Wedding, Advice + Tips, Etiquette

RSVP CARD - Dos and Don'ts

RSVP cards might be the most stressful thing about wedding invitations. Even if you get everything right, you still have to rely on your friends and family to properly fill them out, send them back in a timely manner, or even reply in the first place. As much as we all love our friends and family...let's be honest, there are those amongst every circle who completely suck at this type of thing. RSVP cards have this magical ability to bring out the best and worst social habits in people. Generally people fall into one of the following categories:

A. Timely responders

B. Negligent responders

C. Negligent responders who will ultimately attend

D. Responders who are bad at following directions 

The crazy thing is that RSVP cards didn't used to exist. This is actually a modern addition to the wedding invitation. Back in the day, everyone would have had their own personal stationery (I know right?! Shocking!) and would have sent their reply to a wedding on said stationery. Of course these days this type of RSVP card is long gone. Now we have what is currently known as the traditional wedding RSVP card, which typically includes the following:

- RSVP (Header of some sort: RSVP, Reply, Response Card, etc.)

- DATE BY WHICH THE GUEST IS TO RESPOND (typically 3-4 weeks prior to the wedding)

- M ____________________________________ (this is so you can write in your name formally: Mr., Mrs., Ms. etc.)

- A SELECTION OF ATTENDANCE OPTIONS (accepts with pleasure, declines with regret, number attending, etc.)

- MEAL CHOICES (Only applies if guests get the option to choose their meal prior to the wedding. This does not apply to buffet or plated dinners.)

Seems simply right? Wrong. I can't tell you how many times I see people screw these up. So below I've created a list of dos and don'ts when sending or receiving an RSVP card:


1. DO READ THE RSVP CARD COMPLETELY BEFORE FILLING IT OUT  RSVP cards these days can have a lot of information on them: meal choices, multiple events, even song requests. So read the whole card before you start filling it out. This will save everyone a lot of grief.

2. DO RESPOND BY THE REQUESTED DATE  Respond to whether or not you will attend a wedding in a timely manner, i.e. the date printed on the card. It's just common courtesy. Keep in mind that the bride and groom are tracking of all of these cards, and ultimately need them by the date they requested so they can let the caterer know. Think of it in terms of making sure you get the meal you've selected, you wouldn't want to miss out on the braised short ribs now would you?

3. DON'T FORGET TO WRITE YOUR NAME(S)  This is not hard people! Just write your name down. How do you expect someone to know that it's your meal selection or that you'll be attending their wedding if you don't (A) write your name on the RSVP card or (B) write your return address on the envelope. I literally had a friend send me a photo last night of her first RSVP card that was returned with no names on it. The guest had very legibly filled out their meal choices, yet my friend had no idea who it was from because they forgot to write their name down (to be clear, the wording read: "Please fill in each guest's name and meal selection below" so there was no excuse). I'm convinced people just get so excited about the meal choice that they forget about everything else, including their own name.

4. DON'T FORGET TO WRITE YOUR RETURN ADDRESS ON THE RSVP ENVELOPE  This goes along with writing your name on the card, but it needs to be reiterated. Think of it as the fail safe if you forget to write your name on the RSVP card. You would write your return address on any other type of mail, right? So why wouldn't you do it on an RSVP envelope?

5. DON'T ADD PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT INVITED  I can't even begin to tell you how wrong this is. Emily Post would shit a brick. A wedding is not a house party. Bringing a few friends to tag along is unacceptable unless the bride and groom have specifically addressed your invitation with "and guest" after your name, and even then it's singular not plural. There is a lot of planning involved in a wedding. Each guest has been accommodated for. Significant money has been spent. A seating chart has been made. So don't be an asshole and bring uninvited guests. 

6. DON'T BE OBNOXIOUS If you have a question for the bride or groom, call them. Don't write it on the RSVP card. This is not the appropriate space to write in a lengthy question about the best way to get Aunt Edna to the wedding, or how long it will take you to get to the ceremony (you laugh...but I have seen this, seriously).


1. DO NUMBER YOUR RSVP CARDS  This is a game changer. I tell all of the brides I work with to do this. Lightly pencil small numbers on the back of each RSVP card and correspond those numbers to the names of your guests on a spreadsheet. That way if you get a blank RSVP card, you'll know who it's from. Trust me, someone will do this to you and you'll have no idea who sent the card so just take my advice and nip this in the bud ahead of time. It will save you time and energy three weeks out from your wedding, when you'll already have a million other details to take care of. Tracking down your guests is the last thing you'll want to deal with.

2. DO INCLUDE POSTAGE ON THE RSVP ENVELOPE  Believe it or not, I've seen this happen. When you send out your wedding invitations, you are expected to provide postage for TWO envelopes: the outer envelope the entire invitation suite is going in, and the RSVP envelope. Obviously there are exceptions to this (RSVP postcards, all-in-one invitations, etc.). But for most couples this is what you'll be doing. Don't forget to put postage on the RSVP envelope. These days it's standard to do so. (Pretty crazy considering RSVP cards are a modern invention huh?). 

