The wedding invitation is kind of a double edge sword. It’s an expense that will mostly wind up in the recycling bin after being opened with the exception of the RSVP and main invite. However many feel the invite sets the tone for the wedding. It gives a preview of what to expect and builds excitement. It’s a chance to send a statement to your guests saying..”Hey, This is US!”
I am a personalization addict. I like to have my own spin on everything. My water bottle is decorated with stickers, my walls are painted with murals, my ice cream must have toppings! It’s my thing! When it came to our wedding invitations, I was in a panic. I couldn’t afford more than $150 dollars for our wedding invitations but I wanted something personal, something that felt like us. I shopped around and came up with prices from $1.50 an invite (with no frills) to a whopping $12 an invitation (after processing my dream invite). I went home. I had a panic attack, ate some ice cream with toppings and recovered. I then decided I was going to be brave and take matters into my own hands. I made a trip to Michaels and was lucky enough to find a set of print your own invitations in my exact color scheme. I then drove all around the tri-state area scooping up as many of these clearance kits as I could muster in case anybody else was on a budget looking for silver lined invitations in February.
I did make our invitations and I loved it so much that it is framed and on a shelf in the living room where I get to glance at it each day. It’s also on display because it took about as much hard work and training as it would take to win a medal or a trophy which would also be on display.
Printing and designing your own invitations is rewarding, fun and sentimental. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper! However before you go stalking clearance sections in all the local craft stores in a 100 mile radius, read on to my tips and insight to see if this is the best decision for you…maybe not financially but mentally!
Tip #1 How savvy are you in Word or other editing software?
If you can cut and paste, work with text wrapping and download and import images…you have a good leg up on this! I made our invitation in Word using the template that came with the kit (I highly recommend a kit for the template help!). I even took a graphic and adapted it using Word to change colors, texture, alignment and size. You can even use autoshapes to make your own logo or graphic. If you want to buy one and save yourself hours of time, you can check out sites that allow you to purchase individual images or search public domain images for one that fits your theme or look. You want to have some experience with downloading and manipulating text. This will help you find fonts to personalize your look, move things around and recover your invite when you hit TAB one time too many and the whole thing goes Picasso looking on you.
Tip #2 Look for unique fonts!
Tip #3 Use a kit!
If you can line up cardstock and are spatially inclined you can use a paper cutter. However, the cost of a paper cutter and cardstock may surpass the cost of using a invitation kit. Kits are great because the invites often have embossed flourishes or designs which can be tricky (yet not impossible) to create on your own. You are also saving yourself a ton of time not cutting multiple different sized cards, not finding coordinating envelopes and not creating extra embellishments…time is money and in this case…your work time may not only be reduced but you may also save money with a kit!
Tip #4 Plan your theme/colors in advance!
If you know the date of your wedding and have a year or more to plan…this will help save some money! Look for invite kits on clearance right before the end of the season at your local craft store or stationary shop. Many go on sale just before the end of the season. If it is close to your big day, try and see if there are any kits on clearance that can coordinate with your colors. For instance, my colors were sage and rose (my poor bridesmaids) but I used an invitation that had a silver embellishments. I used the font and graphics to bring in my colors and used a silver pewter flower brad to add an embellishment and touch of spring time to the silver invite. In the end my invitation looked and felt like spring, despite the fact that my kit was a winter clearance item.
Tip #5 The kit you love is not on clearance…save your coupons or bring some friends!
If you find a kit you love…you stock up and stock up good! Call your friends to come and bring 40% off coupons with them since there is a limit of 1 per guest! It could be a bridal party outing! This can even apply to embellishments, seals or any other special touches you want to add to your invites. Every little bit helps and saving 40% is a big help!
Tip #6 Purchase many, many, many extra kits…and keep the receipt.
If you don’t use them, you can return them at least for a credit if it is past the return date. I bought so many kits that I thought I was being dramatic. Then printing happened. I wound up messing up so many that I opened all the kits and I was grateful for my stockpile! You never know if your kit will be found again or discontinued especially if you are buying it off season. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Tip #6 You will hate your printer and truly believe it hates you.
My printer and I used to be friends…and then I tried to print my wedding invitations. It decided that it preferred the old 8 X 11 format that it had come to love over the years and hated my off size slightly thicker cardstock invites. It didn’t matter that it had presets for the sizes. It had all the tools but not the desire! My printer decided to print things diagonally, turn my invites at the last second, spin and repeat. I had to slowly hand feed each invite into the printer, pray and still hope for the best. I would say 1 out of every 7 came out the way I wanted it! I was a little nuts and probably overthinking the precise leveling of all my text but it was important to me. There is a reason I went through so many kits! There is a learning curve to feeding uniquely sized invites into your feeder. If you stay patient …it does get better!
Tip #7 Addressing the invites is time consuming especially if you hate your handwriting.
I had to talk myself off a ledge. I was ready to invest in a DIY calligraphy course and set to send out my invites in style. I then stopped myself and realized that my guests will spend exactly 2 seconds looking at the address on the envelope. I think if I surveyed my guests 99 percent would not even remember what the address looked like in the first place. I decided to do clear address labels that I personalized with our graphic and colors. It’s also not easy to write on glossy envelopes so the labels saved a lot of time. Bonus…I used the same labels to mail out thank you’s after the wedding and shower!
Tip #8 Have fun and embellish!
Our theme was dragonflies. I bought (with my coupons) a small dragonfly paper punch and a set of pewter flower brads. I added the brads to the included ribbon in the kit and used the paper punch to help close my invites and later for the favor tags. My invites were simple but I felt like they were special. I knew they were unique and had details that would show guests what to expect on our day. You can embellish with glitter, rhinestones, stamps, ribbon, scrap book stickers or even adding a small fabric flower or bow. This part was the most rewarding and helped me get over my printing trauma!
Tip #9 Use discount printing sites for extra cards.
Keep your graphic and use sites such as Vistaprint to print business card size information to add to your invites. Your invitation will be the largest followed by the RSVP or menu request card. However you can customize business cards to hold information such as directions, hotel information and special requests. Guests will love this because it’s easy to keep in hand in a wallet or purse. You will love it because you can print a box load for about $3!
Tip #10 Make invitations for yourself.
Be sure to make one to bring with you on the day of your wedding to use in photographs. Also keep two or three at home for personal display. You may want to put in a frame, scrapbook, wedding album or share with your future children one day and you sure won’t want to have to print another one!