//My Experience with Wedding Invitations / A Review of Invites by Minted + Links and Photos

I started looking at wedding invitations about, oh, forty minutes after getting engaged. I knew that our budget likely wouldn't allow for a brick-and-mortar print shop where we could work with a designer to create a custom invitation suite, and I was more than okay with that. I get overwhelmed with TONS of options, and if I had the opportunity to customize everything? Well, I doubt that I'd ever be totally satisfied. So I knew that we would be going with an online stationary company.

There were a lot of popular and well-received websites I saw in my bridal magazines, but Minted struck me as the one to go with. I browsed the website and sent Josh my favorites, and we actually chose a completely different invitation that happened to be booklet style. We originally chose that because we liked the idea of having all of your invite components in a compact format and we thought that a booklet was pretty unique. Then, just before we were going to order, Minted came out with their foil-pressed selections and we ended up falling in love with the invitations you see below.

In this post, I will go over the steps I took to put together our wedding invitations. I will also link to the items I used, where appropriate. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment!

Moving on...

The suite is called Dahlia Bouquet and we chose a custom shape to add interest, as well as one of our favorite engagement photos to go on the back. On the Minted website, you can personalize all of their stationary products easily by selecting the text boxes and customizing it to how you like it. Best of all, there is a box for special requests that allows you to make specific changes ranging from a custom color palette to adding or deleting sections entirely. For example, the "Directions" card option was changed entirely to contain hotel information, and the RSVP cards were changed to suit my personal needs as far as notating the guest list goes. Those requests won't be viewable until your proof is ready, but I had no issue with them understanding what I wanted. For the back of the invitation, you can have a photo (like we do), or you can have a solid color or pattern. There are plenty of options to give you exactly the look you want!

Josh and I ordered the invitations, "Directions" cards, RSVP cards, and "Reception" cards. We also used their Address Assistant to address our envelopes. This was an option included in the cost, so it was an obvious choice. All you do is enter your addresses and select one of their designs and BAM! With 120 invitations, I can't tell you how happy I am that they offered this. For an extra cost, we also had our return address printed on the RSVP envelopes for convenience. The final customization we went with was gold glitter liners in the envelopes.

All of the products came packaged separately in a single box--including the envelope liners and vellum sheets to use, if you wish. The first thing I did in the assembly process was put the liners in all of the envelopes. All you have to do is remove the strip of paper to expose the adhesive and slip the liner into the envelope with the adhesive portion being at the top.

Since I'm incredibly Type-A, this process took a while because I wanted to make sure the liners were as centered as possible. I didn't notice a ton of glitter fallout from the liners, but expect for some glitter to rub off (and when I say some, I mean it's a very, very small amount).

Then, I closed the flap and used my bone folder to get a crisp crease at the top. This not only gives the envelope a more finished look, but it also allows the envelope to close better and more completely. If you don't have a bone folder, you can use a credit card or something similar. This was also the time I used our address stamp to stamp each envelope.

The next thing I did was set up everything in mini-stations to make assembly as easy and smooth as possible. First, I put each component in a separate pile in the following order: RSVP envelopes (with stamps already applied!), RSVP cards, hotel information cards, reception cards, vellum, and invitations. Then, I took my baker's twine and cut it into approximately arm-length pieces (since this was the quickest and easiest way to measure). To avoid tangling the twine, drape it over a chair or armrest. Finally, I typed out, printed, and cut up little slips of paper containing post-ceremony information--my aunt and uncle are graciously hosting people at their home in the time between the ceremony and reception, which is SO SO kind of them!! I used kraft paper for this to go with the look/vibe of our wedding. Kraft paper 4 ever, am I right!?!

Using the Address Assistant by Minted that I mentioned before, I printed out the entire guest list to use when putting the invites together. I pulled out an envelope and looked at the person(s) it was addressed to, and then I wrote a number next to that name on the guest list. This is the same number I wrote on that person's RSVP card, which is a handy trick in case the guest either writes their name illegibly or doesn't write it at all (which will likely happen, according to the plethora of wedding articles I read up on).

Using the piles I made, I tucked the (numbered!) RSVP card into an RSVP envelope. On top of the that, I put the hotel information cards.

On top of that, I put the reception cards. I did it in this order because I believe that next to the ceremony information, the reception information is most important and so I wanted it to be seen right after reading the invitation. Then I took a piece of twine I cut earlier and wrapped up the little bundles like a present. I tied a bow and trimmed the ends, if necessary.

