The Invitation...

Since I'm sad our wedding is over... I'll talk about some of my favorite details from the wedding.  Some I'll have to wait until the professional pictures come in... but today, I give you... our invitation:

Over 200 hand screen printed wedding invitations
When my sister got engaged in 2009... the obsession with wedding blogs began.  I could name about 20 that I frequented, and I had a serious problem.  I wasn't even dating someone and I couldn't stop looking at wedding blogs.  It was all for good cause though... I was looking for ideas for my sister's wedding.  But as any girl would admit... I also looked for myself.  A girl can dream! 
And my dream did come true...  I met Stephen 2 months after Lauren got engaged.  I was deep into my wedding blog obsession, and could have had our wedding planned in about 2 months based on all the ideas I had stocked up on while perusing various wedding blogs.

And since I knew he was the one from day one... I thought it was completely normal to have our invitation picked out as soon as we met.  Totally normal.

What I found when pouring over these wedding blogs, was a whole other world that I did not know existed.  A world of creativity, do-it-yourselfers, girls making it cool to put your own stamp on a traditional wedding, girls making it cool to have intimate weddings... making it ok to think outside the typical wedding planning box.

Which is where my invitation idea came from.

I wanted these from the moment I saw another girl do this for her invitation:

One of the 200 finished invitations

So, in January of 2010, I started with my first vintage handkerchief purchase.  Well, I bought 12 the first day.  I thought "I'll never be able to find 200 vintage hankies that match my vision by the time we get engaged.  So I was not messing around, and started buying them anywhere I could find them.

But I set rules for myself so I didn't get out of control.

I didn't spend more the $1 on each hankie.  Now, I will admit.  There were a handful that I did spend a whopping $2 on.  But I couldn't help it.  I had to to have them.

I also had to have open centers with no print, or light printing, so that they could be screen printed over.  This makes the search really hard, as there are so many fun ones without open centers.  I still bought some of those.  I love hankies.  I even use one in my purse.  Some people think that's gross.  I don't understand those people.  ;)

Well, I continued collecting one by one, until I had enough... (which took past when we got engaged... a total of a year to collect) and then the search for a screen printer came in.

I found the sweetest girl in Tulsa, which was recommended to me by the Philbrook Art Museum, and I'm sure she thought I was crazy when I explained my idea.  Regardless, she made the screen print based on my layout, and started screen printing as the snow storm of 2011 began!  Thank goodness she got the invitations before the snow started!

I have to pause and thank the person who HAND washed and HAND ironed each and every hankie (and called me to tell me which one was her favorite each time she found a favorite).  Her name is Mom.

When the final invitations were delivered to my parents house... we started printing envelopes (with a font I downloaded to look like calligraphy) and started picking out which ones we wanted to send to certain people.

When I bought the hankies, I would say "Oh, this one has butterflies, I need to send this one to Sarah Stoesser." or "this one is super sweet and looks just like Andrea... she must have this one" or "I want Stephen's parents to have this one, it's so special" or "this one has a W on it, it must go to the Worthams.." so you can imagine... this process took a while to decide which one would go to who.  But a fun process!

My mother ended up hand wrapping each hankie around our vintage RSVP postcard (which was a copy of a vintage postcard of my home church in Tulsa... from the 50's.)  Then she ironed the hankie again, on the card, so the little package would be as flat as possible in the envelope.  Quite a process and she did them all!

In the end, this project was one of my favorite details of our wedding. The hankies summed up the theme to our wedding.  Vintage, classic, intimate and sweet.  I loved thinking about the women who previously owned each hankie.  Did they dry their tearful eyes at their own daughter's wedding?  Dry their eyes when their first grandchild was born?  Never did they think that their hankie would someday be someones wedding invitation.

I loved giving a piece of history to each person who was invited to our wedding.  I hope they all enjoyed receiving this very different invitation.  I know many did, and it made me so happy.  I was so nervous they would think I was crazy! 

If anyone wants help creating a similar invitation, please let me know.  I can give all my tips and tell you what I learned from this process.  It's a very "green" invitation, and actually, very affordable.  Just takes time, but worth every second!



Laura @ The Steen Style said...

Sarah, what a beautiful invitation!! Such a personal and gorgeous detail. Great job!

JayCee said...

Hey Sarah!! So I am in aww with this project! So inspired....Amazing!!

Jillian (from work)

SOwnbey said...

Sarah, your invitations were beautiful and so creative! What a great idea.