In it, she asks: Is having a long engagement just an indulgence? Could we have done everything in a weekend, or three months?
For my money, the answer is undoubtedly yes. You will get as caught up or not in weddings as you want to be.
There are all sorts of factors that might mean you have a long engagement. We're having one because it means (a.) I can lose weight (I'd been trying for a while so it wasn't a snap decision) (b.) we can save money and (c.) we can get the cheap venue we like. Also, I don't like stress. I had anticipated that it would involve more than it currently seems to, and had wanted to leave enough time.
But really, though we have over a year to go, once we knew what we wanted, most stuff sorted itself out pretty quickly. I'm lucky that the venue does the catering but really, if I did nothing else for a year bar buy insurance, a dress and some flowers, we'd be fine. Getting obsessed over invitations etc is fun if you like that sort of thing. But you can always phone or send an email. That's not to say I'm not getting involved - I intend to fully enjoy this time.
But if we'd had the money and I'd been happy on the weight front then we'd have done it asap.
If you want to let yourself be consumed by it and enjoy it, then you will. If you have a weekend, then you'll book it in a weekend.
I'm a strong believer that with this sort of thing, you only get as stressed out as you want to.
I realised the other day that I haven't done one of these for a while.
Basically, the gastroenteritis had the added side effect of making me lose just over half a stone in a fortnight. So now I've officially lost 10 per cent of my body weight since January and also hit the two stones off mark. This is almost a third of the way there.
So last night, I went to see the lovely Anna for a spot of dinner and a play on her gocco machine.
This was predicated on three things:
1. I hadn't got a clue what a gocco was (I thought it plugged into a computer. Yes, I'm stupid.) Once I found out, it seemed like fun. 2. It seemed like a cheap way to make invitations and 3. Anna assured me it was a piece of cake.
Let me tell you this right now:
There was no cake. Not even a whiff.
This may be down to a couple of things: me making a bad call on the design (which to be fair, took two and a half minutes in my office before rushing out the door) and me being a person that attracts mess like a small child attracts mud to their shoes and and food splatters to their face.
But a lot is spoken about gocco in this section of wedding blog land. So I thought you might appreciate seeing what the cute Etsy cards and whimsical blogs by non-messy craftmasters don't show you.
Here's what happened:
1. I made a design. It was for a little engagement party/picnic we're going to have. I found a cute little picture of a picnic table and downloaded a free font. I wouldn't normally use images found online (I KNOW it's bad) but this was just a trial and like I say, I had approximately three minutes to do it. If the IP owner of the clip art ever reads this, I apologise and will buy you beer/gin.
2. I printed it out, and then ran to get it photocopied before the print shop shut. Just in case this didn't work, I had also spent my entire lunch break looking for pens that would work with a gocco. (Sharpies and Staedlater drawing pens, if you're interested) and buying card.
3. Then I went to Anna's. Post food, and armed with ginger beer, we set to.
Here's what 'setting to' looks like (note the newspaper-covered table. This would later prove to be the wisest decision we made all night):
This, my friends, is a gocoo machine. Anna's gocco machine, on which she made her save the dates, which look bloody lovely. It is much cleaner now than it was at the end of the evening.
4. We started trying to print things. The first thing we did was make the screen. Here's what that looks like:
So this was my 'design'. I know it's rubbish, but like I say, this was a little test.
5. We tried to block out the screen so that we could make the table brown, the things on the table red, and the writing black. The little foamy bits you use for this are quite thick. This I hadn't realised and was the crux of the problem. We couldn't separate out the red and the brown bits.
6. Et voila, here's the first attempt
Please note, the massive gap between the table and its load. Bean suggested that rustic crapness (ie looking homemade) was supposed to be part of the gocco charm. I'm not sure I agree - or possibly feel that this is beyond rustic crapness.
7. At this point, we tried to remove the inky bits of foam, and this is where the hell started. However hard we tried, we couldn't seem to get it all off. So it would be:
press a card realise foam still present use cotton bud stick to try and remove foam re-ink press repeat; repeat; repeat, scream, repeat
Eventually, all we had was a mucky table covered in inky sticks, a mucky Claire and some gocco-ed cards that looked like they'd been made by someone who was bleeding profusely from the hand
Here you go:
To quote Anna: "There's bad, and then there's looking like it was made by a three year old." Never a truer word was spoken.
However, this was an important learning process. Here's what I learnt:
1. If you're going to gocco something, make sure your design has got gaps between things that are supposed to be different colours. CRUCIAL.
2. If you're going to gocco; make sure that it is something that would benefit from being gocco-ed.
This might sounds stupid: I shall explain. This 'design' I made would have looked as good printed on a decent normal printer. The point of gocco is to make something with zingy colours or some other element that would not look as good produced this way. Anna's save the date did this brilliantly, using a zingy purple that would never have looked as good done on a printer.Does that make sense? I'm not sure, but I don't know how else to put it.
3. Make sure you have newspaper down and wear old clothes.
Anna may write a corresponding post talking about how easy it was for her. And I don't doubt it. Look at the lovely cards she made. It can be done if you leave gaps and don't try to be overadventurous with colours.
Herewith endeth the lesson. I suffered so you don't have to.
** With muchos thanks to Anna for her patience, wisdom and quantities of ink.
...any of you following my tweets may have seen that the last week was something of a non-event for me, as I spent the whole thing in bed with horrible gastroenteritis. So wedding planning and chatter was pretty much off the menu (what was on the menu, I hear you ask? cream crackers, water and rehydration solution. YUM!)
This week, I'm going to be having a crack at gocco, with a long term view to perhaps making some invitations. I'm just checking if it's bloggable...hopefully there'll be an update soon...
I know it's still a long way off for invitations (OK, just over a year is not that long any more) but if I'm going to make the things, then I'm going to potentially need quite a long time as I don't anticipate being amazing at this stuff (having not made things like this since childhood). Also, I want to send the invitations out just after Christmas. Most weekends are booked up for the rest of the summer. Most will be booked up at Christmas. So I should invest a little brain power in it as often as I can otherwise I'll be staring the festive season in the face with no crafty bits of card to show for it...
Oh, and I also put in a request with my Mum for her to start on bunting. She IS good at this stuff, a crafting supremo. Let's hope I inherited some of those genes...
So, I've been on holiday. Hence all the quiet around here in the past few days.
After the making of the spreadsheet and the mild sweats and tremors that it induced (the figures weren't high for 'wedding land' but they were bloody high by my book) we decided to have another crack at a guest list and got it down by 20 people thanks to the imposition of a few sensible rules (I have a huge family. The rules are very necessary if it isn't to be 75 per cent my relatives).
I also had a night of utter panic when I thought the venue cost had increased by a grand. Seriously, utter panic: thinking of cancelling the lot and losing the deposit sort of utter panic. Sod it, let's just go to the pub and the register office utter panic. Needless to say, it was completely unfounded utter panic.
I also mentioned dresses again. I've let my liking of non-white dresses be known before. But it didn't really wash with bf. "Just for one day, can't you look like a bride?" Fairenuff.