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On Doing-It-Yourself

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The wedding is in 27 days guys. It’s crunch time. And this is a monster of a post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I hate that I’ve abandoned my blog when I have so many projects that I wanted to share. I”ll show you a few right now, but first I wanted to talk a little about what it means to be a DIY bride. Let me just start by saying that I was never going to be one of those brides who has a wedding planner or who hires some fancy florist and party rental company to decorate her reception. I have neither the budget or the desire for that kind of thing. I totally (less than a month out, now more than ever) understand why most people do, it’s just not me. So I knew from day one that my wedding was going to be one giant craft project.

I should pretty much just have my blog auto feed to Cupcake Wedding’s blog, because so much of what she writes reassures me that I’m not crazy and I find myself saying ‘Hell Yes’ out loud to my computer (which may negate that whole not crazy thing) every time I read her latest posts.

On the topic of the DIY weddding, she says:

“To be sure, conventional wedding speak predicates that the bride be treated like a princess, especially on the Big Day. She prepares by getting her hair did, preferably by someone who traveled to her, chugging on champers, and giddily waiting for the moment when she can finally wrap her poofy ball gown around her recently slimmed down body.

It’s a very attractive proposition, but, for many frugal brides, it isn’t an option. . . . We choose to have a DIY wedding. We did not budget for professional help. I am not going to ask my friends to break a sweat while I hide away in a hotel room applying mascara. . . . The truth is, underneath all the logic and budget tightening, I am looking forward to our busy wedding day. . . . I also can’t wrap my mind around the notion that I am expected to spend nine months crafting wedding details only to disappear on the actual wedding day and trust someone else with the execution.”

Having said that, I never anticipated the emotional stress and anxiety that would accompany my crafty undertaking. When I read about all of these DIY brides out there in blogging land with all of their little homemade projects, more often than not, it’s a DIT (Do it Together) story, not one about how hard the bride worked by herself until midnight for six months. I find that the most personal, crafty weddings out there were created not one by person, but by an army of loved ones. I don’t have that luxury. I didn’t get to have those late night assembly lines of invitation stuffing over pizza with my best friends. I didn’t have my mom with me when I went to get my dress altered. I didn’t even get to have my groom with me when I did our catering tasting. My bridesmaids are spread out in central Arkansas and Boston. They have their own lives and, understandably, can’t drop everything to help me sew table runners. The moms have been wonderful and have offered to help, but my mom just had a total knee replacement and Jacob’s mom is a school teacher so they’re both pretty busy right now too. I live three hours from my closest bridesmaids as well as my mother and Jacob’s mom. AND I’m a perfectionist, so delegating isn’t really my thing anyway-but from three hours away it’s damn near impossible.

The thing is, we choose to live three hours away. We stayed here in Fayetteville after all of our college friends moved on. It’s our adopted home town now, and it’s nothing new that we live away from our family and the majority of our friends. However, sometimes it sucks being so far away from everyone. Normally, this wouldn’t really be a big issue, but Jacob just started a new job and is training in Little Rock until the day before the wedding. That leaves me alone in our house with a never-ending pile of projects, and I guess it’s finally getting to me. My bridegroom, best friend, and roommate is now also three hours away and quite frankly, I’m lonely. Yes, I brought this on myself, but it doesn’t change the fact that at times it just sucks. There’s no better way to describe it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally excited about the wedding. It’s going to be beautiful and I’m going to dance all night and party with everyone I love, it’s just that I’m struggling to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Our year and a half long engagement has been wonderful in so many ways. It gave us time to focus on our relationship and what we wanted our marriage to be. It gave us time to really think about what kind of wedding we wanted to have. It gave me time to plan the logistics and aesthetics of our wedding before all the stresses of new jobs. There is no way I could have planned this thing in a few months (Alex Smith, you my dear must be superwoman) or with my current job. However, it’s hard to keep the intensity of something going for 18 months. It’s hard to stay excited and focused on something you literally think about every day for that long. My biggest fear is, to quote Cupcake Wedding again, ambivalence.

“With all the planning, I began to feel ambivalent about our wedding. My feelings, exhausted from cycling through fear, dread, excitement and anger, had given away to neutrality. Our wedding had become simply something to get through, like an important work deadline or a final term paper. . .

I don’t want to rush through this. I don’t want this to feel like another deadline.

Our wedding has consumed me during the last eight months, a fact that surprised myself, my friends and my family. These months have been hard, but there have also been moments of great joy.”

Okay, crazy hormonal bride rant over. Ready to hear about my invitations? :)

I started designing the invitation suite last summer in my free time. I worked really hard on the wording and style of the invitation and the elements of Fayetteville to include on the map insert.
Amazingly, when I revisited my designs six months later, I didn’t change anything about the map or invitation except the background design on the invitation mat itself.

I quickly designed an rsvp card with our web site and phone number for guests to rsvp to. I really didn’t have the money or space in the pocketfold for a separate adressed envelope, and figured that people don’t usually mail those back anyway.
*side note: I knew that people were bad about rsvps, but I didn’t think you had to drag it out of them like this. Is it because I asked them to respond online (which I thought made it easier) ?

I ordered grey pocketfolds, yellow-gold envelopes and cream inserts online from here in November when they were having a sale. I printed each piece on my trusty old canon printer (which is dependable, but a pain in the ass. i.e. it wouldn’t recognize more than one piece at a time so I had to hand feed 3 inserts x 90 invitations. ugh)

The map went in the pocket on the right, with the rsvp card slipped in on top of that.
I tied each invitation with yellow striped baker’s twine and stuffed them in their metallic yellow-gold envelope with extra* postage to be sent out in to the world.

*I orginally weighed an envelope on our mail machine at work and knew each envelope needed 61 cents in postage. Two days after I mailed them off I got them all right back in my mailbox with a note that they needed an additional 20 cents of postage because the envelopes were square and non-machinable :(

What’s the fabulous fabric in the background, you ask? One of the three fabrics that my yellow and grey color scheme was inspired by. You’ll see it again in the table runners and my top secret bridesmaid gifts that I finished this weekend. Also, I didn’t blur our information out because I’m lazy and they wouldn’t look as pretty, so if you’re a stranger reading this please don’t crash my wedding (unless no one else RSVPs, in which case we’ll have lots of extra food so feel free to join us).

If you’ve made it this far, I love you and you deserve a prize. I’ll let you know when I have time to make you one ;)


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  • meesh876 May 10, 2010, 5:00 pm

    Where do I RSVP?????

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  • meesh876 May 10, 2010, 5:06 pm

    nm, i figured it out!

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