Planning A Wedding (Without Losing Your Mind) Part III: The Paper

Our wedding had a vintage, 1920’s London sort of vibe, with an upscale, elegant, sophisticated twist. While I love the rugged look, when done without a touch of glamour, it just looks a little more rough than I prefer. So, since Jeff wore those beat up looking old shoes with an Armani suit, our rustic invitations and paperwork needed a little dressing up as well…

The save the dates (or STDs, as they’ll be known henceforth), came from the concept that I didn’t want to send out something that was just paper and ink. I really wanted each one to be different in some way, and I wanted it to be a piece that people wouldn’t want to throw away (although of course I know that people did!!)

The save the date is in four pieces, and each one is handmade out of letterpressed tags or stitched muslin.


Each one has an antique key attached to the ribbon–every key is different. As the wedding had locks and keys all throughout, we wanted to bring that in as early as the save the date.

Here’s another view, with the copper envelope the STDs were sent in below:


One more look so you can see the first tag with the ribbon put behind the back:


Here is what each piece looks like. The tags were tea stained to give them an aged look. The bottom layer, pictured bottom left is actually muslin that was printed on and stitched to a piece of cardstock. On the back of each STD, there is a page torn from the book Portrait of a Marriage–each page is different and was meticulously cut to match the size of the front.

The overall effect was to create something that looked old but still colorful!


We intentionally left the fraying edges of the thread and the muslin to make them feel even more handmade.

Now…on to the invitations!!

They came in a box:


Huh? Just a box of old books, you say? Not quite :)


Okay, you probably guessed that they are not ordinary books by now. No, they are HOLLOWED OUT BOOKS! In keeping with our theme, our wedding invitation hides away, tucked safely inside a hollowed out book. Each one is completely different–each book was lovingly bought from an old bookstore and chosen for it’s particular color cover, title, thickness, or inside pattern.

When you open the book, this is what you see:


The pocket on the left hand side is a very thick, copper paper from Kate’s Paperie. On the right, a steel grey grosgrain ribbon holds the invitation in and is sealed with a copper wax seal with a photo of a lock (scroll down lower for a close up). On the invitation itself which lays in the hollow, a single, antique button is affixed to each invitation. Every one is incredibly detailed and different and took many HOURS of scouring ebay:


Here’s a close up of the wax seal with the lock:


A few of the different invitations themselves so you can see the buttons better. You can also see that each one was letterpressed and burned around the edges:


Inside the front coppery library card pocket were four things: a map with all location details, a list of events for the day before the wedding, a response card, and an envelope:


The map was done by a mapmaker and looked amazing. I love how she even has these cute little icons to denote each location!


The one on the right is my personal copy–my favorite one of all of them:


So there you go! I will tell you that I loved them so much that it was almost painful to send them out into the world. The saddest thing of all is that each person only received one, so that they couldn’t have a whole pile of them together to look at and explore. There were some particularly special ones in the batch of them.

What unique project have you dreamed up for your wedding invitations?

Invitations created by Kari Dyas, all photos by me

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20 comments on “Planning A Wedding (Without Losing Your Mind) Part III: The Paper

  1. As soon as you posted these on your blog my sister wrote me a message on Facebook that said “Your dream wedding invitations”. And it’s true! Our invitations actually have a lot of similarities (mine were sewn into a book, each featured a belly band with a unique button), except yours were done a million times better. I’m sure everyone just tossed them out (I don’t like to think about it after the hours of work I put in) but I now have my favorite one sitting on a shelf in my room and I love seeing it there.
    .-= Jenna’s most recent blog post: Wedding: Elizabeth + Casey =-.

  2. I absolutely love these! I loved them when I first saw them on your blog a couple of months ago, but I love them even more now to read in further detail all about them. Thanks so much for sharing – they are stunning! (No way I’d throw mine out if I got an invitation like this!)
    .-= Cyd’s most recent blog post: Mike’s Surprise Party – A Basket of Memories =-.

  3. I love these…the detail is exquisite. I agree with the professional bridesmaid – a real labor of love!

  4. I was so happy to make these save-the-dates and invitations for Jessica Claire. Jessica had been a client of mine in the past (business cards and promotional packet) and is such a talented artist herself, it was an honor to work with her again.
    She was out of the country when her wedding designer contacted me about her save-the-dates. I only had a week or so to design and create something the bride would love, and it needed to be sent out without her even seeing it! She got one in the mail along with everyone else…
    The guidelines I was given were vague (“like an Anthropologie store”) but I knew that it was right up my alley.
    The invitations were created after that, with the STDs as an inspiration.
    As a letterpress printer, I knew that each card had to be beautifully printed. As a designer and collage artist, I wanted to present something that had texture, color and “wabi-sabi”, that Japanese phrase for something that is beautiful because it is old. Over the years, I’ve spent many hours tea and coffee staining paper and knew that that particular detail was a must for this particular wedding. I met many times with Jessica’s event designer (Kabrel Polak) to look at props for the wedding and get inspiration for the invitation. Kabrel, in fact, was the one who suggested the hollowed-out book. I took that idea and came up with the materials and design that became this gorgeous invitation. I was thrilled that Jessica loved them. I printed and assembled each one, myself, by hand. The map, as well, was my design and was so much fun to create.
    I too, felt a bit of sadness sending them out into the world. They were a part of my life for many months. Even those burned edges were done while on vacation in Yosemite, over a gas stove in a high-sierra cabin.
    I love each and every wedding invitation I design, but this one, one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive I’ve done to-date, is still among my favorites.

  5. Kayla Ebarb writes...

    I am thinking about using the vintage keys with luggage tags for my save the dates. I just love that idea! I was wondering if you had any problems with envelopes tearing? I love the idea but I dont know if ill need to buy padded envelopes or not. What would you suggest?

  6. Sarah Welch writes...

    I could not love these anymore. I’ve been wondering how to incorporate three of my favorite things into wedding invitations: vintage keys, books, and wax seals. Ta da…you did it perfectly! I think I might just be inspired to make my own wedding invitations. These look amazing !

  7. Anika Ransom writes...

    What if my colors are Hot Pink && Lime Green can you make a book to work with it??

  8. Laura writes...

    I am desperately looking everywhere trying to find similar ribbon. Does anyone know what type of ribbon this is, or if there’s a shop online I can buy it from?

    Thankyou :)

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