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Part 3: The Invitation Breakdown – Pet Projects!

19 Dec

Finally, the last part of the invitations! I’m sorry it’s so long guys, but I hope this gives you some idea on how to go about giving your guests much-needed information for your destination wedding (or even for a local wedding!).

I hinted in my last post that we had two additional inserts: the Chinese tea ceremony insert, and the Map insert. These two were my pet projects.

The Chinese Tea Ceremony Insert

When we initially began thinking about the invitations, Mr Big mentioned that his Kiwi contingent wouldn’t know where to purchase red envelopes. We decided then, that we would include red envelopes in our invitation for those guests to use at the wedding.

We then had to consider how to tell guests about the Chinese Tea Ceremony. We would only be giving this particular insert to specific guests (mostly family and close friends) but how would we give it to them?

I then came up with an idea of inserting the insert into the red envelope, like a gold ticket in a Willy Wonka chocolate bar (but maybe not as exciting as one…)!

First off, I had to measure the “standard” size of a red envelope:

red envelope measurements1

One of the red envelopes I received for Chinese New Year.

I sent this image to my Cousin Fre in Indonesia, who then bought a bunch of red envelopes for us measuring approximately what I had given: red envelopes

Meanwhile, I went to my handy-dandy Photoshop and constructed this:


The Chinese Tea Ceremony Insert.

It needed to fit inside the red envelope, but still be visible. In the end, I ended up with this:


I know you guys have seen this a BAJILLION times, but it’s the best picture I have!

Because the Chinese Tea Ceremony is often considered to be an event for family (and close friends) we were selective in our choosing for who received this particular insert. It worked out well, and those who received this “special invitation” were actually quite excited about the whole thing!

The Map Insert

Another pet project, this one came to me after I realised that our guest may need a map to get around the Hunter Valley. I was in Adelaide at the time and decided on a whim to break out my tablet, Photoshop and open up Google Maps when Mr Big was at work.

I was so gorramn focused on the whole thing that I didn’t take any progress pictures, but hive, if you’ve been on the Bee for a while, you know which tutorial to turn to for awesome maps. 🙂

In the end, I ended up with this:


Top picture, an overview of the Hunter Valley showing reception, ceremony and accommodation; and bottom picture, showing the Hunter Valley Gardens in all its hugeness. I forgot to take the border off the second map. Oops.

We printed them back-to-back and they were a success. Hopefully our guests bring them to the wedding to help them get around!

All-in-all, I’m super happy with how our invitations turned out. I know some of our guests have responded with positives (some people have even told me to start doing invitations for other people, hahah!).

What do you think Hive? Did anyone else have pet projects?

(All images personal.)

Part 2: The Invitation Breakdown – Wedding Essay Galore!

18 Dec

Last time, I chatted to you guys about the envelopes, pocketfolds and the main invitation. Now I’ll go into the inserts which comprised the second-half of the invitation. As I’ve mentioned before, the invitations we wanted to make needed to be informative, especially as our wedding would be a destination wedding for half of our guests (or all, if you’re one to believe that two hours away for a wedding is classified as a ‘destination’ wedding).

As such, we wanted to include inserts which informed our guests about:

  • Details on the Hunter Valley
  • Accommodation
  • Travel
  • The “Wishing Well”
  • An RSVP card
  • The Reception

I also wanted an image to come across through the inserts, like this picture right here:


My inspiration! / Image taken from Inviting Invitations.

After designing through Photoshop, I realised we had too much information to really put a clear image through (like the one above) so I decided to do it was an image on 30% opacity.

This was our preliminary run of the inserts:


Who can see the blossom tree showing up through the inserts? And yeah, I know. You’ve only see this image 456,156,981,125 times.

If you look past the heading, you can see a tree showing up through the inserts. It turned out phenomenally in the actual invitations (here, it doesn’t look as good as it was a proof).