3. DO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY  Everyone's circle of friends and family is different. Some circles may be made up of super responsible people and others may not. Most are made up of a mix of the two. That being said, you may want to consider the "we have reserved ____ seats in your honor" line for your RSVP card. I always suggest this line to brides worried they have friends and family who'll bring uninvited guests to their wedding. It requires more time from the bride/groom, as you'll have to write in the number allotted for each RSVP card, but it may save you time in the long run. You know your friends and family best, so try to make the RSVP card as simple as possible for yourself.

4. DON'T PROVIDE A SPACE FOR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS  I say this from personal experience, don't do this. It will backfire completely. Here's a couple reasons why: one, to be honest, it isn't going to change the menu you've spent hours deciding on. And two, people will write ridiculous things. If you're really hell bent on including this on your RSVP card, use the phrase "please let us know if you have any allergies." It's all in the wording. That being said, keep in mind, it's still unnecessary. Here's the thing, if you are inviting someone who is deathly allergic to something, or has a severe allergy, chances are they're going to call you beforehand to discuss their options for dinner, or they're going to make sure they take care of it themselves (this is what responsible adults do). There is no need provide space for someone to say they're gluten free or vegan or trying the Paleo diet. Again, if it's fatal or extreme, they're going to let you know. Most people in this situation are prepared for the fact that when attending a wedding their dietary choices may not be reflected in the menu.

5. DON'T SEND A "B LIST" This is super controversial, but I'm going to say it. This applies more to the invitations as a whole, but also the RSVP cards. Don't send wedding invitations to a "B List" group of people. People on the "B List" always find out, one way or another. If you can't accommodate everyone, just don't do it. Making a guest list is probably one of the hardest things you'll do as you plan your wedding and unfortunately it requires some tough decisions. If you're lucky, you have a max capacity at your venue that forces your hand. But, if you have unlimited space but not an unlimited budget things get much more complicated. The best rule of thumb I can offer is this: make a blanket rule that applies to all. For example, no kids. Or only immediate family. Or no co-workers. Obviously you don't want to exclude people, but I can tell you this, people will be much more offended if they find out they were your second choice, rather than not being invited at all.

6. DON'T PUT 'PLEASE' BEFORE 'RSVP'  RSVP is an acronym for the French phrase 'repondez s'il vous plait,' translation: 'please reply', or literally 'reply if you please'. Thus when you put 'please' in front of 'RSVP' you are being redundant. It's like saying "Please please reply" or "please reply if you please."

So what is the solution? How do you send out the perfect no hassle RSVP card? Well, unfortunately there isn't one. Your guest will always be the unpredictable variable. But you do have two options:

1. Take my advice and do the number system I mentioned above on the back of each RSVP card.


2. Write in or have your invitation designer print the names of your guests on each individual RSVP card. Overkill, yes. Added cost, yes. Headache-free, absolutely!

At Foreword Press + Design we offer it to clients (.75/per card) but rarely get orders for it. Most couples don't think about this being an issue until they are physically receiving their RSVP cards back, faced with guests who aren't writing their names down.

Best advice - the simpler the better. Getting married is overwhelming. There is a lot of planning. So try to delegate as much as you can. Take help when it's offered and consider who you're guests are when wording your invitations and RSVP cards. Trust me, taking the time to do so will pay off in the long run.

Happy Responding!



Rock, Paper, Scissors and Parenting

There’s a skill involved in the gameplay of Rock, Paper, Scissors . . . and my wife doesn’t have it. Yet she goes back to the well over and over again when difficult or otherwise arduous tasks arise.  There is a part of me that thinks she either just enjoys cleaning bloated diapers one can smell from across the living room or has thrown the towel in mentally on the game. Either way I have gotten out of more compromising positions raising our child thanks to the intense RPS regimen maintained in my own childhood and teenage years.

The skill or lack there of my much prettier other half has maybe because she was an only child. My skill level may also have to do with the fact I was the second from the bottom of nine. A victory for me in RPS determined glory and dominance for me. Who got the last crab leg, who took out the trash, who was going to go down in the creepy, rat infested basement to get Snapple for everyone. Who got choice of the best player. Who was going to face the firing squad for breaking the window. RPS was and is a survival game for me. And that’s why I don’t lose. 

What I’ve earned over the years, is that the game actually has nothing to do with the task. It has everything to do with the anticipation. If you can block out the downfall and just watch your opponent, you can usually outwit that constant paper thrower and get ‘em with the scissors.

And for the best of players, like somebody I know, just give it up after the first one, because it’s not your day. Best of three, sure. Best of seven, why not I have the time. But when you are talking double digits, it may just be time to retire, because you are embarrassing yourself and you don't got it that day. Or any other day for that matter.

