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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Save the Date (4)

Tuesday
Mar152011

Befriend Your Postmaster

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What do your invitations look like? Are they crazy-beautiful letterpress? Are they uber-cool designs from an Etsy shop, printed with soy ink on recycled paper? Are they like mine, a DIY kit from Michael's? Whatever your poison, passion or budget allows you to invest in, invitations are just that: an investment. They can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Mine was definitely in the low hundreds and you can see that break down here if you're interested.

I spent a hellalotta time figuring out what wording we wanted. I spent HOURS formatting, reformatting, downloading free fonts, testing fonts and rejecting fonts. I spent more hours printing the actual invites, the RSVP cards, address labels, return address labels and envelopes (additionally, menu cards, programs, wine lists, cake signs, etc). I became one with the varieties of glue dots, spray adhesives and corner punches. The printing and assembly of my invites and other paper goods was probably the most difficult task I undertook in the DIY portion of my wedding so when I hear about invites getting mangled by the US Postal System, I get a little pissed.

My girl Marie is getting married soon, the end of April to be exact. I've loved helping her out where I could (I did her Holiday Save the Dates and her OOT bag design) and I'm just sitting on pins and needles, waiting for her wedding. It's at a gorgeous location, she's got a stunning dress and I just can't wait to see her and her beau get hitched. I got their invitation last week and while it arrived slightly rounded and a little bent, it was gorgeous. However, I got a surprisingly calm call from the bride the day before I got my invite. Marie opened the call with, "I've had my first wedding crisis." and I thought, "Oh no!" and settled myself in for a tale of woe.

So here's what happened:

The day before I got my invite, the bride's parents received approximately 30 of the invites back in their own mailbox, many of them totally mangled. When the FOB took the invites back to the post office to figure out what happened he was told that the invites needed extra postage and that the return address that was positioned on the center back of the invite was a) in the wrong place and b) too large. The invites that were returned to the sender were invites that the USPS (or their machines) basically read backwards, return address as sending address. I am not going to tell you about the horror the FOB had to deal with at the post office and getting these invites sent back out, but I will tell you it included a LARGE, BLACK SHARPIE. *shudder*

So what can we learn about this? What can we take from this experience? Here's my advice

1. Take ALL your invitation parts to the post office and weigh them for correct postage. Make sure to include the ribbon, tissue, everything that's going in that dang envelope.

2. Take a completed invitation to the post office, weigh them compared to the components (just in case) and ask about the THICKNESS of your invite. (Step 1 &2 can be done at the same time). I just happened to do this for my invites on a fluke. The Postmaster saw the completed invite and asked to see it. He told me that the price wouldn't change, but that the bow that was tied inside was creating a large bump. This bump would make it fine through any feed, he explained, but what it would do is make that passage slightly uneven, which could catch on any of the corners of my pocket fold invite and tear the edges, potentially ruining the invite (my pocked fold WAS the invite, no outside envelope). I ended up modifying the bow so that it was a ribbon cross-over with a glue-dotted flower versus the bow that created a smaller bump. This was an easy decision change for me because the simple truth us this: I HATE BOWS. I hate tying them because it takes me at least 47 tries to get it right. 

3. HAND CANCEL you invitations. Do this. Period. DO NOT let the USPS do this to your invites. DO NOT trust the USPS to do this, even if they say they will. Do it yourself. There are too many inconsistencies between Post Offices to know which ones to trust and which ones not to. My suggestion is to go to a small, satellite Post Office versus the big ones. The satellite offices are where I got my best service, advice and consistency in what I was being told. I will say it again: HAND CANCEL your invites. You just paid beau coup dollars on your invites, spent time on wording and formatting and all that crap. Don't flush all that down the crapper by letting the USPS mangle them with their auto-cancel machine-thingy.

