I have to say, after committing to spending the rest of my life with Winston, designing our invitations was the part of wedding planning I was looking forward to the most. Even above trying and choosing a wedding dress. I ran a small gift and homeware company a few years ago and my degree is in Printmaking (screen printing and stuff like that) so I felt totally at home getting geeky about paper. Thankfully, Winston is a paper geek too so we set about designing our invitations together. After looking at lots of ideas, Winston and I decided that we were going to go all out. Now because I am an illustrator, I knew how to use Photoshop to design and make our invitations. That said, there are so many amazing and stylish websites out there that have templates that you can pick from that if I had for some reason, lost the ability to draw, I know we could have had something very similar made for us.
We decided we would include all the information in one envelope and because we are getting married at a location which is not close by for any of our family or friends, we would need quite a lot of detail about available accommodation and the venue. With that in mind, we decided we would need: an invitation, a map of the venue, some kind of information sheet about the on-site accommodation, an RSVP postcard and a who’s who list of the bridal party and groomsmen. I was really passionate about this last part because I always hate going to a wedding where you know either the groom or bride better and feel rude asking say, the mother of the groom, her name. I also love a good-looking list, it’s just so ordered and neat!
Once we had the basic structure narrowed down, we began trying to figure out how to get all of this information into one envelope. Although I would be kidding myself if I said any part of our invitations were low cost, we did try to keep them in a somewhat reasonable price range. One idea that we would have loved was to make a little book out of all of the information. Depending on what you would like, this can be a very cost-effective way of getting lots and lots of information in. Remember, just because it’s a wedding doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose, so if this is something you are interested in search for booklet and stapled leaflet printing for a better deal on price. This would have been a great option for us too however because we also wanted die-cutting (where the paper is in a different/custom shape rather than a rectangle) there was no way we could afford a booklet that was also die cut. We began looking for alternative ways of getting all that paper in one envelope.
After a good hunt on Pinterest we began looking at origami envelopes and ways of folding paper together to make a sort of wrap. We decided that putting little drawings of our favourite times together on the inside of the wrap would be a good way of tying it into the invitation as a whole. This took a little trial and error in the form of paper cut outs and testing templates to make sure it would work properly and keep all the important information together. For this I did use my illustration skills to make sure I had everything right, but if you know someone who is nifty with Photoshop they could easily do this for you from say, a paper template you had made yourself.
Next up was the drawing. And I can honestly say this was the most stressful part. I thought it was going to be lovely and we would just sit together maybe one Sunday afternoon and draw together and it would be like a sped-up movie montage of the happy couple before they get married. It wasn’t. In my day dreaming, I forgot the fact that I actually hate working creatively with other people and am a total control freak. I also forgot that I would be drawing everything digitally – just because it is faster and I can control the line and colours more accurately – and that poor Winston would need to learn how to do this. So, in actual fact, we split up the drawing into sections with Winston drawing all the architecture/buildings and I would do the drawings of the two of us. In the end, it worked out well but I think I can safely say, Winston is a very patient man!
Our drawings were finished and I had them all ready to be printed. I looked up a few printers but decided to go with Solo Press who I had used before for professional illustration jobs. They were very helpful although because some of our artwork needed folds, we had a few issues getting the instructions across accurately.
Now we had the small task of putting together 100 or so invites together folded and neatly pressed. We also indulged in having a seal made with a little monogram of M and W entwined. I thought this would cost a small fortune but in the end, it cost us £45 and is something we can use forever as a letter head or just to entertain small children but in the case of our invitations, we used it to press circular stickers that held the whole package together – a bit like a wax seal but less messy and without fear of burnt fingers!
Of course, because there was a lot of paper that made up our invitations, we were careful to choose recycled paper to ease our consciences but did have to pay out for a large letter stamp rather than a normal one (although second class is a blue stamp which matched our colour scheme perfectly!). Invitations that were going in the post we also put in a tracing paper envelope, just to protect them from rain, sticky fingers and dogs!
I had the fortune of hand delivering my invitations to my parents and extended family who live in Canada and I am so pleased I did. I hadn’t really thought it would be a special moment, but it was really quite emotional and I loved seeing their faces as they went through each part.