- Frank (RPS Champion, now, always, forever)


The Itis

A few posts back I made recommendation about the soul quenching abilities of a great deli. The meat, the kraut, the horseradish. Thick crusty bread, healthy portions of salads that are not actually salads, nor are they healthy. Oh, and don’t forget that lovely shot of sodium in the thin green slice accompanying every great deli sandwich. 

On an old Chappelle show skit a man is unable to sleep and his wife gives him a bucket of ribs. He devours the greasy pork treat and falls fast asleep leaving behind a BBQ slathered mess as well as all of the worries and concerns keeping him awake. The condition known as the Itis had set in.

Listening to a Bill Burr podcast recently, I was reminded of the Itis. A tribute to Charlie Murphy brought about a story of a hangover. During this hangover Mr. Burr was driving a leg of a tour. He anticipated a dose of shit talking and didn't want to be bothered. So he did what any smart man would do and induced a comatose condition for his running mates.  

He spoke of buckets of heavy, greasy, food divvied up to Charlie and Donnell Rawlings, who were supporting each other as comedic acts on the trip. This put the comedians to sleep and he enjoyed a silent ride to their next gig. 

In essence he basically said he poisoned them, so to speak.

After the Deli experience I slept like a baby, going down around 8:30 pm, after putting my son down.  Being troubled by the stresses of life I found solace in the corned beef and tongue triple decker. In essence I put myself in a much needed coma. So you wake up with a few extra points on the cholesterol and you gotta spend a little extra time getting going the next day. It was all worth it. 

Thanks Itis.


Home Improvement

Ceiling Fans: What Separates Us From Animals

If there is one thing I would recommend a person to do when buying their own home, it is to install ceiling fans in as many rooms as possible. (If you can make it happen in the John, yes, you should go ahead and do that too.) 

Comfort is what we all strive for in a living space. Every animal on the planet wants to be at their most relaxed in their living quarters. And why not, if I’m chilling with a zebra family, not trying to get eaten by lions, I should be comfortable. There should be cool air in my face. If I gotta die getting eaten by a pack of cheetahs, at least I'm feeling a nice breeze. 

Sorry Zebra, them’s the brakes. And there you have it, the ceiling fan is literally all that separates us humans from the common animal. There is no greater comfort in this world than the splash of moving air onto one’s person. Clothed or nude.

In ancient times fanning was reserved for royalty and those with exorbitant dollars. Now, even little old you can get that ceiling fan in your spot and be instantly fanned down with a flip of the switch .

You can go cheap with just a little forty dollar joint on sale at Lowe’s or Home Depot. You can get the foldable blades and look cool when you only want to be in chandelier mode. Or you can get real old school and get the big hanging blades, (the size palace servants would’ve used on the King or Queen) dangling from your ceiling cooling you or your guests while binging on Netflix. 

When moving from our starter to our (hopefully) forever house, (if it doesn't bankrupt us) the first thing I did was hit Homey Depot for ceiling fans and got them installed. Was it December in Northeast Ohio with a foot of snow on the ground? Yes. But I knew this day would come. Oh yes. The day when the brand new A/C we emptied out our pockets for would not be properly installed and it would be 95 degrees and balls sweat in the Cuyahoga River Valley that resembles the weather of Cambodia in the summer. Planning for every possible scenario can sometimes be misconstrued as paranoia. If this is true, paranoia is what I am shooting for in life. But in the mean time, I am going to call my friendly HVAC provider and flip on my ceiling fan.

- Frank


An Ass Kicking: Or How To Get Back Up After A Particularly Brutal One

Some people, when they say they got their ass kicked, mean physically beaten to a pulp. They are bumped and bruised and require an ice bag, some alone time, and a good attorney. And because we have the law in place, this style of ass kicking does not happen quite as often as in times past (or as maybe it should).

Other times the ass kicking can come from life and it’s abundance of experiences. No physicalharm is done, but the wounds can be just as debilitating as any overhand right or boot to the ribs.

The life beatdown is more mentally exhaustive. It's sting, lasting mere minutes, or days/months/years when letting it linger. And just like any scab the more you pick the worse it becomes.

Healing is done in different ways. For some it's aspirin. Others swear by Ibuprofin. For me an mine, healing can be accomplished through a great meal. And our solution for the particular breed of ass-kicking lasting the last few months was to hit a good old fashioned Deli just south of Akron.

Primo's Deli ( has beef tongue, Braunschweiger, and chicken livers on the menu. This isn't a giant grilled cheese stuffed with random bullshit kind of place. No, this is the real deal. Sauerkraut, horseradish, house-made spicy mustard and ranch. I mean c'mon. When they bring out the house-made ranch with the basket of ruffle chips, you know you’re in the right spot.

The staff was great and the food even better. For about an hour and half we took in the place leaving behind the all the shit show. The stress of work, pregnancy, child rearing, and renovating a house had weighed heavy and we needed an out. That out entailed house-made ranch. And a lot of it.

