Congratulations! You set the date! Now all you have to do is tell the world! Every now and then I talk to a bride who hasn’t even set a date. Head spinning, she doesn’t know where to start. So we have a little chat, and she’s on her way once I lay out a plan for her. Mind you, it’s a baby plan…I save the heavy lifting for the wedding coordinators. But, you can’t do ANYthing until you get the real estate (ceremony/reception sites) locked down. That information (date, time, location) will enable you to reserve all your other services. Then you better fasten your seatbelts, because you are rollin’!
Let me back up just a minute–many of you have planned your wedding without a fiance’ in site, right? Just like Debra told Ray (anybody watch "Everybody Loves Raymond"?) when he proposed, "I’ve been planning this since I was 12. You’re the final piece of the puzzle!" For those of you who met Mr. Right last night, you can’t ask the most popular D.J. in town "how much?" if you don’t have a date, time, and location for her/him. It’s a scheduling thang. See?
Let me back up another minute. You can’t nail down the real estate until you have an idea of how big your guest list will be, i.e., that darling, bitty church in Coloma that you’ve had your heart set on will only hold 75 people, and that number barely covers YOUR family.
Alrightie, then. After you get all that taken care of AND finalize your budget (THAT’S the real "B" word !), you should start thinking about your invitations. There is SO much out there, especially on-line. But, if you’re like me, and I know I am, I want to touch and feel. If you’re planning a tres cazh celebration on the ol’ homestead, you could get away with something simple. Your invitation should reflect the feel of your ceremony. Questions so far?
EsPECially if you’ve never done this before, begin this part imMEDiately. There is so much more to it than you’d imagine. F’rinstance, I bought these beautiful six inch square envelopes last year to mail some 4×6 cards. I finally got around to putting the mailer together and I’ll be double-dog-danged if those envelopes weren’t 5 15/16ths"!! Sigh. I had to trim two ends of the cards so they would fit, and then the other two sides so they wouldn’t be lopsided. And if that had been my wedding invitations and I had 250 of them to mail? I would be a cryin’ fool. Especially if I had waited ’til the last minute.
This is why you should always allow WAY more time than you think any project will take. And this is why you don’t wait until the weekend before your timeline says you should mail your invitations (most folks say that’s six weeks).
The other surprise I got was postage. I knew the stuffed envelope would be a little heavier than a regular ol’ 41 cent first class stamp could handle. Fortunately, instead of weighing it on my office scale and stamping it and dropping it in the OUT box, I walked it into my post office. It was 1.3 oz. and the nice (though uninformed) postperson told me those pretty little envelopes would cost me $1.30 EACH to mail. I know whining does no good, but, I couldn’t help myself. A DOLLAR THIRTY?! EACH?!?!? C**p!! And a few more c**ps for extra measure.
FROM THE GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT–I went to usps.com. I hardly ever have to go to the post office anymore. The part where you calculate postage has changed with the times, and now asks you if your envelope is square. Square costs more. If you’ve inserted something that’s not bendy, get ready. Non-bendy costs more. It only gave me the choice of square OR non-bendy. Mine was both. Square or bendy, two oz., cost $.75. I still wanted to be sure so I went to a DIFFERENT post office. The Good News–that $1.30 envelope only cost me $.97 (square & non-bendy) at the ‘cross town post office. Shhhhh…don’t tell.
I remember in a past life, my boss would get these aMAZing invitations to fabulous weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs! They were giGANtic, beautiful, heavy paper, some with REAL engraving. I LOVED seeing these invitations and just imagined what the actual party would be like. When the invitation was something very special, I knew the party would be, as well.
So if you want to touch and feel invitations before you place the order for one of the most important aspects of your whole celebration, yes, you can walk into any large stationery store and you can do that. But, sweetiepies, I’m here to tell ya it’s a crapshoot as to whether you’ll get someone who gives half a whit about you, your invitations, or your wedding. Will s/he be there when you have questions? Did she just break up with HER boyfriend? Knowwhuttumsayin’? Sara Hamm, Bella Vita Invitations, is someone who will hold your hand and walk you through the whole process. Call her. She has beautiful things, she does invitations, only, and will do a lovely job for you.
