Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wedding Invitations, Part One

Planning a wedding has made me an expert in things that I never had any desire to know anything about.  For example, when I met with my wedding planner this past weekend, I found myself staring at a random wedding invitation in her office.  Would you believe that I not only knew the brand of said invitation, but I knew the style as well?  In fact, I knew everything about that Ceci New York Mali invitation that there was to know.  So what if peacock feathers happen to be the farthest thing from my taste?  A good bride does her research, and I did plenty when it came to stationary.

I never thought that I would be the kind of girl to sit up at night, pulling my hair out over whether or not I should go with 100% cotton paper.  But there I was, for a solid month, visiting stationary presses every weekend and agonizing over things like paper weight and ink dyes while simultaneously judging myself just a little bit.  But it wasn't entirely my fault!  The wedding industry has hyped up stationary until something as trivial as paper weight soon becomes the center of your world.  The wedding invitation is the first thing that your guests will see to inform them about your wedding.  Some would argue that this makes it one of the most important expenditures of your big day – your fabulous gown excluded, of course.  Unfortunately, due to paper and ink costs, stationary can quickly become one of your most expensive purchases as well.  I refused to spend a bigger chunk on the budget on pieces of paper that wouldn't actually make it to the wedding than my actual wedding dress, but after seeing a letterpressed Wiley Valentine invitation, you try walking away with prudence and frugality on the brain. 
They're gorgeous, right?

I'm now going to let you in on a little secret that I learned from my tortuous journey through mountains of wedding stationary.  Just like with anything else in life, you are paying for the name brand.  Not only that, you are also paying for the overhead of that fancy little boutique that you are ordering from.

When we priced out our modestly sized invitation suite at the boutique, you could have knocked me over with a blue Ceci peacock feather.  Really, it was insane.  Then, we got smart.  We went online and dealt directly with the designer (Wiley Valentine, at the time) and the price went down significantly.  Granted, we were going to have to do a little bit more leg work ourselves instead of letting someone else handle the ordering process, but still, it's totally worth it.

If bypassing the boutique for directly designer is enough for you, brava!  I, however, decided - after many days, maybe even weeks of thought - to go a different way.  To get my dream Wiley invitation, I was having to sacrifice paper quality and was stuck with thermography instead of letterpress.  Stay tuned for the next installment of wedding invitations to find out what I did to get the perfect, custom made invitation at half the cost.

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