I Believe They Call It a Labor of Love

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When SVV asked me to marry him, I was stoked (obviously), but I sort of figured I’d be hiring people to do all the work for me. I mean, I’d never so much as flipped through a single issue of a wedding magazine, Style Me Pretty was a foreign concept of which I was then unaware (oh, how times have changed), plus the parents are footing the bill (thanks Mom and Dad!), and I have zero time for myself, let alone ample hours to plan the perfect wedding. WELL. I think we all know where this is going. Just like the next bride-who-once-claimed-she’d-never-get-married, I climbed aboard the Wedding Express and booked my First Class seat, no holds barred, because, WHO KNEW THIS COULD BE SO FUN? Sure, I’m still hiring a florist and have booked the ultimate cupcake baker—let’s not go overboard here—but when it came to putting together the save-the-dates*? Suddenly, four days of around-the-clock crafting didn’t seem like a daunting task.

Let’s rewind. If you recall, I have the most awesome graphic designer of a cousin-in-law, Kelly, who (is not only cute as a button but) has bigwig accounts like Columbia University, but still manages to make time to crack WordPress, throw together a blog layout for me and do other “small” tasks like design my wedding invites. I basically showed her a couple sample styles I liked, and voila! she returned to me the most lovely save-the-dates I ever did see.

These were printed on this great 5×7 oversized card stock—with rounded edges, natch. But! That is only the half of it. Because, you see, in light of the fact that I’m a travel writer (hey! did you know that?) and that SVV also is a bit of a globetrotter himself and that the majority of our attendees are coming from the other side of the country, Kelly thought it cool to add a second card, a map, in which we would sew the route from which every invitee would come. Well, now, that sounds easy enough to me! And it was, if not laborious.

So I packed up all my tools and went to Sacramento, home of the Craftess herself, Joan, mother of SVV, and her sister, the fabulous and equally-crafty Joy, came over, and build save-the-dates we did! The first task at hand was addressing those bad boys on the clear envelopes Kelly had ordered us. She also threw in a customized return address stamp, which was just awesome, as it meant less writing!

Well, I don’t have the best penmanship in the world, and also have never had a past life as a calligrapher, so when Joan busted out a stash of every kind and color of calligraphy pen known to man, plus a smattering of ink wells, I got really nervous. So I practiced first. A lot. As it turns out, I’m no Jane Austen.

Next, we had to hand stamp the arrow and “you are here” on every individual card. Now, stamping is harder than it looks, let me tell you. I ruined many a card, before I turned that process over to Joan. She has steadier hands than I do, obviously.

Soon thereafter, we headed out of our cave to our first of many craft store runs to find something to sew the routes. We bought a variety of purple thread and white ribbon, then used some fancy tool of which I do not know its name and hammer to punch each hole.

Then, it was time to thread! Thank God we only had a total of 87 invites to go out, because man, this part took ages.

Once our fingers were raw and close to bleeding, the final thing to do was download the font Kelly used for the invites and make our own custom card insert for all the Southerners and East Coasters who might prefer to attend our backyard Tennessee reception the following month, as opposed to making the trek all the way out here. Well, I was just thinking of it as a straight-up business card, but after my day babysitting Kiva, I returned to Joan, who became bedbound with the flu on our second day of crafting, and despite her condition, she’d gone all out with the paper cutting and corner punching. Funny, when I previously asked her if she had a normal corner rounded, she went to one of her 17 craft rooms and closets and pulled out three Tupperware bins of corner punchers of every shape, size and design, I kid you not. Then added, “if you don’t see anything here you like, we can always go back to the craft store!” The woman is amazing.

When I returned from Sacto, there were 16 invites left to go and it was the night before I left for Israel, Macau and Hong Kong, so SVV nobly took the wheel. He is, after all, the King of Craft, so I felt the save-the-dates were in good, albeit manly, hands.