Voted as best a best sandwich winner many years running, this place did not disappoint. And even though they were known for their Italian sub, we were in a "where's the beef" kind of mood. And it was everything and more we both wanted it and need it to be.

The late lunch served the right amount of relief for the what seems to be a perpetual beating. The feast set us on our way to wobbly jump over the next life hurdle and better prepare us for any possible ass kickings we might face along the way.

Sometimes all it takes is a good deli to set you straight.

- Frank



Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Conditioner: A Modern Love Story

The transition period from single to not is . . . well let’s just call it different for everyone. A haze of reformation or a knock down drag out fight for the control of one’s space. For those who’ve been properly house trained, this process is easier. For those of us with the occasional “hiccup” in our household refinement the process can be more of a chore. Toilet seats, the dishes, and let’s not forget the God damn cabinet doors.

I had lived with roommates in the past. I could tell you from day one how long I was going to be staying in particular roommates good graces and which ones I would not. Now, don’t get me wrong, all roommates will eventually squabble. Perfect Strangers, Full House, even the friends on Friends, they all got into it at some point. It’s human nature for people who live on top of each other to bicker. But there’s a reason they didn't make shows about a dude who doesn’t do the dishes when forcibly told by a roommate who then reprimands him in front of the other roommate. Who wants to live with that? I’ll just say I was in that place a month before dipping for greener less overtly parental pastures. 

Lindsay never got down on me, thank God. Our intersection, which was more flawless during the honeymoon period, before we started having to share socks, had it’s growing pains. I can still remember one of the first nights in our apartment after she was bamboozled by a friend in a high stakes game of Monopoly. I was furious with her for not heeding my counsel. After that deceptive con-man won the game taking advantage of her innocence and her lack of attentiveness toward my advice I went to sleep good and pissed off. In the morning I woke up with her next to me. I was still steaming over the purples for the yellows deal. I looked over at her and knew I had to get my shit together. There was no room for childish fighting and grudges. This was the big time and I didn't want to blow it. 

Over the next month or so I would be casually asked to do certain things that could cause hindrance to the household. Those cabinet doors and excessive conditioner use (she once flipped out on me for using too much fairness it was really expensive girly conditioner) were some of the habits in question. And over time those little rough spots smoothed out. Hey, for me, it’s all in the approach.

The convergence of points does not come without the occasional hiccup. I don’t care if Cesar Milan trained your ass, occasionally you are going to leave a spot on the rug. It’s what we do. But, when you really want to make it work, and the person is worth sticking around for, remembering to close cabinet doors or picking your clothes up off the bathroom floor is a small price to pay.

- Frank (trained cabinet door closer and excessive conditioner user) 

New Designs, Wedding

Foreword Press Wedding: A Convergence of Two Points

One of my favorite things about designing wedding invitations is that I get to meet a lot of my clients in person. Most of our orders for every other occasion derive from online business (which is great!), but wedding is different. Brides tend to want to see invitations in person, rightfully so, wedding invitations add up quickly and they are the first part of a wedding that guests see. Paper stock, color options, and the overall feel of the invitation matter.

For me, the most important thing is that I create a design that is a true reflection of the couple. Many times I have brides either come alone, with their maid of honor, or their mom. Which is wonderful, except for when they start to control the look of the design, rather than the bride. Wedding invitations should be representative of the BRIDE and GROOM, no one else. I understand that parents may be contributing monetarily, which is a tough position to be in with regards to decision making. But remember that this is your big day as a couple (note I did not say individual here). I'm NOT a proponent of the Bridzilla that roams the earth dictating commands about THEIR big day.

On rare occasion, I get to meet the groom too. These are my favorite appointments. I get to know the couple as a whole, not just one half. I ask them about how they met, their engagement story, what they are planning for their big day and anything else that I think may help me create the perfect design for them. Although we do have some pre-designed wedding invitations for clients to choose from here at Foreword Press + Design, most of our work is entirely custom, especially when it comes to wedding invitations.

As a designer, I love to see Pinterest pages, hear about color preferences, styles, fonts, and themes. All of which are puzzle pieces that help me put together the perfect invitation for my clients.

This year, Frank and I gave a lot of thought about a new series of wedding invitations we were working on. Everything we were seeing in the wedding stationery market was floral. We felt as though we wanted to explore a shift from that by using geometrics as opposed to something organic (like florals). Obviously this is a rather modern take on wedding invitations and speaks to a very specific type of clientele. But after brainstorming ideas about some new wedding designs, we kept coming back to this notion of a "convergence of two points."

Getting married is a huge decision, and it has many challenges that come along with it. Whether you and your significant other live together before you get married, have your own places, or live with your parents, marriage is life changing. Aside from having kids, it's the best/hardest thing you'll ever do. And that decision for most isn't taken lightly. 

