Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Invitation hell

It's only Wednesday but it's feeling like a very long week for me so far. I have been feeling surprisingly frustrated by the question of wedding invitations recently, and I think I'd be even more frustrated at this point if it weren't the fact that I had an unexpected but extremely successful meeting with a consultant at work yesterday that made me very happy. It is so nice to be in a job where you can actually have successes and highs that matter to you personally. I didn't have any sort of feeling of investment in my last job and it's a totally new experience for me with this one.

Still, though. This invitation thing is really driving me nuts. It seems that we are destined to never find an invitation that we like and can afford that can be done in purple and in two languages. We thought we had found the perfect invitation, and then the sample arrived, and while the paper and design concept were nice, the skyline looked bad. Like, messy photocopy bad. It just looked weird.

So now we are back to the drawing board and I don't know where to go. I have looked at every invitation vendor I can find, and either they cost too much, or they don't come in purple, or they aren't that nice, or they are only done in a flat, one-sided design that can't accommodate two languages. I've found a couple of things that are decent, but not special, and I want our invitations to be special.

And the dual language thing is frustrating, because it's not just the invitation itself--it's also the RSVP card and the information insert card. We just ignored the whole issue for the save-the-dates and did them only in English because the language there was simple and minimal, but for the actual invitations we really want both languages there so that everyone will understand, and also because we want both of our cultures and backgrounds reflected on our wedding invitation.

And I'm just letting the whole thing get to me and overwhelm me. I mean, it's just some stupid invitations, but I get so frustrated trying to figure out websites and how to order samples in the right color, and how to set up the wording and whether it costs extra to add the German. I have emailed and called so many different companies with queries and sometimes even when they respond, it isn't clear how I would place an order or specify my special instructions or add in the extra cost and it's just all so much and so, so detailed.

At this point, even when I find a new website that looks good, I can't even look at it, because just looking at a couple of options feels so exhausting. There are so many options and yet none of them is right and anything we do pick is going to have to be dealt with or modified in some way and I just don't have the energy to deal with that right now.

And also, I feel ridiculous whining about something so inconsequential, especially when every other aspect of the wedding planning has gone so smoothly for us. But seriously, WHERE are we going to find our invitations? I honestly have no idea.

I thought of making them ourselves, but I don't know where or how we'd print them, and I also really do not think that I am up to a DIY project of that magnitude, because I am not exactly crafty. Although I am certainly more crafty than Torsten is, which definitely does not help matters. I just know that if we try to make our own invitations we are going to wind up sitting on the floor of the apartment, covered with ribbon and glue dots and ready to kill somebody or call off the whole wedding and just elope. And we've already paid our deposits for a lot of vendors, so eloping now would mean wasting a lot of money.

Okay! I'm done whining now! Let's focus on the positive, which is that even though this week feels really long, it will be over tomorrow, because I'm taking Friday off for our little trip to Chicago. AND it's my birthday on Sunday. That's enough to make anyone feel better, right?

58 comments:

  1. I'm sure you've heard of this site before, and even if you haven't I don't know how helpful it will be, but I've seen lots of invitations in multiple languages on it (and it's kind of fun to read the site because it's written by so many different people so you get lots of different ideas). So on the off-chance you haven't seen it yet, I suggest going to www.weddingbee.com and looking at some of the invitation entries. If for no other reason than they usually list their vendors and you can get good ideas of who does good work.

    Good luck!

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  2. I am doing my own invitations becuase ours are complicated too. We don't have multiple languages, but we've got our own issues that made ordering invitations almost impossible. I am here to tell you that DIY is not so bad, and I am definitely not crafty, and I can do it. These paper shops that offer help are, in fact, extremely helpful, and you get exactly what you want for a lot less cost. Don't rule it out, that's all I'm saying

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  3. Just keep thinking, "There is a light at the end of this tunnel!"

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  4. So, what about this as a last resort solution ... order two sets of invitations. One set for your Stateside guests (in English) and one order for your Across-the-Pond guests in German. Not ideal, because I appreciate the desire to have both languages reflected. But, at least this way, you can be sure everyone understands the invite and all the inclusions that come with it.

    PS - Can't wait for your trip to the Midwest, though I hear it's going to be crappy weather Thursday night into Friday.

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  5. Although you are a planning machine, much like myself, I say CHILL on the invitations this week. As we discussed, you can't even order them until other decisions are made ANYWAY, so relax the rest of this week, go to Chicago and come back next week rejuvenated and ready to take on the invitation monster. Also, where are you this morning?

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  6. My dad did mine and my sister's invitations. My sister actually ended up making her own paper for it. Though we are an extremely crafty family and yes, sitting down and stuffing envelopes with everyone causes some serious fighting! :)

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  7. Have you gone to a "bricks & mortar" invitation place? They usually have several giant sample books that you can look through and customize. I did mine through a local copy shop who brought in the sample books for me. They were able to take the invitation details and replicate them on wine labels and Thank You cards... I was really happy with the result.

