Entries Tagged as 'wedding'

thoughts on diy weddings.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve always known that my wedding would be comprised of handmade details. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. That being said, I had no idea just how much work those handmade details would take. Hours, days, weeks, months of work. But was it worth it? 100 PERCENT YES.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

John and I decided to tackle as many projects ourselves as possible, for both creative + financial reasons. Many things were never even a question of asking for others’ help, including our paper goods (save the dates, invitations, menus, place cards, etc). In the end, there were many projects I didn’t get around to (wine labels, programs, paper flowers, the list goes on…), but really, no one but me knew the difference. I had been told this by various people throughout the whole planning process, but of course, I didn’t listen. Some things you just have to learn for yourself!

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza's Wedding | As seen in Wedding Magazine

I will admit that seeing our hard work pay off in the forms of a wedding blog feature and a magazine spread were pretty awesome, but seriously. As cliche as it sounds, the best part of all was that I walked away with a husband at the end of the day. He’s the best and I couldn’t be happier that he stuck by my side despite all my crazy wedding ideas and late night crafting and art directing. We managed to pull off the wedding of our dreams, which was topped only by the honeymoon of our dreams.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

And now…we’re having a baby and the DIY madness has been reincarnated in a brand new, equally as passionate form. Once a DIY’er, always a DIY’er!

hanging wedding photos.

Posted on: Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hanging Wedding Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m so happy I got married when I did. Not just because John and I were both in a great place with our relationship and our professional lives, but because photography is JUST SO AWESOME these days.

I love that our amazing photographer, Katie Pritchard, was able to share a sneak peek with us the day after our wedding. I love that we had a full hashtag of Instagram photos that our guests contributed to during our celebration. I love that I have been able to easily blog and share different images that tell our story. I love that a simple picture conveyed a BIG message this past Christmas. And now, I love that I have finally printed out three of our favorite shots from the big day and hung them in our home.

Hanging Wedding Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

On Friday afternoon (at rush hour, of course), I got the urge to jump in the car and drive over to IKEA to buy a few things for the house. While I was there, I picked up three white frames and a handful of other super necessary (unnecessary) items. What is it about impromptu IKEA trips that fill my heart with my delight?

Hanging Wedding Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

When I got home, I sat down with John and we chose our three favorite photos from our wedding that we knew would look great grouped together as a series. Then, I resized them in Photoshop, printed them out on glossy photo paper using my plain old HP Photosmart printer, and popped them into the frames! I put John in charge of the hanging process, because eventually we would like to be able to move out of this place without having to pay for 4,000 holes in the wall ;)

Next step: design a wedding album!

everybody dance now.

Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

I’m going to be honest.

Most of the big handmade projects created for our wedding were done with less than a month to go before the big day. BECAUSE I AM INSANE. But somehow, some way, by the sheer grace of the crafting gods, they turned out far better than I could have ever expected! Perhaps the project that packed the biggest punch at our reception was the “Everybody Dance Now” banner draped over the dance floor. I had known all along that I wanted something hanging overhead, but it wasn’t until the very last minute that I decided to get cheeky and go with the most appropriate party phrase of all time.

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Like I’ve mentioned before, I relied on my Cameo die cutting machine heavily to pull so many of my crafty ideas together. With a stack of white cardstock, a long strand of baker’s twine, scotch tape, and my Cameo, the banner came together in less than hour. Super simple. The hardest part was finding a way to prevent the letters from twisting and tangling before they had a chance to be hung, but somehow we made it work.

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

The translation from day to night was wonderfully seamless. The white letters looked electric when they were lit up by the market lights! Definitely one of the happiest surprises of the evening.

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

And judging by all the action on the dance floor, I’d say our guests got the memo ;)

Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography.

P.S. You can see more of my wedding-related posts here!

wedding florals | willow + jade.

