Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A much-needed rant regarding beer budgets, snooty fiancés and bullshit calligraphy

First, I love your blog, and I love the stories, advice, and oh la la the fashion.

I have to rant.

In an effort to have a champagne wedding on my beer budget, many corners, albeit ones that I was comfortable with cutting, needed to be cut. As a practical bride, I eliminated the need for fancy "Save the Dates" and DIY-ed mine, hello business card magnets, a copy machine, and self stick laminate! Another budget buster, invitations, foregoing the letterpress that I love, I decided to go the minted.com route, and find invitations at a fraction of the price knowing that only a few people would actually give a shit about my invitations outside of myself and hey, for the price, they are pretty cool.

So in another effort to cut cost, and make my life easier, I thought online RSVP on a custom site that would enable guest inventory, food options, table seating, etc. was a no brainer, especially for a techie like me. Insert bomb number 1, the fiance finds online RSVP to be tacky. Yet he is in the software industry... touche. I think it's a great way to organize, keep myself from creating a Xanax habit, and hey, be Green too!

So then, I have pretty cool handwriting, and I planned on addressing each envelope in my handwriting but a little more stylish.. Insert Bomb number 2, the fiance finds it necessary to hire an expensive Calligrapher to write on the fucking envelopes of our minted.com invitations and claims that the "Calligraphy sets the tone of your event." I call bullshit.

If people are so concerned with the fucking scribe on the front of their envelope as opposed to just being thrilled to share in our day with us, then they have major problems, not us for not using an expensive Calligrapher! The way my mind works is that that money could go towards extra food or booze for our guests... or should I pay the Calligrapher to write on the envelope, "because of this fancy writing that you will look at for 5 seconds, throw in the trash and not care, an appetizer has been removed from the party, please eat this envelope in lieu of that appetizer." haha.

What are your thoughts?


Please tell your fiancé to remove the stick from his ass.

You already "set the tone" of the wedding with your DIY Save the Date's. Hiring a calligrapher to address your minted.com invitations sounds like some serious bullshit to me.

Also, if you want people to actually RSVP, you'd better at least offer an online option.

YOU: 2

Natalia Zakharova by Michael Donovan via Rowena Murillo + FASHIONOGRAPHY


  1. Bored at work again today.

    1. You are definitely in the right here. Like, no questions asked. But cut the boy some slack. I've seen this happen to too many guys. Because they don't have the cool, laid-back, indie wedding resources that we do, all they know about weddings is what's in movies and what their mothers & bros tell them. They're screwed from the start.

    2. We had an online RSVP with a phone number option for those family members who hate e-mail. It worked. It was awesome. Our family members were grateful. ESPECIALLY the old folks. Do you know how much energy it takes to get to the mailbox? That shits for young folks.

  2. We had a friend do our calligraphy for free, I LOVED it, no one else really noticed. ha. So yeah, skip it.

  3. We had online-only RSVP-- for heaven's sakes, why would you not? You know why written RSVP's were the etiquette norm? Because the internet WASN'T INVENTED. Not because someone thought an internet RSVP would be tacky. We also addressed the invites on a vintage typewriter.

    But my question is, what is this 'champagne wedding' business? If you don't have a budget for a glamorous, calligraphy kind of wedding, why try to fake it? Why not settle for something a little more humble and friendly? It seems like it's probably more your style anyways, since you're not exactly pining after calligraphy in the first place...

  4. I addressed our invites with a black sharpie and never heard a peep about it

  5. Wow, you got some great advice here. If your fiance has a problem with you addressing your envelopes by hand tell him to type it out on a type-writer (that's brilliant).

    Also, I did the on-line RSVP route...and I must say, I'm still awaiting many RSVP's. Some of the older generation really just doesn't get it. So, the idea of including your phone number along with the web address, is a good amendment. Had I to do it again, I would still go the online website route, but I would probably include a phone number as well.

    Best of luck,

  6. 1. Hardly anyone uses a calligrapher anymore. Sure, it looks pretty, but it's also just an unnecessary expense.

    2. If he wants a calligrapher and reply cards, he has to find a way to pay for it (above and beyond the funds you already have budgeted for the wedding). Make it his problem--that way you won't have to worry about it and he'll probably give it up on it anyway when he realizes how much work it will be.

