There are so many routes you can take when deciding where to start with invitations. I did a lot of searching on Esty for a template or an affordable calligraphist, or getting them printed through shutterfly, but nothing was as cost efficient as I was hoping. I was searching around for some ideas when I came across The Way Fam's wooden invites. We absolutely loved this idea, but with the amount it would cost to mail them, it took us right back to not being cost effective. Instead, I used their idea of making a stamp, but instead of printing on wood, just printing on paper to make it affordable.
I began crafting our invitations on photoshop, starting with our logo made by Hyssop Design, and getting ideas from other templates on Pinterest. Free fonts were my JAM. I sent off my proof to The Stamp Foundry on Etsy, and got a 4x6 stamp within a few weeks! Since this route saved us so much money, I splurged on a drool-worthy return address stamp made by Substation Paperie. We went with keeping our theme as earthy and natural as possible, using brown paper for both the invitation and the envelope.
Since our wedding is in Oregon, and many of our guests are traveling from California, we opted to include a "guest recommendation" insert to make it more personal by including our favorite places while giving our guests a fun resource to refer to. To make these, I just used photoshop and printed them for free at my school on card stock!
We planned on leaving it at that, but I came across shutterfly's free 100 print promotion on 4x4 prints using their app. I made 2 separate accounts and ordered 200 free prints, paying only $13 for shipping! I opted to address the invitations myself - I suggest spending your spare time practicing calligraphy which can save you a ton of money come wedding planning time!
Mike and I got engaged knowing it would be at least a year before it would be doable for us to tie the knot. For many, long engagements are not ideal, but I wouldn't change it for a second! A long engagement allowed for us to truly soak in the joy of being engaged without feeling pressured to wedding plan right away. Not only were we able to enjoy our time being engaged without the stress of wedding planning, but a long engagement also allowed for me to be super picky about each of the important wedding details. Being able to take the time I needed to research each important aspect of the wedding that we cared about without making any rushed decisions played a huge part in our wedding coming together exactly how we both dreamed it would.
The first step of wedding planning for us meant save the date's! In every part of wedding planning saving as much money as we could while not sacrificing quality was a priority. In doing this, we began by hiring Hyssop Design to create a logo for us that would not only serve as a piece we would use for our save the date's and invitations, but also as our logo for our website! For our save the date's we used a photo from our engagement shoot with Caleb and Ariana Babcock at Rattlesnake Lake near Seattle in a snowstorm. To keep it simple and cheap (aka DIY), I used photoshop to put our logo as the overlay on the engagement photo and downloaded a free font to put on the finishing touches.
Next, instead of using shutterfly or Etsy to get them printed specifically as "save the date's", I sent the jpg to staples and got them for .24 cents a piece. They came with the back side completely blank which allowed for customizing the calligraphy, which I did myself to save $$, and stuck a stamp on there! This made for a super simple save the date while keeping it personal and cheap!
Another way we considered going was using this same system, but instead of sending them as postcards, sending them in envelopes. We ended up choosing postcards for the sake of cost - since postcard stamps are much cheaper and envelopes weren't necessary. Looking back I think I would have gone with the envelope route to save the risk of the front being ruined in mail processing. But if you're going for cheap - this is the way to go!
On December 14, 2015 we drove out to Jefferson, Oregon so that I could begin my kindergarten classroom observations for school. After two long hours in the classroom for me, and two long hours sitting in the car working on schoolwork with Tatiana (my service pup in training) for Mike, we headed out for a hike at Henline Falls. On our drive there we hit completely unexpected snow. I kept saying we should probably not go any farther and just hike out into the forest wherever we could find a parking spot, but he was insistent on getting to the trailhead. After some very cautious driving and a lot of stopping to get out and walk down the road to make sure we could make the next leg, we finally got close enough to the trailhead to park the car. We got out of the car and approached the trialhead to find signs saying the trail was closed due to recent wildfires in the area causing landslide risks and fallen trees. He suggested we venture out on the trail until it kept us from going any further and I reluctantly agreed. The snow got deeper as we went and the path was getting difficult to follow and I attempted to convince him we should turn around multiple times. He kept pushing us forward and I was beginning to get frustrated. Once we were about an eighth of a mile out the trail became very narrow with a steep drop down the cliff. He went ahead of us which forced Tat and I to keep going and we finally made it to the waterfall. He got the GoPro out to take some pictures and I reluctantly went along with it. He set the GoPro up on the ground to take a shot of the three of us in front of the waterfall and switched it to video. I believe my exact words were, "Why are you taking a stupid video?" and his response was "I want a video of what's about to happen." And that's when I knew. Lots of tears and weird squealing noises ensued, and there you have it! Neither of us remember a single thing he said but I'm sure it was super mushy and romantic. I was too busy looking at the ring (which is seriously the best ring I've ever seen in my life and I'm not just saying that). We headed back to the car and left quickly in order to get back into service to share the news! We stopped at a little cafe on the side of the road that advertised free wifi and sat there for an hour telling all our friends and family. The wedding date is set for summer of 2017, so we are taking our time with wedding planning and enjoying every second of our engagement!
I was a junior in high school with a major crush on Jen. We went to prom, met each other's families, and spent as much time with each other as possible. The school year ended, and Jen was about to move to Oregon to attend university. We knew that we would either have to seriously commit to each other, diving into a long-distance relationship, or part ways. It didn't take much time for us to decide that we wanted to stay together. Although we had only been getting to know each other for a few months, I knew that I wanted to marry Jen.
We endured the beginning of our long-distance relationship, learning, by trial and error, to communicate efficiently despite being far apart. We learned to reap the benefits that a long-distance relationship can offer. Not being in the same place as each other forced us to concentrate on our friendship, removing distractions that young couples encounter. We recognized each other's values, goals, and dreams and began planning for a future that we knew we wanted. Faltering often, we learned to love each other effectively, even from far apart.
Since parting ways after high school, we've been spending each semester apart at schools in different states. We make the most of our breaks from classes, spending time with family in California and Oregon, camping with friends, visiting new places, and working to build the foundation for our future.