Posted on: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

While gathering inspiration for my wedding, one thing became perfectly clear to me: florals can singlehandedly MAKE an event. So when it came time to hire a florist, it was a no-brainer that I would be going with Willow + Jade. Not only is Veronica (the head stylist) an amazing interior decorator, but her floral styling skills are unmatched. I knew I was in good hands.

Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

For my bouquet, I requested something colorful, rustic, and as overflowing / gigantic as possible. I wanted it to look like I had just gone on a beautiful hike and collected bits and pieces of wildlife along the way to form a gorgeous bohemian arrangement. I didn’t even feel the need to pick out specific flower types; I knew Veronica was on the same page as me and would take my vision above and beyond. And she totally did.

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

For my bridesmaids’ bouquets, I wanted to mimic the earthy, loosely-arranged vibe of my own bouquet, but on a smaller scale. I could not have been happier with the results! They were exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

As much as I squealed with delight over the bouquets, nothing compares to the moment when I first caught a glimpse of the reception tables overflowing with gorgeous florals. I was BLOWN AWAY. The vibrant colors, the perfect flower choices (pink peonies!), the heavy use of eucalyptus, the citrus fruits…it was better than anything I could have dreamt up myself!

Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

There were beautiful arrangements sprinkled throughout the whole reception site. I truly believe that without the flowers as the design anchor, this wedding would not have been nearly as cohesive as it was.

Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

And finally, the eucalyptus photobooth backdrop! Veronica and her team staple-gunned large panels of orange fabric to three sheets of wood and then pinned eucalyptus and other various florals to the background to create this lush scene. (If only I could recreate the living wall in my own home!)

Ann-Marie Loves | Wedding Florals by Willow + Jade | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Needless to say, I was one VERY HAPPY client :)

P.S. I learned early on that the secret to successful weddings is to hire vendors who naturally share your personal aesthetic and then let them run wild! The more you trust and the less you micromanage, the happier everyone will be. My florist, my photographer, and my videographers could not have been a more perfect fit for me. I trusted each of their creative visions implicitly and it paid off a million times over!

Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography

bridesmaids.

Posted on: Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

My bridesmaids. Oh, how I love these girls.

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Not only are they my closest friends, but they were paramount in helping me pull off the wedding of my dreams. They listened to my crazy DIY ideas and contributed to making them a reality. They planned the ultimate bridal shower and bachelorette weekend. They stayed up late with me the night before the wedding to help me figure out the seating chart. They talked me off the ledge minutes before the ceremony when I thought I would pass out from nerves. And to top it off, my maid of honor gave the most beautiful, heartfelt speech at our reception. (Originally I had six bridesmaids, but my good friend Sarah got the stomach flu on the morning of my wedding and sadly wasn’t able to attend).

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

For their bouquets, I requested something earthy and organic. No tight rose bundles. Nothing too formal or expected. Just something that would complement my own oversized, freeform bouquet. And I could not have been happier with the results! My floral stylist nailed it.

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

When it came down to their outfits, I pretty much let them have free reign. Being a part of a wedding is very expensive, so I wanted to make sure that each girl was able to shop within her own budget to find a look that fit her own personal style. (And who am I to insist upon overpriced dresses when I only spent $40 on my own dress?) The only direction I provided was the color palette (aqua colored dresses and red / pink / orange / yellow accessories). I love how all six of them were able to find a look that completely embodied their own unique personalities, while still looking like a unified group.

Bridesmaids | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

If I can give any advice to future brides, it’s this: choose bridesmaids you can count on!

When I first asked my girls to be in the wedding right after getting engaged, 50% of them lived in different states…! But even with distance as an obstacle, I never once had to worry about any of them not coming through. All six girls were an absolute dream and it made my job as the boss lady a cinch ;)

Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography.

die-cut place cards.

Posted on: Monday, February 17, 2014

Die Cut Wedding Placecards | Ann-Marie Espinoza

One of the first projects I dreamt up after getting engaged was the die-cut place cards that I made using my trusty Cameo. I knew they would be time consuming and slightly (majorly) tedious, but they were so Ann-Marie, I had no choice but to follow through.

