Hairstyles: Long Waves

The long, loose curl that is effortlessly cascading down a bride. I just adore it! Romantic and beautiful with just that perfect touch of natural. I am sifting through some of the pictures that I took to my wedding day hair trial. I, like so many brides, had to decide between three basic hairstyles for the big day: up, down or half-up. Which version for the wedding? Would there be time for two? I was instantly drawn to having my hair down. This is what I usually wear most days, so it feels like me. Very feminine, a little casual and made perfect with a white dress (and perhaps a flower too)! Here are a few inspiration pictures for long, bohemian waves.

Buying our Wedding Rings

My experience looking for wedding bands was very different than Mr. Pashmina’s. I knew what I wanted. In one word: Sparkles! My question was how to get it–with it being the most comfortable & at a good price. I never knew how girly and glamorous I could feel wearing a ring until Mr. Pashmina got me my engagement ring. Now I wanted more!

My engagement ring is beautiful, but it isn’t the most comfortable ring to wear because it is a little thick. I assume one reason is because they need to fit the diamonds in the band, but if I put all my fingers together you can feel the metal ring and it feels weird. I wanted a wedding ring that when worn would feel like wearing nothing at all. But this wasn’t going to be easy, I didn’t want a plain metal band like Mr. Pash. I wanted something that sparkled like my e-ring.

I could go a few different ways. I could try to find a matching a matching band, or look for a very thin ring that would “go”, or get an eternity band.

I did want sparkles, but maybe not all over. I quickly realized how expensive eternity rings were. Was it worth it? I hated twisting my e-ring so all the diamonds were perfectly symmetrical. But was it worth the extra bucks not to turn a ring? If I wore it with my e-ring with it then I would still be turning a ring on finger? So was the purpose behind getting an eternity band purposeless? To me, right now in my life, an eternity band wasn’t that necessary. A three-sided ring would be more than enough. Since I would most likely be wearing the two together–I imagine 90% of the time–I might as well have them both requiring a twist.

After looking at the collection I knew that I wanted one that was similar to my engagement ring. When I put on rings of different styles–which in theory I love–it just seemed to busy, too much going on, not quite right. I knew for something that I was going to wear everyday it needed to be–in my mind–clean, versatile, and something I felt went with everything. So that left me with trying to find a match.

To my surprise there were lots of “matches” to my e-ring. The jeweler showed me all the sizes of wedding bands that were the exact same one as my engagement ring without the center diamond. There were larger, thicker versions and smaller, thinner ones. I gravitated to the smaller one after trying it on, putting my fingers together and not feeling much metal-hand contact. But then jeweler showed me how when placed together there is a “step” between the rings, basically it would create a mini-pyramid effect. They were perfectly aligned, one wasn’t thicker than the other. Then the jeweler showed me the “perfect pair” to the engagement ring I love so much. It really did look good…but it was more expensive. As if reading my groom spoke up and said under your breath, “you might as well get the one that matches it perfectly.”

They had a three hundred dollar price difference, of course the one I wanted, my match was the more expensive one. Then I got schooled by Mr. P, “don’t be cheap on this, not this time.  It matches perfectly, you should get what you want.” I instantaneously heard his voice of reason. The perfect match really was the ring I really wanted. Might as well splurge this time, especially since it wasn’t a huge price difference…better than buying a totally new ring down the road.

In a matter of just 20 minutes I picked out my ring. It really wasn’t very difficult at all. Finally!

Check out a picture of mine and his! Cute, no?! His choice? A titanium comfort fit 8 mm ring with a brushed and satin finish. Mine? A channel set diamond set band with alternating round and rectangular stones.

Did you opt for a the match of your engagement ring? Do you wear your wedding ring solo or do you stack them? Did you “splurge” on the band you really wanted?

