DIY Invitations Revealed

After spending a year oohing and ahhing over all of the gorgeous invitation suites I saw on Pinterest, we reached a point where we finally had to come up with our own. And as with everything else, to my fiancé's dismay, I needed it to be DIY. Let me briefly digress by saying that every line on my exhaustive (and exhausting) budget is a chance for a little competition. Hence the overkill on DIY projects.

Oh, hello budget. You think my invitations are going to cost $800? Well, think again!

Anyways, after several trips to Paper Source and FedEx Kinko's, and after a couple of crying fits in front of Photoshop, we finally finished our eco-friendly DIY invitations. Et voilà!

And here is the whole thing constructed and deconstructed...


"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." - Jack Kerouac

Remember the Kerouac quote on the envelope? It's one of our favorites, so we tied it into the invitation wording :)

And Kyle even drew custom maps for us!


I have to admit that even though I never wanted to look at another invitation in my entire life by the time we got these in the mail, I was quite eager to hear what people thought. I mean, I watercolored 199 pieces of paper and Kyle typed 106 custom RSVP cards and envelopes after all!

Here is what we did in summary: I designed the invitations on Photoshop using some cool free fonts, Kyle drew the maps by hand and we scanned them in, we bought all of the paper products from Paper Source (all at least 30% recycled!) including the vintage San Francisco postcards, bought eco-friendly hemp string and antique sailboat charms from etsy, found some great 1950s sports car stamps for the postcards on ebay, bought the rest of the stamps from the regular old Post Office, had everything printed and cut at FedEx Kinko's, glued the envelope liners into the envelopes, watercolored a bunch of things, tied figure 8 knots on all of the strings to attach the sailboat charms, typed the RSVP cards and envelopes on our 1920 Underwood typewriter, drank a bunch of wine, and finally put all 53 invites together. Phew!

ALL of this, all of the postage, paper, supplies, sticky tape, paint brushes, printing, etc cost $360. Well under my $800 budget. Take that budget!!

So, what do you think? I'm dying to hear!

Choosing Our Wedding Bands

I've never gone jewelry shopping. Well, I've never really gone shopping for REAL jewelry. The good stuff. So when this last weekend Kyle and I went shopping for our wedding bands, I was really nervous. I finally got a little glimpse into how nervous he must have felt when he picked out my engagement ring. The poor guy!

There were only two places I wanted to go. First was the wonderful jeweler Kyle bought my engagement ring from. They have been amazing from the day Kyle met them, and anytime since that I have been in their shop. It's called Johann Paul Jewelers in San Anselmo, and it's owned by two Kiwis (New Zealanders, not fruit). Since I spent a semester abroad in New Zealand, we hit it off right away. I love those guys, especially Paul. We hadn't been in the store in over a year, but Paul remembered us and knew all these sweet little life details that I forgot we had told him.

By the way, here's a tip: get your ring cleaned every damn day if you can! I hadn't had mine cleaned for over a year, so when I walked in that's the first thing they insisted. Holy crap?! It was like 10 times more sparkley! Kyle and I were both shocked! Apparently I put my hands in dirty places too often. Needless to say, I've been enjoying the particularly special shine this week :)

We talked to him about what I wanted, which, truth be told, I wasn't sure about. I wasn't sure if I wanted a straight ring or a curved ring to fit snugly with my engagement ring. What if I wanted to wear the band by itself one day? Or if I wanted something simple for traveling and outdoorsy things? I tried on a beautiful straight ring that looked gorgeous with my engagement ring.

Then I tried on a curved ring, and knew that's what I wanted. I mean, it was just instantly WAY better, and it looked like a beautiful, cohesive (anyone else think of Project Runway when you hear that word?) piece of jewelry. So we talked to him about having the designer of my engagement ring (eco-friendly, local, and awesome designer Yael) make a custom band to fit together with my engagement ring. Yay! Easy!

Then we talked to him about bands for Kyle, and Kyle knew even less about what he wanted. I always thought he'd look great with something a little modern, a little rustic, but definitely unique and handmade. Since Kyle works with his hands a lot, the one thing we knew was that his ring had to be tough. Basically it needed to be able to be smashed with a hammer and not break in two or smoosh around Kyle's finger. That meant gold was out because it was too soft, and tungsten was no good either because it's too hard, you can't get it off a swollen finger.

He tried on some titanium bands that had rings of wood or carbon fiber by local designer Jerry Spaulding. He felt so awkward about wearing a ring. He was so quick to pull them off. He kept exclaiming how weird it was to wear a ring. Poor guy, it'll take some getting used to. He ended up loving a matte titanium ring with a thin offset carbon fiber band in it. But we still had one more store I wanted to check out.

Solid TitaniumSolid TitaniumSolid Titanium

Naturally we drove the Triumph convertible into the city to check out Manika Jewelry, which specializes in jewelry handmade by local artists. They had more limited options as far as wedding bands, but I loved the idea of something that had a really organic feel to it, so I wanted to check this place out. He tried on a few beautiful rings by Redstart, and especially liked one called "Stream" that had a hand carved line cut through the band, resembling a stream.

Mens Stream Collection                 Mens Stream Collection

After a beer at City Beer Store, Kyle decided he liked the ring by Jerry Spaulding best. A beer well spent, I say!

So there we are, we have our wedding bands picked out. I can hardly wait for him to slip it on my finger!!

How was your wedding band shopping experience? Was it easy? Stressful? Was your hubby equally as awkward about trying on rings? Do tell!

