Tag Archives: Offbeat Bride

Epic Journey: Invitation Designs

I’ve been an avid Offbeat Bride fan ever since I discovered their website and Ariel’s book Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternative for Independent Brides. I love love love everything they put out there on their Pintrest, Twitter, or Facebook. Which is why I used their advice when designing and ordering our wedding invitations through Vistaprint!

My fiance and I have been designing our own Christmas/Holiday card for almost five years, and I’m an organizational freak-of-nature. We decided to combine our super powers and design our own wedding invitations with the help of online printing company Vistaprint to order and print the invites. We had such good luck while ordering our Save the Date and holiday card last Christmas we figured it would be easier on our pocket books and our sanity.

First and foremost we (and by we I mean my fiance) sat down and started sketching out some small images for the invitations. He came up with several adorable drawing and I methodically tagged each one to use for every part of our stationary suite (Invite, RSVP, Info Card, Thank You cards, etc.). After a brief period of procrastination and nagging my fiance then fine tuned the images to be used for the stationary. I then scoured the internet for invitations that I loved and could use as inspiration for our own design (i.e. possibly use….without paying hundreds of dollars!). We formatted some of the stationary we ordered when checking out wedding invite samples and customized them with our own images and language. Trying to balance invite wording and design was really exhausting and took a few days of editing, fine tuning, and agreeing on what it should look like and say. My fiance had the template to work with, but when it was my turn to review I had quite a few notes on what I wanted to change [insert grumble here]. Luckily, thanks to Offbeat Bride’s extensive advice section we were able to come to terms with how we were going to deal with questions some of our guests might have about our wedding and our limitations with the venue. All of the concerns are being listed on our wedding website FAQ’s because we didn’t want to ruffle any feathers with the invite itself (i.e. Dress code, Registry info, No kids).

It then took us another 2-3 days of scouring Vistaprint’s website to find the right items, and pricing, for each piece of the stationary suite to ensure we got the best possible deal. In the end we spent around $120 total for the entire suite of 100 invites and miscellaneous items, including shipping. Hot damn!! It was worth it. Every item we selected had the option to upload our own designs, front and back, with the images we created ourselves. I’m not a fan of selecting stuff designed by someone else because I love working with my fiance on the design aspect of the invites and holiday cards we’ve done. It’s always a little stressful because I’m working with my fiance…and I can be a bit bitchy and pushy. 🙂 I’m always thinking of new ways to tweak small things and it can be time-consuming to make those small changes when you have a deadline to meet.

I have a lot of experience designing forms, invites, and other items for fundraisers and special events, but it’s a lot of pressure to get your own design on paper. The hardest moment for me was pushing the order button for our invites. I had a lot of doubt they would be printed properly and still look beautiful once we received them. After a restless night of sleep (we placed the order just before midnight!) I woke up feeling a little nauseous and still riddled in doubt. My friends and fiance reassured me they looked amazing because of all the work and love we put in to creating them ourselves, and no matter what else happens at least we didn’t spend all of our savings paying for a fancy party invite.

February, was by far the most stressful and productive month we’ve had during our wedding planning process. Not only did we both get sick we also celebrated my birthday and caught up with friends, designed and ordered our invitations, and interviewed/selected a photographer (another post about that experience next week!). The month of March is beginning and we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our invitations. I wish I could show them to all of you, but alas I’m afraid it will have to be confidential for the moment because I’m afraid of it being leaked to (undesired) parties. Not you guys, of course. You’re all awesome. 😉

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Geeky Wedding Tutorial

I’ve learned a lot of things within the last nine months about the ups and downs of planning a wedding, and trying to make it unique to you. Nowadays it’s a lot easier, and more common place to hear about newlyweds creating their own geeky wedding. Which is great! However, there are also a lot of unforeseen complications with friends and family reacting to your…personal style. These are just a few tips, and personal observations, from a geeky lady who never thought she would have to plan a wedding.


For the record, my fiance and I love both of our families. Second, we are poor as sh*%, and don’t really have funds to help pay for a wedding. Third, our families have been amazingly supportive and offered to help create the wedding our dreams. They just didn’t know it would involve no real flowers, DIY decorations, dyed hair, tattoos, and non-uniformed wedding decorations. No pastels?! Gasp! When the parents heard our wedding colors were red and black they looked like someone stole their favorite toy. His mother is still trying to convince me that real flowers for the bride are just appropriate. Did I mention we’re making paper roses out of several different types of paper products? Including my bouquet? Amazing, right? Not to the Mom’s. In the beginning my fiance and I came up with a few creative ideas for our wedding like a Steam Punk theme or a cute video game themed wedding cake. Who doesn’t want a Super Mario wedding cake?! Not to the Mom’s. Which brings me to my number one rule…

RULE #1: Tell No One!

After reading a few helpful wedding books like Offbeat Bride and Handmade Weddings I felt focused. I also found a kindred soul in the Manly Wedding Blog. He spoke to the lazy Tom Boy inside of me when he ranted about not trying to lose weight before your wedding. HI-larious! Our geeky and personal style started coming together. I dove into Pintrest and started collecting ideas and running them by my fiance. We eventually agreed on a book theme with library inspired invitations and homemade table centerpieces with our awesome paper roses, all designed by my fiance, our wedding party and some close friends. It felt great to finally be excited about this big event in my life after being shut down left and right by the Mom’s.

