wedding: pretty paper. true stories. {and scrapbooking classes with cupcakes.}: How I made my wedding invitations

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How I made my wedding invitations

handmade wedding invitations with photos

Two years ago, this Monday marked the start of one week of excitement and insanity leading up to our wedding. It was a very crafty, DIY affair in many ways, and at this point there were still skirts to hem, bunting to sew and cherry amaretto jam to stew, not to mention friends and family to collect from the airport, deliveries to make and dinner dates to keep! Oh, and the little extra insanity that I knew I only had one day between the wedding and the first day of this annual online class.

I loved every minute of it, but I didn’t really get time to blog very much of it. A few things have appeared here and there on scrapbook pages, but most of the projects remained just snapshots on my hard drive after the big day. But between that upcoming anniversary and constant crafty talking and planning for the September weddings of two of my favourite friends, I am back in wedding mode, so it seems the right time to share. So welcome to wedding week here at! (Don’t worry – I promise there will be some scrapbooking things this week too.)

Today I’m starting with one of the very first crafty things we finished: our invitations. They were very much a team effort, which is what made them so perfect to me.

handmade wedding invitations with photos

We had quite a long engagement and didn’t really start planning straight away. Or actually, we did start planning in quite a traditional sense, like going to wedding fairs and such but I had a really horrible experience and went away knowing that pretty much all I knew was that I didn’t want some sort of template wedding that was chosen out of six options in a brochure, which was seriously what was being pushed by those vendors. So we backed off and let things happen as they did. (Yes, this is also known as procrastination. Shush.)

In that window of time between engagement and a real outline of the wedding, we turned a work trip to the Seattle scrapbooking convention into a holiday with a road trip through Washington and British Columbia. That included a day spent with the fabulous Joy Madison and her family. Now, Joy is an awesome photographer (and scrapbooker) and her husband Jon has this wicked-crazy street photography style that I love. So we spent the day eating Japanese food, getting leaves in our hair, chasing geese and standing in the middle of traffic while he took our pictures all over Seattle. Seriously: so. much. fun.

And the shot of our feet above became our wedding invitation. I love how it’s a slightly insecure picture with the body language. Not that we were insecure about getting married, just that we are both people who can be very shy and quiet at times and it was just very natural. We added the text to the wall and sent it off to an online printer, ordering plenty of these at 4×6 with a white border.

handmade wedding invitations with photos

Ordering the photos was the easy part. Then there was the hard labour. First we letterpressed the letter N onto pretty much anything that didn’t move. (In case you haven’t ever guessed from the background of photos in our house, my married name starts with N! It just ended up easier to stay with Laine in the scrapbooking world, especially since really I just go by my first name so much of the time.) The various letter Ns came from a variety of market stalls around London, and we used a reinker bottle of Colorbox pigment ink in Colonial Blue for all the letterpressing. One big N on the front of the RSVP envelopes and a different big N on plain white 4×6 postcards and a swirl design on blue scalloped postcards for the RSVPs. Lots and lots of letterpressing.

The plain white 4×6 postcards were then glued to the back of the photo prints, and instead of bulk printing the details, I wrote everyone a personal note with a fountain pen. It was actually quite therapeutic but it was far, far more time-consuming than I ever imagined. But each person got their very own note written with my very own hand. Oh, and each card included details about the dress code wherein we asked everyone to wear their best black and white. (More about that later this week.)

handmade wedding invitations with photos

The RSVP cards were screen printed on our Gocco machine with black ink over the tone-on-tone blue design that we letterpressed. I loved that some of our guests dressed them up when they returned them, so we had some with gems, some with fancy silver lettering and some with very sweet notes. I kept them all – every single one.

The photo cards with the notes on the back were then bundled with the reply card and the return envelope and tied up with black sheer ribbon with white polka dots.

handmade wedding invitations with photos

And then we sat one night and punched and stamped and stamped and punched until we had one of these little ‘and they lived happily ever after’ circles for everyone, and we attached that to the ribbon with a brad and a flower and packed the entire little set into a blue envelopes with more letterpressed monograms and sent the entire stack flying away in the post.

…and that is how we made our wedding invitations! But my favourite part of the entire process was when we both sat on the floor of our flat with tons of stamps and inks and ribbons and photos and we mixed and matched and pasted and punched until we found something that we both loved. Why didn’t I take a picture of our fifty half-finished drafts?

I have no idea.


