23 July, 2008

The Great Invitation Assembly Line, Part 1: The Prequel

Anyone see that episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel get jobs at a chocolate factory on the assembly line, and the conveyor belt keeps going faster and faster until they're forced to shove the unwrapped chocolates anywhere they can?

Well, Sunday at Mom Ruby Slippers' house was like my own personal episode of I Love Lucy, assembly line, chocolate, the works. Ok, so there was no conveyor belt, and the pace was far more leisurely, and there was no stuffing of chocolate into mouths with hilarious results....but there WAS chocolate, dammit! And the packaging thereof!

But first, some back story:

When Mr RS and I first got engaged, all I knew was that I wanted crimson/maroon/dark red as my main wedding colour; I would use it for the bridesmaid dresses, bouquets, centrepieces, and I naturally assumed that it would spill over into the invitations as well. Since at that point I wanted roses for pretty much all my flowers, I though this would be a pretty, matchy invitation:
So cute, right? But a few weeks into the planning I got talking to Best-Friend-Bridesmaid-Ruby-Slippers, from which conversation arose the idea to have more film-themed stuff in our wedding. Because, let's face it, we are the biggest movie geeks ever. Ok, not EVER.

One of the things we discussed was the invitations. One good idea (that didn't really grab me, though) was to do a movie ticket design for the invites. Like I said, I like the IDEA, but I didn't like the look of any of the designs I saw online. They just looked a little plain.

Actually these ones are pretty nice, but I just didn't feel them, you know?

And then BF-BM-RS mentioned an idea she'd seen done for a wedding: WILLY WONKA'S GOLDEN TICKET INVITATIONS.

What an awesome idea, right? Which, naturally, I promptly and blatantly stole.
Over the next five months, it transpired that bloody golden tickets are actually a whole mission to DIY. First of all, you have to find paper that is actually gold. Not that booooring browny, gold-flecked frosted gold. Actual, shiny gold that glows. That reflects light. That looks like treasure, dammit! Eventually, after looking in every art, scrapbooking and paper shop I could find, I found some in a shop called Paper Paradise in Fourways Mall. Nearly R6 a sheet, but since by our reckoning we could fit three invites per sheet, we would only need seventeen or so. We took twenty to be safe (and a good thing too).

Before buying all twenty, however, I did the safe and smart thing and took one page to a print shop to see if the thickish cardboard it was made of was actually printable-on. The first shop managed it, but their print came out scratch-off-able (loving these new words I'm coining). Well, that was kind of pointless, because we had no way of knowing if any of the print would come off the invitations in transit to the guests, and it would pretty much suck if they opened an invitation with half the wording missing. So I went to a photo printing shot and they managed to laser it on. Success!
Or so you'd think. We went back, bought twenty sheets of shiny gold goodness, and Mr Slippers went back to the photo shop. Well, what do you know? They said it was impossible. Wtf? No matter how much he told them they'd done it before, they wouldn't believe him. So in desperation he went back to the first place, with the scratch-off print. Guess what? Same story! Apparently my presence inspires printers to print onto seemingly impossible gold card, and his does not. So, deciding "bugger this for a bunch of overripe bananas" we went back, together, to the photo printing shop. Amazingly, the guy who had confirmed "impossible" to Mr Slippers was the guy who had served me before, and, on recognising me, suddenly "remembered" how to print it. Where do they FIND these morons?
I'll try not to go into the font story, where the Wonka font had not embedded properly in the document, because MS Word is the VERY DEVIL HIMSELF and does not allow WordArt to be embedded, and the printshop employees would not let Mr RS, a computer technician, install the font on their computer in case it "messed up their system". Yes, because fonts have a nasty way of doing that. So Mr RS had to drive all the way home, print out the page, take it back and have them scan it in and print from that.

But wait, there's more. Remember that the Golden Ticket Invitation is not just about the ticket itself. If we were going to do the whole Wonka thing, there had to be a chocolate slab involved somewhere (Mmm, chocolate and weddings, a winning combination). We started by looking at actual Wonka Bars, but these proved useless since they were horribly expensive and came in an annoying foil-fresh-wrap, which meant that we would have to print our own wrappers anyway, rendering it pointless to buy said bars in the first place.

So I went to a chocolate shop and bought two narrow slab moulds, 5 kilos of baking chocolate, and proceeded to make 48 slabs myself. It wasn't hard, actually - I could do two at a time, and most nights I did five lots of two, so it really only took me five nights of running up and down stairs to throw in a fresh batch in between tv and blogstalking. And voila! 48 fresh, shiny, chocolatey slabs. Yum.

As the final touch, I had Mr Slippers design a Wonka wrapper for the outside, with the map to our venue on the back (stroke of genius, that). So with all the pieces in place, we set off for our assembly line party.


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