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  8. I agree with Stephanie and say enjoy CHICAGO and your BIRTHDAY! Also, DEWAI. Too bad I won't be in the windy city this weekend to show you around! Boo.

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  9. As I read this, I wondered if lots of people had said "forget the purple! Just pick something different!" For me, the thing that was SUPER important on our invitations was that they be SQUARE. And yes, it would have been easier (and cheaper) to not go square, but I just loved the look so much that it was a non-negotiable thing. And it eventually worked out. (Although, man, I went through like ten samples before they sent me one that would actually freaking align correctly. You'd think they'd neverdone it before).

    Anyway, good luck!

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  10. Oh dude. If you're not sure about the DIY, DON'T DO IT! Hehe. We did our own and hated them.

    We felt like eloping before we started wedding planning, halfway through, and even now, almost 2 years later. Eloping is underrated.

    Good luck with the invites and advance happy birthday! :D

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  11. Happy early birthday! Don't get frustrated, you will find the perfect invitation!

    There is this place on P Street beteween 14th and 15th Streets, called, The Written Word http://www.writtenword.invitations.com/

    Their website kind of sucks and doesn't represent how cool their store really is, but when you go in there they have tons and tons of the most unique and interesting invitations. I love going in there just to get design ideas. May be worth a try. Good luck!

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  12. Okay, I'm going to put my thinking cap on and see what I can come up with.

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  13. I agree with Steph -- take a weekend break, clear your head and get back into it after your birthday. Just enjoy your time together & know you have plenty of time to get this done anyway!! :)

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  14. hello! graphic designer friend here! do you want me to design them for you?

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  15. I seriously have absolutely no idea about wedding invitations, but I did want to say happy birthday week!

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  16. I TOTALLY feel you on the un-craftiness, but it seems that out of all of the DIY wedding stuff you could do, invites might be the LEAST troublesome. Especially with your Special Needs (um, INVITATION needs, that is).

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  17. I was going to ask if you have a friend that could design them for you. Surely there is a print shop in DC where you could have them printed. So, don't fret. There are probably also places that do custom designs for invitations. I know of a few where I live and the prices are reasonable, especially if you take the proof to get printed and cut elsewhere. Our invitations are going out this week!! WOO HOO!
    Happy early birthday!

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  18. I'm sorry the invites weren't up to snuff but you'll find the perfect solution. Happy early birthday! (You and my boyfriend have the same birthday- what a great day!)

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  19. oh man, I can only imagine how frustrating that must be. You'll get it to work out though. And at least you have a trip and birthday to look forward to in the mean time! Happy early bday!

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  20. I may be annoying by suggesting something that you've probably already tried, but have you looked into Etsy.com? I used a vendor from there (oh, I'm an idiot - she actually has her own site: www.whimsicalprints.com) for my sister's baby shower and she was open to customization - maybe she'd be able to work something up for you? (shoot me an email on gmail and I'll give you my last name if you want to say I referred you). Also - I made our wedding programs, and it wasn't that bad - but I felt less pressure for them to be perfect than I would have with invitations.

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  21. I completely feel your pain with the dual languages - oh German families. I am planning on just ordering the inviations in English and including a translation with it. I know it's ghetto, but there are only like 11 German invitations.

    I agree with taking a break on your search. You still have a long way before your wedding. Take a step back, enjoy your birthday trip, and look again in a few weeks.

    Happy early birthday!

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  22. I'm sorry you can't find the perfect invitation. It must be really stessful. I agree with the others, you should take a break for a few days and relax. Also, Happy Early Brithday!

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  23. I did the invitations for my neice's wedding, and it worked out well. The invites were complicated, but it was a pretty small wedding, so that was ok.

    Also, when Lord of the Manor and I jumped the broom, we ordered the number of invitations by looking at the final tally of guests on our list. Then we realized we shouldn't have done that, because we invited a lot of couples... Anyone want some pretty invitations? I seem to have several stashed in the attic...

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  24. I can completely relate! It's so complicated, and I'm so glad that I don't have to worry about it for awhile. I was engaged prior and went all the way through the invitation stage, that's why I can actually relate. But invitations and stationary is probably the hardest piece of wedding planning. It's so tough!

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  25. I've been browsing through Etsy and there are some great looking wedding invitations. They're home-made so I'm sure they'd be willing to work with you.

    You could try that (and search for homemade jewelry at the same time!) :)

    www.etsy.com

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  26. Happy Early B-day Jess! Enjoy! Your ideas sound awesome!

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  27. Have you tried checking etsy? I love the site and there are some nice looking invitations on there.

    Check it out, and do some seraches of your own! I bet you'll find someone willing to work with you to make sure you get exactly what you want invitation-wise.

    Also: happy almost birthday! Have a great weekend!

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  28. Jess- do you have one of those party superstores anywhere near you? We got our invites at Party City, where they have books and books of them to page through, where you can see the colors and feel the textures etc. You place the order, and they take care of everything. Not sure about the foreign language, but it's worth a try.

