Invitation Weekend (And A Sneak Peek)


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Invitation Weekend (And A Sneak Peek) | A Practical WeddingIf you had asked me at the beginning of wedding planning if invitations would top my list as something I cared about, I would have told you no. I also would have been wrong. For us, simplifying our wedding has meant eliminating huge numbers of projects that we didn’t care much about (favors, ceremony decorations, welcome baskets, etc. etc. etc.) Instead we’ve taken on a few projects that we care very much about, and put our whole heart into them. Surprisingly, invitations have been one of these projects.

This weekend was a weekend of invitation construction. Originally my sister was going to letterpress our invitations (book arts is one of her many hobbies) but she got a bit caught up in making the dress so I had to line up some affordable letter press, stat. As part of our goal to put our wedding money to work supporting artists and businesses that we want to see thrive (particularly in this deadly economy) I had the brainstorm to hire Jordan of Oh Happy Day to letterpress our invitations. That way the money stayed in the blogging community, and our invitations would still have the same handmade feel. So, on Saturday we stopped by Jordan’s studio to pick up extra paper. She was teaching a letterpress class, so I got to see the letterpress in action, which made me tremendously happy. Then David and were off to Arch – San Francisco’s art and architecture supply store, which I can only describe as Paper Source’s much cooler older sister. Arch let us use their paper-cutter for free, so after purchasing a bit more paper, David and I got down to work. We cut and cut and cut and cut… and then looked around at all the scraps of paper, and started figuring out what we could use them for. Then we cut some more – paper scraps for place cards, paper scraps for table numbers. No wasting!

At home that night I started printing some of our inserts on our trusty Epson. I’d figured that our home printed inserts would be the least hands-on part of our invitations, but alas. Our printer did not take kindly to the thick 100% cotton paper I was feeding it, so I spent part of the evening hand feeding sheets of paper in, one at a time.Invitation Weekend (And A Sneak Peek) | A Practical WeddingThen, Sunday! I swore to myself that I would not be one of those indie brides who got into Gocco (mostly because I don’t want to be a living stereotype), but alas. Emily of Emily Style offered to let me use her Gocco machine and help me with the whole process, and I had to try it. Sunday morning, a whole passel of girlfriends descended on chez practical, and Gocco commenced.
Invitation Weekend (And A Sneak Peek) | A Practical WeddingIt turned out to be both easy and beautiful. We screen printed more than 100 RSVP cards, and look how great they look! Hooray!

All of these cards were designed for us, off of our crazy design ideas, by Cevd of Pretty Pretty Paper. I’m not sure I have enough wonderful words to say about Cevd. She took on our project in trade, which is a fancy way of saying that she did it for free, because we’re friends. I already knew that she was a gifted designer, but I could now say that she’s a brilliant designer, and possibly one of the nicest most dedicated people you will ever meet.

I’d like to end this post by telling you why it is that we’ve chosen to DIY bits of our wedding, but I’m still thinking that through. I will say that I don’t really DIY, I DIT. I like working on projects with people I care about, and collaborating with my community (many of whom are fellow bloggers, these days) to create small works of art. I got to get to know Cevd even better through the design process, David and I had a thoroughly good time hanging out with each other and paper-cutting, and I got to spend time with a gaggle of girlfriends, making something beautiful. In the end, we’re ending up with something more then just wedding invitations. We’re ending up with memories and tangible evidence of love.

(Please note that in the DIT post from a year ago I said I had no interest in hand screenprinting any part of our wedding invitations. I believe that is what is known as Tempting Fate.)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02425750469635997448 Michelle {Things I Love}

    These look beautiful! Great job! Also, I believe Jordan spells her name with an “a”, not an “o”.

