After our invitations arrived from Wedding Paper Divas, it was back to Photoshop for me.
The largest time sink for the invite process, other than figuring out the wording for the back of the invitations and the translation process, was designing the envelopes. While I understand that calligraphy is beautiful, we’re on a budget and paying someone $2 per envelope to write an address just isn’t in the cards, nor is paying more than FREE-99. I have a moderately obsessive love of typography, so any excuse to download and play with fonts is good for me. This was the perfect idea of a good time for me.
I spent no less than two hours finding, downloading, and installing free fonts that were potential options for our invitation addresses (editor’s note: You can also find some super affordable ones from Creative Market). If you go this route, my suggestion is to ensure the site you are searching on has a place where you can use your text as the font example. You will see why later in this epic tale. Then, I had go through the process of narrowing down font choices. Timo insisted on “helping” with the addresses, so he wanted to have a say in what font we used on the invitations. Once the font was finally selected, we I started the process of designing the layout of the envelopes.
I could have just done the easy thing (hahahahaaaa, says every Bride ever) and put our return address and the guest’s address on the envelopes and been done with them … but Bride Brain (you know it if you have it) was like, “But these envelopes will be the first thing people see about your wedding (if they didn’t get a save the date). This is the first official correspondence. It has to look ahhhmazing. You totally need some type of embellishment on these envelopes.”
Dear Bride Brain,
Die in a fire.
Since just the addresses on the envelopes wasn’t enough for me, I brainstormed ideas of images I could print in black that would look good on the envelopes. I wanted to go with our invitation suite theme of trees/tree rings so I started the hunt for free Photoshop patterns of trees/leaves. Another hour passed. Finally, I stopped downloading and started testing out the stamps/patterns I had downloaded (all 50+). Some were an easy no because they just weren’t the right kind of tree or they didn’t work for my needs. I set about creating a layer for each of the options I wanted to show Timo to get his opinion on. It only took a few minutes to get his opinions on which images he did/didn’t like thankfully.
For font options, I made some rookie mistakes. I used our address as the template and pasted it into a word document and then set the address to the different fonts I had narrowed down as options for Timo to pick from. The problem with this is that we have no special characters in our names/address. Timo selected a few fonts that he “approved of” and I started working on formatting the addresses to be copy/pasted into Photoshop. It was when I started formatting German names and addresses with special characters, that I realized Timo’s font selection might not work.. and of course, it didn’t. I/we had to start the font search again. At least we had eliminated most of the options!
Finally, with usable fonts selected, I started the process of working on the final layout. THEN CAME.. printing.
If I had thought that layout was a pain in the ass, I had forgotten about the debacle that is my home printer. Between getting the print out correct on the test pages and the wifi connection dropping from the printer, I eventually got all 10 RSVP envelopes printed. Then the tedious part started: invitation envelopes. This is the part at which I would recommend a strong adult beverage or anti-anxiety drug.
To make the addresses easy to handle, I exported the names from the wedding spreadsheets to a word document. I formatted all the addresses so they appeared how they should on the invite so I was easily able to cut them from the Word document and paste them into the Photoshop file without having to format in Photoshop (which tends to be more tedious than it needs to be). Once I got the process started, it was just a matter of copy/pasting an address from the Word file to the Photoshop file, printing it out, then repeating the process as many times as necessary.
Sounds easy enough, except that my wifi connection dropping would often happen during the middle of printing an envelope. Oh AND it took 7.5ish minutes to print a single envelope. So if the wifi connection reset, the print would cancel and I’d have to start it all over again. Rather than waste an envelope, I would just feed the same envelope back into the printer and people would just have to deal with part of the print being darker than than the other. At some point, I knew I had to stop caring about perfection and I had found it. Additionally, when printing out the invite envelopes, the print cartridge would leave “skid marks” on the end of the envelope and I couldn’t figure out why it was happening, so I just ignored it. Hopefully our guests will just blame USPS. I just couldn’t handle the prospect of trying to troubleshoot why it was happening and getting no answers and getting even more frustrated and stressed than I already was.
It took me over a week to print out our A and B List invites. I required myself to be printing out envelopes every time I sat down at my laptop, even if it was just for a quick scroll through Facebook. At least one envelope had to be printed. It was like penance.
Final RSVP envelope design:
Final invitation envelope design:
Of course, it wasn’t just as simple as just getting all the envelopes printed. No, no. They also needed to be stuffed and mailed.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by having to make choices?
Because the invitation situation in it’s entirety thoroughly exhausted everything strength I thought I had. I was so over it by the end that I started being paranoid that my dogs were going to find a sudden interest in the box the invitations had been sitting in, that was on my desk for weeks. I had daymares (daytime-nightmares) that I would come home and one or both of the dogs would have escaped their crates and used the invitations as a fun chew toy, making them into confetti.
When I started the process of printing the envelopes, I realized that we were going to need stamps. When I checked what the US Post Office website was offering, I liked two different designs. Instead of picking one, I bought both because I was tired of making choices. Then, to save myself the hassle of making time to stop by the post office to buy said stamps, I just ordered those bad boys online, paid $1.27 for shipping to have them shipped to my door, and had ZERO regrets.
For the German invitations, we packaged them up all together and I mailed them to Papa G to distribute from Germany. This was a cost saving measure. To mail a one ounce envelope to Germany from the US costs $1.15. Additionally, I reasoned that sending them all in one package meant everyone’s invitation would be lost, rather than random invitations getting lost in the mail. Not that either situation is ideal, but one is easier to keep track of than many.
Remember when I said, I forgot to add the “no children” part to our invitations? Well, I was able to remedy that situation. In addition to adding the request to our wedding website, I printed out blurbs on left over card stock from our save the dates and stacked them on top of the invitation in the envelope. I was smart enough to also print lines on the card stock so I could just cut the slips by hand instead of having to send them to work with Timo. There weren’t that many invites that actually needed “no children” slips, so it was worth the effort.
The “please no children” wording I went with: “We would love to give all our guests the opportunity to let their hair down and have a good time without having to worry about little eyes and ears, so we politely request no children at our reception.”
I had threatened Timo with a good time (aka stuffing all the envelopes) after I had spent a mabillionty hours on designing the actual invitations and then even more time on the envelopes. I didn’t even want to look at them anymore. I ended up usurping the job from him one Saturday afternoon. My Dad called me to chat and since I had just finished printing the last envelope, I took it upon myself to start putting the invites in the envelopes to keep myself occupied while we chatted. In fact, when Timo came home, he was upset with me for doing his part since, “Now you’re going to tell everyone I didn’t do anything.” I assured him that was not the case, but he definitely owed me a massage at the least.
Let me show you the best part of the ENTIRE invitation process:
I read about hand cancelling the envelopes, but to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered with physically going to a post office and having them hand cancelled. The reality of the entire situation is that while some our invitees might think, “Oh, wow, this envelope is so cool! Look at how cute that stamp is! Is that a Palmetto tree beside the return address? Oh, I love those mountains!” The majority of them will probably not even notice the embellishments I painstakingly created and will eventually toss the envelope in the garbage. #NatureoftheBeast
Wedding planning lesson: Sometimes, convenience is worth it.
This applies to: shipping costs,
envelope adhesive (because no one deserves a paper cut on their tongue),
wedding websites (because #aintnobodygottime to tell each individual relative about all the details)
and I’m sure many other things that I’ve yet to discover.