*all images personal photos


Rings for Men

Titanium from Zales

“something hard so it doesn’t get lots of scratches”

“nothing frilly or with too much decoration”

“nothing with diamonds”

“something really light so I won’t feel it on”

These were the requirements of Mr. Pashmina as we went on our search to find the perfect men’s ring. Just to give you a little insight into the type of guy my husband is: he has “going out” sweats, “at home” sweats, and “exercise” sweats. Did you think there was just one kind? Oh, no! When he does dress up he will wear a button down flannel shirt with broken in jeans.  This is his dressy look. He does have to wear a shirt and tie to work but he hates how stuffy it feels. He often leaves his tie off until the very moment he arrives to work. Then he will proceed to roll up his sleeves.

His type?  The Casual Man.

So it is no wonder that he wanted an effortless ring. Something simple, light, and streamlined.

A few months before our wedding we hit the Route 4 section of New Jersey known as Jewelry Row. After stating the above requirements to the jeweler, we were told that the rings we would be interested in looking at were Titanium, Tungsten, Platinum, Palladium, and Stainless Steel. All these rings would are light and would hold up better from scratches than gold.

Tugnsten from Zales

First we looked at Titanium.
The pros:
1. It is a common metal, so it is inexpensive
2. Lightweight
3. Strong metal and so resistant to scratches
4.  Hypoallergenic
5. Doesn’t tarnish in salt water

The cons:
1. It can’t get resized so if his finger change over the years he would need to get a new ring
2. Although it is a hard metal, it still may get dings and abrasions

Next, we browsed at Tungsten rings. We weren’t familiar with the metal so the jewelry explained a bit about it.
The pros:
1. 3 times stronger than Titanium
2. It hardly will ever lose its shine
3. It can’t be resized
4. Not a precious metal

The cons:
1. It is heavy–heavier than Titanium
2. It can’t be engraved
3. It can tarnish in salt water

Note: There is something called Black Tungsten which is a black metal, which will appeal to some guys.

Platinum from Zales

Then we turned to Platinum. Many of these included diamonds or decorations but there were a few that were a bit more basic bands.

The pros:
1. It is more durable than gold
2. It has a true white/silver color
3. It is hypoallergenic
4. It is a precious metal
5. It can be engraved

The cons:
1. It is expensive
2. It scratches decently easily

Stainless Steel from Zales

Then we looked at Stainless Steel rings. Many of these were less formal looking, with fun details.

The pros:
1. Inexpensive
2. Tarnish-free and easy to clean
3. True silver color
4. Strong metal

The cons:
1. Can contain nickle so can irritate skin
2. Not a precious metal


The pros:
1. In the Platinum family of metals so similar properties
2. Lighter in weight than platinum
3. Precious metal
4. Hypoallergenic
5. A little cheaper than Platinum
6. A little more durable than Platinum

Palladium from Blue Nile

The cons:
1. Expensive
2. Not as many rings are made from it, so less style options

Note: It often is a lighter white silver shade than Platinum.

Immediately, the hubby gravitated to Titanium. His reasoning, “If it is good enough for the space shuttle then it is good enough for me!”

Mr. Pashmina wanted a plain band, very simple and traditional looking but after looking at the Titanium selection it wasn’t that easy. He didn’t want too much detailing, but there were a lot rings that had just a little bit…which he liked. The questions then turned to do you want a rounded or squared edge? What about finish. Matte? Brushed? Satin? Polished? Or even striped by combining two metals together or cutting a ribbon into the band? How thick do you want the ring to be? Skinny, wide or somewhere in between.

Our jeweler was very helpful. After listening to how Mr. Pashmina described his perfect ring, the jeweler brought out his ordering book and flipped to exactly what he just detailed.

So what band did he end up with? Wait for next post to see!

What type of metal do you like most? Does your man want a simple band or one with more decorations? These rings were some that appealed to my “casual guy.”

Tungsten & Wood
David Yurman
David Yurman "Rino"
David Yurman

Scott Kay
David Yurman



Our First Christmas

As a East Coast transplant I am always torn between spending holidays here with my hubby or seeing my family on the West Coast. Of course I want to spend these special occasions with my best friend and husband…but you see I get one or two days off on top of my hard-to-come-by vacation days this time of year. It is the most perfect time to go!

