I know we're coming up on 1 year of being married in just a few months (where does the time go!?), but I thought I'd share some of the sources for as many of the little details that went into our wedding weekend as I could remember! When I debate writing these non-photo shoot related posts my #1, DPN, always reminds me that this is my little piece of the internet and I make my own rules for it. And here we are. The reason why I wanted to write this is because when planning our wedding I found very few sources for these types of things so I'm hoping that maybe this post will be helpful for a bride-to-be or two out there. One of my more popular blog posts is still the one where I shared all the sources and info about my bachelorette weekend (which is funny, because that's my one non-photo related post!). So here it goes, wedding details part 1 (aka, almost everything prior to the big day). Full disclosure: yes, this is a photo blog, but this post is not about the photos so please excuse the less than best quality!
Up first: save the dates. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted these to look like so it was really fun to worth with my homegirl Taryn of Twinkle and Toast to make these come to life! I really wanted a save the date card that didn't say 'save the date' because duh, it's implied! I scoured the internet for a design that cut to the chase and said something along the lines of 'Ali & David are getting married! October 8, 2016 Palm Springs, CA' but could not find a single one! Which is why we ended up starting with Taryn right off the bat instead of using Minted or the likes for this. Wedding stationery websites--please start using more creative save the date verbiage!!
Notable mentions go to Aimee Mazzenga for our engagement photos, my girl Alexis Smith for stamping (ink & postage), & Momma Burgoon for licking all the envelopes. This was the first of many labors of love. The envelopes were a shimmery blush (we later changed our color palette, but it started as coral/blush!). Taryn printed the front address & cactus on the envelopes with white ink. I made rubber custom stamps for the return address & 'get excited' at the inside of the envelope and we used a white ink pad to stamp them.
For pre-wedding paper goods, Taryn made a rehearsal dinner invite that went in with our invitation suite. We really wanted this piece to stand out from the rest with the watercolor desert sunset interpretation and the fun verbiage. Our rehearsal dinner was only 30 people while our wedding reception was 190 so it was a very different and much more intimate vibe. We loved how this piece came out and set the tone for a fun and intimate dinner with our nearest & dearest!
Taryn also created a map for our guests that reception handed to them upon check-in. The La Quinta Resort has over 40 pools so it's very easy to get lost! Being a visual person I thought we could illustrate some of the main landmarks and that should do the trick. Sure enough, by the end of the weekend everyone knew where they were when they saw the cactus garden! We definitely got some flack at first for the little map, but it sounds like it was pretty useful ;)
At the welcome party Friday night we had a table of gift bags for our guests to pick up. We really debated doing a gift bag, but I'm glad we did since it was such a hot weekend! I think the water & advil came in handy for more people than not. We kept it super simple by printing our wedding weekend logo (made by my very talented graphic designer co-worker Jessica Checkeroski) on white shipping label stickers and adhered them to plain white gift bags from Amazon. Inside we included water bottles, advil, cheez-its (Duh. David's favorite), & custom koozies (also featuring the logo by Jessica). We still get snapchats from our friends using the koozies and it makes my heart so happy! I also shipped a bunch of flamingo floatie coasters to Palm Springs for my girls to use all weekend at the pool! While entirely unnecessary, they made for a great 'grams & pool decorations.
Even thought I am awful at wrapping gifts, I couldn't help myself when I saw this banana leaf wrapping paper. We wrapped all gifts for our greeters, readers, musicians, priest, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and parents with this wrapping paper. This resulted in a suitcase exploding with banana leaf pattern and I loved it. For the ladies, I finished the gifts with pink tulle & a photo of us (because Artifact Uprising was doing a promotion on free photo prints at the time).
The greeter/reader/musician/priest gift was something we struggled to come up with. We ended up gifting them with one of my favorite books not only because everyone should read this, but because my favorite wedding ceremony reading, read by my uncle, was a passage by Shauna Niequist ('A Blessing for a Bride' from the book Bittersweet). We picked Bread & Wine over that one ultimately because cooking and gathering around the table is near & dear to David and I! Lastly, I made the cards in second photo below with my Silhouette Cameo machine and a roll of copper vinyl. You'll see a few other items I made with it as well later on. If you're a DIYer, you NEED this machine!! I use it all the time.