Also, you might have noticed that we doubled up travel and accommodation, as those tend to go hand-in-hand (and we didn’t want to have too many inserts. You can also see something peeking out at the top of the details card. That was another separate insert for specific people to attend our Chinese tea ceremony, which I’ll go into in another post:


See the red envelope with Buddha on it? That’s the Chinese Tea Ceremony insert. Another thing you must’ve seen 854,264,125,354 times.

You can also see in the above picture one side of our map.

Before I overload you guys with ALL THE THINGS, I’ll start with the basic inserts and go into both the map and the Chinese tea ceremony insert in the next post.

Let’s start from the top then!

The Details


The Details Insert.

To my knowledge there isn’t anything private on these inserts. As you can see from this card, we wanted our guests to know where the Hunter Valley was. I’m not sure if the Hunter Valley is as popular as say, the Marlborough wine districts in the South Island of New Zealand, or the Napa Valley in California, so I wanted to make sure that our guests knew the full extent of where we’d be having the wedding.

I also created a map outlining the distance from Sydney to the Hunter Valley so that guests get a clearer picture geographically.


An initial design of the map.

You can also see that we outlined two very important things: (1) there would be a wine tour if guests wanted it, but they’d unfortunately have to pay, and (2) lunch would not be provided.

I know this may or may not be considered a wedding faux pas, but we struggled to think of things to give our guests in the long wait between our ceremony and the reception. Unfortunately, we didn’t really get a choice on the matter of when we’d be having the ceremony due to cultural reasons, so with that, we decided we would offer our guests a wine tour!

We ultimately made the decision that if guests wanted to go on a wine tour, they’d pay a small fee to do so. Those who don’t want to go on the wine tour don’t need to and we’ve given them other options (most have opted to hang out at the Crowne!). All of our guests have been pretty happy with this, so I’m calling it a win!

As for lunch, we didn’t have enough room in our budget to hold a luncheon for our guests and a reception dinner at night. It’s traditional to have sit-down dinner in Chinese weddings, and when I offered to move the wedding reception to lunch, I was stared at in horror.

So again, we’ve given our guests different lunch options and a part from some, everyone has so far been happy with it.

Travel & Accommodation

We made two separate inserts depending on whether you were overseas or in Sydney:

travel accomm insert

On the left, the Australian insert; on the right, the Overseas(OS)/New Zealand(NZ) insert. Edited for privacy purposes.

In the OS/NZ insert, we opted to use Cousin Em, Mr Big’s cousin who is also an excellent travel agent as the provided travel agent for the wedding. She’s been super awesome at booking flights and just generally helping out with the travel details for the wedding.

In the Australian insert, we had the option of a bus from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, mostly for the older guests like my dad’s friends. However, this option fell through as we didn’t get very many people wanting to take that route. All Sydney-siders will be driving up either before or on the day (which I’ll mention on my RSVP breakdown!). As such, I wanted to ensure I put the message out there to not drink and drive.

Most of them will be staying at the Crowne Plaza Resort Hunter Valley. This include both overseas and Australian guests!

I’ll document the actual resort in another post, but suffice it to say that we chose an awesome place to house our guests. It’s a five-star resort, and we managed to get a pretty incredible discount when we decided to use it for guest accommodation.

The Treasure Chest

Otherwise known as the “Wishing Well”. Because we injected my culture into the wedding, we opted for monetary gifts. I know most people deliver this sort of thing through cute poems, but I tried to make my own (and failed). Instead, Mr Big offered up the suggestion that I explain the culture behind the red envelope and why monetary gifts are so significant.

I went with it and we got this:

treasure chest insert1

On the left, for the New Zealand folk; on the right, the Australia folk.

Again, we gave one to the Kiwi/OS folk and another to the Aussie folk. The reason for the difference is:

  • Most Kiwi/OS folk will probably spend more than the Aussie folk flying over to the wedding
  • Most of the Aussie folk are actually my family, who will be giving monetary gifts anyway (as is customary)
  • We don’t really expect any gifts from the Kiwi/OS folk, but thought it’d be nice to include them in the custom

It worked for what we were doing, and so far, nothing has been said about our invitations to indicate any ill-will.

