Wedding week continues here at Young House Love with a look back at all the paper goods we designed for the event – from our summery invitation all the way to the customized thank you postcard. But let’s kick things off with the piece of paper that kicked things off in early 2007: the save-the-date.
We wanted something simple yet meaningful so we took inspiration from one of our favorite traditions as a couple: taking pictures in a photobooth. I’ll admit that we didn’t want to waste lots of quarters trying to get the perfect photostrip, so we faked our own using a digital camera, photoshop, and some glossy photo paper. The result was a memorable way to communicate some basic details (what, where and when) which was mailed off in a simple, white envelope. And who knew that it would later trigger the idea to rent a photobooth for the actual event (more on that later).
With our quirky save-the-date having broken the news, we turned to our invitation to set the mood. After all, an invite is one of the first tastes of an event that you give your guests so it’s the perfect time to establish the tone, the color scheme, etc. We wanted something elegant that still said “fun, garden wedding- leave your tie at home, mister.” So we designed and printed our own invites using a citrus-y yellow and green palette and brought it to life with a few graphic elements like lemon topiaries and buzzing bees. A not-so-typical wedding invitation for a not-so-typical wedding, no? Not to mention we packaged them (complete with an RSVP card, hotel info and directions) in bright lime green envelopes which I had the pleasure of hand addressing (Sherry convinced me my handwriting was better than hers). My hand hurts just thinking about it, but it was another personal touch that we just couldn’t pass up.
We knew we had successfully set a light-hearted mood with our invite once the RSVP postcards starting rolling in with all sorts of notes written outside of the lines. We loved them so much, we’ve still got them all stacked on the console in our living room. And we love perusing them every once in awhile to reminisce (and appreciate our charming friends and family). Gotta love wedding keepsakes beyond the tried and true photo album.
Our wedding paper trail followed our guests all the way to Richmond. For those staying in the local hotel that we recommended, we crafted a welcome packet to ensure that they made the most of their stay. And we didn’t have to cough up a lot of dough thanks to some creativity. We snatched a bunch of free maps from the local visitors’ center (they were yellow, conveniently), highlighted some of Richmond’s must-see spots and paired it with a “When in Rome- er, Richmond” guide (a sheet of attractions that we printed at home which correlate with the map). We also threw in a Virginia is for Lovers sticker to help our friends and family mark their stay in the big V-A.
The stack of RSVP cards in our living room is currently complimented by another pile of wedding memorabilia: our homemade wedding sentiment cards. Rather than a traditional guest book, we asked our friends and family to leave us a note on quirky speech-bubble cards that we designed and printed ourselves. During the reception people filled ’em out and simply dropped them in a nearby glass vase for us to pour over later.
When all the “I Do”s were said and done, we still had one more bit of paperwork to take care of- the many thank you cards for our generous guests. And we couldn’t let the creativity slip now. So rather than a traditional folded note card, we ordered custom postcards that featured this artsy pic from the wedding itself (for less than the cost of regular stationery). It was just another unique and personal way to help our lovely guests remember the event… and play “Where’s Waldo” by trying to locate their blurry head in the background.
So that’s the paper-side of our wedding story. Now tell us yours. Did you find an unexpected way to ask your guests to save the date? Or maybe you’ve received a particularly creative invite or memorable thank you that you’d love to describe? Do tell, because it could very well provide some inspiration for our fabulous readers… or even for our next big event. I just hope I’m not hand-addressing envelopes again anytime soon.
*Drop in on our Wedding Album tab below the header to check out all the details of our big day from start to finish!
erika - urban grace interiors says
LOVE all these details! Especially that gorgeous picture of the table at the wedding… what was in the little brown paper kraft bags on the plates!???
Artsy Fartsy says
Awesome ideas, guys! Especially the postcard thankyou idea. One thing we did for our wedding was that we used postcards rather than traditional cards for the RSVP cards. It saved money on postage, and we got tons of responses (which was a relief, considering we sent out 450 invitations).
And I’m dying to know, too. What is in those little brown bags?