P-POOs From The Invitationary Ideas Department–
1. Need to trim the guest list? Everybody who knows you by your first names only, stays. That removes parents’ co-workers, business associates, etcetera. Means you won’t have to hire crowd control, AND you can buy better champagne.
2. After I got my engagement ring, I started planning. Plan A was to elope to Niagara Falls. I bought about 100 vintage Niagara Falls postcards which were going to be my after-the-fact wedding announcements, handwritten, with a Niagara Falls postmark. I’m now saving them for the honeymoon.
3. The United States Postal Service has lost sleep thinking up pretty stamps for your most important postings. Please use them. If you’re planning a 4th of July barbeque, yes, you can use the flag stamps. But, for your wedding invitations? Buy the pretty ones, OR, have some USPS approved, custom printed stamps made with a favorite photo!
4. I love sealing wax, and have used it since I was a kid. Back then, they were sticks with a wick that involved fire and a big, fat hassle. And messy. If that turned you off, try again. Now you can use a hot glue gun with your wax stamps. Need help with yours? Need to know where to find a fabulous selection? Ask The Dove Lady. She has great anti-sticking and other tips for using the new fangled sealing wax.
5. PLEASE, please, please, oh please, do NOT use address labels on your invitations! Ewww! Not even the clear ones! The only stickers allowed are the pretty return address stickers that you use to seal your envelopes. Check out the blind embossed ones. They’re very elegant, and if you order extras, you can use them for as long as you don’t change addresses.
6. Sorry–you can’t type the addresses, either. That’s TOtally taboo. Enlist the help of anyone with decent handwriting to help you address them. Bake a cake and make a party of it!
7. And who doesn’t LOVE receiving an invitation with hand calligraphy? It’s tres chic, tres fabu, up town, all the way first class! A calligrapher can also do your menu cards, place cards, seating cards, your program…priiiidy. Call Sally with Monks of Age Calligraphy.
8. Are you the bride that wants to stack donuts for her wedding cake and serve her guests fried eggs? Been there, heard about that. I didn’t see her invitations, but if you’re an Xtreme bride, save up all your mac’n’cheese, cereal boxes, etcetera. Cut them a uniform size, print your invitations on some heavy card stock and glue them to the pieces of boxes and then trim. SASS-eh!! A guillotine paper cutter will make it a breeze. Do this only if it’s so YOU, that people will exclaim, "Oh, it’s SO HER!!"
9. If you MUST make your own invitations/programs, enlist a PP (Picky Person) to tell you, honestly, whether what you have designed is tacky or not. You can’t use cereal boxes for a formal wedding. And do not use wimpy paper. Xpedex has a great selection of beautiful papers. They’re at 1059 Vine Street in Sacramento.
10. Do you want a photograph of the two of your on your Save The Date or thank you notes? My darling and I found a photo booth at the UA Arden Fair theater. It took two photos of us, let us decide which one we preferred and then did a pencil drawing of the photo while we watched! It was a perfect likeness of us, and it was only a couple bucks. Even if you don’t want something like that for your wedding stationery, go do it anyway. It’s cool.
11. The owners and vendors of Whitebird Ceremonial Dove Releases have been reusing, reducing, and recycling since well before the very first Earth Day to help save the planet, so we’re not going to say your response card must have its very own envelope. We’re not THAT picky. But, we feel (PPA!) we must advise you to avoid, if you can, ordering the kind of invitations where the response card is attached, perforated, and is to be torn off and mailed. It screams "CHEAP!"
12. Want to add a romantic line to your stationery? "Today I marry my best friend" is sweet, but tired. Pick a line from a favorite song, i.e., "And I love you so, the people ask me how, how I lived ’til now, I tell them I don’t know." or "I found all I waited for, and I could not ask for more." Your wedding is a day you can get away with total mushiness.
13. If your do-it-yourself invitation plan involves punching holes, please go to your office supply store and get a proper hole punch. The standard ones won’t do for this. Get a punch that makes small holes and/or skinny rectangular holes, depending on what you plan to run through them. They also have really neat ones that round off or embellish corners. Details, details, details.
The Dove Lady has about 15 different paper punches in her arsenal. And she generally prefers crowds of two or fewer.