The First Impression
two years of engagement and with me fresh out of university, my husband and
I finally got married. It was a small, intimate affair and we needed all the
help we could get in the finance department! We cut corners on my dress, on
the size of the bridal party, and on the ceremony location.
thing we agreed not to skimp on was invitations. For both our wedding and
our relationship, the invitation had a major role to play: it was an announcement
of our future. It was also an example of what kind of event we were planning,
and acted as a first impression to far-flung family members.
wanted an invitation that no one had seen before. It had to tie in with the
event that we'd planned, and the traditional invitation packages offered at
most printers, outlets and stationery stores just weren't working.
wedding was atypical: we had close friends and family at a small non-religious
ceremony, followed by an hors d'oeuvres reception for one hundred guests at
a stylish hotel. It was small, intimate, elegant. We weren't having
a traditional event, so a traditional invitation wouldn’t properly introduce
our event to our guests.
we needed was someone willing to work with our requirements, instead
of the other way around. Due to the nature of our event, we needed the invitations
to act as a wedding announcement and reception invitation. Then, for close
friends and family attending the actual ceremony, we needed a cost-effective
and tidy ceremony card that would look good with the rest of the package.
we looked at prepared invitations offered by printers, we found that most
only accepted orders in quantities of twenty-five or fifty. Printers wanted
us to fit our event into their packages, instead of suiting their packages
to our needs. It was difficult to change font colours, or provide a custom-written
verse instead of the usual recycled text. Most printers have ready-made verses
in which they insert names and dates; not many will accommodate a customized
verse or layout. Flexibility in design and customization was nil.
DIY-invitation kits offered at most stores come in sets of fifty (we needed
sixty-five, counting spares) and included reply cards, reply envelopes, menu
placards—all sorts of things that our less-traditional wedding didn't require.
The kits didn’t include the ceremony cards that we’d need, and trying to match
the paper was next to impossible. Not only were the kits too constrained for
our needs, I hadn’t heard of anyone having a lot of success printing their
own invitations. My bridesmaid printed her wedding invitations--one at a time.
Because of the type of paper used, she had to lay them out to dry for twenty-four
hours before she was able to finish assembling them and mailing them. My sister
had to untie and re-tie bows on each of her cards, as she couldn't put them
through a printer with the ribbon attached. My husband and I considered one
self-print package...until we realized that the design left ugly serrated
edges when you separated the invitations. Talk about inelegant!
a month of looking, we finally found a company willing to work with us. Their
invitations were hand-made—any colour, any style, anything we wanted. They
accepted orders for as few as two, or as many as a thousand.
spent over an hour working with designers on the initial construction of the
invitations. They asked a multitude of questions about our wedding plans,
showed me paper styles and non-traditional invitation samples. In the course
of the discussion, I described the rich red carpeting on the grand staircase
where we'd have our wedding pictures taken. I also outlined the burgundy dress
that my bridesmaid would wear, and the burgundy vests of the groomsmen. With
keen insight and inside product knowledge, the designer found the solution
to our invitation woes.
husband and I settled on a voluptuous crimson faux-suede paper on a black
background. The paper was divine; it was soft to the touch and looked stunning
when paired with laser-printed black script. The ceremony cards were petite,
printed black on white cardpaper. We mailed the cards and invitations in stark
white envelopes. Each invitation was fashioned by hand, and inspected by one
of the company’s owners to ensure accuracy and quality. This was what
the magazines meant when they said wedding planning was fun!
composed my own verse, and asked guests to r.s.v.p. via an e-mail address
set up for the occasion. I was able to e-mail my verse and corrections to
my designer, which was a big time-saver. My husband and I approved the final
layout of the design within a week, and we picked them up just a few weeks
later--far less than the six- or eight-week turnaround quoted by most major
printers. Because we were dealing with a small company intent on making our
invitations memorable, I wasn't concerned about needing an extra invitation
or two, or calling for a few spare envelopes or ceremony cards. Our designer
knew me by name and could talk about the details of my order by phone or e-mail
without having to re-check her files.
I hand-wrote the addresses in the darkest red ink I could find. The soft suede
fabric and the vibrant colour we had chosen made them extraordinary compared
to the standard cream-coloured parchment invitation. The result was elegant,
tactile, and conformed with our hors d'oeuvres reception in a way that a traditional
invitation package never could.
husband and I had experienced a lot of difficulty with our families over the
fact that Great-Aunt Hilda and Cousin Peter hadn't been invited to our intimate
wedding ceremony. Guests were confused because we didn't have a traditional
church ceremony followed by a sit-down dinner. However, our chic wedding invitations
acted as an eye-opener. The way our non-traditional event was perceived suddenly
changed; guests complimented us on our choice of custom invitations to properly
announce our event.
were really pleased by the quality and limitless options available when we
found someone willing to help us design our invitations. We were especially
impressed with the final bill. We cut out the reply cards and extra envelopes
of a traditional invitation package, then we ordered exactly the right number
of invitations. The total cost of our custom wedding invitations was almost
the same as it would have been if we'd gone with an impersonal dual-fold parchment
you know, the first wedding anniversary is paper. I think it's time
to start nagging my husband about a customized stationery set....
Rita Sinclair is an author on Writing.Com, which is located at ( http://www.Writing.Com/ ) and is accessible by anyone. You can see more of her work at http://www.writing.com/authors/blueeyes .
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