If You Want To Letterpress Your Own Invitations…

Congratulations – and good luck!

I recommend consulting your local printshop and taking a class or two if you have the resources. But once you do decide to take it on, I recommend you work with Boxcar Press.

I used them to print our printing plates. Their professionalism and quality of product are pretty fantastic.

The prices are also quite fair (you know how some Etsy shops will charge $60 or more for a custom plate for an invitation or business card? Boxcar’s minimum is $30, and they charge by the square inch).

They have a highly comprehensive Q&A section and really know the business.

Inexpensive, Easy Save The Dates & Thank You Cards

I wish I’d explored save the date options more when we first chose our wedding date. I know a lot of brides and grooms use the photocard option – it’s inexpensive and can highlight those often underused engagement photos.

I stumbled up Costco’s photocards recently – and just have to share how wonderful they are. The process for ordering is absolutely simple. Just load your photos, add them to a template, add your copy, review and submit. Once you’ve submitted them, you can have the order processed and pick them up THE NEXT MORNING at your local Costco. The price is pretty fabulous. 6.5×7 photocards with envelopes are $15.99 for the first set of 50, and $6.99 for each additional set. 75 Save the Dates for only $22? That’s pretty amazing. The prices are better than what I’ve found on Target, Shutterfly and Walmart – especially when considering the size and quality. Is it obvious that I’m super impressed by these photocards? They’d also work really well as thank-you cards!

I heard that they’re changing the designs available pretty soon – but I imagine they’re just adding options or making them more customizable.

If you’ve got a membership, check them out. If you don’t — the membership is more than worth it, if you’re getting your STDs here.

$60,000 Wedding Giveaway in Minneapolis

If you haven’t heard, The Guthrie has teamed up with some of the top local businesses to give away a $60,000 Dream Wedding in honor of the show “When We Are Married.”


All you need to do is submit a 3-5 minute video explaining why you and your fiancée want to be married at the Guthrie. Videos must be submitted by June 30, 2009 (so hurry!). The wedding will take place on August 16, 2009.

Some of the businesses contributing to this fabulous prize include:

the Guthrie
Dowling Studio
L’atelier Couture
Savii Formalwear
and more.

Also included is a fabulous 7 night/8 day honeymoon at the Radisson St Martin Resort, Marina & Spa, which includes airfare (make sure your passport is current).

Get cracking on that video and submit it! For more details, click here.

The Fussy Designer Unleashes a Collection of Damask Envelope Wraps

We’ve moved! Check out this post at our new home, and don’t forget to check out our current giveaway!

Our Invitations

As I mentioned before, my “easy” task of taking on the invitations turned into a LOT of work (learning Illustrator — well sort of), trimming down sheets of 30×22 paper by hand (the copy shops couldn’t trim anything larger than 20″), and sending design elements to Boxcar Press (I couldn’t recommend them enough!).

I ended up going with the fabulous Dick & Jane Letterpress in Saint Paul, Minnesota to do the printing. They found me on Etsy (Alchemy) and offered to print the invites for me for a low price, since I already had the paper and plates ready.

They were kind enough to let me run a few of each of the cards through (insert paper, pull the lever, print on card, release lever, remove card, insert new card, all while pumping the treadle with my foot — just like I’ll do with my Kelsey 7*11).

Here’s what the reception cards and response cards looked like upon completion.


I was a little bummed that I designed the copy too close to the edge, thus losing some of the tree trunk when the designs were printed, but I still think they turned out darned cool, and different than any other invite I’ve ever seen. The tree was taken from a stock photo and I edited it in Vector Magic. The fonts are Occidental and Scriptina.

Lessons in DIY

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make my own invitations myself. I planned to letterpress them, and figured I’d save myself some money. Turns out I was wrong.

Here’s the list of items I bought to D-I-Myself…

Crane Crest Pearl White envelopes = $49 (with shipping)
Crane 4-Bar envelope = $36 (with shipping)
Crane Lettra paper 20 23×30″ sheets = $90 (with shipping)
custom embosser from Etsy = $120
custom stamper from Etsy = $28
letterpress studio/guidance = $180
paper for lining envelopes = $25
paper for belly bands = $12
bakers twine to wrap envelopes = $18
adhesives, cutting tools, etc = $12
FedEx Office/Kinkos printing of ceremony cards = $32
custom letterpress plate from Boxcar Press = $48 (not even counting the 2 previous plates on which I ordered, then we changed details and had to re-order).

After all these expenses, I lost steam on this project twice. I’m finally mailing them today.

My lesson-to-self, Just because you want to do it and think you can do it, sometimes it’s better to leave it to the pros. I did get some help from a fabulous letterpress shop (Dick & Jane Letterpress) that let me help print, without putting all the stress on me to do it right.

Lesson-to-self #2: stretching the cost out over a longer period of time can make it difficult to keep the expenses in check.

Has anyone else done a DIY that ended up costing more than getting it done by a professional?

Design Help for the Graphically Stunted

A designer, I am not. Yet, I love creating stuff in PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.

I still haven’t gotten the hang of live trace or vectorizing stuff on my computer, so I use a brilliant cheat.

I needed a vector image for my letterpress printing plates, and I was somewhat horrified at the aspect of me trying to figure out HOW to make it look good and not waste 73 hours working on it (my learning curve is… steep on these programs).

I stumbled onto Vector Magic one day, and I have to got to say that I use it frequently. All you do is upload your image, tweak the settings (super easy!), choose the colors you want (you can use the colors pre-selected by the program, or your own), and vectorize it. Usually, I mess with it to create a few different versions before I download the final product.

If you’re designing your own invites and using a photo or other piece of art, it’s truly a godsend.

Here’s my path to vectorized tree for my wedding invitations:

The original photo — I purchased this stock image online.
Post-PhotoShop (trimmed it down, removed background) — don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be “perfect”

Believe me, I know I’m not even sub-par at this… but I’m satisfied with the results, and that’s what really matter 😉

Stay tuned… you might even see our wedding invitations with this tree in action 🙂

Hooray! Hooray to Wedding Bee!

Thanks Weddingbee!

I am the lucky recipient of a $200 Papeterie gift certificate!!!

What’s a girl to get?! Any suggestions?

Going with a preppy feel?
How about a garden party?
Maybe a light-hearted Southern affair?
Oh, so many lovely options to choose from!

Not Your Traditional Monogram

I don’t think I ever mentioned our monogram!

We worked with Krystan Santagata — R found her on Etsy. She designed a fun, non-traditional monogram for us. She was pretty flexible and great to work with. We told her which font we wanted (to match our invitations) and she worked her magic, coming back to us with about 16 different options!

We whittled those down to finalists and decided upon our perfect (for us) monogram.

Once that dirty work was complete, we sent her design to Made to Order Stamp and Seal. These awesome folks turned around a custom embosser in a matter of days. Now, we simply have a stack of Crane envelopes waiting to be calligraphied, embossed, lined, stamped and sent. Phew!

Your Wedding Map

What a brilliant idea! Wedding Mapper lets you customize a Google Map for your wedding day! It takes in all your relevant information — wedding reception and ceremony sites, hotel site, etc. And makes a cute little map with directions and icons. Fabulous.

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