The RSVP Card

As many of our guests would be coming in from overseas, we eventually decided that pretty postcard RSVPS or RSVP envelopes would be too easy to lose in the post and went for digital RSVPs instead. This bummed me out for a little bit, but it proved to be a good idea, especially when some of the invitations had been lost in the post! We were also able to receive the RSVPs in a relatively timely manner.

Hence, when we constructed out RSVP card for the inserts, we set it out as follow:


The RSVP insert. Email censored to protect Mr Big’s sanity.

Unfortunately, not all of our guests had email. These guests comprised mostly (if not all) of my parents’ friends, but these guests could report directly to my parents, who were able to RSVP for them.

Also, you may or may not have noticed my MASSIVE mistake.

The fifth (5th) of May, 2013, was a Sunday, not a Friday. So a lot of people were confused (and fair enough!). I managed to rectify the mistake by sending out texts and email to those who were confused, but most assumed the RSVP cut-off date was the Sunday (which it was).

I had also made a mistake with the email but Mr Big came to the rescue. Thank goodness he’s a computer whiz!

The Reception Card

Our reception card was pretty basic. Because we had alternate drops and our guests would be swapping meals if they so wished it, we didn’t need to state whether they wanted chicken, beef, or fish. Instead, our guests simply saw this:


We wanted to mention that the event required some form of “dressing up”, hence the mention at the end. It was also a nice homage to HIMYM.

So far, we haven’t heard anything negative about our invitations. We thought long and hard about what to say, how to say it, and whether or not we should do certain things in a certain way, but all-in-all, I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out (despite the changes we made along the way!).

And with that, I’ll stop there for now!

Next up, I’ll go the ingenious way we handled the Chinese Tea Ceremony and Map inserts (which were my pet projects).

How would you feel if you received these inserts in the invitation? Did anyone else make some major mistakes in their invitations?

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

Part 1: The Invitation Breakdown – Outer Things!

17 Dec

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to “break down” the invitation we made, and I think it would be easiest to start from the outside. I know invitations aren’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, but if you’re intending on DIY’ing your invitation and you like reading about them, then this may be one long sucker of a post about just that.

So without further ado, here’s the Bighorn invitation suite.

The Envelope

I mentioned previously that I couldn’t be arsed doing some fancy calligraphy on the invitations. Fair enough too, because a majority of our guests have either lost the invitation or just can’t be bothered referring to it. So I’m quite pleased that I didn’t spend eternity doing calligraphy. I also didn’t bother with “outer envelopes” because, 1) money, and 2) time.

Yeah, guys, I’m one of those people who aren’t very fussy on stationary.

As for what sort of envelope we chose, we had to choose from Cards & Pockets specifically because A7 envelopes don’t exist in Australia. We ended up choosing the A7 Envelope (5 ¼ x 7 ¼ Euro Flap) from Cards & Pockets in Gold.


The envelopes, stamped and addressed. Not censored, because the writing is tiny and the photo quality is crap!

They don’t look great in photos – at all. They look like those manila envelopes my university uses to post me back my assignments, hahah! But in person, they’re beautiful. They have this lovely sheen to it and the grain of the envelope is just awesome.

When these envelopes are opened up, you get…

The Pocketfold

As mentioned previously, we got our pocketfolds from Cards & Pockets. We loved the idea of giving our guests a package of information for them to peruse through, especially as a lot of our guests had never been to a destination wedding (and a lot of them are frightened of the prospect too).

In order to do this, we used the Signature Pocketfold from Cards & Pockets in Jupiter.

jupiter pocketfolds

The Signature Pocketfold in Jupiter.

It provided a beautiful backdrop for the invitations and inserts I had designed over Photoshop (with the help of my magnificent Friend A). When folded up, we fastened it with envelope seals from Vistaprint (which I got for relatively cheap with a voucher!).

censored outer pocketfold

Sorry for the censor guys!

