Not Happening

Okay, so it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m finding out that maybe doing NaBloPoMo the month I’m undertaking two major life changes is kind of dumb. So, I give up. For now. I’ll try to check in before the wedding, but if not – see you in a week!


Very Important Questions

I spent time with close girlfriends this weekend and had the most delightful time. One of the things they surprised me with was a newlywed game type quiz. If you’re not familiar with the game, your significant other answers a bunch of questions about themselves/you/your relationship in private beforehand, and then you get asked these same questions. You get a point if you answer similarly.

Here are our questions (written by the lovely Doris!):

  1. What is Thomas’ favorite date with you? His answer: “Well, it’s got to be the first one, doesn’t it? Mention ‘laundry.'” I got this right! And, the laundry thing: basically, to this day, I still give him a hard time because in our earliest weeks, doing laundry was his excuse to end our dates super early (including our first one). This freaked me out and made me think he wasn’t into me – because who does so much laundry? Well, it turns out he actually DID have to do all that laundry (and having lived with the man for over five years, I can confirm this), and yes, he did still like me.
  2. What word would Thomas use to describe you? His answer: “Adorable.” After a hint, I got this right!
  3. If Thomas had to wear only one color of clothing for the rest of his life, what color would he pick? His answer: “Black.” This was easy. What color would Thomas think you would wear? His answer: “Tan? Maybe?” Ha! Typical boy answer. And totally wrong.
  4. What restaurant will Thomas miss most from the DC/Northern VA area? His answer: “Any of the decent Ethiopian joints.” I actually guessed both Ethiopian and Vietnamese food, in a general sense, although I should have just gone with Ethiopian. There are lots of great Asian restaurants in Seattle!
  5. If Thomas had to pick a different name for Wallace, what would he name him? His answer: “Sparky.” Wrong. I had no idea.
  6. Who would Thomas rather meet: Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, or Leonardo Da Vinci? His answer: “Lincoln, I’d say.” Wrong. I said Einstein.
  7. If Thomas had to eat only one thing that you cook/bake for 30 days, what would it be? His answer: “Avocado ice cream.” I answered avocado ice cream and German chocolate cake – so, correct!
  8. What does Thomas think you would like better: caterpillars or slugs? His answer: “Caterpillars.” Correct. Slugs are vile.
  9. Does Thomas think you would eat a dead fried cockroach for one million dollars? His answer:  “She wouldn’t.” Actually, I would! I mean, I certainly wouldn’t enjoy it, but if it’s fried up and greasy, I’d do it for a million bucks. Would Thomas? His answer: “It would depend on how I got to cook it.” I think I said that he would eat a cockroach for that much money, despite his intense bug phobia. I did ask him about the weird way he answered the question (since it specifically states that the roach would be fried), and he said that he missed that part. Oops. If he’d actually read that, he would have said I’d eat it too.
  10. If Thomas had to adopt another pet, which one would he pick: a poodle or a bulldog? Which one would you pick? His answer: “I think we’d both go with a poodle, but those are kind of wide breed families. Like, can we pick a French bulldog?” Oh Thomas and your crazy conditional answers. I got this wrong – I picked a bulldog. Small dogs aren’t our favorites, and I was thinking of toy poodles, not standard poodles – which we do like. He would never want to own a bulldog because they gots lots of health problems.
  11. What is Thomas’ favorite book? His answer: Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail of ’72.I was wrong – I picked Perdido Street Station by China Mieville – but apparently he was thinking of naming that one too.
  12. What is his favorite movie? His answer: “These days I don’t know, but it used to be Army of Darkness.” I did get this one, but only after many hints.
  13. Favorite video gaming system? His answer: “PC.” Boo! I guessed Super Nintendo or Nintendo DS. None of us liked his answer, though, since we didn’t think a PC actually counts as a video gaming system.
  14. What is one of Thomas’ favorite memories from a trip taken with you? His answer: “Man, there’s so many. I’m always amused when I remember doing our laundry in the red light district of Nice in France, and getting stuck in a conversation with this guy who was a cook for cruise lines for a living. I’m sure there are better stories, but it’s early.” Aww, I had forgotten all about this. I got as far as France, but couldn’t think of specific memories from that trip.
  15. If Thomas had to either shave his head bald or never shave his face for five years, which would he pick? His answer: “I love my hair. Let the scraggly, ‘Children, would you like some candy from my van?’ beard commence!” Shocking. Shocking, I tell you! I chose shave his head bald, but apparently, I was dead wrong. See, Thomas loathes facial hair – loathes it. This is why you will never see him with any sort of beard or even stubble. But – and this is news to me – he LOVES his hair. He is proud of the fact that he still has a full head of it. Ha!
  16. If Thomas had to eat one fruit for one year as his only dessert, which would he pick: oranges or grapes? His answer: “I would probably take oranges if that includes clementines.” I was right. Boy loves his vitamin C in the winter. What would you pick? His answer: “I think Belle would take grapes.” Eh, I like both, but would slightly prefer oranges. Although fruit as my only dessert for one year? I think we have deeper issues here.

I didn’t quite ace the test, but I got enough right to obtain permission to marry Thomas. Woot! And I even got a special button as my prize:

That says "Hello Mrs. Wilburn. October 22, 2011." Apparently they made a button for Thomas' mom? (Just kidding.)

Thank you to my awesome friends who made this weekend so special. They are the best ever!

You Are Invited

I looked at wedding invitations online for a couple of days (no, really – that was all I did for two days straight) and was absolutely enthralled. So beautiful, classy, and elegant. I we couldn’t decide what I we wanted. Should we go with simple and refined? Or colorful and bold? What about the wording? What font? How many inserts do we want to include? And you want us to pay HOW much?