So every year for the six years I have been with Mr. Pashmina I have gone back home to be with my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve always tried to feel out Mr. P to see if he would mind my departure or if he was getting tiresome of me always going away. Nope. He always has been super understanding. More than I would be, truthfully. But this is why I love him. Not once has he ever placed any guilt or sadness about me going away. He always was excited that I got to see my family who I am always longing for.  But sometimes he would say “It is okay. The first year we are married we can spend it together!”

I wasn’t quite sure if this was something he really, really felt tied to or if he was simply excusing my absence with a hope for us to be together. Well, I am a girl of my word. And this year is that year! The first year we are married! So I was gung-ho on making this happen.

My family has huge Thanksgivings and Christmases. My mom does such a wonderful job at making these times so extra special. I didn’t want to miss out on this time with them. So I tried, tried, tried to get Mr. P out West so I could have the best of both worlds!! But Mr. Pash’s work didn’t cooperate with this plan…or did the ticket prices. So instead of forking over lots of dough for only the weekend, I ended up staying on the East Coast for my first (almost) White Christmas!

I was hoping to go back to see my family between Christmas and New Year’s, but again the tickets were so expensive I ended up going back before Christmas. I was able to be there for my mom’s birthday, participate in holiday shopping, bake lots of cookies, and get some sun before heading back to NYC. I didn’t get to see my four year old nephew put out cookies for Santa or wake up in the early morning to unwrap his gifts. But I got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with my hubby and it was well worth it! We made a feast for Christmas Even. We slept in the next morning–something I’ve never done–and then traveled to upstate New York to be with Mr. Pashmina’s family. They live in a 19th century stone farmhouse and it was covered in icicles. We had the best time eating prime rib sitting next to the cherry wood fire. So picturesque and so wintery!

Then we headed home, with two of our nieces in tow headed to NYC to see the big tree at Rockafeller Center. We couldn’t find a parking spot so we just ended up driving around. But let me tell you–we got the best view. We put down the top to our convertible and got a really good view. Traffic was slower than a snails pace going past the tree so it worked out perfectly. People kept on laughing at us asking if we were cold but we were actually sweltering! It was a really fun experience seeing NYC at dark, all lit up with lights, and full of Christmas cheer!

The next morning when we were hit with what they dubbed The Christmas Weekend blizzard. We were all trapped inside for two days playing board games. Let’s just say there was major Monopoly competition going on! Work was canceled the next day so vacation was extended even a little bit longer too!

Our very first Christmas as husband and wife. It was filled with snow, and filled with love!

How did you spend your first holiday together as husband and wife? Was it a compromise?

At the MIL’s in New Jersey: Bridal Shower No. 2

A few weeks before the wedding my mother-in-law’s two best friends gave us a co-ed bridal shower. With all the planning going back and forth, it just so happened that it was going to be the day after my groom’s overnight bachelor party in Atlantic City. I knew that this wasn’t going to be the best idea but I thwarted the nag in me and said “try not to make it turn out like the movie The Hangover!”

At about 4:30 p.m. Mr. Pashmina called me from the road to tell me that he may have to meet me there–they were running late–but he was going to try to come home to clean himself up from the party…none of them were able to take a shower before check-out! Yes, theses stinky boys were all going to attend too. The bridal shower was set to start at 5 p.m. We were asked to arrive fashionably late around 5:30 or 6.  His estimated arrival time was 6:30 or so…

I got dressed and made my way over to the party was at precisely 6 p.m. I was a little bit nervous and didn’t want to walk in alone. Since the majority of people coming were his mom and dad’s friends, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I arrived. What if a bunch of people greeted me and I didn’t know any of them. But to my surprise when I got there Mr. P was there waiting for me, he just arrived. A bit tore up and hungover looking, but there all the same!

It was a hot New Jersey night and most of our friends flocked outside to seek refuge on the deck in the backyard. After saying “hi” to all the stinky boys and their wives, Mr. P and I then made the circuit kissing and hugging all of his parents friends. Everyone was so warm and friendly, even when we didn’t know them. The older women would give us marriage advice and the men would chuckle and tell us jokes.

