Requesting the pleasure of your company.

That’s right, hive – our invitations are in the mail!

Before I show you exactly what our guests have received, here’s a quick logistical breakdown: we mailed our invitations 12 weeks out. Really early, I know, but we did it for two reasons. First, semi-destination wedding blahblahblah travel plans blahblahblah. Second, and more importantly, the room block at our hotel expires 8 weeks prior to the wedding, which a) is really early, and b) is a downside of getting married in a resort town – even though April is technically the off-season, the demand for hotel rooms is that high. By mailing our invitations at the 12 week point, everyone has a solid month to book their hotel rooms or decide that they’ll be looking for alternate accommodations (or that they’re not coming, obviously). That’s enough time, right? I figured it was better to err on the side of more time than less.

Because DIY and I don’t exactly get along (does this really surprise any of you by now?), I took the easy way out and ordered our invitations from Wedding Paper Divas, just as I did our save the dates. The process was just as easy this time around. My favorite thing about Wedding Paper Divas is the free samples – you get up to 8 samples of invitations you’re interested in, which is really important when you’re ordering invitations off the Internet. I cannot stress enough how happy I am to have utilized the samples – my favorite invitation based on my website impressions wasn’t really all that great in person, and an invitation that I was only lukewarm about online ended up being perfect once I had it in my hands. Funny how that works out, right?

Curious about what we chose? Drumroll, please …

We used the Shoreline Treasures invitation suite. I love it so much – the paper is nice and heavy, the gold ink is easy to read but has a touch of sparkle, the thermography lends an elegant touch, and the seashell motif is perfect for Cape May. It says “beach wedding”, not “BEACH WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111”, know what I mean?

And here is exactly what our guests have been receiving in the mailbox! (All photos are personal. Sorry for all the redactions. You know I love you guys.)

inviteWe used traditional wording, plus the “son of” line to give a shout-out to Stallion’s parents. Since we are not having a church ceremony, we used the “pleasure of your company” line versus “honor of your presence”. But you’d better believe it’s an honor to get an invitation, haha. I do know that the proper wording for our ceremony time is “half after five o’clock”, not “half past”, but my sisters determined that I would sound like a huge tool for using “half after”, etiquette be damned. Rebellious!

Oh, and the blue shadowy thing in the bottom left corner? That’s either from my camera or my hand; that’s not part of the invitation. Oops.

enclosureOur only enclosure card – reminds everybody (again) about the room block, plus the wedding website address. The proofreaders/etiquette experts at Wedding Paper Divas had a field day fixing this up. Apparently, no punctuation = fancy! You learn something new every day.

responseRSVP card + stamped return envelope, addressed to my parents (BM B, my sister who really should be a professional wedding planner, has put herself in charge of tracking RSVPs.). I literally cannot make it any easier for people to RSVP. HELLO, EVERYONE OUT THERE WHO IS INVITED TO MY WEDDING AND READS WEDDINGBEE – PLEASE RSVP. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Anyway, each card has a number on the back corresponding to our guest list spreadsheet so that in case anyone forgets to fill in their name, we can easily figure out the culprit. Since we have to provide our venue with a final head count two weeks prior to the wedding, I set the RSVP date a week before that so I have time to chase people down if necessary. Although you know what would be nice? If I didn’t need to!

Oh, and spoiler alert, now you can see my menu choices. I was really dead-set on having a seafood entree in addition to the steak – I eat chicken every single day, so I was not interested in serving it at the wedding – and then I had this chicken dish at the tasting, and I swear, I died and went to heaven. It was SOOOOOO good. Like, angels were singing in my mouth. And we’ll have plenty of seafood at cocktail hour, so I don’t feel too badly about not including seafood as a main course option.

suiteThe whole invitation suite for your perusal. Check out my fancy lady envelope liners! They’re a little bit sparkly in real life, not in an obnoxious glitter explosion kind of way, just enough to make me go HEY SHINY OBJECT. Then we have the invitation itself, then the free tissue paper provided by Wedding Paper Divas (if this wasn’t a freebie, I wouldn’t have bothered with it, but since I got it – another fancy touch!), then the accommodations enclosure, and finally, the RSVP card and stamped return envelope.

20140104_144723

I totally forgot to address a fake envelope for blogging purposes, so I faked it on a piece of scrap paper just now. You like my bizarre cursive/print hybrid handwriting? Luckily, B has the handwriting of an angel, so at least half of the invitations were addressed nicely. We addressed everything by hand and lived to tell the tale.

That said, if we had access to a halfway decent printer, I may have picked a fancy font, done a mail merge, and run each envelope through the printer … but I’ve had the same printer since high school and it can barely handle regular paper, so handwritten addresses it is. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. And writing everything out really wasn’t that bad. My hands didn’t shrivel up and die or anything.

leenB with the fruits of our labor. We didn’t actually need the gluesticks we had purchased that are visible in this picture; a damp sponge did the trick just fine. On our to-do list: return the gluesticks.

From start to finish – from opening the boxes and sorting everything out to putting the last stamp on the last envelope – the whole process took about four hours for 125 invitations. It was no big deal, especially since we did it over two days and had a ton of help from my family. The division of labor was as follows: K stamped the RSVP return envelopes and sorted everything, B and I addressed envelopes, Stallion and I stuffed envelopes, Stallion and Papa Filly checked the addressed envelopes against our spreadsheet, and Mama Filly and I stamped the addressed, stuffed envelopes. Teamwork!

And speaking of stamps, we made two trips to the post office. We took a completed invitation to get weighed (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP OR ELSE), then purchased enough postage for everything (66 cents per invitation, for the curious), went home, stamped everything, and brought it all back the next day for the dreaded hand-canceling.

Not gonna lie, hive; I was expecting some SERIOUS side-eye when I asked that the invitations be hand-canceled. (Having had enough unimportant mail arrive in my mailbox shredded to bits, I figured I should at least try and take one preventative measure here.) I showed up at the post office first thing in the morning, fingers crossed that they weren’t busy. Fortunately, I was the only person there. When I asked for hand-cancelling, I also offered to take the stamp and do it myself so that I didn’t ruin his day. But he said not to worry about it, took the overflowing boxes of invitations, and sent me on my way. Sure enough, as far as I can tell from the pictures texted to me/posted on social media/etc., he hand-cancelled every single invitation. What a champ.

Last thing, I promise: I mailed the invitations from the Cape May post office, since that’s where I was at the time and I thought it would be cute for everything to be postmarked from Cape May. I swear, I thought NO ONE would notice this detail except for me. Guess what the FIRST THING everyone has said to me about the invitations has been – the freaking postmark! Go figure.

So that’s it, you guys. The invitations are in the mail and there is no turning back now! All I can do is sit back, put my feet up, and wait for the responses to come in. You know, and sort out the million other things on my to-do list.

What did you do for your invitations: DIY or outsource to the pros? Did you follow the standard 8 week timeline to mail them, or did you send them on the early side like me? This was a marathon of a post, so I’ll leave you with this (LANGUAGE EXTREMELY NSFW, but it’s totally worth it):

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