To complete this portion of the invitation, I took one of the slips with the post-ceremony information on it and tucked it under the string.

If you wanted to, you could assemble each invitation up until this step and proceed with the last part. I found it quicker for myself to assemble each invite one by one because it put me in a groove. But to each their own! Also, this is when I would recommend assembling one invitation and taking it to the post office to get a postage estimate. Put one invitation together completely--including however you plan on sealing the envelope (washi tape, sticker, etc). Your postal worker might end up recommending a way to put your invitations together to ensure there won't be any extra charges or issues with sending them.

The last thing to add to the envelope is, of course, the invite! I could have skipped the vellum, but I figured why not use it after they included it. I decided to to put it behind the invite to serve as a barrier between the actual invite and the little wrapped bundle I put together.

I put the bundle in the envelope first, and the the invite/vellum combo, and then I sealed the envelope.

A tip here is to use a foam brush that has been moistened with a little bit of water rather than lick the envelopes closed. Be careful not to use too much water or it will warp your paper!

Now, I wanted to add an extra touch to our invitations, so I ordered a custom wax seal stamp with our initials. I bought this one with a green handle, and after using it a LOT, I was pleased that the quality held up and the color did not transfer from the handle. For the wax, I ordered these sticks from an eBay seller that you can use in your glue gun. I liked this method because it was so easy, but I have to warn you that these sticks were a teeny bit too wide for a mini-glue gun (and, of course, much too narrow for a standard glue gun), so I had to push the wax stick to advance it. Also, the melting point seemed lower than for a regular glue stick, so it made my glue gun a little messy. This may have been because I used a high-temp glue gun, but hey, I'm not a scientist. I didn't mind this, but if you do, then I would consider using the wax sticks that you light like a candle or even the ones that come in a "pellet" form and are melted in a special spoon.

I deposited a small amount of the wax on my sealed envelope and let it sit for a few seconds before pressing the stamp into it. Again, I let it sit for a couple of seconds and lifted the stamp. The wax hardens pretty quickly, so you can stack the envelopes on each other without consequence. The reason I let it sit for a bit is because, as I mentioned, the melting point is low and so it comes out pretty darn hot. By letting it sit and cool for a few seconds, I was able to get a better, cleaner image with my stamp.

Remember when I told you that your postal worker might have a tip for you? Mine did! The lovely postman told me to make my wax seal as flat as possible because if the envelope is too thick (seal included) and can't fit through the automatic sorter, it would increase the postage cost. While the increase may be only incremental, multiplying it 120 times would definitely add a considerable amount. This caused me to be mindful of the wax seal and I used my bone folder to flatten any particularly thick or bulbous portions. Fortunately, the twine didn't make the envelopes too thick, but I was careful to cut any excess string after I tied a bow.

Our invitations ended up being around 1.5 ounces, but we went with the two-ounce stamps just in case. When I dropped off the invitations at the post office, I asked for them to hand cancel everything. "Canceling" refers to stamping over the postage stamps to ensure they can't be reused, so by hand canceling them, there is a human postal worker who stamps over the postage. To learn more about why you'd want to do this, read this great little article! I did it because I'm paranoid about my invitations showing up looking as nice as possible, but I'm cool like that.

So would I do this crazy one-woman process again? Sure! Honestly, I love how unique the invitations are with all of the colors and the gold foil. They are just so "us" that we knew we had to use them! Also, ordering from Minted was a breeze. You can request when you'd like to receive a proof by and once you accept your proof, your order is put into production. We ordered ours on April 26 and they arrived on May 5 (we used standard FedEx shipping). Nothing came damaged and we were very happy with the quality. We love Minted so much that my mom ended up using them for our bridal shower invitations, and we ordered our thank you cards from them, too! Also, if you sign up for their newsletter, you can follow some awesome specials they run occasionally and save yourself a lot. We had a discount for putting addresses into the Address Assistant, which I was going to do anyway.

That was that! In all, it took me approximately 12 hours to completely prep and assemble everything for these 120 invitations. That may be an underestimation, but my point is that it takes a considerable amount of time. Enlist help if you don't get anxiety by delegating work (unlike me) or resolve to assemble 20 to 30 invitations per day. I would have had someone help me, but I'm one of those folks who thinks that doing it yourself ensures it will get done "right" because I tend to be a perfectionist, darn it all!

A project like this can seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn't have to be. For me, it's all about personal touches and little details to make things more special. Find what drives you to work on your wedding and let that be your motivation!

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