Poet Elisabeth von Uhl, author of Ocean Sea, shares her search for a beautiful wedding invitation. Thanks, Elisabeth!
Like the relationship, the wedding is also a practice in compromise. Luckily for me, my husband-to-be was pretty supportive of the decisions I made regarding the wedding. He had bought into the idea that girls plan their weddings from infancy. Of course, I was highly offended by this idea (as if I did not have better things to think of as a youth?!?!), but then realized it gave me license to make many of the decisions.
One of the decisions was the announcement of the wedding: the invite and the save-the-date card. Of course, I, like Chloe, obsess over the written word so any announcement regarding the rest of my life in words had to be perfect. Sadly, though, people like Emily Post and social expectations have already decided the words for you; You only have a say in the aesthetics of the announcement.
Sadly, I do not really remember any of the invites from the previous weddings I had attended. Most of them were kits bought at Target or Staples and printed out on home computers. Others were invites bought from printers that looked exactly like those printed at home. So I spent time at Target and at Staples looking at their off-white invites with their smashed white bows. Likewise, the save-the-date cards were generic and simply blah. Other save-the-date options were magnets or calendars, both of which were not priority in which to spend money. So I decided to download an old vintage template for a Chicago (the location of our wedding) postcard. Then I went online and had them printed from vistaprint.com.
Viola! Money still left in the pocket.
From this experience, I was even more motivated that a deal was to be had in the invitation department. I consulted the do-it-yourself Diva, the Martha Stewart. I love her Weddings magazine and found many, many DIY ideas to trim my budget. But I also found lovely, lovely invitations in which to salivate over. Almost all those beautiful invites featured in the Weddings magazines (yet I had yet to see such beautiful invites in person) were letterpressed, a process involving raised, metal type. Because of this, letterpress demands high-quality paper for this process. The process also demands an artist to set the press and design the blocks used for printing, hence letterpress is a bit pricey and, not necessarily accessible or sold in any old store. But I was hooked; even more convincing, my mother who was married in the Seventies had a simple, white 3 by 5 inch, cotton-paper invite with simple, block raised words announcing her marriage to my father. You could run your hand over it and feel the words. It was quite delightful and “regal”. So even though, most thought me crazy to invest in invites, because “people throw them away”, I still wanted a beautiful record of the wedding. I also wanted a work of art, not some generic piece of paper in which my public commitment to my husband was announced. So after scouring the internet, I settled on beautiful thermograph (a modern-day alterative in which the type is raised by heat and then the ink is dusted on) invites.
Below are some links to letterpress websites:
I hope you’ll pre-order a copy of Elisabeth’s forthcoming book, Ocean Sea. I already ordered mine and can’t wait to read it.