Vintage Books as Wedding Invitations

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I took some time away from the computer to work on the house and enjoy my first anniversary – I can’t believe it’s been a year since my wedding! Anyways, I have some amazing real weddings lined up for this week, but first I had to share photographer Jessica Claire’s Wedding Invitations. If you follow her blog, you know she is planning her October wedding and has been sharing some of the details. Her save the date’s and invitations are quite amazing – how I would love to receive an invitation like this!

Jessica describes her wedding as “a vintage, 1920’s London sort of vibe, but it will also have an upscale, elegant, sophisticated twist.”

For the STD’s, as they’ll be known henceforth, came from the concept that I didn’t want to send out something that was just paper and ink. I really wanted each one to be different in some way, and I wanted it to be a piece that people wouldn’t want to throw away (although of course I know that people did!!) The invitation is in four pieces, and each one is handmade out of letterpressed tags or stitched muslin. Each one has an antique key attached to the ribbon–every key is different. As the wedding has locks and keys all throughout, we wanted to bring that in as early as the save the date. On the back of each STD, there is a page torn from the book Portrait of a Marriage–each page is different and was meticulously cut to match the size of the front. The overall effect was to create something that looked old but still colorful! This is what they look like:

vintage key invitations

Now, to the invitation. Each of our guests received a book. Okay, you probably guessed that they are not ordinary books. No, they are HOLLOWED OUT BOOKS! In keeping with our theme, our wedding invitation hides away, tucked safely inside a hollowed out book. Each one is completely different–each book was lovingly bought from an old bookstore and chosen for it’s particular color cover, title, thickness, or inside pattern.

When you open the book, this is what you see:

vintage book wedding invitation

The pocket on the left hand side is a very thick, copper paper from Kate’s Paperie. On the right, a steel grey grosgrain ribbon holds the invitation in and is sealed with a copper wax seal with a photo of a lock. On the invitation itself which lays in the hollow, a single, antique button is affixed to each invitation. Every one is incredibly detailed and different and took many HOURS of scouring ebay:

vintage book wedding invitation

Inside the front coppery library card pocket were four things: a map with all location details, a list of events for the day before the wedding, a response card, and an envelope:

vintage book wedding invitation

Thanks so much Jessica for letting me share these with everyone. Also, I need to make sure to credit Kari Dyas who single-handedly spent WEEKS carving them, gluing them, sourcing the individual pieces, and creating the finished pieces. Check out Jessica’s blog for even more photos of the invitations. All photos by Jessica Claire.

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  1. OMG!! These are amazing!! I can't imagine how long they took to make, but what a piece of art. love them.

  2. Great idea!!! thanks for sharing the inspiration!

  3. LOVE!!!!! omg they're so beautiful!

  4. Oh wow! For a book lover like me, these invitations are like a dream come true! Thanks for sharing!

  5. These are straight up amazing! I would be blown away if I recieved one of these :)

  6. I love these invites! So creative and thoughtful!

  7. This is so incredible. I haven't seen anything like it before! I would love to do this, but am concerned the shipping costs could mount quickly…maybe we can manage it for my parents 50th wedding anniversary! Once-in-a-lifetime events deserve once-in-lifetime announcements, right? :)

  8. Yikes — as an ex antiquarian book cataloguer and (current) letterpress printer, please please check the books you are going to do this to with a rare book specialist.

    At least tell the bookseller you are buying them from what your plans are.
    What if you are gouging out the innards of a really rare book? A second hand bookseller may not know.

    What if the book is one of only 15 copies left in the world? It's hard to believe, but some books from the 1920's and 1930's are quite rare because of WWII and other reasons (book-banning for example). We are so indoctrinated by the prevalence of so much stuff made in the last 25 years, it's difficult to imagine a really rare book.

    The inspiration for this save the date is from the "Altered" book movement — which has been going on for about 10 -12 years now.
    It's really big among some of the indie crafters and ( very few) book arts people.
    Sorry to be a damper, and Jessica most certainly knows what she is doing.