  7. Print the envelopes with a calligraphy font?

    Actually, that might look more tacky to me personally, because I like ordinary handwriting - much more personal - but it could be a cheap compromise.

  8. We did an online save the date, online-only RSVPs (with calls to the older people) and nice labels on our not-fancy (but still freaking cool) invitations. Neither the wedding world and my grandmother imploded due to some mythical etiquette fail. And it made life 100 times easier to have an online RSVP and printed labels. Eff me, I would have cried if I'd handwritten 100 invitations or paid someone to do the same. Instead, we got nicer beer. A much better way to spend my wedding money, if you ask me.

  9. i handwrote ALL addresses on the invites. ONLY comment i heard was from my husband's mom who said, "why didn't you just type those all out instead? what a waste of your time." hahaha! people do not care one iota about how their invites are addressed. as far as i am concerned, you win that argument, my dear.

  10. My mom freaked out a bit about the online/phone call RSVP route, but it worked, and as far as I know, no one minded! Some people used the phone message, and others filled out our online form. That doesn't mean that people didn't ask for plus ones and then not use them, or RSVP yes and not come to dinner, but everyone at least responded.

    I addressed the envelopes on the cards too (something else my mom was worried/upset about) and that worked out just fine too. The one that went to China got lost, but that tends to happen anyway. I think people appreciated all that work, and weren't upset we didn't hire a calligrapher (I like to think so at least).

  11. Wow you sound seriously steamed. Does your dude know anything else about this wedding from a budget perspective? Have you sat him down, said, "here's our money and what we are spending it on, where do you want to cut to make your calligrapher happen? Which calligrapher do you want to hire?"

    Because I think you should probably do that. First of all, because it's not just your wedding, it's his too, and even if he is a dude, he's allowed his opinions. But only if he can make them happen. Secondly because you gotta give him room to back down in. If you are stomping all over going, "bleep this and bleep bleep bleep" you aren't really making space for him say, "I'm sorry I was a moron."

    So I say bite the bullet nicely, and say "If it's really important to you, let's make it work. I can only see us afford if it we cut one appetizer or take away several cases of beer, but maybe you want to give it a try?" Then leave all the paperwork on his lap and walk away. Try not to chuckle with evil till you are around the corner.

  12. We had those two *exact* issues re. calligraphy and online RSVP, and stick-up-the-butt refused to budge. BTW, prepare yourself. He's not going to like the DIY table numbers or self-written namecards either. He's ALSO not going to like when you tell him there's no limo/old fashioned car/party bus/horse drawn buggie from the ceremony to the reception. Don't even bother mentioning that you thought he'd just drive our own car - which he loves - the 2 miles. He'll lose his shit.

    The good news is, all of these quasi-disagreements make EXCELLENT fodder for BS'ing your way through your pre-wedding meetings with the officiant. When the officiant asks how you deal with fighting, you can tell him or her how different you two are, but you're making it work. Silver linings, my friend.

  13. If calligraphy and rsvp cards are important to him let him have them. Or is it only your wedding?

  14. Honestly...you are in the right here. But, I would agree with the commenters above. Sit down with your fiancé and the budget and ask him where he sees the extra money coming from. If it's really, really important to him, he can find the money himself and organise the calligrapher HIMSELF.
    My husband really, really wanted a wedding cake topper. I thought cheesy cake topper would look terrible on our amazing Wayne Thiebaud inspired wedding cakes. So I made it his problem. In the end, he didn't get the cake toppers, because he had no idea where to get them and was too busy to sort it out.

  15. Also handwrote my envelopes in black sharpie and even my type-A mother didn't complain. But agree that if it's super important to him you shouldn't not let him speak his opinon. With suggestions from my husband to be that I think are unnecessary (and occasionally ridiculous...) my response is to tell him that of he can find the extra cash and organizes it all himself, I'm fine with it. Magically these things become much less important when he has to organize them himself, and keeps me from turning stressballz.

  16. I saw a DIY for how to fake calligraphy a while back... where you print a calligraphy font in suuuuper light grey ink on each envelope, and then go over it with a fancy marker/pen so it looks hand drawn. Don't know if this actually works, but could be a compromise?

  17. give homeboi a kiss and then sweetly tell him to BACK THE F*CK OFF and stop being such a Fussy Fanny about inconsequential details that have no bearing on your actual *wedding*.

    (and if it makes you feel any better i hand-addressed all our invites and everyone still showed up.)

