No Admittance Except on Party Business

Well, folks, invitations are in the mail, and by now at least a few guests will have received theirs.  So, in the tradition of Weddingbee bloggers before me, I can finally reveal our design!


First of all, here’s a little warning note:

I know that not everyone is going to like this design—it’s probably the quirkiest thing about our wedding, and I can guarantee that you have never seen wedding invitations that look like these. We designed them together from the very beginning, and did everything but the printing ourselves—so they don’t look particularly professional. But they reflect the fun atmosphere guests can expect at our wedding and, most importantly, they do what invitations are supposed to do: They tell you when and where to show up!

So without further ado, I present: The Potion Wedding Invitations!


{personal photo}

Here’s the invitation suite laid out in full, using the one addressed to Mickey and Minnie Mouse as an example. :) (PS: Send YOUR invite to this address to get a souvenir postcard from the Mouses themselves!…I think. The gift has changed over the years so I’m not sure what it is now, but I’ll let you know when we get our response!) Sorry for the Paint job, y’all—gotta protect the innocent.


{personal photo}

So first, let’s talk about the envelopes. You’ll notice that they’re white. On one of our many trips down to Paper-Source we took a look at their envelope selection on heavy, colored paper—I particularly liked the silver ones with just a hint of shimmer—and this led to a slightly philosophical discussion on paper.

“The envelope is the first thing that gets thrown away,” said Mr. Potion. “Once the person has torn it to shreds opening it, they’ll toss it in the trash.”

He had a good point. What’s the difference in a colorful envelope and a white envelope if they both end up in the trash anyway? The important stuff is what’s inside the envelope. But the sparkles…

“And if we do go with colored envelopes,” he concluded, “we will NOT be using the sparkly ones. We’re not inviting them to a Sweet Sixteen.”

It’s always good when Mr. Potion has a strong opinion on something wedding related, because it’s normally to prevent me from going with something silly.

So we decided to just use the white envelopes that came with our order from Vista Print, and add a slight embellishment—a green “C” stamped in the lower right corner. I briefly considered envelope liners, and then I remembered how many of these we were assembling—that is, way too fucking many—and decided the task ahead of us was complicated enough.

The most complicated bit was, of course, the addresses. I wanted the Emily Post correctness of handwritten addresses, but my handwriting is a little…well, my mom used to say I should be a doctor, the way I scribble things out. So we went with faux-lligraphy—a process where addresses are printed in a light ink from a computer printer, then traced over by hand with a pen.


{personal photo}

And here’s the stamping process in action:


{personal photo}

I wanted to also print the return address—my parents’ address—on the back flap, but my printer ate an envelope during a trial of this process, so that wasn’t going to happen. Instead we printed the address on some label stickers, which cooperated much nicer with the printer.

Finally, you’ll notice the silly little wedding cake stamps. While it would’ve looked cuter to do an arrangement of smaller stamps, it was much, much easier to use these—because, remember, the envelope is the first thing to be thrown away, and normal people (read: not brides) won’t give the stamps a second glance.

Once the recipient mangles the envelope in an effort to open it, they’ll pull out this bundle:


{personal photo}

On the bottom we have the main invite card, then the response card, then directions from the church to the reception site. This little package is tied together in silver ribbon for some, but silver cord for most. I literally bought every roll of the most perfect silver cord at the Michaels stores near Mr. Potion’s condo and my apartment, and it STILL wasn’t enough, so the last dozen or so are tied with ribbon instead. Rather than using an inner envelope, guests’ first names are printed on these orange tags, with a second tag for the children’s names.


{personal photo}

So folks, here we have it: the main invitation card. Look closely and you’ll notice that the background of the card is a map. A map of a certain (fictional) world where some of the people speak in the language we translated our names into for our logo.

That’s right—it’s Middle Earth. :) Geeky, because it’s from Tolkien, the original geek, and adventurous, because it’s a map! The wording is extremely formal and completely traditional:

Mr. and Mrs. Potion Dad’s Full Name

request the honour of your presence

at the Nuptial Mass uniting their daughter

Miss Potion


Mr. Potion’s Full Name

in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Saturday, the tenth of November

two thousand twelve

at [time] in the morning

St. John the Apostle Catholic Church

Alexander City, Alabama

The font was quite the difficult choice, but we finally landed on a recommendation from a particularly helpful commenter: Tangerine, found at Dafont. It’s the perfect blend of whimsy and formality, and something about the swishy-ness reminds me a bit of Tolkien’s Elvish.

Speaking of, turn the card over, and you’ll find our logo!

But then, of course, people need to RSVP.


{personal photo}

The response card also has a map in the background—but in this case, it’s the Marauder’s Map.

You’ve probably noticed the more interesting bit of the response card—namely, a lack of stamp.

That’s because it isn’t a postcard.

And there’s no response envelope, either.

That’s because you’re not supposed to mail it back.

No, hive, we’re conducting a grand social experiment with our invitations: an online RSVP. This card contains the website URL and the RSVP code—sort of like a password, necessary for filling out the form. (I’ll have a whole post explaining that process soon.) Of course, if all of this is deemed too difficult, Mom Potion’s phone number is also on the card, so people can call in their response.

As every ‘Bee reader knows, a bride’s greatest annoyance in the weeks before her wedding is the fact that a majority of guests do not RSVP—not a negative response, just…no response. In our digital world, mailing off a letter is simply too much for some people. I know I’m guilty of it myself—I once lost the response card for my friend’s wedding and had to RSVP in person with many apologies for my stupidity. However, there is a wealth of information on a wedding website—hotels to stay in, directions, what to wear—so guests are sure to visit it anyway, at least once, and while they’re there, they may as well RSVP!

We’ll see if our theory rings true when it’s time to calculate RSVPs. I’ll let you know how many people we have to track down and force to tell us whether or not they’re coming. Hopefully it’s a smaller percentage than one experiences with mail RSVPs.

So…what do you think? (And remember, if you hate them…please don’t tell me. It’s not like I’m able to change anything now, anyway, even if your criticism is constructive.)

Would you ever try an online RSVP? Were your invitations a little funky or more traditional? Do you notice the stamps on wedding invitation envelopes?


Mrs. Potion

Herndon, VA
Wedding Date:
November 2012
How Wonderful Life Is: “And No Lunch Meat for Me”
Add a comment


  1. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:04 pm

    I just sent the link to Mr. Toadstool, this are seriously awesome.

    The key about invites is that they show the couple’s personality and wedding atmosphere and this are extremely unique, I particularly love the maps as backgrounds. I know some people won’t understand it but I don’t think you need to understand them to realize how cute they are.

  2. Member
    MsVoyageur 1384 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:19 pm

    Hey I think they’re awesome and very personal! And I didn’t know we’re date twins – November 10th, wooooo!!! Great job, I think those look great!

  3. Member
    steph01924 308 posts, Helper bee @ 12:23 pm

    I love them! Very creative and fit perfectly with you and Mr. Potion.

    I’m very excited to see how your social experiment works!! I’m contemplating this as well, simply to cut down on the costs of paper & postage (so pretty, SO out of my budget).

  4. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:34 pm

    I like the idea of online RSVPs. I kind of wish we had included that option because we had to track down lots of folks.

  5. Member
    nkaujyi 64 posts, Worker bee @ 12:58 pm

    Your invite suite looks awesome!!! You did a great job. I love the “faux-ligraphy”!

  6. Member
    BookishBelle 1629 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:12 pm

    We’re doing exclusively online RSVPs. I figure if we 87 year old grandfather can read the NYTimes on an iPad every morning, the rest of my relatively young invitees can figure out how to RSVP online. Saves paper, saves money, tracks the answers for us, worst thing happens, we end up calling people up to ask, which let’s be honest, would have happened with at least 25% of the guests anyway, lol. Also now when they RSVP, they’ll also be on the same site where they can book their hotel room, buy a registry gift, etc, I figure it’s easier on THEM as well :)

  7. Member
    RapunzelRapunzel 812 posts, Busy bee @ 1:19 pm

    Wow, I think your suite is absolutely gorgeous! Great job!

  8. Member
    ConRtist 75 posts, Worker bee @ 6:09 pm

    We had online RSVP on our wedding website as well as printing my parents mailing address on the invitation. 85% used the online RSVP and the others sent RSVP cards. We only had one non reply though we aren’t even sure they received the invitation. Online is a great way to keep track of all your guests.

  9. sword Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:11 pm

    These are fantastic Potion! I like them because they are personal and unique. And I’m so excited to see how the online RSVP goings for you guys because the Swords might be heading that route as well. Less paper wasted too right? :)

  10. Member
    tyler aka mr potion 11 posts, Newbee @ 8:05 pm


    You’re kidding, right?

  11. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 8:25 pm

    Very nice!

  12. thimble Member
    thimble 857 posts, Busy bee @ 5:11 am

    You guys did a great job! And the online RSVP is awesome. I though about doing that too.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Vanessa, Guest @ 8:23 am

    We did that social experiment too! Our invites were very basic – single page with a tiny “please rsvp online at http://www…..” No other insert at all.
    Here’s how it worked out = 98% responded online (and that’s a guest list where >40% are over 60 yrs old). Those that didn’t: my parents (b/c they thought they wouldn’t need to at all, even if there was a card – I told them I like getting the notices); and the groomsman who designed the site and RSVP function, since he also claims “I’ll be there so why would I need to rsvp?”

  14. coyote Member
    coyote 1932 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:39 am

    Love your invitations Potion!! Marauder’s Map AND Middle Earth all in one invitation suite? You have this geek’s approval! 😉

  15. Member
    futuremrsdino 73 posts, Worker bee @ 5:36 am

    We’re doing online RSVP too, which I think we’ve had to do for every single wedding we’ve been to recently! The whole invitation package isn’t such a big thing in the UK, from what I can gather. Or maybe I don’t have formal friends!
    We’re hoping to get the map of Middle Earth into the wedding somewhere. Possibly behind our table plan. I love it!
    Glad someone else is equally as geeky as I am, even with regards to weddings! :) x

  16. Member
    radiolassie82 65 posts, Worker bee @ 9:49 am

    Cute invites! My friend is having a very geeky wedding (Harry Potter theme). Too bad I think she already has her invites picked out. The map idea is fabulous!

    I had both options, traditional RSVP and online. We only got 1 online RSVP, and otherwise only 60% responded. A few others have been hunted on facebook, called by my mother, etc., to no avail. I still haven’t heard from my cousin who was supposed to come, but had a crisis, and despite said crisis being solved, has YET to reply. It’s 3 weeks+ past our deadline. At this point, no reply = no seat at the reception. We’re having a plated lunch, so we had to have everything in early to get figures to the caterer. I hope your group is more tech savvy than ours. Even with the website, with all our info, we still got asked tons of questions about the menu and such. very annoying. Good luck!

  17. potion Member
    potion 223 posts, Helper bee @ 7:38 am

    Thanks for the positive vibes, y’all- gotta admit, I was a liiiiiittle nervous about posting these designs on the internet. As I scrolled through the photos on my computer I started thinking “Yikes, The Internet might have nasty things to say…” But before considering the opinions of The Internet I absolutely loved them, and I still do :) I know that we’ll have to hunt down people who don’t RSVP, but frankly you have to do that with mail-in responses, too, so I’m not too worried :)

  18. Member
    mglem89 171 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:06 am

    I can’t even tell you how much I love all of the LOTR details in your wedding! I’m a HUGE LOTR geek lol … I live in Chicago and refer to it as The Chire (Shire) … nobody gets it but I love it lol

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    LR, Guest @ 11:54 am

    I like them, I just don’t think they are quirky or geeky. I’d say ecclectic… Good job, they are nice!

  20. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:26 pm

    I am sorry to say Miss Potion but your invites are….. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! I really love the idea of the map and being a bit of a geeky nerdy type harry potter lotr fantasy geek I think its so great! We didn’t include self-addressed stamped letters either because we honestly thought most people would prefer to text/call us! We have actually received more response cards than we thought but I still stand by our decision not to include them!

  21. Member
    amyinthetardis 269 posts, Helper bee @ 6:14 pm

    I love your LOTR themed invites! I have been thinking about doing something similar but haven’t got it all sorted out yet. Yours look lovely!

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    LT, Guest @ 3:37 am

    Wow! Your online RSVP idea is awesome! I didn’t even know that was a possibility. I mean, of course I have a wedding website with the option for online RSVP but I never thought about not also including the RSVP postcard in the invitation package. I am seeing dollar signs of savings flashing before my eyes, thank you!! (And if there are a few traditionalists/non-tech-savy people on my guest list, I can always include a postcard for those select few.)

  23. Member
    cicijapan 263 posts, Helper bee @ 12:54 am

    I am doing online RSVPs too. Good luck with yours!

  24. Member
    AllieGee 4 posts, Wannabee @ 11:46 am

    LOVE THEM! We were contimplating online RSVP’s as well; therefore, yes please post how they go. This post is incredibly helpful! I had noooooo clue about the faux-calligraphy! Its genius and will be using it on my envelopes as well : ) Thank you and happy planning! you’re almost to the finish line : )

  25. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 8:04 am

    Your invites are awesome, the perfect blend of geeky and adventure :)

  26. Member
    eeper 129 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:52 pm

    I think these are great. I also love the title of this post :)

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Lana, Guest @ 12:38 pm

    i love the middle earth map paper! did you design and print it yourself or was it paper you purchased?
    i want to do a similar thing for a hobbit party invitation but cannot find the resources online.

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