This is so surreal. We have almost the same kind of photo of the table from our wedding. I was able to find a wine that went with the food we served named after me (my maiden name) as a sort of a goodbye to my last name.
We didn’t have a ‘save the date’ since we only had 25 people but we did a custom thank you post card which I made. We took photos with each couple or family that came and their thank you card had a picture with them and us in it.
I love the photo booth idea. It must have been fun! I will suggest that to a friend who’s looking for ideas for her wedding.
So wonderful and creative! We too had a spot for sentiment cards, and they are still so fun to look at. Especially the ones with advice!
John — I can empathize! I hand-addressed all 250 of our invitations, and yes, my hand is cramping now at the memory. I was glad I did it though.
Amy Schlotthauer says
Beautiful stuff! I love all of it! We also did the wedding sentiment cards in lieu of the guest book and it is my favorite keepsake from our big day. I highly recommend this idea!
So you guys wanna know what’s in those little brown bags…you’ll find out tomorrow! Sorry for the suspense, but it wouldn’t be wedding week if we divulged everything at once. But rest assured Erika and Artsy Fartsy, we’ll cover every last detail of our tablescape in tomorrow’s post.
Tatyana, great minds must think alike. Very cool about your “personalized” wine. Too bad both Sherry and I both have odd last names (although Sherry’s first name could’ve worked…oh well, too late). My sister Katie and her husband Martin served “Katie & Martinis” as their signature beverage at their wedding in 2003. Thought that was a fun personalized drink idea too, for all of you out there marrying Martins.
Jennifer, 250 hand-addressed invitations. Ouch! I think that was about twice our number. Also, I’m glad you and Amy can back us up on how fun the sentiment cards are. We were looking at ours again just last night.
Stay tuned for more wedding week tomorrow…
I am enjoying your wedding week posts….Out of curiosity, how did you two meet?
Victoria O says
Hey John and Sherry,
My sister Sharon and her husband Matt sent out save-the-date magnets that had a picture of them at a UVA home football game. It also had the date, and their wedding website listed on it. It’s on the fridge at home right now, even though they got married March 8th, 2008. I really liked it. But I also think your save the date is so cute.
And while I didn’t have to handwrite anything (my mom did all the table cards, though), I did hand cut the ribbons and tie them for about 200 church programs! Talk about hand cramps. Worst thing – not many people took the programs from the church, and my poor sister totally over-ordered on the amount of programs.
Can’t wait to read the rest of this week’s posts!
LOVE those invites! I really wish I could go back in time 1 year ago and take more time on my own DIY’s for our wedding. It makes it so much more personal and lovely. Very jealous of your fabulous backyard wedding as well! Great job, DIY phenoms!
I love all your paper wedding DIY examples! For my 6-23-07 wedding, we were quite similar. Gosh, what paper stuff DIDN’T we DIY?
save-the-date: We photoshopped one of our professional engagement portraits (a picture of my husband tickling me and making me laugh) onto a Word document and used a fancy script for all the info. And that fancy script set a bit of a theme for the wedding!
invitations: I wanted traditional invitations, but was horrified by the prices–enter COSTCO! They have beautiful invitations (for all occasions!) for very reasonable prices at costco.com. And we even got them printed in that same fancy scripted font. Not exactly a true “DIY” but still a great deal!
welcome packets: We included a bottle of wine from a family friend’s vineyard, snacky stuff, bottled water, candy, and what to do in the area (again, featuring the fancy script!). To pack it all, we ordered plain white gift bags in bulk for pennies!
programs: We used the fancy script and photoshopped a picture of the church onto the front cover (using the pencil sketch feature).
The last two “fancy script” touches were at the reception. We printed our table cards, menu cards, and name cards all in the token font. The table cards were printed 4 per page on cream card stock, and the menu cards were printed on vellum paper with cream card stock underneath (a cute brad from a craft store and some silver ribbon finished it off).
