Best officiant ever

This just in, from my friend Andrew:

It's from this article on robots conducting weddings in Tokyo:
TOKYO (AP) - Almost everyone stood when the bride walked down the aisle in her white gown, but not the wedding conductor, because she was bolted to her chair.

The nuptials at this ceremony were led by "I-Fairy," a 4-foot (1.5-meter) tall seated robot with flashing eyes and plastic pigtails. Sunday's wedding was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to manufacturer Kokoro Co.

"Please lift the bride's veil," the robot said in a tinny voice, waving its arms in the air as the newlyweds kissed in front of about 50 guests.


"It would be nice if the robot was a bit more clever, but she is very good at expressing herself," said new husband Tomohiro Shibata, 42, a professor of robotics at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in central Japan.

The I-Fairy sells for about 6.3 million yen ($68,000) and three are in use in Singapore, the U.S. and Japan, according to company spokeswoman Kayako Kido. It has 18 degrees of motion in its arms, and mainly repeats preprogrammed movements and sounds.
Angie, I thought I'd play your 'if I had $100,000 that I could only spend on the wedding' game with something like a destination wedding week-long retreat with everyone's flights and hotels paid for plus a wedding planner to take care of all the boring details...but no. I'd get a $68,0000 robot officiant instead.

Quirky illustrated invites

Unfussy and adorable:

(Megan + Daniel at Oh So Beautiful Paper)

Oh! It turns out these are designed by Kathleen, whose own wedding invites had the lovely vellum paper/typewrite/kraft paper combo I posted about previously. Note the ampersand modified to include a heart, clever. I think I would've preferred a softer font/layout for the main info card (the one that says Megan Daniel), it might suit the watercolor illustrations better.

Watercolor illustrations (and pen drawings, a la Danny Gregory) are something I've always wanted to develop as a skill. I'm not an Artist or really a sketcher or drawer but I do enjoy slipping into that right brain drawing mode when I've taken art classes. This is really, really dorky but after I made a Personal Development Plan (PDP) for work (yeah, I know, but really it's helped with prioritizing which things I want to work on!), I made a rough one for personal hobbies and pursuits, which has the following items on it:
  1. Create a beautiful, cozy, organized home (we're moving again in a few weeks! so posting may die down a bit again, or just continue on the mostly fluffy here's cool stuff I found on other blogs vein I've had going thus far while we get into and settle in the new place. I haven't been entirely pleased with the job that I'd done with our current apartment but I'll chalk it up to not really loving the space all that much)
  2. Develop a regular exercise routine with dance classes (possibly at this studio in Hoboken, which would be convenient since it's right near the PATH train) and long walks with Dan. Maybe also the yoga classes Meghan and Abby have been taking, and maybe restarting that Couch-to-5K plan that I've tried a few different times so far and got most of the way through once. A good friend of mine just completed her first 5K this past weekend and I was so happy for her! I often wish that liking running would come to me more easily. I recently gave up my gym membership, since we're moving, and that's been a relief. Definitely not going to become a gym person when I didn't go often to a gym that was just around the corner from our current apartment.
  3. Fix up wardrobe with own sewing work and learning to sew tops and dresses, working towards the wedding dress (aka 'fun easygoing red dress that I will put in the effort to make muslin mockups and such and that I will be able to wear again afterwards without causing a scene). Once most of the work in outfitting the new apartment is done, I'd like to take some of the classes offered by Sew Fast Sew Easy, starting with their Intermediate skirt class and progressing to the advanced classes on dressmaking.
  4. (and finally winding up the earlier topic, here in 4th place is) Illustrated watercolor journaling. This instructional DVD on 'Beginning Watercolor Journaling' seems like it'd be a good substitute for an in-person class, though I've also found some drawing and painting the city classes that might be fun as well. There's a slight chance I might be able to take the 'Illustrated watercolor journaling' class in California at the end of June when I'm out there for a work trip, but I'd have to work out a way to get to Santa Cruz Mountains from the Palo Alto area.
I'm really no artsy-crafty paragon or anything like that, though. Abby graciously bequeathed some of her magazines to me so I can create an inspiration board of colors and textures for the wedding and I'll post a picture of what I've got so far when I get a chance. My Costume Design* teacher always said I needed to do more editing on my mood boards, a concept I understand a little better now, but I still just enjoy a wide range of different things that that's hard for me to do. 

*Again don't get me wrong, I was a Biology/Psychology double major in school. Costume Design was one of those classes that I took when I had my mid-college 'rebellion' against my parents wanting me to finish the bio major and I was just like, FINE, I will TAKE 7 classes when most people take 5 so that I can fit in both majors, a fun class, and study abroad in Melbourne the next semester. I'll show you! Ha! Anyway Costume Design ended up being one of the best classes I took in college**, it was just so fun to have 'make a collage' and 'collect fabric swatches' as homework assignments. I'd take breaks from my harder classes by doing homework for this fun class instead.

**Other great classes include Australian Wildlife Biology (here's a species of ___ only found in Australia, we're not sure if it's still around or not, the last time we sighted it was 15 years ago when it was discovered in the stomachs of some roadkill in the dessert...), Intro Physics (loved the professor that much), and of course the Western Cultural Tradition classes we had to take as part of the honors program, where I learned critical thinking and how to actually propose and defend a thesis in a paper (I did not come out of high school with very much of this particular skill).

***There isn't actually a 3 asterisk next to something, I just wanted to point out that I have somewhat intentionally tried to throw in more random about me personal stuff so that my posts aren't all just 'pretty things I found' kind of posts. Evidently I'm quite the rambler when I write (one of many reasons why I have never considered myself a Writer either) so perhaps I should start making liberal use of footnotes, like Lyn at Another Damn Wedding or Robin at HitchDied who ups it a notch with the numbered superscript footnotes (one example). 

