You Are Invited

I looked at wedding invitations online for a couple of days (no, really – that was all I did for two days straight) and was absolutely enthralled. So beautiful, classy, and elegant. I we couldn’t decide what I we wanted. Should we go with simple and refined? Or colorful and bold? What about the wording? What font? How many inserts do we want to include? And you want us to pay HOW much?

The lightbulb finally came on after seeing this blog post. Ridiculously adorable and just our style. I absolutely LOVED the idea of typing each invitation by hand. And with just a little over 40 to send out, why not? That’s why people have small weddings, right? To be able to make each invitation by hand? No?

The first birthday gift I received from my dear mom after moving to the United States was a sweet Smith-Corona electric word processor. My favorite hobby as a child was writing and I typed so many stories and plays on it. That thing actually stayed with me through sophomore year of high school, if you can believe it. I wrote all of my book reports and papers on it until we finally got a computer around 1997.

Weirdly enough, my mom has held on to it all these years and it still works PERFECTLY. She was really trying hard to convince me that I needed to bring it back into my life. “But Belle, you never know – you could still write the Great American Novel on it!” In 2011. Oh, Mom.

So, typewriters are near and dear to my heart. We took the general idea of a typewritten letter as the invitation and ran with it!

The typewriter took a little bit of work to find (this was before I discovered that my old Smith-Corona was functioning quite well!), but we lucked out big time. Thomas works in a newsroom and figured someone would have access to a typewriter. He turned out to be quite right. He found out that a co-worker, Peter, keeps at least 2 or 3 machines in his cubicle – apparently this guy’s handwriting is so terrible that he typewrites on Post-it notes (!). He lent us 2 vintage typewriters – a manual and an electric, both from the ’50s. Thomas drafted the letter (doesn’t it just sound like him?) and did most of the typing. The electric proved to be much easier to use, in the end – Thomas was zooming after getting used to the keys.

We bought the “From the Desk of Belle and Thomas” stamp from Notetrunk on Etsy. We chose turquoise ink as that is one of our wedding colors.

To go along with the personal, vintage vibe of the invitation, we enclosed a small photo of us from this past spring, taken by Thomas’ extended arm and my very favorite Instagram-type app on my phone, Vignette. We’re at Roozengaarde Tulip Gardens in Mount Vernon, WA. I handwrote that information on the back of each photo, since that seemed like an appropriately old-fashioned thing to do.

Now, the envelopes. Did you know that I used to collect stamps? Yup, I did. I was a child obsessed. In fact, I probably still have my favorite old stamps tucked away in a trunk at my mom’s. It’s not so unbelievable then that I had a blast picking out vintage stamps for the envelopes. I made a special trip to Champion Stamp in New York just for that reason. I specifically wanted to look at face value stamps only – old love stamps would have been nice, but those are all super marked up (because lots of people buy these up for their wedding invitations).

Did any of you figure out that each stamp means something to either Thomas or me? He was born in Kentucky, and took up dancing a couple of years ago. I was born in 1980. We live in Virginia. Yeah, okay – so the special meanings aren’t really all that great. But I tried.

The “calligraphy” (really just fancy writing with a fine point Sharpie) was the most time consuming part of these invitations. I wanted something big and bold that would stand out on the envelope. It was a challenge fitting some of the letters in, but I just made sure to place the stamps (didn’t glue them yet in case of mistakes!) on the envelope before writing the names and addresses.

We used an old embossed stamp for our names and address on the back of the envelopes.

We layered in one more sheet of onionskin paper on top of the original letter, folded them together, then tied them up with bright orange yarn. Orange is another wedding color, and the yarn is a shout out to my newest hobby.

Cost Breakout:
Stamps – $23
Paper – about $10
Envelopes – $7.98
Yarn – $3.14
Photo Paper – $9
Total for 43 invitations: $53.12 or $1.24 per invitation
We saved on postage by not including any additional inserts and asking guests to RSVP online. I don’t think anyone minded too much – and it was an excuse for people to go check out our site!


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