One Year!

Although I can’t quite believe it, today is our first wedding anniversary. Somehow, it seems like it was just yesterday and also a million years ago. It was the happiest day I can remember, and I don’t know if Dan or I have ever felt quite so full of love (and so loved). I had spent so much time preparing myself for the things that might go wrong, for how it might not be perfect, that I really wasn’t prepared for it to be such an awesome day.

I really wish we could go back and relive it, but looking at the pictures is a pretty good way to come close. I posted some wedding photos here, and wrote a bit about how I documented our wedding in my Project Life album here. All of these (amazing) photos were taken by Liesl and Randy of Photo Pink NYC, who were pretty much the awesomest.

all put together and suddenly feeling like a "real bride"

I'm seriously SO glad we did a "first look" even if it's not traditional.

taking the edge off ;)

the bridal party

just married, and Van Halen's Dreams is playing :)
seriously… I heard Dreams in the car earlier this week and couldn’t stop crying. Playing that song as we walked back up the aisle was the BEST decision.

it was cold, but we really lucked out with our January weather
given how insane the weather has been this January (Polar Vortex, anyone?), I feel SO lucky that the weather on our wedding day was cold but otherwise perfect.

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I’m so glad they got photos of our table set up – I am still in love with the centerpieces, and proud of the photos I took of the different varieties of beer for the table names.

this was one of my favorite moments of the whole day

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going into the brewhouse was our favorite

inside the brewhouse!

this is one of my very favorite photos of the whole day

On Name Change

I always planned to change my name when I got married. It’s what everyone in my family before me has done, and the idea of getting to have an entirely new name at some point in my life seemed exciting. Before I knew who I would marry, I wondered sometimes about what kind of name I’d have, whether it would be long or short, common like my maiden name, or maybe a little more unique. With a last name beginning with T, I often sat in the back of classrooms in school. Not that I’ll ever have a chance to be seated in a large classroom arranged alphabetically, but the idea that I could move to the front or middle of the metaphorical classroom always seemed exciting.

It’s hard to write about this whole business, and I have been hesitant to put it all out there. Whether or not you change your name when you get married is such a personal thing, and all kinds of things have an impact on how people feel about it – how old you are, what your relationship with your parents is, how easy (or difficult) the new or old name is to spell or pronounce, heritage, sense of self…. I know people who have kept their names, changed their names, and hyphenated. I really understand the reasoning behind all of those choices. I’m hoping I can explain how I feel about my choice in a thoughtful way, with the understanding that this is, of course, my choice. The other options (which were all things I really seriously considered) make so much sense to me, too.

I loved my last name growing up. I liked being at the end of the alphabet. I adored people who called me ET. And yes, I was also pretty jazzed to be able to claim “elizabetht” on so many social networks. My maiden name is very common; it’s nearly impossible to google me. I get SO much email that isn’t meant for me, but for other Elizabeth Ts. I’m close with my family. Hell, this has been my name for 31 and a half years. I’m really attached to it. It has been very hard to wrap my head around the idea that Elizabeth T__ won’t be my name. (Even though, of course I’ll always be Elizabeth T__, and ET, and elizabetht. My family is still my family, even if we don’t have the same name.)

But I also love Dan, and if I can say so, his last name is pretty great. And the notion that in getting married, Dan and I are creating our own new baby family is one that is extremely meaningful to me. I love the idea of sharing a name with him, of being the d__ Family, established 2013.

It was never really that I didn’t want to take his name, but more that letting go of my old one made me really sad in a way that surprised me. I very seriously considered the idea of taking my maiden name as my middle name after getting married. (Not that I don’t like my middle name, but you know.) However, research told me that you can’t actually do this in New Jersey without going through the legal name change process, meaning court fees, court appearances, and newspaper ads, separate from the marriage name change process. That isn’t to say that the hassle of the bureaucracy changed my mind… but more that my first-maiden-new last would make for quite a mouthful. And I have never been one to use my middle name or even my middle initial anywhere, so why would I go through all that rigamarole to then… not use it on any documents, forms, resumes, business cards, websites, etc? It just didn’t make sense. And although my mother and grandmother both adopted their maiden names as middle names (which was half of the reason that I wanted to do so as well), their maiden names were lovely short names, not the 8 letter one I was thinking to add to my 9 letter first name and 7 letter new last name. (Yes, I count letters. Are you that surprised?)

