wedding invitations

We sent most of the invites out this past weekend – there are still a few local folks I need to meet up with to hand them off to, but, phew. I know we’re late in the game (ummm, 33 days until the wedding?) but we did send save the dates super early and have had a website up with info, so hopefully this terribly gauche breach of wedding etiquette will be forgiven.

I’m impatient, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet and you know you’re invited: STOP READING THIS. Seriously, you will ruin the surprise and then you will be terribly sad.

We wanted something that went beyond just a sheet of paper with details that people would scan and toss. I love love love all the fancy letterpress invites kicking around these days, but holy cow are they expensive, and in the end, still something many people won’t save.

I was fixated on this idea of our guests feeling like they are starting on a little journey with us! It’s a big deal for most people to come all the way to Vermont, and only 30% of our guests are local. Sean kept referring to it as “a press kit for our loooveeeee,” which was silly but kind of accurate – a way to lead up to the wedding weekend and the feel of the wedding itself.

We have a really, really small guest list – just 60 people. We both have tiny families & small friend groups. Also, between the 2 of us there’s only one grandparent left (this is the worst part of getting married when older) & not that many people can take time off and travel to the woods! So that made this manageable – we made 30 boxes. We also did traditional envelopes/cards for guests who were really far (like Germany) & for my Nana, who would be really confused by this box.

parcelsParcels packed into Orabelle and ready to go!

invite10The boxes were custom made by a place in Maine that “provides meaningful employment to the area’s citizens with developmental disabilities.” The price was quite good though the shipping was a little spendy. They also came back about an inch bigger all around than we asked, but it worked out well. The boxes are wrapped in waxed gray linen thread, sealed with gold sealing wax, and the name tag has typed names, using my late uncle’s script typewriter. I still have 3 more to seal and I have no idea where I left the wax and the seal. Wedding brain.


We’d originally wanted to gocco right on the sliding lids, but it did not work at all. Picture me sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes and gocco, scrambling to find things to print on in a state of panic!! I grabbed an old book page, printed on it as a test, & it looked great. S. went into the other room and pulled out a stack of book endpapers that had fallen out of old books that he’d randomly been saving. Seriously. And they were all the perfect size. I am SO happy with this accident – we left the torn sides as if our wedding invitation was torn from an old book.

invite3When we first printed them, I had a little residual ‘handmade shame.’ I know the handmade trend is raging around us, but when I look at amazingly designed multi-color perfect letterpress invitation suites I feel a little twinge of “oh, my little gocco’d card is so shabby.” Silly but true. I think they look really lovely, though. leafarrowLee-Ferro? Leaf Arrow? Get it? SO CHEESY. SO GOOD. I’m not actually changing my name, though. Still, pretty dang cute.inviteEach parcel had slightly different things – trinkets were handpicked for each guest and include fancy pocket knives, brooches, necklaces, bracelets, bow ties; a box for a family of 4 had 4 trinkets. That’s a tiny carved wooden mushroom, and a little notebook in our green color for travel notes. An RSVP card & info card finish off the box.

invite7Some trinkets are in envelopes, some are tied to cards. There’s a story! Read it! We wanted people to dress up and get into the idea of a fancy woodland picnic without saying “DRESS UP, YOU SCHLUMPS!” so we thought this would be a fun way to do it. (None of our friends are actually schlumps. That’s not even a word.)
invite9invite8Some of the book pages have writing or printed book bits on the backs, which I think is really charming. The block at the bottom which keeps being out of focus says “Woodland picnic reception following immediately afterward.” The ink can be REALLY shimmery in the right light.

glitterrsvpThe invite card, trinket envelope and RSVP layouts were worked on by Laurel Barickman from recspec design – her offer to prettify my layout was amazing and much needed, and she dealt with my “change this! and this! no, change it back! wait, how about this?” for WEEKS and I adore adore adore the final design. The calligraphy is by Linea Carta – it was interesting because I recently saw a completely calligraphic invite in a wedding magazine and the cost was prohibitive – but just having our names and the save the dates master done by her was totally affordable.

The RSVP cards are old Vermont postcards, gocco’d as well. We’re hoping people actually send them back. I blocked out our address in the photo just under our names, but you get the idea. I’m kind of formal when it comes down to it, so classic wording worked best, though I have seen some really dang cute RSVP wording out there!! We chose with brown ink on these for less post office confusion.

Extra thanks to elly for helping with word-smithing, Kate for lending her big gocco and supplies, as well as showing up magically with the packing straw, and Holly for company and support in the whole process!

So that’s it! The invites! A crazy project that took longer than I thought. In the end, with shipping both ways, all the trinkets, & the calligraphy – still much less expensive than a letterpress suite. Ummm, now I need to start making that dress of mine…


  1. Tamera, can I be you when I grow up? Those are so amazingly beautiful.

    Also, about the late sending: I was married August 29 and sent the invitations in late July. It happens.

  2. Yeesh! If I’d tried to do this, they would have gone out AFTER the wedding. They’re so, so lovely, though, even if they weren’t exactly what you’d planned for. Happy accidents!

    (And 10.10.10? Awesome.)


    way to go, tamera! this is absolutely incredible and deserves to be featured somewhere, it is so unique and clever and beautiful and thoughtful and gorgeous.