One of the main highlights was all the food. They special ordered a lechón. This is a whole roasted pig which only makes its appearance on special occasions. Its origins are Spanish, but it is one of the most prized Filipino dishes. The pig or piglet is skewered whole and cooked in a firepit, rotating it as if it was in a big rotisserie. The result looks similar to a pig served during a luau. But the thing that people love about lechón is the crispy skin. If you are lucky to get the skin, that is, it is what people reach for first! It tastes sort of like super thick, deep fried bacon. (Please do not look at the very bottom picture if you do not wish to see it ready to be served up). I wasn’t in love with the dish before the bridal shower because I grew up with pork chops and apple sauce but with this lechón my opinion is starting to sway. I guess I have always been missing the sweet sauce that goes with it which is sort of like a chutney. Anyways, back to the party, I always get distracted with food…

The main event was watching me open gifts with the help of all the small kids and my handy groom wielding a kitchen knife. Let me tell you all, Crate & Barrel really knows how to tape up a box–and almost all the gifts were from there! All this knifing, tearing, and shredding was happening while Wowoweé was going on in the background.

For those of you unfamiliar with this Filipino variety show, it is like the craziest (and funnest) show on television. It is hours of silly games, contestant interviews, beautiful Filipinos, and dancing, music, and random acts of entertainment. It is off the Richter’s scale with energy. You always hear “WaWa Wee!” exclaimed and then people laughing or screaming. It was everything that opening the presents felt like!! I was butchering people’s last names. Paper was flying everywhere! Knives kept slashing boxes. Kids were running around. Boys were hungover. And in the midst my wedding bonnet that kept getting bigger and more Little Bo Peep-like. It was a crazy good time!

The two hostesses put together the best party. I absolutely loved it. Everyone was able to join in the fun regardless of gender or age! They even gave out traditional Jordan almonds as favors. So sweet!

What was your bridal shower like? Was it co-ed or all girls? Did it have a chaotic, fun energy like mine?

It Showers at Work: Bridal Shower No. 1

My work went above and beyond for my bridal shower. I had no clue anything was in the works. And then the mysterious Microsoft Outlook calendar appointment appeared titled “Your Bridal Shower.” I went into the office off my co-workers and was dumbfounded, I never imagined that my work was going to throw me a bridal shower. If anything, I thought that I would be asking them to attend mine.

The best part, it was scheduled for the very next week! I was so excited because it would coincide when my mom would be in town. This was super cool since she lives so far away, and wasn’t able to do a lot of wedding related things with me. Later that evening I told Mr. Pashmina about the fun news. He wasn’t shocked in the slightest, he he had been in on it! He was the one that suggested that the time so my mom could be part of it. What a good guy! And, he was the one show told them to tell me because I was planning on taking the day off to hang with Mom. I guess they were planning on doing the real surprise.

The day of the shower something else cool happened: I got comp tickets to he world premiere of Sex in the City: Part 2. When my mom showed up at my work for the shower I surprised her with the news! It was going to be the most girly day EVER!

As we approached the room that the bridal shower was in the doors were mysteriously closed. A picture of me and Mr. P was hanging on the door–they must have downloaded it from my blog. Haha..very sneaky! When I opened the door the place was prettier than I have ever seen! Flowers, cute teddy bears, pink hearts, little lights, romantic quotes, food to boot! There was so much thought put in to it. Hands down the best party my work ever threw. As a non-profit with zero funds for these types of things all my co-workers went above and beyond contributing not only with gifts but time decorating, making the food, and just everyone showing up to shower us with love.

We played two super fun games. One was a romantic version of Mad Libs. Some of the prompts were “Your Sweetie,” “A Body Part,” etc. It ended up being a letter to your love. Mine was hilarious, and I think I made quite a few people blush without even trying! The other game was a version of “Guess Who I Am”–the game where you have a person’s name taped to your back on an index card and you have to go around asking people  questions until you guess who you are. The spin though was that all of the people were part of a celebrity couple. So the first part of the game was going around asking people questions to try to figure out who you were. We didn’t know the second part until it was announced that you needed to find your romantic match. After everyone found their pair there was a third part of the game. The couple was asked to write a note to me and Mr. Pashmina in character. People really got into their character and captured the celebrities so well. It was really funny listening to some of them being read, many in character.