So in the end, I decided to take Dan’s last name. I like the idea of the two of us sharing a name, of our future children sharing it as well. I like the idea of not having such a common name, but one that’s extremely pun-inspiring. And I adore it when he refers to me as Mrs. d__. But the night before I planned to go to the Social Security office and the DMV, there I was, crying big, fat tears. “I know who Elizabeth T__ is. I have no idea who Elizabeth d__ is.” It sounds silly, but somehow, the thought of not being ME anymore (who am I if my name isn’t the same) was just too much. Dan, ever kind and understanding, said “but you don’t have to change your name. You’ll always be the Elizabeth I love most, no matter what last name you have.” (Which made me cry more. Which just confused him.)

I suppose I needed to cry a little, to acknowledge the Change. The idea that I’m someone’s wife, and my name shows that. (And okay, I cried again this week as I systematically eliminated traces of Elizabeth T__ at places like the electric company and on my student loan account.)

I’m rambling, as ever… but as much as I love Dan and my new name (and it’s now almost entirely official), it’s quite weird. I like the idea of a fresh start, and something about a new name makes me feel like things are just starting, throw all your bad habits out the window, that was what the old Elizabeth did. But … what do I do with all of these places where I’m elizabetht? (flickr, twitter, listography, you know, EVERYWHERE). (I already checked; shelikesstripes is taken on twitter, jerks. Has anyone out there ever tried to convince someone to relinquish their twitter name? ha) I think too much, that much is clear. But it’s just weird. Exciting and crazy and oh GOD you should see how bad my new driver’s license photo is… and different and new and pretty great despite the tears.

Project Life: Documenting the Wedding

I wasn’t sure how to approach documenting our wedding in Project Life. I tend to think of Project Life as our whole lives, and there are so many events (like vacations, or ahem, a wedding) that could be (and probably should be) documented more thoroughly with another method. So I guess I’d say that my arbitrary rule about Project Life is to try to avoid overloading it with too much of any one thing. The wedding wasn’t just a weekend away or a fun party (although it was both of those things, really), it’s a Huge Life Event and obviously needed to be treated as such. However, because we had mostly “normal” days before and after, I really like how things came together in the album as a whole – because yes, there’s a lot of wedding, but you turn the page and it’s back to work. And that’s what our actual LIVES were like, so it makes a lot of sense to me.

There were SO MANY things I could have included in Project Life related to the wedding. SO VERY MANY. And they’re all important and noteworthy and worth saving…. but I had to draw the line somewhere. Could I have included other things, like the sign that the brewery put on the door saying that they were closed for a private event (because of course my parents swiped that on his way out!), or the inserts from our gift bags at the hotel, or a picture of those, or pictures of our families…. yes, of course. So many things. But I sort of wanted this to feature the highlights. (The things that didn’t make the cut are happily stored in our wedding box, a big hat box that my mom gave me when we got engaged. So the bundle of cards and rsvp cards and my veil and the official Event Planning Sheet from the brewery and our candles are all stored safely for posterity, don’t worry.)

The other executive decision I made was to include photos taken by our friends and family, rather than the professional photos. For one, we only have about ten preview photos from the professional photographers, and I really didn’t want to wait a few months to get the wedding documented in the album. Two, several friends posted some fantastic photos on facebook and flickr, and my dad took a ton of really great photos (as well as a bunch taken by my uncle using my dad’s camera) – and since these were the first photos that we saw, we’re really sentimental about them. (I’m thinking to make a big, thick bound photo book from shutterfly or blurb or snapfish or somewhere using the professional photos down the line.)

So here we go! (Click through to flickr to see bigger versions of these photos for more detail.)

Project Life: The wedding
The first batch of photos – our first look, walking down the aisle, sheer joy just after the ceremony ended, the bridal party, entering the reception (photo stole from Jodi), and me and my amazing Grandmother (I look all weird because I’d just cried like a fool while dancing with my father to Wildflowers by Tom Petty.)

