Bookish Invite Costs


Invites fit to send to royalty, for less-than-royal prices!

Before the cost breakdown, here’s a quick date breakdown because I always wanted to see examples of what was mailed when when I was planning:

We sent out our Save-the-Dates just over 6 months before the wedding. Everyone got one, even relatives that had known for 5 months beforehand when and where it was.

We sent our invites 3 months before the wedding.

We set our RSVP date 4 weeks (just under) before the wedding.


Grain of salt to read our invite costs with: both Cinnamon Buns and I were terrified of having not enough invites, so we ordered extra. A lot extra. This main round of invites invited 80 people, and with the various couples and family units, we needed about 60 actual invites. You’ll see how many we actually ordered. :)

Invite Costing:

Printing (and shipping to Canada) via CatPrint on cotton stock (100 each of 1 5×7 invite, 1 4×5.5 RSVP, 1 4×5.5 info card): $161.72

Envelopes from Reid’s Stationery (80 A7 blue, 80 A2 green – we splurged to have coloured envelopes): $84.00

Postage: $53.21 (we just made it under the regular postage weight! Also, postage rates always go up in January in Canada, so in December I bought 100 permanent stamps at the old, lower rate for mailing within Canada)

Total: $298.93 (including postage) / $245.72 (without postage)

Call it 80 invites, as we bought 80 envelopes, and our per-invite/postage not included cost is: $3.07. The top contender of the invites we looked at before going this route was $6.50!

How many extra invites did you get? Were you as paranoid as us?

<3 Belly Bands Part 2

Here’s how I made the custom shape for the Silhouette to cut, and here is the first part of my belly band post.

Here is the mock-up band I made to see how the cunning plan in my brain translated into real, actual paper:

flappy H

As it was a mock-up, I just stuck some double-sided tape on both short ends of the book paper, then stuck it down. This means it is only attached with two vertical lines, one just past the H and one just past the P. As you can see, everything else is popping up, especially the two flaps that make the H shape. I knew we’d need to bring out the big guns when we made these for reals. I considered glue stick briefly, but decided against because I always have trouble with glue stick glue drying to the point that it is so brittle whatever you’ve glued pops off. Also, chunks of glue tend to gather in cut-out shapes like this. That meant I was looking at spray adhesive! I thought it would be fast, quick, and easy. Once I figured out what needed to happen, it wasn’t quick, it was a little fiddly, but I still wouldn’t call it hard.

What I didn’t take into account when thinking this would be an easy project was that when you spray something with spray adhesive, if you don’t stick it to something, it will stay sticky. So anything that gets sprayed needs to be stuck to something or else it will forever stick to people and gather fluff. Remember this fact!

I knew I’d have to make a mask out of cardstock (or anything thin and stiff, really) so I just got glue where I wanted it. I could have cut the book paper to 1.5″ by 11″, the same size as the bands. This seemed like a waste of paper, plus to get the print going the right way, I’d need a book that was 11″ wide. I cut my pieces of book paper to 4″ x 1.25″, which was just a little bigger all around than the H <3 P cutout.

book paper pile

I now knew that I needed a mask with a 4″ x 1.25″ cutout in the middle. This was my first attempt:


I used a small piece of spare cardstock, put it down, and sprayed. Notice the long arms of the belly band sticking out on either side of my mask? Yeah, they got stickied, as well as the area I wanted to be sticky. Try again! Here is mask design 2.0:


Now all you can see of the belly is band is literally the area we want stickied. Perfect! Spray, remove mask, stick book paper down, right? WRONG. I did that the first time, and got adhesive all over the book paper that was peeking out of the cutout. The spray adhesive sprays everything you can see: the mask, the belly band, and the freezer paper underneath, so if you press your backing onto the belly band without moving the band, you’re sticking book paper to both the belly band and the freezer paper.

I had covered my table in butcher paper, but I soon realized that I actually wanted to work on newspaper or flyers. Each time you spray, you get this:

sticky shapes

P <3 H glue spots (I outlined it so it is easier to see. The area inside the blue is very sticky!). That means you can’t keep putting your bands in the same place to spray adhesive them, because they’d pick up residual sticky. I found that could put out a London Drugs flyer, get about 4 sprays per page (moving slowly down the page, never putting a new band in old glue by accident) and then just flip it over once I’d used up the previous page.


Start at the top of a page. Once I’d used this page 4 times, I’d flip it over and use the other side 4 times.

So this project ended up more fiddly than I envisioned: I went through a lot of junk mail for spraying and a lot of spare scrapbook paper for masks (they gather such a goopy layer of glue that you’ll want to replace it every 10-15 sprays or so) but it turned out great product!