We got so many compliments from people wanting to know what stationery shop we had used. It was fun to see their faces when we said we did it all. :)
Thanks for the all the DIY wedding stories, guys. Glad to hear we weren’t the only ones who didn’t go the traditional invitation route. And not the only ones who wore ourselves out getting them ready…
Kelly, the short answer to your question about how we met is: at work. The slightly longer version is that we both worked at a New York City ad agency helping sell baby lotion and tampons (although Sherry had the more glamorous position as the copywriter on the celebrity Got Milk account as well). We somehow managed to keep our relationship hidden from our coworkers for 7 months… but when we moved to Richmond together and got engaged, we figured we’d let them in on our little secret. Talk about blowing their minds! Our phone didn’t stop ringing and our inbox was full on the day we let the cat out of the bag. People came out of the woodwork to confess their shock and excitement. It was just another memorable and unexpected reveal I guess. Par for the course here at Young House Love.
I love your DIY stuff!! For my 7/15/07 DIY wedding invitations I used regular posterboard for the outer pocket, wrapped in a beachy-looking ribbon. The inside invite I designed and ordered, but the backing was a bamboo roll up window shade from Home Depot. The inserts were printed at home, and the picture was printed on vellum paper.
The rehearsal dinner invites were printed at home and glued to the back of vintage hawaiian postcards. I also DIY-ed the menus for the rehearsal, the programs, reserved seat signs, and the bar menu.
The wine bottle labels were designed in photoshop and printed onto waterproof mailing labels. We called it “Deuce Dogs”- we have a ’32 Ford (also called a Deuce coupe), and we used pictures of our dogs.
I am also interested in the bags on the table because we had something similar at our wedding. Ours were white (from Michaels) and we hand-stamped the outside to say “Happily Ever After.” Inside was a wallet-sized engagement photo (with photographers’ website info. on the back), candy, a bottle of bubbles, and a little card with our new address and phone number on it. They were really fun to make!
Our non-traditional venue: we knew we wanted a beach wedding and since we often went to watch the sun rise while we were dating, we decided to go for it and have our ceremony at 6:30am. I really didn’t think people would show, but we had nearly 150 guests! The lighting was fantastic for pictures and it didn’t feel like a hot summer day in Florida at all. Our reception was breakfast, of course (my favorite meal :) and we ate sticky buns instead of cake. The whole event was over by 10am and it was definitely memorable!
Soooo cool, Jeni. Breakfast is my favorite meal too so I’m totally envious (and now hungry). Bravo to you guys for such a unique idea – and for convincing 150 people to show up so early! I don’t know how awake I would’ve been. And I don’t think Sherry would’ve appreciated me being groggy while I said my vows.
We handmade all of our invitations… we started out handwriting them in callligraphy. We got through about 75 invitations of 125 before hitting a paper sale at hobby lobby and switching to a simple card wrapped in embossed paper and tied with raffia. We had so many complements on them! We used our new calligraphy skills to handwrite the addresses in teh same font as the invite. I remember sitting on the couch making invitation after invitation with my DH… it was the last couple weeks of college, too!
We did little pots of huckleberry jam for favors… I’m from Montana, and the wedding was in the mountains.
Yours are fabulous! I just love seeing what others do.
laura @ the shorehouse. says
Thank you for sharing all of this! I’ve wanted a photo booth for a big party but the prices I’ve seen locally are more expensive than what you mentioned paying. I love so many of your ideas I don’t know where to start! They are already filed away.
You guys are making me want to get married all over again!
For my 6-29-07 wedding we did what felt like a ton of DIY. I wanted to make the invitations ourselves to get exactly what I wanted but we ended up getting a better deal through a local stationary shop (not exactly what I wanted but they turned out to be very nice), we made post cards for our save the dates with our engagement picture on it and we also made magnets which my mom put in her christmas cards. We made rehearsal dinner invites, programs,welcome bags, menu cards, and place cards as well. It took so much work but my husband and I had so much fun doing it together and it made everything seem so much more special when we saw it that night!