Then I opened presents! I was gifted a set of dishes from Crate and Barrel that were on our registry. This was really cool because since everyone pitched in for one large present we were able to get the complete set of dishes. Then I was gifted with a laundry hamper–and this was FULL of gag gifts. But, at the time I didn’t understand that they were gag gifts. I thought they were just odds and ends, so I was commenting on how nice these things were and how they would come in handy, not quite getting that they were suppose to be funny! 🙂 They told me later they were gag gifts. LOL. And one of my coworkers made me a bouquet with all the ribbons for good luck!

On a side note, the cute little teddy bears in bride and groom outfits aren’t just decorations. This is actually part of the office tossing of the baton. Who ever gets engaged gets to hold on to the bears. I got them after about 2 years of one person having them, but I only had them for two weeks! I think they have had five or six homes since the tradition started. They made their way back to me for the party even though they currently weren’t in my possession. It is pretty fun to pass them off to the next person.  I secretly left them for my person–who was somewhat new and didn’t know of their existence.

Did your job throw you a bridal shower? What games did you play? How did it turn out? Like an  awkward episode of The Office or more like a real, fun party? Please do tell!

Oh, and I couldn’t help but adding a picture from the Sex in the City 2 premiere. A bunch of my coworkers and I jetted off after the part to Radio City Music. As it was an unexpected treated we were all super bummed we didn’t get to dress up all flirty like everyone in line. But it was soo fun! And a perfect ending to a wonderful day!

Today: My cat thinks the hamper was HIS present!

How Many People Will Attend a Destination Wedding?

A few months before we ordered our invitations we finalized our invite list. Initially you might think this would be a quick task since we were hoping to only have 75 people. But think again! It wasn’t at all.

We really had to pare down and limit the invites. This was fine with me and my groom since we really wanted a small, intimate wedding but the parents were a little tricky. Each of the parents had different ideas about who had to be invited. My parents are divorced and have small families on each side, while Mr. P’s parents are married and come from large families. Our unequal family size complicated things because it had to be “fair” in terms of number of invites, but it also had to be fair in the degree of the relationship. My parents couldn’t be inviting their co-workers while Mr. P’s family weren’t able to invite his aunts!

Basically, after Mr. P and I decided on our must-have people, we asked our parents who was on theirs. First I asked my mom. She was super easy and understanding saying whoever I wanted was fine with her. Phew! What a relief. My dad wanted to invite all of his friends was so sweet because he was so excited. But I had to explain that the venue could only seat 100 people, but really we only wanted 75. So he had to select only the most important. To that he replied “they all are important!” My in-laws really wanted to include all of Mr. Pashmina’s family and all of their extended network of acquaintances, but from the beginning we knew to be ready for this. So we had to explain that only immediate family members would be invited (meaning no second cousins and beyond) but if they really wanted someone outside that then let us know. We calculated that each set of our parents could invite up to six of their closest friends. Mr. P’s parents are constantly going out with about twenty people, alternating parties at each others houses. Initially they felt it would be rude only to invite a few of them but there was no way that 20 of their friends were going to make the list for our small wedding, so we had to stick firm. All of these guidelines made our parents happy enough. My mom invited her best friend (who was already on my list), my dad went over his six friends, while Mr. P’s parent ended up only inviting 4 people from their group–the two closest couples. Then they gave me all their addresses and I added them to my running Google Doc list.

The only thing left to do was decide on something I had been putting off. My co-workers, would I invite them or not? It is a cross-country wedding, should I not invite them because it is so far? Would it make them feel pressured to go and use their precious vacation time? Should I invite them because it would be very unlikely that any of them would actually go, but it would be nice ask to them? I finally decided that yes I should ask to be nice. But then should I invite only the people I hang out with outside of work? Or should it be democratic and invite everyone from the office–about 30? Or only people in my department? After lots of deliberation I decided to invite everyone in my department–close to me or not–and then the people that I hang out with outside of work. This felt right to me.

