What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Newlywed Courtney Kern is the owner of Events Beyond, a wedding and event design company. Engaged since 2007—yes, she's heard every Five Year Engagement joke—she knew exactly how her dream day would unfold, but that doesn't mean the process was always a cake walk.
I searched high and low for affordable, adorable wedding invitations, but I couldn't find stationery that stood out. And even if I had, I'm not sure I would have pulled the trigger. My husband Ben and I had a super strict 60-person guest list and as result, we only needed about 35 invitations. Most stationers wont accept orders of less than 50 invitations, and while I'm happy to have a few extra to scrapbook and add to a shadow box, I wouldn't have been able to pay for the extra 15 invites, envelopes, and RSVP cards if they were overly pricey.
A DIY invitation alternative was always on the table, but the catch was, I didn't want them to look too "crafty." I believe invitations (as well as save-the-dates) are critical in establishing and communicating the tone of your special day to your guests. For example, if you're planning a rustic barn wedding, but send out invitations featuring ornate calligraphy, you're going to have guests show up in ballgowns instead of cowboy boots. Your stationery is the first thing guests receive about your wedding, and like a firm handshake, you want your wedding invitation to make a great first impression!
As Ben and I were planning an intimate rooftop wedding in the heart of New York City, our invitations needed to be city chic and immediately inform our mostly out-of-town guests about the types of festivities they could expect to attend from Friday evening to Sunday morning. To manage our budget without sacrificing the style we wanted, we decided to kind of DIY. Working with Paper Presentation in New York City (they have a staggering assortment of every color, style, and weight imaginable) we had our invitation info printed on a simple card. Our RSVP card, envelope, and outer envelope were professionally printed too. After that, it was up to us, our families, some ribbon, and a few fancy paper punches to create the elaborate invitations we had dreamed of. (If you're considering making your own invitation suite, most of our amazing card making supplies—like the punches, pearls, glue, and additional paper—came from Stampin' Up!)
I'm not an advocate of making your family and friends work on your wedding day. But by all means, crack open some cider or a few beers—anything harder could compromise the craft—and get your friends and family working on projects prior to the wedding. We spent 20 hours one weekend scoring, embellishing, and assembling our wedding invitations. (Ben's father may have even been the best crafter...) Once finished, all that was left to do was hunt (and nearly pillage) for love-themed cake stamps during the height of wedding season and take the invitations to the post office to be hand stamped. (The machines can leave smudgy black marks and after all the work we put into 'em, these invitations were not going to be marred.) Soon the RSVPs were flooding in and we had successfully set the tone for our celebration!