When I first started wedding planning, invitations were definitely not high on my priority list. Although I've received some absolutely gorgeous wedding invitations (Alice and Paige, in particular), they didn't seem important enough to me to warrant spending a lot of time or money on. I even considered making them myself on some cardstock from my closet and that would be that. Ha! This was not even close to what happened. Somewhere along the way, everything related to the wedding has turned into a personal reflection of who I am and what my wedding will be like. Is this true for all brides or just me? I don't know. But I didn't want the invitations to look cheap or home-made. I wanted them to be classy and elegant, yet rustic (like the wedding), but creative and unique (like us!). After all, the invitation sets the tone for the wedding and who wants cheap and crappy to be their theme? Not I!
So I started scouring the internet for ideas. I wanted something that would reflect the fact that we were having an outdoor destination wedding in the mountains of Jackson Hole. Our wedding venue (the Lazy Moose) is so gorgeous (very woodsy and Western), so I wanted something that reflected those qualities. Last summer I stumbled upon an invitaiton made of wood...how cool! Oslo Press had the most beautiful and unique invitations I'd ever seen (see picture below). Unfortunately they were SO far out my price range that it made me cringe.
So, the search continued but I didn't give up on the idea of doing our invitation on wood. I was determined to find a way to make it happen and still fit within our budget. Surprisingly, there were a couple of places that had wood invitations. However, either they were super expensive or I just didn't like the designs they offered. Yes, they were usually very nature-oriented (trees, acorns, etc.), but they weren't personal to us and didn't reflect the mountain-aspect we wanted. So I realized that I would probably have to design them myself. Which meant that I needed a reputable place that would print my design on the wood, relatively inexpensively. Enter lazerdesigns.com - BINGO! I ordered a sample of their invite and it was perfect. Exactly what I wanted and within our price range. And I could just send them a PDF of whatever design I wanted and they'd get it printed on wood.
Next step was creating a design. I loved the idea of having a design on the invitations that I could use on many elements throughout the wedding (programs, welcome bag, favors, etc.). However, I am not creative. I have no artistic bones in my entire body, so I needed help...preferably in the form of a graphic designer. Enter a little luck. While I was at Edgewood's In the Vineyard last November, I bid on a $250 gift certificate from JB Creatives, LLC for the design of announcment or invitations. I figured with having a wedding and all the wedding-related parties and 30th birthdays we have this year, I'd have plenty of opportunity to use the gift certificate. So now that I needed a graphic designer, I contacted Jeanette Ballinger of JB Creatives to help me out. I assembled all my "inspirational" pictures of invitations that I liked and ideas that I had. We went through hundreds of designs, but one in particular stuck out...
This was an invitation set featured in Martha Stewart weddings for a couple that was married on a farm. Rumor has it that the bride is a graphic designer for Williams-Sonoma and designed the invitation suite. She used the individual graphics (animals and flair elements) from the heart and incorporated them into other wedding elements. This seemed perfect for us...if only we could change the farm animals to mountain animals. Jeanette and I worked on getting everything perfect on the design and finally sent it off to be printed on wood. I think they turned out so BEAUTIFUL!
How cool are those? I know! So, with the invitations done, the next step was the reply card. I wanted a postcard, mainly to cut down on paper and it didn't hurt that postage was cheaper. On the front of the card, we put the same heart from the invitations, followed by our initials and the wedding date. On the back of the card, other than the basic "are you coming?" question, we also asked people for their entree choices for dinner. Since we're having a "local Jackson Hole fare" for dinner at the reception, we used the trout and the bison as two of the meal options. See, we're using those animals already! Then I ordered custom Moose stamps from Zazzle to complete the look. Unfortunately, since our "return by" date straddled a postage rate increase, we also had to add a 1 cent stamp to make sure they'd make it back to us. The Tiffany lamp isn't quite what I had in mind, but it's not too terrible. Oh well.
While I was doing all this "research" on invitations, I also fell in love with the idea of including a map of the local area with the invite. I thought this was especially important since it is a destination wedding and people aren't familiar with the area. Plus the whole idea that Jackson Hole is a couple different towns (including Jackson and Teton Village and Wilson) was a little confusing to me at first, so I thought it'd help clarify things. There were a couple pictures that I found that I really liked. At first I considered making the map myself on the computer and adding some cute graphics (see first picture below). Turned out to be rather hard to do. Then I found some awesome maps by Laura Hooper, that were personalized and hand-drawn (see second picture below). They were just SO cute I knew I had to do something similar.
However, I knew that I couldn't draw this myself (and I didn't really want to spend the money asking Laura to do it), so I came up with the PERFECT solution. Who better to ask than my amazingly talented stepmom Kelly! She's a wonderful artist and finally said yes after me begging her to give it a try. It took her less than a week before I got this in an email...wow!!! I was shocked. It was better than I even imagined it would be. Didn't she do an incredible job?! I'm so impressed with this map - it incorporates all our important wedding places and uses so many adorable symbols (we love that fly fishing rod). I'm just in love with it!
And on the back of the map, we also printed driving directions to the ceremony/reception location.
So, that's it! The whole wedding invitation suite. We added a very cool Mt. McKinley stamp to give them a mountain-top feel. I'm so pleased with the way they turned out! Hopefully you've received yours and can make it to the wedding!! See you in Jackson Hole!!