Monday, January 30, 2012

What is letterpress?

Before I reveal our save-the-dates, I wanted to post about the inspiration behind them.

I LOVE paper, so the wedding has been a great excuse for me to look at pretty stationery all the time and splurge on fancy paper I wouldn't typically buy for myself. I've always loved letterpress and decided early on that I must have it for the wedding.

Letterpress printing is a printing technique in which ink is rolled over an individually cast die and then pressed into the paper. Letterpress was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1400s and is the oldest form of printing in existence.
Back in the day, the letterpress printing process started by using wood or metal type. The printer would arrange the blocks to spell out the desired message. Remember the scene in Newsies where they do this?
Oh So Beautiful Paper
Today, the printing process begins by creating the design on a computer. Instead of wood or metal plates, printers now make photo polymer plates with raised text and design elements. A separate plate must be produced for every color that will be printed.

The actual printing process remains relatively unchanged. First, the printer locks the plate into the letterpress machine. The ink is mixed by hand and then applied to a roller.
Oh So Beautiful Paper
Once the ink has been applied to the machine, printing begins. The printer feeds the paper through the machine, the ink is rolled onto the polymer plate, and then the plate is pressed into the paper. The thicker the paper, the deeper the impression. This process must be repeated for each separate color once the ink dries.

I love letterpress because of its tactile qualities. You can run your finger over the writing and feel where the ink has been pressed into the paper. Modern letterpress printing works best on thick paper made from natural fibers because you can feel the deep impression, like reverse Braille.
Bella Figura
If you really want to focus on the impression, you can even choose to forgo adding ink to the rollers and produce what's called a blind impression.
Poppytalk Handmade
Letterpress was the preferred method of printing from its invention in the 1400s through the late 19th century, when it was replaced by offset printing. However, the technique has experienced a bit of a revival in the past two decades. I'm glad that it's back because it's going to be a gorgeous addition to our wedding!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A wedding planning book for normal people!

As I've referenced a few times, I'm a huge fan of the blog A Practical Wedding. The blog focuses on the importance of the marriage you're creating and how to make sure weddings, above all else, reflect the love of the two people getting married.

Meg Keene, the blog's creator, recently wrote a book, and I just finished reading it.
A Practical Wedding c/o One Love Photo
If you are engaged, helping plan a wedding, in a serious relationship, or even just think you might want to get married at some undetermined point in the future, you should buy and read this book. There's helpful content about logistics and how to prioritize during the planning process, but what sets it apart from other wedding planning books is that it made me think about the choices I'm making. Meg's approach to weddings is that brides (and grooms) should choose what they want to include in their weddings because they really want those things, not because people tell them they need them. For example, there's an entire chapter on tradition and what a "traditional wedding" really means. Did you know that the unity candle was made up in the 1970s for a soap opera? So maybe if your mom* tells you that you HAVE to have that unity candle because "it's traditional," you can be better prepared to explain why you feel it's unnecessary.

My favorite part of the book was a list of questions thought up by the APW community to ask your partner before you get married. Adam and I spent a random weeknight going through these questions, and it was a great evening! The questions cover every topic from religion to money to how we feel about divorce.

Even though our wedding isn't exactly low budget, I think that we really are having a practical wedding, and this blog and book have helped me to determine what that means. It means that your marriage is the most important part of your wedding. It means that you include in the wedding only the things are important to you and your partner. It means focusing on the big picture. A practical wedding is one that you plan on your own terms, and I highly recommend this philosophy. So, go buy the book!

*For the record, my mom hates the unity candle. My mom is totally on Team Practical.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You spent $176 on what?

Today, I purchased $176 worth of stamps. That's a total of 400 stamps for all of our wedding mailings. The sad thing is that we'll probably run out before we send out everything (depending on how many thank you notes we end up sending). But as someone who loves stationery and mail, the thought of sending out this much snail mail excites me.

Also exciting: The reason for my massive stamp haul. Our save-the-dates have been printed! Even though they're done, I'm going to make you wait to see them until they've all been sent out. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stamp Solution

Remember my gripes about the USPS and its ugly stamps? Well, that story has a happy ending because I found this stamp.
Edward Hopper was an American artist whose most famous painting, Nighthawks, hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. Adam and I saw it there on our visit just a couple of weeks ago.

The painting depicted on this stamp is entitled The Long Leg. It portrays a sailboat in the foreground and a lighthouse in the background. I originally liked the stamp because the sailboat reminded me of summertime in Chicago with all the sailboats on Lake Michigan. It turns out that the lighthouse is the Long Point Lighthouse on Cape Cod, where Adam and I will spend our honeymoon!

