Save the Dates
I'd originally planned to make Save the Date cards, but Noel thought those were unnecessary, and we were cutting stuff from the budget left and right after we decided to buy the house, so they got chopped in favour of a few strategic notes to family and friends, which apparently only I sent out, since none of Noel's friends knew we were getting married until they got the invitations.
My original thinking with invitations was to choose the cheapest, most boringest ones we could find online, and just buy them. I scoped out nice wedding invitation web sites, found some that would cost only about $100, and was all set. Then Martha Stewart ate my brain, and I thought it would be neat to make my own invitations, and maybe we would save some money and still have nice invitations. Plus, I would get to play with paper, which is always fun.
So we made them ourselves, and it was a huge, painful procedure. I did the layout in Adobe Illustrator, including maps. I modified the map to the wedding location from a PDF that the parks provided, and drew the map to our house in the same style. Drawing a map using Illustrator is actually not all that hard. I got the appropriate street maps from Yahoo Maps in the largest size I could, laid them out to make the larger area I needed, and then locked them at 50% transparency and drew my map over them.
We chose the layout we did because we wanted to do an accordion fold, and accordion folds look nicest when they have an odd number of folds (and an odd number of pages). Also, we were able to buy envelopes that would fit an 8.5" x 5.5" card perfectly, so we wanted something that came close to those dimensions; when you're making your own invitations it's important to find the envelope first, and work around that size, unless you also want to make your own envelopes (not fun). Since drawing paper comes in 19" x 25" sheets, we figured we'd use the whole length and have five sections of 5" each that were 8" tall. We used the trimmings for the inserts.
I went to the Art Store and bought samples of a bunch of papers and did prints on them, front and back, to see which had the least bleed-through and which colour we liked best. This was more involved than it sounds, but definitely worth it, since we intended to order it in bulk to save money, and it would really suck to end up with 40 extra sheets of drawing paper that we could not use. By far, the nicest paper we found for ink-jet printing was Canson Mi-Tientes. It's smooth on one side, rough on the other, made for pastels, but great for printing on, too. We chose "lily" as the shade, which is an off-white. When the paper came from the supplier, we had it cut to size at a local service bureau, for $5. We sent it through the printer so that the maps were on the smooth side, for clarity, but once or twice we messed up and it really didn't hurt.
Here's what the front and back looked like, laid out in Illustrator (except obviously our address wasn't blurred out, and the quality was finer):
Our fonts were Edwardian Script (for the script) and Garamond (for the text). We were going for a sort of old-fashioned feel.
Of course when we were printing the printer jammed and ink splattered everywhere and terrible things happened, but we gave up on perfection and settled for "legible." Being willing to give up on having a Martha-perfect invitation is very important, unless you start working on them years in advance. You will ass many of them up, and none of your guests will notice. They will just toss the invitation away, anyway. Do be sure to send the nicest ones to your parents, who will want to keep one, and to keep one for yourselves.
Noel did the accordion fold. He made this odd little jig to help him, with clamps and a ruler and everything, and used my bone folder to make nice, neat folds. They came out perfectly. This is why it is a good idea to marry an accordionist.
We decided to do reply postcards rather than cards with envelopes. Just to save some weight in the envelope, actually, since the accordion-folded invitation was already quite thick. We used this text (written originally by Maitreya Badami):
M______________________ __ Will attend with bells on __ Will attend, free of bells __ Will attend, undecided on bells __ Will not attend; have heard there will be people wearing bells __ Will not attend, regardless of bell controversy
This threw most of our guests for a loop, it appears. Try not to be too silly if your guests don't have much of a sense of humour. A couple guests indicated that they were not coming because of the bells. Nobody actually showed up wearing bells, although Noel does play for a Morris side, so that was entirely possible.
Once we'd finished the invitation making extravaganza, I did one hand-lettered envelope and decided that was insane, so we machine-printed the envelopes using the same fonts as the invitations. Nobody complained, the cards got delivered properly by the post office, and I think my marriage may even be legal.
The final product:
The brunch invitations were a last-minute thing. We decided to invite all the neighbors to our Sunday brunch, just to be neighborly. So I threw together this invitation at the last minute, had it printed on cream cardstock at Kinkos, and sliced it into three parts and tied them together with ribbon. My neighbors suspected I was a Martha-wannabe before, but now they know for sure.
Notice that I changed fonts. I was getting tired of Edwardian Script.