Friday, October 19, 2012

You're Invited

We've enjoyed well over a month of wedded bliss with still no wedding photos in our possession. Until I can paint a picture of that special day with our professional photos, why don't we focus on some of the fun little details that played a role in the event? As for our photos, trust me, the anticipation is killing me too!

Let's start by talking about invitations.

We wanted our invites to set the tone for what our wedding day would be like. For us that meant elegant but still informal, natural but still beautiful, and an icon to represent the atmosphere of our nuptials under a big oak tree. I fell in love with our venue the second I spotted the oak tree on the ceremony lawn, so it was only fitting to carry the theme throughout our invitations.

After having a great experience with them for our save the dates, we found the perfect oak tree invites through at a very reasonable rate. With Minted, you select a design from hundreds of unique invites and then customize the wording, colors, fonts, etc. to your liking. You receive a proof before anything is printed and once approved, the final invitation components are shipped to you un-assembled. While you do need to assemble the invitations yourself, I found Minted to be affordable, extremely user-friendly and quick to deliver.

Our invitations, inserts and envelopes arrived neatly packaged and ready to be stuffed. While Minted does provide the option for return address printing, it was an additional cost and I had a better idea. I found a beautiful custom address stamp from Antiquaria and purchased green ink pads from Paper Source to provide a unique DIY touch to every invite.

A return address stamp can be used long after the wedding is over as long as you remain at the same address. I ordered the "Calligraphy Accent" style, demonstrated below. Each custom calligraphy stamp is hand lettered just for you.

Before stamping away on my limited supply of envelopes, I did a few test runs on scrap paper to find just the right method to provide even ink distribution that wouldn't smudge. I used quick drying ink to cut down on accidental smears. While the process was labor intensive and I definitely ruined a few envelopes before I was finished, I was very pleased with the end result. I didn't have to pay a calligrapher to achieve the little elegant touch I wanted and I can continue using the stamp for thank you notes.

Calligraphy is fun, but it just wasn't our style to have every invitation hand lettered by a professional. It also wasn't our style to use the standard formal invitation wording that's been used for weddings for hundreds of years. We personalized things by adding lines like "Dinner, dancing and ample wine to follow," and customizing our response cards using a narration involving something very dear to me - wedding cake!

Since our budget didn't allow any room for additional guests, I decided to include the number of guests from each household that were invited to the wedding in the response card. While not customary, I didn't want there to be any confusion about who we were asking to attend. Guests responded by listing the names of those attending and checking "There's a slice of cake with my name on it" or "No cake for me, I am unable to attend." I hand number each response card to correspond with the number of guests invited from that party and I kept track by numbering the back of my response cards to match the numbered invitation list I had saved on my computer.

TIP ALERT - I highly recommend numbering your response cards. I was lucky to see this tip online before I did my invitations because before then I hadn't anticipated receiving blank responses in the mail with no return address. When guests decline, they typically do not write their name on the response card and if they simply place it in the return envelope and stick it in the mail (without including their own address) then you have no way of knowing who is declining. My trusty numbering system came in handy quite a few times.

For the finishing touch, we ordered custom stamps from Once your face is on a stamp, you've pretty much made it in life, am I right?