Alright, USPS. You're off the hook this time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our All-American Honeymoon

After weighing our options, Adam and I decided on a honeymoon destination. The day after our wedding, we'll be flying to:

Cape Cod!
It's different than the tropical honeymoons that most people go on these days, but I am so excited! I've heard that the cape is beautiful in the fall. Even though we won't be able to go swimming or do typical beach activities, there's so much to do and see. I'm looking forward to leisurely walks on the beach, fresh fish and chips, going whale watching, picnics on the beach, and channeling my inner Kennedy.
We haven't booked flights or hotels yet, but we're starting to look into things. We'll probably spend the first night in Boston and then drive out to the Cape for the rest of our stay with possible detours to Martha's Vineyard and/or Nantucket. Does anyone have any suggestions for where to stay or things to do?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman

As you may know*, the U.S. Postal Service is increasing stamp prices by one cent, effective January 22nd. Normally, this would be annoying, but fine. However, now that I am A Bride, this sucks! It's only a penny more, which translates to a total of maybe $3-4 extra in postage for every piece of wedding mail we have to send out. What I'm more upset about is that I have to go back to the drawing board for choosing which stamps to use.

The USPS has ugly stamps. I hate the wedding-themed stamps, and I don't want to put a picture of the American flag or the Statue of Liberty on my beautiful save-the-dates/invitations/reply cards!
 I got excited when I started looking because I saw a few stamps for specific states and cities. But of course there was no Chicago or Illinois stamp.
I looked into buying custom Chicago-themed stamps from Zazzle, but the prices were a bit outrageous at almost a dollar per stamp.
I finally settled on a set of 2 stamps that fit the modern vibe of our wedding invitation suite while still evoking a little bit of wedding romance. (Who knew I would ever put this much thought into choosing stamps!)
Done, right? Nope. These stamps are 44-cent stamps, not forever stamps. This means that the postage won't be sufficient beginning on Monday. We'd have to add a one-cent stamp along with these, and - you guessed it - I don't like any of the one-cent stamps.

So, it's back to the drawing board. I'm sure I'll find something, but if anyone from the USPS is reading this, you really should make prettier stamps!

*If you didn't know, you're welcome for the information.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Name Game

Once upon a time, when a woman got married, she always dropped her surname and adopted her husband's. In 2012, this isn't always the assumption. There are lots of options nowadays. When we got engaged, I started to think about those options.

1. Change my name.
2. Keep my name.
3. Hyphenate.
4. Adam takes my last name.
5. The two of us come up with a new last name and both change our names to that new name.

Option 5 is becoming more popular, but it seems a bit too strange for my taste. Plus, there aren't any combinations that sound good. Lafleck? Flamping? Ew.

Adam immediately dismissed option 4 as "not an option."

I eliminated option 3 for a few reasons. Firstly, I think hyphenated last names are too cumbersome. Secondly, what happens if your child gets married to another person with a hyphenated name? It's not a very sustainable solution.

So that leaves me with keeping my name and changing my name. For me, the best option is to change my name. I like this option for a few reasons.

1. I'm not that attached to my last name. Growing up, I was always closer with my mother's side of the family than my father's, so my family history is more tied up in a family whose name I never shared. I think that if I had my mother's maiden name, my decision might be different.
2. I want a family name. Adam and I will be starting our own family when we get married, and I want a name to reflect that. Furthermore, when we have kids, it's important to both of us to have a name that we all share.
3. It's really important to Adam that I change my name.
4. I always assumed that's what I would do, so I guess I like the traditional aspect of it.

But what happens to my maiden name?

Even though I'm not very attached to it, it still feels strange to lose it completely. When my mom got married, she moved her maiden name to her middle name. I love my middle name, so I don't want to do that. Instead, I'm toying around with the idea of adding my maiden name as a second middle name. So, I would be Molly Marie maidenname newlastname. No hyphen. Several of my married friends have done this, and it seems like a good way to have your cake and eat it, too.

I still have several months, so I haven't made my final decision yet. Any suggestions? It's funny to have the responsibility of naming yourself, but I'm sure that I'll make the right decision in the end.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flower Power

Conventional wisdom suggests that a wedding just isn't a wedding without lots of flowers. But here's the thing: I don't really care that much about flowers. When I go to weddings, I remember a lot of the details, but the flowers aren't typically among the details I remember. This is why I have a hard time stomaching the thought of paying hundreds of dollars for something that a) I don't really care about, and b) will die a day or two after the wedding is over. That said, I still want flowers for my wedding. At the very least, I will carry a bouquet down the aisle. This month, it's on my to-do list to meet with florists, so I've been gathering inspiration.

