Registries for Everyone!

websites, weddings

I recently saw this sweet post on Birchbox that discussed things every bride can think about to have a less traditional looking wedding. It got me thinking that I work with brides and grooms, moms and dads, every day who are beautifully less traditional in many ways, and have made some very fun choices in their registry lists. Here are my top picks for registering for a big life event!

etsy wedding registry

For the happy couple:

HoneyFund: I think in this modern day, where many couples are marrying later or living together first, it’s a reality that they don’t need or want as many physical gifts. Help the happy couple fund their trip of a lifetime and make amazing memories!

Heath Ceramics: Beautiful handmade ceramics ranging from vases and decorative items to functional tile and dinnerware.

JuliBox: If you know the happy couple is into craft cocktails, this is a fantastic gift that supplies unique monthly boxes of booze – enough for two people to have two different cocktails!

Register for Activities: Tickets to Jazz Fest, for example, or a dinner at a fancy restaurant, a wine tasting excursion or a baseball game. Create a custom registry of fun couples things to do in your first year of marriage!

Etsy: Has an easy-to-use wedding registry feature so you can make sure you’re getting the one-of-a-kind gifts you hope for!

 

For the new homeowner:

Wine Clubs: Are a great way to be party-ready (or just everyday-ready?!) at all times. If you aren’t sure about all the random wines you may get from wine clubs, you could always register for a membership at a specific vineyard.

Angie’s List: Ask for a membership to Angie’s List and you’ll be thrilled you did it later. I can tell you from experience, it’s hard to find good help around the home, especially if you are one of only a few homeowners in your immediate circle of friends!

Netflix: A gift subscription to Netflix is a great gift for people who will be home, decorating, painting and generally getting settled into a new space.

 

For the parents-to-be:

Stay local, y’all: You’re more likely to get personalized help and advice. You’ll be able to order exactly what you want, without worrying if it’s in stock or not. In New Orleans, ZukaBaby is a fantastic choice, complete with parenting and nutrition classes for the community.

Cloth diaper delivery service: Pick something local to you, but in New Orleans, family-run Better Bottoms is available.

College savings plans: Look into the 529 Savings & Prepaid plans, for example. Or start a high-interest savings account or purchase savings bonds. Or do a flash drive with Deposit A Gift.

 

On a side note…

If you are getting married sometime soon, then you might want to check out #BridalBabble and #WeddingWednesday hashtags on Twitter on Wednesdays at 4pm EDT. It’s a great collection of wedding industry professionals and brides and grooms who tweet-chat about pressing questions, concerns and tips for the big day!

Happy gift-getting!

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New Projects and Graphic Design Web Bits

branding, design, design inspiration, fine arts, freelance, guerilla art, outdoor art, weddings

Things are heating up in New Orleans, and the graphic design projects keep coming – each project fabulous and each client amazing. I seriously cannot ask for better clients. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with ISeeChange on some branding items (logo not included) for an event they took part in. I love what they are doing to try to get every one of us involved in climate change from a local, grassroots level. It’s social, it’s fun and it’s important! Check out Julia and her fantastic team and see what they have going on at ISeeChange.org.

I also got to see the finished product for the shaving soap labels I worked with Sweet Olive Soap Works on. I love, love, love her products and was super excited to design these labels! Check out her fantastic array of natural skin care products.

new orleans shaving soap

I shipped off the last of a wedding package I designed for a fantastic couple in Virginia. They had the most unique and inspiring ideas to use for the designs. I am extremely pleased with the way everything turned out. Look for a post dedicated just to their items soon!

new orleans wedding graphic design

If you have some time to do some perusing online, I came across a few design-y articles I thought y’all might enjoy!

More Tips for Your Big Day!

design, freelance, weddings

If you’ve been following for any length of time, you know I love a good wedding. I love the details, the sparkles, the happiness, the fancy shoes. Though wedding season in New Orleans never really takes a break (some of the best weddings in our city are winter weddings!), wedding season is ramping up in the frostier parts of the country and I’m working with some amazing brides and grooms this spring who are throwing truly unique parties to celebrate their love! I can’t wait to see how they all turn out.

I wanted to share with you an updated list of things to think about to make your big day even more special and memorable for you and your guests. Last summer, I shared with you a few Tips for the Modern Wedding that I think are still super relevant. I wanted to expand on that list, so keep reading for my next few Tips for the Modern Wedding!

Minimize the number of vendors you pick out of thin air.

  • By this I mean, did you pick a vendor out of an internet search list? There’s nothing wrong with that, but once you find a vendor you love (say, a photographer) you might want to see if they can recommend a related vendor, like a videographer.
  • Your stationer might know an embroiderer and screen printer, your caterer may know a great florist, etc.
  • Vendors love giving their amazing vendor friends and colleagues referrals,which can drastically cut down the time you spend searching blindly on the internet and hoping for the best.
  • Your vendors are getting to know your taste and wedding style, so they will be able to help steer you toward appropriate and related services.