I wanted to add a stamp of a cherry blossom tree, but couldn’t find anything that was both, 1) appropriate, and 2) affordable (uhm, $20+ for a stamp, no thanks). So I nixed the idea and decided to keep it simple.

Especially as, when opened up, the rest of the invitation was information heavy

The Main Invitation

We made sure out main invitation was the first thing the guests would see:


When the pocketfold is opened.

On the other side were our mini-essays (AKA inserts). We also placed a Chinese sticker on the base of the pocket to give it some character.

Our main invitation (obviously) has personal details, so I won’t share the original. I will, however, share the Weddingbee version I made!


The main invitation!

My Chinese heritage is playing a huge part in the planning of our wedding. So Mr Big and I wanted to pay homage to that in the invitations. I wasn’t too sure where to start, but then the idea of ‘cherry blossoms’ tickled my fancy. However, cherry blossoms are more Japanese then Chinese.

“Plum” blossoms  – which are white – are more Chinese oriented.

plum blossoms

Plum blossoms. / Image via Wikipedia.

However, I know that a lot of my traditional relatives would just about have a heart attack at a “white invitation” (for those who don’t know – white is the colour of death in Chinese culture), so I decided to stick with my guns and go with cherry blossoms.

In all honesty, it turned out beautiful and I’m glad I went with it! 🙂

We decided that, because our parents are contributing quite significantly with our wedding, we’d place them into the main invitation. We originally wanted to put individual names on the invitations, something Mr Big was a goer on, however, short of writing out the names on individual invitations before printing (which would’ve driven me and the people of Cards & Pockets insane), we decided against it.

I wanted to make it easier for guests to find the location on our map, so I put in a reference point. I’m not exactly sure how many people have actually used it (or will even be bringing the map with them!) but I thought it was a nice touch.

As usual, I ended with our wedding logo, which capped it off nicely.

And I think I’ll end it there before this post gets too long! I’ll talk to you more about the inserts in the next post! I also have two pet projects I want to tell you guys about.

Anyone else give their guests an “invitation essay”?

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

Invitations, begone!

14 Aug

On 13 March 2013, this box arrived at my parents’ house:


What could be in here, hm?

It was addressed to moi and was from Cards & Pockets. I put two-and-two together and gave an excited squee.

Our invitations had arrived! YAY!! Now you may be wondering, why on Earth did you get your invitations ready so early? Well, the reason behind this was simple – we had overseas guests who needed a fair amount of notice. I thought mid-year 2013 would have been a better time, but Mr Big was eager.

So invitation-ing we went!

When we opened up the box, we found all these goodies:


ALL THE THINGS. Ok, well not all. The Chinese stickers were from my family in Indonesia!

We assembled all of the inserts, pocketfolds, and envelopes with the red envelopes and the stickers, making sure everything was in order before assembly. And then an assembly line was formed with my Mama Bighorn, Papa Bighorn, Groom’s Homie Oddball, Mr Big and me.

family times_invitation

The Assembly Line, excluding me.


75% of the way through! Pocketfolds assembled.

It literally only took a weekend to assemble and by Monday, they were ready to be dispatched to their new homes.


Invitations all stamped and ready to be despatched!

Now, guys, I can’t say it was ALL happy endings, sunshine and butterflies for these babies. We got a few lost invitations which resulted in us having to send – DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUUUUUN – e-invites over email. I know it’s an etiquette faux pas, but frak it, we didn’t want to spend more money and risk more invitations getting lost in the mail (damn International and Australian post). It sucked when we found out that they had been lost in the mail, since Mr Big and I – not really having much skill with graphic design – were so FRAKKING PROUD of these babies.

Most of the invitations arrived at their destinations though! We got early RSVPs and are now running through the final RSVP details with everyone. It’s so exciting how close this thing is getting (and stressful, did I mention stressful?)

I’ll go into more details on the invitations and our RSVP rundown soon!

Anyone else send their invitations out insanely early? Or are the Bighorns just insane?

(All photos personal and taken on a crappy cell phone camera. Sorry hive!)