Frank and I had an unusual set of circumstances in that we went from dating long distance (Boston - me, and Clevleand - him) for almost a year to moving in together in Cleveland. I'm sure most people thought we were crazy seeing as we had never even dated in the same city. And truth be told it was really hard at first. Neither of us had ever lived with someone they were dating before. He drove me absolutely nuts leaving cabinet doors open all over the house. hard is it to close a cabinet door? I would go into the kitchen and they would all be open. I look back and think how stupid and petty I was being. Come to think of it, Frank no longer does this. So somewhere along the line he stopped, but the point is that it wasn't important anymore because we were sharing a life together, which was something so much bigger that some cabinet doors. We were a convergence of two points coming together to share a future.

As every couple knows, there are many ups and downs along the way, whatever path you take together. But the important thing is that something has brought you together and you've decided to stay together for the long haul. Through thick and thin. And let me tell you there are going to be thin times...but it won't matter as long as the thick continue to out weight them. I wake up everyday grateful to be married to Frank. He still flirts with me and gives me butterflies. We'll be celebrating four years of marriage this August, eight together total. And in all that time we have been through loss and success, financial ups and downs, business start-ups, buying a house, selling a house, buying another house, massive renovations, having a baby, preparing for another one, and some how we still manage to get through everything without killing each other. We try to find gratitude for one another each day, even when it's really tough. I chose him and he chose me. That's the commitment we made to one another willingly. I choose him everyday. 

So what does a convergence of two points look like? It's Frank and I. You and your significant other. Your bae. (I'm not sure I can pull off that term, but it's my shout out to those who can actually use it with a straight face.) 

Frank and I created four new wedding designs, one for each season: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Each one with a focal point on a convergence of two points. You'll notice each design includes a pair of shapes that overlap, creating a new color, as each couple's lives overlap and create a new space together:

 Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Fall

Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Fall

 Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Winter

Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Winter

 Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Spring

Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Spring

 Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Summer

Foreword Press + Design: A Convergence of Two Points Wedding Collection | Summer

Ideally, we imagined these designs in letterpress, but have since printed them digitally to find that the designs translate well in either printing style. Frank and I had a blast exploring this idea and hope you enjoy these designs as much as we do.

Until next time,  

- Lindsay


The Tupta Family Pig Roast: An Inebriated History

Pig Roast 1 (2010): Fade to Black

Pig’s Name: Terrence

BBQ Sauce: Mustard

Beer: Lake Erie Monster

The chemical holdings of a 50 gallon drum are best kept a secret when transforming the steel container into a grill/smoker. I will advocate using something that was either water based or that can be burned off (entirely). Either way Old Bessie was a great way to cook an entire pig.

At the ripe age of 24 my mindset was still collegiate at best. Highest percentage of alcohol in the beer at the lowest cost (go big or go home right?). At this stage in life you can make a party out of pretty much any space. Parking space in the back of a split duplex, no problem. I mean I just MacGyvered a 50 gallon antifreeze drum to cook a pig in (whoops, secrets out), at this point who’s gonna complain about a fifteen by ten foot space surrounded in poison oak?

For some the pig roast can be too much. Wood cooked whole animal, morning drinking turned to day drinking, turned into night drinking. Pacing is everything. An old friend who was a cross country All-American found this out the hard way when he assed out on the floor of our front porch. Seeing him in the morning, cuddled up on the lead paint, I could tell we had accomplished what we had set out to do, which was have a great party. 

This would be a pattern continuing for years to come. 

Pig Roast 2 (2011): Back in Black

Pig’s Name: Larry

BBQ Sauce: Memphis

Beer: Bud Light / Bud Light Lime

Yeah, she’s rusty, but she’s still good. Old Bessie had a few rainy days due in part to the move over the last year, but she’s still solid. Larry enters the homemade oven as dawn breaks and the  drinks begin to flow. Now, just because the beer is light, it mean it doesn’t have an effect. I sometimes think light beer gets people in trouble, because they think they can get away with having more, all the while the liver screams out in pain.

Life is moving along and we are progressing into adulthood. But college still in my system and a few of those old friends show up. Much like old times, messes are created and somebody’s gotta pass out. 

When Larry’s pulled off the grill, crispy smoked skin and all, hordes of drunken people attack him. It’s a full on horror show and people are carrying around entire legs, sections of ribs and the face is being pulled apart. The brain tastes like nacho cheese. The eyeballs are being offered up and someone even ate the snout. I will not name names. You know who you are.

At the end of the night one of those old college friends is asleep in the ditch in the front yard. I walk in on baby making in Lindsay’s office, stumble back down the hall, and I drift comfortably off to sleep, covered in pork juice and dirt. Sophisticated folk may call this kind of debauchery a disaster. But for me it’s just another great party, enabling people to blow off the steam of life. Oh, did I mention this was a rental property?

Note to casual observers about the morning after said party, never mix Bud light, pork, and chain restaurant pancakes. You can do the math from there. 