4. Be mindful of your return address. The USPS standard for return addresses in the top left hand corner of an envelope. Many of us like to write them on the back. Lots of invitation designs have them on the back because of the large pretty font or calligraphy on the front. Makes sense, right? However, if you choose to have your return address on the back, make sure that it's a significant font size difference (meaning smaller) and at the TOP of the back of your invite, not centered. This will help ensure that the invite gets to the party it was intended for versus right back in your own mailbox.

5. Don't sweat it once they're out. Marie is a calm-planning bride. She's particular, but not fussy. She's planning a kick-ass wedding for a lot of people in less than 6 months (go girl!) and is amazingly serene. THe reality is when it comes to invites you've got three camps:

a. You've got people who will open them and save them as a memento.

b. You've got people you will open, write down the date and then toss the invite.

c. You got people who will open, stick on the fridge as a reminder for the next 6 weeks and then toss.

That's it. That's what will happen to your invites. It's one reason why I refused to spend a lot of money on mine, simply because I know what happens to them in the end. My invites weren't going to be any more special then anyone elses and would end up in the garbage (make sure you keep one for yourself!) eventually. Once the invites are out, that's it. Whether they get mangled in the post or arrive super-pristine, there's just nothing you can do about it. Time to let that particular task go. My friend Marie seems to have taken to the "letting it go" part of wedding planning like a fish to water. Good for her! Can you?

Am I missing anything here? What additional invite advice would brides from days of yore suggest? Got anything to add? Leave a comment if you do!

Monday
Dec202010

Holiday Save the Dates {DIY Style!}

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Just so we're clear: I am not a graphic designer. However, I often play one on this blog. I trip and shuffle my way through color fills and fonts, pdf files and clip art. I can get a job done, but since I lack the required skills and training of a professional, it takes me DECADES to manipulate my work.

That being said, I'll have to admit that I was both overjoyed and terrified when my friend Marie asked me to do her Holiday Save the Dates. Marie and I go way back. WAY back. We were lab partners in biology our sophomore year in high school - that's how we met. We became friends over the dissection of our fetal pig we named Wilma. Good times have ensued ever since. And now she's getting married and I couldn't be happier for her. Like me, she too waited (and waited) until she found the right guy! And I love the fact that she met her love at a wedding. At his twin sister's wedding. In Bali. That's right, Bali. I'm sure you know the one. Cool, right?

Marie is a laid back kind of gal. Her mom is not. Her mom is more like me - specific in her likes and dislikes. I knew I could make Marie happy, but I was so worried about her mom. I wanted to do the best job I could, but was concerned that I was lacking in a skill set that would result in hideous Save the Dates. Hideous! No one wants hideous.

So I jumped in with both feet and hoped for the best. There was a specific design the bride was liking, so I took it and basically knocked it off to suit the couple. I emailed layouts and texted pictures to the bride pretty much all of last week. I lined up paper colors I'd narrowed down, sent font options - all that kind of stuff. We were all juggling different ideas - should I mail them from here? Do we want return address labels? Envelope liners? It's hard to do it all via text and email! So last week I sent off two completed Save the Dates and then held my breath. Marie called me on Friday and set up a three way call that included her mom. I swear, I thought I was going to faint when I heard her voice. My immediate thoughts were, "She hates them. I have to start over. What am I going to do if she hates them? She hates them. She hates me. What if Marie hates them too?" Oh, my mind was going in a bazillion directions at once.

And then the gushing began. And the thank yous. And more gushing. They did not hate them at all. They LOVED them! I swear, I sat down, put my head on the table and nearly started to cry I was so relieved. I just didn't want to mess up my friend's Save the Dates. I wanted her to be over-the-moon happy with them because you know what? A bride SHOULD be over-the-moon happy with everything associated with her wedding. And yes, I wanted to please her mom too.

So without further adieu, here are the Save the Dates I did.

