“Nerds” Wedding Favour Boxes – a Free Template!

Ever since posting about it a few years ago, this post about the wedding favours my husband and I made for our wedding has been one of THE most popular entries on this blog. Not only was it a cool idea for wedding favours, it would also work well for birthday parties, graduations, and more!

Since then, I’ve had a lot of requests for doing custom boxes for people (I’m not comfortable doing so, because of IP issues!), and some requests for the file itself.

Well, I’ve finally dug out one of my original files, and am making it available for download! The file is 4MB, click here to download it.

Please note: I am offering this as a free, standalone resource. I am unable to offer any design assistance or trouble shooting, beyond the information contained in this blog entry. Thank you for understanding.

Here is what you will want to do (more or less!)

1. Open it in Photoshop.

2. Change the background colour to one more appropriate to your own event. Delete the background copy layer (just left it in there as an idea of what looks good for texture). If you’d like a textured background, go for it. (Works best with a really small, fine texture)

3. Edit “Website or greeting here” to… well, a website or greeting. 🙂

4. Swap out the flowers for flowers more appropriate to your wedding, or – for other events – something else. Maybe a birthday cake, etc? Use a high res image for best results.

5. Change the colours of the dresses and bowties, if desired.

6. Personalize the Name(s) and date for your own use. Also, feel free to change the wording of the greeting on the back of the box.

7. Make sure everything is as you want it, save the psd file as is (just in case), then convert to JPG and save it as a different file. It should look more or less like

…. with your own design added, of course 🙂

8. Obtain a template for a large postcard from your choice of printer – we used VistaPrint, with their “Oversized Postcard” option.

9. In Photoshop, select all for your completed design, copy and paste it to the printer’s template. Center it, making sure to keep it within the safe space guidelines provided. Delete the guidelines layer (if applicable), flatten and save.

10. Order your prints. I HIGHLY recommend ordering 50% more than you think you’ll need – this will allow for cutting/assembling mistakes, accidents, last minute extras needed, and keepsakes.

11. Order your choice of filling. We were able to find a company that sold Nerds candy in bulk – so much easier than buying retail boxes and transferring the contents!

12. When your print order arrives, use a slide cutter to trim the postcards to the outer outlines of the box.

13. Use very sharp, pointed tip scissors to trim all of the little “v” cuts, etc. (We used small scrapbooking scissors)

14. Using the dull/blunt attachment for your slide cutter (you may need to purchase this separately), score all of the fold edges.

15. Fold all of the boxes.

16. Glue the boxes together at the side flap.

17. Glue all of the boxes together at the bottom flap. Allow to dry completely.

18. Fill the boxes about 2/3 full, glue the top flap closed.

… and that’s it! It’s a bit of effort, but VERY much worth it!

Wedding Stationery Inspiration – Florida Keys

Now that “engagement season” is over, I’d like to pause the food talk to bring you a little wedding inspiration.

When our friend Lisa got married in late 2011, we were floored by her invitations. Wedding stationery can be so.. stationary. Some of the invite catalogs out there are hawking the same designs they sold in the mid-late 90s (literally), and so many invites I’ve seen during my time in the industry are just so .. blah.

To me, wedding stationery should give a bit of a hint about the event, beyond just words. When you look at a GREAT invite set, you should be able to see the couple in it. With a great invite, you can feel the love and care that went into it, and know that the couple really values your presence at the event.

When I got Lisa’s invitation in the mail… I’ve never been more excited to attend a wedding in my life. I knew that it was going to be a thoughtfully planned event, and a truly memorable wedding.

Unfortunately, post-tornado budget issues got in the way, so I had to live vicariously through the raves of mutual friends who HAD attended. The wedding had lived up to the invitations!

Let me show you the stationery that instantly won my heart:

Says Lisa:

“We wanted something different, something that no one else would have, and that worked with our literary theme. Invitations set the tone for your event, and it was a good opportunity to let people know that we wouldn’t be having a standard “wedding industry” wedding. The mad-libs style RSVP was a second clue.

We sourced all of the invitation materials from library supply houses, and I did all of the graphic design. We did our own envelope liners in several styles from a recycled encyclopedia, comics and maps, and hand stamped all the envelopes. The invites were hand stamped by my friends one afternoon (we also put stems on 300+ hand-folded paper flowers that day, but that is another story).

