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Save the Date Journey: Designing, Ordering and Assembling

January 26, 2012



When I showed Raoul and his mother during my visit they were quite impressed. Raoul made me feel warm and fuzzy when he told me I continued to amaze him. I returned home determined to get them finished and sent out so everyone had plenty time to save up and get off work. I perfected the passport pages while waiting on a date so I could start printing. I decided to add some pictures since a lot of my family and friends hadnâ€t seen Ra and I knew it would make the older guests happy.


(Personal Image)

I left a space at the top to add a magnet to it that way you could put it on your fridge but my face is hidden!  Sorry, I had to remove our website. I needed to get an idea of who was really interested in coming for planning purposes and I remembered I had seen an early bird rsvp a girl had made while ago.  I wanted the package to be fun and interactive and I remembered this image I had saved on my computer. Of course I couldnâ€t find it and after persistent googling I found it again.



I loved that they were fun and interactive. I also loved the vintage postcards that I had been seeing but I was limited by the images I could find for free. It took a lot of tweaking to get it just right but I came up with this.


rsvpbedit.jpg?w=640&h=496(Personal Images) 

I loved it and I had hopes and dreams that I could collect sweet, meaningful messages and display them one day. I changed the address so you can see the pretty font, although it looks so much better with my address! By the way this was like draft 12 and I was so tired of looking at it.

When we finally got a date and I was able to place my Vistaprint order. Oh, after three days of trying to upload my files and getting fustrated they were too small I googled it and learned you have to make your file four times the print size. Then I went back again and made changes so all four sides were on one image, that way I only had to pay for one upload. I used an email offer for a 250 postcards for $5 to print the main STD and I placed an order right after that for 100 free postcards so I could get the RSVP. I paid an extra $11 to have the matte finish so everyone could write on them. I uploaded our logo and made some stickers (so I could personalize the piggy banks), magnetic notepads, pens and t-shirts just because they were free. I ordered 100 of the plain white envelopes for about $4 extra and some free address labels that matched pretty well. I had a little freak out moment because placing this order meant this was real. The date was being published and this was really happening. I paid for 21 day slow shipping on three orders and 7 day fast shipping on one order. Three orders with shipping was about $60.  Then I just had to wait.

In the meantime I worked on the luggage mailing boxes. I didnâ€t want to wait for shipping so I hit up Office Depot, Staples and two shipping stores. I couldnâ€t find the rectangle boxes I was looking for. The smallest boxes I found were at 6x6x6 at Office Depot and they were a little over a dollar each. This project was adding up fast  but they happened to be having a sale on shipping supplies. I believe it was “spend $25 get $5 offâ€, not much of a sale but I picked up 5 boxes and a pack of shipping tags. I checked to see what Office Max had and it was the same boxes but I also picked up a pack of gold brads. Then I hit up AC Moore to purchase sheets of black foam,black and white ribbon and soem glue sticks. I also ordered 50 kraft envelopes fromenvelopes.com (where I purchased the passport cardstock from) for 10.95 plus shipping. I checked Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart first for all of these supplies and the three I went to had none of this. Then I went to another Wal-Mart one day and found everything I had been looking for but it was kinda late. I did buy 12 more 6x6x6 boxes because they were only 50 cents!


Hereâ€s all the supplies (Personal Photo)

This is what I was going for:


Image 1 via best destination wedding / Image 2 via best destination wedding /Image 3 via best destination wedding /Image 4 via best destination wedding

It didnâ€t happen. The square box just didn†t look right with the ribbons. I was fustrated and I left the project for a few days. I killed time by creating a belly band to keep everything together and it gave me a place to incorporate a saying since I want that to be a recurring theme.

 I was so excited when the Vistaprint order finally arrived. I showed the contents to Raoul over the webcam and he was more than impressed. I added return address labels and shipping tags to the envelopes the first. Then I printed, scored and glue-dotted the belly bands. (Itâ€s a word) At the last minute I decided to print the Passports on nicer paper but the only paper available was for laser printers. I also picked up small clear circle labels for the logo on the piggy bank because the Vistaprint ones were so big they wrinkled.  I had the hardest time getting my files to not resize on the laser printer I had access to, leaving me with 60 sheets of wasted regular and 10 sheets of wasted glossy paper (so not green). I gave up and printed them on regular paper so I could get them done. I could not for the life of me do anything with that label template so I gave up and I have ugly wrinkled labels. I had to get done! It took two sittings to trim and score all the passports. When I went to staple them together I realized the stapler wasnâ€t long enough. I should have sewed them with pretty gold thread like I wanted to originally but I didnâ€t have the time.


