Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Octopi Invites, Part 2

I showed you the outsides of the Octopi wedding invitations, and now I'm excited to show you the pretty stuff inside! Here's the back of the envelope again, complete with an expertly-executed return address stamp, courtesy of Mr. O:

When you open the invitation, here's what you see:

There are those unnecessary-but-ooooooh-sparkly envelope liners again....

And here are all the pieces! I cut PaperSource's purple mums paper into strips to make the belly bands, then secured them using clear stickers Bridesmaid/Cousin Katie had lying around her house.

First up, we've got our invitation. If you recall, our save-the-dates and invitation suites were designed by Gramkin Paper Studio, and I recommend them very highly. The artist picked up very easily on the general ideas of what I was looking for, delivered something lovely, and then revised the designs until they were totally perfect.

I bought a bulk pack of Paper Source's Luxe Fino paper (cover weight) in cream and brought PDFs of my invitation design to Kinko's, where they handled the printing and cutting. I was incredibly pleased with the results. The paper is a really pretty creamy ivory color, and has a nice, subtle texture. The printing from Kinko's looks great too--the ink colors are bright and strong, and it looks slightly shiny and raised from the paper. Yum. I glued the invitations to Paper Source's A7 flat cards in gold shimmer. I used a plain old glue stick, with no issues. Couldn't be easier.

Next up, our RSVP card. We did a postcard, and I especially love the way our invitation designer styled our return address on the front of the card. I do not love the fact that the polar bear stamp made an appearance again.

Finally, our reception insert. I opted not to do an additional card for accommodations, directions, or other information, mainly because the package our invitation designer offered us included one insert on top of an RSVP card. I felt like the easiest thing to do, and the most economical use of space, would be to create a reception card with a note to visit our website for more details about the nuts and bolts of the weekend.

And now, the summary of what it all cost.

Design fee from Gramkin Paper Studio: $75
Gold pens for faux-ligraphy: $9 (bought two crappy ones at $3/apiece, then the good one for another $3).
PaperSource's A7 chocolate shimmer envelopes: $50 (10 packs of 10, $5 apiece)
PaperSource's White Swirls Gold Dust vellum paper (for envelope liners): $21 (6 sheets, $3.50 each)
Return address stamp from SugarLetter: $25
ColorBox gold ink pad for address stamp: $8
Bulk package of PaperSource luxe fino cover paper: $39
PaperSource's purple mums decorative paper (for belly bands): $15 (3 sheets, $5 each)
PaperSource's A7 gold shimmer flat cards (for invitation backing): $20 (4 packs of 25, $5 each)
Printing and cutting services at Kinko's: $104
RSVP card postage: $28 (100 28-cent stamps)
Invitation postage: $44 (100 44-cent stamps)
Grand total: $438 for 100 invitations

Overall, I feel only okay about the total price tag on these suckers. I budgeted $400, but was hoping to come in under that. Ultimately, I actually went over budget by $38, which is a little annoying. I know exactly where the overage came from--I had not originally planned to put a return address on our invites, then got some feedback that this was a bad plan, hence the $25 address stamp and $8 ink pad. I mean, it wasn't exactly a wasteful extra--I've already used the stamp on my bridal shower thank-you notes, will use it again for my upcoming shower's thank-you notes, and will use it yet again on our wedding thank-you notes, so I'm definitely getting my money's worth. But......$438 is quite a bit more than I had originally imagined spending, overall.

Here's how I could have saved money on our invitations: I could have used white envelopes instead of brown, which would have allowed me to simply print the mailing addresses and our return address. In doing that, I could have eliminated the gold pens, stamp, and ink pad. I also could have scratched the envelope liners and belly bands, as they are nothing more than fun, decorative little extras. I also could have shopped around harder for non-PaperSource options. That was sheer laziness on my part. I can walk to my local PaperSource in ten minutes, and the convenience factor there was hard to resist.

On the other hand....I was aware of those spending shortcuts the whole time, and I knew throughout the invitation-creation process that I was spending more money than strictly necessary, and I just went ahead and did it anyway. Ultimately, I'm okay with it, because I absolutely love these invitations. They turned out exactly how I was imagining them, and I just think they're so pretty. I spent a fair chunk of money (and time!) on those decorative little extras, but....they're so fun. And decorative. And pretty. And isn't that what a lot of all this wedding nonsense is anyway?

I also learned a thing or two about the whole "hand-crafted wedding" thing in the process of making these. I will be the first to admit that when I first started reading Weddingbee, I sometimes didn't "get" DIY projects. When I saw gorgeous, but clearly labor-intensive, handmade details, I often thought, "Pretty!......but no one is going to notice that, ergo it was kind of a waste of time." In the process of making these invitations, I've realized how untrue that is.

Now, I am no crafting goddess, obviously. This was pretty much my first-ever homemade undertaking, and I didn't even design, print, or cut them myself! Our invitations are not DIY in the "I made them myself, and don't forget to look for my Etsy shop opening in fall 2010!" sense. They are DIY in the "everything was cut with a dinky pair of scissors I bought in the school supplies aisle at CVS, and for that matter nearly every single envelope liner and belly band is visibly crooked in places, and not one invitation is glued to the gold shimmer backing evenly, and there is some truly botched faux-ligraphy in there, too" sense. But you know what? I'm really proud of them. I spent a lot of hours and put a lot of care into all the elements I included in our invitations, and I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I think they're beautiful, warts and all. So, I realized that it doesn't matter if no one else notices the envelope liners or the shimmery cardstock or the belly bands. I took a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from the process of making them, and that's enough for me.

Did you learn anything new from planning something for your wedding?

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