  • http://accordionsandlace.wordpress.com/ accordionsandlace

    It looks like we had very similar weekends! Your sneak peak is beautiful and I can’t wait to see more. Hooray for awesome designers, beautiful paper shops, the gocco, and helpful girlfriends. We didn’t think we’d care about sometime like invites very much at all, but it totally became a labour of love. Hooray for labours of love!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16188994551748661706 redwhitebride

    first of all, i really love your blog! as i started my own (to plan a DIY practical wedding), i got a lot of inspiration from you. also to DIY the invitation!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07829467193486965326 Jess

    I can’t wait to see what they look like finished! From your sneak peek they look fantastic! I have a feeling our DIY invites will be an interesting process… my fiance caught me drooling over letterpress invites on etsy a few weeks ago and had no idea what letterpress or gocco was. Before I knew it he was googling how to build a letterpress machine (he’s an electrical engineer). If it isn’t going to be too expensive, he’s going to try to build one. He lives for building machines, so this would be his way of contributing, and I would love for him to really get into some of the wedding planning! If it turns out badly then we’ll revert to our original “sane” plan of just printing them on our Epson printer.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00409541531549254367 Tris

    Those are beautiful, Meg!

    I swore I wasn’t going to let myself get caught up in the invitations… for months, I told myself, “Most people won’t even keep them.” So we just ordered some from MyGatsby, and, while they did a great job, we went with something pretty generic and I’m pretty sure I regret it. Too late to change, but dang. What I wouldn’t give for a girlfriend with a gocco : )

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05750659066802561501 Erika

    ooooh, one of my favorite colors. looks great so far!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06529652450620062626 K

    Love the preview!!

    As a DIT invite graduate, I have a little FYI. If you are printing your own invitations on an inkjet, be sure to put tissue paper in between each item when you send. We had a little smudging when ours went through the mail, and I learned this tip when it was too late.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15899239356088557995 Amanda

    Hooray for bloggers!
    Hooray for gorgeous invites!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02986236095577713549 CaitStClair | A Peachy Bride

    I’m with you on the Tempting Fate thing. Everything from saying I would never date a bull rider when I was 16 (I am now marrying one) to saying I would not have a strapless wedding dress (I came VERY close) I’m constantly getting my words turned back on me.
    My new motto? Never say Never.
    P.S. Your invites are looking fantastic!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03429404210444847213 lauren

    PURPLE! i’m sure we’ll discuss your invites and how much i love them in great detail, but for now, very enthusiastically: PURPLE! i am so pleased.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12997875522614810785 Mouse

    First of all, your sister sounds more and more awesome. She letterpresses! She has a hedgehog!

    Second, this whole things sounds like fun. I love the colors. And I don’t even know what Gocco is, but go, Meg!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08446875699927053176 Katie

    meg, I felt the same way about our invitations beginning to end. I certainly didn’t think when I started that this would be a big project or an important one. It turned out to be my favorite part of the details so far!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08630952870183488792 Rachael Eisner

    Go you! They look great. Sometimes life surprises you into things like invitations…. ;) Glad you had fun.

  • http://weddingskulls.com Wedding Skulls

    I’m with you on the DIT. We had a DIT invitation party with my mum baking invite in the over (we had medieval-style scrolls so we baked them to brown the paper), myself and two bridesmaids rolling and holding and melting and stamping the wax seals, and my husband ‘supervising’ and eating all the chocolate while our hands were occupied. It was such a fun night and one of my favourite wedding-planning memories.

  • http://surprisewedding.wordpress.com Surprise Wedding

    Lookin good! Much as I couldn’t care less about paper products myself, I love how everyone has their own favorite little wedding detail that they love investing time in.

    Mine? The music.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18209861350905135093 LPC

    I love your thoughtful, analytical, pieces. But it’s also cute to see your bridal artifacts. BTW, I am still chortling over the comment about engineer groom who wants to build a letterpress machine.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15080583721005285729 the un-bride

    I dont’ know why, but this post made me all grinn-y and giggly. Congrats to you (and woot to Christine) on those beautiful invites!

  • http://ww.moderngirlinvitations.com Autumn

    Wow, these are incredible. I’m always amazed at what a Gocco can do! I’m dying to get one :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12669256908862614726 Beth

    Beautiful!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04349394209890946701 Dubbs

    dang lady, i take off for a little while and you sho got busy! i lurrrve these, and i love even more that we’re finally starting to see the tangible bits and pieces of your wedding (you know me and my superficial butt is all over the STUFF, hee). it’s countdown time!

    great job :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17780331196723830632 christina

    these are gorgeous!! love them! and love cevd, too.
    xox