First - the design. As always, never an easy process for me. I started out sketching, mostly trying to work on the "logo" for our wedding. I wanted to have an image that we could carry through all of the pieces of our wedding (with some variations), and finally came up with something that was both typographically and aesthetically pleasing (to me), with about 4 different designs and layouts. Then, I started working with photos that I thought represented the Traverse City area a bit - I wanted people to look at the save the dates and get excited about the possibility of going up north for the wedding. The final product turned out like this:
(Under the 9.10.11 it says "traverse city, mi" and on the back is the hotel and website information)
My mom had seen the photo on one of the sites I had looked at (I used istockphoto.com for this particular photo) and was immediately on board. Once I showed it to Allen, he was in love and instantly wanted a glass of wine. Success! I decided on the square format based on some free leftover envelopes I had from a job at work, and definitely couldn't throw those babies away! They were a clear vellum so the recipient could see the image through the envelope. Love.
However, the full layout of the card was actually on a 5 x 7" card. I did this because I used a site called Vista Print to print the cards. They're one of my favorite sites to use, especially for down and dirty printing - even though their options for specs can be a bit limiting, the printing always turns out really nicely. So when we got them, they looked like this:
(We need a new camera - sorry for the blurriness)
This meant that Allen quickly became my go-to cutter buddy, and he used my paper cutter to cut them down to size. I had this from previous art projects in school, but you can get them for super cheap at Michael's, and they come with different cutters so you can perf, score, etc.
The next step was inserting into the envelopes (an easy while-watching-Jeopardy activity), and then we affixed the return address labels. I purchased a return address stamp from Paper Source to save on cramping and cheesy return labels. I figured that since we'll be sending out a lot of wedding-related mail in the near future it would be worth it. Top that off with a handy $10-off promotion, and I grabbed this guy for $25 worth of hand cramp savers:
You can change out ink colors, and if we ever move, we can replace the plate with a new address
Then we stamped our return address onto some round sticker labels to use as our sealers (saving precious taste buds and preventing tongue paper cuts - always a plus):
Ta da! Love those envelopes.
The final step was addressing these suckers. This is where we had some problems. Again, I used my trusty Paper Source to find some fancy address labels, and ended up finding vellum labels that would allow for the wine image to be seen through the envelope without a chunky label covering everything up. Amazing! This would have all been great, except that the template that I downloaded from PS was incorrect. Twice. I set up my template in InDesign to allow for use of a scripty font that I had used on the invites. Due to the vellum, it was difficult to see on the actual label sheets where the die cut of the label fell. So it wasn't until we were pulling the labels off to affix to the invites that we actually realized that half the labels on each sheet printed off-center or completely off the label.
Epic fail. This would be where I would show you a picture of this monstrosity, but we were so frustrated in trying to re-work them that I never got around to it. After trying to re-layout the labels for the cut off addresses, and after going through way more labels than we had intended, we ended up getting the save the dates out in two batches - first were the ones that were at least still mailable (even if they were off-center), and the second drop was of all the people from the first batch that their labels didn't really meet my standards. The second batch went out about a week later after procuring more labels. So, if you got your save the date late, that's why! And even the second batch still didn't turn out 100% the way I would have preferred. But, it's done, and lesson learned - measure the template yourself, and get labels with a clear die cut so you can see mistakes right away. Done and done for next time. At least it wasn't for the invitations.
Overall, despite some serious address label frustrations, I am really, really happy with how they turned out. I think they portray the overall tone of the wedding with the bay and the wine (naturally), and I'm proud of the work we put into them together. Hopefully everyone else enjoys them as much as I do!