When Wedding DIY takes over your life

by Aleisha

Bridechilla Jaime wanted to create her own wedding stationery. Many hundreds of dollars and glasses of wine later, did she achieve her wedding DIY goals?

I have a confession to make. I can be a tad bit obsessive. Not in a boil your bunny kind of way, but I have a deep seeded desire to make the world pretty and well-coordinated. I throw parties and spend endless hours and not a few dollars to make sure everything is on theme and generally tend to have about 4 entrees too many at the end of the evening. I volunteer to be a team mom, to lead a committee, or to “help” anyway I can, but it is not due to altruistic nature. It is because I want that shit done right. I figure I can’t bitch if I did it myself.

When I got engaged, I knew that my inner lurking DIY monster was going to rear its ugly (and by that I mean gorgeous and with several layers of mod podge) head. It is a bit challenging to curb your crazy when you can also justify it by claiming you will save so much money by doing it yourself.

I identified 15 projects that I could do myself from the invites to the favors and pretty much everything in between. For now, let’s just deal with the item that set everything in motion. Invitations.

I tried to manage the monster, I really did. I ordered samples from three different sites in several different styles. I showed them to my fiancé. Granted, I showed them to him while he was in the middle of demo-ing our kitchen remodel, but I did show them to him.

I had a vision. I had Pinterest. I had some experience in graphic design. I had an obsession. I wanted an elegant and visually dramatic invitation suite. I wanted embellishment and texture. I wanted the have thick paper and shimmering envelopes. I wanted to have them physically match precisely what was happening in my head.

I decided to make this vision a reality. I told my fiancé I was making our invites and it was going to save us a ton of money. I had priced out what I wanted at a few places, and the total always ended up upwards of $1500 for the 100 I needed.

The cutting machine arrived $300 later. I chose to buy a format from Etsy of a beautiful rose lace print since we are getting married in a rose garden. That rang in at about $15. The suite consists of one lace overlay, one glitter mat, the invite with the actual information, a rsvp card, a card to request a song with a glitter mat, a belly band, and an envelope insert. That was seven items to print or cut out.

The materials for all of the papers I needed, the envelopes I needed, a wax seal plus wax, rhinestones (because at this point, why not?) and pens to address them all myself came to just over $400.

The main thing that went off the rails is the lace overlay that I bought. There are not exactly clear instructions on how to use the software for the cutting machine, and the lace overlay pattern I bought was scaled to roughly one million to one. I struggled to figure out how to make it work. I emailed the person I bought it from to no avail. I drank some wine. I finally stumbled onto a youtube video that made it work. I quickly got 2 made and had visions of invitation glory prancing through my head.

Then the lace started ripping while cutting.
I said several choice words and started over.
Each one took 8 minutes to cut. I would get to about minute six and it would start tearing the paper rather than cutting it.

I had some more wine, I said some more choice words, I may have even thrown a mat or two.

I read blogs; I watched videos, I tried troubleshooting the issue.

I bought new cutting mats at $8 each. I bought a new blade in case it was defective which ran me $15.
I tried different paper that was not as fibrous. That was $40.
I had some more wine,

I said some more words. The few I had were gorgeous. I couldn’t just quit now and order them. I was in too deep. At this point, I had already invested many hours as well as many dollars into this.

In the end, I realized that the combination of paper I wanted and the pattern I had loved simply did not work together. The linen style paper combined with the intricate lace pattern was not meant to be. I had to redesign the lace myself. This took four tries to perfect with each attempt taking several hours. It would continue to rip, the roses would not be connected, the scaling was off, and the roses looked wilted. There were so many attempts and so many curses.

I spent hours every weekend from April through August working on getting everything cut out and then assembled. Even with the new pattern, sometimes they would rip. Every time I wanted to cry and curse and drink… I usually did the latter two which also may have contributed to it taking so long… wine and motivation are not a match made in heaven, tasty though it may be.

I have to say that now that they are finished, this was one of the most frustrating projects I have ever done. Every time one would rip, especially if it was near the end of cut time, I would die a little inside knowing I had to start over.

It felt like I would never have enough to send out. I started to hate the pattern and wonder why I had not just ordered them. I got invited to another a wedding and looked at the home printed invite and recognized how lovely it was and wondered why in the world I was killing myself over this?

Now that they are all boxed up and ready for the post office, I have to say I fell back in love with them when I saw them all assembled and ready to be stuffed into the envelopes. They don’t exactly match my vision, and that still rankles me a bit. There are things I see that drive me crazy, but I know that I made them and I can’t be mad at anyone but myself. I controlled the process.

I wanted to include a note with them explaining that these are my babies and even though I know you will end up throwing them away I hope you take a moment to admire them for just a second. I want to see people’s faces when they open them, but then I remember that this is important only to me.

These will soon be nestled in a trash bin next to the coupon mailers and electric bills, so in the end was it all worth it?

Total cost for materials only (not including labor, which I believe needs to be considered and not including the cutting machine) was just under $500, not including alcohol. Yes, this was cheaper than what was available and comparable. Yes, this matched my vision and allowed me to have exactly what I wanted. In the end for me, it was worth it. Would I wish it on anyone else? No.

Now about those other 14 projects….

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