Inviting Stress

posted on January 17th, 2007 by Anthony

The invites ready to go...

I have mentioned briefly a few times on here that in just a few weeks (5 weeks and 3 days to be exact… eep!) I will be at the end of an aisle waiting for Claire to come down and meet me in a stunning dress.

Before Christmas it all still seemed a long way off, but as soon as that was out of the way the panic set in.

Not about the actual life long commitment to the girl I love thing, that’s all fine… it’s all about the “Aaaaaarrrrrrgghhhh we haven’t got anything organised, and we’re going to have 50 people turning up expecting to be entertained!!!!” thing.

So after a big new year blitz most of the big stuff is now sorted, the venue, the honeymoon, the dress, the clothes, the photographer, the cake, the flowers, the ribbons, the guest list, the seating plan, the gift list, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc…

The most recent task to be ticked off the list is the invitations. (Well the day ones anyway…)

Do It Yourself

It seemed like a great idea at the time, all those many months ago, to make our own. We had looked around at what was available, which ranged from cheap (in the weird wedding bubble world of budgets i.e. 4 times what you’d expect) and naff, to fantastic and remortgage-your-flat-expensive.

We basically decided we know what we want best, and we also have the skills to deliver our ideas properly.

I mean I can design a bit, my little sis is crazy awesome with a pen and paint, and Claire is the one with the whole wedding masterplan/look-and-feel in her head. Together we were sure we could come up with something rather lovely… which we did… about a year ago.

After a few initial mock ups and prototypes we bought the raw materials and promptly left them for a while because ‘there’s ages yet’.

Fast forward a few months and it’s ‘We really need to get those invitation sorted‘…

Then it’s ‘HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!! WE NEED THOSE INVITES SENT OUT LIKE YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the last few weeks have been a bit… interesting.

This is how it went…

The Process

After choosing our venue – the lovely Inglewood in South Wirral – and choosing the date – February 24th (we don’t know either, so don’t ask why…) – Claire had already pictured a lot of the day in her head. As I’m sure most brides do. Because of the time of year a light blue (with flashes of silver) scheme was chosen. Possibly to compliment the colour of the bridesmaids (and Grooms…) legs.

When we started out thinking about the invitations I think we had an idea to go for a quite contemporary look. As it happens it organically became a lot more traditional, but with a modern non-weddingy twist.

We wanted to put quite a bit of information in the invitations – directions, an RSVP card, and the like – so we needed a way to present the information in a way that tied together. Eventually we decided we needed to produce a folder that would contain different pieces of card that held all the information. Almost like a business promotional folder.

Ribbon Insertion

The next idea was inspired by our wonderful cake lady. I have to say our cake lady is brilliant. When we first met her at a wedding fayre she was still making cakes in her mums kitchen. We bumped into her again when we walked into her new shop. We had taken a picture of a cake we like from a magazine… when she told us who had made it (before we’d even finished unfolding it) and then apologised for being a ‘cake geek’, we knew she was the one!

Not only is she incredibly talented, but she is so passionate and enthusiastic about her job. It’s so much easier to trust someone with important design work when they are like that!

The ribbon

Anyway one of the cakes in her shop had this really clever ‘ribbon insertion’. Basically this is real ribbon threaded through the icing of the cake. This got me thinking about a way to incorporate blue ribbon into our invitations… and way to literally tie the folder together.

Crazy Awesome

Jen's crazy awesome drawing

Next my sister came into it. As I mentioned she is super talented with a pen in her hand. Where I need a computer, a mouse and Ctrl-Z she just dashes of beautifully detailed collages of flowers in ink and watercolour (see the forst pic and below). She offered(ish) to hand draw us a background for every folder.

Detail of Jen's drawing

She decided on the shape of the folder, including the arc on the front to let the design show through, she also hand cut the slots for the ribbon, and she came up with the nice little touch of the single rose tag to hold the ribbon together.

She, and her right hand, may have regretted all that, but we love what she’s done and we are really, really grateful! Thanks Jen! (I’m sure she’ll be up for any commissions once her arms out of plaster…)

The folder

They look pretty damn good, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Invite

For the actual invitations Claire came upon the idea of layering my sister’s flowers under semi-transparent parchment style paper. I have to admit I was skeptical – but the finished products are fab. First there’s a layer of thick blue card to fit the scheme, then a hi-res scan of some of the art work, then the invitation itself on top of that. Then to finish it off some little silver blobs are added for that little bit extra.

The invite

One of the main problems was actually sticking the bits together. Claire experimented with a few different ways, eventually settling on clever (and skilled) use of double sided sticky tape!

Print – Eeep!

First she needed the fancy text bits to actually stick in.

That would be me then.

I’ve not really done anything in print particularly, and I only wish I had some graphic design training… still I managed to kludge my way around Quark well enough to produce something I’m very pleased with. I originally wanted to steer clear of fancy calligraphy typefaces… but Claire persuaded me to try it, and it works all the better for it.

Again, for the sizing and print finish (photo quality borderless inkjet…), a lot of experimentation was needed, but I got there in the end.

The inserts

Once that was sorted I then had the three other inserts to sort out, including a map. This time I produced them in Fireworks, which isn’t the greatest app to use for print, but I’m far more comfortable working with it. Again they worked out very nicely! Though a spell checker would have come in useful… some trees may not have had to die then.

Ta Dah!

The folder, open

The folder open with inserts

Well, there you have it – thirty wonderful invitations!

Overall we are very proud of our work.

Was it worth the effort? Definitely!

However, had you asked me that question last week the answer might have been a bit different. And a bit more shouted.

It was a tad stressful at times, and when you’ve got a 1001 other things to worry about it’s not exactly conducive for good health.

Ahh well, in just over 5 weeks we’ll be sunning it on a Antiguan beach, and it will all be a very nice memory!

One more thing…

Oh yeah, obviously there’s a website too… I hacked it together quite quickly over a couple of days before Christmas over the top of WordPress… www.claireandanthony.co.uk