Invitations to my upcoming wedding went out 2 weeks ago and the RSVPs have been rolling in! (And by rolling, I do mean a very slow trickling).  While I have received some compliments on my DIY invites (including my “clever” enclosure folder to hold everything together), the most remarked upon aspect of the invitation suite has been the addresses.  Hand-written addresses certainly do make an impact, and as evidence, everyone who has talked to me about receiving their invitation has commented on them and asked if I had someone do them for me.  Their reaction to my response of “No, I did them myself” has ranged from slightly surprised, to genuinely shocked, to somewhat appalled.  “Really?!” they ask, “that must have taken you so much time!”  Well, yes…and no.

Does it take longer than having someone do them for you, or printing them out? Yes, obviously.  If I sat down one Saturday afternoon to complete all 75 invites I’d be A) icing my hand, and B) scribbling down addresses for the last 30 envelopes. But like any project, tackling it in small bite size pieces makes it completely manageable. I completed this over a couple weeks, spending a little less than an hour on a weeknight doing 5-6 envelopes.  This was the number I could get done without my hand getting tired, and I usually averaged about 10 minutes per envelope.  This may seem like way too much time spent on one minor detail, I understand it’s not a choice most people would make.  But as someone who loves paper products, fonts, and lettering, this is something I genuinely enjoyed sitting down to each night.  And it is obvious this one minor detail certainly does make an impression.  Yes, it takes time, that’s why it’s so charming and impressive.

As mentioned in a previous post, I used a fake calligraphy technique to create my script.  Because of this, any pen would work, but I happened to use my trusty MICRON 05.  Lettermate, for straight centered linesThe most important tool for me was a Lettermate, which I got from my local paper store ($9 after a 10% discount).  It helps with straight lines and centering,  and I will be using it again on my Thank You notes in the future.  While I thought it was worth every penny, if spending $9 on what is essentially a ruler seems overly extravagant to you, you could just use an actual ruler, or it is something you could also share or gift to other brides/humans who send letters.

The first step is to decide on a style.  If you google images of “hand addressed envelopes” you will see a plethora of examples and ideas on style and formatting.  I did a couple practice runs with a little mixing and matching of what I had seen online.  Because of the formality of the event, I chose to write out common abbreviations, such as street, or state. (Seeing as most guests are from Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, I’m not really sure why I chose to do this and  lived in perpetual fear of misspelling them.  Hello, Ohio and Iowa guests, you are my favorite.)

AddressTutorUsing my Lettermate, I lined up the center of the envelope.  Because I wanted to do my script to extend outside of the guidelines, I used a pencil to lightly draw in the baseline, then removed the Lettermate and started my fake calligraphy with my pen.  At this point letters were not connected and were well spaced.  Lining up my Lettermate again, I wrote in the street address, state and zip, using the markings on the tool to make sure things were centered. Since I was doing script on the city as well, I again drew in a light line and completed the calligraphy without the Lettermate.  Once all the necessary information was added, I went back to my script to “calligraphize” it, thickening downstrokes and connecting my letters. Don’t forget to erase those lines once your ink is dry.

The last step was to add in a banner, by centering the Lettermate and tracing the guidelines for the banner itself.  I used my banners for “Mr & Mrs” but also, for my single guests, I added in a “The Lovely” or “The Dashing” because my guests genuinely are both lovely and dashing.

Hand addressed envelopes

With the addresses done, I will offer you three other envelope-related tips.

  1. I did not write my return address, instead, I had found a Groupon for personalized stamps and designed my own stamp that can be used for the forseeable future for a whopping $7.
  2. While I stamped my return address on the back of my envelopes, you may want to rethink that move.  The post office now sends letters through a machine to scan for zip codes.  While a person scanning envelopes would recognize the difference between an address and a return address, a machine can not.  A post office worker explained to me that a lot of envelopes get turned around to your own zip code rather than that of your addressee when the return address is on the back.  This will be remedied by the post office, but could definitely explain why a lot of my invites seemed to take a week to reach their destination. You’ve been warned!
  3. Licking 75 envelopes does not taste good and could actually cause death (at least on Seinfeld).  Save your tongues and use a damp (not dripping) sponge to seal.