Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DIY Invitations, thank you cards, save the dates, and programs...

One thing that I wanted to do for the wedding was make sure that we keep the cost down.  One of the ways we did that was designing all of our invitations, save the dates, programs, etc on Vista Print. It started with our save the dates and then just snowballed from there.

Initially, Joe really wanted magnet save the dates but we wanted to keep it low cost.  On Vista Print, you are able to design your own image and uploaded onto a magnet.  After looking through several websites, I found two save the dates I loved, and wanted to combine.  I took the ideas and went onto PowerPoint and played around with different designs.  After getting some designs down, Joe had his feedback and we were good to go!  Below you will see the image that we ended up downloading for our save the dates.  There are so many coupons online for Vista Print so we always took full advantage of them and normally got 50% off the regular price and free shipping!

After the save the dates came the information that needed to get printed for the wedding.  We started with our invitations.  We didn't want to do anything too crazy and keep it simple.  We had entertained a lot of ideas but ended up deciding to design our own.  My sister had bought blank invitations from Michaels for her wedding and printed them, but we didn't have much luck finding any that were reasonably priced and to our liking, so I got to designing the invitations.  As you will see, it got to be simple to design the remainder of the pieces since I standardized on the fonts for the invitations, and the chevron pattern would be the design on all of them.  Below you will see our final invitation and enclosure card designs.  The back of each simply had the coral chevron pattern on the same portion as the front of the card.
Invitations were 6" by 9"
Enclosure card was post card sized
Next to design was the program.  Since the invitations and the save the dates had the chevron, we kept that pattern and similar font for the programs.  We were having a catholic wedding so we you will see that our programs follow the catholic format.  We did not do a full mass since we had a deacon marrying us, so it was a shorter Catholic ceremony. The dimensions for the programs was 4"x8.
 A very special thing we also ended up doing on Vista Print was something that we were doing for our wedding.  We were using wine bottles as our center pieces and we wanted to use a unique idea (explanation in a different post).  Below are cards that we designed for our guests to write notes on!  They were post card sized.

Last, but certainly not least, were our thank you cards.  We also did these post card sized, and kept them simple so we had a lot of room to write!   The back of the thank you kept the image of the chevron pattern as well.  Enjoy :)

So there it is, all of our printed artwork that came from Vista Print!  They are so easy to work with and even shipped us replacements after we found a typo after submitting the cards to print.  They come with envelopes with is nice as well!  Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Honeymoon - Day 10 and 11 - Tahiti and The Trip Home

May 10, 2014

I woke up this morning feeling a million times better and was healed!  I woke up starving and sore since we had done so much physical activity the day before and I had not eaten.  We finished up packing our stuff and right at 7 we headed up to breakfast.  We both ate a ton of food before heading down to finish up packing then got off the ship around 8.  We caught a taxi right off the ship dock and headed to the Intercontinental where we were staying our last day/night.  The taxi ride was 2400 XPS and before we knew it, we were at the Intercontinental.  The taxi driver was very friendly, and once we arrived we got checked in although our room was not ready.  They took our luggage and we headed out to explore the property and then changed into our bathing suits.   
The property was huge, and a lot more commercial than the Hilton in Moorea.  It was very nice and they had two very large pools, one fresh water and one salt water.  The salt water one had a sand ground that was amazing and very unique.  Both were infinity pools that looked over Moorea and for the majority of the morning there was not a cloud in the sky so we soaked in the beautiful view!  They did not seem quite as friendly and accommodating as they did at the Hilton and we were not welcomed with flowers and drinks, but that was ok since we were worn out!   The hotel was simply much busier and they were constantly answering questions for guests/checking people in. After seeing the property we headed to the fresh water pool where we relaxed until about 1.  At 1 we checked to see if our room was ready and it was so we headed to our room that overlooked the lagoon.  It was a beautiful room on the 3rd floor that had great views.  After getting settled in, we headed to lunch where Joe had fish and chips that were quite good, and I enjoyed the cool air, still full from breakfast.  After lunch, we headed to the salt water pool where some of our friends from the cruise were hanging out.  We enjoyed the swim up bar and the sandy floors of the pool for a while, then headed up to our room around 5.  We had perfect weather for a day of relaxation by the pool with breathtaking views of the beach and Moorea.
Swim up bar!

