Thursday, April 30, 2009

Inspiration Boards

Yes, I know I'm posting more this week than I have in the last 6 months combined, but I've been getting SO many questions about the wedding from friends and family that won't be able to travel all the way to Wyoming to be there, but want to still be involved. So, I want to be able to share some of the fun details with you (without giving away all the surprises).

One of the first things I did when I started the planning process was to collect as many inspiration pictures as I could. I wanted to create an "inspiration board" that would capture the style and theme of our mountain ranch wedding. This proved rather daunting as I was completely overwhelmed with all the options and amazing weddings out there. One of my favorite blogs (http://snippetandink.blogspot.com/) puts together daily inspiration boards that are so gorgeous that I want every single one to be my wedding. I tend to love everything from the vintage Hollywood glamorous wedding to the pastel garden party wedding, to the bright colorful beach wedding. But since we’re getting married on a ranch in Wyoming, I think it’s only appropriate to leave out the seashells and ballgowns and opt for some western charm. Here are a couple inspiration boards that I found online (created by other people) that I really liked.


This wedding reception took place in an old barn (which is beyond amazing to me because I'm obsessed with old barns).

I just love the cake, colors and rustic feel of this wedding.

How cool would it be to see an actual moose at the wedding?!

I'm sure you can see a "theme" developing here. We took the natural route and chose a color palette of greens, whites and wood. There were so many amazing pictures of rustic weddings from places likes mountains, ranches, farms, barns, and even backyards. I'm constantly in awe of such amazing weddings and how gorgeous the pictures turned out. I've been collecting and gathering them all up and trying to soak in the inspiration. And now, after nearly 14 months of collecting ideas, I’ve finally put together my own inspiration board…



No, that is not my wedding dress in the board. I have to keep some things a surprise! However, that gorgeous Oscar de la Renta gown was my second favorite dress that I tried on. It was amazing…but I still like my dress better. Of course, we won’t be able to do all of these things and there are other ideas that we have but don't have pictures of. This is just a little sneak peak, you'll have to come out to Jackson Hole to see the rest!!

Lucky Me!

I know it's a kind of preppy, but I've always wanted a monogram. It would be like having a logo of my new initials that I could slap on everything. So what better time for designing a monogram than a wedding! In my new obsession of all things wedding-related, I started noticing wedding monograms more and more. A wedding monogram should ideally represent the couple and perhaps even reflect aspects of the wedding (like color palette, theme or location). I think we have such a unique wedding theme for our Jackson Hole mountain wedding that I was really excited to do something with it.
However, as I mentioned in my post below, I have zero artistic ability - the extent of my skill would be me experimenting with different fonts in Word - not really all that cool. Luckily, there are about a million different websites out there that specialize in creating custom monograms. But where to even start? As most of you know, this wedding planning process has not been easy for a control-freak like me. Murphy's Law seems to rule and some days it feels like nothing will ever work out. However, in a rare and unexpected twist of fate, the stars aligned and something finally went right. I WON a free custom monogram from Lucky Designs for entering a contest on their blog, LuckyMe (which I stalk because it's so awesome). How cool is that?! Lucky me is right!

Check out the blog here: http://www.eluckyme.com/
Check out the shop here: http://www.eluckydesigns.com/Home.htm

So, I was immediately contacted by Erin at LuckyDesigns about what I had in mind. I sent her all kinds of details about the wedding and a bunch of inspiration boards and pictures that I thought reflected the style of the wedding. Erin was fantastic! Within a few weeks I had 5 amazing monograms to pick from.


It was such a tough choice (I love that moose). But Ryan and I both fell in love with #3, the gorgeous "M" with the fly-fishing flies incorporated into it. We felt it was perfect for us! So, we went with that one and had Erin make a few minor modifications to it. And this is our final monogram!

Amazing! It was such a fun process to work with Erin on designing this. And because I also loved the fancy box around our names, but couldn't decide on whether it was too fancy or not, she gave me the file for both, so I have a choice! We've ordered a ton of notecards with this new monogram on it and expect to use it for years to come. Thank you SO much Erin and Lucky Designs!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And They're Off...

