Erin’s Engagement: RSVP ASAP

Erin explains how wedding invitations and a glue stick can turn a happy bride-to-be into a bridezilla.

One morning about a month ago, I breathlessly turned to Randy and blurted out, “I need your help with the wedding invitations.” A little confused, he said, “Sure, honey. What do you need me to do?” I explained to him, step by step, what we needed to do to get the invitations printed, stuffed, addressed, and mailed within the next few weeks. It was a big undertaking. We were planning to send about 130 invitations with a reception card, a directions card, and an RSVP card with a return envelope. All of these pieces would be placed in a pocketfold envelope and inserted into a larger envelope, which would have to be addressed and stamped with the correct postage. Just thinking about it made my heart race. I knew I’d need help, and asking for it was easy. Accepting it was a little more difficult.

One of my bridesmaids, Stephanie, designed the invitations. We went back and forth for weeks on the wording and layout. The hardest part was the directions card. Our ceremony will be held at Georgetown University, and I’m concerned that our guests will get lost. I spent one evening driving to Georgetown from several directions so I could get the instructions exactly right. Stephanie illustrated a map so guests would be able to find their way to the chapel once they reached campus. When we were confident that we had each piece just right, Stephanie sent me an image of each file. Now I just had to figure out how to print them.Randy and I took the files to a local printer for a quote. Stephanie had saved us a lot of money by designing the invitations, but we knew the printing would still cost a lot. The first quote we received was $400 with paper and printing. The second, which was through an online printer and paper store called, was $280 including shipping. We were sold. We were also short on time, so I decided to have the invitations printed without seeing a proof.

While we waited for the invitations to arrive, we worked on the envelopes. We decided to print the addresses on them at home instead of hiring a calligrapher. Stephanie helped me download the same font she used for the invitations, and after a couple of botched envelopes, we got it exactly right.

A few days later, Randy called me as I was driving home from work. “The invitations are here!” he told me.

“How do they look?” I squealed.

“They look really great,” he assured me.

I couldn’t wait to get home. We invited my friend Clay and my cousin Laura over to help us put the invitations together, promising them beer and pizza. They were due to arrive later in the evening, but Randy and I couldn’t wait to get started.

The first task was to attach the invitations to a cardstock backing, which would then be attached to the pocketfold envelope. Randy thought that a glue stick would do the job. I was convinced that the glue stick wouldn’t work and argued in favor of double-sided tape.

After a couple of minutes of arguing, something came over me. I’d like to say I was just tired, but that would be a lie. For the first time in our engagement, I turned into a complete control freak—a bridezilla.

“No!” I said. “The glue stick is awful—we can’t use it. The invitations will fall apart!” I was on the verge of tears.

Randy looked at me, surprised and annoyed. “Are you serious?” he said. “Are you really about to cry over a glue stick?”

“Um . . . no?” I answered, suddenly sheepish.

“I think I’m going to work out for a little bit,” Randy said, getting up from the table.

After he left, I sat there for a few minutes, looking at my beautiful invitations. I realized that I had asked Randy for his help, but I was willing to accept it only if he did things my way. That isn’t a partnership. If you want to have an equal partnership, you have to be willing to accept that there is more than one way of doing things. I realized that if Randy and I were going to be successful in putting together our invitations—or any other project we undertake in our marriage—I was going to have to learn to let go.

My friends arrived shortly afterward, and we got to work on the invitations. Randy joined us when he got back from the gym, and the four of us plugged along with a brief break for pizza. Near the end of our stack of invitations, the inevitable happened: We ran out of double-sided tape. Randy reached for the glue stick with a wary look on his face. “Are you going to freak out if I use this?” he asked.

“No,” I said, smiling. “I’m going to be fine.”