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Friday, April 23, 2010

Invitation Saga and Some Advice

{a little sneak cool are those trees!}

Once upon a time I thought that invitations were really, really important to me. I love graphic design and I go kind of gaga over pretty fonts and pretty paper. This was going to be the one project into which I invested the most of my time and effort. Boy, was I right (about the time and effort part). Luckily, I met the uber-talented, rad designer Jamie from A Desert Fete and she took over the design and printing. She really saved us there because my Photoshop knowledge is basic and she is the real deal. I told Jamie that I wanted our invites to be a little package and surprise for our guests. She came up with the beautiful concept of using fabrics and leather cording. She basically branded our entire wedding and we used the fabrics she chose as inspiration for our table runners and napkins. We turned some of her designs into stamps and were able to use them on everything from gift bags to thank you notes. Jamie designed and printed the paper invitations and then handed them over to me to take care of the rest. I totally underestimated how much blood, sweat and tears would go into this project. Who knew sewing 70 linen rectangles and 70 pockets and gluing fabric onto 140 pieces of paper, then tying it up with leather cording and hand-stamping each envelope could be so much work! I'm sure reading that you're like "uh, duh" but I obviously did not realize until it was too late.

In the end, of course, I love our invites and they are beautiful and unique. But was it worth it? I honestly can't say. Hopefully, most of our guests will keep their invites for a little while or at least find another use for the pocket (credit card holder, anyone?) but I know that some of my hard work will just end up in the trash.

SO with that said...the other day I went into Michaels and was surprised by the variety of invitations they carry now. I remember it was not so long ago that they only had a few cheesy options but I think even the pickiest of couples would be able to find something that suited their style. I had to even stop in Target and ooh and aah over their choices. Someone in their design/purchasing department must be browsing Etsy.

And speaking of at big chain stores isn't really the kind of thing I like to promote. There are also a lot of designers that offer a PDF option where you can just print out the invitation they design (typically they have a bunch from which you can choose), stick it in an envelope and send it on its way. This is a cost-effective option plus you can support independent designers. Here are some of my favorites:

Do what I say and not what I do. If the invitations are super important to you then by all means pour your heart and soul into them. But if you know (like I do now) that they are just a source of information that will most likely get recycled (hopefully!) or thrown out then don't cause yourself more stress. There are plenty of DIY/template options and a lot of independent designers out there (and on Etsy) that would be willing to work with your money and your time budgets.

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