My favourite one so far, because of the prominence of Zero Mostel in the horizontal bar of the H. Zero Mostel starred in one of my favourite funny musicals ever: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

Cheat sheet for this project:

  1. Put your mask on top of what you’re spraying.
  2. Spray with adhesive of choice.
  3. Remove mask (do not accidentally stick mask to table! Keep it sticky side up!)
  4. Move article you just sprayed to an area clear of glue.
  5. Now you can press your backing (in my case, book paper) onto the band.
  6. Put a new band down in a clean space in your work area.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6, laying down new workspace paper as needed, and making a new mask as the old one gets too glue-covered.


Did you have any projects that seemed easy in your head, but ended up being much more fiddly?

<3 Belly Bands!

This has been my cunning plan for our invites since about January, when I first saw that H <3 P Miss Giraffe put at the top of our invites. I’m so happy this project turned out just like it looked in my head!

a few glued

That’s what my mysterious Silhouette project was! Once I had my little H <3 P graphic, I made a cut file that looked like this:

Belly band file

The rectangles are 1.5″ high, and the full width of the paper. It has to be over 10″ long to wrap around a 5″ wide invite, so 11″ long gives a nice bit of overlap. Then over the course of a few mornings, I cut out about 60 bands from plain white cardstock that I had lying around.

Now, when I first had this idea, I cut out one to see what it would look like. I used the white cardstock because it just sits there by my desk, and it was handy. I grabbed some Glimmer Mist, and sprayed the cut-out band with it, to be able to visualize it better – I had been planning to cut the real deal out of teal cardstock, which I wasn’t going to buy until I knew my plan would work. When I showed Cinnamon Buns my invite mock-up, he loved the bands, and said that he actually really liked the splattery look of the sprayed bands. I did too, so we called that done! Belly bands made of stuff we had lying around? Awesome!

I covered up the coffee table with some freezer paper:

covered table

Laid out some bands, and got spraying!


Handy tip: look at how much wasted mist there is on the freezer paper! After this batch, I put the bands out much closer together, so almost all the mist went on to what I was trying to spray, not my freezer paper. As the mist dried, they all curled a little, like paper does. We stacked them in to two equal piles and put a few heavy books on top of them for a day or so to flatten them out. Spraying about 70 of these, including that first try pictured above (when I could have done twice as many as I laid out) used about half a bottle of Glimmer Mist, which is usually about $8. That means our belly bands cost $4 + whatever 15 sheets of cardstock costs. And that cardstock was bought pre-engagement for various other paper crafts, so I’m counting it as ‘free’. :)

cut out bands

Adding in the book-paper backing was a little more fiddly than I originally imagined, so I’m leaving that for post part 2 tomorrow.

negative space

Negative space has never looked so positive!

Bookish Invites At Last!

You saw the inspiration. You saw my scribbly sketches. You saw the start of Ms. Giraffe’s work, and some progress. You’ve read about printing the envelopes. Now you get to see the whole thing, revealed at last!


The websites I’ve found say that only British citizens will receive replies from Her Majesty. I’m hoping that being from “the colonies” will work in our favour, plus Cinnamon Buns and I do both have dual citizenship as our parents were born in the UK.


Can I just say how sad it was to blur stuff out? They’re so pretty and I made them ugly with my need for privacy and not being stalked! Sadface.


H <3 P !! I love it!


I’m a big fan of how the belly band doesn’t cover up any information, just our silhouettes! After looking at so many sideways photos of myself trying to find the right one, I realised that I actually have a very flat profile/face. It made me sad for a little bit, but I got over it. Cinnamon Buns’ looks just like him though!



Our info card. Yes, we are not inviting children. Yes, we put it right there on the invite suite. Luckily, we don’t know too many people who have children (or children under 20, anyway!) so we’ll only actually be ‘offending’ about 2 people. And I do believe that all parents deserve a night off! We tried to be funny in the wording with that one.


RSVP card, with green envelope behind, addressed in our pretty pretty font.


We tried out some book-y wording (thanks for all your help with that!) but we ended up loving the ‘bells’ wording. And I love that Miss G worked a little handbell in there, too cute! I hope we get a few cards returned with people’s art on the back.




Love that font.

I just have to say that none of this, absolutely none of this would have been possible without the amazing work of Miss Giraffe. We are so happy with what you made for us, G! Love!