Project Life: The wedding
I then used an 8.5×11 insert. The front side included our invitation and reception card, as well as the beloved black and white striped ribbon that was on my bouquet, the boutonnieres, and the centerpieces. We had a very small bit left over and it was such an integral part of the wedding look that I had to include it. The back of this insert included our save the date, a blank rsvp card and stamped rsvp envelope, the outer envelope that the calligrapher (Rachel Carl, who was amazing) addressed to us (yes, we actually mailed an invitation to ourselves. So I could put it in the album, duh.)

Project Life: The wedding
Next, I cut down a 6×12 insert (and sealed it with washi tape, because I still don’t have a sewing machine) and slid our wedding ceremony program in. I made these in Photoshop and printed them on cardstock, and was so proud of how they turned out.

Project Life: The wedding
This insert is probably my favorite ever. Dan and I wrote our own vows, and it was one of the most meaningful parts of the entire wedding. I was a little skeptical about writing our own vows – would we be able to convey the true importance in our own words? Would I be able to talk at ALL in order to say them? – but Dan was really set on writing our own, and I felt a little bit like (a) I had to see what he would say, since he’s not the kind of guy who gushes about his feelings super often and (b) it forced me just a bit outside my comfort zone, and that’s part of why I love Dan in the first place. We saved our real life wedding day copies of our vows (mine printed on a Project Life 4×6 grid card, his written on a torn out piece of paper from my wedding notebook the night before the wedding). I very carefully taped them together with washi tape and slid them into a landscape 8.5×11 insert, so you could see both sides of each set of vows.

Project Life: The wedding
This insert is so simple but probably a tie for my favorite, more because of how glad I’m going to be that I made myself do it in five, ten, fifteen years. In the week or so after the wedding, whenever I had down time, I worked on typing out the story of our wedding day in a Word document. As many details as I could remember. I wanted to write it all out as quickly as I could, before details that were so clear faded into fuzzy glowy happiness. I wanted to do this even more because so many people told us how much of a blur the wedding day was… I know that it won’t always be this clear in my head. I started with when I woke up, and ended with the end of the reception, just after the last song. It was 7 pages, almost 5,400 words total. I shrunk it to 9 point font so it fit onto four pages, and used two 8.5×11 inserts to hold those pages. I know I’m already missing details, and I don’t know what else I’ll do with that massive story other than have it here to read again whenever I need a jolt of happy, but I’m already glad that I wrote it all out.

Project Life: The wedding
And finally, the second page of photos from the reception. Featuring a photo of our first dance (stolen from Eleanor & Liz), a photo of the flickr people (using Cynthia’s fisheye, stolen from Summer), a photo of us cheesin’ about our wedding converse, our best man and matron of honor giving their speeches, views of us and the crowd from the balcony (I really, really love that one on the bottom right), and a screenshot after we made our marriage “facebook official”, mostly because of that insanely cheesetastic photo of me in pink plaid making my idiotic face, that seems to haunt me on facebook no matter what I do.

Five inserts is probably a record for any given spread for me so far, especially considering the spread is only for one day, rather than a week but… I am pretty freaking jazzed about it. And this is exactly the kind of thing that will make Project Life that much more worth it later.

Sneak Peek!

Guys. I am SO excited to share these photos with you. Our wedding photographers were Liesl and Randy from Photo Pink, and they were so amazing to work with. They kept us calm, took the stress out of getting the portraits we wanted, and just made everything so easy. We didn’t have to miss our cocktail hour, we didn’t tie up the bridal party half the day, and if these sneak peeks are any indication, they took some truly fantastic photos. I was so surprised to get some sneak peeks so soon, and I’m so, so jazzed already.

our first look
our first look

the bridal party!
the whole bridal party – don’t they all look so awesome here?

just married!
just married!

at Triumph
outside the brewery

chucks, of course.
black chucks for him (a surprise – I had no idea he had this planned!) and glitter for me

tiny beers as we arrived at the cocktail hour
they handed out tiny beers during the cocktail hour

first dance
our first dance, to “Just You & Me” by Chicago :)

one of our favorite parts of the whole day
one of the photos Liesl took along the railing, looking down on our loved ones. One of our favorite moments of the day. (also: bokeh!)

beeeeeers
I secretly wanted to use a photo like this for our save the dates, so I’m SO glad Liesl got this one.

cheers!
seriously. LOVE.