We loved our invitations, and we are still getting comments on them today”

Sigh! I wish we still had the envelope ours came in – it was lined with a recipe from a magazine!

So, there you have it – my favorite wedding stationery ever. What is the coolest invite YOU have ever seen?

More Silk Florals

When preparing to post my How to make silk flower pomanders tutorial the other day, I was disappointed to find out that we had apparently lost photos of my more recent Twin Cities Pride Festival floral designs. Between a move, a tornado, and the folders on one of our servers getting jumbled… somehow the photos got misplaced.

My husband noticed how bummed I was about it – I really loved the more recent florals. As many of them had been stolen from the site that year, the photos being gone just seemed even more tragic. He scoured the various computers and flash drives here, and finally found them! So, even though it’s a bit belated, I want to share the photos with you, as another example of what can be done with silk floral pomanders as outdoor wedding decor.

This set of floral designs was done as a rush job. It’s kind of a funny story, even if that was NOT the case when it happened.

I arrived at the festival to set up, and we found out that the previous commitment ceremonies coordinator had accidentally THROWN OUT the florals I’d donated a couple years before, after the previous year’s festival!

So, with only a day to not only set up, but now also redo the entire floral design scheme for the ceremonies area, the festival armed me with a credit card, and I raced to a local silk floral wholesalers. With NO idea what would be available when I arrived, I had to cobble together a color scheme on the spot! I found several varieties of silk flowers in colors that worked well together – mostly hydrangeas, roses, and ivy – picked out my whole order, and rushed home for a LONG day of floral arranging.

With the help of my friend Susi, we managed to turn out the entire thing in record time, and were able to set up at the ceremonies site that very afternoon. Whew – what an adventure! Given what all was involved with the creation of this floral set, I’m doubly happy that the photos were eventually found! I love how they’re very pretty, almost serene looking… but *I* know the panic that went behind them. It makes for an interesting contrast of emotion for me!

These florals were all done using the same techniques as described in my earlier tutorial, with minor variations in technique:

– The pomander hung across the aisle had a very long ribbon run all the way through it.

– The domed arrangement with the draping behind it was done on one half of a larger styrofoam ball. I had cut it in half and poked two holes in it, from the center of the dome, through to the center of the flat side. I folded a long ribbon in half, feeding one end through each of the two holes and out the back. I then decorated the domed half of the ball, and used the ribbon ends to affix it to the pipes in the tent.

There are just so many things that you can do with these techniques, and I can’t recommend it highly enough… especially for outdoor weddings. It’s great to be able to get the design work done well ahead of your event. Trust me, I know this from experience! LOL





How to Make Silk Flower Pomanders

2.5 years ago, I posted my first wedding floral design tutorial, planning to make it a regular thing. With floral design being one of my earlier ADD career incarnations, I’ve got about 15 years experience (off and on for a decade of that) – a lot of floral knowledge! – kicking around in the back of my head, ready to share. Procrastination took over, though… so here’s my second floral tutorial. Better late than never, right?

For the past few years, June really makes me think of weddings. Not because June is the stereotypical “Wedding Month” (August was always FAR busier, for me!), but because it’s Pride month. While weddings happen all year, and can / do happen every day of the year… the sea of rainbow really had a way of making me stop to think about weddings, marriage, and happiness. When you’ve been in the wedding industry for 15 years, it’s easy to lose sight of some things.

For instance, it’s easy to take weddings – and marriage – for granted, when you’re one of the many for whom it’s available. I’ve never had to consider the idea that I wouldn’t legally be able to marry my husband, that there’s any chance of being denied any of the legal benefits to being married, etc. Hell, even before that… we didn’t need to worry that our falling in love, dating, or getting engaged could result in any sort of fallout with family, or provoke hatred and violence from strangers. No one sees our marriage as a “threat” to their own, no one campaigned against our rights to marry, etc. We didn’t have to fight for it.

