This time 2 years ago my husband David and I had just got engaged on a day trip to Winchester. It had been a little while coming – he was very aware that I wouldn’t cope with a surprise! – so once he had the nod that I was ready he was able to plan a special day in Winchester, a city we had often met up in, half way between my hometown of Swanage and his hometown of London.
Over dinner that evening we had fun working out our ‘comms strategy’ for how to let our loved ones know and made a few excitable phone calls over pudding too.
It didn’t take long on our train journey back to London for me to start talking details… namely rubber-stamp-based-details. This would be the first of many conversations about our wedding stationery!
Having had the privilege to work for The English Stamp Company for a year and a half, and having been privy to all sorts of elegant and fun hand-stamped wedding stationery ideas, I was more than aware that the stationery element of ‘Wedmin’ would certainly be my favourite part.
Of course, the other important details such as location, date and general plan for the day were all important too – not least because we’d be putting them on the invites! – but the opportunity to design an invite for our wedding day had certainly become my ‘to-do list’ headline.
Thankfully, David’s headline was crafting a nifty Excel spreadsheet that enabled us to keep track of budgeting and guest lists so we were both landing in our administrative happy places!
I knew I wanted us to hand-stamp the invites, not only because I find it fun and love the bespoke effect that stamping creates, but also because I wanted to use ethically sourced paper and traditional methods as much as possible.
We found some beautiful Khadi handmade paper, made from 100% cotton rag and with the wonderful kind of rough surface which loves soaking up stamped impressions. This, paired with some lovely recycled kraft paper envelopes I found at The Paperbox, made both my aesthetic and environmentally-conscious sensibilities happy!
David and I love natural styling and, growing up in the seaside town of Swanage, I knew I wanted the invitations to incorporate some of that story. As we considered the decorations we wanted for our wedding day we quickly became interested in tying in a scallop shell motif into our designs and plans. Firstly, our wedding would be hosted by the sea and secondly, the first Christmas present David bought me was of a little scallop shell coated in silver from Columbia Road Market – a mecca for any East Londoner looking to do some Christmas shopping! I wear it every day and it both reminds me of home and of him so it seemed special to use this symbol as much as possible in our wedding designs.
We have both since done more research into the meaning of a scallop shell and it is fascinating! It is considered by Christians as a symbol of renewal and also of a journey, with scallop shell illustrations lining the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage route. A perfect symbol for the start of a marriage journey we thought!
Considering English Stamp already had this beautiful design available, it was a no brainer and we soon began working out a personalised design for our invites.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
We ordered 4 stamps with English Stamp:
A Small Scallop – we stamped the right hand corners of envelopes with this as well as the top of the first side of our invitations, this stamp also came in handy when we were decorating thank you cards and making table decorations for the wedding!
A Large Scallop – we lightly inked this up in ‘Atlantic’ and stamped the background of the first side of our invites
A Bespoke text stamp using my handwriting – I scanned in the invite wording I wanted (making sure it would fit on A5) and we then stamped this in ‘Navy Blue’ raised ink pad over the light blue scallop, embossing the ‘Jess and David’ in ‘Copper’ as well as the small scallop above.
A Bespoke text stamp – I used the ‘Appareo’ font from English Stamp’s website and incorporated some mini copper embossed scallops into the stamp design too.
- A Bespoke Monogram Date Stamp – We liked the idea of sealing our envelopes with a stamp so used our initials and the scallop shell and underlined them with the date of the wedding, 04.06.16.
Hand-stamping invitations by hand in this way – especially when incorporating extra steps like multiple layers of stamps and embossing certain elements of the design – will only work for you if you enjoy creative projects like this!
If, like me, you relish hand-made cards and taking time over your correspondences then I can highly recommend the designs we chose. If you’re looking for an easier option than you can certainly pare back the hours involved by keeping your stamp designs simpler! They will look beautiful and lovingly made either way!
My recommendation is to ask your friends or family to help you – David’s parents invited us and my parents up for a weekend of wedding planning that mostly turned into a mega-stamping session and with 6 of us working on the invites we made a massive dent into our list! It was really fun watching my Dad mastering the embossing gun too!
KIT LIST FOR OUR INVITATIONS
Handmade White Cotton Rag Paper , A5 - Khadi Papers: https://khadi.com/shop/white-rag-paper-a5-w/
20 Sheets for £4.50
1 x 1 Inch Scallop stamp – £4
1 x 4 Inch Scallop stamp – £15
1 x 1 Inch Custom Stamp (D & J Initials) - £16
1 x 6 Inch Custom Stamp (Handwriting) - £42
1 x 8 Inch Custom Stamp (Appareo Font) - £52
1 x ‘Atlantic’ VersaColor Minicube - £2.50
1 x ‘Navy Blue’ Raised Ink Pad - £4
1 x ‘Copper’ Embossing Powder - £3
Embossing Heat Tool - £19.50
Kraft Fleck Envelopes, C5 – The Paperbox: https://www.thepaperbox.co.uk/
100 for £11.08