(All photos in this post were taken by Liesl and Randy from Photo Pink.)

Wedding Wednesday: Just Married!!

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photo by jodi mckee

So um, guys? We’re MARRIED. And I have to say that it was the happiest, most love- and joy-filled day either of us has ever experienced. I don’t know if I’ve ever smiled so big or felt so happy, ever. Everyone said the day would fly by, and that we should remember to breathe and stay in the moment, because we’d forget it all so quickly… but neither Dan nor I felt that way on Sunday. The day felt long and full and slow and so very clear. And everything went so smoothly from start to finish. Maybe that eerie calm I felt leading up to the wedding was my heart’s subconscious way of moderating my bad habit of setting expectations so high that I’ll only end up disappointed… because even though I know I’m sounding gushy, I don’t care, but things went BETTER than I could ever have expected. I mean, we thought the ceremony would be meaningful, and that our vows would be personal, and that a brewery reception would be cool… but the ceremony was like an arrow through our hearts, and our vows made everyone (including ourselves) tear up, and the brewery was AMAZING. I never expected it would be SO GOOD.

I have a million things to say (obviously) but since Dan and I had the same five favorite moments of the day, I thought I’d share those instead:

  1. Our first look. We decided to see each other before the ceremony, and to have the photographers take a picture. It seemed like it would make the day go more smoothly, even if it’s not as traditional, and I am SO GLAD we did this. I think it made us both infinitely more relaxed… and I’ll never, ever forget that nervous, shaky, excited feeling of seeing him for the first time, talking in hushed tones with tears in our eyes, kissing Dan and having him holding my hand, “dude we’re getting married” “you look so beautiful”.
  2. Our vows. We were nervous to write our own vows, to capture that balance between personal, heartfelt, funny, and full of the real promises. We wrote them for each other, of course, but I never could have predicted how many people would tell us afterwards how meaningful they were to them. I read mine without crying, somehow, and hearing Dan’s wonderful-sounding voice say his to me was just one of those once in a lifetime moments.
  3. Looking down from the balcony during cocktail hour. Right after we got to the cocktail hour, we went up to the balcony to take some pictures of the two of us. The brewery has a long balcony that overlooks both bars (and the area they cleared out to make our dance floor). Leaning over that railing with Dan’s arms around me, seeing the brewery we both love filled to the brim with the PEOPLE we love – laughing, talking, music playing, beer flowing, food being passed around – it filled us both with such joy.
  4. The speeches. My sister and Dan’s brother gave AMAZING speeches. Lindsey’s was three pages of awesomeness, and she made me cry and made me laugh… and Dave said his from memory and told stories of the three brothers as kids, and talked about me and Dan from his perspective as Dan’s roommate for much of our relationship. It was so heartfelt and made us both feel so loved, both by the two of them, but to know that others notice how happy we make each other.
  5. The brewhouse photos. The brewery has its own brewhouse, of course, and the vats are behind glass on a raised platform behind the bar. We got to go in there with our photographer for pictures, and it was SUPER fun, not just to get the secret tour, but also to be behind the glass above/behind the bar and wave like fools at all of our friends who were AT the bar.

So yeah. I’m riding this wave of happy like there’s no tomorrow. I knew it’d be awesome, but I honestly had no idea it would feel like this, and for that, I am infinitely, forever grateful.

Wedding Wednesday: The Final Countdown

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Dudes.

I don’t know what else to say. There are all sorts of things I want to tell you about, like the photos we’ve been taking and printing to have on display at the reception, or how my dress turned out in the end, or how I can’t for the life of me choose a lipstick color, or how we reluctantly ended up completely redoing our placecards….

People keep remarking on how calm I am, how I’m still able to function normally, and mostly I just laugh because I’m shocked that I’m giving off that impression. It’s not like I’m sitting here with an internal monologue like “I’m going to be the bride” on repeat, I couldn’t even tell you what’s in my head. Just that it’s like static in there.

