- designing the invites, which was impossible until I was able to grasp the look and feel of the wedding. To do this, I tried to create a series of logos and design elements that would be able to be carried throughout the invitations, and wedding. Some graphic designers are absolute genius at this, I, however, am not. This took me FOREVER. Thanks to my designer-friends and non-design friends (and sly) for helping me sort out my zillions of idea.
- enlisting my friend to help me with production (she’s way better in print production than I am). This basically saved my sanity, and if it weren’t for her help, I’m pretty sure I would have jumped off the bridge at this point. We spent many countless hours bouncing ideas off one another, setting up files, running test prints, fixing things.
- enlisting yet another friend to help me with the copy for the travel guide.
- after all content had been gathered, then came the nightmare of printing the invites on a circa 1928 hand letterpress borrowed from a friend. I took one course in letterpressing about 10 years ago — this was nothing like that class. Beyond setting up the files, we had so many issues regarding block size, gauging, creating a ‘make-ready,” embossing, pantone matching, alignment, cropping right angles, paper type. And on and on and on. To say this is a labor of love is a major understatement: the people around me must have really loved me to put up with all this crap.
- finally, after days (and long nights) of setting up, and getting everything just right, we pulled our first print. After ensuring we knew what we were doing (rather late in the game), I brought on Sly for manpower., who pumped out a stack of invites.
Whew! Some things I’ve learned:
- Next time, I’ll RTFM at the beginning of the project, not after when things are going wrong.
- this press was not the right press for the job. The block was pushing maximum size, and as a result the impression is not as deep as intended.
- You need lots of screw-off time at work to make invites like this happen, or be willing to work essentially all night long. I did the latter.This was a full time job on top of my other full-time job.
- You need help. Lots. I mean lots.
- Allow days for set up so you can adjust the miniscule adjustments needed to get this right. By miniscule, we are talking a matter of millimeters, one sheet of tissue paper, one slight twist of a screw, one piece of tape. These tiny increments all make a huge difference
- Should have gone to Target or paid someone to do it. Had a hard time justifying a $5 PER INVITE letterpress cost from a vendor though.
- In a sick way, I had fun, or at least, I have a really good story.
I’m not sure if I can say right now, minutes from just finishing our last batch of invites, and cleaning off the press for hopefully the last time, that this was all worth it, but I do have some really funny memories of the whole process. There are some things I wish turned out differently, but I won’t point out the flaws. Overall, I’m really happy with the results. And not to mention, I learned a lot of extremely nerdy terms along the way (tympan, chase, platen, makeready, brayer…) that I hope to never see/use again.
If I had any advice for future brides it would be this: everyone who has been through this process will tell you to make it easy on yourself, but most likely you won’t listen. I’m telling you right now, I was one of those people who didn’t listen. Go to Target. They have amazing letterpress invites all set up and ready to go for about $50. Do that instead, and spare yourself the sleepless nights, the multiple trips to multiple stores, multiple calls to multiple vendors, and the constant bribing of the people around you that are generous enough to help.
HUGE thank yous to the people who helped with the invites, especially Rachel. If you ever tie the knot, I promise to be your slave..