Charities & Gift Registries- a match made in heaven??

Call me a traditionalist, but I’ve always enjoyed the idea of wedding gifts helping the recently married to build a new home and life together. There is something romantic about telling your children “this is the vase that so and so got us for our wedding day” and “this is the first set of dishes that your father and I had after our wedding, given to us by aunt such and such!”

In addition, having been a guest at many weddings, I can appreciate a well thought out registry that provides guidance as to what types of gifts the couple would enjoy.

So although we wanted to impart the message to our guests that gifts were NOT required (the gift of their presence or happy thoughts are enough for us!) we also wanted to provide a few gift registries should our guests wish to contribute to our new life together.

In addition to gift registries, we also wanted to give our guests a way to contribute donations to charity as a gift for our wedding. Because although I would *love* a new set of dishes, I honestly would love even more to help those less fortunate then ourselves.

Enter the “I Do Foundation”. This ingenous nonprofit created a way for gift registries to “give back”. By creating wedding registries at stores which partner with the I Do Foundation up to 10% of gift purchases are donated to the charity of your choice! Brilliant.

The I Do Foundation works is similar to the site ebates and the process is pretty easy to use once you get a hang of it….but it can be a bit complicated at first. Here are the basics:

1. Set up an account with the I Do Foundation.
2. Choose 1 or more charities which you would like to direct donations to.
3. Search through the I Do Foundation’s list of  partner stores; if you have registered at any of the stores OR plan to create registries at certain places, select them and add them to your I Do Foundation account. (For example, we are registered at Target & Macys, which are partner stores.)
4. The I Do Foundation will then create a custom wedding registry website for you.
5. Direct your guests to this site for purchasing gifts (we did this by providing a link on our wedding website).

Our wedding registry site through the I Do Foundation. Note: background is not customizable. That said, I do like the easy layout of this site!

5. When guests click on a store link from your wedding registry site, the I Do Foundation tracks their shopping trip and records the final purchase cost of the items they buy from your registry. A percentage of the money spent on that shopping trip then is donated to charity.

This is the page you will see if you click on "registries" from the top menu. Fairly straightforward, right?

Has anyone else used a site similar to this to incorporate charities into your gift registry? And- an even bigger question!- what are your thoughts on gift registrys: good, bad or ugly?

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Invitation Design & Gathering Supplies

Our first big task of the summer was to secure a design for our wedding invitations and then start assembling supplies for the DIY process. We had already spent an afternoon gathering invitation inspirations, so we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted. In fact, we had fallen in love with one design in particular….

Design by Katie Sylor-Miller

and luckily the designer, Katie Sylor Miller, decided she had time to create a similar invitation suite for us! Working with Katie was really a great experience and we were so happy we made that choice. One of the added bonuses of working with Katie was her past experience with Gocco’ing (Japanese screen printing). Mr.A and I were *100% committed* to gocco’ing the invitations ourselves and since Katie had experience with this process she was able to create digital files for us that we could easily use to make gocco screens.

During the design process the big task for Mr.A and I, besides approving and providing input in the designs, was to gather all of our supplies. Does that sound like an easy task? Yeah, it wasn’t. If anyone out there is planning on DIYing your wedding invitations, I advise you to gather the supplies early and strategically. Mr.A and I had no idea how long of a process getting all the supplies would be; I mean, you just go out and buy some notecards, envelopes and postcards- right?!

And actually, it probably would have been just that simple except that months ago we had purchased approximately 50 envelopments pocketfolds at an extreme discount and we wanted to use these for the invitations. You may think “well, that sounds fantastic!” and it would have been, except for two things:
1) We had to pick up 125 MORE pocketfolds (we needed 175 in total)
2) We had to buy paper that would fit inside the pocketfolds and envelopes that would accommodate the entire package.

An example of a envelopments pocketfold (different color, but same shape as the one we used). This design is from TickleMeInk on etsy.

After a LOT of browsing the web, the cheapest I could find the supplies was from a company called Parklife Press – and while they did give us a discount (thanks!) they were not that cheap, mainly because “envelopements” is a expensive brand – who knew?!

If I had to do it all over again, I would have researched before I jumped into purchasing a few discount supplies. If I had done that, I would have found “Cards & Pockets” – whose supplies were less than half of what I paid. Ah, well! Lesson learned!

