Part 2: The Invitation Breakdown – Wedding Essay Galore!

18 Dec

Last time, I chatted to you guys about the envelopes, pocketfolds and the main invitation. Now I’ll go into the inserts which comprised the second-half of the invitation. As I’ve mentioned before, the invitations we wanted to make needed to be informative, especially as our wedding would be a destination wedding for half of our guests (or all, if you’re one to believe that two hours away for a wedding is classified as a ‘destination’ wedding).

As such, we wanted to include inserts which informed our guests about:

  • Details on the Hunter Valley
  • Accommodation
  • Travel
  • The “Wishing Well”
  • An RSVP card
  • The Reception

I also wanted an image to come across through the inserts, like this picture right here:

invitation_inserts

My inspiration! / Image taken from Inviting Invitations.

After designing through Photoshop, I realised we had too much information to really put a clear image through (like the one above) so I decided to do it was an image on 30% opacity.

This was our preliminary run of the inserts:

invitation_proof_inner

Who can see the blossom tree showing up through the inserts? And yeah, I know. You’ve only see this image 456,156,981,125 times.

If you look past the heading, you can see a tree showing up through the inserts. It turned out phenomenally in the actual invitations (here, it doesn’t look as good as it was a proof).

Also, you might have noticed that we doubled up travel and accommodation, as those tend to go hand-in-hand (and we didn’t want to have too many inserts. You can also see something peeking out at the top of the details card. That was another separate insert for specific people to attend our Chinese tea ceremony, which I’ll go into in another post:

invitation_proof_inserts

See the red envelope with Buddha on it? That’s the Chinese Tea Ceremony insert. Another thing you must’ve seen 854,264,125,354 times.

You can also see in the above picture one side of our map.

Before I overload you guys with ALL THE THINGS, I’ll start with the basic inserts and go into both the map and the Chinese tea ceremony insert in the next post.

Let’s start from the top then!

The Details

insert_details

The Details Insert.

To my knowledge there isn’t anything private on these inserts. As you can see from this card, we wanted our guests to know where the Hunter Valley was. I’m not sure if the Hunter Valley is as popular as say, the Marlborough wine districts in the South Island of New Zealand, or the Napa Valley in California, so I wanted to make sure that our guests knew the full extent of where we’d be having the wedding.

I also created a map outlining the distance from Sydney to the Hunter Valley so that guests get a clearer picture geographically.

screenshot_map

An initial design of the map.

You can also see that we outlined two very important things: (1) there would be a wine tour if guests wanted it, but they’d unfortunately have to pay, and (2) lunch would not be provided.

I know this may or may not be considered a wedding faux pas, but we struggled to think of things to give our guests in the long wait between our ceremony and the reception. Unfortunately, we didn’t really get a choice on the matter of when we’d be having the ceremony due to cultural reasons, so with that, we decided we would offer our guests a wine tour!

We ultimately made the decision that if guests wanted to go on a wine tour, they’d pay a small fee to do so. Those who don’t want to go on the wine tour don’t need to and we’ve given them other options (most have opted to hang out at the Crowne!). All of our guests have been pretty happy with this, so I’m calling it a win!

As for lunch, we didn’t have enough room in our budget to hold a luncheon for our guests and a reception dinner at night. It’s traditional to have sit-down dinner in Chinese weddings, and when I offered to move the wedding reception to lunch, I was stared at in horror.

So again, we’ve given our guests different lunch options and a part from some, everyone has so far been happy with it.

Travel & Accommodation

We made two separate inserts depending on whether you were overseas or in Sydney:

travel accomm insert

On the left, the Australian insert; on the right, the Overseas(OS)/New Zealand(NZ) insert. Edited for privacy purposes.

In the OS/NZ insert, we opted to use Cousin Em, Mr Big’s cousin who is also an excellent travel agent as the provided travel agent for the wedding. She’s been super awesome at booking flights and just generally helping out with the travel details for the wedding.

In the Australian insert, we had the option of a bus from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, mostly for the older guests like my dad’s friends. However, this option fell through as we didn’t get very many people wanting to take that route. All Sydney-siders will be driving up either before or on the day (which I’ll mention on my RSVP breakdown!). As such, I wanted to ensure I put the message out there to not drink and drive.

Most of them will be staying at the Crowne Plaza Resort Hunter Valley. This include both overseas and Australian guests!

I’ll document the actual resort in another post, but suffice it to say that we chose an awesome place to house our guests. It’s a five-star resort, and we managed to get a pretty incredible discount when we decided to use it for guest accommodation.

The Treasure Chest

Otherwise known as the “Wishing Well”. Because we injected my culture into the wedding, we opted for monetary gifts. I know most people deliver this sort of thing through cute poems, but I tried to make my own (and failed). Instead, Mr Big offered up the suggestion that I explain the culture behind the red envelope and why monetary gifts are so significant.

I went with it and we got this:

treasure chest insert1

On the left, for the New Zealand folk; on the right, the Australia folk.

Again, we gave one to the Kiwi/OS folk and another to the Aussie folk. The reason for the difference is:

  • Most Kiwi/OS folk will probably spend more than the Aussie folk flying over to the wedding
  • Most of the Aussie folk are actually my family, who will be giving monetary gifts anyway (as is customary)
  • We don’t really expect any gifts from the Kiwi/OS folk, but thought it’d be nice to include them in the custom

It worked for what we were doing, and so far, nothing has been said about our invitations to indicate any ill-will.

The RSVP Card

As many of our guests would be coming in from overseas, we eventually decided that pretty postcard RSVPS or RSVP envelopes would be too easy to lose in the post and went for digital RSVPs instead. This bummed me out for a little bit, but it proved to be a good idea, especially when some of the invitations had been lost in the post! We were also able to receive the RSVPs in a relatively timely manner.

Hence, when we constructed out RSVP card for the inserts, we set it out as follow:

insert_rsvp_censored

The RSVP insert. Email censored to protect Mr Big’s sanity.

Unfortunately, not all of our guests had email. These guests comprised mostly (if not all) of my parents’ friends, but these guests could report directly to my parents, who were able to RSVP for them.

Also, you may or may not have noticed my MASSIVE mistake.

The fifth (5th) of May, 2013, was a Sunday, not a Friday. So a lot of people were confused (and fair enough!). I managed to rectify the mistake by sending out texts and email to those who were confused, but most assumed the RSVP cut-off date was the Sunday (which it was).

I had also made a mistake with the email but Mr Big came to the rescue. Thank goodness he’s a computer whiz!

The Reception Card

Our reception card was pretty basic. Because we had alternate drops and our guests would be swapping meals if they so wished it, we didn’t need to state whether they wanted chicken, beef, or fish. Instead, our guests simply saw this:

insert_reception

We wanted to mention that the event required some form of “dressing up”, hence the mention at the end. It was also a nice homage to HIMYM.

So far, we haven’t heard anything negative about our invitations. We thought long and hard about what to say, how to say it, and whether or not we should do certain things in a certain way, but all-in-all, I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out (despite the changes we made along the way!).

And with that, I’ll stop there for now!

Next up, I’ll go the ingenious way we handled the Chinese Tea Ceremony and Map inserts (which were my pet projects).

How would you feel if you received these inserts in the invitation? Did anyone else make some major mistakes in their invitations?

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

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