Monday, January 31, 2011

Vintage Inspired

This past Saturday I tipped off an extremely long two weeks of being creatively inspired with a glass of red wine & the soothing sound of Etta James. Invitations are finally done - Signed, sealed  and soon to be delivered to your door. As a designer the beauty of planning a DIY wedding is the key details that personalize your special day and tell a unique story.

My story begins with a road trip back home in efforts to help mom do some spring cleaning and close the chapter to a family home that has been locked away for some time. Picture frames of family remain on mantels barely visible from the cloud of dust that has settled. The sound of creaking old wood lit up from the warmth of the sun dancing beneath the sycamore trees. I discover a grandmothers suitcase beautifully aged from years of travel and stories untold. Vinyl records, letters from a brother away at war sent via Par avion sending his love, yellowed newspapers of current events and timeless treasures that began to tell the story of life.

So with that I share with you my journey to create my vintage inspired invitation.

The first component the actual invite is a retro western union telegram.  The word telegram was coined in 1852 transcribed by hand on blank forms by skilled telegraphy operators. Customers would call via phone and dictate message to operators or appear in person and write on a blank form to be later rendered by Morse code.

Here are my first round of telegrams tea-stained and set out to dry.

                                      Dry and ready to be folded.

After the telegrams were complete the next step was cutting the out Eden Gardens park map layout. The map was attached to a folded notecard with vintage font and torn element to provide directions to the park as well as hotel information.

 Maps and notecards cut and ready to be assembled. I purchased mailing tags from staples and found an amazing mini alphabetical stamp set a last minute idea to enclose the invitation contents.

Continuing to work on the inside details I chose to proceed with the postcard idea previously sent as a save the date. I hand signed vintage NY and travel post cards as the official rsvp. I love their uniqueness it was fun deciding whom to pair each one with it was very personal.

For the last essential feature I had to jump back to tea staining for the time-honored letter to our parents. The letter included a photo strip altered in Photoshop to render a worn look. I think this piece was the most difficult for me I cried while writing it but it felt great to honor our parents and be transparent with all out guest.

Finally the invitation was complete but I still had work to do with tying it all together. I searched the net and found airmail envelopes that were perfect to complete the theme. They of course had to be tea stained, let's just say I ran through an entire box of Lipton. After stained and dried I individually glued used vintage stamps I found on etsy and stamped with fun old mail stamps ordered online.

Drying the envelopes was a long process a lot of sitting and waiting. I was so ready to move on to the next phase.

Hundreds of used stamps to be glued to envelopes. This was probably the worst part of the project at this point I was kicking myself and wondering what did I get myself into.

After a couple days and long hours to get these ready it was definitely worth the work they came out great. The next step was to seal and then re-open so contents could be slipped in.

With the inside complete I was ready to get these bad boys sealed up and ready to be delivered. Although this was a cost efficient project my one splurge was to finish these off with vintage postage. I found a dealer on etsy who carried some of the most amazing styles with vivid colors and great history.
The problem with vintage postage is that is can be very costly considering the cost is higher than the actual value of the stamp. I didn't think these would require much more postage than a simple letter but when I went to the post office to test one and see how much postage I would definitely need to my surprise...drum roll a whole $1.39! I was stunned I had to get a second opinion and yes I spent a pretty penny on mailing these.

An array of blue stamps were chosen for the envelopes sad to say they were far from enough.

And now the finale! The complete invite finished off with a brown paper kraft envelope and stamped from us to you. When it came to this step I was elated the final product exceeded my expectations. But sealing proved to be not so easy after all. The kraft envelopes did not want to stay closed due to the amount of paper inside so I had to result to glue. I was already in work mode when this step came and Kev was running errands so I asked him to pick up some glue that could adhere paper. He brought back "Guerilla Glue" if you have a tough time prying it open now you know why.

I'm glad this is done and on it's way to your homes. There were many sleepless nights but filled with a lot of love. I hope you enjoy!


  1. Wowwwwwwwwwww! That's a lot of work Toyia!!! And it looks amazing! You're so good at crafting in style! LOL

  2. These distinguished invitations exuded precision and deep reflection, identical to their designer! Each moment and thought placed into their creation were sincerely cherished. As for your parents, they can all rest assured that their offspring are and will continue to be forces to be reckoned with, together. I can't wait to meet the little army of intellectual free spirits you two will procreate. Until then, I am simply honored to be a part of the celebration. Thank you and much love! ~Devin

  3. Greetings Toyia,
    I received my invitation on yesterday and was simply amazed at your creativity. It is a pleasure to watch you as you share your many gifts and talents with the world. I am so proud of you and look forward to your futue works. My fave was the messages that you and Kevin wrote to your parents, they were beautiful.

    Ardre O.

  4. In the past two years, I have come across a number of wedding invitations that illustrate beautiful colors with ribbons and pretty writing, but just two days ago I was pleased to have received an invitation that escaped from the cliché invites that lack substances and individuality. This process that you guys have taken on the invites is a reflection of your characters. I am so happy for you guys!

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  6. wow, i got chills reading through your post and looking through the pictures. your invitations (and wedding) will surely transcend all of your guests to a very romantic era.

  7. Oh, job well done! My invitation is AMAZING! I love the story that went with it and the creativity behind it. :-) xoxo, deshaun

  8. Thanks so much for your kind words everyone. I'm so glad you all enjoyed them.

  9. like I said, most beautiful wedding invitation I have ever received :) well done T!!

  10. The invites are amazing. To read the blog makes me appreciate them even more. Can't wait for the big day - flight is booked!

  11. Awwww....I wish I had a chance to see them! How much will it cost to send one to South Africa? Lol....just kidding! Congratulations Toyia!!!!

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