Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thoughts on Fancy Invitations

I'm a complete paper snob.  I admit it, I love pretty paper and could spend entirely gleeful days inside Paper Source.  To give you an idea of how ridiculous I can be, one of our biggest disagreements ever actually happened inside Paper Source because we seriously disagreed on paper combinations for a non-wedding related decoupage art project. That's right, we nearly had a public brawl over color and pattern because he's as firm in his design principles as I am in mine. So, it should come as no surprise that the moment Jason mentioned the term "save the date" I was ready with fifteen examples over which we could bicker, ranging from maps, to music posters, photobooth mick-ups, vintage postcards and colorful modern designs. Lord help us both.

Having said all that, we're probably going with emailed save the dates, and invitations are so far down on my list of wedding priorities that I'm tempted to just phone everyone to let them know about the wedding. (Don't sound so shocked.  You know we're going to be phoning them anyhow for addresses and you-didn't-rsvp-but-are-you-coming follow-ups anyhow.) After months of examples underscoring the relative unimportance of exquisitely designed invitations, it was the invitations from this past weekend's very elegantly high-end wedding that finally convinced me to eff it and focus our particular project efforts and major expenses elswhere.

Example #1: An Invitation Does Not a Wedding Make
When my Jewish tomboy friend decided to get married in a private ceremony and invite everyone to a Moroccan blow out reception the next day, I wasn't expecting to recieve a invitation decorated with gold angels and bows. Well, I recieved an ivory decoration covered with gold angels and bows. Saying that their invitation was neither a reflection upon her, her husband nor the look-and-feel of their wedding is, um, putting it mildly. However, it was an inadvertant reflection upon her wedding priorities overall, since the DIY invitation kits were the result of such a quick shopping trip at Michaels that she didn't notice the angels. (Or the bows.) She just saw a basic gold leaf design and was too busy/didn't care enough to take them back for an exchange. While there may have been some good natured teasing from her peers because the invitations were so extremely out of character, in the end it was a funny moment that didn't intrude on the reception at all. Promise.

Example #2: USPS Doesn't Care About Your Fancy Invitation
On the other hand, I have a feeling that a recent Bat Mitzvah invitation we recieved meant a lot to the girl who picked it, giant pink hearts, matching pink envelope and all. Along with her entire Bat Mitzvah, this invitation mattered to her and she was invested in it.  Unfortunately, USPS wasn't nearly as invested and the invitation arrived as a crumpled mess. It was so battered that we had to press the RSVP card in order to send our reply. It was so damaged I wouldn't be surprised if you told me a postal worker had purposely balled it up and basketball tossed it in his delivery bag.  At least it reminded me of the ultimate transience of our wedding design efforts, even if I wasn't quite ready to let go of my invitation design schemes yet.

Example #3: Eff It Already
After all my excitement about crafting highly personalized invitations, I actually had to pause upon recieving the invitation for this past weekend's high class wedding. Although it ranks well up there with the classiest wedding I may ever attend, the invitations didn't leap off the page in the way I've become accustomed to here in etsy and designer-heavy weddingland. Instead, we received cream (or perhaps ecru) high quality heavy paper invitations, printed with black embossed lettering in a cursive font, slipped in with a velum cover, an envelope liner, and a response card.  Simple, understated, elegant and done. No registry information, no website information, no design elements or playful colors, just the basic expected information for a wedding. My first thought upon receiving the invitation was finally understanding the sort of simple elegance that Ms Manners extols and realizing that so much of the vintage inspired design that's been inspiring me lately is, while lovely, besides the point.  But the biggest ah-ha moment came with the envelope because, despite having my head stuck up the bum of wedding planning for the last several months, I didn't notice the stamps AT ALL.  In fact, I had actually recycled the envelope before Jason wondered aloud about the stamps. If I recall properly (which I probably don't) I think they were the LOVE stamps.  

And that was the moment I decided to let the invitations go.  We'll put some effort into designing a single page invitation, sure, but I'm going to try and keep it all in perspective: it doesn't reflect a bit on the wedding, it may well get crumpled in the post, and no one's going to pay one iota of attention to the stamps (including other recently married/engaged women). Also, please remind me of this post when I'm making myself hysterical about fonts six months from now. Please.

Having said all that, if you haven't seen if already, you should absolutely check out Rachel's (from Heart of Light) 100 Layer Cake DIY guests posts right now. If invitations are a priority for you, and DIY was part of your plan, yesterday's invitation post is a great starting point.

23 comments:

  1. i made our own invitation. designed everything in powerpoint, printed them on shimmer cardstocks. simple. yet "pretty" enough for something to throw. and i love them.

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  2. Made our own, they are in the post right now (well apart from those on Bean's side of the guest list because he has no ability to get addresses!)I love the time and effort we went to and now have to think of the real invites. Eeek!

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  3. Just the post I needed this morning. I'm working on our invite design as we speak - without the assistance of Illustrator or a Gocco or a Cricut or any other device that rules the DIY wedding invite universe. My attitude is not "eff it" really, it's more I'll do the best I can with what I've got. But a good dose of "eff it" always helps keep things in perspective.