Pig Roast 3 (2012): Pitching a Tent

Pig’s Name: Aloysius (Al) 

BBQ Sauce: Texas

Beer: Mixed Cases 

This was the year of the infamous tent. God, I hated that thing. My parents would use it to set up for flea markets when I was a kid. And guess who had to help them piece the thing together? When you garbage pick a tent, you can assume it’s not going to work out the way you anticipate. I cannot get back those hours and hours and hours of trying to fit bent poles into missing corner pieces that had to be jimmy-rigged with weights because a stiff breeze would topple the entire thing. 

Lindsay didn't want to listen to me, so I left the set up to her and her friends. She would soon learn the horrors that were the tent from hell. 

This is the the first year we had cross country guests. Introducing the Pig Roast to our Californian friends was a pleasure. I wasn't sure how they’d take the hill-billy-esque behavior, but they were down for every last activity. The pong contest, won by local friends over myself and a college roommate, is still in question and is a sore subject to this day. 

Either way Aloysius or Al, as I liked to call him, was cooked underground using the discovered foundation of an old summer kitchen I dug up in the backyard of the barn style house we were renting. 

I guess when a guest doesn’t have a knife, (which when the pig roast is involved is a safety concern) watermelon incidents happen. Why not smash it open if you can’t cut it. Did I mention this is a rental property?  

When waking up the next day and seeing people strewn across the lawn in tents they didn’t have the patience to set up, I could only imagine what the neighbors were saying. 

After a four year hiatus, (which included purchasing a home) change had worked its way into our lives. But not enough not to have a good time with great friends and family...

Pig Roast 4 (2017): The Awakening

Pig’s Name: Captain Andrew Gustofson

BBQ Sauce: Mustard

Beer: Coors Original, Yeungling Lager

After purchasing our new house in late 2016 and having a tree hit our car, I made it my personal mission to remove as many of the impending possible house crushing beasts as possible. Our house is surrounded by a national park - thus all the trees. As a part of the deal to sell these behemoths and protect the house, I was left to clean up the “tops.” Doing the deal, you say sure, no problem thinking you’re gonna be getting rid of some branches and some brush. Wrong!

Yeah, that’s not how it worked out. The “tops” were as big as some of the other trees on property and so I had three weeks of clean up in front of me. Yes, that sucked. But, I was able to salvage some wood and make a sweet above ground smoker out of it that resembled a Lincoln Log fort.  It was there Captain Gustofson was smoked all day slathered in a mustard/vinegar based sauce. 

The hiatus created a lull in the raucous behaviors. This combined with children brought a calmness, all be it still somewhat inebriated, to the party (okay we owned this house, so that may’ve played a role too). It was less destructive and the only people to pass out before dark were children. After a long break, it felt good to return to our roots. Though exhausting chasing around a toddler, the smile on his face when he played with friends and cousins and saw the pig made it all worth it. We had grown up (some) and were glad once again to host and bring together the people we love.

Oh and always go Banquet Beer when given the chance to put on a big party. Yeah it’s not craft, but it’s made for banquets, I mean how can you lose?

- Frank (the pig slayer)

New Designs, Party

The Tupta Family Pig Roast: A Design History

Oh, the Tupta Family Pig Roast...where to begin? Frank and I started our annual Memorial Day Pig Roast before we were even married in our first apartment together in Lakewood, Ohio. Keep in mind this apartment was tiny and by no means spacious enough for an actual gathering of people, let alone a full blown party. We didn't even have a backyard...just a concrete space wide enough for two cars to park snugly against one another. Yet, we still thought it would be a great idea to host a pig roast. Thus began the first annual Memorial Day Weekend Tupta Pig Roast!

I have to admit our first pig roast was pretty epic. At the time Frank and I were still in our twenties, unmarried, without kids. Let's be honest, we didn't have many responsibilities in the way of actual full-time adulting. It was basically a college party and it was a blast, most of which could be contributed to the fact that we thought it would be a great idea to get Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s Lake Erie Monster Imperial IPA on tap for the keg (which has an ABV of 9.1%). Needless to say, serious shenanigans ensued. I think I was drunk after just one. And I still don't know how we managed to carve up a full pig in that tiny kitchen. 

This was the early days so Foreword Press + Design didn't even exist yet. At this point I was still working in a local stationery shop as a bridal consultant, illustrating children's books on the side. I'm pretty sure we just texted and emailed people about the party that first year. (The Emily Post in me cringes at the thought of this now.)

By the next Pig Roast, we were living in a rental house in Peninsula, Ohio in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This house was also tiny, but we loved it. It was an old yellow barn that the owners had converted into a full house. Although it was small, it was actually perfect for the pig roast as it had a large backyard. So once again it was time to dine on some swine.

This was our first pig roast invitation:

pig roast invite 2.jpg

I still love the bacon-patterned liners from these invitations. 

We were so excited to be in our new house and have outdoor space that consisted of grass to host a party. We were still using this archaic barrel that Frank had converted into a smoker for the pig. He had yet to start building contraptions or digging holes to roast the pig in yet. That would come later...

