Love & Marriage

Wedding Week: Save The Dates, Invitations, & Other Paper Stuff

Wedding week continues here at Young House Love with a look back at all the paper goods we designed for the event – from our summery invitation all the way to the customized thank you postcard. But let’s kick things off with the piece of paper that kicked things off in early 2007: the save-the-date.

We wanted something simple yet meaningful so we took inspiration from one of our favorite traditions as a couple: taking pictures in a photobooth. I’ll admit that we didn’t want to waste lots of quarters trying to get the perfect photostrip, so we faked our own using a digital camera, photoshop, and some glossy photo paper. The result was a memorable way to communicate some basic details (what, where and when) which was mailed off in a simple, white envelope. And who knew that it would later trigger the idea to rent a photobooth for the actual event (more on that later).

With our quirky save-the-date having broken the news, we turned to our invitation to set the mood. After all, an invite is one of the first tastes of an event that you give your guests so it’s the perfect time to establish the tone, the color scheme, etc. We wanted something elegant that still said “fun, garden wedding- leave your tie at home, mister.” So we designed and printed our own invites using a citrus-y yellow and green palette and brought it to life with a few graphic elements like lemon topiaries and buzzing bees. A not-so-typical wedding invitation for a not-so-typical wedding, no? Not to mention we packaged them (complete with an RSVP card, hotel info and directions) in bright lime green envelopes which I had the pleasure of hand addressing (Sherry convinced me my handwriting was better than hers). My hand hurts just thinking about it, but it was another personal touch that we just couldn’t pass up.

We knew we had successfully set a light-hearted mood with our invite once the RSVP postcards starting rolling in with all sorts of notes written outside of the lines. We loved them so much, we’ve still got them all stacked on the console in our living room. And we love perusing them every once in awhile to reminisce (and appreciate our charming friends and family). Gotta love wedding keepsakes beyond the tried and true photo album.

Our wedding paper trail followed our guests all the way to Richmond. For those staying in the local hotel that we recommended, we crafted a welcome packet to ensure that they made the most of their stay. And we didn’t have to cough up a lot of dough thanks to some creativity. We snatched a bunch of free maps from the local visitors’ center (they were yellow, conveniently), highlighted some of Richmond’s must-see spots and paired it with a “When in Rome- er, Richmond” guide (a sheet of attractions that we printed at home which correlate with the map). We also threw in a Virginia is for Lovers sticker to help our friends and family mark their stay in the big V-A.

The stack of RSVP cards in our living room is currently complimented by another pile of wedding memorabilia: our homemade wedding sentiment cards. Rather than a traditional guest book, we asked our friends and family to leave us a note on quirky speech-bubble cards that we designed and printed ourselves. During the reception people filled ‘em out and simply dropped them in a nearby glass vase for us to pour over later.

When all the “I Do”s were said and done, we still had one more bit of paperwork to take care of- the many thank you cards for our generous guests. And we couldn’t let the creativity slip now. So rather than a traditional folded note card, we ordered custom postcards that featured this artsy pic from the wedding itself (for less than the cost of regular stationery). It was just another unique and personal way to help our lovely guests remember the event… and play “Where’s Waldo” by trying to locate their blurry head in the background.

So that’s the paper-side of our wedding story. Now tell us yours. Did you find an unexpected way to ask your guests to save the date? Or maybe you’ve received a particularly creative invite or memorable thank you that you’d love to describe? Do tell, because it could very well provide some inspiration for our fabulous readers… or even for our next big event. I just hope I’m not hand-addressing envelopes again anytime soon.

*Drop in on our Wedding Album tab below the header to check out all the details of our big day from start to finish!



YHL Wedding Week

Today marks the one year anniversary of our swanky DIY backyard wedding… so we thought a wedding week was in order.

That’s right, we’re dedicating this week to sharing all of our crafty and creative ideas for not only a swoonworthy backyard wedding, but a fun and festive gathering of any kind. So don’t tune out if you’ve already tied the knot, we’re gonna bring you tons of affordable, personal, and unique decorating and entertaining ideas fit for any par-tay on your own turf (even if it’s just a romantic evening for you and the hubby). So sit back, relax, and don’t worry about having to catch the bouquet.

First the basics. We got married on 7/7/07, our exact two year anniversary of dating (which just happened to fall on a Saturday). Unfortunately 36,000 other couples picked the same exact date to get hitched, so we decided to make everything else about that day feel fresh, original and so very John & Sherry. And what could be more personal than hosting the 75 person affair in our own backyard?

Just like everything else we do, our wedding was one giant DIY project. From the invitations and decor to the food and entertainment, we pulled out all the stops (without breaking the bank) by doing everything with our own four hands. And because the event was at our home sweet home, we were able to put money that otherwise would have been spent decorating a venue into our own home improvements (gifts that keep on giving even a year later). For example, we knew our old jagged patio was a tripping trauma waiting to happen…


… so we invested some of our wedding money towards replacing the old slate patio with a new cobblestone paver version, which created the perfect place for a big wooden buffet table full of delicious gourmet eats and a grilling station for the chefs (John’s uncle and nephew)- who donned customized aprons that read: “You may now kiss the cook.”

And not only did we need a flat surface for serving, we also wanted one for eating and entertaining, which is why we went on to pave our treacherous gravel driveway (where heels + gravel = yikes!).


The newly paved surface created the perfect place for grubbing as well as mugging for the photobooth that we rented for the occasion. We’ve never been so thankful to have such a huge driveway (with a spacious turnaround area in the back of the house which kept all of our partying private). And the added bonus that we haven’t had to weed our monstrous driveway since getting it paved (which used to take days) is one of the best wedding presents we could have given ourselves.


While these two home improvement projects were so major that we brought in the professionals, nearly everything else was completely DIY from there on out (thanks to some help from our fabulous friends and family). Between John’s cousin officiating the ceremony, a friend playing “here comes the bride” on the guitar, and relatives cooking up some gourmet fare on the grill, we definitely kept things personal and meaningful. And when it came to setting the tables, crafting the menu, making the bouquet, assembling the centerpieces, designing the lighting, creating the perfect favor and coming up with our version of a wedding slideshow, you know we embraced the creative and the unexpected. So stay tuned for every last DIY detail.

*Drop in on our Wedding Album tab (right below the header) to check out all the details of our big day from start to finish!