  4. i’m gobsmacked! so wonderful. plus, i’m amazed that your gocco printed that large flat area behind your names without blotching. this is a feat i have yet to accomplish. my goodness.

    1. I totally said “There’s no way I could ever line up more than one color on the gocco the way Liza does, HOW DOES SHE DO IT?” and Kate agreed that you are magic. So there!

  5. Holy crap, dude. Wait till the big and pretty wedding sites come a’ knocking. These are the crazy-best inviations ever. Except mine, obviously. Ok, mine were nothing like this, but I did love them.

  6. You went above and beyond. These are pieces of art. I think it expresses everything that I as a reader of your blog think you are. One of a kind, artistic, thoughtful, classic, beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    I can’t wait to see your woodland fairytale wedding. The pictures thus far have been breath taking and magical. (especially your nephew crouched beside mushrooms as big as his little head…elf like indeed!)

  7. Oh, wow! These are incredible. You’ve put my little pop up cuteness idea to shame. Who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail (especially packages wrapped like an old fashioned parcel with an awesome vintage postcard and knick knacks.

  8. Oh my goodness, what an enterprise, I hope that you two made a special box just for yourselves to remember all of this. These are the best invitation/gifts I have seen.

    1. We didn’t!! We have an extra box, so I think we should. Maybe we can both sneak prizes in for each other without the other knowing!! Thanks for the idea. (Wedding overwhelmed brain!)

  9. I think I am in love. Entirely and completely in love. We’re going super-minimal on our invitations due to other priorities but my paper snob/design heart is still a bit sad. But I’ve never sad enough to reassess until I saw these today. I swear, these invitations just made my week. They’re better than invitations – they’re gorgeous treasure boxes of beauty and personalized love. They express every bit of welcoming and grace and personalization and ethics that I hope my wedding will express, all in an invitation box. They are incredible as treasure boxes and as design (the gocco! the design! the postcards! swoon!)

    1. Oh, thank you! I’m so glad all that came across – it’s so hard to know when you have an idea in a vacuum and want to keep it a secret if your intention will come across when it’s all done!

  10. well. well. i am totally agog. i mean, i knew that they’d be good. but that good? crivens. amazing. what an extraordinary way to start the journey. beautiful! personal! perfect! you two are on fire!

  11. These are sublime. Very creative and thoughtful – invitations that people can hold onto as mementos AND art pieces. I’m already excited for the Woodland Wedding and Picnic photo montage!

  12. i adored getting, opening, and enjoying this lovely package. the vermont postcard is actually my favorite part. it’s so pretty i might just scan it before i send it back to RSVP!

  13. OMG… these are absolutely amazing invitations. I think with the unique items and tie to picnic attire, sending them out closer to the wedding works well. Everyone will have them close by! Such creativity.

  14. These are SOOO beautiful!!! What a wondrous idea. The story reminds me of the Picnic at Hanging Rock! :) And I love (and am assuming) that you got the boxes from the MDI workshop? My parents live just down the road from them! Gorgeous….and your gocco’ing does not look handmade, at all. Absolutely marvelous!

  15. Whoa, I just now saw these. How amazing! I am in love with the individuality of each box -that’s what truly makes them awesome. As someone who’s always had a love of mail art and small treasures (and the two combined), this is hands-down the best wedding invite I’ve seen!

    Also darling – schlump is indeed a word – it’s Yiddish, my parents said it all the time, and you used it correctly. Ha!

    I wish you nothing but smooth-flowing magic up through and beyond 10/10 (and don’t you even THINK of ganking my 12/12/12 birthday end-of-the-world whatever happens on that day – ha again!).

    Much love,


  16. I just noticed your wedding date – do you read Ryan at Pacing the Panic Room? He mentioned something this week about a big world wide film project based around 10.10.10 that will capture snapshots of how we live now. They are looking for people to be involved…

  17. OH MY! These are so incredibly thoughtful! I love the idea of taking the time to hand pick the items for each guest! So sweet! So beautiful! Such a great thing to receive. Your guests are really lucky!

  18. Squeeeee! Such a sweet gesture and your guests are so lucky! Good luck with your dress. I made mine as well and while it was stressful and time-consuming, it was perfect and so worth the effort. :)

    1. ha! well, i hope no one feels like they have to “beat” anyone else’s wedding invites! they’re very “us” but probably would seem strange for other couples…

  19. Thank you to Gala Darling for sending me your way – these are the most amazing invitations that I have ever seen and I love them!
    Thank your for sharing them with us
    I hope your day is as magical as these invitations are
    Lisa in NZ

  20. Goodness gracious, how ambitious–and how wonderfully they turned out! I hope each and every recipient was beyond thrilled to be invited in such a touching, unique, and well-thought-out way!


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  22. I love the idea of the box with personalized trinkets for each guest! They must have felt so loved and special receiving these! Such a beautiful idea.

  23. Wow. I am so impressed. This is the kind of project that makes you wonder why people use those boring old standard invites. So inspirational. I collect old books and am doing a few projects with the loose pages.
    One silly question though…what’s gocco?

  24. So gorgeous. Love how all the details add a storytelling component to the invites. Where did you find the gold arrows? They’re so perfect.

  25. Are you kidding me? These invites are amazing! Best idea ever! I saw your wedding on 100 Layer Cake and I am so glad that you submitted it. You have such great style! Awesome job! I just adore it so much. *sigh*

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