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Picture of Map Envelope Inserts
Particularly for weddings with a lot of folks coming in from out of town, including a map along in your invitation can help keep your guests from getting lost. While a map printed on a little card is nice and all, it's standard and can get forgotten or misplaced. Map envelope inserts, however, are awesome, and ensure that your wedding guests will make it to your big day.

Please note: I'm not planning on getting married any time soon, but I'm thrilled to be able to share this idea/technique with folks who are!


If you have any questions, need any advice/assistance, or would rather someone whip these puppies up for you feel free to comment, or shoot me a note here or on Twitter.
 
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Step 1: You'll Need. . .

Picture of You'll Need. . .
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If you want to cut them out yourself:
  • Computer with a photo editing program
  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Double-stick tape
  • Envelopes
If you want to have them cut for you (aka "the easy" way):
  • Computer with a photo editing program
  • A printing service (I've used this one and found them to be reliable and fast and their prints are really good quality)
  • Envelopes

Step 2: Map It Out

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  1. Identify the size of your envelope and download an appropriate template for your inserts
  2. Visit Google Maps and enter the address of the location you'd like to direct people to
  3. If you want to just show the streets, etc. leave it in Map view - if you want to show the buildings, etc. select Satellite view
  4. Zoom in on the map until you can see the names of streets surrounding the location and take a screenshot1
  5. Move the map down and take another screenshot, then move it up, and the the right and left2 (you may need to take more screenshots as you assemble your map, so leave your browser window open)
1If you're using a Mac, you can use Grab or Command+Shift+4; or if you're using a PC, you can use the Print Screen key on your keyboard
2You will need images of the area surrounding the mapped location especially the area to the south - I used 12 images, but depending on your envelope size you may need more or less (zooming in more and taking more screenshots is suggested, and the higher resolution your screenshots, the better your inserts will turn out)

Step 3: Some Assembly Required

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  1. Open your envelope template using your image editing program and ensure that the resolution is set at 300 (if it isn't, you should change it or your inserts will end up looking blurry)
  2. Open each of your screenshots, cut the map portion out from it, and paste as a new layer onto the template (they will be much larger then your template - don't resize them until you have all of them added to the file to ensure that they will match up)
  3. Select all of the screenshot layers and shrink them down to about 25% of their original size
  4. Move them around and line them up to form a larger map of the area
  5. If needed, take additional screenshots of areas that you may have missed and add them to the map

Step 4: Check, Print, Cut

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  1. Move the template layer above the map layers and cut out the center portion to check that your map is filled and positioned correctly
  2. Save the file as a JPG and print out as many as are needed for your envelopes (or upload to the printing service if you've opted not to cut them yourself)
  3. If you are cutting them yourself, cut out each insert and apply a small piece of double-stick tape to the top of the flap portion (not needed if you have them printed and cut by a printing service as they come with a small sticky bit already)
  4. Slide the inserts into your envelopes and stick down
  5. Add your invitation, reply card, and other invite components, and send them out!
This is an excellent idea! The ONLY thing I find flawed with this is that people tend to rip open the top of the envelope, rendering the map useless. Perhaps an extremely easy-to-open pull tab on the flap would solve that problem.
shesparticular (author)  SicilianMafia4 years ago
Awesome point! When I've done this in the past for holiday cards and moving announcements, I used a wax seal instead of wetting and sealing the envelope. At least in my experience, it seems that when people encounter a wax seal they tend to try to keep it intact, and thus don't rip the awesome map.
nickyb10004 years ago
This is a fantastic project. There is a free piece of software which might help speed this stage up. It's called AutoStich
http://cvlab.epfl.ch/~brown/autostitch/autostitch.html

It is really simple to use, you load the photos you want to stitch together and it does it automatically. Its really usefull for creating panoramas and i imagine for this project too!! I'm definitly giving this a go.
shesparticular (author)  nickyb10004 years ago
Thanks! That's a good tip - personally I think putting them together is kind of fun, but this would for sure make it faster.
I love that this idea allows someone to enclose a map, which I find to be extremely helpful, but to do it in a way that doesn't take away from the main event, the invite =) Brilliant.
shesparticular (author)  cdawisconsin4 years ago
Thanks so much! I think that's a major benefit of it also.
I love it!
We did a google map with directions on the back and restaurant recommendations for out of towners, which had an unintended result of people giving us gift certificates to restaurants. While that was totally awesome, if I had to do it again is be really tempted to use this format!
shesparticular (author)  RollerScrapper4 years ago
That's also an awesome idea!
ChrysN4 years ago
Great idea!
shesparticular (author)  ChrysN4 years ago
Thanks!
sunshiine4 years ago
Nice job shesparticular!
shesparticular (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
Thanks sunshiine!
wilgubeast4 years ago
This is awesome. No more fielding ninety phone calls fifteen minutes after a party was supposed to start. This is brilliant.
shesparticular (author)  wilgubeast4 years ago
Thanks! I think they'd also be super cute for moving notices.
mikeasaurus4 years ago
wow, cool idea!
shesparticular (author)  mikeasaurus4 years ago
Thanks - that really means a lot!