This was happy me two days before the stapler incident. (Personal Photo)


(Personal Photo)

I went out the next day and bought a long reach stapler and my little cousin just had to help me! Yeah, that busted look Iâ€m sporting was because of being up from 2-7am addressing envelopes! 

Because it would take between $4.80 and $6.00 to mail a box with a piggy bank I knew most people would be getting just the envelope mailed and the piggy bank hand delievered if possible. I did my best to finish the envelopes first and then I had to force myself to to finish the luggage boxes. I got a spark of inspiration when I stumbled across a picture of a train case, and finished the outside of the boxes. Then I took the packing material I had been saving for months (my way of bring green) and packaged the piggy banks to get them ready to mail.


 Iâ€m almost done, did you ever spend so much time on a project you loved you started to hate looking at it?

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Save the Date Journey : Shopping and Designing

January 25, 2012

(I'm sorry I got things out of order, this post should have gone before the last one)

After I was more than inspired I started thinking about what I want my STDâ€s to say to my guests. I wanted to be tactful but basically I wanted to say “save your money and get your passport so you can come.† The entire time I was dating Raoul I was always looking for someone to accompany me on a visit to the Bahamas. Problem was finding someone with their passport and the money for the plane ticket. When people found out I was planning on going I remembered saying over and over â€Save your money and get your Passport.†I brainstormed about how to save this. Something about putting money in your piggy bank to prepare came to mind. Then I thought how cool would it be to have a “Bahamas Fund†piggy bank to inspire people to save for the trip. I did a lot of research for little piggy banks and came across these.



They were perfect, only they were $3.85 each. Too rich for my blood. Then I fell in love with these.unique_home_decor_piggy_bank_01.jpg?w=64


I loved the unique cork in the nose and I thought they could be like a message in the bottle, I could put a little sand and shells in the bottom and roll up the message. But then I wasnâ€t crazy about message in the bottles, and they were $25. Finding piggy banks that were affordable was painful. I discovered clear plastic was cheaper than glass or ceramic.piggy-bank-clear-favor-box-2.jpg?w=640


$1.80 wasnâ€t bad, but I didnâ€t like not having a slot. I found out I could order blank ones from a website that printed logos. They would be about $1.25 each for 100 which was way more than I wanted, but no matter what adding shipping jacked the price up. Then I found key chains for 80 cents.qpic.jpg?w=512&h=340


 I donâ€t think anyone wants a piggy keychain but they were cute. Then I found a “green†piggy bank!



I could only admire these from afar because they were about $3.00 each. I thought about making them but that was even more costly. About that time I gave up and went back to myoriginal favorite ideas, the pencils and magnets. I thought having little magnets to play with on your fridge would be cute and fun. Our picture would be tiny so I didnâ€t have to worry about my face on someoneâ€s fridge. I was also drawn to the cardboard postcard because I knew it would be budget friendly. I started working in Photoshop on a few ideas. It had been a long time since I used Photoshop so it was taking more time than I wanted to brush up on my skills and accomplish my project. I switched over to Power Point and then I moved along pretty quickly pouring out designs. I wonâ€t bore you will all of them but this was my favorite.


(Personal Photo)

 I wanted you to feel like you could “playâ€. You would get a personalized golf pencil and three tiny magnets, one with our faces, one with our logo and one with a tiny seashell. I shopped online for tiny magnets, they wernâ€t cheap and I hate paying shipping. I went to the craft stores and Wal-mart and found a few, good ole†Wal-mart was the cheapest. I found glass gems/bubbles at the dollar store, both large and small. I originally planned to print the date on paper and make it another glass bubble but then I found wood disks at a pretty good price on Etsy. I really wanted to incorporate wood. (I LOVE wood, it reminds me of going to the hardware store with my father as a little girl.) This would make the project more expensive because I would need to make a stamp to get the date on. I just needed shells.  Finding the right size was difficult. I spent hours and hours working on this project and I just wasnâ€t feeling it. It would be costly and time consuming. I played around with the cardboard postcard next.


(Personal Photo)

I was really feeling this. I loved that it was green by using recycled cardboard. I loved that it contrasted the rough cardboard with the pretty lace. I loved that it was budget friendly! I bought some lace trim on ebay, ribbon at AC Moore cut up a shipping box and created a few mockups to try out the idea.




