Designing The Wedding – Part 6

It’s hard to believe it’s already been over six whole months since our wedding, and I haven’t finished this series yet 😅… The holidays have been a bit busier than I expected with my Etsy shop despite relatively little input effort. The post today will be relatively brief, quickly covering everything on our tables sans the centerpieces themselves: the party favors, table numbers, escort cards, and our cake topper, and a bonus faux neon sign.

We definitely took advantage of the fact that Tiff’s dad owns both fiber and CO2 lasers. The fiber laser even has a rotary tool–perfect for our party favors: engraved boba straws. Creating the wedding logo in vector format made scaling down  trivial. After engraving, the straws were polished, then stuffed into muslin bags (which were surprisingly difficult to source). 

Engraving on metal like this requires a fiber laser and rotary tool for best results

I’m a bit biased, but I REALLY like the design I created for our table numbers. The signs are very ABC (American Born Chinese), using a “weddingfied” double happiness symbol for the base. After the signs were laser cut, Tiff spray painted them to match our wedding colors a bit more closely. While we only ended up having nine tables at our wedding, I created designs for the numbers up to twenty for Tiff’s dad to productize on his Etsy store. There’s multiple ways these could be personalized, from engraving initials, names, dates, or images into the stems, to changing the shape of the standing number, to changing fonts, numerals, etc. Frankly, I think this is the single most marketable item I created for our wedding. 

These simply scream Asian-American wedding to me

Our cake topper was also made using a laser cutter–nothing super fancy, just our names along with some laurels. It turned out well: 

The topper design went well with the cake’s color scheme

My incredibly generous groomsmen gifted me an Ortur diode laser as an early wedding gift, which proved to be instrumental for creating the escort cards which listed everybody’s names and clearly illustrated their food choice. I really wanted the escorts to be unique and playful–I had a lot of fun designing them. 

I created a Word template in which I loaded everybody’s names and table assignment information. Next, I used my regular laser printer to print the filled templates out on card stock. Finally, I created an alignment fixture on the diode laser table to cut out the cards six at a time with each guest’s food symbol. Getting the fixture right took a bit of trial and error, but mass production was relatively quick once my system was implemented. A big learning for me was how sensitive the laser power was to the slightly different shades of pink–the lighter colors required more power than the darker ones. In hindsight, it’s obvious since the diode uses visible wavelengths and lighter colors reflect more of the energy. 

Unfortunately the cow card isn’t pictured (my personal favorite design)

I think these escort cards are the second most marketable item I created, although I also learned the meaning of the symbols initially eluded some of my guests:

Guest A: “Hmm… what do these symbols on these cards mean?”

Guest B: “Oh! I think I know–it must be the Chinese zodiac–year of the cow and year of the chicken!! Maybe those are when they were born?”

Guest A: “What’s the year of the carrot!??”

A fairly common wedding fad which has popped up recently is having a faux neon sign created. I learned how much people were paying for having them made, and I laughed. I wanted ours to use individually addressable RGB LEDs, so we wouldn’t be bound to a single color (also so I could hang it up in my workshop after the wedding), so I rolled my own in a few basic steps:

  1. I wrote “Apiphany” in cursive as a drawing on my iPad
  2. I translated this drawing into a vector file
  3. I prototyped my design in cardboard to ensure the bends were not too harsh on the LED strip
  4. I installed the light strip into an acrylic version and attached a controller
Please excuse my prototyping mess…

At the wedding, our brilliant wedding planning team brought along clear fishing line to invisibly hang the sign up:

I believe my next post will be the last one in this series–the only component I have left to talk about is the centerpieces. Hopefully I’ll get to that in a matter of weeks, rather than the months this one took ;). Thanks for sticking with me through these ramblings! 

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