Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Road to the Proper Invitation
My grandmother taught me that when you are giving a present that the presentation is just as important as what is inside. I remember being a young preschooler and watching as she wrapped up presents with amazement. It was like magic unfolding, the way she creased the paper, lined up the pattern, folded and smoothed the edges. It was fascinating to watch. The best part was the finishing touches when she would choose the proper ribbon, tags, and any accents to create whimsical packages almost too pretty to open.
For my 5th birthday she bought me a pair of red shoes. She had no intention on buying them for me, but I begged and pleaded with her at the store for them. Like all grandmother's she caved in with the line "you will have to wait for your birthday". I quickly agreed and she followed up with "and don't forget you must act surprised when you open them". A few months later I had forgotten all about the red shoes, until she pulled the package out of the lower kitchen cupboard cabinet. She had wrapped the package in crinkled red parchment paper and had the most magnificent red velvet bow. To this day I can't remember any other present I was more excited to get. I knew exactly what was inside but I remember squealing with excitement at the beautiful wonder in front of me. Unlike most children I did not tear into the package and quickly discard the wrapping, instead I carefully unwrapped it in the same manner to which I had watched my grandmother wrap so many presents before. As promised I remembered to squeal in excitement over my new red shoes.
I believe that was the very moment that I fell in love with the art of presentation. I have followed in her footsteps when wrapping packages but it also has extended into creating custom invitations for our parties and events... I truly believe that from the moment your guests open their invite you are setting the tone for the entire event.
Last year I paired fake blood, a little bit of water, and a gelled eyeball into a clear square zip style industrial bag and topped them with custom "donor labels" that I designed and printed myself on shipping sized address labels. I tucked each one inside a padded envelope marked "non machinable" and mailed them off. If you decide to try these yourself, know that you want to mail them off the following morning because the water and blood begin to erode the sugar of the eyeball immediately and by the time your guests get them in 2 or 3 days they look fantastic. The invite itself only cost me $10 total to make and the postage was $1.12 each. The reaction from my guests... priceless