Get Going On Those Envelopes

Guess what arrived? InvitesArrive05 I’ll give you a hint: the package came from CatPrint, and the contents are printed on yummy 118lb cotton cardstock. As soon as I saw Miss Panther’s save-the-dates, I bookmarked CatPrint, and made a note that they carried cotton paper, like the stuff used for letterpress. InvitesArrive06

Three separate cards, all cellophaned together! That’s all you get to see right now, because this parcel arriving gave me a good kick in the pants to get going on our envelopes. Now, ye olde etiquette books (and some of ye newe etiquette books) recommend you address your wedding invites by hand. No, thank you, I say to that! My writing isn’t the nicest, plus I’d end up with a hand cramp. That isn’t to say I don’t love the look of calligraphy – I just didn’t want to do it myself. I decided that the next best option was to send the envelopes through our printer, and get the printer to print directly on them with a calligraphed font. People could choose to believe (or not) that my writing is just that pretty. The first thing we had to do was chose a font, which was an exercise in itself! I went to and checked out their calligraphy and handwritten sections, opening each one I liked in a new tab. I soon noticed a trend: all but one of the fonts I loved was by the designer Jellyka Nerevan. I guess we’re just on the same wavelength? I downloaded my favourites (14 or so) then typed our address up in each font, 7 to a page, and printed 2 pages for Cinnamon Buns and I to look at together. We went over those sheets with a pen, crossing out the bad choices, make notes (bold? Bigger?) then I went back and printed out the ones that made the cut, played with sizes and bolding, etc. We got it down to two: Jellyka St Andrew’s Queen and Jellyka Estrya’s Handwriting. We checked with both our parents to see what they thought, and if they thought St Andrew’s Queen was legible enough for the post office. St Andrew’s Queen was my favourite, and everyone thought it would be fine for the postal system! Here is a sample (speaking of Queens…) : InvitesArrive03

Swirly, but not too crazy! The part I loved about this font was that it has a heart character. DaFont shows you all the characters included, and what you need to type to get them. To get the cute heart, you have to type |. Our return address is in the top left corner, we put “First Name <3 First Name” in St Andrew’s Queen, using the heart shape, and then we put our actual address in a ‘regular’ font, as the return address was so small it was a little hard to read with all the swirls.

I printed a few envelopes, and realised that the toner was rubbing off! I tried changing some printer settings (we have a Samsung laser printer) and did you know printers can have altitude settings? I tried everything I could, but the toner still rubbed off easily when I swiped a finger over it. I hopped on my bicycle (first bike ride of the year, it was awesome and warm, now we’ve had another dump of snow. sadface) and rode over to a local art supply store not 7 blocks from here and 1 block from our venue. I bought some fixative – artists use this type of thing when they’ve done something in charcoal, which will just continue to rub off if you touch it. I even found a low-odour, for-indoor-use can of the stuff!


I printed a few envelopes at the time and ran them out to the paper-covered coffee table without touching the fronts until I had a full coffee table. Then I gave it all a good spray.


Printing the envelopes was fairly easy, I used Excel and Word and mail merged the envelope document. If your addresses are in an Excel spreadsheet, you’re good to go! Mail merges are one of those really handy things I’ve picked up while temping – I think I picked up most of my love for Excel and Word while temping! As long as the Excel file with your addresses has nicely labeled columns (Name, Address, City, Province, Postal Code, Country, etc) a mail merge will allow you to put those ‘fields’ wherever you want them, and when you press the ‘merge’ button, you get one page/label/envelope per line of your Excel document with the fields filled in just as they are in Excel. If the idea baffles you, try Googling ‘mail merge’ and your version of Word.

I printed the envelopes one by one through the bypass tray of the printer, I’d just click on the page/envelope I wanted to print (the mail merge created a 60+ page document where each page was a new envelope), click print, and select ‘current page’. I found this was the best way to prevent paper jams. Clicking on each envelope individually also gave me a chance to check the address and make and tweaks I needed to – I did find with the font we chose that it helped to space out postal codes: A 8 A   8 A 8 was way clearer than A8A 8A8.

I gave Cinnamon Buns the task of printing our address on the RSVP envelopes. This was less easy because the envelopes were smaller, and the printer wasn’t such a huge fan of the A2 size, but he persevered and got them done. I’m very happy that he was the one wrestling with the printer for that task, after doing all the big envelopes myself!

Printing ‘calligraphed’ envelopes: etiquette no-no, or fine in the computer age?

Who Gets A Stamp?

Time to talk a little about all the mailing that comes along with a wedding. The cost of postage stamps racks up pretty quickly, so what is a bride with far-flung family and friends to do? Really, the answer is going to be different for everyone, so here is what we worked out for ourselves.

(simple, classic, British stamp)

We sent our save-the-dates at Christmas time, tucked into people’s Christmas cards. It meant we sent a few more Christmas cards than we would have normally, but that was still less stamps than mailing Christmas cards in one go, and save-the-dates in another. I think we even packaged up a few cards together in a larger envelope, for family members we knew would be gathering together in Ireland for Christmas. We also hand-delivered a bunch of them to work friends that are invited that we see quite often. This also meant we didn’t have to hound these people for addresses.