Die Cut Wedding Placecards | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Using a single blade and two different cutting mats, I die cut each and every guest’s first name on aqua cardstock over a period of a few days. It seemed like an intimidating project at first, but once I got on a roll, it was just a matter of letting the Cameo do it’s thing in the background while I simultaneously worked on other tasks. Before I knew it, over 120 names had been cut and were ready to rock.

Die Cut Wedding Placecards | Ann-Marie Espinoza

On the day of the wedding, I was able to sneak into the backyard (where the reception was going to be held) and take a peek at all the tablescapes before our guests had a chance to see them. I was blown away by how all of my DIY efforts –  place cards, table numbers, menus, thrifted glassware – were paying off right before my eyes. There’s so much time and energy and stress that goes into handmade weddings, I was never fully confident that it would be worth it. I had recurring nightmares that all of the projects I spent months slaving over would make absolutely no sense to the overall vibe of the event and as a result, my reputation as a professional crafter / designer would be forever tarnished and I would have to find a new career…! (I may or may not have lost my mind at this point.)

But in that moment, as I stood in my wedding dress with my hand clutched over my heart, I took in the view of the backyard-turned-rustic fiesta reception of my dreams and it all made perfect sense.

P.S. Bottom three photos by Katie Pritchard Photography

bachelorette weekend in lake arrowhead.

Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2014

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

When it came down to my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids nailed it. I gave these girls very little information about what I wanted my bach party to be like (aside from avoiding Vegas at all costs), and somehow they totally read my mind. It was the perfect October weekend, filled with good friends, good conversation, and good food + drinks in Lake Arrowhead.

Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
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Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

We spent most of our time hanging out at our awesome cabin (plotting ways on how we could steal the furniture!) and occasionally ventured out to the main part of town for excellent meals and countless photo-ops. (One thing’s for sure: I put together a solid group of camera-wielding b-maids!).

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Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves
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Ann-Marie's Bachelorette Party in Lake Arrowhead | Ann-Marie Loves

It was beyond better than anything I could have ever planned myself! And rest assured, there was plenty of booze and possibly a blow-up doll named Brad at this party to round out the bachelorette experience (;

P.S. My bridesmaids Jaymee and Janelle wrote about our fun weekend too!

wedding invitations.

Posted on: Thursday, February 6, 2014

As two classically trained graphic designers, you would think that our career paths would have expedited John’s and my creative decision-making abilities when it came down to wedding decisions.

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

I am here to report: they did not.

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Merging our two (completely) different styles together proved to be a bit of a challenge, but after a little delegation + compromise, we made it work. Our invitations were a genuine collaboration between the two of us that I was so proud to send out to our guests.

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

I would have loved to have had our invitations letterpressed or gold foiled, but those pricey printing options didn’t exactly fit our budget. So! I went with the next best thing: gold foiled printable cards from Paper Source. This option opened up a whole new world for me! I was able to design and print our invitations directly from my home computer (who does that? I know!) for a fraction of the cost of other printing methods, while still keeping things classy with the gold foil action.

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

While I favor clean lines and bold fonts, John loves anything hand-drawn, so he took the reins on designing our map cards. Having both of our styles represented in the invitation suite really spoke to the unique designers that we are and the way that a little compromise can really turn out for the best! Win win.

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Our wedding was heavy-handed on the gold, so it was only right that our RSVP cards be brushed with a little gold paint to tie it all together. Thanks to a marathon crafting night with bridesmaids and family members, these babies were painted and postage stamped in no time at all. Teamwork!

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

After stamping the backs of the gold envelopes with our return address stamp, I calligraphed all of our envelopes using white paint pens. I was able to complete every single address in the time it took to watch the Emmy’s. (It may or may not have been my proudest moment.)

