A handmade wedding, part 2: the stationery

Gosh, it’s been a long time since my last wedding post! I’m sorry for the delay in this post

Making our own stationery was  an easy decision for us. I love paper* and am interested in design, so I was very keen to design as well as print them. We were also on a very tight budget, and even the printable designs that we liked were more than we wanted to spend. After a few months of looking for  inspiration on Pinterest and various websites,  I dove into a design process that was definitely a labour of love. I’m going to write about our Save the Dates, invitations, and orders of service (but only briefly about those). As a bonus for any stationery lovers, I’ll show you our wedding notebook (which I didn’t make, but was definitely a crucial bit of wedding stationery as far as I’m concerned!) I decided to group all of these into one post because the process for creating each of them was quite similar.

I started by looking at our list of keywords for the wedding (these described how we wanted the wedding to feel, and all our favourite things) — unique, colourful, LEGO, whimsical, pretty, and a few other things were top of the list. We also wanted the stationery to be bookish in some way. I’m a librarian and my husband is a bookshop manager, so it would have felt wrong not to. Some of these key elements are more obvious than others, as you’ll see. I think bookishness in particular is quite subtle, but it’s still there in my opinion.

*Paper became a bit of an obsession while we were working on the wedding stationery. I spent literally months going to stationery shops and craft shops, poring through the paper and deciding none of it was good enough before I finally thought to go to an art shop. In the end we used 400gsm watercolour paper, and it was gorgeous (even if it did lead to some complications, as you’ll see)!

Save the Date

The Save the Dates were fairly plain, partly because I was just so excited to get started on making something, and partly because we just wanted them to be simple. We sent them out crazy early, which was a risk, but because so many of our potential guests would be travelling from out of the country or out of the state, we wanted to let people know as soon as possible so they could save up if they wanted to.

As you can see above, the main focus is on the heart made out of LEGO. Yes, it really is LEGO! I built it, took a picture, then edited it in Photoshop using the outline & fill functions before integrating it into an InDesign document. If you are more talented with Illustrator or other drawing programs, you could in theory draw the LEGO heart from scratch.

The original LEGO heart.
The Photoshopped version as it appears on our Save the Dates.

After many failed attempts at making the Save the Date look like a book spine, we decided to just make it a bookmark and used the slightly twee phrase “Mark the Date” instead of “Save the Date”. We cut down larger sheets of paper to A4, then printed several bookmarks onto each sheet. Even the printing process was, overall, straightforward.

The invitations

The invitations were, to put it mildly, more complicated than the Save the Dates. I wanted them to be colourful and was inspired by the many floral, hand-illustrated invitations that I saw on websites like Minted. By the time I started on the invitations we’d already chosen our colour palette for the wedding –  claret & blue, plus a nice sage green and soft yellow to distract from the fact that we were using Aston Villa colours! Alas, drawing is one skill I have never had, so I knew I couldn’t achieve anything like the stunning commercial options available. I simplified what I wanted in my mind and realised I might just about be able to manage something simple with leaves using my computer. I drew a couple of leaves in Illustrator, then sketched out different overall shapes on paper before trying out my favourites on the computer. I worked out the full illustration before I added any of the text.

I drew a few basic leaf shapes in Illustrator, then tried out different fills/strokes based on our colour palette. They were all arranged around an open oval shape.

My favourite part of the illustration is at the bottom:

This little ornament is my favourite part of the stationery. I think it’s just so beautiful!

That little flower & strawberry ornament is from Samplers and Stitches, a 1921 embroidery textbook for girls, hidden at the bottom of the table of contents. Again, I took a photograph, then coloured and adapted it to fit what I had in mind in Photoshop.

The back of the invitation again used the LEGO heart, but this time in blue.

We wanted some consistency with our Save the Dates, so we put the LEGO heart on the back.

We printed the invitations ourselves, albeit grudgingly. I really, really wanted them to be professionally printed, but was also adamant that they should be on the same paper as the Save the Dates. After a lot of hunting around, I was completely unable to find any printers willing to use it, though. Let’s just say it was a pretty stressful process, but though I know the design of the invitation is far from professional, the quality of the printing was actually reasonably good and overall I was really happy with them. (Though I already wonder what I was thinking with my font choices!) Most importantly, I really think they conveyed the intended mood of the wedding well. So what if they’re a bit busy?

We had a couple of extra information cards we wanted to include, so we tied everything together using cotton yarn bought at Wal-Mart. It was DK, but the strands were distinct enough that it was easy to pull them apart.

Orders of Service

We didn’t particularly want elaborate orders of service, but ours turned out quite lengthy. There’s not much to say from a design perspective; as you can see, we used the same images that appeared on our Save the Dates and invitations, and also echoed the oval on the invitations. We bound them using embroidery thread; some were green, some blue, some yellow, and some claret.

Bound with embroidery thread.

Working out what to put in the orders of service was the hard part! Our service was taken from the basic Church of England service, then adapted slightly. In the end I think it was quite an unusual service for both our American and British friends, so we did want them to be able to follow what was going on in their programs. We also included a brief bio of each member of the wedding party, as well as hymn lyrics (“Abide with me” and “Come thou fount of every blessing”) and the poem my bridesmaid read (“Fidelity” by D.H. Lawrence).

Bonus: The big book of ideas

This beautiful hand-decorated Moleskin notebook got me through the planning process. I love jotting down notes, so I was always going to have a wedding notebook. The little tabs emerged from necessity, and some definitely got used more than others. Let me tell you, I wrote a shocking amount about food and had lots of budget estimations! The notebook also had a handy pocket at the back, so I was able to keep printouts, etc. We ordered it from OHNORachio, and I couldn’t recommend her more.

Dumbelton wedding May 24, 2014, in Mountain Grove, Mo.
Photo copyright Taylor Emrey Glascock & Erin Stubblefield. http://www.tayloremreyphoto.com; http://www.erinstubblefieldweddings.com
Dumbelton wedding May 24, 2014, in Mountain Grove, Mo.
Photo copyright Taylor Emrey Glascock & Erin Stubblefield. http://www.tayloremreyphoto.com; http://www.erinstubblefieldweddings.com


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