Now that invitation-mailing time is almost upon us, we’re being a bit more formal about it. Cinnamon Buns was all for hand-delivering all the ones in this city, hanging on to them until we can make plans with all the various friends, but I said no. Here’s my case for spending the extra dollars: I don’t think people get enough mail that isn’t bills or flyers. I want our guests to open their mailbox and be surprised and happy that there is a pretty blue envelope in there. Yes, it does seem a little silly, when you consider people like my friend MJ who lives 4 blocks away, or K who I’m working with right now, but I love it when I get mail that isn’t from my bank, so I want to give them that.

(I’m not too picky about what is on my stamps, but Quatchi just sounds funny)

The next set of stamps to worry about are the RSVP stamps. About 40% of our invites will be going to people who don’t live in Canada, so we can’t put postage on their RSVP envelopes (unless we got someone to mail us a bunch of British stamps, so we can put them on the reply envelopes, put them in the invite suite, and send them back, but it’s a little late for that). We are also giving our guests the option to RSVP on our wedding website; the card says something along the lines of ‘Please RSVP by return of this card, or on our website’. With that option, how many of our guests do we really expect to return the cards to us? I expect we might get some back from our work friends at work, but those won’t need stamps. With those ideas in minds we made the decision to not put stamps on any RSVP envelopes. I am hoping we get some RSVP cards back, because they’re fun, and I want to see people’s answers, but it does seem like pre-stamping would be a waste of a stamp in most cases.

I’m sure someone is going to suggest that we should have had an RSVP postcard to save on postage. Here’s my answer to you: Canada Post doesn’t have a different rate for postcards. Americans are very lucky to have that!

The ghost of etiquette past might come and haunt me in my sleep, but we have made our decision. Unless I sneak stamps onto some RSVP envelopes when Cinnamon Buns isn’t looking. 😉

Invites Step 3 – That’s Totally What I Drew!

Here is how our invitation journey started:

Invites Step 0.5 – Wording
Invites Step 1 – Chicken Scratch

Invites Step 2 – The Designer’s First Round

Now we’re on to the most exciting part, seeing my drawings translated literally into an Illustrator file! Here’s a quick look at the ‘good’ version of the 5×7 invite I drew:

Scale 5x7 invite web

And here is the first file Miss Giraffe sent us that used this drawing almost exactly:

BLOG HP-Invite copy

Yup, that’s what I drew! Only this version is way cleaner, nicer, and in colour. Our esteemed designer said “It definitely needs some cleaning up though, because I think it’s a little “busy” which might make it a little hard to read.” Us Cinnamon Buns agreed with that statement. I’d been wondering how the traditional “Blah blah blah request the pleasure of your company…” would translate to book spines. I wouldn’t call it unreadable as it is, but I’m sure some of our older relatives would disagree with me.

I think the most important part of this whole custom/working-with-a-designer thing is communication, so Cinnamon Buns and I made some time to sit down together and talk about the whole invitation. We printed one out (sadly, our printer is black and white, so we didn’t get to see the colours!) and scribbled all over it to remind us of our points. Then, we wrote an email back. One of my main things was that I wanted the heart at the top to be a little darker so it could stand out more. We also wanted the picture frames (which will eventually have our silhouettes in them!) a bit closer together, there was the busy-ness Miss G noted on the top shelf, and I wanted to see what it would look like with a lighter background.

I had also emailed that proof to Cinnamum to see what she thought, and I was so, so happy to hear that she loved it! She thought it was very us, which was exactly what we were going for.

Fast-forward a little, and we had this in our inbox:

Feb 5 Invite

Obviously, our silhouettes are not George and Martha Washington, nor are we the Playmobil toys in the silhouettes in the first version either. We’ve since sent off a few profile photos of ourselves, to be turned into our very own silhouettes. We both absolutely loved it on this lighter background. From this point there were just a few more tweaks to send off!

But, this wasn’t the only invite I’d designed in my head. There was also the fun 4×9 one that I loved just because of the interesting size.

Scale 4x9 invite web

The above turned into:

Feb 5 Invites

Mmmmmm, also yummy! Love that swirly font! (I believe it is called ‘Affair’). At this point, Cinnamon Buns was leaning towards the 5×7 and Icouldn’t decide. We asked our parents, and talked about it ourselves as well.

Which would you choose? 5×7 or 4×9?

Hivemind Hits The Books

It’s funny how you can be thinking about one thing in your own little corner of weddingland, and other people can be thinking the same thing at the same time, and you aren’t aware of it!

Mrs. Meerkat just posted about funny RSVP wording, and Cinnamon Buns and I have been talking about this for the past couple days! I think it was Mrs Eggs Benedict that got us thinking about it.