Wedding Invitation Suite | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza

And finally, it wouldn’t be a complete Ann-Marie package if there wasn’t a handmade element thrown in for good measure! The hand-cut felt feathers were a last minute addition, but really helped to bring our “rustic fiesta” theme together.

Between paper, envelope, paint, twine, fabric, and postage costs, our invitation suite was slightly over $200. I’m a firm believer that weddings do not have to cost a fortune in order to be well-designed! If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can DIY just about everything!

P.S. Remember our Save the Dates? You can see them here!

a christmas announcement.

Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2014

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves | Book by Artifact Uprising

The best and worst part about finding out that I was pregnant in mid-November was that it meant we could use our surprise as the ultimate Christmas gift to our parents. It was so hard to keep it a secret. SO HARD. There were many times that I felt compelled to tell my mom (the person I tell everything to). December was a difficult month for my family. Between a string of health issues in our dogs, unexpected financial burdens, and sad news about a dear friend, the Morris family really deserved a win. I was fairly sure that Baby Espinoza would do the trick, but I just needed Christmas to hurry up so I could break the news and restore hope.

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves | Book by Artifact Uprising

John and I mulled over how we would reveal the news and decided on Artifact Uprising photobooks that we custom designed for both of our families. Each book featured our favorite shots from our wedding day and included a special message on the last page. Over the 40+ days that we kept the secret to ourselves (and a very small handful of family and friends), we would ruminate on how we thought our parents would react. It became our favorite conversation and frankly the only thing keeping me for spilling the beans, at that point.

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves | Book by Artifact Uprising

On Christmas Eve, as John’s parents paged through the book, oohing and ahhing at our wedding photos, my heart was beating out of my chest! I was unbelievably nervous. It turns out that John and our sister and brother-in-law (who were in charge of filming) felt the same exact way. Then finally, as my in-laws turned to the last page, the past month and a half of worrying and stressing and panicking about having a baby melted away. They were THRILLED. It was such a surreal moment! Better than I could have ever imagined!

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves | Book by Artifact Uprising

On Christmas Day, it was time for my parents to open their book. Once again, the nervousness returned and had my heart thumping and my hands shaking. My parents, just like my in-laws, loved the photos in the book. They took their time going from page to page, reminiscing about the memories behind each image. Then the last page…

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves | Book by Artifact Uprising

Total happiness! My parents were shocked and elated. Anyone who has been around my mom for two minutes knows that she was BORN to be a grandma. And I know for fact that my dad will make for an awesome grandpa. Our highly anticipated Christmas gift was finally public knowledge and it felt awesome. Absolutely worth the wait.

gold-fringed letters.

Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2014

DIY Gold-Fringed Letters | Ann-Marie Loves

Gold-fringed letters spelling out our names were one of the big projects that we wanted to have at our wedding. I knew they would make a huge impact and really bring together all the gold elements strung throughout the reception. But, man! Those babies are time consuming! Just ask my husband, who singlehandedly constructed each and every 3D letter out of cardboard and then added the gold fringe atop them all. He’s a crafting wonder, that kid.

DIY Gold-Fringed Letters | Ann-Marie Loves

Once all the letters were finally complete (ahem, the day before our wedding), we were at a loss as to how we would keep them all together and upright on top of the patio awning. There were talks of magnets and nails, but all of those seemed like a bit more work than anyone wanted to put in for the 24 hour time period we were working under. Then! My genius maid-of-honor Val, came up with the idea to hot glue each letter to a long sheet of wood. And wouldn’t you know, it worked like a charm! Of course, we had to forgo the hyphen in my name, but that’s nothing new. (Word to the wise: don’t put symbols in your children’s names. Take my word on that.)

DIY Gold-Fringed Letters | Ann-Marie Loves

This was easily the most time-intensive and tedious project of the entire wedding, but I was obsessed with the end result! They looked especially magical at night when lit up by the market lights. Chalk one up for crafty husbands!

(First and third photos taken by Katie Pritchard Photography.)

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