July 11, 2011

The Big Invite Post

Phew! The invites are out, and based on initial reactions, I believe we have a success. And I have many tips and lessons learned to boot!

Here are the hard facts on the invites for those who are curious:
 - Pocketfold: From Cards & Pockets, in Sand
 - Invitation mat: From Cards & Pockets, in Sparkling Merlot
 - Invitation envelope: From Cards & Pockets, in Snow White
 - RSVP envelop: From Cards & Pockets, in White
 - Invitation envelope liners: From Cards & Pockets, in Sparkling Merlot
 - Invitation and supplement inserts: Printed by TGI Direct on bright white 100# text on an iGen digital press
 - Ribbon: Michaels, in gold
 - Flowers: Michaels, various colors (all on clearance so I'm not sure they're available anymore)

*I have to apologize ahead of time, because my pictures aren't the best, but hopefully they do them a little bit of justice.*

Ordering of all of the supplies, as I mentioned in my previous post, was a bit of a stressful process. Not because of issues from where I ordered them (which, by the way, was all from Cards & Pockets - I have used them before and love, love, love them!). I had previously purchased swatch books from the site so I knew what colors would work best with what I wanted for the invites. So I go, I place the order, I triple check my quantities (ordered about 10% extras just in case...which came in handy) and my order comes quickly in the mail. All was great except for one small detail - I ordered my invite liners in the wrong color.


Thanks to the wonderful customer service of Cards & Pockets though, I was able to return them and get a refund, while the shipment of the correct liners shipped out to me. Which, brings me to:

Tip #1: Double, triple, quadruple check any order you place for this kind of stuff.

It kind of goes without saying, but even when I was feeling super duper careful about this stuff, I still mistakenly chose "Sparkling Sapphire" instead of "Sparkling Merlot" and was so concerned about my quantities of materials and not on the colors. Oh well, all fixed.

Then I invited all of my local ladies over to help with the invitation assembly process. I had all my materials, I had sent my files to the printer and all was looking good so I figured, hey, let's at least have a party about it! Wrong. The invites weren't ready. Due to a couple of issues with my files (fonts, stuff not lining up, sillyness), my actual printed invites were delayed. Which, brings me to:

Tip #2: Don't freak out about things you can't control.

Not easy to say to a bride on the edge, but I was freaking out about the fact that I wouldn't have the company of my friends to help assemble every last bit of the invites with me. But after taking a step back (and getting talked off a ledge from my wonderful fiance), I realized that everything I needed my friends to do wouldn't get done in one day anyway. So while I didn't actually have invitations for my friends to assemble, we still had plenty to keep us busy.

Now here is where I would show pics of my beautiful friends helping me assemble these things, but in the throes of wine, food, and a lot of fun (at least for me), I forgot. But here is what we ended up with:

Alright, so it doesn't look like much. But that's a lot of gluing of invite backers to pocketfolds, cutting of ribbon, and gluing of flowers to the ribbons. Within the next couple of days, the rest of the printed materials arrived, which brought much joy and happiness to my heart:

Obviously not all of them, but you get the idea.

The invites were variably printed, which means I sent a data file to TGI to tell them everyone who was coming, and they essentially did a mail merge of sorts (I am totally, 100% over-simplifying that process by the way) so that all of our guests invites were individually personalized for them. Like so:

(Yes Jill, you were my example) :)

And, as a nice convenience for us, everyone's names were personalized on their Response card as well, so we didn't have to worry about people forgetting to put their names on their cards:

There was also a spot for people to let us know a song that would get them on the dance floor. Love. Love love love!

There was also this little gem, that took me foreverrrrrr to do, mainly because I hand-drew the map of Traverse City:

Then came the gluing of the envelope liners to the pre-printed envelopes (TGI was also nice enough to print the addresses for us), which literally involved taking some glue, putting it at the top peak of the liner, inserting them in, and pressing down. Easy peasy:

After this, our dear friend Leslie came over to help finish with gluing the invites to the purple backers, and then inserting all of the inserts, while I stamped the RSVP envelope and invite envelope with my parent's return address and put mailing stamps on the envelopes. Unfortunately, I'm a big dummy and I don't have a picture of us putting them all together. Yeah, I know. But we were definitely in the letsgetthisdoneplease mode. Look at my little helper all nice and focused:

That's Allen putting glue dots on the pocketfold so they would seal, and also on the ribbon so it would stay put. Those ribbons are crazy little fellas. But if you look closely you can see it all nice and put together. Sorta. More detail on the design to come at a later date.

Then we stuffed them in their proper envelopes (because the invite name had to match the response card name, which had to match the envelope name). There was a whole lot of quality checking on these babies:

Which brings me to my next tip:

Tip #3: If you're going to individualize your invites, double triple and quadruple check them.

Going through at the last minute, there were a couple of oopsies (people who had Rehearsal invites in theirs that shouldn't have, people with same last names getting mixed up Response cards) so I'm definitely glad we were going through them all just one last time at the end. But there could still be some oopsies out there, so if there are...oops.

In the end, I absolutely love our invites. Not only the design of them (which I'll get into in another post because this one is already long enough), but the fact that all of them were individually touched, put together, and personalized for each of our guests. And the feedback I've been getting on them has been absolutely awesome so thank you to everyone for their kind words! I promised they were put together with lots and lots of love :)


  1. um, i love them! If you couldn't tell by my very excited phone call and i love that my invite is showcased! :) OH and nice job Allen -- your skills will be put to use next year ;)

  2. They are absolutely beautiful, of course, job very well done my dear. The personalization was an amazing and unique touch!

  3. They are beautiful. I squealed when I opened mine.

    Another advantage of personalization — no people trying to bring uninvited guests with them. ;)