So instead I decided to make magnets. Magnets are boring, yes. But most people have magnets on their fridges, so I thought at the very least they could hang around in everyone's kitchen as a little reminder of our special day. And I thought I could use them to display the escort cards (the little cards that tell everyone where they're sitting), thus killing two birds with one stone. I found a tutorial for making magnets out of glass stones, gathered my supplies, and set to work.
Here's how it went down (and I will confess, I made these in November for our June wedding...I just wanted to start getting tasks out of the way):
For supplies, I needed colored craft paper (I used 6 sheets of paper: 3 shades of turquoise, and 3 shades of pink/coral), strong clear glue, decorative glass stones (the kind that are rounded on one side and flat on the other), and strong magnets. I found all of this at Michaels. I also used the rubber stamp that I bought on Etsy and used for a lot of our wedding decor.
The basic process was to first stamp each sheet of paper a bunch of times:
Then I used one of the stones as a guide, traced its shape around each stamp, and cut out each resulting oval:
Next I used the glue to adhere a glass stone to each paper oval:
(If you look closely, you can see the camera and my Harvard sweatshirt reflected in the glass...don't look closely)
I was able to squeeze out any air bubbles in the glue just by pressing the stone down firmly. The glue dried pretty quickly -- within a few minutes. Since each stone was slightly different in shape, I tried to pick one for tracing that was fairly representative and then once they were all glued together I trimmed off any excess paper that stuck out from under the edges of any given stone.
I completed all these steps for each one so I was left with a pile of stones with paper ovals glued to the bottom. Then I flipped all the stones over, dabbed glue on the back of a bunch of them, and quickly pressed down a single magnet on each one before the glue dried. I put glue on about 10 at a time before adding the magnets.
I let them dry upside down for about 15 minutes. As the glue was first drying, sometimes the magnets would slide off to one side (visible on a few stones in the photo above) -- I just made sure to keep an eye on them and push them back into place until the glue firmed up.
Then I popped all 120 of them in a tupperware container to await the wedding 8 months later. All told (not counting the stamp, since I used that for other things), they cost 33 cents apiece...not too bad!
To display them with the escort cards, I found magnetic boards at Michaels, which I painted turquoise with paint I already had on hand from past projects. I calculated that based on the size and number of escort cards, I needed two boards of the size they had at Michael's.
(sorry for the poor photo, this is the week before the wedding and I was moving fast)
I bought white wire contraptions on Amazon meant to display decorative plates or books etc, which I used to prop up the frames (you can see one at the bottom of the frame in the photo above).
For the escort cards, I mail merged each person's name and table number into a Word document using a label template in Word that put the names into three columns and 7 rows. I right-aligned the text so that the magnet could sit on the left edge of each card and not block the name. Before doing the merge, I sorted the excel spreadsheet I was using by meal preference so that everyone who wanted each meal type was grouped near each other in the mail merge. This is because I wanted to color code the escort cards according to meal selection, since people often don't remember and the caterer said this really helps. I bought three colors of washi tape at Staples (which is just thin decorative tape) -- pink for salmon, orange for beef, and yellow for polenta.
Then I printed the escort cards on white cardstock, and ran a strip of washi tape down the left side of each card (the point of grouping the names by meal preference was so that I could run the same color washi tape down entire sheets of cardstock). Then I used the paper cutter at Kinkos (for free) to cut each piece of cardstock into the individual escort cards. I'd thought about using pre-perforated business cards, but it was cheaper to just use the same cardstock that I was already buying for the ceremony programs.
Lastly, I mounted the escort cards alphabetically on the magnetic boards using the guest favors. I just alternated pink and turquoise. Here's how they looked at home:
And at the wedding:
And here's a close up:
We ended up having extra magnets because I made excess back in November not knowing for sure what our final headcount would be (and not wanting to have to rush to make a few more right before the wedding). As you can see two photos above, I put the extras in a basket (which my aunt made and gave to us as a wedding present a few days before the wedding -- the colors were too perfect not to immediately use it) with a little note telling people to feel free to swap for whatever color they wanted or to take extras.