The Guest List & Invitations

12 Feb

AHHH! It’s been so very long since I wrote!! Bad eichanist, bad! I do have a reason for the long absence. First off – New Year (I think that was my last post). And then, we flew over to New Zealand for a friends’ wedding! I (unfortunately) wasn’t able to attend the wedding while I was over there – but, from the photos and videos I’ve seen, it looked MARVELLOUS! I just hope all my planning is just as good as their’s (they were also lucky enough to have some help – I don’t have the luck of having a wedding planner…). After we came back from the wedding, it was Chinese New Year – so I wasn’t able to find time to sit down over the weekend to type a post.

So I’m doing it now – when I should be attempting to consolidate my Honours work… (Shhh, tell no one!)

But anyway – first thing’s first. I would like to acknowledge that I’m getting married in less than a year!! YAY! I will soon be Mrs. GP (or more correctly, P…). GP has been getting more and more excited – he’s giving me ideas, suggesting things timetable-wise (I’ll need him to do most of the timetabling because, well… I suck at it), and thinking of potential photo locations. I love that he’s getting more excited – it makes me more excited! 🙂 He’s even suggested ideas for our first dance, which has got me very excited!

We’ve essentially done a lot of the bookings – reception, ceremony, photographer, videographer – and now just need to smooth out the finer details – decorations, cake, flowers, transport. The wedding attire hasn’t been smoothed out completely yet – but we’re getting there! More importantly, we’re pretty much set with our invitations! I’ve sent them off to be printed, and we’re eagerly waiting for the proofs to come in. Because we’re getting them printed in America, we’ll have to pay extra for shipping and handling, but their printing and materials was actually cheaper than anything we could find in Australia. Essentially, minus shipping and handling, it worked out as about $5 / invitation. This is not including the fact that I managed to get a discounted rate on one of the components, so it’ll actually work out cheaper than that!


The thing that worried GP and myself  is the guest list. We’re set on a cap of 150 people – and we’ve got about 162 people on our list. Now, I know there’s a guaranteed 10 naysayers from that 162 – but it still is a worrisome thing. GP and I will be biting our fingernails (hopefully figuratively) in anticipation when those invitations get sent out.

Wish us luck!

Happy New Year!!

7 Jan

First off, I’d like to wish all of my readers a HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 🙂

Mine was spent with family and my fantastic-as-heck fiance ❤ It was GP’s first time in the city celebrating the New Years and watching the fireworks. He really enjoyed it (but that could’ve also been because we had Brazillian churrasco). It’s been a week exactly since then and GP’s back at work. I’m trying to get things moving along academically (I want to get into an Honours degree), so I’ve been researching like heck.

The weather is being disagreable.

It’s been swaying between hot and cold and that’s affected my health. I got the flu on the Friday night and, on Saturday, I was so terrible I couldn’t get up. Which was a huge bummer because I wanted to take GP to Taronga Zoo (and the sisters too – my little sister and ‘junior’ bridemaid was really looking forward to it too!). On Sunday I was feeling slightly better, but I was still feeling rundown. I was out with GP and my family all day, so I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I felt sorry for GP – he got the brunt of my attitude. I don’t know how he handles me so well, but he does.

And now it’s Monday! GP’s been doing work-stuffs and I’ve been sorting out my Honours stuff and trying to get over this stupid flu. My throat is getting better, but I’m still congested and suffer from dry-throat. Otherwise, it’s been rather quiet on our end.

We’ve got about one year to go until the wedding, giving us a lot of time to plan. We’ve been called organised since we’ve booked the ‘essential’ wedding things already, but we’re still trying to find cheaper ways to do things for the wedding. We’re also a little bit anxious about our guest list, because my parents are inviting more people than they originally intended on. They’re also refusing to budge on cutting the list and have stated that ‘some people can sit outside’ (which… they can’t). I’m hoping it’ll smooth out once invitations are sent, but only time can tell.

