Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Invitations & Paper

Our wedding was almost 6 months ago, but we never really did full-on recaps afterward. And since I know a few of you wandered here via the wedding blogosphere, we figured a few pretty wedding posts couldn't hurt! For the next few weeks, we'll (try really hard to) have a Wednesday post with wedding-related content. If weddings aren't your thing, well, we'll see you next post!

To kick things off, I wanted to tell you a bit about our invitations and other paper items. Sadly, we forgot to have our photographer take a picture of our invitation, so some of the pictures here aren't the best. (memo to brides-to-be: send an invite to your photographer or have an invite there on the day of and then remember to give it to him/her to photograph.We missed that step.)

We sent out Save-the-Date postcards about six months before our wedding. We designed them in Microsoft Publisher and then got them printed through Vistaprint. If you're looking for cheap postcards, they're a great source, but make sure you do a quick search for freebies first! We got our postcards free but had to pay for shipping and a set-up fee for the custom design.
Image came out a little blurry here, but they printed great!
The back of the postcard had information about the where/when and a link to our wedding website. We had to send out the postcards before we had our actual engagement pictures done, but fortunately we were able to con a friend into doing a photoshoot for us in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, our favorite spots on the Jersey Shore.

The invitations...were probably the one area of the wedding where I went the most insane. From the moment I heard the word "pocketfolds", I was in. They're so organized! And neat! And all the little cards line up so nicely! Also, they are expensive, so clearly we needed to find some ways to make them less so. We ordered the folders and envelopes from Cards & Pockets, and I seriously cannot say enough good things about them. The prices were great, quality was excellent, their shipping was quick, and the customer service was awesome. We designed the invitations and inserts in Publisher, with a little bit of work (map cards, some image stuff) done in a free 30-day trial of Adobe Illustrator. I used this tutorial to design the map card, and I am proud to say that I managed to get through it without actually throwing my computer out the window, though I was tempted at many times.

We then had the lovely custom printing people at Cards & Pockets print the invitations. Our printer is ten years old and we don't bother to keep color ink in it, so printing the invitations ourselves would have involved buying a new printer. By getting them to do the printing, we ended up saving money and avoided the hassles of printing and cutting all of the pieces. And their rates were extremely reasonable--much cheaper than we were quoted anywhere else.

Once we had all the pieces, step 1 for us (well, me) was addressing the envelopes. Since I did these by hand, in cursive, it took a little longer than I anticipated. While I worked on that, Carrie painstakingly stamped our return address and the little squares we cut for the belly bands. For those of you who are new here, check out these awesome pictures of us hard at work on these projects.

Once those steps were complete, we dragged everything up to Carrie's sister's house for a weekend of invitation assembly. We set up a big table in their living room, and Carrie, Jen, and I became a craft factory, while Sean kept the boys out of the way for a miraculously long period of time. (Thanks again, J and Anonymous!)

Important lesson: old medical school textbooks are extremely good weights for ensuring your adhesive is stuck.
Finally: the finished product!

We used the belly band squares in place of the inner envelope, so for everyone else, these said the guests' names.

Once those were on their merry way, the biggest paper project left was the ceremony program. We designed these in Publisher, and after trying to find a local printer that was even remotely reasonable, we decided to have Cards & Pockets print them as well. Then all we had to do was cut the vellum, hole punch them, and tie ribbons through each one. Voila:
Photo by Becca Dilley
You can't really see it at all in this photo, but each program has a red ribbon, similar in style to the ribbon on the belly bands but much thinner, tied in a bow. And here's a tip: if you're printing something that has to be hole punched, mark the holes on your design so that they're printed right on the paper and you don't have to mark it on each one later.

For those of you keeping score at home, here's what we used and where we got it:
  • Folders, envelopes, silver backing for belly band squares, and printing: Cards & Pockets
  • Purple hemp paper for backing on main invitation panel: Paper Depot, Minneapolis, MN (also great customer service and lots of ideas--definitely worth a trip if you're in the area!)
  • Adhesive: Tombow MONO adhesive (Bought at Paper Depot but I've since seen at A.C. Moore)
  • Custom return address stamp: Etsy seller kiss + tell
  • Ribbon: Michaels (gotta love their coupons!)
  • Swirl stamp and ink pad: The Ink Pad (super-cute stamping store in NYC)
  • Vellum paper for programs: Paper Presentation (in NYC)


  1. Ooo these are great!

    We also used Vistaprint for save-the-date postcards and got those, return address stamps, business cards and some other things for about $8 total. Such a great deal!

    I'm totally jealous of your belly-bands instead of inner envelope idea. I wanted to do that but our invitations were horizontal so it looked weird.

    I'm excited to see the rest of your wedding recaps!

  2. Lovely!!

    I am so excited for this series.

  3. Thanks! I think I've gotten back into wedding mode after hearing all about your planning on Twitter!

  4. the invites came out great! I used old art history books from college to weigh ours down :)

  5. Thanks! I don't have many big textbooks lying around (most of my classes in college and grad school had lots of smaller books rather than standard textbooks), but fortunately we were in a house that was overflowing with them! :)