Eco-Chic Flowers {Green Wedding Guide}

Since I'm the "California Eco-Friendly Bride" I think it's high time I start giving some tips about making your wedding eco-chic. Let's start with flowers, because who doesn't like flowers? Fortunately, there are some very easy ways to make your wedding flowers beautiful and earth friendly! Any bride or groom looking to add some Eco elements to their wedding, specifically when it comes to flowers, probably knows just how terrible the flower industry can be to the environment. The pesticides, the greenhouse gases involved in express shipping fresh flowers half way around the globe, not to mention really poor working conditions for many of the people who work in the fields. I was shocked to learn that the average wedding emits 12-14 tons of CO2 - that's more than a person emits in a full year!

So here are some ideas to kick start your eco-friendly floral planning! Now, I am definitely no expert, but I have done my fair share of research for my own wedding, so I'll share what I've learned with you :)

If you live in an area where someone provides the opportunity to rent plants, this is a great way to bring in some colorful citrus trees or cherry blossoms or whatever fits your theme. Kate Middleton did it after all!

   left: The Enchanted Home; right: Bridal Guide, photo by Meg Smith Photography

I really looked into doing this, as I thought some miniature lemon and mandarin trees would look gorgeous in my venue, but I can't find anyone who rents these trees in the Bay Area. {sad face}

You can also use smaller potted plants that you or your guests can keep after the wedding to decorate your house or garden. And if you do lots of mini potted plants, those can double as wedding favors!

My Sunny Wedding, photo by Erik Ekroth Photography

Or air plants! Air plants are some of the easiest plants, since they don't need soil and require little to no water to stay alive. I've seen some pretty awesome air plant bouquets and favors. I always think that a couple who uses air plants must be pretty badass. Maybe it's those wild, spiky fronds.

   left: Koru Wedding Style, photo by Mi Belle Photography; right: JL Designs, photo by Gabriel Ryan

Succulents are a big deal right now (in case you've been living in a hole and haven't noticed, silly). It feels like every wedding you look at has some succulents in them. They have great character, but better yet, they will survive your wedding day without soil and become a fun plant-able reminder of your wedding day later on!

Ruffled Blog, photo by Erica Ann Photography

Another fun and quirky option is to do paper flower bouquets made from recycled paper! I just love those paper flowers on the mini cake.

   left: Hatch Creative Studio, photo by Dave Robbins Photography; right: Wedding Chicks, photo by Hilton Pittman Photography

Lastly, you can go with the organic, local, seasonal flower option by using a sustainable florist. This really gives you the greatest variety of flower choices and allows you to choose specific colors and flower types. Although you may not end up with as enormous of a variety of flowers as you would if you went with hot house/imported flowers, there are more than enough options to make your vision come true.

Brides, photo by Mathew Kiang

This is the option we went with, and I was able to find an incredible florist in Berkeley called Gorgeous and Green who specializes in local, sustainable flowers (and has the cutest shop on the planet!). After meeting with her it was clear that she really is trying to change the industry, which we love. She uses ribbons made from recycled material, visits every farm she sources her flowers from so she knows their farming practices firsthand, and gives preference to local, seasonal growers. Kyle and I met with her a couple of weeks ago and were overwhelmed by the variety of flowers she recommended. I mean, is there a flower or color I can't have?! I don't think so.

In the Bay Area we're lucky to have a number of options when it comes to sustainable florists. I know that isn't an option everywhere, so you may want to consider potted plants and succulents. Wedding blogs are just overflowing with gorgeous photos of these floral inspirations, so eat your heart out eco-brides!

And even if you have your heart set on a certain flower in your bouquet, maybe there are other areas you can incorporate an eco-friendly flower option. Don't fret, it doesn't have to be all or nothing!

Are you planning on using eco-friendly floral arrangements in your wedding? Are there any great companies you've worked with who focus on sustainable farming practices? Give them a shout out so other brides can know about your great find!

{Real Brides} Kalista :: Vintage Eco-friendly Wedding

Hi Brides! I'm really excited to share this roller coaster of wedding planning with you, get your help along the way, and hopefully have some fun pictures to show for it in the end. See you every Thursday!

Name:   Kalista
Location:   San Rafael, CA
Budget:  Let's see what we can do with $30,000
Age:  26
Occupation:  Manager of Donor Relations for a great non-profit
Wedding Date:  November 17th, 2012
Venue:   Headlands Center for the Arts
Planner:   Me! And Kyle too (when it's not too girly)
Photographer:  We're going to need your help with this one

Connect with Kalista on Pinterest

About Me: As a California girl, born and raised, who knew I'd fall in love with a New Hampshire boy? (I admit it, I wasn't exactly sure where NH was when I met him) I met my best friend Kyle on a sail boat in Long Beach, CA at 8 am. He was teaching the sailing class, I was half awake. We spent 2 days sailing and falling in love. A few months later when I graduated college, we moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area to find our new home. After 5 years together, Kyle proposed to me unexpectedly while on a trip to Jamaica, and just like all of you other lucky brides, I cannot WAIT to marry the love of my life! We're geared up and ready to stitch, paint, draw, and glue everything we possibly can for this wedding. If someone can do it, we can do it (at least we think so... let's revisit that in 11 months). Now, let's plan the crap out of this wedding!

Credits (top left to bottom right): 123456789

Wedding Style: It's important to both of us to step as lightly on the ol' earth as possible, so we're planning an eco-friendly wedding full of our favorite things: sailing, beatnik literature, travel, music, food, and craft beer. Our venue has a lot of personality, so that really guides our style. It's an old military building from 1907 that's in the middle of a National Recreation area, so naturally we want to incorporate rustic, vintage character, and bring the outdoors in as much as possible (tree rental anyone?).