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  4. I knew they didn't matter after the invite my friend sent me to her Dec. wedding got lost in the mail. Just show up, she told me. And I did. Conclusion: invites mean nothing, especially when they are sent out months after you booked your flight.

    Great post. I loooooooooooove your writing.

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  5. seriously.

    i really enjoyed designing my invitations. i think that's probably the only reason i did it- cause i'm a nerd. otherwise, who cares?

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  6. the heart of light posts are amazing (as is her own blog). I drew my own save the dates and colored them with crayons. yes crayons then scanned them then had them printed at staples. a cheap endeavor and people seemt o really like them. also, i enjoy using the boxes of crayons I have and never use

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  7. I designed mine myself - keeping it simple and fresh, but mostly because I'm too Type A, and all of that fancy crap online didn't interest me. At the end of the day, it won't cost us much to have them printed, but we at least wanted the paper to coordinate. And, I definitely know most guests will care less about the end result - but this one was for me, hah.

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  8. We're the same way with our invites, simple and as postage and paper saving as we can get them!

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  9. We designed our Save the Dates together and had them printed at a local copy place. They went into the mail last week and we've gotten really great responses from them. We're debating between designing out invitations or ordering a design off Etsy. I hate that it seems lazy, but by the time we need our invites I have a feeling we'll have a lot of stuff going on and we'll be glad we were lazy :)

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  10. The invites don't matter much to me, which is really odd, because I collect/hoard cards like nobody's business. I figure, people aren't really going to remember them, and there are more important things I can direct my attention to.

    However, Mr. Beagle cares, so I've told him that they are his job then. We'll see how that goes.

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  11. Totally agree. I'm right there with you. I'm a paper fiend, and I can spend hours drooling over pictures of pretty invitations. Wedding invitations are important to me, because I think they're fun. But I have to admit that most of the wedding invitations I've actually received end up in the recycling bin (particularly gorgeous ones get to live on the fridge for a few months).

    I always laugh a bit when you read those articles that breathlessly tell you that the invitation is crucial because IT SETS THE TONE FOR YOUR ENTIRE WEDDING! like your wedding might fail if guests are not properly wowed by the invite.

    And yes, gorgeous invitations are fun, but if you don't care about invitations, or they don't make your budget, I say go simple. The point, after all, is that the invitation gets people to your wedding. So you need some names, a date, some details and you're good to go.

    And thanks for the sweet mention about my post!

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  12. It took one week of the 3.5 month process, was on one page, and we had a Google Docs RSVP form on our website. Done and done.

    When you get font crazy lmk if I can help though.

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  13. The only reason I spent so much time on ours was because I wanted to. I wasn't worried about what the guests thought when they received them but it was important to myself and my fiance that they reflect us well. In fact, I'm fairly certain 85% of our guests won't even consider them "real" wedding invitations, because they're so far from traditional. But I do agree with you 100%, they really don't matter to anyone else, thats for sure.

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  14. @ everyone - just to reiterate, I love pretty invitations and would squeal with glee upon receiving any of the ones you're lovingly designing (with or without pro help) or crafting. I get it and invitations are important if they're important to you (and they're so fun and creative... if you don't get into a Paper Source brawl.) And we're definitely going to put effort into ours too. We're just going to try and remain sane about pouring our hopes and expectations into them.

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  15. @ ALAL - Don't worry - I think your message totally came through! It's fine to obsess about invites if they are important to you and it's fine to not worry about them if they aren't important to you. I think most of us are suckers for amazing design, but we're all going to go to our friends' weddings joyfully, regardless of whether they just printed their invites on gold angel paper because it wasn't a big deal to them.

    I think your bottom line was - no judgment about other people's priorities, which I totally agree with.

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  16. Oh, and your other point was - be sane about your own priorities. Which I also totally agree with.

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  17. oh how i let the whole invitation issue go- just like you. it's been pretty recent too. SO MUCH PRESSURE out there to make this fab, personalized wedding invite.
    and then Andrew reminded me that of all our wedding invitations we have received, i recycle ALL of them.

    so what's the point? people are just going to throw them out- recycle them anyway.

    as long as they arrive :)

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  18. I love your examples! We sent email save the dates (and cards that I won in a contest to the non tech-savvy guests) and we're planning to design our own invites. I plan to keep it simple and not make myself crazy over them.

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  19. I kinda love stamps - I would totally pay attention to the stamps.

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  20. The only things I am going to spend my precious time on for the wedding are the things that I enjoy doing. The second something feels like too much effort, or is stressing me out- I'll stop.

    So at this point I'll say I may put some effort into STDs and invites... but that could all change once I get myself into a tizzy about which paper to use.

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  21. When I first started getting invited to weddings I kept the invitations. I ended up looking back at them for ideas or inspiration when we were shopping for invites. They were all so (imo) needlessly beefed up with wisps of paper layered between each item and envelopes within envelopes.
    Our guests got a single heavy stock card (ordered online-template with some customization) and a response postcard (made by my fiance and cut by me). That's it. Easy on the wallet and easy on the stress level for us.

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  22. I am so over the invitations. It used to be a high priority, now not so much.

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  23. Ugh I struggled with invites terribly! I was tempted to call and invite everyone like you said but everyone has convinced me NOT to! At least we found affordable simple invites that are still great for the occasion! Cute blog here :)

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