The next morning, I awoke to a kitchen splattered with watermelon that had been smashed all over the floor (apparently a knife was not readily available at the time of consumption), not to mention all of the mess left from the night before. It was disgusting...and great. We all had so much fun that night.

Our third pig roast was the most memorable, probably because it was the last party before everything changed:

This pig roast was all about the tent. Let me preface by saying Frank was against the tent from the start. He wanted nothing to do with his parent's ridiculous tent that he had grown up putting together over the years but I had convinced him we desperately needed it in order to provide shade during the pig roast. He refused to help set it up, which at the time I thought he was being an ass about. But after dealing with that tent...I understood. It took six of us just to figure out how to set it up (not counting Frank who smugly sat by watching our epic failure, beer in hand). But we finally did it. And you know what? Not a single person sat under it for shade. Go figure.

The rest of that party was a bit of a blur consisting of a seriously competitive beer pong tournament (which I made custom t-shirts as prizes for the winning team), a lot of cornhole (it's a Midwestern thing...look it up), too much drinking, and a ton of pig. Frank may or may not have eaten a pig eyeball that day....The party lasted late into the night as the previous two had. Another great pig roast!

Then we went on a pig roast hiatus for 4 years. We bought our first house, got married, had our son, and life just sort of got in the way of throwing another pig roast. We kept saying we were going to do it, but never did. Our first house even had an outdoor brick oven, but yet we never made it happen.

Until Memorial Day 2017, when we finally brought the pig roast back:

 Foreword Press + Design Pig Roast Invitation

Foreword Press + Design Pig Roast Invitation

In my mind, this one would be like all the others. A return to piggy glory. And it was in many ways. (Frank even managed to build a life-size Lincoln Log structure to hold up the pig as it roasted over an open flame). But it was also different because we were different. We are in full on adult mode these days. We have a mortgage, a dog, a toddler, and a baby on the way. Not to mention a business to run. This pig roast was much more family friendly. More babies and kids running around. At previous pig roasts, I wouldn't have worried what the kids were going to eat or if we needed to provide anything other than beer to drink. Because there were no kids yet. But it was great to see all these people who had been to our other pig roasts over the years be coupled off, or married, or have kids now. Everything had come full circle.

We officially knew we were adults when everyone was either gone or in bed by 10:30, something our previous pig roasts had never seen before.

So here's to traditions, family, and friends! The pig roast reminds me of why we started Foreword Press + Design in the first place: to bring people together to celebrate life's brightest moments with the people they love. Because isn't that what it's all about?

Until next year's pig roast....



Essentials For Baby No. 2 - A Dad's Perspective

Yes, if you haven’t found out by now, we are expecting baby numero dos (holy sh*t). There is an excitement in the air, true. But for me, that excitement brings about 'Nam like flashbacks of late night bivouacs surrounded by explosions, hormonal outbursts, and the wailing. Oh, the wailing. It was a repetitive scream unlike I’ve ever experienced before. 

Now, it might be because it was my kid doing the screaming and I had to actually get up and deal with it, but wow. Sometimes those howls were blood curdling. But we survived it, and we are signing up for a second tour. So here we go...

As my lovely wife has mentioned there are items necessary for your first child you will need for the second. And no, butt wipe warmers are not one of them.

From Dad’s perspective, the essentials are:

- HAND SANITIZER ON DEMAND (For the late night burst you just can't see) I’d recommend the non-alcoholic brands. Not because I’m in AA or anything like that, but who knows how much truth there is to that whole super bug, resistant to antibiotics thing. And the last thing you need to do is develop your own strain. (*Side note: don't be that guy that sanitizes everything, just use when necessary. You want your kid to actually build an immunity system. And yes, dirt is good.)

- SLEEP SACKS As awesome as these things are they are such a pain in the ass to get on when your kid is wiggling like he just ate a sleeve of Oreos. Worthwhile, but you might want to look into more than one (let's go with 3 to be safe) due in part to … well accidents and blowouts. 

- WIPES WITH TEXTURE Don't get me wrong, flat, smooth wipes are better than leaves or tree bark, but to get up into those hard to reach regions you gotta pack a little more heat. The non-textured wipes would merely shellac the heavy stuff in most of the time. We swear by The Honest Co. ones. Those wipes pick up everything ... and I do mean everything!

- BABY MONITOR You probably already have one of these from the first time around, but if not, get one. It’s a bit invasive, and feels like cheating, but screw it. Embrace the technology and rest easy. Yeah machines are taking our jobs and we will one day be subservient to robots, but I'm throwing caution to the wind here. I’m not advocating for the full blown heart monitor cuff, but you can just grab the monitor and look in from the confines of your bed at 3:15 on a freezing January morning. 

Best advice, embrace the suck. The kid’s gonna be tough at times and you won’t even get a hug you for a while … get over it. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting barf on and just love them with all you got. Manage those explosions, and keep things moving and the world will turn. I promise.

