I’ve always felt like once I got engaged I’d have a pretty good handle on what I wanted. And in most cases, I do (I think). I know what colors I want (navy, grey, and pink), I have an idea of what I want my bridesmaid dresses to look like (long and navy), and I can visualize how I want the church and the reception venue to look. The dress is a bit of a mystery, but I’m hopeful that, like they say, I’ll know when I know. What I (apparently) forgot to consider was the invitations.
I know it’s too early to even start thinking about the invitations seriously (the date is set for July 28 of next year), but as I started to consider what I’d do for a save-the-date I realized that I wanted them to compliment my actual invites, which meant . . . it was time to make some decisions.
I’ve collected invitations that have caught my attention over the past 10 years, so my first step was to go through my “invite box” with my mom. What I realized was nothing consequential: Essentially, I liked a lot of different styles, but didn’t LOVE anything. So we decided the next step should be to actually hit the stores.
Over Labor Day, I visited a paper boutique in Chicago to scope things out. After about an hour of flipping through books and picking out elements I liked—but again, didn’t love—my mom declared this was going to be a more difficult process that we initially thought. Who knew I cared so much about paper? I left Chicago disheartened, so after touching down in Minneapolis on Labor, literally from the plane, I dialed up Antoinette, owner of Paperista. Thankfully, she was in, and though they were technically closed, I think she could sense my desperation and told me to stop by that afternoon. (My mom was pretty adamant that we get the invites in the mail before Thanksgiving, so my time was ticking down.)
Armed with my stack of save-the-dates from my “wedding box,” the Fiance’s sister and I hit 50th & France for our meeting at the Paperista storefront. I sat down and explained to Antoinette what I wanted: something traditional, with a wow factor, that had elements of today’s trends but also would be timeless. Sure, piece of cake. I’m not difficult at all.
We started with the Crane book and worked our way through Smock, Oblation, Monique Lhuillier, and goodness knows what else. For anyone who is thinking about invites, here’s what I deduced: Smock is probably the trendiest letterpress company out there right now (I’ve received three Smock invites in the past six months), but they also have a very distinct look, so I wanted to avoid them if at all possible—I like to be different. I also know that I want the “royalty” size (the really big one) for my actual invitation and Smock doesn’t get that large. Crane has a number of timeless options, but I wasn’t finding the perfect wow factor. There was one invite that had a script I liked and was royalty sized, but it just didn’t pack that extra punch. Monique Lhuillier’s invites were beautiful, but you can’t customize them, and since I’m all about picking and choosing what I like, I crossed her off the list as well.
After about an hour and a half of looking through books, Antoinette and I deduced that custom might be the way to go. She had a handle on what I liked and didn’t like after all my hemming and hawing, so I returned two days later with both the MOB and MOG in tow and we all worked on creating our ideal save-the-date (with the invitation in mind). I felt confident that the custom service would be able to completely encapsulate my vision and remain within my budget.
The beauty, I’ve found, with custom is that we’re working to create elements that will work throughout our entire wedding. The little embellishment that I’d like to see embossed on the bottom of my invites will also be on the envelope liner of my save-the-dates. The color schemes are the same, but each element has its own identity. And the best part? I get to see proofs and work with the designer to make it exactly how I like it.
We just got the first proof last night—I can’t tell you how exciting it was top open that ‘lil e-mail. And after just a few small tweaks, we should be good to go. Once they're in the mail, I'll be sure to share them!
One more thing checked off the never ending list!