The lightbulb finally came on after seeing this blog post. Ridiculously adorable and just our style. I absolutely LOVED the idea of typing each invitation by hand. And with just a little over 40 to send out, why not? That’s why people have small weddings, right? To be able to make each invitation by hand? No?

The first birthday gift I received from my dear mom after moving to the United States was a sweet Smith-Corona electric word processor. My favorite hobby as a child was writing and I typed so many stories and plays on it. That thing actually stayed with me through sophomore year of high school, if you can believe it. I wrote all of my book reports and papers on it until we finally got a computer around 1997.

Weirdly enough, my mom has held on to it all these years and it still works PERFECTLY. She was really trying hard to convince me that I needed to bring it back into my life. “But Belle, you never know – you could still write the Great American Novel on it!” In 2011. Oh, Mom.

So, typewriters are near and dear to my heart. We took the general idea of a typewritten letter as the invitation and ran with it!

The typewriter took a little bit of work to find (this was before I discovered that my old Smith-Corona was functioning quite well!), but we lucked out big time. Thomas works in a newsroom and figured someone would have access to a typewriter. He turned out to be quite right. He found out that a co-worker, Peter, keeps at least 2 or 3 machines in his cubicle – apparently this guy’s handwriting is so terrible that he typewrites on Post-it notes (!). He lent us 2 vintage typewriters – a manual and an electric, both from the ’50s. Thomas drafted the letter (doesn’t it just sound like him?) and did most of the typing. The electric proved to be much easier to use, in the end – Thomas was zooming after getting used to the keys.

We bought the “From the Desk of Belle and Thomas” stamp from Notetrunk on Etsy. We chose turquoise ink as that is one of our wedding colors.

To go along with the personal, vintage vibe of the invitation, we enclosed a small photo of us from this past spring, taken by Thomas’ extended arm and my very favorite Instagram-type app on my phone, Vignette. We’re at Roozengaarde Tulip Gardens in Mount Vernon, WA. I handwrote that information on the back of each photo, since that seemed like an appropriately old-fashioned thing to do.

Now, the envelopes. Did you know that I used to collect stamps? Yup, I did. I was a child obsessed. In fact, I probably still have my favorite old stamps tucked away in a trunk at my mom’s. It’s not so unbelievable then that I had a blast picking out vintage stamps for the envelopes. I made a special trip to Champion Stamp in New York just for that reason. I specifically wanted to look at face value stamps only – old love stamps would have been nice, but those are all super marked up (because lots of people buy these up for their wedding invitations).

Did any of you figure out that each stamp means something to either Thomas or me? He was born in Kentucky, and took up dancing a couple of years ago. I was born in 1980. We live in Virginia. Yeah, okay – so the special meanings aren’t really all that great. But I tried.

The “calligraphy” (really just fancy writing with a fine point Sharpie) was the most time consuming part of these invitations. I wanted something big and bold that would stand out on the envelope. It was a challenge fitting some of the letters in, but I just made sure to place the stamps (didn’t glue them yet in case of mistakes!) on the envelope before writing the names and addresses.

We used an old embossed stamp for our names and address on the back of the envelopes.

We layered in one more sheet of onionskin paper on top of the original letter, folded them together, then tied them up with bright orange yarn. Orange is another wedding color, and the yarn is a shout out to my newest hobby.

Cost Breakout:
Stamps – $23
Paper – about $10
Envelopes – $7.98
Yarn – $3.14
Photo Paper – $9
Total for 43 invitations: $53.12 or $1.24 per invitation
We saved on postage by not including any additional inserts and asking guests to RSVP online. I don’t think anyone minded too much – and it was an excuse for people to go check out our site!


One day, I will have some actual content to post on this blog, but for now, inane photos will have to do. It’s been busy. Very, very busy. I am up to my ears in fabric and ink and yarn and paper and glue. But! It is all good.

Side note: I actually started tearing up today at the courthouse, while we were sitting there waiting for them to issue our marriage license. The dude (who couldn’t have been more than 22) was just, like, typing shit into a computer and I was TEARING UP. People. I’m a mess.

DI Why?!?

(See what I did there?)

Many people have been kind enough to inquire about how wedding planning has been going. As to whether or not they actually care, I’m not sure – I really do appreciate the sentiment, though! I usually respond with something along the lines of how it’s going well, although it’s a little stressful since so much of the wedding is DIY. “Well, how much are you making, exactly?” they’ll sometimes ask. So, here, for the record, is what we’re planning to make ourselves, with our relatives and friends stepping up in a huge way to help:

  • Wedding invitations (check!)
  • Cakes
  • My veil (Amanda is doing this one on her own)
  • My wedding shawl
  • My hair and makeup
  • All decorations
    • Centerpieces
    • Various table displays
    • Placecards at dinner
    • Hanging decorations for picnic
      • Garlands
      • Wooden signs
  • Flowers
  • Homemade beverages
  • Favor bags and favors (haven’t finalized this yet but will probably be some sort of baked good)
  • Guestbook
  • Out-of-town guest bags
  • Fabric cocktail napkins and napkin rings
  • Photo booth
  • Thank you notes (which T’s mom has already made – and they are perfect)

Yes. I fully realize that I am quite possibly batshit insane. But, hear me out! A lot – and I mean a LOT – of people are helping. They don’t seem to mind it, and I’m convinced that the communal feel of it all is actually perfect for this particular wedding. I really do believe that it will make our day all the more special!

Here’s a sneak peek at our handmade napkins, which T can knock out with impressive speed: