In Praise of Mediocrity, or A Five-Paragraph Essay on Wedding Invitations

There is much pressure from the wedding industry to “personalize” every last detail so your “big day” feels “extra special.” Everything from the processional music to the party favors should be a perfect reflection of who you are: your personality, your aesthetic, your values (admittedly, “values” is more of a wedding blogosphere concept; the wedding industry assumes you value only material objects), and, most importantly, “your colors!!” This is all very well and good, but what if you have no personality? What if your aesthetic is ugly, dated, or low-class? What if your values are warped? What if  “your colors!!” are dog doo brown and subway rat gray?

If you have ever asked yourself any of the above questions, there is hope for you at It’s where we designed (read: dropped some text and a photo into a template) our Save the Date magnets and it’s also where we are ordering our invitations. For not a lot of money or hassle, brides with questionable taste can seek safety in damask prints, fleurs-de-lis, and vineyard motifs. There is a good range of prices and paper styles, from the flat, single sheet of cardstock to the multi-layered tri-fold letterpress rainforest killer. Envelopes are included in the price and reply cards are a cheap add-on.

There are some downsides. For example, MagnetStreet seems utterly unaware that there was ever a feminist movement, as you can see in all the samples where the sample groom’s last name initial is the sample invitation’s central theme, never mind that the sample bride’s sample parents are evidently the sample hosts of the sample wedding. Wait a minute, that last sentence sounded really stupid, and not just because I used the word “sample” seven times. Isn’t the wedding industry, and possibly the whole institution of marriage, completely oblivious to feminism? Yes? Moving along, then.

If you like alliteration in your stationery motifs, MagnetStreet will not disappoint. Are you an Effortless Emblem or a Tender Tendril kind of gal? Do you fawn over Flower Flourishes or do you just want to keep things Soft and Sweet? As long as your tastes run the girly gamut, you will have no trouble finding something you can tolerate love.

In all seriousness, is it wrong of me to recommend a wedding vendor that I find merely tolerable? Shouldn’t I use an independent stationer or go the DIY route? Sure, if I want to pay a lot more or use up many hours of my free time. I’m reassured by the assumption that most people will open our invitation and think either “How nice, I’m invited to their wedding” or “Oh shit, I’m invited to their wedding,” not “Ugh, damask is so overdone.”  As for those few who do find fault with our boring invitations? All I can say is they’ll have a field day mocking the rubber chicken and baby carrots at our reception.


17 Comments on “In Praise of Mediocrity, or A Five-Paragraph Essay on Wedding Invitations”

  1. Dave says:

    I don’t think you have to worry about recommending a service you’re ambivalent about – the google ad at the end of your entry has gone ahead and recommended “” for you!

  2. skepticbride says:

    This blog has Google ads?! I don’t remember ever setting it up for that. WordPress, you are sneaky.

  3. Phil Anders says:

    My fiance’s sister designed our Save The Dates (STDs), which turned out great. We used an online service to have our postcards printed. Unfortunately, the automatic feeders used by the postal service turned all of our STDs into smudgy pieces of shit. Good thing save the dates are a wholly unecessary part of getting married!

  4. Mom says:

    Oh here I go again! This feminist, or opinionated, overly involved MOB has trouble keeping quiet. Please!! No rubber chicken. As a nondrinker food takes on greater importance.

  5. skepticbride says:

    Phil: Sorry about your STDs! Smudgy, gross STDs are the worst. I sure hope I never get one.

    Mom: Please remember, this is a BLOG and only about 5% of what I say is true. We are NOT going with the rubber chicken; it’s an analogy, as in our invitations are the rubber chicken of stationery, i.e., our invitations are dreadfully boring. (Prob can’t avoid the baby carrots though, unless you are up for negotiating with Chef.)

  6. Rachel W says:

    Really? I was kind of looking forward to rubber chicken with baby carrots.

  7. I would have told you at the beginning of our wedding planning that I cared the least about stationary, which was why we were DIY-ing simple invitations. Then I found all the pretty (and not cheap) things you can do with DIY invitations, and suddenly we were DIYing to have exactly what I wanted, and saving, oh, $20 bucks over a regular invitation suite price, and over-spending my original estimate by about $150. Boo!

  8. Mim says:

    It would be funny if your STDs were shaped like the germs that cause syphilis or something…

    I get the feeling the WIC (wedding industrial complex) doesn’t have much of a sense of humor.

  9. skepticbride says:

    RW: No you were not!

    Robin: I’m sure years from now you’ll be able to look at the framed copy of your invitation that someone will inevitably give you as a wedding present, and you’ll feel very happy you went the DIY route ($150 be damned)! Our boring template invitations, on the other hand, will probably not elicit as warm and fuzzy a feeling. If I weren’t so lazy I would’ve DIYed too!

    Mim: Man, I wish…only a scientist could pull that off! Unfortunately the WIC (and probably most of our relatives who are invited to the wedding and hopefully don’t read this blog) have no sense of humor 😦

  10. Nicole says:

    Other MoCo July bride back again; we are doing the exact same thing as you, except instead of Magnet Street we used VistaPrint for STDs and are about to order invites from them. If we can finalize the wording before our coupon code expires we might be getting 90 invites plus personalized envelopes for $50. Sweet. (We are being barbarians and forcing people to either use our wedsite or call our google voice number for rsvps; no tiny cards for them!)

  11. skepticbride says:

    Nicole: Hey, welcome back! Wow, VistaPrint has MagnetStreet beat by a lot – that’s a good deal. I think we will be paying around $200 for 175 invitations, which I guess isn’t too bad compared to a lot of other options. Good idea with the wedsite and google number! I had enough trouble just convincing my mother to let us use reply postcards (no envelope required).

  12. Sarah says:

    So glad you posted this! Very funny and invites drive me nuts. I think I might be the only person in the world left who will be having a classic white invite with no bells and whistles (and I’m not DIYing either).

  13. Ellie says:

    We DIY’d. I nearly killed my mother, who did nothing but ask how she could help and what I wanted her to do. (And my mom, not the pushy type.)

    If I had seen the Tender Tree Invite though, I would have ordered it. For nearly the same price, it would have been a nice substitute.

    You know what’s really hard about being a feminist planning a wedding? Fitting my last name on an invitation.

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