By the time you read this my not-so-little-any-more sister will have been married for about three days. Three days!
I usually make books for wedding gifts. I made the guest sign-in book for our wedding and in the car on the way back from our four-day extravaganza Alvin and I were sharing the things each of us saw but the other one didn’t, and the things we didn’t want to forget. I jotted them down in the back of the sign-in book under the heading “Random Memories and Things People Told Us.” Some of the things that made the cut were:
- Alvin deciding the day before we were due to leave for Costanoa that the suit he’d been planning to wear for months didn’t fit him well and he wanted a new one (I dubbed him “Groomzilla”) – see how impressed I was to be sitting in Macy’s the day before our celebrations started?
- Getting drenched in the last mile of the hike & bike where we took 25 people on rental bikes to the spot where we got engaged
- My very same sister filling my Camelbak bladder with beer so she could more easily drink while dancing, the smell of which could not subsequently be removed even after two bleachings
- The wedding coordinator questioning whether our friend digging trenches around our tent on Costanoa’s lawn was a good idea (we were supposed to get married on the beach but Costanoa double-booked us, and 10.24.10 ended up being the first major storm of that year)
- Me not getting any sleep the night before the wedding. Fabulous interior designer friend: “How do you want the chairs set up for the ceremony?” Me: “I don’t feel equipped to make decisions of that magnitude right now.”
- And the list goes on…
I realized that other couples probably also think about trying to remember the sweet moments of their own weddings, so the wedding book gift was born. I always make sure to give the gift in advance and explain the intent.
The nice part about a handmade book is that you get to say something personal with it. For some triathlete friends who got married several years ago I inserted bike maps and a ‘get out of jail free’ card from a monopoly set (she’s a lawyer who fights for better conditions for prisoners) and the page from an old guide book that describes the winery where they got married. I bound the whole thing in some used bike inner tubes that I stitched together: the valve acts as the clasp. (The newlyweds told me afterwards that each night of their long wedding weekend they made time to sit together and write down the things about the day that they wanted to remember).
Another couple (who met at our wedding!) got married at The Nines in Portland; I’d stayed there before for work and knew their decor aesthetic so I designed a book to match, and stitched a key card from the hotel to the front cover.
My sister Em found herself a lovely man named Dan, so when I was at a flea market in Brooklyn several months ago and found some flash cards from the 1950s with their names on it I knew it was meant to be their book. I had quite the search on my hands to identify some cardstock that matched the flash cards, but I got pretty close. I had the cardstock and some vinyl covers die cut so it matched the flash cards, and cut a lino block with a stethoscope, a flame, and a heart: she’s a nurse and he’s a fireman. It didn’t come out perfectly, but I haven’t done block printing since high school… I put the whole lot in a pile, drilled a hole through it, and bolted it together. Some red paper to match the printing ink was procured to cover a presentation box from my own instructions.
Congratulations to Em and Dan – check the Instagram feed at the bottom of the page for photos of the celebrations!
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