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Yesterday, I spent the whole afternoon at home, waiting for the envelopes for my invitations to arrive. Only the envelopes. It’s a long story, but the gist is: it is everyone’s fault but mine. What else is new? Anyway, my envelopes arrived in all their glory yesterday evening around 5:45 pm.

big box for little envelopes!!

envelopes

I was eager to start stamping them right away so I could get them out, well…today! So as soon as I opened the box, I pulled out my return-address stamp, took a deep breath, and stamped away.

stampUgh, you can imagine my dismay when I realized (after letting the stamp sit for an hour) that the ink runs! While the envelopes are gorgeous, the glossy finish keeps the ink from setting! So, I’ll admit, when I realized this, I had a mini spaz-attack. Our calligrapher originally said she needed the envelopes by May 8th for her to complete our order on time. There was no time to commission another stamp or even to order another ink cartridge (damn me and my absurd fascination with self-inking stamps!).

After panicking, I came up with a plan b: purchase a non-smearing ink pad,  remove the ink cartridge, and use the self-inking stamp like a normal stamp.

So early this morning I drove south 30 minutes to the nearest rubber stamp store, waited for them to open (15 minutes late…started to have another panic attack…) and explained my dilemma to the clerk. She was unsympathetic, to say the least. Basically she told me I was dumb for buying a self-inking stamp and that nothing was going to work. I explained my idea, she was skeptical; although she couldn’t say WHY she didn’t think it would work. But, she reluctantly sold me the ink (Geez lady, I’m trying to give you money! Take it already).

archival ink

As I was walking out the door, she told me if it didn’t work that I should just screw the glossy envelopes and use normal envelopes. “Because no one will look at them, and they’ll just be thrown away.”  And yes, she’s totally right. As I drove home with my ink, I thought about wedding invitations I’ve received in the past, and how long I have kept the envelope. I’d say the average lifespan of an envelope, post opening, is 12 seconds. I tried, on this epic drive home, to take an existential attitude. How important are these envelopes and the stamp? How about the customized invitations I have stressed over for months? Will anyone keep theirs? What about the marriage and the event of having everyone we love in one place to celebrate it. Of course. Those other things don’t matter one iota in comparison. But weddings are scary things. We can’t control them. I will do everything I can to make this marriage work, but that doesn’t change the fact that it might not. Similarly, I will stop at nothing to ensure that my guests have enough food and drink, that they feel welcome and happy to be at my wedding; but I can’t control weather two of my guests are angry at each other and have an argument while they’re there. Or worse, I can’t control whether a friend has held a grudge against me and shows up grumpy, agitated and a little resentful at my wedding. As much as I want to, I can’t control anyone else’s happiness. I can, however, control the details. So, meaningful or not, I will make this GD stamp work with my glossy, beautiful envelopes. Satisfied with this irrational conclusion, I got to work on my envelopes once I got home.

Luckily the stamp lady was wrong, the ink pad worked wonderfully…ish. I mean, of course it wasn’t totally straight forward. The self inking stamp has a border around it, so if I just plopped it down on the ink-pad, the border would show up on the envelope.

border

Coincidentally, the border is kind of pretty, but it is plastic, unpredictable and not the look we were going for. So, with a little tape, some ingenuity (McGuiver style),  4 “practice” envelopes, and a couple hours, I was able to conquer the project!

bundled up to ship out!Bundled up to ship out!

If  I had to make a list of 3 things this process has taught me, I’d say:

1) The internet is convenient, but you’re better off going to a real store and trying the product to see how it works and if it is exactly what you are looking for.

2) Creative thinking can help you come up with solutions to almost any problem

3) They’re just envelopes. Feel free to substitute envelopes for any other wedding detail your are currently stressing over.  They’re just envelopes, they’re just flowers, they’re just dresses, ties, earrings, shoes, favors.

What struggles and snafus have you encountered in this process? How did you solve it?

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