We want our invites to be fun. You’ve seen some preliminary sketches (more to come on that saga later this week!) so you know we haven’t gone totally formal. We decided that fun options were very ‘us’. While Googling ‘Funny RSVP wording’ I found this post on the Wedding Bee Boards (everything comes back to the ‘bee!). Pay special attention to post #5 by SpaceC06: she posted RSVP options for various themes, ie “Ready for My Close-Up / I’ll Never Work in this Town Again” for a Hollywood or theatre-themed wedding.

It made me wonder… could we figure out cute options that are related to books and reading? We had been hoping to have about 5 or 6 options, a few yeses, a few nos, and at least one ‘Will express my joy through art on the back of this card’. Neither of us will die if we go with “Joyfully Accept/Regretfully Decline/Regretfully Accept” etc, but it’d be fun to bring the books in yet again.

Here is where I need to turn to you, hive. I’ve been having a few of those weeks at work where I come home, eat, and pass out on the couch. I have no brain left to think up funny/witty/punny/cute book-related RSVP options. Something about being stuck in a good book? Chapters? Pages? Can’t come, Harry Potter #9 is being released? I’m asking you, friends: can you come up with anything that might fit?

Invites Step 0.5 – Wording

Backtrack! I have realized that I started my little invite journey without talking about how the most important part of the invites came to be: the wording. It’s one thing to design something pretty and breathtaking, but it needs words!

The date, time, venue, and address were all pretty self-explanatory. We also knew that we wanted our wedding website right on the main page of the invite too. We’re actually planning on that being on every piece of the invite suite, just to hammer it home a little.

The sticky part was the wording at the top of the invite. In my defense, back in July I hadn’t read any books yet on how stuff is generally ‘done’, and hadn’t realized that the ones funding the majority of the shindig should be given credit on the invites. At that point Cinnamon Buns and I were thinking of “Together with their parents” because that was way less sticky than trying to figure out how to list both sets of his divorced and re-married parents.

When I mentioned that to my mum in a casual phone conversation…. there were tears. And maybe hanging up on each other. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t like the sweet wording that I’d seen on so many invites on Etsy. She couldn’t believe that she and dad were going to be left off her only child’s wedding invites. I tried explaining that it did have ‘parents’ on there, isn’t that enough? She told me what the ‘done’ thing was. When we talked later in the week, she’d looked it up in some books, and asked a friend with a recently married daughter what they did. The verdict was that them that’s paying for it (or most of it) get top billing. Okay, fine, I agreed. (In this research, she also found out that as MOB, Cinnamum is technically the ‘hostess’ of the party. I’m not sure what those duties entail, but I do still think of it as Cinnamon Buns’ and my party…..)

Once we settled on the fact that my parents were going to be on there, up at the top, Cinnamon Buns thought it only fair that his parents be mentioned. His mum and his stepdad are basically the ones that raised him, but he couldn’t leave off his father and his wife without expecting even more fireworks than we’d already had over invites…. We soon realized (and accepted) that we’d have a lot of text on our invites! Three pairs of parents, one invite! Plus, the “…. request the pleasure of your company etc etc etc”.

Was it a struggle to word your invites? Did you accidentally offend anyone?

Invites Step 2 – The Designer’s First Round

Previously, I’ve explained how we couldn’t find the perfect invitations (but could find tons of inspiration!), and shared my pencil sketches of what we thought our invites could look like. Today I’m going to show you the first couple things we got back from our designer friend! BTW, you may know my designer friend by another name… the wonderful Miss Giraffe is the one doing these designs for us!

When I sent her the sketches, she was in the middle of a busy time at work, but quickly tossed this off to give us a starting point, and let us see what our basic design idea would look like all Illustrated up! She let us know it was a loose design, and would do something closer to our sketches once life got less busy. We were totally cool with that because we knew we were starting in plenty of time. Cinnamon Buns and I are in no rush at all at this point.

Cinnamonbun-v1 copy

So cute! The first thing I said was “I love the H heart P at the bottom!!” Cinnamon Buns’ words were: “That’s staying!” I had never seen the purpose behind wedding ‘logos’ before, but all of a sudden I wanted to plaster H <3 P on everything! Our feedback on this one was that I wasn’t sure what I thought about green as the bookcase background, it does seem a little bright. I also wanted more swirls on the font, because swirls are awesome. We also let Miss G know that we’re open to spelling/abbreviating things like ‘Street’ and having numbers as numbers or words, depending what she thought best, design-wise.

The next one I want to show you is something was sent with this preface:

Soooo, it’s absolutely nothing like your sketches, but I got the idea in my head and was dying to see how it would all come together :). It’s inspired by the one image you had either sent me, or shown on the Bee, that was the sideways large stacked up books where you could see the pages on the side.

