If you haven’t been living under a rock in a Shanghai alley, you’ve probably noticed that the craze for beach weddings shows no signs of flagging. And if you’re one of those brides who wants nothing more than a barefoot walk down a sandy aisle, we’ve got good news. It’s simple for you to send out unique wedding invites guaranteed to pique your guests’ curiosity and get them in the mood for a seaside affair.
To start with, you’ll need to do a little shopping at the closest craft store. Add these items to your short list:
– parchment-style paper
– beach sand
– some seashell “confetti” (bags of small shells)
– modestly-sized bottles in the classic shape, in either glass or plastic, with matching corks.
– some gold or silver cord, or satin ribbon in one or more of your wedding colors.
Of course, you can get fancier than this and create a unique design that’s totally yours, but these few items are great for your prototype run.
Starting from Scratch
Start with the parchment. This is what you’ll use to print out your specifics: the who, what, when and where. Tip: before you get all fancy with your design, cut up a piece or two of plain old paper into different sizes, so you know exactly what dimensions roll up easily in your bottles.
Once designed and printed, you’ll want make the parchment inserts simple for your guests to pull out (imagine a frustrated guest poised over your bottle with a hammer — not the effect you’re going for). Step one is to attach some kind of pull mechanism to the center of your invite … a cord or a ribbon, say. Glue it, or punch a hole and thread it through. Step two is to roll up your invitation and tie it tight, so it won’t expand inside the bottle and become irretrievable.
Of course, you can also add your own custom touches. For example, you might include a map with torn, charred edges (like the pirate maps of old). Or instead of just tying your invites closed with a cord, you could use a satin ribbon and a wax seal.
Playing with Sand
Now that you have your parchment inserts all sorted, it’s time for the fun part: the bottles. At its simplest, all you need to do is pour some sand into the bottom of your bottle (you don’t need much … an inch is plenty, although you can play with it. Just remember more sand = higher shipping costs). Now sprinkle in some seashells, and tuck in those invites. Seal everything in with a cork, but don’t forget to leave the end of your pull cord or ribbon hanging over the outside.
This alone makes a beautiful invitation, but you can personalize it even more by making a custom label for your bottles … perhaps including a photo of you and your sweetheart, for those far-away relatives who haven’t seen you in a while. Or consider adding a pinch of essential oil or fragrance to your sand and shell inserts. Choose something bridal (freesia) or tropical (coconut). As long as it’s not overwhelming, it could be powerfully evocative.
Getting Them Ship-Shape
Of course, you don’t have to make your bottle invitations in order to enjoy them. There are plenty of companies who’ll take care of the whole thing. Some even mail them out individually. But there’s something about the personal touch that makes a recipient feel appreciated.
Just be sure you have a tough-enough container when mailing your invitations, especially for glass bottles. Use plenty of decorative packing material, and ideally, send a test box through the mail to yourself before you send out the flotilla to friends and relatives. This not only gives you confidence your bottle will survive, it also offers a great preview of your mailing costs.
Then, send out your custom creations to everyone, and prepare to receive those sincere oohs and ahhhs from all your delighted guests.