I’ve started saying things to Dan like, “this is your last Wednesday as a single dude!” while thinking “this is my last day of work as Elizabeth T”. Ever.

It’s just all so Big. Everything is going to change, and as crazy as that is, it’s pretty much the best thing. Ever.

So. You know. Hearts and stars exploding out my eyes and ears and stuff. I’ll see you on the other side. :)

Wedding Wednesday: Tidbits

  • trying to remember to keep taking deep breaths
  • realizing the hugeness that is our project to write our own vows
  • irrationally afraid that I’ll break my arm in the next 11 days
  • looking forward to visiting Grandmother tomorrow (she said she has something for me for the wedding; what could it be?)
  • belatedly (too latedly) wondering if I should have planned to get myself a sweater or wrap or bolero or something
  • grinning when I realize I can actually start to picture everything coming together
  • still amazed at how no big deal it was to apply for our marriage license today
  • kind of tired of driving all over the county to find the random things we need
  • marveling at the fact that we can say “our wedding is next week”
  • figuring it’s probably time to write the lists of what we need to bring to the brewery for the reception (and what I need to pack to bring to the hotel for the rehearsal and the wedding itself)
  • hoping I can handle being the temporary guardian of several important “something old” and “something borrowed”s.
  • living in fear of the day the ten day forecast becomes available
  • feeling a lot calmer than I thought I would at this stage in the game
  • secretly trying on my wedding band in the evenings
  • trying to get used to my new name but feeling silly practicing my soon-to-be signature
  • gathering photos for my makeup and hair trials on Friday
  • anticipating a weekend of crafts and diy projects
  • really just in disbelief and amazement that this is all really happening.

Currents

third sunset

good morning

Project Life 2012: The End

stripey fails are still fails

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This week was kind of a roller coaster. I should probably get used to it. The university is deserted, so being back at work is strange; frozen tumbleweeds tumbling down streets… and yet I’m here and stressing about some work projects that are overdue. I didn’t write a Wedding Wednesday post this week because it was hard to come up with a specific topic. Mostly because we’re in crunch time now; my mom described it as feeling like you’re being squeezed with every day that ticks off the countdown, because the to do list stays the same and the time is just shriiiiinking.

We have had our master to do list, but it turns out that rewriting and re-prioritizing it helped IMMENSELY. As did writing three other to do lists (things to buy, things to design/print at home, prints to order) and more focused lists (like “guest book assembly”). At this stage in the game, when every person I see is all “Aren’t you so! excited!!!????” and I’m awkwardly mumbling, “yeah uhh well yes? except there’s so much left to dooooo, there’s no time to be excited yet”, it seems that I need to have every single thing written down. If it’s not all written out in my notebook, I start to feel panicked. So, I’m writing and rewriting the same lists.

We are getting things done, though, and truly, the things that remain are not huge (other than the seating chart/place cards, which we can’t do until we have our final meeting – this afternoon – at the brewery. That whole non-traditional “who wants a ballroom with round tables for 10 centered around a square dance floor, anyway? The brewery’s layout is so unique!” scoff doesn’t feel as cool when you’re fielding endless questions from the florist about how long/wide the tables are, when you don’t even know how MANY we’ll need, let alone how many people will be at each one or how long they will be). Lots of little, fussy projects, like buying a unity candle, making menu cards, designing and assembling the guest book and table numbers, figuring out what my something blue is….

In other news, it has been SO cold and windy this week. My hair sticks up straight with static thanks to the fake fur hood on my winter coat, my hands are insanely dry (but I found hand lotion that I really like, for once) and the world’s supply of rock salt is in our parking lot. I may have had to turn in my hipster membership club card, but the sweater uggs I got for Christmas are SO cozy and I don’t care. All I want to do is convince Dan to eat burritos every night (but that might conflict a bit with my final dress fitting in less than a week). I just want to try to keep away from the edge of “not actually holding it together” and stay right here, where I feel edgy but not crazed. So I’m going to gaze happily at my bright red shellac manicure and the hot pink post-it heart I stuck to our wedding day on my Stendig calendar, think about the wedding idea Dan told me last night that would really rock, allow myself lots of diet coke, let myself to put down the to do lists and relax sometimes, and hope for the best.