So how many people in all did we invite for our 75 person wedding? 138! They say that about 85% of the people you invite will attend. But this figure goes dramatically down if you are inviting people from out-of-town or if it is a destination wedding. uses this calculation to estimate your actual attendance: (# of out of town guests * 65%) + (# of local guests * 90%) = total # estimated to attend. I figured that since we were in the middle of a recession, that the people we were inviting were spread out all over the country, and that it was a destination wedding on an island that we were not going to have a very high acceptance list. Hopefully enough people would be able to come to fill our 75 person payment to the venue! But we were doing what all the wedding websites say not to do: don’t invite more people than you can actually have!

So we crossed our fingers and hoped that the perfect number of people would come. Not too many that there wouldn’t be space, and not to few so we would be paying for unused meals!

How did you decide on your guest list? Was it tough? How many people did you invite compared to who actually attended?

How to Get Mailing Addresses from Friends and Family in the Digital Age

Back when I was doing my Save the Dates I used Google Doc’s to get addresses from the people on my guest list. I used the “Form” feature to set this up. Here is how you do it:

You go to Google Docs (, sign in to your Gmail account, go to “Create New”, and select Form. Then type up questions you would like to be answered using their template. You can get fancy by selecting a theme. I chose a marine theme with red and blue fishes. Next you add the emails addresses of who you would like the form to be sent to. The questions are embedded into an email that is really easy to fill out.

I asked only very, very basic information. Actually three questions to be exact: 1.) Name, 2.) Current Address, and 3.) Phone Number. The best part about it is that when people fill out the form, Google automatically translates their answers into a spreadsheet. It is super cool and easy!

Image from

I used their answers as my initial guest list. I modified their responses to include everyone in the household, some people included their children and wives but not all of them.

I color coded any of thing that needed attention–like to check their latest girlfriend’s name or the crazy spelling of their children on Facebook. Surprisingly I Facebook-stalked quite a bit and it was really the easiest and fastest way to get this info! You’d be surprised at how long an email question can be answered by Facebooking them.

Once I had our invite list up-to-date I had to add the parents contacts. This would be a completely different task, with its own set of challenges…but more on this later.

How did you get and organize your guest list addresses? Were you surprised that you didn’t know your closest friends and family members’ mailing address?

Our Wedding Invitations

Take a look at our Catalina Island-inspired wedding invitations!

This was one of the funnest projects of the wedding simply because it was in collaboration with one of my besties. But, really, who knew paper could be this creative and fun! This is how our invites came to be:

After sending out a huge lot of inspirations files to Alana Bailey Brand, I let her do her magic! She translated our wish for a whimsical and destination-themed invite into something prettier than I could have imagined.

The central design is based off of a wine bottle that I found with my mom on a trip to Sendona, Arizona. We were rummaging a wine market trying to find a special bottle for her birthday and it was there waiting for us. It was just days after we officially decided to have the wedding in Avalon so I thought it was fate! The wine company is called Avalon and had the most romantic little heart logo that reminded me of the famous Catalina Island’s tiles all over the island and at our venue. I’m not sure if the wine has anything to do with the town of Avalon or what the logo is supposed to be, but the image stayed with me and it sort of became the logo of our wedding in mind instantaneously.

Alana loved the idea too and transformed the simple heart design to a scrolling, wedding worthy vision with our initials monogramming the front. After a little back and forth about colors we finally found the hues that were on point with our wedding theme of peaches, pinks, corals and gold.

You can see the first three proofs where we are playing around with color. The next proof has different versions of our initials. Mr. P decided on which initials we would go with (you have to give your hubby decisions to make them feel involved…haha!) The last proof is with our wedding palette.

Next, were the map of Avalon and RSVP cards to do. My only direction for the Map was that I wanted it to have the major streets on the island, to make sure it incorporated where we were staying because it was in a remote location, to have a few hotels listed as accommodation ideas, and for it to include a few of the major tourist spots. I love the maps by Laura Hopper, and she was the inspiration for ours. She has very loose calligraphy and fun icons that are so sweet and adorable. Alana totally captured the feeling with her design. And the coolest thing for me: Alana took my very own drawings of the Country Club, Casino, Wrigley Botanical Garden and added them directly onto her map. So I literally helped make it! It was a really sweet gesture since I had been having so much fun art-ing and drafting up ideas!