(Personal Photo)

I showed my mother and she was concerned that I was not yet engaged and I was working so hard on this project, but she loved it. I think her favorite part was that it was so inexpensive. I showed the family I work for and they thought it was great. They even offered me a huge cardboard box that their futon came in. I had plenty of clean cardboard, I just needed labels and lace. The labels I found at office max. They werenâ€t too expensive but they werenâ€t cheap. I went to the fabric stores searching for lace. I could not find any I really liked at a good price. I figured out that I needed to be around $2 a yard and I went online in search of a good deal. It drove me crazy to choose something so important without seeing and feeling it. The lace was all different widths and I had to keep measuring to see what would fit with the labels. Frustrated I gave up.

As you can see on the dates I was planning for a May wedding because I wanted to be ready. But it was October and we hadnâ€t even found out when my next vacation would be yet so there was no promise of a ring yet. Plus I was busy with my motherâ€s wedding coming up in November. So the Save the Dates went on pause.  Have you ever started a project and realized it would be too expensive to finish?

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You Can Do It, Put Your Back Into It

January 29, 2012


Alternative Titles: Girl, You Look Good, Wonâ€t You Back That Thang Up! and Baby, Got Back!

For many men the booty is the most desirable body part on a woman is her booty. For me the most beautiful part is the back. At a wedding you spend a lot of time looking at the brideâ€s back. Think about it, she walks down and your struggling to see her past everyone standing up. Unless there is some creative seating arrangement, throughout the ceremony youâ€re stuck staring at her back.

125397170844615509_hxyi2zxe_c.jpg?w=640 Even at a Royal Wedding you get a rear view/Source

Iâ€ve always sat through ceremonies where it happens this way and thought if I must look at her back it might as well be interesting. Why is all the focus of the dress on the front? Guests will really only see that in the receiving line and later in pictures. So for a long time I knew when I get married I want a jaw dropping back.


Thatâ€s beautiful, but not jaw dropping remember I like to see backs? /Source


More like it, I love the beading but a little too exposed for me/ Source

125397170844615664_x7ykwef9_c.jpg?w=640 The lace is so pretty but the bow seems like itâ€s on the wrong dress/ Source 125397170844487157_xvmh6yw7_c.jpg?w=640

This dress is all wrong for me but I love the lace pattern on her back (Really what woman wants a huge rose on her butt?) Source 230528074645526693_livw5ejr_c.jpg?w=640

This was all kinds of perfect, Modest, Sweet and Stunning / Source


Oh, so sexy and classy/ Source


Pretty, Pretty, Pretty/ Source


The one on the left blows my mind with how simple and crazy hot the back  is (but why do they keep adding weird stuff on the butts?) /Source


This is probably one of the best choices for me, I get to show off my back and still be classy and modest and I love the buttons and neckline/Source

Did your jaw drop? Mine did! While most girls dream about the big poufy, princess gown I dreamt about walking down looking sweet and innocent going towards the crowd and once I get past them…Bam! A stunning surprise. Since I wanted to be married before God I was concerned I did get carried away and look like I was wearing something only my husband should see.


This is one of those I had to see it so you do too, I know itâ€s your wedding lady, but seriously?Source

So the rules for my wedding dress shopping was:

  1. Backless detail but still modest – Not marrying into the Duggar family modest but not so sexy I offend Grandma
  2. Lace – Iâ€ve discovered I loved it and it felt bridal and vintage to me
  3. Comfortable for the beach and dancing – I didnâ€t want to spend money on something Iâ€d only wear for a few hours, I wanted to be able to wear my dress all day
  4. Affordable – I wanted to spend less than $1000 on my entire wardrobe for the day

I had also plans of using my mothers first wedding dress somehow. I was inspired by Mrs.Turtles†custom shrug and with that in the back of my mind set off dress shopping. Online of course because there was no ring yet. What body part did you want your wedidng dress to feature?


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Save The Date Journey: Get Them Out Of Here!

January 31, 2012


The Save the Dates are officially being mailed. No, there not all sent and Iâ€ll explain why in a minute. But Iâ€m so glad theyâ€re gone. I had grown tired of looking at them.