When everything was said and done and all the save-the-dates lacked were stamps, I went to the post office to find that we’re getting married at the worst possible time for procuring cute postage Who knew? 2007, for example, would have been a much better year, or really any other year EXCEPT 2009 when all they have available are the Simpsons, a king and queen of hearts, and some cheesy wedding cake. Now, I never thought I would be the kind of girl to care about POSTAGE of all things—oh, first world problems—but we’d spent so much time and energy on the putting together of the save-the-dates that I wasn’t going to ruin the whole aesthetic by some fugly subpar stamp. SO. It was hours before I was set to leave for Jerusalem, and I got on the phone with every stamp and coin store I could find in the Bay Area, only to find that the majority of them had shuttered their doors, or no longer sold stamps. In the 11th hour, I located a small shop in Palo Alto, made it there 15 minutes before it closed, and cleaned the owner out of his 50 vintage California stamps (paying double the face value), as well as some airplanes, which I thought fitting, because I needed supplemental 11 cent ones.

This is where I curse USPS. Prior to purchasing postage, I had taken the cards in to weigh, and they told me because it wasn’t an actual invite (and, thus, didn’t have a semi-heavy reply card inside) and was on the lighter side, each would only weight 40 cents, as opposed to the standard 60 cents for wedding invites. So I did as told. Only to find that some (not all) of my invitees were made to pay 14 cents (not 16) in order to collect their save-the-date! Weird. And tacky. So I apologize to all of you who had to pay to receive mail from us; blame USPS, not me. Jerks (them, not you).

At least I now have a few more months to track down the most beautiful vintage 60 cent stamps via eBay you ever did see. If you happen to be a stamp collecter or own a shop, let’s talk.

*Notice, I managed to go a whole post without abbreviating or making a crack about STDs (*self high five*).

COMMENTS
  • December 9, 2009

    Wow, I am very impressed. I love your STD cards!

  • December 9, 2009

    Very cool.

  • December 9, 2009

    They’re just gorgeous!

  • December 9, 2009

    Those are amazing and anyone who receives them is going to know immediately how much love and care you put into them. Love them!

  • December 9, 2009

    Amazing!

    (Can I link to this post for Style Lush?)

  • December 9, 2009

    Awesome! How nice that they are so personalized and meaningful!

  • December 9, 2009

    Yep, you’ve got bridal fever. But it’s so worth it – those are gorgeous!

  • December 9, 2009

    They look beautiful! Can’t wait to put mine on the fridge and leave it there for months and months. (YOUR HARD WORK SHALL NOT BE WASTED.)

  • December 9, 2009
    jen

    wow – those are amazing! I was the laziest bride ever, apparently! If these are the save-the-date cards, I can’t wait to see the actual invitation!

  • December 9, 2009

    Wow girl you do go all the way. These are wonderful, and mostly because of the personal touch and hard work. Hat’s off to the bride!

    Random or not, thanks for the iChill. I’m in shock! I never win anything. Oh, yea, maybe that’s because I don’t usually enter anything, or buy lottery tickets. I’ll post this soon as well. And you think this is a working product, huh? I don’t usually have problems sleeping, but with this mega flight to South Africa coming up, I don’t know what to expect. But I’ll sure give it a try.

  • December 9, 2009

    aww they look great!! Great job lady!!

  • December 9, 2009

    Very cool!

    My save-the-dates were electronic but we did get awesome invitations, designed by a friend.

  • December 9, 2009

    Wow, wow, wow! You are quite amazing, missy. 🙂 We have been to many a wedding but NEVER have we received save-the-date cards that were hand-sewed and stamped by the bride herself.

    By the way, I literally started laughing out loud when I read that “animal porn” is your highest search result and then Patrick made me read out loud why I was laughing. Please, at some point, link back to the post where you talked about animal porn because now I am so darn curious about what you said.

  • December 9, 2009

    Very impressed.

  • December 9, 2009

    They are gorgeous! You crafty people ASTOUND me.

  • December 9, 2009

    Beautiful and so tasteful. I honestly love it. I am sure you are over the moon.

  • December 9, 2009

    They’re so super cute, I’m proud to have one for my very own collection. And just so you know, cute stamps will always be worth it if they’re sent to someone like me. I always notice those tiny details, and your stamps were perfect.

