I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't one of those gals who had always dreamed about her wedding. I remember having a "wedding playlist" on my purple iPod when I was in college where I'd walk around Tempe Town Lake mustering up different ideas of what the details would be. One of those, of course, were the wedding invitations.
My cousin, Emily, recently began her own custom stationery business this year. She had designed for Aveda and freelanced for other big brands, but then decided to focus on her custom stationery company, Dorothy Jane Custom Stationery. The company is named after our grandmother who had an affinity for paper goods. I remember in my grandmother's bedroom, she had the bottom drawer of her dresser solely dedicated to birthday, anniversary, thank you cards, and other random letters from friends and family throughout the years. What my grandmother enjoy most about them were the messages and the memories that they gave her.
Through this crazy digital age, I cherish receiving a thoughtful letter or card in the mail; I wanted Adam and I to have wedding invitations that reflected just that--showcasing our style and wit forever in an invitation from 2014.
At first, I was a bit hesitant collaborating with Emily and designing them from afar because a) Emily lives in Pennsylvania, and b) I'm such a hands-on (read: controlling) person. I wanted to see, feel, and touch the possibilities right away. Well, designing them was not only a super fun and interactive process, but they truly exceeded my expectations.
Based on my wedding colors (gold, lavender, and black--now more of a gold, lavender, and ivory look), Emily began the invitation planning process in August. She went beyond viewing the digital image of the initial paper colors that I had picked up at Michael's. Emily actually asked what the ISBN codes were on the back of the sheets so that she could pick them up at Michael's to help her create an inspiration board and glean what look I was going for.
|My original wedding colors that I had picked up at Michael's in June.|
After that, it was time for the exact look and relaying my vision. I'm a Pinterester and have basically found all of my favorite wedding ideas through there. I was able to go through Dorothy Jane's pins on her Pinterest and relay my favorite invitations styles to Emily. Emily seemed to know exactly what Adam and I wanted based on the Pinterest board and past conversations. She whipped up a formal personalized PDF of an inspiration board and had us had us explain our preferences for our ideal wedding invitation.
Adam and I are really into that vintage, indie, stylized look, and I am in love with letterpress--a must--so we relayed that we wanted gold letterpress with on a black background with the look of image 1, 5, and the letterprss of 6.
Letterpress, as I've learned through this process, is a bit price-y. My budget for invitations was about $1,500. I didn't want to spend any more or less; but I also wanted that classy, whimsical look. Emily made that happen. Emily had a friend who had a letterpress machine who would be able to do it at a reasonable price. Plus, the black with gold letterpress would have cost more, so Emily had suggested a white or ivory paper.
Like, I said before, I was somewhat nervous about not being able to see, touch, and interact with the invitations, but Emily made that all available by immediately sending me pictures through email and mailing the actual paper types with the gold letterpress look so I could make educated decision. After chatting about the gold letterpress look, I had received paper samples within three days after she emailed me the style.
I loved that creamy, classy, champagne color of the paper in juxtaposition to the gold letterpress. We decided to go with that look.
Envelopes were another item that was something that I needed to consider. Obviously, I wanted to incorporate all of my colors, so I had considered a black or lavender color to match the colors that I had sent Emily. Emily immediately researched stationary areas in Phoenix that I could visit to compare the colors at The Paper Source. (Seriously, my new favorite craft place.)
Emily had also suggested that I stay away from black since it would be difficult for the return address to write with. Then she sent me different colors available at The Paper Source where I could actively compare colors.
I had left purchasing envelopes on the back burner since I wanted to see the actual invitations and compare different colors. With that, Emily began working on and completing the design process sometime in late-August. With the first round, she sent three different designs. She had Adam and I talk through what we liked and didn't like.
Emily was (is) a very conscientious, detail-oriented lady. We really only had two rounds of designs because she had perfectly placed together what we wanted.
Chatting with Adam about our style preferences has been, so far, one of my favorite parts of wedding planning. It was neat to brainstorm with the one you love about a memory that is going to last forever. I am seriously a cheesy and nostalgic person, so I kept thinking about this invitation in a frame next to our wedding picture for our children to see throughout the ages.
Yes, cheese galore.