- Frank (Baby Daddy)

Baby, New Designs

What the Heck is a Baby Sprinkle? The Essentials For Baby No. 2

Frank and I are expecting our second child this October (yay!). We couldn't be more excited! But it has me wondering whether or not it's appropriate to have a second baby shower? Obviously, we want to celebrate the upcoming birth of our second child, but seeing as our son, Jackson, is almost two we already have most of the stuff we would need. This leads to the big question . . . if do I have a second baby shower, should I register for anything?

We decided to wait to find out the gender with our son and plan to do so with our second baby (best surprise ever, by the way). Which basically means getting gender specific items isn't really necessary, seeing as we have enough giraffe decorated clothes and toys from the first time around.

So . . . after reading up on what other people typically do in this situation (yes, I actually researched this), we decided to go for it. We wanted to celebrate this baby just as much as we did with our son. That being said, I found myself gravitating towards the less ostentatious and more useful. Here's a list of NECESSARY items for our family I included since we had most of the essentials already:

- NURSERY DECOR. New baby, new room, same crib. We wanted to do a different theme for this baby's room so this took up a majority of our registry. 

- DIAPERS. Because you can never have enough! We do a combination of cloth (at home) and disposable (out and about) diapers, so I registered for extras of both. We are big fans of BumGenius and The Honest Co.

- SLEEP SACKS. We seemed to burn through these with our son. This kid may be totally different, but we are looking at it as a preventative measure...just in case.

- BATHTIME ESSENTIALS. Shampoo, bubble bath, conditioner etc. Basics that we can always stock up on. We've been really happy with The Honest Co., Burt's Bees Baby, and Babyganics.

- GIFT CARDS. Specifically, to the places I know I'll use them now that I have more experience as a parent. Gift cards are great for taking care of daily stuff that you just don't think about. We order a lot of things from Amazon, The Honest Co., and The Land of Nod so it made the most sense for us to include gift cards in various increments to these places on our registry.

- ANYTHING ELSE WE WISHED WE HAD HAD THE FIRST TIME AROUND. There weren't many things I registered for that turned out to be totally pointless...well except for maybe the wipe warmer. Thankfully I bought that one myself and returned it promptly after I realized that my son didn't care if the wipes were warm or not, he was pissed regardless because I was changing him in the middle of the night. I think it's easy to get talked into things you "need" during your first pregnancy. Not to say that wipe warmers don't work for some just didn't work for us. That being said, for our second registry, we added a few things we knew we could use that we didn't have the first time around. Hindsight being twenty-twenty and all that.

So now that we had figured out our registry, I naturally began to obsess over invitation ideas. Prior to being pregnant a second time, I'd only heard of a baby sprinkle in passing and to be totally honest I wasn't sure what it meant. Of course, now I get it. The first pregnancy you are literally showered with gifts. We received gifts from people we didn't even know, which was incredibly generous, but totally surprising. Apparently, when you have a baby, people want to celebrate it . . . even if they don't know you. Not to mention all the lovely items friends and family sent. Frank and I were incredibly thankful. But now, the second time around, "showers" have reduced into "sprinkles" as the haze and confusion of child rearing clears a bit and many couples don't need quite the accommodations necessary with baby number one.

First I started with the phrase. Baby Sprinkle. Every design I looked at incorporated one of the following: confetti, sprinkles, or rain. Then there was my personal favorite, raining sprinkles. Way too literal. So I started brainstorming about sprinkles and how that word can be interpreted. My first baby shower was an ice cream social theme (see our ICE CREAM SOCIAL BABY SHOWER SUITE) mainly because I wanted an excuse to have a full ice cream bar (sprinkles included). Which gave me an idea...why not go with another food theme for the second shower? (Are you sensing a trend here?) One of the things Frank and I love most in life are donuts (they were even the favors at our wedding). If we are being specific, Jack Frost Donuts from Cleveland, Ohio. Seriously...the BEST donuts ever! But back to the invitation theme...sprinkles + donuts. A natural combination. And perfect for my baby sprinkle invitation design idea.

So...without further ado, one of our newest designs here at Foreword Press + Design:


Baby Sprinkle Shower-Invite & Liner.jpg
 Sprinkle Baby Shower Invitation Suite includes: Invitation + Lined Envelope, Favor Tag, and Thank You Note + Lined Envelope

Sprinkle Baby Shower Invitation Suite includes: Invitation + Lined Envelope, Favor Tag, and Thank You Note + Lined Envelope

Bridal Show

Boutique Bridal Bazaar - Cleveland Ohio

Foreword Press + Design is thrilled to be participating in this year's Boutique Bridal Bazaar, thrown by the ladies at Something White, which will be held on Sunday, January 29th, 2017 from 1-5pm at the Cleveland Public Library in Brett Hall. Stop by our both for a complimentary letterpress print! For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. We hope to see you there!