  • December 9, 2009

    Kristin! Sooooo cute. Love them!

  • December 10, 2009

    Really, really beautiful. And so fun, yes? I was just thinking the other day that I need another major life event so I can bust out all of my punchers and paper cutters and the amazing Xyron machine. Is the third anniversary too soon to renew vows?

  • December 10, 2009

    Okay, so I’m obv not invited to the wedding…but can’t I at least have a save the date for my (sister’s) fridge? 🙂

  • December 10, 2009

    How nice to be marrying into such a crafty family! Great job – they look fabulous. But don’t sweat the small stuff so much – it’ll drive you nuts.

  • December 10, 2009
    Bethany

    These are fantastic!

  • December 10, 2009

    they turned out great Kristin!! so personal- I love the stitching- your guests will love them!!!

  • December 10, 2009
    ali

    Those are FANTASTIC. Am in love.
    And am assuming that one linking to Atlanta is mine, yes? hahah. I kid!

  • December 10, 2009

    Hey! Love the Save the dates! Did you know you can make your own custom postage? Most of the photo sites have a way to do it, like http://www.zazzle.com/custom/stamps

  • December 10, 2009

    Wow!! Those look amazing!!! I’m pretty sure your guests will be impressed even if they have to pay 16 cents to get it.

  • December 10, 2009

    Wow! Those are worth the 14 cents they cost your guests, for sure. So unique and just really plain ol’ cool.

  • December 10, 2009
    k

    Love ’em!

  • December 10, 2009

    They’re absolutely beautiful, totally relevant, and extremely original. Now you have to plan a really amazing wedding to follow up on what you started! It is funny, though, how a wedding can turn the most logical, level-headed gal into the “it’s gotta be perfect” kind of bride. We had a small destination wedding and I kind of regret not getting to do some of this stuff.
    PS – if SVV actually finished these off for you, hang on to him. Tight !

  • December 10, 2009
    KT

    I said this on flickr already, but the thought that went into making these individual for each guest is just fantastic! SUCH a cool idea! When we got married, I loved putting together all of the details and I think the “hand made” factor just ups the specialness of the day!

  • December 10, 2009

    Okay. Fine. I’ll say it. These cards KIND OF make me want to have an actual wedding. KIND OF.

  • December 11, 2009

    Oh, I LOVE these! Well done, girl.

  • December 14, 2009

    Truly enjoyable post, and the end result was fabulous! Check out Ed’s Stamp Page (http://edsmart.com/stamps/index.htm) for your vintage 60 cent stamps. I bought 2003 and 2004 stamps from him to fill in the blanks of a book my Grandmother updated from the year I was born (1974) until the year she passed away (2002). My mom gave me the book a couple of years later; I never knew it existed! Thanks to Ed, the tradition continues with no gaps, a thought that would definitely make Gran smile. Happy Wedding! I’m looking forward to following your blog.

  • December 14, 2009

    I just love them.

  • December 18, 2009

    Those are awesome! There are many websites now where you can design your own postage, like http://photo.stamps.com.

  • December 24, 2009

    Our invites weren’t heavy or large enough to need the $0.61 stamps, which i was excited about because there is crap available at that rate. BUT, they were square, so they ended up costing us the 1 oz unusual shape rate of 0.$64, which has even FEWER options. So your best option is to take in a complete invite with all the parts, envelope, ribbons or whatever and have that weighed and measured for them to tell you the rate BEFORE you buy stamps.
    I will also throw in my vote for designing your own stamp. I ended up throwing a fun engagement pic on a stamp, which happened to coordinate with the kraft brown paper and red ink. You could just do any sort of graphic, though. It does cost more than the postage, but if you are paying double face value for vintage stamps anyway, that shouldn’t matter.
    Your STDs are great by the way – love that they are personal both in that travel is such a part of both your lives, and personalized to the invitee!

  • December 25, 2009

    let me just say… WOW… call me impressed I am in love with these.. they are the cutest, most charming, adorable ,delightful, clever wedding invitations I have ever seen!

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