Do-dads, Thingies, Ribbons, and Bling

Once upon a time, I was delighted to receive wedding invitations festooned with stuff. I’d save the ribbons — the cats like them and they came in handy when Christmas rolled around — and clip off and save things like tiny wooden rings, carved plastic medallions, and mini broochy sorts of things I could hot glue onto photo albums in need of a touch of sparkle.

Nowadays I tend to admire these marvels of invitational engineering before clipping off whatever embellishments are recyclable and tossing whatever isn’t. I don’t know exactly when my tolerance for do-dads, thingies, ribbons, and bling went down, but it might have had something to do with all the nuptial chachkas I’d accrued over time.

I’m still of two minds on the subject. Yes, an invitation wearing a cameo choker, gilded frame, or enamel brooch is fun and visually interesting. On the other hand, if your invitation won’t close without a velvet and rhinestone belt, that’s a tad strange. My own wedding stationery was comprised of rather plain gold seal-n-send invitations, but we chose those because the price was right and neither The Beard nor I wanted to spend ages assembling multi-part packets.

I do think the Carciofi Design stationery above is very pretty, though according to the web site it’s also pretty pricey.

For 100 custom wedding invitation sets with printed outer envelopes, reply cards, printed reply envelopes and enclosure cards the price ranges from $1200-$4000. Letterpress, engraving, or thermography are available upon request (special pricing applies). Quotes do not include shipping and handling.

Right now, the invitation I’d most like to receive would be one of those traditionalesque one-sided ecru numbers with only a hint of embellishment. If I was getting married all over again, that’s probably the sort I’d send out. I am curious to know whether or not I’m in the minority here, so I simply have to ask: Do you get a kick out of invitations with all the trimmings or would you (like me) prefer to receive something simpler?

15 Responses to “Do-dads, Thingies, Ribbons, and Bling”

  1. Miss Laura Mars says:

    For me, simple is more elegant than elaborate.

  2. Evie says:

    Okay, maybe I missed the memo or something, but what in the world is “thermography”…?

    They’re beautiful and I can appreciate the artistry, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand the need to possess (or in this case, send) them. They’re just too…fussy…for my taste. Then again, I’m not really a fan of the traditional looking wedding invitation: ours are simple colorful cards from an etsy artist.

  3. Sarah says:

    I love seeing variety and interest on the invitations I receive, but let’s be honest, all that is just going to end up in the garbage, anyhow. Certainly not something I’d care to shell out the big bucks for!

  4. Jennie says:

    It just seems a shame to spend that much on something that will end up in the trash. The only one who will keep a copy is the bride and perhaps her mom and best friend. The rest of the guests will put it in File 13. That much would enable the bride to have a decent bottle of wine at each table or upgrade to first class on a cruise or airflight.

  5. Pencils says:

    Evie–thermography is a type of heat-applied type, which gives a raised appearance. Nicer than flat printing, not as nice as engraving or letterpress.

    I tied a ribbon around my invitations. I had a pocketfold to contain all the various pieces of paper I sent–it wasn’t necessary, but I thought it looked nice, and I liked it tied up in a bow. It didn’t have a buckle or anything! And they didn’t cost that much money each as I had them professionally printed but I put them together myself. I’ve forgotten now, but it was probably about $4 each.

    Personally, I think a lot of the invites these days with all the ribbons and rhinestones and buckles are too foofy and too involved. But I can see how people get so involved in it and go overboard.

  6. MissPinkKate says:

    It just seems a shame to spend that much on something that will end up in the trash.

    Agreed. They’re nice, but it’s not worth the cash, to me.

  7. Twistie says:

    I’m on the side of the majority here: they’re pretty, but it seems a bit of a waste for something that’s not going to be kept by more than two or three people.

    Me? I like as few pieces as possible set up as neatly as possible. And ribbons scare Mr. Twistie.

  8. blablover5 says:

    I like the simpler stuff. Ours were just printed, no ribbon or anything.

    A lot of it is just us, we’re pretty simple people who don’t go for all the trimmings.

  9. bernadette says:

    I’m making my own invites with one of my bridesmaids, the thought of tying ribbons and fancy doo dads terrifys me. I think we’re just going to keep it simple for the sake of our budget and our sanity 🙂

  10. Melissa B. says:

    I have to say, I do love receiving the cool, elaborate invitations — but it’s just not a priority in our budget, and I don’t really see myself carefully hand-assembling all of our invitations. We will almost certainly go with a simple single-card invite — we both love Wedding Paper Divas.

  11. gretchen says:

    Are you kidding me? I don’t think any of these would ever end up in the trash. If anything i’ve tossed the simple invites, but something like this would definitely be a keeper. People who order these custom invitations would be able to afford it, because they’d probably be having a pretty elaborate wedding. Not for the average wedding by any means. The simple stuff is everywhere and to me not impressive. to get a beautiful custom invite really says that the event is going to be special. Not for everyone’s budget, but really if you could… wouldn’t you? I sure would!

    Also checked out the DIY invites on that site and they are pretty amazing and a really affordable package. Makes me wish I could plan my wedding again.

  12. Redblur63 says:

    The Norwegian and I made our invitations using a kit from Target. For $39.99, we got a box with cards and parchment overlays. We took the ribbons included for assembly and used them for something else, substituting our own colors (blue and gold, for the US Navy). On the card, we printed Alfred Eisenstaedt’s great photo from V-J day of the sailor grabbing a nurse and kissing her. On the overlay, we printed our invitation information and Miss Baby assembled them with the blue and gold ribbons. Since we only printed 35 invitations, we found out we didn’t have to have permission to use the photo. It looked vintage (like us) and sweet (like our wedding). Simple, traditional style invitations are the best, although I do really like the trend of using great color combinations.

  13. Melissa B. says:

    Gretchen, no matter how beautiful invites are, I don’t think it’s silly to suggest that they’re going to end up being thrown away. The bride, groom, members of the wedding party, and family members might save one as a keepsake, but the majority of the guest list? I just don’t see it. If I received a gorgeous invitation like this I’d exclaim over how lovely it was and keep it on my fridge so I could admire it. But when I got home from the wedding I’d put it in the recycling bin. At the end of the day, I already have way too much paper in my apartment.

    Would I go all out and get invitations from Crane’s or Carciofi if we had an unlimited budget? Probably. But I wouldn’t kid myself into thinking that anyone besides us would treasure them forever.

  14. gretchen says:

    i am not saying that absolutely everyone would keep them, but i know i do and so do many of my friends. the really special ones are few and far between. the point with an invitation that pretty is that even though pricey, it sets the tone for the wedding and builds up guest’s expectations for a nice event. the cake just gets eaten too, but i wouldn’t just get a cake from the supermarket for my wedding. the point is, that a wedding is a special once (hopefully) in a lifetime event worth splurging a little for. in 25 years i’d want to remember how nice my wedding was and the invitation is part of that whole package. that is why people are willing to spend the extra money.

  15. I was initially taken by the creativity when these sorts of embellished invitations began appearing in earnest about 10 years ago. However, they have become somewhat redundant and less interesting now. More than anything, they are a bit frivolous and wasteful for a bride who wants to be ecologically conscious. I really believe that we are slowly but surely approaching a time when wedding invitations will lose their pretentiousness, and become very simple, and even an elegant postcard will be acceptable and welcome.