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Put a cork in it

I officially finished the first draft of my book last night–it was technically already done as of this past Sunday, but then I was reading it over, which meant there was a lot of, “Oh my gosh, what was I thinking using that word” and “This sentence has just got to go.” It has been a looooong two months, but there have been some nice little surprises to lessen the load.

Last week, I was lucky enough to receive some samples from Placetile Designs, which brightened my day considerably as my mail usually consists of nothing but mortgage insurance adverts and coupon booklets. I received some of these:

Keep things fresh, erase, repeat.

And one of these:

It does double duty as a napkin ring

Company founder Kristin Bowen came up with the wonderfully clever idea of using erasable ceramic tiles as place cards and favors at her own wedding in 1999, and her guests loved them. The concept evolved to include all sorts of neat things, like wine cork place card tiles, menu tiles, napkin ring tiles, table number tiles, tiles for identifying foodstuffs, and a bunch of other lovely stuff you can write on with dry erase markers. So far, the wine stoppers are at the top of my potential book release party favors list.

For bigger, complicated receptions where there will be lots of attendees who don’t know one another, place cards (or at the very least, table numbers) are a must. I’ve always personally preferred place cards that double as favors or are integrated into favors because I like when everything in a tablescape has a definitive purpose. I’m envisioning a table with a erasable table number tile and wine stoppers or tags printed with guests names. If the bride and groom send the table number tile home with a guest, it automatically becomes a to-do list tile. Such is the beauty of being able to erase and rewrite.

On the off chance that the stuff from Placetile Designs is a little out of your price range, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can decorate your own erasable tile place cards and table numbers using the instructions here. Be aware, however, that you need to find tile that works like a dry erase board because some tile will hold onto the marker permanently. Check to be sure that what goes on can indeed come off before you buy bulk tiles, then go nuts with the paints!

Easy luxe tablescapes

One of mt favorite party stuff shops–The Front Door–will be closing as of December 18th. *sniff* Capitalism is a fickle mistress. Anyhow, there were all sorts of little decorating and etiquette tidbits on the site, and I wanted to share one of the loveliest.

You, too, can have the prettiest party!

One of the things that really bummed out a friend of mine when she was planning her wedding was that she would see photographs of really spectacular tables and have no way to replicate them because she wasn’t sure what anything was. Problem solved if you like this particular table. Head over the the site (in the next 18 days) to find out about the menu cards, place cards, napkin rings, fabrics, accessories, and centerpieces used to create this look.

A favor that would compliment someone’s decor? OMG!Buy this setup right at the garden center, baby

Pretty much everything shown is DIY friendly and easy, to boot. You could source a lot of the materials on the cheap from a discount outfit like Save-on-Crafts…one of the best go-to craft supply sites online, IMHO, though I would love to hear your craft site suggestions.* Now if only more sites that claim to offer ideas for brides- and grooms-to-be would break down tables (and other items) into their component parts, we could all have fun pretending to be Martha Stewart.

* For realz, people. I am about to embark on a serious adventure in sewing, so I’d love to hear about the fabric, materials, and tools sites that you can’t live without!

Too nice to walk on?

Does anyone reeeeaaaaaally need a custom hand-painted aisle runner? No. But they’re still kind of cool.

Do you really want to step on it?

Truth be told, I was not aware that this sort of thing existed when I tied the knot. I thought all the aisle runners out there were plain ol’ white plastic! It’s too bad, because I definitely would have bought a pretty cloth one from Artistic Aisles, all monogrammed and painted with flowers.

Then again, at $300 bucks for a 75-foot-long runner in a “designer color,” maybe it’s better that I didn’t stumble onto these until after I was officially hitched. Have you bought a runner? How much did it, er, run you?

Bio-dome? Terror Dome? No, wedding dome.

For some odd reason, I love it when ugly and expensive collide. When I saw the link for ‘wedding dome’ in my bookmarks, I got a little excited. I bookmark so much stuff that I forget what half of it is, and I thought I might have found a company that rents collapsible geodesic domes instead of tents. Oh, how wrong I was.

Wedding dome referred to French wedding domes. A few hundred years back, the domes were used to present the wedding rings to French brides- and grooms-to-be and to store the garter (or some other piece of nuptial paraphernalia) after the wedding.

Er, pretty?

The dome you see before you is obviously an antique, and it seems the tradition of the wedding dome has not lived on into the present day. Pity, that. Ha ha, just kidding. Ormolu (i.e. gilt bronze) coupled with mirrors, velvet, and birdies under glass is just not my bag, baby.

If you want to make your own wedding dome and you’re crafty by nature, I can’t see it being that difficult. My Antique Mall has put together a short symbolism guide that can help you choose components.

Oak Leaves = Longevity of Union
Sheaves of Wheat = The gift of Life
Rectangular Mirrors = Years of Engagement
Diamond Shaped Mirrors = Fertility
Large Central Mirror = Reflection of the Soul
Clusters of Grapes = Prosperity
Roses or Daisies = Love
Cherries = Protection from Bad Fortune
Ivy = Attachment to each other
Chestnut Tree Leaves = Links to Others

But if you’d prefer to get married in a geodesic dome and you’re handy by nature, this site will help you build one.

La belle table dans le printemps

It can be springtime anytime if you want it badly enough

Another table? I know it hasn’t been that long since I wrote about Social Courture’s put-it-together yourself all-inclusive tables, but Carolyne Roehm‘s tables rely less on tea lights and her retail store carries real silver and silver plate, unique dinnerware, and pretty glassware. While no one but the very well off will buy them to grace tables at a reception site, I could see purchasing part or all of this set for an in-home wedding and then treasuring the pieces for years thereafter.

The cake was created by fabulous New York cake designer Sylvia Weinstock, who has apparently been called the da Vinci of cakes. By whom, I don’t know, but there ya go. Roehm asked Weinstock to reinterpret her wonderful green eyelet wrapping paper–and it better be wonderful, considering it costs $18 for three sheets.

And for something a little different, if you want an invitation to what Cocktails by Jenn (a pre-mixed drink gift set company) is calling the ultimate bachelorette party, go here and enter for a chance to win a most-expenses paid weekend excursion to Las Vegas. The trip includes round-trip airfare, deluxe hotel accommodations for two nights, a catered private party, spa services, VIP nights on the town and one-of-a-kind gift bags. Sounds good to me–good luck!

Why DIY when they can DIFY

Packaged niceties can save you a freak out

Nice table, yes? It can be yours for a mere $315 per. I chose the elements that graced my wedding tables myself, but I could have benefited from Social Couture‘s help. Had I been able to afford it, that is.

Tables are sold by sets that come complete with candles, candelabrum, bowls, plates, centerpieces, napkins, and accents, or enterprising brides-to-be can pick and choose the pieces they need most and find the rest on a bargain web site or eBay.

Pricey but nice

I’m all for making the world a more convenient place, but I do think that any of Social Couture’s tables could be easily executed by the determined DIYer. While having an entire table at your fingertips must be nice, many of the settings do look somewhat contrived and magaziney. I prefer the ones that already have a DIY air, and if your table is going to look sophisticated in a homemade sort of way, why not just make it homemade?

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