But, seriously: Such a fun time planning.
Emily had the invitations printed within a few weeks, but as mentioned before--she's such a detail-oriented person. The letterpress designer had made the "and" in the circle have a tint of gold. Something I didn't want, and something Emily knew that I didn't want. Emily took care of it immediately and it didn't cost me extra to have that mistake fixed. I love that I didn't have to worry about my invitations because I knew that so much detail and thought were going into them by Emily.
In mid-November, the invitations arrived all neatly wrapped and ready to go. (Wish I had taken a picture of the invites in their original boxes!) I was ridiculously excited when they came--I even kept one in my car's glove compartment so I could look at them during a stop light when driving. Yes, I'm a nerd, but I was pummmmped.
Note: Unfortunately, my camera made the invitations look very yellow--that is very much not the look.
Here's what the invitation looks like... but the rest below will be a bit yellow-looking. Le sigh.
Beautimus, are they not? As you see, Emily even created a custom-designed map of the location on the direction card. Adam and I are music buffs, so we added our own quirk on the reply card with a song request.
Emily was such a great guide--letting me know that I should probably have sent the invites mailed in mid-January, six weeks before the wedding.
Next, it was envelope time. Adam and I went to The Paper Source in Scottsdale with the invitations in hand, and compared our light lavender color with the ivory and gold look. The lavender and grapesicle colors (from the image above) were very on par with our colors. But we wanted a different touch.
The florist, bridal stylist, and event planner and mentioned that pulling a shade of lavender would be very similar and equally inviting, so we went with the aubergine A9 envelope and A7 reply card envelopes with matching satin ribbon to complete the look of the invitations. The folks at The Paper Source walked me through the process of how to custom line envelopes, so I ordered the Stardream liner for that gold "pop" of color to match the letterpress of the invitation.
It took me a season of Say Yes to the Dress while custom lining the invitations, but it was a good ole time. ;)
Because I wanted to pinch those pennies and not hire a calligrapher, I found a custom stamp designer on Etsy called Tickled Pink for only $25. I designed a return address on Adobe Illustrator and sent the stamp designer the look, and received the custom stamp within two weeks. The folks at The Paper Source, who know affectionately know me as "wedding girl," helped me find the perfect gold stamp color that matched the gold letter press on my invitations with the stamp. I seriously had a thousand different samples of stamp colors and possible embossing colors for the reply letter. So glad I went with the stamp.
After stamping the reply cards and meticulously placing the flower stamps on the reply cards, I spent about a week every night after work tying those aubergine satin bows around the freaking invitations.
The invitations all had super bizarre categories thanks to the bows: perfect bow and stamp; weird bows and perfect stamp; weird bow and stamp. I mapped out with Adam all the people who we thought wouldn't attend the wedding. They, of course, got the weird bows and stamps. My mom hilariously mentioned how men don't care, so even if I knew they were coming--they were in the weird category.
Meh, heh, heh...
About two weeks ago, I had my "invitation party" with my mom and matron of honor (and oldest sister/best friend), Meghan. We watched Father of the Bride (clearly as evidenced from the picture below, my mom did at least); and powered through writing addresses with the fine tip Pen Touch from Michael's. Thankfully, it only took the whole move to get through all the invitations with the stamps. Before addressing, I went to the post office and had the invites weighed where they needed two stamps (for the national folks).
Thanks to Meghan's glorious hand, she was given the task of writing out the addresses of my future in-laws. And wa-lah! The glorious invitation process is finished and magnificent...
Even though it's late-January, and I have until March 1 to track down the flakes, it's pretty awesome knowing that Adam and I are going to get mail everyday. Plus, it's always nice receiving a thousand different kind comments about the invitations...
I took the first picture from this blog with my grandmother, Dorothy Jane Hallinan, in the background since I couldn't have done this invitation process without the patience, thoughtfulness, and expertise of my cousin, Emily. Even though we have different styles, I love that she "got" what Adam and I were going for, worked with our budget, and was patient with my needy emails.
It's probably a bit obvious how much Adam and I admire our invitations; and I know that we'll cherish them until we're old and gray and I give Adam a stroke from nagging him too much.