Here’s the song for the week, “Love of the Light” by Mumford and Sons, obviously because of the “to have and to hold” bit. The video itself is pretty fantastic, once you figure out the twist.

so love the one you hold
and I’ll be your gold
to have and to hold

Currents

31 days to go!
photo by Liesl from Photo Pink; picmonkey-ed to death by me

Big stuff today, folks: the wedding is officially a month away. ONE MONTH. How is that even POSSIBLE? I can’t really believe it. A month is such a short amount of time, and it’s just so strange and exciting and strange. I think I’ve mentioned that I work at a university, and the idea that when classes are back in session for the Spring semester, I’ll be married is one of the happiest, weirdest, craziest things that keeps running through my head. We’re in good shape, although last night (as we were leaving our final meeting with our DJ), Dan said “can’t we just be married already? I feel like we’ve been planning and planning forEVER and the fact that we still have another month of it feels like too much.” I can’t say I disagree…. But to say I’m not over the moon excited (as much as I’m overwhelmed and over-using the word weird to describe how I feel about the imminence of getting married) would be a total lie. I can’t fucking wait.

magic

more

I have the week between Christmas and New Years off, and I’m obviously looking forward to it. Starting a new job in the middle of planning a wedding has meant very few days off and many, many weekends and evenings booked up, so some time off is very¬† much needed. Even if most of the days will be busy with celebrating and family (and a few wedding things, too). Christmas is one of my favorite things, and I can’t wait to wear my giant red snowflake sweater, paint my nails glittery, and hang out with my families.

There are still things I want to do more of before the holiday season is over, namely:

  • drink holiday tea (Tazo’s Joy and Harney & Sons White Christmas) out of my giant hand painted Christmas mug
  • eat pancakes (since we can’t make it to Grandmother’s Christmas Eve pancake breakfast this year)
  • listen to more Christmas music (It’s not embarrassing to say that I need to listen to John Denver & the Muppets every year before it feels like Christmas, right?
  • Wrap the presents (my favorite part)
  • Test out our new holiday jammies
  • Watch as many James Bond movies as possible.

This weekend, we’re hoping to see the Hobbit (I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet; I saw all three Lord of the Rings movies in the theater on opening night!) and get ready for Christmas. Maybe I’ll get to squeeze some crafting in there, too.

I leave you with arguably my favorite non-traditional Christmas song (because let’s face it, Bing Crosby is where it’s at), “Christmas” by Blues Traveler. I downloaded it in college during one of my collecting all the Christmas music I could download fests, and the lyrics get me every year. It’s obscure and no one other than me knows it, let alone loves it as much as me, but the spirit of “peace on earth to everyone and an abundance to everyone you’re with” regardless of what you’re celebrating really hits home for me. And, okay, also this part:
I wish a one horse open sleigh
would come carry me away
but I’ve been waiting here all day

and one just hasn’t come my way

Wedding Wednesday: The Invitations

I’m about to reveal a real shocker here, guys. There were two things about wedding planning that had me really, truly jazzed (when many parts frightened or intimidated me, especially way back in the beginning – like finding a venue or a dress, balancing not-totally-the-same religious feelings…): a color scheme and paper goods. You never would have guessed, right? I knew it.

I spent all kinds of time browsing minted.com and weddingpaperdivas.com, opening ones I liked into new tabs in my browser until I had so many tabs open the browser started to protest. The invitations had to come after the color scheme, or perhaps they would help us figure out a color scheme? Dan had a limit to the browsing at this point; he was more than happy to help me narrow it down from four or five choices to one, but he had ZERO interest in flipping through pages and pages of invitation styles. The really modern, nonweddingy invitations jumped out at me, of course – chalkboard style, bright bold colors, non swirly scripts. Dan’s mom surprised me early on by saying her invitation prediction was for something simple, non-frilly, and graphic. (She was totally right and I hadn’t even started looking at that point.) My mom objected to a few of the really modern ones, because as she rightly pointed out, they really didn’t look like wedding invitations at all. I never really considered printing them or designing them myself; I knew that would turn me into a bridezilla more than anything else. I suppose I didn’t need to be making these decisions so early in the process, but since we knew early that we were aiming for January 2013, we wanted to send out save the dates relatively quickly, and I really, really wanted to make sure I could find a save the date that coordinated with the eventual invitations.

