afternoon, in 90+ degree heat, walking an interminable distance from the subway (it was midday and no shade), in business casual clothes, to warehouses and docks on the Brooklyn waterfront. You know, the kind of place where at night you might see Vinnie with a chair and baseball bat waiting for you. 

The location was a true warehouse. Super-wide stairs, crumbling walls that revealed what I'm fairly positive was asbestos, and a "door" to the company's space that rather looked like the gate to a maximum security prison. 

 Source  (actually, this is pretty attractive as far as prisons go)

And all this, while I was huffing, puffing, sweating and stinking. But I got my paper without a shipping fee! I saved $7! I am a saver! I am thrifty!!

Total waste of time. I have much, much less qualms about paying shipping charges since that experience.

Did any of you feel like you might become a missing person after purchasing your paper?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Save the Dates Phase I

I've been planning the wedding for a while (we got engaged in July 08), so there are a bunch of things I want to tell you about.  Let's start with the save the dates.

As I mentioned in my last post, I fell in love with Gocco-made invitations, daydreaming about the "squish" of the Gocco ink as it gets pressed onto paper.  I knew Gocco'ing the save the dates and invitations wouldn't save a ton of money considering the cost of a Gocco, so that's why I made my sister buy it. Ha! (Lest you think I'm a horrible person, my sister is actually quite artistic and crafty, so the Gocco is right up her alley.)

Despite the cost, I had decided it was the best way for us to personalize the save the dates and make them say "it's us!" to the guests, as well as print on paper that was a size and thickness that I wanted.

So, in addition to the actual image that would be printed onto the save the dates, what was going to be my canvas? Rectangle, square, circle, triangle, trapezoid? Ivory, white, metallic, vellum?

I browsed through many websites for inspiration, such as Bella Figura (I almost made out with the computer screen) and Sanskripts. And lookee lookee what I found.  Who knew that rounded corners could push such an emotional button?

Source (so tiny)
Here's another example of rounded corners that I decided were absolutely necessary.


I launched into research for the perfect paper to realize my vision of rounded-corner perfection. I found many a paper source, including thepapermillstore, paperpresentation, cardsandpockets, limitedpapers, and, um, well, paper-source, to name a few. I really wanted luscious paper. However, I later discovered that my idea of "luscious" paper was Crane Lettra 300gsm (yeah I don't really know what those numbers mean either) and a bit out of my price range (sound of heart breaking). 

Okay, so maybe not "perfect paper", but I still wanted a nice thick paper, at least 110lb (this is a good heft, paper that doesn't bend too easily). Cardsandpockets and Limitedpapers offer in-house custom-cutting for a fee, which was perfect for someone like me who does not have a paper cutter at home and is too lazy to find someone else to cut the paper for me.

I finally went with Limitedpapers, after ordering two sets of samples, because they had a wide selection of paper finishes and shades of white. I ended up buying the Strathmore Natural White 130 lb and had the sheets cut down to the right size.

Limitedpapers doesn't offer rounded corners (but CardsandPockets does, by the way), so on advice from Mrs. Penguin I ordered a Fiskars 1/2 inch corner rounder squeeze punch.

Source  ($11.99 on Amazon)

Which are pretty fun by the way. I'm going to round the corners of all of Kevin's magazines, mail and important documents (social security card, passport, birth certificate, etc.).

What kind of paper did you end up getting for your wedding stationery?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gocco--What and Why?

Let's not dwell on niceties and instead jump right into wedding things, shall we? Researching stationery was one of the ways I found weddingbee, so it's a good place to start.

Invitations and Save the Dates are the first glimpse that guests have of your wedding, and therefore take on a certain importance--you want it to say something about the couple's style, as well as convey the feel and tone of the wedding.  In my search for invitations to purchase, I continually came across brides who had made their own invitations.  Make my own invitations? I hadn't even considered it, didn't know it was possible (beyond writing with magic marker on posterboard).

When I saw the variety of homemade yet professional-looking invitations, I also saw a lot of the word "Gocco" flying around.  This is old hat for some of you, but for those of you new to Gocco (and may have missed Miss Pretzel's cool tutorial), here's a short intro: Gocco is a screen printing process that allows you to create your own design for a variety of media, including stationery. You create an image on paper, make a carbon photocopy, burn the carbon photocopy image onto a screen with the bulbs provided by Gocco, and then ink the screen with whatever colors and press it down onto your media.

There are already a lot of posts regarding Gocco and the basics of using a Gocco, like Mrs. Pretzel's posts and these videos:

One of the many helpful youtube videos (they explain the process)

Source (this video is more about showing the process, with no chatter)

And let's not forget:
Paper Source (please watch this and all her other videos, this woman is adorable)
Weddingbee wiki on Gocco

The Gocco allows you to print images and colors on papers that you may not be able to get away with on a regular home printer, because of a few issues:

I'm going to print my invitations on 5x5 square paper. I could conceivably run a whole lotta 8.5x11's through my printer and then painstakingly cut each one out, but that's a pain in the ass (for me, because I'm lazy).

I want to use 110lb or heavier paper. Many printers cannot handle this thickness. But with the Gocco, you're pressing down an inked image onto the paper so the thickness is not a problem (unless you are printing on something ridiculously thick, like your pet).

Quality of Print
Lastly, the pressed ink from the Gocco screen gives a bit more "3D" quality to the printed image compared to an inkjet or laser printer. We're probably only talking fractions of a millimeter here, something you can't feel with your finger and to be honest might be completely imaginary on my part, but the Gocco process gives a slightly more professional quality (but really, this is a minor point--for me it's more about the paper size and thickness).

So, Gocco: worth it or not? Discuss.