We headed to our room at 5 and showered and got ready for dinner than sat on our balcony and enjoyed the most beautiful sunset over the water and listened to the live music coming from the restaurant.  We headed down to dinner fairly early since I was starving from not eating lunch.  We ate dinner at the same place as lunch, Tiare.  As we were walking down to dinner, we ran into some friends from the cruise, including Brett and Stephanie.  They had not ordered and had just sat down so we sat with them and enjoyed a lovely dinner outside, enjoying live music and great company.  I think all of us were about fooded out for the week, so we all opted for salads.  The food was so amazing on the cruise that it was so hard to pass up anything, even desert, so it was refreshing to have a little bit of a lighter meal.  Once dinner ended, Brett and Stephanie left for their flight and we got our rides set up for the next morning to head to the airport.  We got back to the room and relaxed a bit and enjoyed the music outside, then packed up our stuff for the morning.

May 11, 2014

We got an early morning wake up call at 5:30 and it was time to get up and say good bye to the beautiful country of French Polynesia.  We headed to the lobby and got our taxi which we were sharing with some friends, and arrived at the airport a short 5 minutes later.  We all got checked in, surprised by the long lines at the airport!  After we checked in we grabbed some breakfast at the café before security, and then walked through security before enjoying breakfast.  There is also a café beyond security, all have sandwiches for 500 XPS or so.  We sat down and enjoyed our breakfast and the beautiful outdoors since the airport in Tahiti is wide open!  Right as we wrapped up eating, the boarding process had already begun so we boarded and got settled in.
Heading Home
Joe and I were lucky to have great seats where Joe did not have a chair in front of him, so he had miles of leg room.  This leg of the flight was from Tahiti to LAX and we were on an Air France flight (bought through Delta).  It was about an 8 hour flight, so we settled in for a long flight.  We were pleasantly surprised by their service (we hadn’t noticed it on the flight to Tahiti since we were both asleep the whole way) and they served two full meals and beers and wines were flowing!  The amount of times we got service was incredibly, and they had a self-serve beverage area right behind the bathroom area!  We enjoyed some great movies, played games, and the flight was over before we knew it. 

We landed in LA at 7 PM and went through customs at lightning speed.  They happened to open a new line for US Passports only right as we were getting in so Joe and I were the first in line.  Our luggage was also one of the first to come through so I am pretty sure all customs were said and done in 5 minutes.  We then walked from the international terminal to terminal 5 (man we miss the tram in Atlanta!) with all of our luggage to recheck it in.  I have to agree with what I had heard,  LAX is not easy to navigate when switching flights, going international (besides our luck in customs!).  Once we got checked in, we grabbed some dinner, good old American burgers and fries!  It was something both of us were craving so we were loving it!  After dinner, we headed to our gate where we caught up on the world, downloaded emails (and proceeded to not look at them for just a couple more hours!), looked at pictures, and write about the day.  It was 10:30 and time to board before we knew it.   
We struggled on our first red eye and got very little sleep but at least we got to enjoy that one last beautiful day in Tahiti, so it was worth it!  We landed in Atlanta at 6 AM and Joe headed to grab breakfast and headed to his gate to start his week of travels in Miami, as I went to retrieve our luggage and got picked up by Joe’s dad.  It was hard saying good bye to the honeymoon and welcome the real world back by being apart for a couple of days, but that is what married life is all about!  

It was the perfect vacation where we disconnected from the world completely for 10 days and simply enjoyed each other’s company.  It is not often that you get to do that these days, so we were blessed to have this opportunity.  Not once did we miss Facebook, or emails!  The scenery was breath taking and pictures do not do it justice, the weather was amazing and cloudy on just the perfect days so we did not get too hot or burnt on the beach, the food was some of the best we have ever had in our lives, and the days were filled with a perfect balance of activities and relaxation!  What more could we ask for in the honeymoon of our dreams!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Honeymoon - Day 8 and 9 - Moorea

May 8, 2014

This was the first of two days in Moorea.  We had gone to bed a bit later than normal last night so we slept in until about 8:30 which was a nice change.  We got moving around 9 and headed up to breakfast at La Veranda.  After enjoying the breakfast on the boat deck, we headed back to our room where Joe napped for a bit because he had woken up not feeling well .  After getting ready, we took the tender to the shore and walked around Moorea for a bit before heading back.  We talked to some locals to get an idea of what to do on the island for the following day.  We had plans to go to the beach but didn’t have our bathing suits so we headed back to the boat to change.  It was the first day we had absolutely sunny amazing weather since we got on the boat, so we went to the pool to relax a bit and found a lot of our friends there.  We ended up staying by the pool until lunch, then grabbed lunch at the Grill.  Lunch was absolutely amazing and we had a stir-fry with scallops, shrimp, and calamari, as well as all of the usual things.  The theme for lunch was Polynesian so it was all amazing. After lunch we relaxed at the pool a bit longer and then around 2 we headed to the Marina where I took out a paddle board while all of the others took out kayaks and we paddled and kayaked for about an hour and a half.  We made it to shore and back but Joe and I swapped the kayak and paddle board at halfway so he paddle boarded back.  Once we got back we were sufficiently tired so it was nap time for Joe while I read for a bit then got ready for the evening.

