The $25,400 Invitation Set


To create the save-the-dates, three Grapevine staffers spent three days attaching 125 paper scrolls to dowels, nestling them among moss and seashells, and wrapping each inside a handcrafted box. The cost? $53.25 each.

A calligrapher spent 23 hours writing the 12 page invitation ($1,500), while a local illustrator drew maps and two dozen nautical images ($1,850)—all of which were then scanned and turned into plates for letterpress printing.

The invitation booklets’ keepsake–quality covers ($20 each) required sending steel-blue book cloth to India, where it was wrapped over boards—as most real hardcover books are—before returning to Cambridge for gold-leaf screen printing. The Grapevine team handled the final assembly ($775), including hand-sewing each binding with gold thread.

An elaborate invite demands equally distinctive packaging. Each die-cut, hand-assembled envelope came with gold letterpress detailing and a custom-designed whale stamp. (Total postage: $550.)

The invitation’s plates were sent to a Brooklyn studio, where an artist inked the cotton pages using a 300-year-old hand-cranked letterpress. The printing cost topped out at $60 per book.