Friday, October 7, 2011

Cards of Doom

Of all the things that I really should have spent less time on, our escort and place cards top the list.  These babies gave me nothing but trouble.

I knew for a long time that I wanted to use the clothes line approach to escort cards.  You know, this guy:

Photo by Laura

It's practically a wedding cliche here in blogworld, but no one at the wedding had ever seen one before.  That part worked out pretty well.

Then there were the cards themselves.  It took me a long time to decide how to do them.  You see, early on, I had this idea that we could use the backs of the cards for people to write us a note.  I hate traditional guest books.  They're like middle school yearbooks; no one knows what to say besides, "Congratulations!  May you have many happy years together" (and HAGS).  I knew I wanted our guests to be able to write something thoughtful and to have a prompt in case they couldn't think of something to say.  We wrote questions for them to answer and slapped them on the backs of the place cards so that they could write in their seats, giving them time to think.  We told them they could write whatever they wanted, but the questions ensured we wouldn't just be getting, "Congratulations" over and over again.

I also thought early on that it would be fun to do a Danicole quiz and have a prize for whoever could answer all of our trivia questions correctly.  It would give people something to do while they were at the tables and might even spark conversations between people who didn't know each other.  So why not do that on the backs of the escort cards?  I thought this would be a great way to save time and money.

Then there was the tricky part:  picking out escort/place cards.  I put WAY too much thought into this.  The trouble was, they had to be big enough for people to write on them but small enough to not dominate the place settings.  We had to be able to put them in a scrapbook afterward, and of course, we didn't want to spend a lot of money or time on them.  We ended up going with a design we had rejected for our invites and printing them on postcards from  Cheap, easy, all we had to do was print everyone's names and table numbers on them.  What could go wrong?

Our Danicole Quiz

Our Guest Book Cards

So, when I ordered these cards, there were two things I did not take into account and should have:  size and glossiness.  You see, it had never occurred to me that they would be too small for printers to print on.  I also did not realize that since I was ordering postcards, the fronts would be glossy, and that would be hard to print on too.  But when I started looking for someone to print our guests' names on them, all of the printers I found were quick to point out these problems to me.  No one would touch them.  One person even told me I might want to scrap them and start anew.

This was 2-3 weeks before the wedding.  I was so scared I wouldn't be able to get them done.  Finally, I gave up, went to Staples, bought labels, and was about to just print all of the names out on them when I realized Staples did printing.  I was already there.  I figured I'd ask them if they could print on the cards.

And finally, someone said, "yes."  I owe Estella, the printing person I talked to, quite a bit for working with me to not only print them but to edit my word documents so that they would print in the right place.  Relieved, I went home to make 170 precisely-spaced word documents.

So, the week of the wedding rolled around, and I still hadn't had the cards printed.  I knew I was pushing it, but because of our coordinator issues, we hadn't been able to finalize the seating charts yet.  Finally, the Monday before, I took them to Staples to be printed.

I had hoped to speak with Estella again, but she wasn't there, and the replacement person was not as helpful.  She did not seem to know what she was doing.  I wrote out instructions and made her put them with my cards.  When I said I needed them the next day, she practically laughed at me.  I said Estella said it wouldn't be a problem.  She said they needed more time.  We agreed on Wednesday night as a pick up time which left about 36 hours before I had to leave for Tiburon.  No time for screw ups.  Then, we had a minor crisis when half of the files on my flash drive seemed to disappear, but after 15 highly tense minutes, I figured out what had happened and left my babies with the printer.  To say I was apprehensive would be a major understatement.  Better to say I was convinced they would be done wrong.  Alas, at that point, I had no choice.

Pick up time came on Wednesday.  I called to see if they were ready.  The response was highly worrisome.  Turns out, they had fucked up as expected.  I gave them a few hours to fix it and then went over there myself.  It wasn't as bad as it could have been.  They had managed to copy the design pretty effectively and were making replacements.  At first, I was overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible task of figuring out what exactly was wrong, but then I realized that for the most part, the fronts had been printed correctly, but they had switched the backs of the place cards and escort cards so that the former had the quiz and the latter had the questions.  Not a big deal.  Still, it took me hours to sort out which ones had been done like that and which had the wrong fronts or were missing.  In the end, we were able to get the fronts and backs to match, but it took hours.

This was three days before the wedding.  I so did not need this kind of trouble at that point.

In the end, everyone had a place card...

and an escort card...

and though it took way too fucking long to get them done, it looked like they were going to be OK.

I should have known better than to leave the unwanted cards (i.e. the fucked up ones) in the same box as the good ones when I dropped them off at Guayma's.  They were in totally separate piles, and I certainly thought it looked like the correct place cards were the ones that were supposed to be used.  There were so many more of them after all.  They were all together.  The unwanted ones were just a small pile in the corner.  Separated.  Pushed aside.  We had already put up the escort cards.  Surely, no one would mistake the bad ones for good.

Thankfully, I didn't realize that the venue had screwed up with the place cards until after the wedding when we were looking through the notes people had left us.  I think everyone got the right name and back at least, but the venue used some place cards with just people's names on them (correct) and some with the name and the name of the table (which I had just worked so hard to fix, damn them!).

I know it's not a big thing, but after all the work I put into these, especially right before the wedding when I had better things to do, I was pissed.  This is one of the Three Things That Went Wrong the day of the wedding that still makes me angry when I think about it.  I've tried to let it go, but...argh!

Nonetheless, I am glad we did the quiz and questions on the cards.  The quiz was fun, especially since no one got all five questions right, and we got some great responses for our guest book.  Way better than a regular guest book.  I just wish we had found an easier way to do them.

Was there something at your wedding that took wayyyyyy longer than it should have?  Major (or minor) fuck-ups that you can't let go of?  Care to try your hand at our quiz?

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