As a graphic designer, I was very very particular about our printed material. When it came time to design our invitations, I felt pressure to come up with something awesome! I felt that I needed to design a fantastic invitation suite that both fit our personalities and wedding style and wowed our guests. I think it took me over 4 months to come up with something that I loved! I changed my mind so many times! The final product was truly a labor of love. The whole process took much longer than I thought, I went way over our budget and it led to my first bridal meltdown. But before I talk about that lowest point in our wedding planning, let me rewind and start from the beginning.
I fell in love with letterpress. I lusted after it. I simply HAD to have letterpressed wedding invitations. Something about the soft buttery thick paper and the imprinted wording had my heart go aflutter from the very beginning. But of course, like everything else I covet, letterpress comes with a hefty pricetag and CUSTOM letterpress is even more expensive! But I love it! And I had “bridal blindness” where I threw my usual rationale and thriftyness out the window. I was determined to design my own custom letterpressed wedding invitations and somehow convinced Jeff that it was worth the extravagant cost. (I think he actually had no idea what I was talking about but because I went on and on about it’s necessity and my superior wedding knowledge, he blindly agreed with me. If not, I would have bullied him into it, hahah! )
My friend recommended to me a small company called Subtle Glances, based in San Francisco, that was willing to work with me to get my custom invitation design letterpressed. I would email them my design files, provide my own paper and pick up the invitations from their studio to save on shipping. They quoted me $505 to print 225 copies of 5×7″ invitations in two ink colors. Gulp. That was the cheapest quote that I could find. I knew letterpress would be a splurge!
I was also very picky about the type of paper used for the invitations. I wanted paper that was ultra plush and thick so I ordered paper samples from all over the place. I ultimately decided on the Crane Lettra paper in 220# weight in Pearl White color. This line of paper is specifically designed for letterpress and it was exactly what I wanted. Most letterpress companies only carry 110# weight but the 220# is twice as thick. You can see how thick the paper is here:
I love how plush and soft the paper was!! I ordered the paper from Kelden Paper and they were great to work with. They are one of the few paper retailers where you can purchase the Lettra line by individual sheet. The paper comes in a large 20×26″ size and they were able to cut down the paper to the size that I wanted (5×7″) for $25/per cut. They also shipped the paper directly to the letterpress company for me. The total cost of the paper, the cuts, tax and the shipping was $250 for the paper. Not cheap.
I labored over the design of the invitation for weeks, finalizing the wording, picking out the perfect fonts, nudging things a millimeter one way and then nudging it back. It took me weeks to finalize the design, so long that time was running out, and I had to send in the files to Subtle Glances immediately if I wanted to get them printed and sent out in time! I was beginning to panic as I made the final changes, this should have foreshadowed the tears that were to come later. This was the final design I sent them:
Two weeks later, I was in San Francisco visiting Jeff while he was working at his summer internship and where we were going to do our engagement photo shoot with our fabulous wedding photographer, Jules Bianchi. Before our photo shoot, we stopped by the Subtle Glances studio to pick up our freshly pressed invitations. I was giddy with excitement!! I couldn’t wait to see the finished product! My dream of having letterpressed invitations was coming true! I was beyond happy when we picked them up from Subtle Glances, they were beautiful!
I gushed over them as we happily drove to our engagement shoot at Crissy Field in San Francisco. We arrived a few minutes early so we parked and gazed lovingly at our 225 invitations. Then, Jeff uttered the words that I will always remember: “uh oh.” What, uh oh? He tried to cover it up, but it was too late. I looked at the invitations again and gasped. Let’s take a closer look shall we?
“two tousand ten”. TWO TOUSAND TEN?!?!?! WHA????? How did I not notice that typo?!?! TOUSAND?! What kind of bonehead misspells “thousand”?! In my haste to send out the files, I didn’t proofread a final time before I sent them off! I melted down in tears and frustration in the car. I cried ugly, makeup-running, red-faced tears right there before our engagement shoot. I was so saddened that our beautiful invitations were marred by my own oversight. The project that I was so excited and proud of was now tarnished by a small typo!! I couldn’t forgive myself for the mistake!
I thought about just sending them to our guests with the typo on it, I don’t know if many people would have noticed, but the perfectionist in me could not bear to have imperfect invitations sent out to our closest friends and family. I know it sounds ridiculous in retrospect but I was so embarrassed by them!! When I got home, I shoved them to the back of my closet, wishing that they never existed. Jeff was really pushing to just sending them out to our guests as they were, because at this point, we had already spent an exorbitant $750 on them but he knew how important these invitations were to me. We debated about what to do and, bless his heart, he let me re-order them because Jeff knew me well and he knew I would not be fully happy unless I got it right. I had to re-order the paper and express mailed it to Subtle Glances and had them rush printed. Subtle Glances were awesome the second time around. They felt bad about my mistake and re-pressed the new invitations as quick as they could and sent them back to me. Even though my mistake was costly, I was so glad to get the new version and was so pleased with the result:
(photo by Jules Bianchi)
My favorite part of the invitation? The bottom:
Future brides out there- always always ALWAYS proofread your invitations!!! May it be a lesson learned for us all!
Next up: Packaging the invitation suite!