Other than that, we’re trying to sort out ideas for wedding favours, have a potential wedding band on the rise, and we’ll be attending a friends’ wedding in New Zealand very soon!

All very exciting things!! 🙂



12 Dec

For some reason that brings to mind a song which my dad likes… I can’t remember the name of the song…


Hello all! 🙂

What’s been going on with you guys? Me? I’ve been trying to work on invitations while writing applications for different jobs. I’ve been in Adelaide for a little bit and I’ll be going back to Sydney tonight. If anyone is ever in Adelaide, try the coffee at a little place called Piazza 99 – BEST.WHITECHOCMOCHA.EVER. Also other cafes/restaurants I recommend are: The Loose Caboose (for brunch or “linner”), The Pancake House (cheap, delicious food), BTS cafe for cupcakes, and a pop-up coffee cart (whose name escapes me) who has organic, delicious coffee.

But I digress.

Wedding invitations are coming along nicely. The theme has changed so much in the past month it’s mind-blowing. GP and I originally wanted the colours red and gold (which is just… very Chinese) but because of conflicting opinions on bridesmaid dresses, we added blue to the colour scheme. From there, the invitations introduced pink and the ‘gold’ in our theme became a distant memory…

Which isn’t an issue, because I realise we actually don’t have a theme. That’s right folks.

We have no theme.

There will be a lot of cherry blossoms (because GP and I both agreed that it was a nice Oriental flower) but there really isn’t any other seamless theme. The bridesmaids will have blue dresses, my dress will have red on it (GP knows this, so it’s no issue if he reads this – I’m looking at you GP!), the groom and groomsmen will wear shades of grey (not fifty… just two), and we’ll probably grab a few pocket squares to match groomsmen to bridesmaids. Bridesmaids will probably carry parasols with hydrangea corsages (have you SEEN hydrangeas – they’re abso-fracking-beautiful!). As for centrepieces, we’ll be having cherry blossoms, weeping willows and we’re thinking of transforming wine bottles into something useful. We want candles because GP and I are suckers for candles. Red and gold will still play a major role in the Chinese tea ceremony and I’ll probably be wearing something red over my wedding dress. We’re having geeky elements into our wedding (zombie cake topper, ASCII heart love, a photo booth with Xbox-related props) but we’ll balance these out with more elegant settings.

So as you can see – there’s been a lot of change and we have no specific theme!

Fire bad. Tree pretty.

5 Dec

Hello all!

I’m in Adelaide at the moment. YAY! If you’re wondering why, it’s basically because GP is here for work. They wanted him in from Wednesday to Friday this week, and then Monday to Wednesday next.

“Why don’t you just stay the whole 8 days?” I asked. To which he replied by asking his business the same thing. This basically resulted in both of us making it a working holiday. We’ll be exploring Adelaide over the weekend, which will be fun.

Anyway – what is this post about?, I hear you asking.


The title is a reference from a show called Buffy and I am basically feeling like that. My brain is finding it hard to focus. I’m attempting to put in job applications while tweaking the invitations for our wedding. Because GP and I are trying to save money, we’re DIY-ing the invitations. Because our wedding is a mini-destination wedding, we need to include maps. And because we’re “oh-so-classy”, we don’t want to cut and paste a Google or Bing map onto our invitations.

So what did that result in?

Well, I’ve been making map tracings for about 3 hours now. My brain is tired and I could use a drink but I can’t be bothered going downstairs and buying a drink at the convenience store. This could be my tired brain talking, but I think the maps look kickass right now. I’ve only done a basic job with it, but it’s looking rather awesome. I just now need to be more specific – pinpointing specific locations on the map like the HVG, Tamburlaine and Crowne Plaza. That’ll be on a completely different map though, because the one I’ve made is a basic “overall map” of the relative location of Sydney and Hunter Valley.

I bet I’ve lost you all, but I’m sure once WordPress let’s me upload a picture I’ll show you guys. (And yes, it won’t let my upload my picture. ANNOYING.) Anywho.


I’m going to attempt the second half of this venture. Wish me luck guys!