The map felt so effortless to decide on, but that wasn’t the case for the RSVP cards. It was tough to figure out how to include everything we needed to on one card. We were trying to use it to capture the names and number of people that were attending the wedding as well as their food selection. We also were asking if the guests would be attending our rehearsal dinner (a.k.a beach party) and the day after brunch. That is a lot on a small card! In the end I think it was a little confusing, although no one mentioned anything to me.  This is why: The cards were to cover an entire family but we had a check mark next to the food selection–instead of a blank spot for people to fill in the quantities of their entree selections. So how do they indicate who wants what when there are multiple people involved? The other thing was that the entree selection was underneath the Brunch option (it just had to be there because of space) so it seemed as if we were asking about that menu selection. But it all worked out! The RSVP cards worked enough because people made their food selection tableside so it didn’t really matter. I just needed to give the venue a rough estimate. And since it was a destination wedding, we sorta knew who was on the island during which dates and so who would be around for brunch. Live and learn! RSVP cards have to be really, really well planned out!! We should have done a trial run.

Alana suggested letterpress to execute the invites and had a printer in mind she wanted to work with called Dexterity Press. I was thrilled about the idea of letterpress and couldn’t believe it would be for my invites! I ordered the paper and envelopes from, and shipped it straight to the printer and we were ready to go! While I was waiting for the invites I got my stamps ready–I bought all the ones that were island themed, meaning Kelp & Dolphins.

image from Avalon Winery

One note: we decided that the design was perfect for a square shaped invitation, but I didn’t realize how much more it would cost (although I was warned that it would be more expensive). The size of the square is not actually the square option on the post office’s website, but it is a little bigger and because of it actually fits in to the large envelope category–making it much more than I calculated.

Catalina Island tile at our venue, image from

Then just a few short months later (which felt like eternity), a package came in the mail all bubble wrapped and beautiful. Even the packaging was inventive and customized (our initials printed on leftover paper)! I loved them. They were much more delicate then I imaged. I hadn’t seen many letterpress invitations and they were much more pressed than I thought they would be–I mean major indents!

So this project was part professional and part DIY. My end didn’t go so great. There were two things that I didn’t anticipate, both were related to how much my personal printer is pretty much useless. I thought I would run my outer envelopes through the printer instead of doing hand calligraphy. I spent hours organizing my invite list and making them spaced appropriately for this. I even bought a special font called Nelly on MyFonts that matched the whimsical calligraphy of the innards. This all proved useless because of my printer. The envelopes wouldn’t print correctly no matter how much I played with the setting! I was going to hand address all of them–EEK! I freaked out, yelled at my hubby-to-be (because he wasn’t helping at all) and tried to address 120 invitations in one night. I failed, and wasted way too many envelopes because I was doing it too tired.

The second thing I wasn’t expecting related to my printer (really it was my computer) was creating labels. In the same night I was trying to address all these invitations I was trying to print on the labels I bought from Papersource. These were going to go on the reply envelopes. It was the first time I tried to use Mac’s TextEdit program for labels and I couldn’t figure it without giving it more attention than I wanted to give. So I went down to the Kinkos in my neighborhood and used Microsoft Word to complete the project in less than 2 minutes. I should have gone there earlier and saved myself the headache.

Invitation, RSVP card, Map, Stamps
Close up of the map
Invite wording
Stacked and ready to collate
The trio
Map stacked first so first thing people see
Wedding helper
@ Kinkos printing labelsReply envelopes, labels printed!
Ready to be sealed!


What was your process of creating invitations? Did you make them yourself? Collaborate? Or order from a template? Did you run into any glitches? Did they turn out better than you expected?

Did you miss our Vintage Travel Save the Dates by Alana Bailey Brand? Check them out here.

*all images personal photos. Designed by Alana Bailey Brand. Letterpress by Dexterity Press.