Not to brag or anything, but I have really, really neat handwriting.
As a former coworker once said, “That’s the handwriting of a sociopath.”
It’s the number one thing that people always, always comment on about me. Always.
When I first learned that people sometimes pay $2 an envelope to have a calligrapher address their invitations, it planted a seed in my brain. Could my obsessively neat handwriting one day pay off (quite literally)? I’m no artist, but handwriting? That I can do. (This meant that the first time I heard, “You should think of calligraphy as drawing, not writing,” I almost ran for the hills.)
Favors have been one of the aspects of our wedding that we have wavered on. I knew that I wanted to do something edible (take-home glasses with someone else’s name on it end up in the Goodwill bin at our house, and I can’t imagine that they sell well at Goodwill). Our initial plan was to fill mini jars with cork stoppers with Charleston Crab Dip mix. It’s so delicious and a real crowd-pleaser. We bought the jars one at a time (Michaels never stocked more than one) with a coupon. We ended up with eight boxes of jars stacked in our guest room when I started having second thoughts.
If you were traveling, would you want to take a glass jar with a cork lid full of a powder, put it in your purse, take it to the after party, travel home with it the next day, then hope that you eventually remember to make it? I started thinking that the favor might be more trouble than it’s worth.
So, we decided not to do a favor. They aren’t exactly mandatory. But then, I changed my mind again. We made delicious pecan pralines at Christmastime, and I decided that they would be the perfect taste of Charleston to send home with our guests.
Bonus: We decided to wrap them in simple plastic bags so the guests could eat them on the spot, or later that night, and then throw away all of the packaging. Easy, breezy, delicious.
This weekend, we took on our biggest DIY project to date—there may have been fewer steps to this process than our invitations, but our chuppah is, by far, the largest project we planned to complete for our wedding! The chuppah is the canopy under which Jewish couples get married and is a symbol of the home they plan to build together; to read more about the symbolism behind the chuppah and our inspiration, read my previous post here.
After receiving quotes for chuppah rentals for $500 and up, we knew we wanted to try to build our own. We considered many different styles and materials, and while we loved the look of natural materials like birch tree trunks, we couldn’t find a local source and that put them out of our price range. After all, the whole point to this project was to save money! We drew up plans using materials that could be found at any local hardware store.
Being that we live in an apartment in a city, we don’t really have the space or resources to complete a project of this scale, so we made plans to visit my parents in New Jersey for a weekend. Not only could we take advantage of their DIY skills and knowledge, but also the space in their backyard. About a week before our trip, my mom contacted me to let me know she had found a source for birch logs (on Etsy, where else?) and they wanted to gift them to us for our chuppah poles. With this generous gift, we were able to recreate the chuppah of our dreams! How did we do it?
Is it just me or is it really hard to buy a present for your parents? Usually if they want something, they buy it for themselves or they give you a specific list. We have had the most success in the past surprising our parents with experiences or sentimental gifts.
For the wedding, we knew that we wanted to gift them something simple but sentimental. Since Mr. Coral’s parents are divorced, we wanted to give them each individual presents instead of “couple” gifts. So, I decided that I wanted to get four of the same thing.
I get the Things Remembered catalog now (when you get engaged, I swear you start getting all sorts of nonsense in the mail), and I was flipping through there absentmindedly one day when I spotted this beaded double hinge frame. I loved that it had four spots for engraving and space for two photographs. Mr. C OKed it, and so I went online to order them. That was when I realized that they charge $9 for each engraving! That would add $36 in engraving to each $30. I just…couldn’t. So, I hopped on Google and found these silver frames from Exclusively Weddings. There is no hinge on this frame, but it still holds two photos and allows for one engraving at the top and two on the bottom. The frames were $30 and the engraving was included—and we were sold. If you order from them, be sure to search for coupon codes. There are a lot, and worst case scenario you can get one by signing up for their mailing list!
When I first started buying wedding magazines in bulk, I came across a great idea in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. It talked about decorating your bride and groom chairs with felted pom-pom garlands from The Fickle Felt Tree.
I thought the garlands were freakin’ adorable, but they didn’t really have anything to do with the rest of the wedding decor, nor were they at all necessary to wedding planning. So, I cut out the picture, slapped it into my wedding binder with all the other random inspiration photos I’d been keeping, and mostly forgot about it.
Cut to a year later, when I was looking for a new craft to try while “letterpress the invitations” loomed on the horizon. I was flipping back through my wedding binder one day and I re-stumbled upon those lovely felt garlands. And suddenly, I reeeeally wanted to make some of my own.
Now, I could’ve just bought the garlands from The Fickle Felt Tree. At $22 apiece, I wouldn’t exactly be breaking the bank if I bought two of them. I could’ve even bought the pre-felted pom-poms, strung them into a garland, and called it a DIY day.