Well, the invitations are officially in the mail and have been received by our guests. We even got a few responses already! So I guess we're now officially on the hook for going through with this whole marriage thing. :)

When I first started wedding planning, invitations were definitely not high on my priority list. Although I've received some absolutely gorgeous wedding invitations (Alice and Paige, in particular), they didn't seem important enough to me to warrant spending a lot of time or money on. I even considered making them myself on some cardstock from my closet and that would be that. Ha! This was not even close to what happened. Somewhere along the way, everything related to the wedding has turned into a personal reflection of who I am and what my wedding will be like. Is this true for all brides or just me? I don't know. But I didn't want the invitations to look cheap or home-made. I wanted them to be classy and elegant, yet rustic (like the wedding), but creative and unique (like us!). After all, the invitation sets the tone for the wedding and who wants cheap and crappy to be their theme? Not I!

So I started scouring the internet for ideas. I wanted something that would reflect the fact that we were having an outdoor destination wedding in the mountains of Jackson Hole. Our wedding venue (the Lazy Moose) is so gorgeous (very woodsy and Western), so I wanted something that reflected those qualities. Last summer I stumbled upon an invitaiton made of wood...how cool! Oslo Press had the most beautiful and unique invitations I'd ever seen (see picture below). Unfortunately they were SO far out my price range that it made me cringe.



So, the search continued but I didn't give up on the idea of doing our invitation on wood. I was determined to find a way to make it happen and still fit within our budget. Surprisingly, there were a couple of places that had wood invitations. However, either they were super expensive or I just didn't like the designs they offered. Yes, they were usually very nature-oriented (trees, acorns, etc.), but they weren't personal to us and didn't reflect the mountain-aspect we wanted. So I realized that I would probably have to design them myself. Which meant that I needed a reputable place that would print my design on the wood, relatively inexpensively. Enter lazerdesigns.com - BINGO! I ordered a sample of their invite and it was perfect. Exactly what I wanted and within our price range. And I could just send them a PDF of whatever design I wanted and they'd get it printed on wood.

Next step was creating a design. I loved the idea of having a design on the invitations that I could use on many elements throughout the wedding (programs, welcome bag, favors, etc.). However, I am not creative. I have no artistic bones in my entire body, so I needed help...preferably in the form of a graphic designer. Enter a little luck. While I was at Edgewood's In the Vineyard last November, I bid on a $250 gift certificate from JB Creatives, LLC for the design of announcment or invitations. I figured with having a wedding and all the wedding-related parties and 30th birthdays we have this year, I'd have plenty of opportunity to use the gift certificate. So now that I needed a graphic designer, I contacted Jeanette Ballinger of JB Creatives to help me out. I assembled all my "inspirational" pictures of invitations that I liked and ideas that I had. We went through hundreds of designs, but one in particular stuck out...


This was an invitation set featured in Martha Stewart weddings for a couple that was married on a farm. Rumor has it that the bride is a graphic designer for Williams-Sonoma and designed the invitation suite. She used the individual graphics (animals and flair elements) from the heart and incorporated them into other wedding elements. This seemed perfect for us...if only we could change the farm animals to mountain animals. Jeanette and I worked on getting everything perfect on the design and finally sent it off to be printed on wood. I think they turned out so BEAUTIFUL!




How cool are those? I know! So, with the invitations done, the next step was the reply card. I wanted a postcard, mainly to cut down on paper and it didn't hurt that postage was cheaper. On the front of the card, we put the same heart from the invitations, followed by our initials and the wedding date. On the back of the card, other than the basic "are you coming?" question, we also asked people for their entree choices for dinner. Since we're having a "local Jackson Hole fare" for dinner at the reception, we used the trout and the bison as two of the meal options. See, we're using those animals already! Then I ordered custom Moose stamps from Zazzle to complete the look. Unfortunately, since our "return by" date straddled a postage rate increase, we also had to add a 1 cent stamp to make sure they'd make it back to us. The Tiffany lamp isn't quite what I had in mind, but it's not too terrible. Oh well.




While I was doing all this "research" on invitations, I also fell in love with the idea of including a map of the local area with the invite. I thought this was especially important since it is a destination wedding and people aren't familiar with the area. Plus the whole idea that Jackson Hole is a couple different towns (including Jackson and Teton Village and Wilson) was a little confusing to me at first, so I thought it'd help clarify things. There were a couple pictures that I found that I really liked. At first I considered making the map myself on the computer and adding some cute graphics (see first picture below). Turned out to be rather hard to do. Then I found some awesome maps by Laura Hooper, that were personalized and hand-drawn (see second picture below). They were just SO cute I knew I had to do something similar.