For this next section, I don't have too many photos but I do have most of the links! We had some fun with bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts. David kept things easy and gifted his guys a swiss army knife. I bought him one years ago when I traveled to Switzerland with my family and he uses it ALL the time. He actually lost the first one I gave him, but I went back to Switzerland a few years later and got him a new one at the same store in Interlaken. It's his trademark, always carrying it around. So it was the perfect gift to come from him.
Because I only had 5 ladies, I spoiled them a bit more than I normally would have! I gave them a clutch, earrings (they sold out but these are similar), a bracelet, banana leaf pajamas for getting ready (which happen to be insanely comfortable--i wear mine all the time) with their first initial embroidered on the pocket (thank you White Elephant Designs!), a mini fan (because it was hot AF), and heart sunglasses. I wanted to give my girls items that they could wear after the wedding, so I picked accessories that weren't too bridesmaid-y. When it came to the clutches, there was an insane sale at Gigi New York at the time so I got them half off (they're having that same sale right now)! They're such good quality so I was pretty excited about that. I'm not a monogram kind of gal, but ultimately I got them all monogrammed so they would know whose was whose on the wedding day (v happy I did that). I wasn't able to find photos from the wedding weekend of the earrings & bracelet, but my sister-in-law, Lake Shore Lady, has shot them with some of her outfit blog posts so I included some photos from her site. Thanks, LSL!
I also got these adorable notecards that went with each gift for my bridesmaids. David & I spent HOURS drafting on the computer what we wanted to write to each person who helped play a role in our day and wrote them on the flight to CA. We are so happy we spent so much time putting thought into this part of our weekend. It's not often you get to reflect and tell someone how much they mean to you (and it's not often you're in a 100% emotional feeling-all-the-feels state... or is that just me? #coldhearted) so this was the perfect time to do so! We also used thank you notes with a custom 'D+A' crest Taryn designed for us to write these notes, too (in a photo above).
I had my friend & old roommate, Annie Ericson, help me with her calligraphy skills for welcome party & rehearsal dinner signage. She works wonders with a tombow pen! Annie started doing calligraphy right when I started doing photography when we lived together on Armitage Ave. so it's been fun to learn & grow together! Annie also makes adorable greeting cards and custom artwork commissions--hit her up!
Lastly, no party in the desert is complete without a little homage to cacti, succulents & palm trees. The laser cut palm tree, cactus & banana leaf drink stirrers/swizzle sticks are from the mega creative Nic Roc at The Roc Shop and were leftover from my bachelorette party, so we brought them to PS. She does all kinds of phrases & shapes. Last year Lauren & I had her make bronze mirrored swizzle sticks that said "slay" for the Beyonce concert! I made the table numbers in photoshop with the watercolor wash that was the background of the rehearsal dinner invitations & the air plant center pieces were a lovely surprise done by our venue, the La Quinta Resort.
I also have to point out the paper flowers in the last 4 photos. Not exactly a part of the wedding weekend, but these are too cool to not mention! They were the centerpieces at my bridal shower and they were AMAZING. I loved the look of peonies but they're out of season in July. Enter: paper flowers. I've had them in my apartment for over a year now and they still look as gorgeous as ever! Highly recommend as an alternative to real flowers. The best part is they never die! And Carrie of Paper Rose was so fun to work with.
Below are some photos from our Rehearsal Dinner so you can see how it all came together. We LOVED having an intimate dinner party in the string lit San Vicente Courtyard! My mom made a slideshow with the 10+ years of photos of David & I that played in the background while we sipped cocktails and ate. Then we had an open mic and got to hear some of the sweetest words from our friends and family. The energy and sentiments totally filled the space, each person's thoughts and loving vibes bouncing off one another. It was the perfect way to slow down and have some focused time with our people before beginning the whirlwind of celebrations! Then we joined everyone else at the waterfall garden for the welcome party (and yes, there were more string lights). We loved how the night before our wedding came together!