This was one of the reasons I wanted someone with a designer’s eye to be looking at our ideas. They’ve got training and experience, and can come up with new stuff, stuff inspired by our stuff. That’s why I didn’t want to be the one making these. That, and I have no idea how Illustrator works. 😉

BLOG CB Invites Version 3 WEB

Um, adorable, no?! I think I actually squealed a little when I saw this one. It’s cute, it’s booky… but Cinnamon Buns and I both like bookshelf idea better. It was so neat though to see where our inspiration led someone else. Every now and then I think “Could that be our RSVP card? Info card? Program? Something?!”

Soon I’ll show how our two sketches translated almost exactly from my graph-paper page into this format. It is so exciting for me to watch this little baby invitation idea evolve!

How does it look so far? What do you think about “traditional” wording on a non-traditional invite?

DIY Invites Step 1 – Chicken Scratch

I mentioned in this post that we are now DIY-ing (sorta) our invites. The whole reason we are doing this is because we couldn’t find something just perfect out there, even on Etsy. Etsy certainly gave us a few good starting-off points, but not the real thing. Okay, let’s design our own. How do we start?

I started by drawing! I had an idea of what I wanted them to look like, which was good. For the longest time I had no idea what I wanted our invites to look like, and just kept trawling invite sites, expecting to see the perfect thing ready-made. That never happened, and the more I searched the more I realised what I didn’t like, and finding things that were close-but-no-cigar helped me to find what it was I really wanted. Here are a few of my early sketches, scanned up for your viewing pleasure.

Book invite sketch 2 web

Book invite sketch 1 web

The top one on this page is mine, the one below Cinnamon Buns drew!

Book invite sketch 3 web

Can you tell what they are? I hope you can! I was trying to sketch out a bookcase, with all our info on the spines of the books. As you can see, I also tried hanging a picture frame above the bookcase, to put some text in that. My parents are paying for a lot of the wedding, and it is a big deal for my mum to have the ‘Dr & Mrs Cinnamon Bun request the pleasure of your blah blah blah’ on the invite. I didn’t realise this was the custom at first, when I was looking at invites the week after getting engaged. So many of the cute ones on Etsy say ‘Together with their parents…’ or even ‘Miss Cinnamon Bun and Cinnamon Buns are getting hitched!’ but those were never to be.

Doing these sketches, then talking about them helped us figure out what we wanted, and what we wanted to put on there. At that point I felt comfortable enough to do a scale drawing. I drew out a 5×7 rectangle on one of my favourite pads of paper (I love graph paper!), and did up a neat version:

Scale 5x7 invite web

Not too bad, I think? I also kept thinking that bookcases are long and tall, so why don’t we try a slightly more interesting size, like 4×9? So I drew up a 4×9:

Scale 4x9 invite web

I didn’t finish inserting the info, as it will be the same as the one above. On this one, I put the long sentence on the wall, as I was worried it might get a bit too crammed to read on tiny book spines. My thinking with that was that it would be in a really swirly font, and could almost look like swirly wallpaper behind the bookcase, and we could even have a few swirls (like a tail on an R or the edge of an ampersand) peeking out around the sides of the bookcase. That idea is a little hard to put into words, but it works in my head.

The last two scans are what I sent to our graphic designer. I feel that I’m not that bad at drawing stuff like this with a pencil, but know I could not get it to look nice on the computer. I just don’t have the knowledge. Or even the program! This is where friends with training come in. :)

What do you think so far?

Tasty words… nom nom nom

So remember, way back in the day, when I warbled on and on (and on) about how we weren’t going to DIY our invitiations because that was just too much stress and too much time, and too much this and that?

Well, um, I have something to say to you guys, face-to-face, looking you right in the eyes. We’re DIY-ing our invites. DIY up to a certain point, though. One of the reasons I thought starting from scratch would be too hard was it was a totally blank slate. At that point, you have all the options in the word. They could be 5×7 or 4×4 or 12×20 or 4×9 or ANY NUMBERS we could choose. That’s hard, for someone who can waffle as much as I do! Not only size of invite, but then size of RSVP card! Size of insert! Then there is the envelope colour! Pocket fold or belly band or twine or something else!

That is a whole lot of decisions, and I didn’t even touch on design or wording. Ack. But, there was nothing 100% awesome and us out there, so we decided to go the sorta-DIY route. We did come up with a concept for the invites, and we have sent some sketches that I drew to a graphic designer. She will work her magic (I keep getting worried that my ideas break some golden rule of design!) and we’ll end up with a high-res file that we have to get printed, and then assemble ourselves. There is no way I could ever get the invitations looking nice enough to print by myself, not with the design we came up with anyway! I could do it with text in Word, but that is my limit.