I love peonies. They're giant, fluffy, and smell so good. They also happen to be the state flower of Indiana, my home state. Sadly, they are out of season in September, so it's extremely unlikely that I'll carry peonies down the aisle.
Wedding Bee
Fleurs France
I've always loved hydrangeas. Even though Madonna isn't a fan, I love these fluffy blooms. They look great in bouquets and (bonus!) they're cheap. I love the mix of white and light green hydrangeas in this photo.
Style Me Pretty
Anemones are a flower I didn't know existed until I joined the world of wedding blogs. They're so fun with their black centers!
Martha Stewart Weddings
Usually, I prefer bouquets and arrangements with a whole bunch of a single type of flower, but I love these bouquets with a mixture of hydrangeas, roses, and berries.
Style Me Pretty
Style Me Pretty
Ranunculus is another type of flower I didn't know existed until I started reading wedding blogs. It's gorgeous, and in season in September, so hopefully I'll be able to incorporate a few of them into our flowers.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Come Hell or High Water

I saw this wedding video today on Style Me Pretty. It's absolutely beautiful and reminded me that weddings aren't about the pretty things, but about the commitment and love between 2 people. I can only hope I would be this graceful under pressure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Said Yes to the Dress!

After trying on 28 dresses (I think) at 6 boutiques in 2 cities, I found my wedding dress!

What's that you say? You want to see a picture?

I know I've spilled a lot of details about the wedding on this blog so far, but the dress is one secret I intend to keep.

However, I did try on roughly 27 dresses that I did not purchase. Here are a few of them.
This Paloma Blanca was the first dress I tried on. I loved the lace, the shape, the keyhole back, and the sash. Basically, I loved everything about this dress...except the price tag.

This Lazaro ballgown was HUGE. You should've seen the amount of tulle underneath this baby. No way was I going to schlep all that fabric around Chicago all day long, but it was fun to try on a poofy princess dress.

My mom snuck a photo of this Pronovias dress in a boutique that didn't allow photos. I loved how tiny my waist looked in it, but I didn't like the lace itself. This photo was also about the time I decided I don't think I want to wear a veil over my face. It's kind of claustrophobic and you can't really see. No bueno.

The V-shaped neckline on this Wtoo dress was pretty and the dress was really comfortable, but it just didn't feel glamorous enough for a wedding dress.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes

After the ceremony, pictures, and dinner, it'll be dancing time! I love to dance, but my feet might be a little tired after 6+ hours in high heels, so I'm planning on getting a pair of cute and comfy flats to change into. Here are some possibilities.
These are from Target, and are only $24.99! I love the embellishment on the toes.

 J.Crew, but sold out. Maybe I can find something similar. I would definitely wear these again after the wedding.

These glittery flats are from Payless, and they're only $16.99!

Here's another Payless find. Wouldn't these be a fun "something blue?"

So Hot Right Now

Weddings, just like fashion, are influenced by trends. Without wedding trends, the wedding industry would die because there would be nothing new to sell to brides. I'm not a trendy person. I don't own jeggings or 5 inch platform heels. Adam and I decided early on that we didn't want to look back on our wedding in 20 years and see the 2000s version of these.

In some ways, though, it's impossible to have a wedding in 2012 and not have it look like it took place in 2012 (unless you deliberately go with a theme). So we decided to embrace the trends we liked and not do some of the things that are so hot right now but are decidedly not "us."

Wedding trends I love (and will incorporate):
  • non-white shoes
  • grey bridesmaid dresses
  • lace (I'm not sure you can call lace a trend, as lace wedding dresses are classics (my mother and her mother both wore lace dresses), but they're definitely in style now, thanks to Kate Middleton.)
Jenny Yoo
Wedding Bee

Wedding trends I like (but will not incorporate):
  • short, vintage-inspired dresses
  • yellow-and-grey color schemes
  • photo booths
Dolly Couture

Stephanie Williams Photography
Wedding Bee

Wedding trends that aren't my thing:
  • rustic chic (mason jars, bunting, outdoor weddings in fields/forests, barn weddings, antiques)
  • candy buffets
  • mustaches on sticks
  • Style Me Pretty
    Wedding Bee

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Black and White and Fab All Over

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty
Photo credit: Green Wedding Shoes
Photo credit: House and Home
I love the look of this black and white grosgrain ribbon. It's preppy, bold, and unexpected. I'll have to look for ways to incorporate some of it into our wedding design.