Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Wedding: The Invitations

For our big day, I decided to take on the task of designing and assembling our invitations. I knew I would enjoy the project, because I had created my high school graduation announcements and had fun with it. But boy, did this turn out to be quite an undertaking! And let me tell you, it was not cheaper than purchasing my own. I think I paid over $600 for 150 invites. But as I've said before, our wedding was my ultimate creative outlet, so I was happy to incur the trouble and cost if it meant having fun and making something entirely unique.

It started with the idea of having a flower be the focal point of the invite. This is where my bridesmaid Mary entered the picture. Mary is a super talented watercolor artist and she can paint a mean flower. So I commissioned her to paint one for me and she happily obliged. We went to Garden Style florist and picked out a big lush garden rose (Mary said she always needs an image to go off, and live flowers are better than photos.) Mary ended up pulling the rose off the stem and letting the petals fall open a bit, and then she set to work to quickly paint it before it wilted too much. Of course she primarily used my wedding colors: peacock blue and coral.

Here's what she delivered to me. Pretty isn't it? (I have since trimmed it down and framed it for wall art.) She also painted a "frame" for me in the same colors that I could use for my reply card and wedding web site insert. So that was phase 1. Now I had to design the invite. I scanned the painting and opened it in Photoshop. At this point I spent several days searching for the perfect combo of fonts. Whew, this was hard! I finally decided on Porcelain for our names (remember this was four years ago before Porcelain became annoyingly popular) and another less scripty one for the rest. I came up with the wording (which was also hard!) and painstakingly formatted it. After the design passed the family/friend inspection, it was on to phase 3: printing.

First up: paper selection. I decided I needed to get the invite image printed professionally, which was a good choice. Printing on an inkjet at home = big headache. I found a company near my home that does all the printing for one of the big hospitals here in Tyler, and they let me puruse through all their paper sample books. I wanted something with as much texture as possible, kind of like watercolor paper. They didn't have anything perfect but I did finally decide on something with a fair amount of visual interest to it. I emailed the printers the files and came back a week or so later to a big stack of cut invites, reply cards, and web site inserts. Up next: embellishment and assembly.

At this point Hobby Lobby became my second home and my home became a small factory. I had to buy lots of scrapbooking supplies, including a pretty gold vellum paper. I trimmed this a little bigger than the printed invites, rounded the corners with a decorative punch, then glued the invite to it so it had a pretty gold frame. Every item in the suite had rounded corners so needless to say my hands were super sore from all the punching.

I found pretty gold invites online, and took them to yet another printer to have my parents' return address printed on the back flap. I also had custom postage stamps made with a discount code from Zazzle. I addressed all of them myself, which was something I battled doing because I don't have the greatest handwriting. (But it's better than my mum's so whatcha gonna do?) At long last they were complete and I sent my little babies out into the world to do their job.

Would I do it all again? For me, the process is just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the finished product, so yes. But I know I could have found some really cute ones somewhere online and spent about the same amount and had great invites. But they wouldn't have been one-of-a-kind, either.

For a less labor intensive but still custom option, you could go the route my sister did for her beautiful invites.

And on another note, if you are one of my brides, I would love it if you'd mail me one of your invitations. They can really give me a feel for the look and tone of your day!

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