pretty paper: my wedding invitations

I have been sitting on this post for awhile now, I have to admit. As my wedding slips further and further away (hard to believe it was already two months ago!) I've been wondering if I missed my window for posting wedding-related things. I have so very many to post. Do you guys still care to see them?! I'm not really sure. Chelsea insists that it's not too late, so here we go. My wedding invitations!

Actually, I originally asked my dear friend Chelsea to design the invitations for me! Despite being a designer myself, I figured my perfectionist tendencies would keep me from ever getting them done and sent. I did what everyone was telling me to do with wedding planning: delegate, delegate, delegate. But time went on, my dream of opening up a design shop to do just that--design wedding sets--began to take shape and I realized that how could I dream about people hiring me to design their wedding invitations when I was too scared to design my own?! So after several instances of sitting down at my computer and staring at blank Illustrator artboards, the invites began to take shape. (Side note: Chelsea DID create the adorable mason jar and the Indiana outline on the directions!)

We had a rustic theme for the wedding, without being too country. I wanted the invitations to be fun, playful, and totally NOT the traditional invites my parents had. Our colors were bright and summer-y and I incorporated lots of fun details into the invites, like that wraparound band to hold all the pieces together, and the paper doily envelopes which I made myself. I had seen several examples of doily envelopes on Etsy, but they were so expensive. And, I should probably mention, we invited over 700 people. We sent almost 400 invitations out. Things that seem not-too-expensive at first glance become astronomically expensive when you start adding up how much 400 of them would cost. So I decided to make the doily envelopes myself. I bought the 12" paper doilies in bulk online, experimented with several different types of glue to hold them together, and when I finally figured out a flow, assembled them all. Painstakingly. It took months. Several times I asked myself "why am I spending so much time on something people are going to throw away?" But, so it goes with wedding planning. You get kind of crazy. My crazy was in the form of paper doily envelopes.

The invite set included the invitation itself, an RSVP card (we did a postcard, so the reverse side that you can't see was pre-addressed to my parents and stamped), a double-sided map/directions card and a thin band to hold it all together that listed our wedding website. I had the invites printed at a local printer here in Indianapolis. After a few rounds of meetings, we found a beautiful paper stock that was just what I wanted. It was matte, heavyweight, beautiful paper that felt so lovely in your hands. I just love a good paper!

We used a custom address stamp for the return addresses. As for addressing them? I read everywhere that labels are a no-no, but I did NOT want to hand-address 400 envelopes. And, remember those perfectionist tendencies I mentioned? I knew I couldn't divvy up the work and let other people address them, because I'd probably freak out about the handwriting. Which is hilarious to me now, because on this side of the wedding, I should have not cared whatsoever about the addressing. Anyway. Again, to Etsy I went, and found some people who did beautiful, fun calligraphy for wedding invites. And again, when I added it all up for 400 invites? COMPLETELY out of our budget. So I faked it. I created a fun template in Illustrator that it made the addresses look sort-of hand-lettered, and then I printed each one. On our home printer. One by one by one. Again, WHAT was I thinking? I'm not sure. They did turn out super cute, though. I''m still not sure I can say I'm happy  I did this step though. My advice to planning brides? To hell with The Knot and just do labels. Your sanity and time is worth it!

I originally wanted to do vintage stamps, but despite what everyone on Pinterest tells you, they are HARD to find. I ended up just buying a million stamps from the post office lobby kiosk that had the plain black heart. Bonus? The little pink strip almost matched our coral color, the "forever" printed on them was too perfect AND a couple hundred printed without the black heart, so I bought heart stickers in one of our wedding colors and stuck it in the empty square. Ingenuity, people!


And there you have it! The enormous labor of love behind our wedding invitations. I am sure if I added up all the hours that went into creating and sending these babies, I'd kick myself. But people loved them, I absolutely adore them, and I know I will treasure them forever. And bonus! They are now available in my Etsy shop. Completely customizable!

XO, Val