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Wedding Details: The Invitation

I thought I’d start my wedding posts at the beginning: the invitation.

The invitation

The invitation

When you’re doing a certain theme for your wedding, the invitation is the first representation of that theme that your guests will see.  Therefore, in my opinion, it’s important to make sure that the invitation makes an impression.

Our wedding, as you can tell, had a library/book theme.  To keep with the theme I decided that a library card would be a cute way to send out our invitations while still conveying the necessary information.  And because this wedding was being done on the cheap, that meant I was designing, writing, and printing the invitations myself.

As with all things I do, I began with research!

Here is a lovely example I found on Etsy:

Graham and Olive Stationary

Graham and Olive Stationary

The Graham and Olive Etsy store has very unique, beautiful invitations and sundry items.

However, this example (and the many I found like it) were for Save the Dates.  I was not going to send out a Save the Date! In fact, the fewer people who came to our wedding, the better! Seriously.

Using this Save the Date as an example, I came up with my own version.  But first I needed supplies:

1. Library cards

I considered using a template and printing on card stock, but I’m super computer challenged when it comes to downloading and then utilizing things like that.  So I opted to do it the hard way.  Yay me.

Library cards from the Library Store

Library cards from the Library Store

I purchased two packets of library cards, each containing 50 cards, from the Library Store via Amazon.  Each pack was 2.99, plus shipping and tax.  The total was $14.42.

2. Library Card Pockets

I’m sure I could have made these, but really, why would I? The time of construction and cost of the paper would have been at least equal to, if not more than, the buying the pre-made product.

From Ideal School Supply

From Ideal School Supply

Again I purchased two sets of 50, each for $4.49.  This time shipping was covered by my Amazon Prime membership, so the total came out to $9.70.

3. A Template

This was the part of the project that perhaps took the longest.  I didn’t have a template available (mostly because I can’t figure out how to download and integrate one into my computer) so I had to make my own.  This meant measuring the card and creating a word document to the size of the paper, the width of the internal margins, and then the width of the lines on the card.  Fun stuff.

Here’s what I came up with:

Home-made template

Home-made template

Even doing all this, it took several trial and error attempts with the printer to make sure everything lined up.

4. Date Stamp

My mother bought this for me so I don’t have to count it into my budget! yay!  I used a typical date stamp you would find in any office, library, etc. to add the dates of the RSVP deadline and the date of the wedding to the card.

Stamped

Stamped

There were two reasons I chose to do it this way: 1) I couldn’t figure out how to add letters going horizontal like that on the template; 2) I liked the authentic look of it, like you would find on a traditional library card.

5. Library Stamp

Again, I don’t count this into my budget because I’m a huge nerd and I’ve had this stamp for years.

My personal library stamp

My personal library stamp

As Connor and I say: BOOM BABY! I’ve had my own personal library stamp for my ever growing-home library for at least 5 years.  It’s pretty nerdy and pretty awesome (just like me! heehee).

Library Invitation Card

Library Invitation Card

Last, all I had to do was assemble all these pieces together and I was done.

All in all, the invitations cost $23.82.  If we factor in a percentage of the ink I used, I feel comfortable rounding this up to an even $25.00.  Not too shabby!

The best part of the invitation project was how much I enjoyed the finished product.  It was exactly what I had envisioned! It perfectly encapsulated the theme of the event, as well as my personality.  I was also pleased with the response to the invitations.  Nearly everyone who received it commented on how much they liked the invitation, particularly impressed by its uniqueness.  The fact that I was able to create a product that was so well liked for such a small amount of money truly made my heart swell with pride.

Next, all I had to do was bring that same level of personal investment and attention to detail to the rest of my wedding. No pressure!

An ending and a beginning

Weddings are often put at the end of movies, at the end of plays, at the end of books, as if this single event was the culmination of a lifetime.  There’s always a feeling of “ta da!” like some magician was pulling back the curtain to reveal a happily married couple and end scene.

But we know better, don’t we.  Or at least we learned this lesson along the way.

With my first marriage and it’s wedding, so much time, effort, and emotion was built into the wedding that there was a feeling after it ended of “now what?”  Every little girl dreams of her big fairytale wedding and I’d had mine.  And what was I supposed to do now?  We hadn’t talked too much about the marriage part.  It was just assumed that things would go on as before.  But that never really works, does it?  Things change, people change, and we weren’t really prepared for that as a couple.

The second time around the wedding was so much more about putting a stamp on a paper and celebrating our relationship, than it was about some giant event.  Our wedding was extremely personal.  It was exactly how we wanted it to be.  My flu-ridden son slept between us both on our wedding night and the night of our reception.  We walked our three dogs before dropping them off at my parent’s house.  We rushed to get them as soon as the party was over.  The day after the reception we did laundry, cleaned, and went to a family birthday party.

It felt as if our wedding had just been some huge family party that everyone came to, like a confirmation or high school graduation.  And then life resumed.

Perhaps it was because there was no fairy tale this time.

Fairy tales are typically about single, starry-eyed young men and women looking for an epic love.  They’re typically not about divorcees with a child looking for a stable committed relationship, drama free.  Most of the single parents in fairy tales are tragically widowed fathers who end up  marrying a beautiful but cruel woman.

There really aren’t any fairy tales to describe the situation I was in.  Single working mother of autistic child seeks understanding, patient, practical man.  Not exactly the plot of a romance novel.

All this made it easier to see the wedding as just a stamp on a paper, as not an ending but a beginning.

There’s no epic-ness about our relationship.  No hills and valleys.  No drama.  No vase throwing, no screaming.  Our love is a simple country song.  We watch tv together, we take turns making lunches, we talk in embarrassing voices to our three dogs.  And I love him.  And I know that I love my husband more when he’s carrying my sleeping son up the stairs than when we’re sipping wine over a candle-lit dinner.  And I think that really says it all.

Quick Plans

Well my wedding is in just two short months.  It was originally planned for May, but my fiance and I decided that we’d rather my sister didn’t go into labor at the reception, so we’ve moved it to March.  And I’m totally fine.  And everything is under control.  And I’m breathing…

And I’m a little overwhelmed!

I was doing fine until I made the to do list this morning.  It has 50-some items on it!  As Connor would say, “WHAT THE HECK, MIKE?!?!”

But it’s ok…it’s ok…shhhhhh…..it’s going to be fine….

So you’ll excuse me if my posts are somewhat sporadic for the next two months, I’ve got a few things to do….

At least I can cross one thing off my list this morning!  The invitations are done!

We’ve decided on a book theme for the wedding, since the fiance and I are both big readers.  The motto of the reception is “A New Chapter” since this is a new beginning for both of us.  We’re moving away from the past and starting the next phase in our lives.  Yay!

Everything at the reception will be done in book pages, typewriter type, and pops of color here and there.  Since I’m a librarian, library items will be a constant.

Take the invitations for example:

I used library due date book cards and card pockets (the card pockets cost $10 and the cards were $14.00).  Based on research, I designed the invitations myself.  Here’s the result:

libraryweddinginvites

I really love them!  Plus they cost me about $0.50 each!  Perfect!

So that’s done…sort of of.  I just need to create the labels, stuff the envelopes and get them in the mail.  Easy peasy!

Then I can move on to the other 49 items on my list.