One year ago, I began the invitation process with our save-the-dates. To give you newcomers a little history on the invitation situation, I'll be the first to admit that the invitation process was harder than I originally imagined. The invitations were one of the first decisions I needed to make in our wedding planning madness, and though I can now say that I absolutely love the end result, I knew when I was making those decisions a year ago that they would set the tone for our entire wedding—the colors, the calligraphy, the quality—so I had to get it right. They were also our guests' first impression of our wedding, so I wanted everything to look as perfect as I hoped the day would be. After many long meetings where I mulled over paper quality and word choices and calligraphy options (and experienced my first official meltdown), I made all the final decisions by late April and left the printing to the pros at Paperista. Then I anxiously awaited the call to let me know when the invites were ready for pick-up. It came Memorial Day weekend, while my parents were in town. We had hoped the invites would arrive in time for this visit because my mother and I had a strategy for how we wanted to tackle the assembling process, and I couldn't imagine doing it without our four-person team. Plus, it made everything feel very, very real, so it was fun to share with my parents. Once we had the boxes in our possession, drill sergeant Howalds 1 and 2 (my mother and me) started the assembly line by rallying our troops (my now-husband and father) to get to work. We set a few ground rules, which looking back may have been a bit over the top, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right?
First and foremost, no one was allowed to touch the invitations if they hadn't washed their hands. Silly, I know, but necessary given that our paper was cotton and could easily absorb oils, dirt, etc. Second, no beverages were allowed anywhere near our kitchen table. (Cue the drill sergeant jokes from the men in my life.) When the hubby and dad grabbed a beer to enjoy while they worked, I had visions of them spilling all over our table that was filled with every aspect of the invites: stamps, envelopes with complete calligraphy for each guest, reception cards, response cards, response envelopes, and the actual invites, so I politely (and by politely I mean nearly had a heart attack while I prepared to throw myself in the way of any condensation that came from popping the can) asked that they keep them as far away from the table as possible. (I think this was the point when the men decided that this was going to be less fun and more following orders, but they simply rolled their eyes and got to work.
My third and most important rule was that every invitation be rechecked. Since we had a specific order for all the components that went in the invitations, we left the actual assembling of the invitations to the women. The men were in charge of rechecking the calligraphy on each envelope to ensure that everything was correct. This may seem like a waste of time (the guys certainly thought so) but after catching a few errors, they realized the worth of their actions. We caught at least seven envelopes that required a changed; some were our fault from the list we provided, while others were simply human error. Once all the invitations were loaded and stacked, we went through each envelope (again) while we put the stamps on to make sure that we had an invite for everyone on our list. (At this point the men abandoned us, grumbling something about if checking it twice was enough for Santa, it was certainly enough for them.) Once it was all said and done, the invites were ready to hit the post office three days after we received them back from the printer. And though the whole process made me a little crazy (I'm sure my dad and the hubby would agree) and our necks were rather achey from the assembly line, from the moment we hit the post office, I could rest assured that our invites went out on time, smudge-free, in the proper order, and to the correct address. And when you're planning a wedding with a million tasks on your to-do list, that's considered a job well done. Good luck to all you brides-to-be during your invitation process! If you have any questions or comments about your wedding plans, please share on our Facebook wall! Happy planning!