Now if I got married again, to the same man of course, I know I would be tempted to make my own invitations. I spend hours faffing with ribbon and string, wrapping soaps in vintage maps. Anyone would think I had loads of time on my hands! So I can relate to this post, to find out more – read on!
It all began with a soap box. This soap box, to be exact.
Cox & Cox
Would it be dramatic to rename it the soap box of doom? No, I don’t think so. Let me explain.
Even before I first met my husband, I was planning my wedding. Although many ideas have evolved, or, happily, made themselves extinct- I no longer want pastel pink strapless bridesmaid dresses, thank goodness- this one has, unfortunately, stuck. Not that it’s a bad idea. I still love the design…. In theory. The soap box, with its vintage French theme, evoked notions of beautifully packaged and elaborate invitations, which, initially, were written as five chapter faux-novels, in which each chapter was based upon a classic literary reference. But here’s the thing. Beautifully packaged boxes are mass produced in industry, with mass production machines; and do you know why? My guess is that it’s something to do with the fact that it is impossible to create an amazing, French-vintage themed box without the aid of an industrial printer, laser cutter, and perhaps an embossing machine. Microsoft word and a discount printer just don’t cut the mustard.
I created countless designs; some good, some less so; but none printed well, or I felt that they simply weren’t right. I dropped the box idea and became focused on antique books. I love reading.
Books are such a huge part of my life that it seemed relevant to have a slight literary theme to the day (I also considered serving Butter Beer at my drinks reception- it’s from Harry Potter, shame on you if you didn’t know that, and yes, I am a complete HP geek, and yes, I know I’m 22, it started at age seven, alright?). Yet books, it seems, are even harder to replicate. They’re bound don’t-cha know (yeah, this didn’t occur to me), and usually have linen or leather covers; thus, are a total nightmare. Not to mention that they’re almost always dark covers. I love this; olive green would be beautiful with an old style navy typeface; yet it’s not at all feasible without paying a printing company, and they sure aren’t cheap.
Olive Green Book
Then, I fell upon the idea of seeming simplicity. Simple designs tied with ribbon or rusty metal wire, or a bundle of replicated Parisienne post cards with the details scrawled on the back. You know, in the style of the turn of the century cards that line the book seller’s stalls along the Seine? Actually, the latter idea would look beautifully bohemian, yet replicated postcards don’t look all that great- if you’re ever in Paris, make sure to stock up on one or two (hundred).
On of my biggest obsessions, invite wise, was astrology. Not that I have the slightest interest in it in reality, but they sure make for beautiful inspiration- have you seen the countless antique celestial print posters on Etsy? The star references reminded me of the poem The Owl and The Pussy Cat and the infamous line “and they danced by the light of the moon”, which I felt tied in perfectly.
I carried on with my celestial obsession for months, and even created a two page vintage style moon chart, in which half of the page (it folded over) had the moons perfectly cut out. This may have been the one for me, had the blasted stationery company not sold me two faulty oversized hole punches!
I obsessed over ideas for months on end. I gave up on it and started again. I have driven Christopher quite mad with it, too. And then, looking at the rest of my wedding, I considered my tablecloths. They’re worn out olive green velvet with a stained fringe trim. I absolutely adore them. And then, just like that, I was back at the beginning; obsessing over invitations in boxes. Just for the record, it is completely ridiculous to attempt to make fifty boxes and then cover them in velvet and add a trim, especially when that velvet had to be hand dyed, and then sanded to give it a worn look, and when the trim had to sit in a pot of cold tea for two days and then massaged with coffee granules, but I did it anyway. And yes, they are meant to look like they’re falling apart, honest.
For the actual invitations I have kept things relatively simple with a Victorian style calling card, naming the guests, followed by a considerably toned down card for both the invitation and the R.S.V.P. card. Oh yeah, and there’s one card that I used gold leaf on, but really, I couldn’t help myself. Do I like them? Well, I tell myself that they look quirky, antique, and slightly boho, but I do worry that my guests will think I’m incapable of making a simple box, or that they fell apart in the post. Really though, I’m just relieved to have them finished! You know, I say that, but I’m already thinking about the edits…
A word of advice? Don’t make your own invitations. Or if you really, truly must, scribble some calligraphy on to a piece of card, or type on cream coloured paper and tie with a ribbon. Keep it simple. Trust me. You know not what you do.