the diy wedding invitations how-to

A surprising lot of people have asked how I made and designed the wedding invitations for our small Melbourne wedding as seen here. So I figured, being super nice and all, that I would share. When I realised how much invitation places were going to try charging me for invitations (and a short run of them at that since I needed only enough for a smallish wedding), I knew that DIY was the way to go. I had a look on Etsy for "printable wedding invitations" and found a plethora of amazing options, and it was originally the way I was going to go.

One night though, I found myself a little bored and decided to try it out. SEVERAL iterations later, I finally had the design.

Now I don't want you to think that it's super easy, if you're ending up on this blog hoping I'm going to tell you how easy it was to DIY my own wedding invites.  This is NOT one of those crafty blogs where things seem to effortlessly happen. So, in the name of honesty, things I did in order to make this first prototype happen:

  • visit the paper store twice to get many samples of paper and card
  • buy a new printer (I was due for an upgrade. I got this, which was cheap and had good reviews. I love it, and may marry it one day too if S isn't careful)
  • find online sites that would let me bulk purchase the paper of choice cheap
  • spend more time than I want to admit in Spotlight choosing ribbons
  • buy a cutting mat, a kick ass cutting knife
  • buy that picture of that flower from shutterstock

I made the "Sharon & Stephen" section in an iPad app called Paper which is just so wonderful, and used a stylus to doodle until I was happy. That took 25 minutes alone. Then I exported the image of it to a .jpg.

I played around with the flower, the handwritten names and some different fonts for the insides of the invite, until I was 95% happy with its look. The software I used was just Pages for Mac (it's like the Apple version of Microsoft Word). Then, after driving S nearly bananas with the number of mildly different versions of it, I sent the final copy to a graphic designer friend of mine who tweaked the flower, tweaked the fonts a bit for better spacing, and cool stuff like that. It was truly her finishing touches that made it real pretty.

THEN I assembled several different prototypes, with different ribbons, belly bands, scraps of lace, etc. It. Wasn't. That. Fun. There was bits of lace and paper all over my lounge room for what seemed like ever.

Then came 2 weeks of crazy assembling. Every spare moment I had, that cutting mat came out. The printer worked a dream - I had thought I would be dealing with annoying paper jams and the such, but it truly was the best investment ever. The really hard part was getting all 3-4 sheets of the invite cut to exactly the same size. For each individual one.

I would say that it took about 20-25 minutes per individual invitation (not including all the designing and prototype assembling), and it took 2 weeks, including an afternoon of making some friendly visitors get down to work. Well, ok, I tricked them into coming over and surprised them with work. To add insult to injury, I also made them watch several youtube videos on "how to tie a perfect ribbon bow". Now, let me just segue here for a second and let me tell you - the videos on youtube about how to tie a perfect bow are NOT fun, entertaining, nor particularly helpful. In the end, the lady at the paper shop kindly taught me how.

In the end, and I apologise for the awful iPhone photo, this is what they looked like on each sheet (blurring out pertinent details of course).

I do like them a lot, and am pretty proud of them, but like I said before, it is a LOT of work. I had to keep feverishly reminding myself that it would all be worth it, and people would think they were amazing, and that they would be SUPER unique! I'm still feverishly reminding myself of them everytime I look at them and break out into hives. Just an FYI.

I WAS particularly pleased with the envelopes - even though I ended up individually typing, designing and printing each one. No Mail Merge my friends, just pure old fashioned artisanal and individualised production processes here. It wasn't so bad - there was no cutting, affixing, hole poking or ribbon tying involved, so it really didn't feel too arduous at all.

I also ordered matching peony return address labels on Vistaprint, and just stuck those on the backs.

All up, the cost for:

  • paper & envelopes
  • ribbon
  • glue
  • gold affixing things
  • return address labels

came up to about $120, maybe $150 tops. I don't think I could've done it any cheaper to have such elaborate invites, including little guest name inserts, matching envelopes, and everything else, for that price. Plus, I have HEAPS of paper and envelopes left (I will have enough for my Singapore wedding invites as well as placecards on the day and MAYBE programs!). I didn't count the printer and supplies as they are more of long term investments. And it's a laser printer so the ink is going to last me a LOT longer than printing off a few invitations.

So all in all, there you have it. There was my story about how I DIY-ed my own wedding invitations, and I hope it helped if you are in the process of deciding to DIY and what tools you should use. One day I will get my kick ass DSLR camera out and take proper photos of them, but for now, you'll have to deal with these ones. Planning a folio of weddings in 2 different country is proving BUSY!