Thursday, September 18, 2014

Curly Girl Wedding: The Invitations

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding day.  In the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, I lived the worst of my fears in my dreams, where everything that could go wrong did.  And even though, in reality, I didn't expect everything to go wrong, at the very least, I worried about the inevitability of a little rain to delay the ceremony or force it indoors.

But the morning of our wedding dawned sunny and bright with clear blue skies.  It was surprising, given Colorado summers' tendencies toward late afternoon thunderstorms.  But it really was perfect.  All of it. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can't think of a single thing that day that didn't go exactly as planned.

We were fortunate to have an amazing group of friends, family and vendors helping set everything up at the venue in the hours before the ceremony.  And I'm not embarrassed to take some credit myself for being ridiculously organized with an unabashed love of spreadsheets.  It was difficult for me to not get to put everything into place myself - after having spent unfathomably countless hours cooking, baking, creating, planning and crafting to put all the details together - but I was happy that I could trust them to make it all as beautiful as I had envisioned it would be.

After seeing all the gorgeous details come together, I decided to start writing a series of posts, the "curly girl wedding" series.  In this series, which may be as often as every week or two if I can manage it, I'll share my own wedding DIY projects and sources.  Maybe my ideas will give you a little inspiration for your own wedding or special event!

You'll be able to find all the posts compiled on a new page: curly girl wedding.  I hope you enjoy the series!


I must have looked at a thousand wedding invitation suites online before deciding to make my own.  There are so many beautiful designs available, and I pored over the selections on Minted, Martha Stewart Weddings and the free printables selection on Wedding Chicks, agonizing over whether to make or to buy ours.

But in the end, I simply couldn't swallow the cost of all that pretty paper, and since we were only inviting 120 people, and most of those were couples which meant approximately only 60-70 invitations, I felt like it was a manageable project.

First, I chose one of our engagement photos and pasted it into a Word document, then began working on the text.  Selecting fonts is not easy, and I probably spent every evening after work for a couple of weeks going back and forth with various fonts until I found a combination I liked.  Once I was satisfied, and Jamie approved, I saved the photo with text as a JPEG, uploaded it to Costco's photo center and ordered printed cards, which were very affordable and came with free envelopes as well.

For the back of the invitations, I bought an inexpensive pack of creamy card stock and printed the directions, as well as the RSVP cards containing the link to our wedding website, on our ink jet printer at home.  Our printer about cost me my sanity, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend printing at home, unless you have a very reliable printer.  Which we don't.  So it was with much hair-pulling and swearing, the task was finally done.

And of course, the printing is just the beginning, since all that paper has to be cut as straight as possible, too.  The fact that this is tedious, time-consuming work is something you have to know before taking on these projects.  Time-management and planning ahead is so important.

I love fabric, so I cut pieces of yellow flowered cotton, leaving the edges raw and unfinished, to line the back of the invitations.  The border of fabric made a pretty frame for the directions.

Did you know you can sew on paper?  I added a border of yellow stitching to the paper with my trusty Singer sewing machine, and I felt like it really tied the project together and added that special, vintage touch.

Lastly, pieces of twine to tie the front and back together and to adorn the RSVP cards finished the invitations.

I wanted the envelopes to look as pretty as what they contained inside, so I created address labels in Excel, a design inspired by some beautiful custom stamps on Zazzle that I was seriously coveting but could not afford.  A few drops of acid-free glue were all that was needed to affix the labels to the envelopes.

The "wedding roses" stamps from the post office were pretty enough for the envelopes, and a hand-cancelled stamp (which you may have to sweet-talk your post office into being willing to do for you instead of running the envelopes through a machine) adds a lovely vintage touch.

The whole project, including postage, cost about $100, compared to the hundreds or even thousands that you could spend on custom-made invites.  So is it worth the time and effort?  Well, that really depends on your own creativity, but if you have even a little creative streak (which I think you must, if you're reading this post), then I sure think it's worth doing yourself!

If I leave you with any advice, though, it's this:  proofread.  And then, proofread at least 78 more times.