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*).