Tag Archives: invitations

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!)



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!

Let’s talk…

21 Nov

Wedding stuff.

Bet you didn’t see that coming.

GP and I have been getting more active with the wedding thing (and the domestic thing – the garden is looking MUCH better). We’ve been going through the early wedding things: invitation, guest number and information, etc., and it’s going pretty good. So in this post, I’ma mass-list all the things we’ve talked about/started 🙂

Let’s talk…


Through the help of a friend, let’s call her Miss S, we have our invitations designed and all pretty. We’ve gotta wait until we have addresses from all of our guests before sending them out, but they’re looking marvellous. Most might think it’s too early to be sending out invitations this far out from the wedding (more than a year) but since we’re having it in the Hunter Valley, we want out guests as much time as they can to decide on whether they want to attend and book accommodation. We’ve also got a tonne of other things we want to do for the guests which means specific numbers, so early invitations are a good thing.

The invitations turned out beautiful and I can’t wait to print them out and start assembling them (with the help of my bridesmaids!). Our invites will have inserts/enclosure cards with more information (accommodation, the ‘treasure chest’, etc) and we’re juggling on whether or not to seal it with a sticker-like wax-imitation seal. All good things to ponder.


There was a post before where I was agonising over this little tidbit. Photography is something that ALL brides and grooms need on their wedding, but the prices are usually very hefty (and for good reason – who would want to lug around equipment for a measly fee?). We have, however, found the perfect photographers. They’re Sydney-based and go by the name of StudioSomething (www.studiosomething.com). They’re a quirky, awesome bunch of easygoing, friendly people who’re just so easy to talk to (which is important, because I am socially awkward). We’re getting them for (what I think) a really good price. We’re in talks with them now, but GP and I are certain we’ll be using these guys.


Ah, cinematography… the elusive one. GP and I are STILL trying to find a reasonably-priced, but awesome, videographer. We had four in mind: 1) Paper Cranes, 2) Memory Road Media, 3) White Designs, and 4) MMG Photo+Cinema. We’ve ruled out MMG simply because we have to use both photo and cinema and it blew out budget into smithereens. They’re so, so very good at their jobs (seriously, look at their Facebook page), but my gosh we just didn’t have that sort of money. Paper Cranes is another major expense and puts a huge dent in our savings accounts, though their cinematography is just MIND-BLOWING. Memory Road Media is more within our price range, and Dave (the owner) has even said he would waive the travel fee to the Hunter if we were to use his all-day packages. I just found out about White Designs and have contacted them. Hopefully I get a response tomorrow.

Makeup, Hair & Beauty

Just as an FYI, makeup and hair will be done on 7 people – my momma, myself, and my 5 bridesmaids.

Now to begin – I am stunned at the fact that some of the people I’ve contacted are already booked out on our date. It’s more than a year and they’re fully booked. I was shocked! I’ve so far got three others who’re on my option-list, but one of them is taking the lead due to the fact that her services are so inexpensive and she comes highly recommended by former Hunter brides. She’s also SO accommodating to the fact that I have sensitive skin and is giving me the option to have a touch-up service between the ceremony and reception to freshen my face, which is just fantastic for my stupid-ass skin.

I also have to start thinking about facials, manicures and pedicures. I’m thinking manis and pedis get done a few days before the wedding, so that shouldn’t be a problem. A facial, however, is best done as early as possible to make sure my skin doesn’t react badly to it. I just have NO IDEA where to go! Seriously, where do you go for one of these? I’ve NEVER had it done before! I know I want to get a facial at least 6 months before the wedding as a sort of trial run. That way, come wedding day, I’ll know whether or not to have one. I’m not too sure about the cost of these things either, so I guess I should start looking around…


There were a few basic flowers I wanted:

– Roses (duh!)

– Tulips

– Orchids

– Flox

I’ve now added the Lotus onto the list, but I don’t know what to do. I guess the first thing to do is contact a florist, but it’s still pretty early in the game. I’ve read that orchids are pretty expensive flowers, so I might not be able to use it. The good thing about flowers is we’ll only need it for a few things, since GP’s not going to have any button-holes. I’m thinking of giving two of my bridesmaids parasols too, but this is still up in the air.

And finally,


I haven’t got much to say about this but that the cake shop we were hoping to use might not be making wedding cakes any more! 😦 No matter, there are heaps of other places we can look at. We just hope that they can make cookies and cream flavoured goodies.

And that’s it kiddoes. I’m sleepy.

Night all!

— .the eichanist