I’m about to reveal a real shocker here, guys. There were two things about wedding planning that had me really, truly jazzed (when many parts frightened or intimidated me, especially way back in the beginning – like finding a venue or a dress, balancing not-totally-the-same religious feelings…): a color scheme and paper goods. You never would have guessed, right? I knew it.
I spent all kinds of time browsing minted.com and weddingpaperdivas.com, opening ones I liked into new tabs in my browser until I had so many tabs open the browser started to protest. The invitations had to come after the color scheme, or perhaps they would help us figure out a color scheme? Dan had a limit to the browsing at this point; he was more than happy to help me narrow it down from four or five choices to one, but he had ZERO interest in flipping through pages and pages of invitation styles. The really modern, nonweddingy invitations jumped out at me, of course – chalkboard style, bright bold colors, non swirly scripts. Dan’s mom surprised me early on by saying her invitation prediction was for something simple, non-frilly, and graphic. (She was totally right and I hadn’t even started looking at that point.) My mom objected to a few of the really modern ones, because as she rightly pointed out, they really didn’t look like wedding invitations at all. I never really considered printing them or designing them myself; I knew that would turn me into a bridezilla more than anything else. I suppose I didn’t need to be making these decisions so early in the process, but since we knew early that we were aiming for January 2013, we wanted to send out save the dates relatively quickly, and I really, really wanted to make sure I could find a save the date that coordinated with the eventual invitations.
The colors were the cornerstone, though, and this was really hard for me. Jodi and I pinned a whole bunch of red and aqua wedding ideas, but I just wasn’t sure. My favorite color is orange, and Dan really wasn’t too keen on that. (My sister has been terrified for YEARS that I’d make her wear an orange bridesmaid dress; I love the color but would totally not do that to her.) The tough part for me was that the bold, bright colors I love (like orange and aqua) don’t really work for a winter wedding, and if you don’t have the color represented in the bridesmaid dresses, then you’d figure it should appear in the flowers, and aqua flowers just don’t… exist. Orange would be great for a fall wedding, orange and deep red… but it just didn’t fit. And I just don’t really love the soft, muted colors that go along with most people’s idea of winter. When I’m talking colors, I’m talking bold, bright and vivid, for better or worse.
I was browsing the invitations all the time, and kept coming back to the idea of stripes. How can we incorporate stripes in a classy way? And then the universe sort of solved both problems for me, in the shape of a save the date with bold colors and black and white stripes. I sent it to my mom with a few other favorites and labeled it “the really crazy one” and to my utter shock, she loved the crazy one the best.
We ordered samples of a few of our favorites, including a few of the really elegant winter scenes, which Dan really liked. Seeing the save the date and its matching invitation, thank you card, rsvp card, and enclosure card sealed the deal, though, for all of us. The other contenders just didn’t have the right “Elizabeth and Dan” vibe – and the stripes (the design is called “Bold Geometry”) and crazy school bus yellow just felt so perfect. It felt like everything made sense, all of a sudden. Black and white is classy, the pop of yellow could appear in small ways, like the flowers, but black bridesmaid dresses for a winter wedding seemed elegant and simple and so fitting. (Even if telling people your colors are black and white stripes and yellow elicits some strange looks. But in the dark winter you need bright yellow even more than usual!)
I LOVE that the save the date had matching invitations and enclosures. We had a bit of a panic attack when we set about ordering the invitations, though, as they no longer appeared when searching the site, or browsing by any method. I could only access a few of the pieces by going through my four-month-old browser history to find the direct link to each individual card. It would have pissed me off SO MUCH if we couldn’t have all of the pieces that matched. I mean, the whole wedding was planned around this design, now all of a sudden the invitation is unavailable? You’ve got to be kidding. (It turned out that the design was being discontinued; I could still order it and customize it, but they were phasing it out in a way that made it hard to find. Thank goodness for never-cleared browser history, is all I’m saying.)
We weren’t going to go with the pockets at first, but it did make things seem more put together. Dan and my dad stared me down when I told them my plan to tie the pockets closed with black and white baker’s twine; even my mom and sister were hesitant (“no one notices these details but you, Elizabeth”) but I insisted and I’m so glad.
Calligraphy was something that I really wanted to do from the beginning but that seemed like an unnecessary indulgence. We ended up finding an insane coupon for the invitations, and then it seemed more within reach. Calligraphy can be EXTREMELY expensive, so I was really excited that we were able to find someone who could fit us in who wasn’t also charging $4 an envelope. We went with Rachel Carl, who hand addressed almost all of our invitations, and who also made us a coordinating return address stamp that we could use for return addresses on invitations and thank yous, but also for the rsvp cards. I absolutely LOVE how they turned out. It was worth every penny and I don’t regret it at all.
So here’s the whole invitation together:
Seeing them in person for the first time was definitely one of those Holy. Shit. moments. Our full names, our parents’ names, our wedding date. We’re actually getting MARRIED and that is so awesome. And I think our invitations are pretty awesome, too.