Monday, September 14, 2009

Designing the Invitations

Well, let’s see. It began with lust for pocketfolds. And lust for these invitations. And these. And really, these. I loved the idea of having inserts, and instead of bundling them together somehow, I lusted and craved pocketfolds. So I made them, and couldn’t be more pleased with how well they turned out. What I thought would be the tricky part, was actually the easiest part.

Once I had the size of my pocketfolds set in stone, I was ready to design the inserts and invitation, since you need the paper sizes first. I had found a stamp at Hobby Lobby/Target on clearance that became the “mark” of our wedding. It went on everything, and will continue to pop up with more and more project reveals. It was a scroll design that was curvy enough to satisfy me, but not too swirly to disappoint manly B. It turned out to be a great compromise. And I knew from the beginning that I wanted an invitation with that scroll image in the corners. Or at least one corner, since putting it in two corners was a little on the girly side from the world according to B. It was just pure chance that I decided to use the scroll to emboss the outside of our STD envelopes. (You can see them here!) I was really just learning how to emboss, and those were my first attempt. I thought that if that process went smoothly enough, then embossing my own invitations would be a piece of cake. And yes, the embossing turned out to be the easiest part of the whole wedding invitation project.

I designed all the templates in Word, mainly because I’m lazy. I probably could have used Publisher or Photoshop (I have both), but I’m not as comfortable working there as I am in Word, and text boxes are a breeze to manipulate. The main concern for me was getting the most out of each piece of paper, which meant small margins and problems with printing to the edges that I would find out about later. Since I was worried about spacing, I didn’t just print the invite on one page and the inserts on, no, no. I came up with the “best” layout that allowed me to print one invitation (invite and ALL inserts included) along with two favor tags with just two sheets of paper – one heavy and one light. I thought that the design part of the process would be difficult, but it really wasn’t. Finding the fonts from here and here, and finding the paper from here and here was actually very simple.

It was the printing that nearly killed me! (I won’t go back into it, if you want to catch up, here are the links: 1, 2, and 3.)

But when it was all said and done, the RSVP insert and the Map/Directions insert and the favor tags were all printed on the heavier cover weight Stardream Opal paper. While the invite, the Accomodations insert, the monogram, and the quote were all printed on the text weight Stardream Opal paper. This type of paper will be used throughout the wedding with all printed elements, to tie it all together...and because I love it SO much!

How did I figure out how much paper to order? I’d really like to tell you that it was a scientific formula that when used in these circumstances will give you an 85% accuracy rating…but in reality, I just got lucky. When I ordered the paper, I had originally thought to fit one invitation suite per page, and placed my order based on that. I’m not really sure WHAT I was thinking, or how I ended up with enough paper, because there was NO way that you could print an invite and three inserts on one sheet of paper! I must have been smoking crack that day...

Either way, I ordered 125 sheets of cover weight paper to do the invites, and I ordered 250 sheets of 80 lb plain black cardstock paper to do the mounting on. (You see, I’m a scrapper...and mounting is the theme that runs through ALL of my scrap books!) Then, when I realized that not everything would be mounted, so not all the paper needed to be cover weight, I placed an additional order (several months later) for 250 sheets of Stardream Opal text weight paper, knowing that I would use this paper for other projects as well.

I had originally envisioned each insert being mounted on the black cardstock, so I’m not sure why I ordered only cover weight paper in the Stardream Opal. Once again, smoking crack, I guess. But remember people, crack kills...and should NOT be used while planning a wedding or designing invitations! LOL.

I just worked with my design and re-worked my design until it all worked together or until it all fit. Aligning the text boxes front to back on pages of a Word document is easier than it sounds, but thank goodness for test pages. There were a LOT of test papers printed in this process! I had so many "mock ups" done that I didn't know what to do with them all. Once I had it down to what I was happy with, I was ready to print. And that’s when I ran into my problems. But we’ve already discussed those and how I dealt with them...

And the good news is that the text weight paper went through the printer fine – no problems what-so-ever. If I had had problems with that paper too, I think it would have been the death of me! After about a month of wrestling with the printer and messed up pages, I was done. I had a stack of cover weight pages printed, and a stack of text weight pages printed, along with a stack of pocketfolds all ready to be assembled together into my invitation suite.

For those of you who decided to DIY your wedding invitations - was the design process the easy part or the hard part for you?

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