Cards & Pockets pocketfold - half the price of envelopments! Bah.

Did anyone else learn valuable lessons while purchasing / designing / or gathering materials for wedding invitations?

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I’m back….

And married!

we did it! 🙂 Photo by The Enchanted Image.

Ya’ll, I’m so sorry I disappeared! Once the middle of July rolled around and we were only two months away from the wedding, it became all-wedding-prep, all-the-time. Invitations, table decorations, grooms outfits, flowers, jewelry, out of town gifts- SO much was done in those two months.

Then we had our magical, amazing, OUT OF THIS WORLD (yes, that required caps) wedding followed by a magical, amazing, OUT OF THIS WORLD (again, yes- required!) honeymoon……followed by a month and half of laziness. 🙂

I’m finally sick of “relaxing”, which brings me to this! The kick-off of our “last minute wedding prep”, wedding and honeymoon recaps. My goal is to get through all of the recaps by the end of the year- so stay tuned and wish me luck!

~ Mrs. Andersen (!!)

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Make me up!

Let’s take a break from invitations and discuss makeup, shall we? On a regular day, I don’t always wear makeup (um…actually, I usually do NOT wear any). And when I do it’s fairly minimal and uninspired.

This pic is from fall 2010 and I'm the one in the middle- with my sisters on each side- wearing what I consider my "fancy" makeup look. Hm...not great.

I was looking through my photos to see if I had ANY where I was sporting a good makeup look and this photo from 2007 is prob the best I can find. I guess I haven't learned many new makeup techniques since then, have I?!

Don’t get me wrong though- I love the idea of fancy makeup; I’m also just fairly lazy and unskilled in this area (can anyone relate to me here?!). Even with my lack of expertise, I am determined to DIY my makeup for the wedding. Mainly because I would really like to learn HOW to apply makeup (and what products to use)…and then there is also the added benefit that by going the DIY route I can justify using “wedding funds” to buy cosmetics. 🙂

Recently I was visiting one of my bestest buds who lives in LA and she suggested we visit MAC for for a free makeover, so I could get ideas and advice for the wedding. What a fantastic idea! And let me tell ya, it was super fun and super amazing. The photos I took didn’t turn out 100% wonderful (mainly because I had the guy do liquid eyeliner on one eye and pencil on the other. Weird, I know, but I was trying to see the difference between the two!)….but I love the overall look the MAC artist did for me.

I told the artist I didn’t want anything too crazy, so he went with “natural glam”…which you can see below!

Fancy makeup! A few hours after the makeover, still looking good- although, what is UP with my hair?!

Close-up! So, the story here is: originally, the left eye was lined in liquid eyeliner and the right was done in pencil. Then the MAC artist went over the left eye again in pencil, to even things up. Overall, the liner is a bit wonky, but I love the shadow.

The best part of my experience at MAC was that the artist took time to teach me the techniques and reasons behind what he was doing; of course, with the not-so-hidden agenda that I would buy their products and try to replicate the look at home (which I did!).

My plan now is to practice this look, only with a little less liner and less mascara (I think the mascara was a little thick, right?) and also return to MAC soon for another makeover/tutorial.

This is the brilliant photo my friend took of me in the MAC store. Maybe I should work on picking up some modeling skills in addition to makeup application techniques, eh?

Is anyone else doing their own makeup for the wedding? Have you had any good experiences with free makeovers at places such as MAC?

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Gocco my gocco

I’m not sure what the nonsensical heading for this post means (um, talk about a redundant sentence!) but it kinda fits in with the crazy-nervous-butterflies feeling I get when I think of the gocco sitting in my spare bedroom closet at home.

The brightly colored box labeled "PG-5" is my intimidating box of crazy, aka gocco.

What is a gocco? Basically it is a Japanese screenprinting machine, made for home use and designed to be user-friendly. Using the gocco, you can create a stencil of an image and then apply ink to “stamp” (or screenprint) your image onto paper, cloth, etc.

When gocco was created in 1977 it was extremely popular in Japan; since then it has also gained a steady U.S. following… particularly in (you guessed it!) the wedding invitation market!

A gorgeous example of a gocco'ed wedding invitation!

Another stunning example, this one posted on weddingbee.

And one more example, because I just couldn't resist. 🙂 This invitation was made by Mrs. Penguin, for a friend, and posted on weddingbee.