I later learned my biggest mistake was sharing any of this joyous information with the Mom’s. Offbeat Bride really did help me feel less alone in my geeky stress and remember that every wedding and every family are different, but there are a lot of things that geeky weddings do that Emily Post, and the Mom’s, would not approve of. So keep it to yourselves and only share the best details with the people who will be actively helping you get all this amazing stuff done. You don’t need someone trying to convince you what you want is wrong or not worth the effort. I threatened my Mom with the idea of me having a paper wedding dress (freaking awesome, right?!) and she stopped asking questions for a week. 🙂 Just trust yourself and know that everyone will love the surprise wedding cake.

RULE #2: Stay Focused

I’ve kinda failed on this note. I’ve been super stressed and often procrastinate for days or a few weeks at a time, and now it’s crunch time. We got engaged at the end of January of this year and we have a few important decisions such as the Photographer and DJ that we still need to nail down. One helpful thing I did in the beginning was sign up for daily or weekly emails from Real Simple and The Knot for reminders and suggestions. I’m a big fan of the magazine Real Simple and I’ve found a few really great tips from their emails, as well as monthly and deadline sensitive emails from The Knot. If you only spend five minutes a day reviewing these emails it will be worth it. You can pin the ideas you like on Pintrest, or flag them as favorites through your FREE accounts on their websites. They were both helpful in getting me to start focusing on the styles that were more to my liking. I also realize that maybe one out of several emails will have nothing but stuff on flowers, miscellaneous stuff you don’t need, and crap in pastels.I hate pastels. Warning: The Knot will spam you and give your email out to other vendors they work with. So expect unwanted emails about sales all the time. It’s a small price to pay for practical advice, and it’s still FREE!

One of the best things to help you stay focused, and I cringe to even suggest it, delegate stuff to people who want to help you. Utilize your wedding party!! One of my bridesmaids is a fucking ninja at making our paper roses. Edith, you are amazing. She deserves credit for all the hard work and late nights we’ve spent in the last few months watching Downton Abbey and burning fingers with the hot glue gun. Edith is so amazing she even made a few roses out of a Play Station manual and old cartoon magazines! I’m telling you, she’s fucking rad. I’m usually smoking and complaining while she uses those delicate fingers to glue fifty paper petals to a wire. I’m also lucky to have friends who are always asking to come over and help make paper roses with us because they think its an awesome idea and they miss when I use to host Craft Nights at my house. I can’t thank all of them enough. Which brings me to the next rule.

RULE#3: Trust Your Gut

I recently went shopping for my wedding dress, and I’m not gonna lie, I was dreading it. It was a busy Sunday afternoon and I was not expecting to find anything I liked, let alone loved. I’m glad I was proven wrong by the staff at David’s Bridal. Side Tip: Make an appointment any time you want to try on any of their dresses. Their staff was amazingly helpful and informative and I can’t thank them enough and my bridesmaids for putting up with my jerkiness and skeptical attitude. I totally almost cried when I realized I had found my wedding dress, on the first try. But, I held it back because I was doubting myself. My bridesmaids knew it, I knew it, and then the whole store knew it (they make you ring a bell) that was the dress for me. Luckily for the Mom’s I didn’t find a paper dress in stock.

RULE #4: Be Thankful ALL THE TIME!

The words “Thanks” doesn’t seem sufficient. All of my friends and family have been really excited and encouraging about our upcoming nuptials, even if they aren’t sold on our ideas. I wrote Thank You cards to all my friends who came over to workshop the paper roses. I made sure to buy a few small gifts for my bridesmaids when they accompanied me to try on wedding dresses. Keeping with the book theme I got them all bookmakers so they can flag stuff they want or love for themselves. These small gestures might help Emily Post forgive me for not allowing my single friends to bring dates to our wedding…hopefully…


I could go on and on with tips and tricks, but I feel the simpler the better. If you need or want extensive help I highly recommend visiting my favorite wedding site Offbeat Bride, or browse Pintrest when you have nothing better to do. No matter how big or small your budget you’ll find what works best for you. These are the most important things that I’ve learned, and have helped me stay sane while trying to avoid procrastination. Wedding planning takes a lot of time and patience. Especially if you want to make it as geeky and beautiful as you had imagined. I don’t want to give style or budgeting advice because I also realize not everyone is as cheap and lazy as I am. Before I was engaged getting married only meant signing a piece a paper and tax breaks. I never imagined a big wedding, let alone one with a theme. Now I’m planning the geeky wedding of my dreams. I hope your future wedding has everything you had hoped for. Even if its your dog in a dolphin costume or a black wedding dress, remember it’s your big day and you get to make it your own brand of geek chic.

We still have a long road ahead of us before our big day. Pray for us, and our Mom’s. 🙂

P.S. If you know a photographer you’d like to recommend please email me at scarlettburn[at]gmail[dot]com, and thanks again!

This post was presented to you by Defective Geeks!


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