All the paper came from Paper Source. We used A7 folded cards in Superfine Soft White with A7 envelopes in Red. I lined the envelopes with their bulk paper in Leaf using an A7 liner template. I used a corner punch to get the top of the liner rounded just right as I wasn't totally digging the template corner. It was just too fat of a corner for the envelopes. The design idea came from a Save the Date the bride found on-line. Clearly, I am not as clever as this Save the Date may portray me to be. All the patterns and fills and art came from free online sources. I simply recolored them and dropped them in (I say "simply" but it's anything but simple when you're only playing the part of a graphic designer.). These were my "practice" pieces, so they aren't exactly perfect.

*Santa not included.

The inside was pretty basic - I used the Juice font for the stuff in red and Gabriola in dark gray for everything else.Then I decided that I couldn't just do the cards and liners. I mean, they had to have some sort of snazziness to them, so I decided to do some envelope wrappers. There are plenty of downloadable formats on-line, but I couldn't find one that I could manipulate the way I wanted. So once again, I started pretending I was a graphic designer. By the time I got those damn things done, I wanted to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick. They drove me crazy!!! But I finally got them done.

I did some last minute return address labels for the back in the same design style as the front. Not sure if they are going to use them or not, but I sent them along just in case they decide to. I think there were 111 cards total. Whew! That pales in comparison to the fifty or so that The Candyman and I cranked out!

And there are tools that I used to get this done too: a bone folder, double sided tape, full sheet labels, a paper cutter and scissors. In fact, I invested in a new paper cutter to get the last bit of this done. I had to. HAD TO. My little cheap piece-of-crap paper cutter was my excuse to buy this:

Look at how beautiful my new Swingline is, all shiny and new in the morning sunshine! It took a little getting used to, but now I ♥ it. Need some paper cut? Come on over, we'll play with my Swingline.

I finished these on Friday and FedEx'd them out to the Mother of the Bride on Saturday. I am praying that they are all to her liking. I'm wigging out again though because as I was writing this blog, I noticed what might be a typo on one of the address labels. A typo. Really, Louise? After ALL of this? I swear, I felt like I checked and double checked everything a bazillion times. But, I did send extra blank cards and envelopes, just in case they needed more or I did mess something up that I didn't catch. Again, I only play a graphic designer.

So what do you think? Did I do my friend proud or should I be hanging my head in shame? Doing something DIY is SO different when it's not your own!

Sunday
Jan242010

EPIC Save The Date!

Since I've been out of the loop for a while, this might have already circulated the blogging world, but I just loved this so I had to share! And massive props to the tall chick for marrying a little guy. Both have some serious moxie.

 

Thanks to Jenn for sharing!

Sunday
Aug092009

{Give-Away!} Rachel Jasper Designs

I am so jazzed about this give-away! Seriously, this little baby has been in the works since I was overseas! I found Rachel's work featured on our local go-to Ashely's Bride Guide. I have been dying to do an invitation related contest, so I was over the moon when Rachel said she was game! At the time, she was in the middle of some new designs, so I not so patiently awaited their completion!

You might recognize the invite from my finalist inspiration board on Style Me Pretty!

I just love Rachel's style and so wish that I met her prior to my own invitation production. No matter though, because I get to share her loveliness with my fabulous readers! Rachel is offering 100 FREE Save the Dates to one lucky winner! Now, this isn't any ol' Save the Date give away. Rachel will customize the Save the Date to your favorite design! How exciting is that?!?! Go check out her stuff at her Etsy shop, on her blog and on Flickr. You can also become her friend on Facebook. Here are a few of my favorites.....







So, how do you win? Here's how to get multiple entries into this awesome contest!

1. Post a comment here. Tell me your favorite design!
2. Become a follower of my blog or tell me you already are a follower.
3. Become a follower of Rachel's blog and tell me about here.
4. Re-post this contest on your blog and get another entry. Tell me about it here.
5. Tweet this contest on Twitter and get another entry. Tell me about it here.

That's FIVE chances to win per person! Hop to it and win this awesome contest! I'm running the contest from now until midnight on Thursday, 8.13.09. 100 Save the Dates is nothing to sneeze at folks. Enter now!