It took a week to get address on them. Mostly because I needed my mothers help and we both have busy schedules. She called me to come over one night and she was in bed before 9. That might not be surprising to you but my family eats dinner at 9! Fustrated I just went to sleep there, I awoke to her checking on everyone at 2am with her burst of energy. She asked if I wanted her help and since I was awake I grabbed my stuff and went to her bed. This is what addressing STDâ€s in the bed at 3 in the morning looks like:



Beautiful, Hun? I kept reminding her I didnâ€t sleep for two weeks before her wedding! (Personal Photos)

I learned I super hate finding addresses. I now know why snail mail is a dying trend. In a world where I canâ€t remember all of my internet alpha numeric passowords how am I supposed to keeps track of everyoneâ€s address?! I tried to be proactive and started to collect address from people I bumped into when I knew I was about to get the ring, but most of our family and friends live in different states. My motherâ€s brain has somehow committed to memory quite a few addresses, but that was only for people who havenâ€t moved in 10 or 12 years. What saved me from giving up was a little trick my mother taught me. I shouldnâ€t share because itâ€s one of those secrets that get passed down through the generations but you might find helpful one day. Ok, Iâ€ll share but keep it between us. Google them. I know, itâ€s crazy right! I had a why didnâ€t I think of that moment (and you probably did too) The white pages website is like having a phone book for every state but without taking up space in your house. But this didnâ€t give us all the ones we needed. It was a good thing I was only sending Save the Dates to the people I expected to need to make travel arrangements, I realized when it came time for the wedding invitations that you have to send to the older family members as a formality I was going to go through this all over again. I made a few phone calls to get some addresses and then realized we donâ€t have everyoneâ€s current number.

During this process I also fell in love with the guys at my post office. (Which reminds me I want to make them cookies or brownies..actually I should just take them candy because I wouldnâ€t eat what kind strangers baked me.) They seriously are the nicest, most patient men. They have endured many long visits from me during this month. Let me illustrate.

postoffice_visits.jpg?w=640&h=896 Until them, Ra was one of the few men who would watch me be crazy me and just smile and love me anyways. Maybe because it was their job, maybe because theyâ€re just the most awesome post office guys ever.


A look at my new stamp collection

So since they have not been mailed to everyone I donâ€t want to reveal the full package just yet, but I can tease you with a sneak peek. 




All Photos Personal

I know your dying to see. Soon, very soon.  Was it really a secret tip or have you used whitepages.com before?

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Thanks Patty! It's nice to finally see your face! 

Originally Posted by TA Patty View Post

Hi Amber - What a great blog! Lot's of helpful information and I loved reading your story. TA Patty



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Hi Dominiqueamber! Loved reading your blog, looking forward to more updates! Love your ring, very unique which I love. I didn't go with my fiancé to pick my ring, he did it on his own. I must say he did a pretty good job! Oh and that pic of that bride....Yikes!!

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Originally Posted by Blujaye View Post

Hi Dominiqueamber!
Loved reading your blog, looking forward to more updates!
Love your ring, very unique which I love. I didn't go with my fiancé to pick my ring, he did it on his own. I must say he did a pretty good job!
Oh and that pic of that bride....Yikes!!


Thanks Blujaye! Its a nice feeling other people are interested in my wedding details. I really love my ring, I'm anxious to have six bands because it looked so hot in the store, ut I have to be patient so they each have meaning. Did you drop any hints for your fiancé? I googled worst brides dresses (or something like that)  and a few others similar came up! 

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Thanks Blujaye! Its a nice feeling other people are interested in my wedding details. I really love my ring, I'm anxious to have six bands because it looked so hot in the store, ut I have to be patient so they each have meaning. Did you drop any hints for your fiancé? I googled worst brides dresses (or something like that)  and a few others similar came up! 
The rings look great in the photos! I have been dropping hints since the third year we were together! We had even gone ring shopping the year before he finally proposed. The one I had liked was out of his price range but the one he got in the end was perfect. For me it has a lot of meaning because he put so much thought and love into it! Keep up the good work!

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Save the Date Journey: The Big Reveal

February 4, 2012


Youâ€ve waited long enough, itâ€s time to reveal my precious baby! Here are our Save the Dates!

Most everyone recieved a kraft envelope with a “luggage tag†with their name and address on it.


 I had to take out the address but I was so happy to have my motherâ€s handwriting on my Save the Dates. Iâ€ve always loved her handwriting so this was more precious to me than calligraphy. The envelopes had a Love stamp and a Disney stamp. I loved the Up stamp but my favorite version had a Green stamp and a Wall-E stamp.


Whatâ€s inside?dsc008471.jpg?w=640&h=480

The STD postcard comes first, followed by the Early Bird RSVP and then the Passport of travel detailsdsc00853.jpg?w=640&h=480

And if you recieved a larger package in the mail it looked like this…


I used a combination of stamps I liked to acheive the collected, vintage stamp look.


