I love handmade paper; and how the rustic, rough texture of it extols its homespun purity. I love making paper too; both the finished product and the process of making it are so tactile that I was always eager to make the paper for our wedding stationery. I had fun experimenting with different colours and textures, including some complete disasters:
But eventually I created something I was happy with; a pale, flecked grey sprinkled liberally with silver glitter.
For the background of the main design I hit upon the idea of scanning into the computer some of the lace from the train of my wedding dress. After a little Photoshop tweaking I came up with something I really liked and the idea that I would be secretly giving away a little hidden clue to my dress made me giggle to myself inside. I know, it doesn't take much. Using an Edwardian style font, to compliment the style of my dress, I came up with a design for some Save-The-Date fridge magnets.
And I designed a monogram:
It wasn't long before I had a moodboard for the stationery. Some people find moodboards pretentious, but I find them really useful because they give me focus and direction. If I can see at a glance the whole feel and look of what I'm getting at, it helps my scatty, wandering brain to stick to the desired end-product without spinning off aimlessly at random ideas. I'm easily distracted. 'Oooooh shiny things!'.
Inspired by the thousand cranes, I had continued with the Japanese influence and came up with booklet-style invitations bound together with Japanese stab-stitching, a traditional Japanese method of bookbinding. I was also keen to include some Mizuhiki knots in the design. At Japanese weddings, the guests traditionally give the couple a gift of money in an envelope (shugibukuro) tied with these knots. I found a Japanese love knot, that seemed appropriate and was reasonably easy to tie. Traditional Mizuhiki cords were too expensive for the 100plus invitations I needed, so I bought some wax-covered cord instead and it worked really well.
As my booklet-style invitations had three pages, making the paper was no small task. Allowing for mistakes and contingencies I needed nearly 400 sheets of paper!! I had thought the thousand cranes was a strain on my hand joints but I was about to punish my lower body far more than I'd bargained for with all the standing needed to make the never ending paper. It took weeks! I don't know about patience and humility, but folding a thousand cranes HAD taught me the virtue of industrious perseverance; a skill I'd never mastered before. I was late finishing the invites, but my husband-to-be's threat to go out and buy some if I hadn't finished by the deadline he set spurred me on. There was no way I had come this far to no purpose. It was a hard slog, but I did finish the invitations, unlike the Save-The-Dates which had never materialised - but all was not lost as I used that design for the front of the R.S.V.P. cards.
I love the handmade paper; but our printer didn't. These invitations were to be its swan song and the poor old machine gave up the ghost as soon as the job was finished. This meant our R.S.V.P. cards and evening invitations had to be made on regular, shop-bought paper. If I'm totally honest, it was a relief. Whilst I still love making paper, I much prefer making it in reasonably-sized batches. Sheets by the dozen are fun; but by the hundred are too much for my body to cope with.
I did include a little sliver of the homemade paper on to the front of the evening invitations though, just to give it a small handmade touch.
I used a heart-shaped punch to make some gift tags for our wedding favours which doubled up as place-cards.
Handmade paper - DONE!!
With the thousand cranes and the stationery all finished, I was well on the way to making this wedding happen. If booking the venue made it all seem real, sending out the invitations made it all seem very imminent.