However, I knew that I couldn't draw this myself (and I didn't really want to spend the money asking Laura to do it), so I came up with the PERFECT solution. Who better to ask than my amazingly talented stepmom Kelly! She's a wonderful artist and finally said yes after me begging her to give it a try. It took her less than a week before I got this in an email...wow!!! I was shocked. It was better than I even imagined it would be. Didn't she do an incredible job?! I'm so impressed with this map - it incorporates all our important wedding places and uses so many adorable symbols (we love that fly fishing rod). I'm just in love with it!


And on the back of the map, we also printed driving directions to the ceremony/reception location.

So, that's it! The whole wedding invitation suite. We added a very cool Mt. McKinley stamp to give them a mountain-top feel. I'm so pleased with the way they turned out! Hopefully you've received yours and can make it to the wedding!! See you in Jackson Hole!!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Bridal Shower

My incredibly wonderful and generous friend Brooke threw me a bridal shower at the beginning of April. I can't even begin to express how much fun it was! Brooke is a recent newlywed herself and has been so supportive and encouraging through the whole wedding planning process. I super-mega-heart this girl! She's not only a wealth of information and ideas, but she has the most impeccable taste, so I love getting her opinion on everything! She's helped with invitations, ettiquette questions, and she even went with me to try on my dress back in December when it finally arrived. Everything she's done has really meant a lot to me...and this shower was icing on the cake.

This was my very first bridal shower and I was so nervous I could barely sleep the night before. I've been to a million bridal showers, but I've never actually be the one to receive the gifts and open them in front of everyone. I was so nervous that I'd get something I didn't like and not be able to pretend very well that I liked it and hurt someone's feelings. Silly me...I guess I temporarily forgot that my friends have AMAZING taste and I LOVED everything! We had a great turnout - it was so good to see everyone. And the food and drinks were fantastic (you can tell I was loving the mimosas in the pictures below!). Thanks again Brooke for doing this for me! You're the best!

Me & Brooke

Alice, Amanda & Me

My bridesmaids Heather, Kasey Jacquie and Me

Me & Michelle

Me & Amanda

Jacquie & Me x 2

Me & Paige

My beautiful bridesmaids

Me, so excited about seafood forks I could barely contain myself

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Honeymoon Dilemma

Ryan and I are not planning on taking a honeymoon right after the wedding. I know, it sounds terribly sad but we have our reasons for the decision. First, since we’re having a destination wedding, we’re making a little vacation out of the trip out to Jackson Hole. We’re going to be in Wyoming for 9 days surrounding the wedding. The first week will be mostly wedding preparation and spending time with our friends and family that are traveling so far to be with us. Then comes the wedding and all the activities we have planned around the weekend. And then we’re spending the three days following the wedding all alone in the park. We’ve got a cute little cabin and we’re planning on doing some horseback riding, hiking, fishing, climbing and relaxing as much as possible (i.e. naps in a hammock). We’re considering it a “mini-moon” for now.

Secondly, since I started a new job earlier this year, I have to “earn” my time off. I collect two PTO days per month, which means that by July (assuming I don’t take ANY time off), I’d only have around 14 days to take off work. This might seem like enough for a honeymoon, but I’ve already taken 2 days off (Jackson Hole and Florida) and am taking 2 more days off next week (Location X). Plus the time off for the wedding and I’m already out of days! Hopefully I don't get sick! So we need to wait a few more months so I can collect some more time off. And lastly (and most importantly), we’re broke! Weddings are expensive! We did not include the honeymoon in the wedding budget, so we need some time to get the wedding paid for and begin saving again.

But have no fear, we are planning on doing something…some day. If all goes well, we’re hoping to be able to take a week or two off around the end of the year and take our honeymoon then. Somewhere exotic and amazing! Some place that neither of us has been, but always wanted to go. Since it’ll be the middle of winter up here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re planning on somewhere way south! We've been working on our list...there are SO many amazing places out there. I can't even pick a continent, let alone 1 single place!

Our ideas include the following locations:

A Safari in African (below)


Soaking in the sun in Tahiti (below)



Diving in Australia (below)




Adventuring in Chile (below)





Relaxing in Bora Bora (below)



Beaches and mountains in New Zealand (below)




"Roughing it" in Costa Rica





What's your vote? Where should we go?