Boozing on a budget? Crowdsource your choices!

  • When my husband and I got married, we decided to leave liquor off the table, mainly for the sake of our booze budget. We had our wedding in the heart of Virginia wine country and had a hard time choosing wines for our 100+ guests to enjoy for an entire evening. Our solution was to hold a tasting at our home a few months before the wedding.
  • We bought a wide variety of single bottles from our favorite vineyards around the state and did a blind tasting and light snacks with some friends who had varying tastes in wine. We ended up with two reds and two whites that were overwhelming favorites, but not necessarily what we would have picked on our own.
  • These wines, along with a keg of local brew, were plenty to keep our guests dancing and happy all night! (And we had yummy leftovers for several months!)
  • Another option we considered was limiting to wine and beer and one signature cocktail. This is another way to skirt the big budget booze and still have all the options. Find a cocktail that represents something special to you as a couple, or splurge on both “his” and “hers” themed options.
  • Remember, pre-mixed cocktails in a carafe or pitcher is best if you are skipping the bartender altogether. Ask your caterer if they will do the mixing for a small fee!

Put those maids to work. Nicely, of course!

  • Host a wine and cheese party and have your bridesmaids help you with DIY decorations, pre-cutting ribbons for chairs, handmade signage, painted mason jars, and all kinds of other tasks. Remember not to overdo and scare your lovely maids off, but one or two Pinterest parties would be really fun!
  • This is also an easy way to include junior maids if you’ve gone that route. It can be challenging to find a way to make them feel included, without taming your bachelorette party or skimping on the fancy lingerie gifts.

Don’t be afraid to have your guests DIY.

  • Pour your own beer and wine is no longer tacky in this day and age! Add some ice buckets to your centerpiece and then no one has to get up during dinner.
  • Buffets are amazing for both budget and ease of use – and the bonus is that you can easily appeal to picky eaters and food allergies.
  • Photo booths are amazing for capturing your guests all night without having to pay a photographer and assistant for the whole event – the prints also make a great take-home gift.
  • I’ve loved the idea of having many small vases/jars of flowers as the guest seating cards. When all your guests grab them and sit, they form one big arrangement on the table! This would work well with potted plants too – which could double as a take-home!

My favorite part about modern weddings is the lack of rules. Everyone can ditch tradition, guilt-free, and have a totally unique wedding! Remember to enjoy the planning, it should be fun!

Tips for the Modern Wedding

design, invitations, weddings

I’m really getting into the wedding spirit over here! I shipped out my latest creations to an amazing couple in South Dakota this morning. I’ll post photos after I know they’ve had a chance to mail them out – I don’t like to be a spoiler! The invitations incorporate the wedding colors and the couple’s love of outdoors. I’m also finishing up a poster for a “thumbprint guestbook” for the same wedding. It’s going to be beautiful!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to give some tips for the modern couple. There are a lot of amazing trends out there right now, and I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites for y’all! These are great ways to support local and small businesses, keep up with modern trends and also make wedding planning easy for you (and future couples!).

Get connected! For couples who are connected and have very connected friends and family, I recommend adding a suggested hashtag (like #MonroeWedding 0r #ScottEmilyBigDay) to your wedding website or program. If you have friends and family far and wide, the folks who can’t make it to your ceremony can keep up with your smartphone-equipped guests all day on Vine, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Make the most of local vendors. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we knew we were going to be moving to New Orleans at some point, so we wanted to incorporate elements of the city into our down home Virginia farm wedding. We have a friend here in New Orleans who makes handmade soaps out of natural ingredients and we felt like her craft fit with our natural, recycled, vintage feel and would make the perfect guest favor. Think about your surroundings and geographic region. What are the local treats, specialties and artisans in the area? How about a crab boil kit with Old Bay seasoning and a custom wooden mallet for weddings in the Baltimore area? Or beeswax candles for an Ohio wedding? I’m a big fan of useful favors – something that won’t just sit on a shelf.

(Images from Laser Beam Creations and Honeyrun Farm)

Indulge in the vintage trends. My favorite thing we did for our wedding was skip the tableware rentals. Years ago, I was a cater-waitress and bartender and saw just how much rentals can cost. I decided that I was happy to pay for table cloth rentals – those can add up if you purchase on your own and rental tables are huge. We found bamboo picnic plates (again, we got married in outside and had the reception in barn!) in two sizes and purchased silverware in mismatched sets at thrift stores. If bamboo isn’t your thing, think about purchasing mismatched china at thrift stores as well. If you are patient, you can even find Fiesta Ware second-hand in various colors (cheaper than online!) that will look like a matched set! What do you do with the vintage goods after the wedding? Donate it back to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. For a fraction of the cost of renting, you’ve basically made a charitable donation with your wedding money and had a unique set of dishes for your big day.

