I couldn't be happier with the way our winter wedding invitations turned out. I think mailing out your invitations is the ultimate realization that “OMG I'm getting married … soon!”
We were aiming to send them out at the three-month mark. But, the major project they became got started one week late because the small letterpress company I hired to design them ended up running behind schedule and then one ink color on our invites was incorrect. However, I was OK with the delay in the end because they threw in free soap and coasters, and a discount! The invites took two weeks of sweat and craft time and I was glad to send them in the mail! I put some major elbow grease into this project to save some money and add personal details and it has been the biggest, most time-consuming wedding project so far.
First, I started with this four-piece custom suite from Paleo Press. They made us the formal invitation, an RSVP postcard (saves on postage), an enclosure card with the details about our kids party and a monogram card. (And I was so glad to read this hint online: On our RSVP post cards, we numbered each one in pencil lightly in a bottom corner so we would know who mailed them back and who didn't. In general, not all people sign their names on RSVPs. So helpful!)
I made this piece of our suite to include a QR code that will pull up our wedding website on our guests' smartphones. I had also ordered these stickers for our guests to save the date on their calendars. For this card, measuring 2.5 inches squared, I used a code generator for free online (http://qrcode.kaywa.com/) to obtain the QR code for our wedding website. I next used the software InDesign to add the text on the top and bottom and design this piece. I printed the code pieces on fancy gray paper, cut them out and glued these squares to the back of the stickers. It was a cool high-tech meets low-tech happy medium addition for all of our guests.
The envelope liners was a great project that saved me $$$$ but took a long time. There are a bunch of great tutorials online to do this. Ready-made liners are available online too if you don't want to take this on. I started with the fancy gray paper and used the envelope's shape and measurements to make a template. My main tool for this was a ruler. I made the template about 1/4″ smaller that the actual envelope on each side so the template would fit inside nicely. For the rounded tip of the envelope, I traced its shape on my template and cut off the width of the glue strip found on the envelope so I wouldn't cover the strip up.
Once my template was complete, I cut out all 62 liners and used a snowflake rubber stamp and inkpad to stamp metallic snowflakes on the liners. I looked at fancy origami and scrapbook paper online and rather than shelling out more money, I used what I already had at home. To get the liners in the envelope, it was really easy. I put the liner in, folded the flap over and creased the liner inside, opened it back up and secured the liner with a glue stick. It dried really quickly too!
I bound the suite package with gray ribbon and I hot glued the seams tightly behind the monogram card. That card hid my ribbon ends and added a pretty detail.
For the front of the envelopes, we started with the postage stamp. Once I had all of the pieces of the invitation suite in hand, I took it to my post office and had it weighed. I was assured that I could mail every piece with just one 45 cent stamp! YES! And my RSVP cards just needed 32-cent stamps. I ordered these on zazzle.com to give our envelope some cute art. The envelope had the vintage poster of the Parisian bride and groom in a snowy scene and the RSVP cards got the blue snowflake stamp. One word of caution, these stamps are huge. I ordered the smallest ones (cheapest) and the poster stamps were much longer than expected. Make sure to check the dimensions before you order.
The most time consuming project was addressing all 62 envelopes. On our save the dates we sent out, we typed up the addresses on glue-on, wraparound labels. They were pretty, but I wanted a different look. After seeing a “fake-your-own-calligraphy” pin on Pinterest, I was inspired to turn my cursive skills into invitation goodness. I believe my first grade teacher Miss Maxwell would have been proud. I practiced a lot before attacking this project, deciding how I wanted all of the letters to look and the placement because the stamp was so long. I ended up re-addressing about eight of them that didn't come out quite right or were addressed too high on the envelope.
But the one thing about fake calligraphy I didn't know was that even though I'm avoiding the calligrapher's bill, I still had to buy the silver calligraphy pens. I started with two, and you can see in the photo above how many pens it took me to address all 62 envelopes. I was averaging about one pen for four envelopes. I cleaned out my local Jo-Ann's of all of their silver pens. I'm not lying. They definitely greet me by name now when I walk in the door! I ended up using 11 pens, which would have cost me about $44 + tax. That's $50 on PENS! Luckily, Jo-Anns has those great coupons they hand you or mail you and I got most of them for 40 percent off. Whew!
After working every day for two weeks on this project, I was happy to see them go in the mail. And now, it's even more fun to get back the RSVP cards in our PO box!
Did you DIY your invitations? How much time did you spend? What personal or pretty details did you add?