Google Maps envelopes

How cool is this Google Maps envelope idea from Rahul Mahtani & Yofred Moik from the Industrial Design program at Syracuse University?? Via not martha.

Their full design idea is for this to be built into Gmail so that you could have the option to convert an email into a physical letter, mailed by the USPS, but you could also print out a map image on a regular piece of paper and use something like this 8.5x11" envelope template to cut out and create your own envelopes more.

  • seems like it could easily become a lot of work for something people will toss aside quickly (hopefully into their recycling bins, at least)
  • would there be any easy way to also put the location of our venue on the envelope as well? Does that even make sense as something to do? Or just a big X - we're getting married here!! Or have a mini-maps image on the card inside to indicate the location? Which would then almost be like, yes, we've thought about it long and hard and we'd like the theme of our wedding to be Google apps: Google maps, separate wedding Gmail account, wedding website built with Google sites, RSVP forms using Google spreadsheets...I could go on for ages (I am only half-, perhaps one third-joking)
  • it thrills my nerdy sense of awesome
  • even Dan allowed himself to think it was really cool for several minutes before the 'seems like too much work' voice chimed in. And even then, once I told him we could put him in charge of data entry and I would recruit help for the cutting and folding, he seemed like he'd be ok with it. [Dan asks me to clarify that he's just in touch with his lack of crafty skill but can make up for it with his skill with maps.]
  • hopefully people would feel more acutely how it's a small event that we'd really love their presence at, what with the time we've taken to personalize their invite? OK I think this is where non-wedding blog readers would mostly be like, in the real world people pay far, far less attention to these kinds of little things than you think they might (countering the slightly hysterical WIC mantra of "your invitations set the TONE!!!")
On a slightly different note, quick tip picked up from Nothing But Bonfires today: the $35 Xyron machine that can turn items printer on normal printer paper into a label/sticker, like so:

(note she also used a special corner-rounder thing)

Maybe this could be combined with the above idea where instead of folding envelopes from maps you just convert a map screenshot into a sticker.

Non-bunting hanging decorations

When I opened up my Google Reader to see this post from Creature Comforts about these vellum paper mobiles, there was for real a gasp. Color! Light! Modern shape! Looks easy to assemble! What more could you want from a non fabric bunting hanging decoration, really.

(instructions at Project Wedding)

Fun fact: in the summer of 2007 I was doing an internship, supported by my scholarship program at school, and I somehow convinced them to let me take a bunch of art/craft classes as part of the experience. One of these was a mobile-making class ('Kinetic Sculpture') that I really loved. Such a sense of satisfaction when you get the balance just right. 

I was dedicated enough not only to consistently attend the Saturday morning class, but went even when said Saturday was the morning after Harry Potter #7 came out and I'd stayed up all night reading it, of course. The Harvard Square HP party was awesome, they had a concert in Harvard Yard with various HP bands playing. We kept getting random schwag and I put a temporary tattoo of a lightning bolt on my forehead, to match the black capes my friends and I made from thrift store sheets. I'm sad that we didn't take any photos.

Enough reminiscing about my exceptionally wild youth. It took me a minute to realize the cuteness of these mini clothes hanger paper clip photo hangers, but now they're hard to forget.

(from Photojojo for $10/pack of 7, via Brooklyn Bride)

Pinwheels and block prints

Last Friday saw some particularly good link posts in my blogroll. Both of these are via Oh So Beautiful Paper.

(pinwheel decorations out of recycled gift wrap at a baby shower)

(blockprintthis printing book might also be helpful)

More flora, both natural and crafted

So, it seems like laboratory glassware should definitely be an item on the 'to thrift' list. Maybe I'll be so lucky as to stumble upon a science class cleaning out their unused glassware sets? In college I was always astounded by the lab fee they demanded each semester for chemistry labs...and then sophomore year I broke a mercury thermometer and various flasks on different occasions. So, ok, fair enough.

We're not having set tables and I think I may leave the food station decorations mostly up to the caterer, but I love citrus and this garland looks doable for sure. I really like the idea of fruit decorations.

These sewn organdy flowers look so soft.

(instructions at Sew Mama Sew, via The Cupcake Goddess)

And finally, some more paper flowers, or to be more specific, giant paper poppies.

60s-style STDs

Am I intentionally trying to see what interesting queries my Google Analytics will show me after I've got a post with this title? Perhaps. Calling save-the-dates STDs, as Liz has, tickles the juvenile part of my sense of humor and helps reduce any potential stress related to a mere paper good.

(customize and download from The Wedding Chicks)

Anyway, I think these Mad Men themed save-the-dates are a clever design. We're not having quite such a strong theme in ours but props to this couple for coming up with something cool and then sharing it with the Internets.

Prosecco bar

I've been skipping over most of the posts on the B-list conference in DC on the various wedding blogs that attended, I think it's essentially a networking event for wedding bloggers/vendors. Merci New York's post caught my eye, though, because as she said, "Some tips and tricks from the B List party that can easily fold into your wedding day details. After all, it must be pretty intense to plan a party for wedding vendors and bloggers and still showcase some fresh ideas."

(a prosecco bar)
Each station showcased a different prosecco-based cocktail - this one included a pretty fresh herb display. Guests hand picked the herbs and added them to their bubbly. It was such a fresh presentation and would be a perfect accent to a summer wedding.

[Another prosecco] station lured guests with a new prosecco and a splash of their favorite fresh fruit juices or nectar.
I'm going to email this idea to our caterer, as she told me one of her favorite parts of the job is coming up with signature cocktails for wedding receptions. Also, Wikipedia says that prosecco is becoming a popular inexpensive substitute for champagne, and we'd talked with her about even just doing fresh strawberry slices in champage flutes (except for Dan's, of course).