Friday, June 13, 2008

The Great Paper Chase.

First, a side note: today is 6/13. My day. See, 6 and 13 are my numbers. It is also Friday the 13th. This happened six years ago; it was an interesting day.

But that has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm about to talk about.

No. I'm here today to talk to you about, in a word, paper. Paper, for some reason, dominates my world. It covers my desks and tables and floors. I file it and stack it and organize it and save it and write on it and make things out of it and buy way, way too much of it. Indeed, the catchphrase for my little etsy store is "because you like paper, and we like you." And of course when it comes to a wedding, paper is a major consideration.

See, as far as the wedding stationery goes, I'm being very, well, me about it all. I'm doing everything myself. You didn't really think I was going to walk into a stationer and just pick something from a book, now did you? Ha. No, that would involve infinitely less work than what I currently have planned. So, I'm sure you're wondering, what has my fevered paper-obsessed little brain cooked up? It goes like this:

First will go out save the dates. Of my own design, of course. In my palette of greens, of course. And as a postcard, because I didn't like any of the magnet options and anyway that would have required an envelope, which I'm trying to avoid. I thought I had this all worked out, and then a minor catastrophe happened... but we're getting to that.

Next will come the big envelope- one envelope, no interior exterior nonsense for me - to include the following:
*The invitation, again of my own design and very possibly of my own making. Possibly stamped, possibly linoleum printed, possibly letterpressed if I can get access to a press... It might end up having a ribbon on it, or a vellum overlay, or some other such fancy nonsense. I can't decide. I change my mind every day, and I'm counting on my darling mid to set me straight when the time comes.
*A response postcard (again with the no envelope having), any one of a number of the vintage-design Cavallini postcards that I've been buying up like a madwoman. I think I have all of the designs now. I didn't want any two people to get the same design. See, I got custom stamps made to turn them into response cards, and there'll be a space for the guest to write a note to us for when they send it back. I'm going to put them all in an album that shows both sides of the card, so you see the pretty vintage design one the one side and the note from the guest to us on the other... What can I say? It's just something I thought up.
*A zine-style booklet, but polished, hand bound with ribbon, containing all of the information that guests will need regarding the wedding weekend: schedule for the big day, hotel where we've reserved rooms, probably a menu listing of the food we'll have, tips on visiting New York like how to use the subway and how to hale a cab (we'll have a lot of out-of-towners), et cetera, so on, and so forth.
Again, all will be in my palette of greens, not the same color for any piece but coordinating and complimenting.
*For wedding party members, invites to the rehearsal dinner... assuming that we're having either a rehearsal or a dinner.
*For anyone with any kind of job during the wedding weekend (which will be plenty of people, believe me), a little note reiterating what's expected of them and expounding upon our undying gratitude for being our ipod dj or whatever.

Then of course at the ceremony itself will be the wedding program. Oh, yes, I must have a program. It's an excuse to make another booklet, for the love of god! Like I was going to turn that down? Again, ribbon bound, with all different green ribbons so they'll look beeutiful all together in a basket.

And we can 't forget correspondence / thank you notes; etiquette simply won't allow it. For this, I'll get the smallest envelopes you can mail (3.5" x 5", I've checked with the U.S.P.S.) and fold the beautiful 100% handmade cotton paper that I already happen to have on hand in half, (with the bone folder I finally found that's actually made of plastic - why the hell do they still make those things out of bone!?) and then stamp the front of it with my tree design... I haven't figured out whether I'll make a lino print or get a rubber stamp made.

Ok. So that's a lot of pieces of paper. And I want them all to be different colors that go together. But you wanna know the real kicker? I also want them to all be 100% post-consumer waste recycled. With the obvious exception of the cotton paper that I already have. (See? It's not just food that I worry about.) This may strike you as crazy, but to me there's just really no other way to do it if I'm going to be putting so much paper out into the world. The universe of recycled and otherwise "earth friendly" paper has gotten exceedingly complicated and greenwashed in the past few years. There's tree free, plain old "recycled" in any percentage you want, post-consumer recycled also in any percentage you want, forest stewardship council certified paper, chlorine free paper, and so on, and so forth, and any combination you might care to dream up. It's really enough to make a girl dizzy.

So the first thing I discovered in my search is that it's ridiculously complicated. There's lots of paper that says it's 30% recycled (not post-consumer, mind you, just recycled) - well, isn't that nice? They've followed the government mandate and saved themselves money by picking the scraps up off of the floor and throwing them back into the paper mix. Not impressive. The second thing I discovered is that while there are several companies making nice, stationery-type papers and tree-free papers of many colors that fit my parameters, most of them are just ugly as sin. And do I want ugly paper? Oddly enough, no, not really.

So after my initial researching, I decided that 100% post-consumer waste was the way to go. I spent probably a dozen hours on the internet, and at least half as many in Kate's Paperie (a primo crackhouse for us paper junkies). And I thought I'd come up with a solution that worked perfectly. Domtar had a line called Sandpiper, 100% pcw, chlorine free, so on and so forth, and some of the colors were absolutely gorgeous and within my palette. Speckled, yes, but in a way that worked. I also found and purchased a couple packs of plain old white office paper (100% pcw, chlorine free for you and me) off the internet - for the insides of the invitation booklets, and for just general home use. I found some stock at Kate's that had some pcw content for miscellaneous pieces, and I can live without complete perfection (I suppose). Everything was moving along just swimmingly.

And then, yesterday, it happened. I went to order my Domtar Sandpiper papers. 24 lb. writing paper in Mint (for the interior of the wedding program and the cover of the invitation booklet) and 80 lb. cover stock in Robin's Egg (for the cover of the wedding booklets and who knows what else - it's so pretty!). And guess what I found out? Domtar has discontinued the line!

This little revelation threw me into a paper crisis. According to my fiance, there is no such thing as a "paper crisis" unless you run a newspaper or a paper mill. He just doesn't understand. Boys don't often contract the paper sickness. Or the ribbon sickness. Or the pretty box sickness. They just don't get it. But he behaved, and spent a solid twenty minutes with me last night going over the possibilities of What To Do.

I'd spent all afternoon trying to right the wrongs that had been done. I'm pretty sure I found and ordered the Mint color, though I think it's in the 80 lb. cover thickness instead of the 24 lb. writing thickness, so I don't know if it will work in my printer. As for the Robin's Egg, it's gone daddy gone, which is slightly heartbreaking. You just don't even understand how pretty this paper is. I will cherish the samples forever. Or just be slightly peeved for the next couple of weeks. Whichever.

For the giant envelope, an A10 that fits a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" booklet inside, I'm using a line called Synergy. I thought I'd be using the Citrus Green, but instead now I think I'm using the Peaceful Blue. The Synergy stuff is not 100% pcw, but it's got a respectable amount, and it's really hard to find envelopes this size unfortunately. My main concern is / was the booklets, which will be the biggest use of paper...

And the moral of the story is that, in yet another way, I've lost my freaking mind.

Does anyone want to remind me that my wedding is still almost two years away, and that maybe it'd be alright if I didn't have this all hammered out by the end of the week?

Just as well. I wouldn't listen to you anyway.

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