As a Canadian immigrant living in the USA, I still haven’t wrapped my head around why gay marriage is even an issue. If anyone’s marriage is threatened by someone else’s ability to marry – regardless of anyone’s plumbing – perhaps it’s *their* marriage that needs to be examined. You know, NOT the marriage of the happy couple who wants nothing more than the right to be together. UGH. I’ve ranted about it before, so I’ll cut the tangent short, here.

As you may know, I was a sponsor of the Twin Cities Pride Festival for a few years, providing all of the floral design for their commitment ceremonies area. The year I moved to MN, we went to the Pride Festival, and were shocked to see that the ceremonies area consisted of a single, unadorned garden trellis – no flowers to speak of! I signed up for the following year, and created many floral arrangements for the site.

To this day, I still receive compliments about the designs – especially the pomanders pictured to the right and below. Yes, the silk flowers were very cheap and not the most realistic… but the color and visual impact that they brought to the site completely transformed the entire look and feel of the ceremonies site!

(Don’t judge! We needed durability, first and foremost, as these flowers would be outside – through various weather conditions- for several days. Then they would be packed away for a year, and brought out to decorate the following year.. lather, rinse, repeat. Nicer flowers would NOT hold up!)

Anyway.

In honor of Pride weekend, I’d like to show you how to make them. Pomanders are a great way to decorate wedding ceremonies and receptions: Put them in trees, suspend them from garden hooks, or hang them off the corner of chairs or church pews. As a DIY thing, they’re a great way to save money on decor, and can be made WAY ahead of time – so they’re great for pre-wedding time management.

Happy Pride Week / Month, everyone!

DIY Wedding Pomanders

Materials:

Styrofoam balls – I used 3″, you can use larger if needed.
Chopstick or BBQ skewer
Ribbon (Preferably satin type, 1/2″ – 1 1/2″ wide)
Silk flowers – MANY*
Silk greenery or accent flowers (such as baby’s breath), if desired
Pins (I like beading pins. Perfect length + bit larger head)
Decorative accents, optional**

* Flowers: I like to buy stems with many small flowers attached – ideally the kinds where the flower heads are easily pulled off. It’ll require a LOT – the small pomander pictured took about 50 smallish flower heads! (1.5″ – 2″ in diameter, when pressed flat)

** Decorative accents: Depending on the look you’re going through, there are SO many options for what you can do to really customize these. Metallic airbrush accents, spray glitter, stick-on rhinestones, sprays of wired beads, etc. I’ve seen steampunk bouquets with gears glued on, and I’ve seen pieces of Lego successfully use in a wedding bouquet. Have fun with it!

Alternatively, you can use larger flowers (such as the silk roses pictured above). Cut the stems to 1.5″ – 2″ long instead of pulling the flower heads off the stems.

Using a chopstick (preferred) or metal grilling skewer, puncture a hole right through the middle of a styrofoam ball.

Cut a length of ribbon. You’ll want it big enough not only for the loop, but for the ribbon through/under the styrofoam ball as well. As an example, if I want a 12″ drop (IE: the ball sits 12″ below whatever it’s being hung from), I’d allow 24″ for the loop, 6″ for the two ends to pass through the 3″ ball, and then another 6″ or so for knotting, etc… meaning a 36″ length.

Fold the ribbon in half, “good” side out.

If using a chopstick, fold the two edges of ribbon over the end of the chopstick by 2″, and push through the styrofoam ball, before knotting them together on the other side.

If using a (sharper, pointier) skewer, knot the two ends of the ribbon together (small, tight knot). Use the skewer to GENTLY push the knot through the styrofoam ball.

Carefully pull the knot out of the other side and knot another time or two – you’ll want the knot to hold the ball on securely, and pushing the knot through – rather than un-knotted ribbon – has a tendency to leave a fairly wide hole.

Start affixing flowers to the styrofoam ball. I like to push the ~1/4″ rubber/plastic nub on the back of the flower into the styrofoam, then secure with a pin. I push the pin through the flower somewhere near(ish) to the center of the flower, but not through the hole in the very center of it.

If you’re using larger flowers with the small pieces of stem attached, just push the stems into the styrofoam.

If your flower type has several layers of petals, try to push it through a spot where most of the layers overlap – it’ll be more secure that way. On this type of flower, I made sure to catch the pin through part of the plastic center, so that it’ll remain on the ball. If I had pinned it just through the petals, there’s a good chance that the center would eventually fall out.