    Vintage books are a bit like vintage couture and vintage furniture, it's good to know what you got before you break out the scissors!

  9. i just DIED over this… i've been reading your blog for a few months now and i LOVE it – but this post just really, really did it for me… AH so cool!! :)

  10. These wedding invitations have to be the most thougthful invitations that I've seen.

  11. I agree with Helen. I don't think this is the most appropriate or the most thoughtful method to invite your guests. Frankly as someone that takes books seriously, I would be annoyed to receive such an invitation. The fact that someone ripped out all the pages of a beautiful old book to make an invite is beyond precious (and I mean that in a bad way). Why did the books need to be ruined for the invitation? The invite could have been attached to the inside panel of the book cover and then the guests would have had a keepsake to remember the wedding. Much of the entries on this site have focused on the "green"/earth friendly wedding ideas. This is the opposite idea. It wastes so much paper, shipping of such heavy invitations is completely inefficient when it comes to fuel, and it just blatantly disrespects the purpose of books. I am all for creative, interesting details that make one's wedding day special and that celebrate the unique interests of the couple getting married. But what does a hollowed out book say about the couple? That they cherish reading? Probably not.

  12. The books were bought the previous year by our coordinator who purchased a huge box of them from the salvation army for another clients weddig decor. That client was going to toss them so we acquired them that way–techically we saved them :).

  13. Thanks Helen for your comments. You bring up some good points. If you plan to do something like this it's a good idea to make sure it isn't a rare book. As Jessica commented, these were going to be tossed so she saved them! Unfortunately a lot of older books these days are just tossed, so in that case, this is a great idea to give them a new life. Also, the guests can keep these to remember the wedding – use the book as a secret spot to store something – or just place on a shelf. I know I would keep it!

  14. I love this idea! I disagree with anonymous – I think this is totally a green idea. She saved the books!! Ok, shipping might cost more, but the guests would keep these unlike most of the invitations I receive. I know my local library throws out books often, this would be a great way to give them a continued life. People "alter" vintage furniture and clothing all the time, why not books? Just my two cents…

  15. These are great wedding ideas! Hope to see more. It really looks amazing!

  16. Wow. I'm speechless. Love the fact that Jessica 'saved' these books. My favourite detail are the antique buttons.

  17. Yikes, I agree too. I am not so sure about ripping the pages out of a beautiful book. I think I would be a bit heartbroken to receive a vintage book that had been torn apart as well :( Great idea, but it would have been really cool to have just had the invite attached on the inside cover almost like a library card or something.

  18. Swoon. Love this. So creative!!

  19. i saw this on jessicas blog and I still can't believe how amazing they are!! who would have thought? Such an awesome and creative idea! love love love it!

  20. These actually were not made by Jessica and her friends…they were made by an AMAZINGLY TALENTED woman named Kari Dyas…and they are beautiful!

  21. Kari Dyas is the creative genius behind these std's and invites. There seems to be a little false info being circulated about how they came to be design wise. "green" or not, isn't the issue at hand, yes, reuse and recycle is best (which seems to be the case here, everything on it is recycled!), point is Kari conceived and executed a piece of art.

  22. It saddens me a bit to read the comments against this idea. I agree the books should be looked at for rarity/vintage purposes. But in my humble opinion, what she has done with these books is far better than the books just sitting pointlessly on a shelf. I mean truly, what purpose does that serve? Jessica took these and made them into a beautiful, incredibly personal work of art. She made the books something the receiver will cherish, more than any single book could ever be cherished. Something as personal, beautiful, and unique as this is simply amazing.

  23. Wow. I’m speechless. Love the reality that Jessica ‘saved’ these books. My favourite information are the antique buttons.

  24. Hey, just wondering can you use any books? and how exactly did you hollow them out. Thank you :)


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