23 August 2010

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27 Comments for How I made my wedding invitations

  1. Sarah B Says:

    Ooh they’re lovely. Ideas noted for future reference :)

  2. Marie Says:

    Makes me want to get married again… just need a man… know anyone?? x

  3. mariangeles_spain Says:

    Great ideas :)

    And I love you’ve decided to share your experience through a wedding week :)


  4. Mel Says:

    They look amazing, can’t wait for the rest of wedding week :-)

  5. Natalie Williams Says:

    They look amazing! I’m in the midst of wedding planning so it’s fun to be inspired by some DIY invitations :)

  6. Irene Fitzpatrick Says:

    Thank you for sharing Shimelle! My daughter is getting married in January 2011…so ideas are welcome!X

  7. NancyLee Says:

    Congratulations Shimelle! for every thing new that’s happening here on your blog and your life. Andthanksfor sharing beautiful ideas with us.

  8. Miriam Says:

    Thank you for sharing Shimelle, they look absolutely wonderful. Mx

  9. DeAnna Says:

    Oh, thank you for sharing that. My husband and my mom and I made all of our wedding invitations and I loved that my husband enjoyed helping with them. I didn’t know then that I was actually crafty! I thought the invitations were a complete fluke until I started scrapbooking after my son was born ;D It’s all in the details!

  10. Rebekah Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Shimelle. I’m just about to think about making invites so I found it really interesting to read this. What a lot of thought and love you put in to making them :)

  11. Madeline Says:

    Too cute Shimelle

  12. Tiffany Johnson Says:

    My husband and I did the same thing. I loved watching him tie all the bows and add the love charms. It was our special crafting moment and then my mom changed the location… Sigh* Thus is life! LOL! Yours are so very beautiful!

  13. Tanya Says:

    I too spent hours and hours making my wedding invites – I decided (daftly as I would soon learn) to hand emboss each invite – took me weeks and I ended up with a very sore hand – but I must say – they did look beautiful :)

  14. Scrapdolly Says:

    You see, to me, this is the stuff of life. Incredibly special, incredibly. Those are moments you never forget and thank you so much for sharing them with us.
    I was riveted to today’s post.
    And apart from anything the invitations were stunningly original and gorgeous.

  15. SarahLP Says:

    That’s such a beautiful story, Shimelle, and the invites are amazing! Looking forward to hearing more wedding stories this week. :o)

  16. kate Says:

    yay for weddings Shimelle, I just know my wedding snaps inspired you! ;) I loved that my boy actually helped with the wedding invites as he is usually repellent to glue and sticky tape! Yours are gorgeous!

  17. Lizzie Says:

    Well, firstly, I remember your post about the horrible “glasses woman” incident and I still seethe reading it now… what. a. b.i.t.c.h….. So glad you didn’t take it too much to heart and did it your own way! I Like you glasses, Shimelle!

    Second, the invitations and rsvp cards looked amazing and fabulous. It’s great that some of the replies came back all embellished and prettied-up! What a lot of hard work though!

    Third… you have a letter-press AND a gocco?! I am soooooo jealous! I so much want my own little press… looking out for chances to get one. I love print-making (have been making my own stamps recently,with soft lino circles – cool!).
    A great post, Shimelle. I’m looking forward to the next one!

  18. Joy Says:

    What beautiful invitations hope I can remember some of the ideas when my children get married, not for a while yet though!

  19. Sinead Says:

    these are so pretty!thanks for sharing your experiences and looking forward to more of wedding week!:)

  20. Vee Says:

    Shimelle, thank you so much for sharing this. We are just beginning to think about wedding stuff and this post makes me feel so much better, like you I really hate the limited options available to buy.

    Not to decide what we want to do…

  21. Natalie G Says:

    The invitations look lovely Shimelle – very creative and totally unique and personal! I made the invitations for our wedding (also two years ago now) although they were not half as pretty. I actually created a digital invitation and emailed it round – it was something to do with a timing issue as we (I) only had six weeks to plan our wedding!



  23. Lesley Says:

    What lovely invites Shimelle. And congratulations on your upcoming 2nd Wedding Anniversary. I made my invites for my wedding last year, and also hand made my wedding favours/name cards and order of service. It really made my wedding unique to us and expressed my husbands and I personalities rather than very corporate looking items that they advertise at all the wedding fairs I went to. Looking forward to the rest of the weeks Wedding theme.

  24. Melissa Marro Says:

    This is such great information since my oldest daughter is engaged. Your invitations turned out beautiful!

    The Hive – an arts & crafts social community

  25. Iara Says:

    I also did my wedding invitations but they were not so cool and fancy as yours :) my husband and I designed some kind of map of Germany and Brazil together and it looked like a heart (at least for us LOL). we printed it in buttercream cardstock and bought very beautiful silver covers. that’s it. I’d make everything different if I’d marry today.

  26. Samantha Says:

    Such amazingly beautiful invitations. I am having a vow renewal in 18 months and am already in a tizz about how to make my invitations personal! I love the fact you wrapped them all in ribbon. Happy Anniversary

  27. Coach Outlet Stores Says:

    but I didn’t really get time to blog very much of it. A few things have appeared here and there on scrapbook pages

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