Continue attaching flowers over the entire surface of the ball. Be sure to lift petals of an already-affixed flower to be able to place the next flower fairly close to it – you don’t want any styrofoam showing between the individual flowers.

Once your ball is completely covered with flowers, attach your decorative accents, if using.

If you would like to attach a decorative bow, tie one in a length of ribbon, then push a pin through it.

Pin the bow to either the very bottom of the pomander (hold it up by the loop to see where the very bottom actually is!), or to the top, near the loop.

Your pomander is complete, and ready to bring some color and visual interest to your celebration! Now… make a bunch more.

To do a pomander set like the one on the right, feed one end of a ribbon through the ball, rather than two ends. Knot and proceed as described. Once you have two pomanders ready, tie the ribbon length from each together in a pretty bow. This style is especially great for hanging from trees, as pictured.

Like what you see? We added a second post, More Silk Florals with updated photos of some faux floral decor we’d done for another year of Twin Cities Pride!

Custom “Nerds” Wedding / Party Favors!

Editing to add: Due to popular request, I’ve shared my template for these boxes. You can find it HERE.

Saturday was our 5th Wedding anniversary! No one’s died or been (significantly) maimed, so I think we’re doing pretty good at this whole “marriage” thing 🙂

While we splurged on the venue, we did a lot of our wedding ourselves, DIY. It was all quite nerdy and perfect for us.
We got married at the Science Museum, which was a no brainer for us. It was the only venue we’d looked at! In looking at a local wedding magazine, with huge lists of the local venues, we got headaches just thinking about picking a venue. Then, we saw the Science Museum listed. Boom. Done.

Our centerpieces were very simple, just 3 test tubes glued together tripod-style, each with a stargazer lily. These were placed on mirror tiles on each of the guest dining tables – each table named after an element. We had fun trying to arrange the table names in an appropriate way – closest friends were seated at tables named after our favorite element, the kids were at the “Neon” table, etc.

The food was not so hot, our cake (I did NOT make it!) was freezerburnt, and our photographer spent most of the time hitting on one of our friends, rather than actually working. Meanwhile, the DJ and the bartender did their absolute best to make it an awseome evening, which it was. I mean really, we had our ceremony less than 5 yards away from “Bodyworlds”, LOL!

Anyway, in honor of our anniversary, I’d like to share what we did for our favors: Custom Nerds candy! (more…)

Craft: Unique Guest Book

I’ve always had mixed feelings about guest books. Obviously, I think it’s great to have a souvenir record of the guests that attended your wedding … but why do they have to be so freaking boring??

Sure, you can buy some guest books with a pretty or otherwise interesting front cover.. but usually, the insides are all the same. Just lines for information. Although my now-husband and I picked up a guest book with the intent of personalizing the cover… we were thoroughly uninspired by the interior. There had to be a better idea.

Well, when we first got engaged, we started a scrapbook for all of the photos, knick knacks, cards, and whatnot that were associated with our upcoming wedding. Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if we could incorporate our guest’s signatures into this scrapbook?

So, here is what we did:

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Craft: Shower / Reception Heart Arrangements

When I got married, I was a seasoned and highly efficient event floral designer. Of course I was going to do my own arrangements! Hiring out wasn’t even a consideration – I’m very Type A, I knew exactly what I wanted, etc.

Even with my experience… if I had my time back, I definitely would have hired out, just to minimize that bit of extra stress the day of/day before. Would have liked to be enjoying time with the girls the morning of, not running a hot shower in the hotel room to coax some stubborn lilies open! I always recommend to hire a professional floral designer for your wedding.

Sometimes though, it’s just not in the budget, or not what the bride wants to do, for whatever reason. That’s fine.. but definitely requires some planning ahead! Try to design arrangements that will last several days, and pick sturdy flowers that don’t require a lot of special care.

Here is a cute, cost efficient floral arrangement that can be made several days ahead of your wedding! You can use these on each table (and the individual arrangements can double as guest favors!), or just on “special” tables.. the guest book table, etc. The instructions are for the arrangement as pictured – you can use less containers, and do a smaller heart if you’d like!

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