Monday, January 24, 2011

Our quest to invite our guests

After devoting a couple (hundred) hours to looking at invitations, I wasn't really finding anything that fit my price point and style.  Someone suggested looking at Etsy, which seemed like a terrifying prospect.  That website, to me, just had too many options, too many colors, too many things to consider.  I figured it would drive my indecisive self up a wall.  Just as I was about to write Etsy off, I learned of this magical system called Alchemy.*  Here's how the simplest way I know to describe it: it's a craft want ad.  You describe the item you're looking for and the price you're looking to spend, and crafters who have accounts on Etsy can submit bids and proposals for your approval.  In your initial description, you can be as specific or as generic as you want, including or excluding details like size, medium, colors, and quantity, among others.

I decided I'd put out a request and see what happened.  I kind of expected this function to be neglected on the website; for some reason, I assumed the majority of the traffic centered on shoppers buying preexisting items, and only occasionally did the artisans glance at these pleas for help.  I also expected that most of the requests went unanswered unless they were for big cash cow items, which I didn't consider our wedding invitations to be.

I listed that I was looking for a wedding invitation in our purple, grey, and light green color palette.  I wanted something in a basic, rectangular shape.  I also mentioned that I was looking for something with a hydrangea motif, since it's one of my favorite flowers and will definitely be incorporated into the wedding.  I wanted a minimalist, slightly abstract artistic rendering of the flower as opposed to a realistic watercolor.  And with that somewhat scatterbrained list of requests and my uneducated attempt at describing art terms, I clicked submit.

And I waited.  Well, I waited for about 5 minutes before getting my first response.  Within 24 hours, I had over 40 responses!!  Some of them were not so hot, but others were much closer to what I had in mind.  Then, finally, I found it.  Somehow, my ramblings about colors and flowers managed to make sense to a certain Etsy goddess, and she made a mock-up of exactly what I had constructed in my convoluted little bride brain.  I'm not going to show you it now, since we've yet to send them out and I'd rather our guests see them in their mailboxes before on their computers, but just rest assured, they make me feel happy all over every time I look at them.  Here are some that didn't quite make the cut:

Design by Etsy seller scarlettdesign

 Design by  Etsy seller TheBigDayExpressions

 Design by Etsy seller tinyspace

Design by Etsy seller JulieHoogDesigns

Sorry I can't divulge the winning design for a while more, but trust me, it's worth the wait (at least in my biased opinion). 
Have you used Etsy for any wedding-related purchases?

*The Alchemy function no longer exists.  Thankfully, the site is pretty easy to navigate, making it simple to find some really talented designers who can help with your craft needs!  


  1. I used alchemy for my wedding decision I ever made!!!

  2. I know you posted this forever ago - How do you actually get to the alchemy part? I went to Etsy and couldn't find a link to it anywhere. please email me: sandytoesbride at