It’s a big scary step to be taking, but I’m finding my way through it calmly, with a few things that help:

  1. Having a back-up: This might make it sound like we don’t have faith in our designer, which is totally not the case. I just always feel more comfortable with a back-up plan, so if everything goes crazy, we have a plan to get ourselves out of the mess. The theatre ticket invites are our back-up. They don’t fit the theme of the wedding, but they are ‘us’.
  2. Taking things step-by-step: my first design scribbles were in no sort of scale, they were all over the place. Once I had the idea down, I tried it as a 5×7 because that seemed to be a fairly common invite size. The sketch looked good. Then I tried a 4×9, because I thought it would be cool. That looked good too. Almost magically, we’d found a size* (well, a choice of 2 sizes) for our invites. I am studiously making sure to think about one variable at a time. Next will be RSVP size. Then packaging. Then maybe envelope colour. Bite-size pieces, all the way.
  3. We have time: I was still ignoring the problem a little when Cinnamon Buns sat me down and said that if we did want to try custom, we should get on it soon. He was right, so I got over it and got going.
  4. We’re doing this together: Cinnamon Buns knows when I’m stressing, and can reassure me and calm me down. Also, he knows that this decision means more work and more choices, and that we’re both involved in it. Would I be doing this as a project that only I work on? No!
  5. We’re still getting other people to do some of the work! As I said, we’ve got a designer working with us. I also won’t be stressing about printing these on our home printer, we’ll be getting a professional to do that! Not printing them ourselves saves a world of stress (and probably buying a new printer).

So there we go! The Cinnamon Buns have been converted to the mostly-DIY invitation fold. I really want to walk you all through this, from my scribbles to printed loveliness, so you can see how all this progresses and what is involved. There will be way more on this to come! Wish us luck!

*ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check envelope sizes before diving in head-on! You don’t want to be in the packaging stage when you find out your size isn’t a standard! Check postal rates and regulations too, I know Canada Post charges extra for square envelopes, no matter what the size.

Invites for a Bookish Wedding

When we left off, Cinnamum had suggested going the book-y route for invitations she sent me a few links, and a few ideas. One of the ideas was:

How about a photo of the two of you on the front. as though it’s a best selling novel? A catchy title. Quotes on the back, like :
…..boy meets girl story against the backdrop of the Rockies. Would their romance be just a summer of love, or would she go to the ends of the earth to be with her man?
…..In the dark and dangerous world of backstage at the theatre, their love blossomed. Could it survive a Calgary winter?

While I love how enthusiastic Cinnamum is getting about this… I don’t want that style of invite. I found it hard explaining why I didn’t like that idea, when I still wanted a book-related invite. I think the best I could come up with on the phone was “it’s too theme-y”. This is where I turn into Goldilocks – “Too theme-y!”, “Too standard”, and the elusive “Just right!”. So, thus started the search!


(source and tonnes more photos from a DIY bride!)

(Etsy store Whimsique will make this style for you, if you can’t stomach hollowing out a book)

These invites are stunning, gorgeous, unforgettable, and we have way too much family overseas to mail actual books as invites. Please go look at that first link though, to see the amazingness.


Mum suggested these invites, modeled after the old Penguin paperbacks. This has special meaning for me as Penguins have always been a big part of my life: dad collects them. Penguin numbered their books when they started publishing, and dad’s goal is to get first editions of the numbers 1-2000. I have so many childhood memories of poking through used bookstores, looking for those covers, and dad with the list in his Filofax. Sadly, that invite doesn’t seem to be produced any more, plus the orange covers are for fiction. I’m pretty sure romance was magenta, and I know dark green was mystery, blue was biography… my geekiness is showing again, isn’t it?

There’s a box of Penguin postcards available, that I could do something with, but I don’t know if I could handle each invite being different. I’d agonize over which one to send to who! Although they might make fun thank you cards…

There’s always the looks-like-a-beautiful-yet-generic-book invitation (not a romance novel with us on the cover!):



(Story Book invite from LetterBoxInk – the same people who did the theatre ticket invite we liked!)

I think these work well for a destination wedding, or a more complicated event that needs various directions and stuff to fill up 10 pages. When your ceremony and reception are in one place, there’s way less info that needs to be distributed. Plus, we have a wedding website for that extra stuff!

There’s the whole library thing:


(source and more photos)

If pressed, I would call our decor more ‘quirky used bookstore’ than ‘library’. I have to confess…. I buy the books I want to read. I don’t necessarily buy them new, but I haven’t renewed my library card in at least 2 years. I felt a little crazy the first time I actually said out loud ‘No, we’re going not so much for library, and more for books in general’. But if you want library…. here’s some free templates!

I felt like I’d reached the bottom of the barrel – nothing more was showing up when I searched for ‘book invites’ or ‘literary invites’ or any such thing. Then I decided to go check out this Save-the-Date I’d favourited on Etsy a while back:

(ellothere’s Etsy shop)

They’d added a new item to their shop! A coordinating invite!

(Etsy Listing)

NOW we’re getting somewhere! This doesn’t have room for 3 sets of parent names, and there’s no clue as to what an RSVP card or other insert would look like, but I could work with this!

