Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankfully, Done with Thank-Yous

This past weekend, Mr. Snow Cone and I finally finished our thank-yous and sent them off into the world.  One day short of our three-month anniversary, we were finally done.  Emily Post advises:
Each wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written note within three months of receipt of the gift. It’s best to write the notes as soon as possible after gifts arrive, however. Write a note even if you have thanked the giver in person.
According to Ms. Post, we were made in the shade, by 24 whole hours.  Why, then, did we feel kind of like big ol' failures?  Why, when we were celebrating our recently-completed task, did a more recently married friend squash our happiness by pointing out that she had gotten her thank-yous into the mail sooner than we had, and her wedding had occurred long after ours? 

After thinking on it for a bit, here's the conclusion I've reached: people need to take a chill pill when it comes to thank-you notes.  Allow me to explain.

Our wedding guest list was populated largely by people we know, adore, and are close to.  Do I really buy the fact that these special people need a notecard with a few sentences describing our appreciation for their attendance and gift in order to be convinced that we value this relationship?  Frankly, if that is the case, I'm a little concerned about the strength of our relationship in the first place.  Along the same lines, if we send a thank-you note within 6 weeks of the wedding instead of within 12 weeks of the wedding, do we love and appreciate our guests twice as much?  I'm sorry, I'm just not convinced. 

I understand that thank-yous are a true expectation facing all married guests.  But, I think there's too much pressure to get them out fast and compose manifestos of long, flowery notes to each and every guest.  We love our family and friends, and we hope they love us back just as much, regardless of exactly when they receive their thank-you note and/or whether the note has five or ten sentences.  In my mind, thank-yous are just kind of icing on the cake, a mere formality to explicitly state our appreciation.  I'm not saying they should be eliminated entirely; however, maybe if people relaxed a little bit, there wouldn't be so much pressure and stress associated with this daunting post-wedding task.

Where do you stand on thank-yous - a great opportunity to connect with guests, or another opportunity to stress out while striving to pleasing others?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sponsored Post: Our First Wedding Photo, Courtesy of Easy Canvas Prints!

Shortly after the wedding, I was approached with the opportunity to review a photo canvas from Easy Canvas Prints for my blog.  With a naked apartment and wedding photos hot off the press, I figured this was a chance too good to pass up.

I logged onto the website and quickly navigated my way through the design and order process.  I really liked how the site clearly outlined the various sizes and also included some visual aides to assist in understanding how the wrap and size options would look in person.
  Screenshot of Easy Canvas Prints site

I opted to go with a portrait 8x10.  I was mildly frustrated that after selecting the desired size, there wasn't an opportunity to select landscape versus portrait.  The preexisting 8x10 you can see in the canvas size options above is a landscape; as a result, I had to use the pull-down menus and enter 10x8 as a custom canvas size in order to achieve a portrait orientation.  The ability to easily switch from portrait to landscape should be standard, in my opinion.  Fortunately, it didn't take me too long to figure out the "custom size" approach.

After uploading my photo and confirming that the image I selected was of a "good" quality, all I had to do was play with the sizing and the placement of the photo.  The image I uploaded was this one:
 Photo by Christina Garber

When I uploaded the image onto the website, though, this is how the picture canvas appeared:

Screenshot of Easy Canvas Prints site
Our feet were cut off at the bottom, which I later determined was because I had selected the "image wrap" option for my canvas.  In other words, there needed to be enough of the image on all sides to wrap around the sides of the canvas.  As a result, I couldn't zoom out any further than shown above.  A word to the wise - if going with the image wrap, make sure your photos has a pretty substantial border to accommodate your preference! 

Only a few days later, my canvas arrived, ready for display!

I loved actually having a wedding photo, since this is embarrassingly the first photo we've had developed!  The canvas looks great from a distance, but it's a good bit glossier and grainier up close than I would have expected.

I would say that it's pretty obvious to the naked eye that it's a canvas with the accompanying texture and ridges.  As a result, it seems like the photo lost a little bit of quality.  You can see below that the details on my face aren't very crisp, creating a bit of a blurry look.

I compared the quality of this canvas to other photo canvases we had in the apartment, and this one definitely had the most apparent canvas appearance to it.  

After considering the Easy Canvas Prints process, start to finish, I've reached the following conclusions:
  • Their site is very easy to use and pretty intuitive
  • The color quality is very crisp and vibrant, which makes the canvas pop off the wall
  • Easy Canvas Prints would be a great resource for specific canvas needs - my expectation is that with a larger canvas size and/or a canvas that is meant to be displayed above a mantel (a good distance from where people may be viewing it), the texture issues I described would be lessened if not entirely fixed
Overall, Easy Canvas Prints has a lot of potential and offers a very nice and convenient service.  Perhaps with a more careful consideration of my photo canvas needs and options, I would have been more impressed with the finished result.

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)