Be kind to the environment. In addition to recycling stations at weddings, I’m seeing a lot of “living centerpieces” which I love! For our wedding, we chose to support a local “pick your own” flower farm in my hometown just outside the DC area, where we felt the environmental impact was low, it was good for the bees, good for the local economy and the flowers were not being shipped in from Central and South America, like many popular tropicals. Consider cut flowers from your region when selecting arrangements. But the green alternative is to have a living arrangement – like potted miniature roses, cyclamen or hydrangeas. These come in a variety of colors and can be grown in green houses so you can find them blooming year round. If you’re on a tight budget, stick with greens – ivy, succulents, ferns, clover, shamrock plants  – or things that you could grow at home from seeds or bulbs like paperwhites, herbs, ornamental kale, chard and lettuce, or do a long trough of wildflowers from seed. Just be sure to read the package and make sure the germination time works with your schedule. You could always solicit help from a local nursery or florist. Living arrangements also make great guest favors!

Last but not least, help future couples out! And help your beloved vendors out too! Review anything and everything you use (venues, florists, suppliers, stationers, etc.) and always credit your photographer/designer/dressmaker/other artisan when you post pictures on social sites. It’s a nice thing to do and it helps future couples pick out great vendors too! You can find review spots on individual websites/blogs, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google, Bing and lots of other wedding-specific blogs and magazine websites. Spread the love!

Branding Your Big Day

branding, business, design, freelance, music, printing, Uncategorized, weddings

Today’s post is of particular interest to me because 1.) I got married two months ago and 2.) I would love to start heavily marketing this portion of my design repertoire. I love a good wedding and I really love it when the couple goes the extra mile to make the day as unique as possible. So many weddings are cookie cutter, with wedding planners cutting time and expense by using the same motifs over and over, but what I think we’re seeing more of these days is the DIY Bride. And in some cases, even a DIY Groom.

DIY is great for the couple on a budget. There are one million blogs out there (message me if you want a list!) from which to extract little bits of creative goodness for table settings, guest gifts, decor and lighting and endless other details. One place I hate to see couples skimp is in the paper products department – but I don’t mean toilet paper. Save-the-date cards and invitations are the first glimpse guests get of the type of wedding you’re going to have and the overall vibe they will be expecting when they arrive. Custom invitations that go beyond the standard “our colors are purple and pink and the script-y font means formal” can really make your invitation stand out among the hoards of other wedding invitations the average 25 year old former sorority girl receives in a wedding season.

I really love the idea of “branding” your wedding, which can be done on a tighter budget than you might imagine. We branded the living hell out of our wedding since I am a designer/marketer by trade and nature. But it wasn’t tacky and we received a lot of compliments on the little extra effort in making it very personalized to us as a pair.

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Before I set out to create these materials, I thought long and hard about what it was that brought us together. Among the many qualities I thought of that link us, I found that the root of our relationship was music. We met through music and stayed in touch with one another over the years through live music and we eventually bonded for good at a music event. Scott plays the trumpet, so I went very literal with the music theme. The quote on the save-the-dates was personal for me and people that know me well, thus a mix of our two lives was right there in graphic form. I decided that I could never narrow down a color palette, so we went with many colors which later translated into a beautiful display of seasonal, fresh picked wild flowers for bouquets and tables.

The invitations were next. I decided to make a mini music poster that was revealed when the subdued outside of the invitation was opened. I used actual photos of us doin’ what we do (anyone who knows us knows how I dance and has seen Scott play) and from the photos I drew the silhouettes. We also wanted to cut down on the number of questions about what to wear and would there be dinner and should I bring my dancing shoes, so we put in a lot more text than many people do. This touch isn’t for everyone, but we felt it was necessary for our wide variety of guests.

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Beyond the save-the-dates and invitations, I created labels for our guest gifts (soaps handmade in New Orleans by the fabulous Emily owner of Sweet Olive Soap Works!), return address labels, and “mad libs” with a wedding theme for guests to fill out at the tables.

With the outrageous price of cookie cutter invitations, I would recommend to any couple that they should spend the money on good design and personal touches over too many inserts and crazy heavy weight paper any day. We cut costs by using a local printer that gave me a great deal – Wythken Printing here in Richmond. If you cant work out a deal for your items, you can see if your printer will cut the price if you have all the components printed at once. Or you can order nice paper online and take it to your local Kinkos-type print shop and print it yourself.

I designed and then ordered the return address labels at Vistaprint and bought blank envelopes to stick them on. For the send-to addresses, I used my same wedding fonts from everything else and printed them on white labels on my printer at home.

I’m in the process of putting together a customizable invitation package for couples tying the knot – incorporating the individual silhouettes idea, among other ideas. If you’re interested, I’d love to talk!