The same day I found that, I found this invite that was also new to the interwebs:



These two last ones really got me going, and got me super-enthusiastic about book invites again. I had been thinking of just going with the ticket ones at this point, just because I couldn’t find anything else, and I couldn’t put into words what the perfect bookish invite would look like. But I think some combination of these last two could be it. The last two inspired me to do some rough sketches of what a larger bookcase invite could look like. So far I keep coming back to one of those delightfully messy bookshelves with some books upright, some piled, a couple silhouettes, some vases… I’m not certain whether I prefer perspective, like the book pile invite, or 2-D, like the bookshelf invite above.

I’ve shown my scribbles to Mr. Cinnamon Buns, and he thinks it is a good idea to explore. I think he was a little taken aback when I brought up new invite designs, but he’s drawn me a few bookcases and examples too, so I think he’s running with it. We definitely hadn’t planned on getting our invites custom-designed, but neither of us has the skills to put something like this together. I could manage our simple Save-the-Date, but I couldn’t actually create something like this from scratch. I know I said we weren’t going to DIY the invites… but it’s a bride’s prerogative to change her mind, right?

We haven’t followed up any custom-design leads, and we haven’t yet said good bye to the ticket invites, but I think we’re in a good place idea-wise.

Did you get an invite custom-designed for you? How was that process?

The Great Invitation Debate

I’m going to let you in on a little (or large) secret, hive. We’re still up in the air about our invitations. I talked here about not DIY-ing them, and probably going with something that is printed for us, rather than us printing, but we haven’t gotten much farther than that. Or rather we did, but I started second guessing. But, let’s start at the beginning…

Cinnamon Buns and I sat down one night and went through the invitation section on Etsy. Now I bet we didn’t see all of it, but we browsed a good portion of it, and I’d been favouriting stuff left, right, and centre. When we sat down that night, we decided that we should order some samples, so we narrowed it down to our mutual favourites. We both had to like the design, or we wouldn’t bother ordering it. We ended up both liking:

Formal Vintage Ticket by LetterBoxInk

Apple Swirls by RuffHouseArt

Vintage Style by DesignAndInk

iHeart You by LittleSparkCreations

So, these decisions made, we decided to order. We ordered the Vintage Ticket as-is, we ordered the Apple Swirl in the style of this listing with the grommets, and we ordered the Vintage Style. We did not end up ordering any of the iHeart You invite, because of the atrocious shipping they charge for one sample: $1 if you’re in the US, $13 if you’re not? In case you didn’t know, us foreigners can access the USPS website too. We can use the shipping estimator, so we know when you’re ripping us off. Sending mail to another country isn’t that complicated! I do it all the time! So, even though we loved it, we let it go.

They arrived, and the two of us had a sit-down to go over them and talk about what we thought. Then we went out for breakfast with Cinnamum-in-Law and talked about them (she liked the tickets best), then I mailed them to Cinnamum with notes of our likes and dislikes attached.

The Vintage Style was pretty, and used nice paper, but we felt a little underwhelmed for some reason. I think we like quirkier things than that. I liked the Apple Swirls one, I loved the booklet style, and the perforated RSVP card, but we both agreed that apples really have nothing to do with us or our wedding. We both really, really liked the Vintage Ticket, because it was a bit of a tie-in to our jobs. We do love our jobs, and theatre is what brought us together, so it seemed appropriate. I think at this point, Cinnamon Buns stopped thinking about invites, thinking we’d chosen the tickets. While I loved the tickets, I kept trying to find ways to tie in our book theme to our invites. I even came up with a few sketches, that could possibly be used instead of the apples!


When the parcel arrived at Cinnamum’s, she sent me a few comments by email. Her main problem with most of them was: the invitations were trying to cram too much info, in too many styles of font, in too many colours of ink, on to a small card (looking at you, Vintage Style). She liked the idea of a pocketfold or grommet to hold everything together, and both parents’ full names inviting people. This means we need extra space, as Cinnamon Buns has two sets of parents.

Where I did agree with Cinnamum was when she said “The theme of your wedding is reading and books. I think that needs to be reflected right at the start with the invite.” Although I do sometimes hesitate to use the word ‘theme’. I prefer ‘bookish accents’. If it’s a book theme, shouldn’t I be wearing a dress made of books? Sometimes I say our wedding theme is ‘Stuff We Like”.

I continued looking for book-invite inspiration, and Cinnamon Buns continued thinking we’d made a decision. Next up: all the invites a bookish bride could want! Mostly.

The ticket invites are certainly “us”, but I feel like we could find something more cohesive with our wedding ideas. Do/did your invites tie in precisely with the wedding, or just generally with you as a couple? Would you find theatre ticket invites odd for a wedding that is not theatre-themed?