Since it was quickly getting to our last days on the ship, we watched the sun set before heading in to see Joe play in the black jack tournament.  He was doing so well and was only in second by 20$, but had to push all in for the last hand.  Unfortunately, the last hand did not play in his favor and he lost it.  It was a fun game though, and we headed to dinner once we finished up.  Dinner was Polynesian night as well, so we started off with poison cru for our appetizer, then enjoyed lobster tail stuffed with shrimp and scallops and a beef tenderloin,  all served with veggies.  For desert Joe had a chocolate lava cake with ice cream and I had a creamy pineapple cake and they were both amazing.  After dinner, Joe still wasn’t feeling amazing so we decided to call it a night and laid down to read for a bit before heading to bed.  It had been a fun day enjoying the amazing sunshine, and we heard we had another beautiful day in store for the next day!
May 9, 2014

We were up bright and early today for our last dive of the trip!  We were spending the second day in Moorea and the weather forecast was wonderful!  We had an 8 AM dive so we woke up around 6:30 and lied around a bit.  We decided to order room service for breakfast the night before since the room service menu was amazing!  We got a knock promptly at 7 with our huge order!  We had gotten fruit, pastries, hot meats, eggs, smoked salmon, and so much more!  It was nice getting breakfast in bed and not even having to make it!  After breakfast, we got ready for the dive and headed to the marina.  This dive was the canyons where we would see sharks, turtles, etc, so we were incredibly excited!  We took the boat out and enjoyed our dive tremendously.  We saw sharks larger than in Bora Bora that were 10 to 15 feet swimming right by our heads.  We had such a great dive instructor that pointed out so many things like piranhas, eels, baby sharks, etc.  On our ride back from the dive we saw so many dolphins, the pack had to be about 20 or them diving and eating!  It was such a beautiful sight to see.  
Dolphin watching :)

Once we got back from the dive, we quickly changed and got dressed since I convinced Joe to do a hike with me.  We wanted to make the 10 o’clock tender, so we headed out to hike Magic Mountain.  A local person had told us about it and the hike started about 1 mile from where our tender dropped us off so we were excited to explore Moorea.  Needless to say, we started off excited and quickly started getting worn out.  Since I had convinced Joe to go on the hike even though he was not feeling 100%, I was the bag carrier.  Thank goodness we packed 4 water bottles.  The hike was the hardest hike both one of us had ever done and it was unbelievably hot and humid.  We are still glad that we did it because at the top we saw the most amazing views looking down on the bay.  The sky was clear and the water was crystal clear making the views breathtaking.  We started our trek back, little did we know we were going to be stopped by a grumpy old man.  Apparently the mountain belongs to him and he charges 2$ per person for those who want to hike it (or take RTVs up).  We had not brought any cash with us, and he spoke little English, so he locked his gate and stared at us.  We had no idea how to convey that we had no money, and it was a bit intimidating, but finally he opened the gate thinking we would walk a mile back to the tender, take the tender to the ship and back, and then return to give him 4$.  To say the least, we were exhausted and that was not happening!  Once we got back we laid on the ground in our room for a bit (we were super sweaty so we didn’t want to lay in bed) before heading to lunch.  
Panorama of the view from the hike!
Our Walk!
What a pretty view!
Amazing Water!
We made it!!!

At lunch I started feeling incredibly sick to my stomach so I left Joe and ended up getting sick right as I got to our room.  I instantly felt better so I thought I was good to go and we headed up to the pool to enjoy the remainder of the day.  We relaxed by the pool, but around 4 my head started hurting so we headed to our room to nap.  Thinking I was OK after the nap, we headed up for our dinner reservations at La Veranda after enjoying the sunset.  At dinner I started feeling terrible again so Joe finished dinner rather quick and we headed back to the room where I fell asleep instantly.  Joe had to pack all of our stuff on his own (I am so grateful) as I got 12 hours of sleep.  Looking back, we are pretty sure I had a nice case of heat exhaustion because it really was incredibly hot on the hike and a VERY steep hike!  Either way, we are still glad we did it for the beautiful views!  Just be warned, it is not an easy hike so maybe take an RTV up if you want to enjoy the view!  Moorea was our favorite island and stop from the cruise.  It is absolutely the most beautiful island and the water is crystal clear.  Definitely recommended to anyone that is in French Polynesia, especially since it is a short boat ride away from Tahiti.
Last Sunset on the Cruise!