  18. Aw, he's trying to be fancy! It's nice!

    Instead of freaking out or being mean, ask him to figure out how much the extra fanciness is going to cost you, and where it's going to come from. Open the door to talking about what both your priorities are, instead of just yours and the bottom line.

    But the online RSVP/phone call thing? Le duh. Save some cash! Get into the 21st century!

  19. Unless you're specifically against fancy calligraphers and RSVP cards, just tell your dude that those things get paid for by him if he wants them. That'll probably shut him up, and if he does decide it's worth his money (not your shared money, not your parents' money, HIS money), then it doesn't hurt anything.

    But yeah, I made a Google spreadsheet form and put it on my Google Sites wedding website, and it's AMAZING. I included a phone number for the techophobes, and so any time I get a phone call (has happened once), or any time my mom gets an email or a friend tells me on AIM or whatever, I just have a simple form to fill out myself, and it all ends up in the spreadsheet.

    And just to be extra nerdy, I have a pivot table too. Word.

  20. Amazing rant and amazing response... I so freaking love this blog....

  21. calligraphy is bullshit. we spent a good amount on custom invitations and I still hand wrote the addresses and the names for the place cards. No one cares about the calligraphy. I promise.

    I would give both an online and written option for RSVP-ing. Older relatives won't ever rsvp online.

    just my 2 cents

  22. i totally fucking care about calligraphy.

  23. I wanted the envelopes to look nice, but definitely no budget for calligraphy!! Instead I used a font that matched the invite, and printed the envelopes in co-ordinating colours. I also printed on a couple of decorative scroll details that matched the inside of the invite. They looked special and personalised, but didn't cost anything but time!

  24. So weddings have a way of sometimes making even the most indie boys suddenly all uber-traditional. I don't get it either (though perhaps it Maddie up there at the top has it right?), but there you go. Chances are he'll come around, especially if we assume that all your DIY-ness isn't totally out of character for YOU - after all, he loves you, yes? Yes.

    However, while ranting here = totally makes sense and you are obviously right here (seriously, who cares about calligraphy?), etc. No ranting at him, ok? And just beware that if he doesn't really understand the full budget and you lead with "where should this calligraphy money come out of?" that you might be unhappy with his answer - "you're/we're spending $xxx on ___ (insert something important to you that he likely cares nothing about - your shoes? flowers? all sorts of possibilities here)". And he might be more than willing to cut something else. So I'd be more tempted to just keep on nicely convincing him that NO ONE will care about the calligraphy.

  25. Typewriter --> download a font from the internets and print it on your $50 home printer.
    Calligraphy --> I really like the 'print in grey font then trace it' option. Score!
    Boys wanting a fairytale wedding --> totally. Mine wants white roses because he didn't know other flowers existed. I agree with the first poster. They only have their Mothers to teach them. And that blows.

  26. The poor guy doesn't know how much calligraphy costs!!!!! When you tell him ... and then tell him place cards etc must be done (since "it sets the tone"), he'll get it ... maybe.

    Then of course you need to give him a deadline for finding said calligrapher with samples submitted for joint approval.

  27. I've been there, lady. I was the one that started looking at prices of flowers, invites, etc. When he balked - or insulted - my alternatives, I saw red. I think that he felt like he just had to have opinions about things so the wedding felt like his, too. It still pissed me off, and my answer then became, "Okay, but you figure it out." Suddenly all my decisions were fine.

    The same thing worked with my parents when they bought their first house.

  28. You can't have only RSVP online unless everyone you are inviting owns and knows how to use a computer. I argued the cards were a waste of paper and money, but my fiance stressed that the people who care about the actual invitation are mainly the people who don't know what email is. We decided to offer both - and so far have half of the cards back and the rest of the responses online. I designed and made our invites and response cards using keynote of all things, got nice paper from Paper Source & then printed them at Kinkos(Fed Ex now, I know) so the RSVP cards and invites weren't that expensive in the end.

    As for the calligraphy, maybe you can learn to do it yourself? Or fake it like someone suggested above by copying printed versions? (Great idea by the way!)

    I think most people do not notice or care what is on the envelopes, but that is going to be true of most of the wedding details. You may have a difference of opinion on several things while planning - so 'giving in' to small ones like that that have easy solutions will make things easier later on when your options are more limited.