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  29. BIRTHDAY!! yay! coming soon!

    i'm on the stephanie bandwagon: take a breather from the invites before they drive you nuts, and enjoy the weekend without thinking about them once between now and then. :-)

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  30. Invitations are special and for a day as special as your wedding, you should get exactly what you want. I'm sure it's out there waiting to be discovered.

    Happy early Birthday and have a great weekend!

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  31. Happy early birthday!

    Have you talked to any local graphic designers? There are quite a few in my area who design wedding invites on the side, and they are relatively inexpensive because they are individuals instead of stationery companies.

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  32. I echo -R-'s suggestion... maybe you can find a friend of a friend who graphic designs on the side. That way you could get something affordable and perfect.

    Best of luck in the invitation hunt.

    And happy birthday WEEK!

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  33. Oohh...hooray for birthday trips! Have a great trip!

    You've quite likely already covered this base, but there are some purple invites at weddingpaperdivas.com.

    If I lived closer, I'd come over and help you make your own. We did our own and t WAS rewarding but TOTALLY time-consuming!

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  34. Early birthday! Happy!

    Also. My vote? Take a week off. Just enjoy Chicago and not stress. I realize this might not be easy, but I think it's kind of important to your sanity.

    Just a thought.

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  35. Yeesh. That does sound annoying about the invites. I hope you're able to find something you love and can afford!!
    As for the trip - HAPPY BIRTHDAY and HAVE FUN!

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  36. I say go with www.etsy.com they have some great invites. I had some hand made for my best friends babyshower and they turned out perfectly. And if you are going to do that you can have them make 2 sets one in English, one in german. Just sayin'.

    BTW, Hi.... Long time reader...rare commenter.

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  37. I say take a break from the invites and then when you come back, dive into researching etsy and actual printing places (my ex's mom used to have a printing shop, and all I remember about the card stock for the invites was that most of it was purple).

    Happy early birthday!

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  38. I'm sorry it's been so frustrating! Maybe it's time to focus on a company that will offer the languages and a design you really really love, even if it can't come in purple. Do you have a secondary color? Also, honestly, no one will remember the invitation after they've opened it. I know it's really important to you, though, and you should be ridiculously happy with whatever you get.

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  39. I too was obsessed with my invites. I feel your pain. I got mine from The White Aisle (they have a website) and I loved them.

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  40. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Birthday! Ditto to everyone else's comments about taking a break from the invitations. You can tackle it with renewed energy and perspective when you get back to town.

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  41. Must be frustrating. I agree. But I'm sure you'll find something that both of you love, that has purple, is in two language, and not bank breaking. I'm sure. I'll see if I find some helpful links I'll forward them to you. Meanwhile, do a little birthday planning.

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  42. Oh goodness. I have to say, though, that as soon as I saw your title, I laughed out loud.

    We made ours. And it WAS a DIY project of magnificent proportions. Over 500 invites, made by hand. They were lovely but it was terrible.

    Have you thought about having a designer design one for you? A local graphic place or something? Maybe a place online?

    Good luck my friend. May the force be with you. You should fly me out there and I'll help you.

    Jamie

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  43. I made mine and I am not crafty at all, then printed them at my work. It's easier than you'd think. Have a great birthday.

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  44. 1. Happy early birthday!

    2. Invitations are very important. And then a year after you get married you move and you lose all of the leftover invitationa sn 12 years later you don't even remember what the invitation looked like because you have the important thing. The ring. I mean, the dude you married. And the ring. Unless you lose the ring too. Which you will.

    3. Story of my life, above.

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  45. Oh man. I don't think I will do well with the stresses of wedding planning. Not at all.

    HAVE FUN ON YOUR TRIP!!

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  48. Maybe all-white invitations, with purple ink. That would open up more choices.

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  49. Well, if it has to be something going wrong with the wedding planning, invitations is about the nicest bad thing to have happen.

    You could always send out a mass email. Kidding! Kidding!

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  50. oh man, talk about stress! good luck finding an invitation. I spend hours trying to find the perfect birthday card for people, I couldn't imagine a wedding invite. But there's something out there for you, it'll come. and it'll be perfect!

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  51. happy early b-day, and yay chi-town.

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  52. I agree with Becky; weddingbee has some great tips for the crafty and not so crafty as well as vendor tips. Plan carefully, get all hands on deck, and you should be able to pull it off. There also may be places who can help you DIY- I know my friend assembled her own, but had help from the scrapping/designing people in sorting out the design. Good luck!

    And eek! I hope my designer works out!!

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  53. Can you look for a vendor in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe)? Perhaps they would be more likely to have experience producing bilingual invitations.

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  54. Uh oh. I am definitely not looking forward to dealing with invitations. I have a friend who is willing to do the calligraphy (which means we'll probably do ours ourselves), but after that, I've got no earthly idea. Good luck in choosing yours!

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