Personalized Wedding Gifts

One of my best friends, who was a bridesmaid in my wedding, is getting married at the end of the month!  I am so excited to travel to Chicago for the first time to see her wedding – plus, as a bonus, I get to spend the weekend with another great friend, whom I’ve known since high school and was a groomsman in our wedding!  Not to mention, the wedding is on my birthday, my friend is coming as my date (since Radar is on deployment), and the kids are each spending the weekend with a set of grandparents… so it’s pretty much going to be the best weekend ever!

Now, the bride is a very pragmatic person.  She knows that most of the attendees are traveling to come to the wedding, plus she and her groom have been living together for several years already (they don’t need a new toaster), so she hasn’t registered for wedding gifts.  She is just happy that people are coming!  But, of course, I can’t show up empty-handed to a wedding, especially one of such a close friend, so I’ve come up with two home-made and unique gift ideas that can really be used for any occasion (although they’re especially meaningful for a wedding, where the couple will be sharing a last name for the first time).

The first gift, which I will give to my friend for her bridal shower, are note cards with their last name cut out, made on the Silhouette.  I got the idea when I saw this thank you card, and thought, I can do that too!  I know that one of my favorite wedding gifts, which we are still using, were cards my mother-in-law had made with our names on them, so put the two ideas together, and this is what you get!

Start off by choosing the font you want the name to be in.  If there are any i’s or j’s, you’ll want to go with all caps, or you’ll lose those dots.  You can use cursive or print, just whatever you think suits the person receiving it!  In this case, their last name is very short, so I had to find a font that looked good when I stretched it a little.  Remember, too, that any letters that go below the writing line (like g, p, q, etc) will be cut off if they’re lower case.

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I used Rockwell Extra Bold font for this card

There are 2 ways you can make these cards – I’ve decided to do a mix for my friend.  The name can go along the side, or along the top.  I have designed them so that the name shows even when the card is closed, but you can play with that too – just adjust the measurements laid out below.  Also, I chose to make the cards invitation size, which is 4.25″x5.5″.

For a name along the side of the card: Make the name 3/4″ tall and up to 5.5″ long.  The rectangle (which I will explain in a minute) should be 5.5″ wide x 7″ tall.

For a name at the top of the card: Make the name 1″ tall and up to 4.25″ long.  The rectangle should be 8.5″ wide x 4.5″ tall.

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The example will have the name at the top, so it’s 1″ tall and 4.25″ wide

Next, add a rectangle using the drawing tool in Silhouette Studio, in the size specified above.

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Now, position your rectangle and name so that the name is at the top, on the right side, with the bottom of each letter overlapping the rectangle just a little.  If you’re putting the name on the side, it should be centered on the short side of the rectangle.

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To make them one object, use Shift as you click both the name and the rectangle, right click, and choose Group from the menu that pops up.

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Now comes the magic: click the little scissors icon at the top, and choose Cut Edge from the menu that pops up at the right.  This way, when the card cuts, the name will not be separated from the card.  That’s why you wanted to make the bottoms of the letters overlap before.

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When you close the Cut menu, those thick lines will go away, but your changes are still saved

And that’s it!  Here is a screen shot to show you both layouts – side and top.

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I just rotated the top card so they’ll both fit on a 12″x12″ sheet for cutting

You’ll want to score the cards to fold them; a card with the name on the top should be scored at 4.25″ from the edge, and one with the name at the side should be scored 3.5″ from the edge without the name.  I’d be happy to share my files, but unless your last name is Lutz, this is one you’re going to have to make on your own!

Completed Cards

I went for multiple colors for some variety. A pretty ribbon and some envelopes (I included an extra envelope for mess-ups) and it’s ready to go!

The second gift, which I will bring to the ceremony for them, is a collection of photos made of objects that spell their last name.  For an idea of what I’m talking about, check out this link.  Luckily for me, their last name has only 4 letters – it’s very easy to find frames with 4 openings!  But if you want to make one for an especially lengthy name (for instance, my maiden name has 9 letters – not a common choice at the craft store), you can use a floating frame with wallet-sized photos; another option is to glue down black fabric on the back of your frame and attach the photos to that (much cheaper and easier than custom matting!).

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That’s a whopper of a name! But a little black fabric did the trick to give it a nice look without spending a fortune.

To make your letters, there are a couple of options.  You can use websites like the one linked above to get inspiration for what to search on the internet to get the shape you want, but the results can be tricky – even choosing “large” for image size can produce grainy photos (or ones with watermarks all over them!).  I prefer to combine internet inspiration with just looking around me to find the letters I need, and take my own photos.  Then you can use a basic photo editing program (Picasa is my personal choice) to make them black and white and crop to the desired size for printing.  Voila!  You have a gift that nobody else will give to the happy couple!

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I actually did a little editing in Paint to make the Z look like a Z and not an X, but you can’t really tell

Before I sign off, I’ll share one more dirty little secret about these gifts: they are personal and special, but didn’t cost much!  I bought 8 sheets of cardstock at Joann’s for $0.79 each, the frame was $25, and the photos cost about $1 to print… definitely in my budget after buying plane tickets to Chicago!

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