To be green, instead of buying new packing materials I stuffed the boxes with various packaging materials I had saved from bubble wrap, to peanuts, to newspaper to tissue paper. In addition to the envelope pictured above guests recieved one of three different piggy banks inside their box. Each piggy had a label with our logo that said “Itâ€s Better in The Bahamasâ€


And the final package…


I was very proud of how well it all came together despite the little hiccups.

Hereâ€s a detail of the contents:

Front of the STD


Back of the STD (includes a magnet)


Front of the Early Bird RSVP


Back of the Early Bird RSVP (with edits to the address)


Passport Pages


The first page of the real Passport had a picture that represented the country and an intent for the purpose of travel. I decided to use a picture of us and a scripture that I felt was the intent for the purpose of our wedding.


I turned this page so you can read it correctly but it is turned the way a real passport booklet is. On the US Passport it features an eagle and the Constitution. I used a conch shell since itâ€s our symbol and rewrote a Constitution for our United State of Marriage. I didnâ€t want to use United States because I didnâ€t want to favor my country over his. I did my best to make it look  realistic.


I wanted to have a page that looked like passport stamps, so I put some travel details like the Travel Agents contact information in a few faux passport stamps. You wouldnâ€t believe some of the questions Iâ€ve gotten about Bahamas. I didnâ€t realize how little Americans know about whatâ€s outside our country until I started dating Ra. About 70% of people think Bahamas and Jamacia are the same, they ask me what language they speak there and they want to know why they need a passport since itâ€s US territory. To be honest I didnâ€t know all of this information but I wanted to answer a lot of the questions I get asked often and make guests feel comfortable knowing a little something about the foreign land they are traveling to.


Because convenience was important to me I wanted to give everyone the option of flying down or traveling on a cruise ship since they wouldnâ€t need a passport. I put the necessary information for flying and cruising on the next two pages, directing them to the website for more details. My favorite part is the little line that says itâ€s either the least expensive option or gives you more time in Nassau.


Because quotes and poems are important to both of us I wanted to include a poem that was special to me and described how I felt about marrying Ra. After working on it for a month I felt so proud of this little passport. I felt so proud of the entire Save the Date package. I hope my family and friends are surprised by the package, appreciate it and are motivated to make the trip. Have you ever recieved an unexpected package in the mail that made you smile?

All Photos are Personal

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    • Congratulations to Wedding Planners and Families of Bride and Groom. Cheapfaremart, an Orlando based Online Travel Agency offers Cheap Group Flights for Wedding Group also.
    • Thanks! I would love to get quotes from a TA but as I said I have a hard time finding a specialized one in Canada. I hope someone can point me to the right direction. 
    • The use of TA is instrumental in booking a destination wedding for several reasons: Namely, TAs have special rates and promos they can offer you, including perks of complimentary rooms and upgrades. Wright Travel actually has a Bride & Groom Fly Free Promo, which gives couples up to $1,000 cash back. These are perks you can take advantage of by working with a TA. Also, most agencies also do not charge any service fee, so you are essentially having the expertise and convenience of a travel agent without paying a dime. Experienced agents will also have valuable insight into the best property to host your wedding, and if they are familiar with your resort, they can also offer you and your guests tips on how to make your stay even better. Good TAs will also have close connections wiht the wedding department, essentially benefiting you throughout the planning process. Securing a room block is also important to ensure your resort does not run out of rooms and also to secure a group rate. Lastly, having a travel agent handle you and your guests travel plans is vital so that you don't have to deal with it. Anything can happen when it comes to travel and if you don't have an agent, your guests will turn to you for help. As a former destination wedding bride, I did not work with a TA and I regretted it. Having to answer a million questions from guests on where to stay, where to book, where to go, drove me nuts. When it comes down to the final stretch of the wedding, it was the last thing I wanted to do when I already had a million things on my plate wedding wise.  Here's a more in depth article regarding the benefits of using a TA.  https://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/wedding-tips/c/planning/10-reasons-why-you-should-use-wright-travel-agency-for-your-destination-wedding-r2439/  
    • We actually did our legal wedding at home -- a quick and easy ceremony at the local courthouse about a week before our destination wedding. Afterwards, we just went to lunch and shared a few celebratory cocktails 😊We did this so we didn't have to deal with the legal requirements (arriving early, blood test, etc.) you must abide by in Mexico. For us it worked out perfectly and our ceremony in Mexico was our official wedding with all our family and friends. 
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