Thursday, October 25, 2012

1788 Invitation from an Ephemera Collection

I am in the midst of planning my daughter's wedding.  Being the collector of everything antique, I really wanted something unusual for her wedding announcements.  I've started out by using an old invitation from 1788 for her "save the date" card.

When I first heard the word "ephemera", I didn't really know what it meant.  I had to look it up--it means documents that are intended to be thrown away after use.   I am so glad that ephemera has survived.  There are people who collect all kinds of ephemera.  I seem to be drawn to the English trade cards used in the 1700's. However, trade cards really weren't large enough to adapt to this use, so this card seemed to be a perfect starting point.

 The card was tough to clean up, took me hours. However I did work on it, and then I modified it to match the couple, and appropriateness for the SAVE THE DATE announcement.

The end result below. I tried to block out some information so my poor family can have some privacy.

If you are on the hunt for announcements, there are tons of options available to you thanks to the internet.  You can find many things on Etsy, but I had an idea and I couldn't find anything that satisfied me.

I wanted a colorful envelope liner, but didn't want a plain color.   The photoshopped flowers below reflect the joyful excitement I feel about the wedding.  I also love the juxtaposition of the old graphic against the colorful flowers.  So I to a photograph and made color copies, cut and glued them in myself.  You can find Martha Stewart Youtube how-to instructions.

The envelope liners look great!
Below I made a custom flap for the envelope.  The rabbits in the invitation are a whimsical touch, because we live on "the bunny farm" according to my daughter.  We're overrun with jack rabbits, and you can always see a half dozen when you look outside. The shield has an early german woodcut of a couple in the regency style known as "the proposal".

I love the pop of the colored liners against the black and white print. The letterpress work really looks nice.  It made a beautiful flap on the envelope, and the card was superb.

Below is a sample of an envelope using computer calligraphy.

The address above is fake, but thought you'd like to see the beautiful script I purchased online.  I decided to cut cost by printing the envelopes myself, and they look GREAT!   I am very happy with the printing, it is hard to tell that it is not calligraphy, which can easily cost $4 each.  The custom stamp matches the envelope liner.

OK, now I'm happy!  Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the project.   I've been working on this for a few months and am happy to check something off the list.  I toyed with edging the announcement in a fuchsia pink.  We decided against it, thinking it would be just a bit too modern.  The reaction from the recipients has been great.   My brother said that the postman hand carried his to the front door to make sure he got his beautiful envelope!

The next project is the invitation.  It is even more awesome -- everyone expects it to outdo this card.   I must find a DL or monarch size envelope.  Ideally I need an 7.5" x 3.75" card.  I can find the envelope, but I'm out of luck getting an inner AND outer envelope.   Help!   Anyone have any suggestions?


  1. Oh my goodness the announcement is gorgeous! A little piece of art. How will you outdo this for the invitations? I await with bated breath. Vanna

  2. I REALLY enjoyed this post - so great that you are sharing your process - a labor of love. My daughter has a stationery business - Small Field papers - and it is always the custom work that she does that gets the biggest raves.

  3. Oh my, the reaction has been overwhelming. I am afraid I just raised the bar on expectations of a FABULOUS wedding! It's consuming all of my time. Can't wait to share!