If you’ve heard about gocco before then you probably also know that even though there is a steady following in the US, the Japanese company which produced gocco has ceased production. Never fear however!! There are MANY places to get supplies (etsy is a popular one, as well as ebay), for reasonable prices.

You can probably guess where this is all heading: I am planning to gocco our wedding invitations! (EKK! Being as “non-crafty” as I am, writing that makes me very nervous!!) I am *not* however designing our invitations. Oh, no- I’m leaving the design work up to a professional. (Speaking of which, stay tuned for information on the AMAZING designer who agreed to work with us! She is seriously fantastic.)

So, am I crazy to decide to gocco 175 invitations? Hmmm….I would say yes, but I do have the awesome help of friends & Mr.A to get me through it! 🙂

Anyone else out there gocco’ing your invitations?! And/or, has anyone else seen amazing examples of gocco work?

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Invitation Inspiration

Since we have many out-of-town guests that will be flying to our wedding, we are planning on sending our invitations on the early-side… least, that is the *plan*. We’ll see if the Andersoens can actually make that happen!!

In order to meet our self-imposed July deadline for invitations, we devoted a lazy Saturday afternoon in early May to conduct an extensive internet search for wedding invitation inspiration. Below are the invitations we bookmarked and saved as inspiration. (Please note that the wordpress links have been acting a bit crazy, so to visit the websites of these invitations, click on the photo.)

Mrs. Cupcake's invitation suite (from weddingbee); I LOVE the whimsical yet elegant feel of this. And the details!! So thoughtfully & artfully put together.

This suite is from etsy seller shannonlewallen. Mr.A and I really enjoyed the element of nature combined with elegant script- plus the colors are just fantastic.

This suite from etsy seller Mavora remains my mother's top choice. 🙂 I have to say it is definitely one of my favorites too; it's outdoorsy and yet has a classic grace.

This package is from etsy seller sheilamaridesign. Although this exact design wouldn't work for us (it evokes a spring feeling, rather than fall) I REALLY like how the design on the "guest information", "reception information" and "rsvp" cards travels up the side and is progressive- how neat is that?!

This elegant look is from etsy seller shineinvitations. It is SUPER classy, right?! I can totally see our monogram fitting in with this look.

This invitation from etsy seller inkylivie was one of the first invitations I bookmarked. I LOVE the nature look the richness of the design.

This design by Katie Sylor-Miller instantly struck Mr.A and I and has remained a favorite. It really embodied that "rustic elegance" we were looking for- beautiful!

Although Mr.A and I may have spent just a couple hours a million hours pouring over invitations on the net, that was the easy part. The hard part is what came next- making a DECISION about the invitations; namely, what kind of design we wanted and how to create it (buy something off the shelf, get a custom creation, diy- so many choices!).

How did you decide the look of your wedding invitations? Any particularly inspirational websites or photos that you found?

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Bridesmaid Dresses: the final verdict is….

After an incredibly long (long) road, the Andersoen bridesmaids voted to wear the Priscilla of Boston dress dubbed “the hot one”.

The "hot" bridesmaid dress for the Andersoen wedding.

YAY! A decision has been made. Although you may recall that our wedding colors are based around purplish shades, I somewhat fell in love with the idea of grey bridesmaid dresses during the search. So rather than purple, the bridemaids will be sporting grey with accents of purple (maybe in jewelry? clutches? we’ll see….).

The Andersoen bridesmaid dress will be featured in "shade".

Whew! Finishing the tale of bridesmaid dresses gives me a sense of relief all over again that the decision is DONE. Looking at the color choices again I am also (predictably) second-guessing the choice to go with shade. Let’s see some lovely grey bridesmaid dresses to remind me how great they are, shall we?

This is one of the photos that has inspired me the MOST. I just love the look of the dresses here- and the "natural" poses are great too. If anyone is interested in this particular bridesmaid dress, I believe it is designed by Melissa Sweet (style #MS215) and sold at Priscilla of Boston.

Don't you just love the sophisticated wedding party posed against the natural backdrop? This type of photo makes me long to get married on a farm, with the reception held in a barn. Talk about rustic elegance!


Ok, feeling better. Panic attack subsided. Did anyone else end up modifying their color scheme halfway through the planning process?

And, is anyone else doing grey bridesmaid dresses? I would love to hear your thoughts on styling, etc.

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