All of these things are so fabulous! Makes me want to get married all over again! Our 9 year anniversary is in a few weeks. Keep all the great stuff coming!
too funny, we had the photostrip for our save the date cards too for our wedding 3 years ago. Great minds think alike!
we weren’t quite so creative with other details though.. I wish we had been but I was not well for a lot of the planning stage so I just didn’t have it in me.. but I really wish we did especially after seeing how wonderful everything turned out with yours!
We had a very DIY beach wedding in 2004. Our invites were blue envelopments folders tied with seagrass and sealed with a real starfish. Inside was the invitation card, which had a washed out beach photo as the background. In the side pocket of the envelopment, we had a trifold brochure detailing the wedding events with a FAQs section, maps, etc. We also had the response cards tucked in there. The invites were a big hit.
Instead of wedding programs, we made fans. One side had all the typical program stuff and the other had a list of the wedding party. We used craft sticks (similar in size to paint stirrers) as the handles. Where the cardstock fan portion met the handle, we tied some raffia and affixed a starfish to it. We also handed out ribbon wands – thin dowels with gorgeous silk and satin ribbons tied to the ends in shades of blue.
For favors, we did bags as well. Ours were decorated with more ribbon and a starfish. Inside we had seashell-shaped chocolates in clear cello bags tied with ribbon. We also included a CD with music from and inspired by our wedding. Naturally the CD had a beach photo on it.
I also made seashell boutonnieres for the guys and seashell and starfish hairpins for the girls. I wore a small DIY tiara made from pearls, beach glass beads, and tiny seashells. We assembled the bouquets on our wedding day as well – the bridesmaid bouquets had seashells mounted on florist wire mixed in with the flowers. My bouquet had pearls and beach glass mixed in with the blooms.
Table decor was easy – white table cloths with blue silk overlays, glass hurricanes with white candles, sand and seashells/starfish. A few larger shells were scattered around the hurricans.
It was a perfectly fabulous wedding outside Destin, FL. Not even Hurricane Ivan could ruin it! :)
Our invites/RSVP card were really, really similiar to yours. I stole the idea from a Martha Stewart real weddings article.
To cut down on paper and postage costs, I had my invite designed to be 8.5 by 3.33 with the invite on the front and other details on the back. then I had a second 8.5 x 3.33 piece that had directions and a map on one half and a perforated reply card on the other half.
I bought a hand perforater at Michael’s, pre-perforated the card and then the guests filled in their reply, hotel information and good wishes and sent the postcard off. I used side flap envelopes from Paper Source and was able to use 1 regular stamp for the whole thing, plus a postcard stamp for the reply card. I loved all the notes people sent back!
The other fun thing we did was wrap playing cards for the tables. I just wrapped them in green wrapping paper and cut a small piece of vellum with a thank-you note. We had some serious Euchre games going on during our reception (which had an outdoor area with picnic tables)
A lot of people told me (and my mother and mother-in-law) it was all of the little details that people still talk to them about at our wedding. Well, that and the crazy thunderstorms before both our ceremony and reception, followed by a glorious sunny evening for our outdoor cocktail hour.
love love love! i am recently enamored with your blog and have read it beginning to here, and i LOVE weddings too (especially DIY ones!) and so am very excited to see what you and everyone who’s commented have done. =)
we got engaged a year ago friday and married last august…seven and a half months of DIY-craziness! i designed all our paper things. our save-the-date postcards had an old photobooth picture of us with a gaudy picture frame superimposed, and all the useful info on the back. we got those printed at vistaprint.
invitations and response cards incorporated our engagement pictures and were beautifully minimalist. our e-shoot had taken place in march on a frozen lake (we live in wisconsin) and so there was lots of lovely negative space and high contrast and they came out unique and stunning (if i may say so myself). =)
our programs were simple vertical half-sheets, printed both sides…an idea i saw at a wedding i worked at and loved. we got programs and invites printed locally.
we also rented a photobooth for the reception, and that was the best thing we could have splurged on. =) plus, the company gave us free thank-you postcards featuring any strip of our choosing, which was awesome.
to see any of these, here are the links:
invitations and reply postcard:
thank-you photo strip: