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.
The 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.
When 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. Lee-Ferro? Leaf Arrow? Get it? SO CHEESY. SO GOOD. I’m not actually changing my name, though. Still, pretty dang cute.Each 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.
Some 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.)
Some 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.
The 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…