invites

The colors were the cornerstone, though, and this was really hard for me. Jodi and I pinned a whole bunch of red and aqua wedding ideas, but I just wasn’t sure. My favorite color is orange, and Dan really wasn’t too keen on that. (My sister has been terrified for YEARS that I’d make her wear an orange bridesmaid dress; I love the color but would totally not do that to her.) The tough part for me was that the bold, bright colors I love (like orange and aqua) don’t really work for a winter wedding, and if you don’t have the color represented in the bridesmaid dresses, then you’d figure it should appear in the flowers, and aqua flowers just don’t… exist. Orange would be great for a fall wedding, orange and deep red… but it just didn’t fit. And I just don’t really love the soft, muted colors that go along with most people’s idea of winter. When I’m talking colors, I’m talking bold, bright and vivid, for better or worse.

I was browsing the invitations all the time, and kept coming back to the idea of stripes. How can we incorporate stripes in a classy way? And then the universe sort of solved both problems for me, in the shape of a save the date with bold colors and black and white stripes. I sent it to my mom with a few other favorites and labeled it “the really crazy one” and to my utter shock, she loved the crazy one the best.

save the date

We ordered samples of a few of our favorites, including a few of the really elegant winter scenes, which Dan really liked. Seeing the save the date and its matching invitation, thank you card, rsvp card, and enclosure card sealed the deal, though, for all of us. The other contenders just didn’t have the right “Elizabeth and Dan” vibe – and the stripes (the design is called “Bold Geometry”) and crazy school bus yellow just felt so perfect. It felt like everything made sense, all of a sudden. Black and white is classy, the pop of yellow could appear in small ways, like the flowers, but black bridesmaid dresses for a winter wedding seemed elegant and simple and so fitting. (Even if telling people your colors are black and white stripes and yellow elicits some strange looks. But in the dark winter you need bright yellow even more than usual!)

stripes and stripes

I LOVE that the save the date had matching invitations and enclosures. We had a bit of a panic attack when we set about ordering the invitations, though, as they no longer appeared when searching the site, or browsing by any method. I could only access a few of the pieces by going through my four-month-old browser history to find the direct link to each individual card. It would have pissed me off SO MUCH if we couldn’t have all of the pieces that matched. I mean, the whole wedding was planned around this design, now all of a sudden the invitation is unavailable? You’ve got to be kidding. (It turned out that the design was being discontinued; I could still order it and customize it, but they were phasing it out in a way that made it hard to find. Thank goodness for never-cleared browser history, is all I’m saying.)

We weren’t going to go with the pockets at first, but it did make things seem more put together. Dan and my dad stared me down when I told them my plan to tie the pockets closed with black and white baker’s twine; even my mom and sister were hesitant (“no one notices these details but you, Elizabeth”) but I insisted and I’m so glad.

Calligraphy was something that I really wanted to do from the beginning but that seemed like an unnecessary indulgence. We ended up finding an insane coupon for the invitations, and then it seemed more within reach. Calligraphy can be EXTREMELY expensive, so I was really excited that we were able to find someone who could fit us in who wasn’t also charging $4 an envelope. We went with Rachel Carl, who hand addressed almost all of our invitations, and who also made us a coordinating return address stamp that we could use for return addresses on invitations and thank yous, but also for the rsvp cards. I absolutely LOVE how they turned out. It was worth every penny and I don’t regret it at all.

rsvps!

So here’s the whole invitation together:

Untitled

the whole suite

Seeing them in person for the first time was definitely one of those Holy. Shit. moments. Our full names, our parents’ names, our wedding date. We’re actually getting MARRIED and that is so awesome. And I think our invitations are pretty awesome, too.