Broke-Ass Tag: Wedding Paper Goods

7/17

We’re in the home stretch for the wedding now. The countdown is at seven weeks. Last week, at the eight-week mark I had a mini panic attack about how close the wedding was and how much was undone. To calm myself, I sat down and tried to do two of the larger tasks that were left. I was finally able to tackle the program and the name cards for the tables.

At first I had these grandiose plans of designing my own wedding programs. I wanted it to be sort of like a poster advertising the circus with each section being acts. So the officiant would be the ring leader, we’d be the main event, etc. I knew I wanted the programs to be attached to a wooden stick so they could be used as fans. I always get hot at weddings so I might as well make something that can be used well as a fan instead of a flimsy piece of paper.

With these grand plans in mind I sat down at my desktop to see what I could crank out in Publisher and quickly realized this was a task for Photoshop. I dusted off my college laptop (the only computer in the house with Photoshop) and sat down to get to work. Then cried. I don’t actually have any serious design skills. I can dabble and do something simple, but nothing as beautiful as what I had envisioned. After a good hard melt down, I got onto Fiverr.com and Esty to see what I could find. Maybe someone had a template I could work off of or I could just find a pre-made program and to hell with designing.

Program Template by Etsy Seller BirDIYdesign

BirDIYdesign came to my rescue. After a fairly thorough, weeklong hunt I found a nice simple, not at all what I had originally had in mind, program that cost me $16. ($5.60 for the template, $10 for two color change). I’ve come to realize I have a price where I will pay for something that will take me hours, possibly days to make myself. If I can buy it under $30, its worth it. My time is my money.

Ticket Template by Etsy seller Eudanedigital

The name cards I was willing to spend hours of work on to create. I knew exactly what I wanted. I saw a pin on Pinterest of some name cards an Etsy seller made that I absolutely adored. I tried to find the seller again to see if they would make them for me, but they have vanished off the face of Etsy. So instead I found a seller that had a template for them that I was able to make my own. Eudanedigital makes some snazzy, stupid cheap templates for editing. I found this one and was able to use my limited Photoshop skills to make these name cards. 

I’m stupidly pleased with these, they came out really well and only took me about four hours to pump out. The part that took the longest was editing the image of the ferris wheel to go in the background. There are so many nooks and crannies between the spokes. Each table will be a different theme like ferris wheel, carousel, dancing bear, etc.

Getting tasks complete lifts a HUGE burden off my shoulders. I do still need to print up the programs and name cards, but I can’t physically print them until I have all the RSVPs in and I hear back from the officiant on her official title. Next up will be the ticket booth and signs for the wedding. I can calm down, these tasks aren’t nearly as daunting as I originally thought.

How’s your countdown going? What big projects do you have left?

  • 6/28

    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.”

    Side bar:
    Dear Bride Brain,
    Die in a fire.
    -Love, Megan

    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.

    via GIPHY

    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.

    via USPS

    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.

  • 6/14

    Bride to be cellphone case from Etsy seller Guestbookery Originally, we had planned to do evites but I got so much pushback from the "elders" about using that technology that I gave up the fight and went the traditional route of paper invitations. While they are gorgeous and I'm happy with how they turned out, the price tag didn't bring me much happiness, nor did…

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    5/2

    Within a week of selecting our venue and wedding date, I started daydreaming (and night dreaming) about save the date magnets. I wanted to send out magnets with a photo of us with our date in a cute font and the wedding website and they would be perfect and cheap and so cute!  Everyone loved the idea. But then we told the Germans about my…

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    9/13

    We love a good paper project, especially when that project can easily, beautifully and affordably replace a more expensive floral decoration. We're huge fans of paper flowers as a broke-ass decor option, but that's far from the only paper decoration option. For this project, made with the Cricut Explore Air machine for Cricut’s Wedding Campaign, “It’s Your Story, Make It Personal,” I found a beautiful lacy doily design…

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    8/29

    Finding wedding stationery that suits you and your partner's style while not costing an arm and a leg can be one helluva daunting task, especially as stationery is the first taste your guests will get of your wedding style. With options ranging from huge mass-printing sites to small bespoke boutiques, it's easy to get overwhelmed and not even know where to begin. Which is why…

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    6/28

    A few months ago, we had received some invitation samples from Minted and fell in love with their Delicate Dots design. I loved the extra elegance foil adds, and since we have a relatively short guest list, we decided to splurge on the invitations a little. We were finally able to get our order in this past weekend, and I can’t wait to receive them!…

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    5/4

    On top of making my wedding dress and flowers for my centerpieces, I came to the conclusion not that long ago to yes, DIY most of our printable materials for the wedding as well. This isn't because I'm a crazy-insane person that decided to take on even more to DIY during our wedding planning chaos, but resulted from not finding the exact kind of designs…

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    4/12

    When it comes to wedding stationery, oftentimes it can be easier and more cost effective to take on the printing yourself -- but what if your home printer just isn't up to the job? Finding a high-quality place to print your thoughtfully picked out and painstakingly worded stationery can be a bit of a challenge. But our homies at CatPrint have got your back. With…

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