2 In Wedding

Tips for DIY Wedding Invitations

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that we went a little nutty with our wedding invitations. I mean, I’ve explained how obsessed I am with paper goods {case in point: our save the dates part 1 and part 2} and I clearly love doing design work. So, it’s probably no surprise that our invites included:

  • A gatefold
  • Invitation + purple backing
  • 3 extra inserts
  • Twine
  • RSVP postcard
  • Stamped website tag
  • Rehearsal dinner invite + purple backing

I’m here to tell you that you CAN do all this, too {if you want} and you can do it on a budget. Sure, we could’ve saved loads if we had just 1 insert and no gatefold, but for paper goods lovers, this was a place where we {okay…I} really wanted to make an impression.

But I did so at less than $5 per invite.

There are probably a million ways to do DIY wedding invitations. I’ve seen some cute sets where you print your own info onto a pre-designed card, or you could explore the plethora of designs on Etsy where the seller provides the files for printing. The most economical {not the fastest}, though, is to physically design them yourselves, like we did.

I’ll caution that you really do need a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and ideally, Photoshop if you’re going down this route, though. Either that, or a close friend who’s willing to help out {a great chance to tap into your family and bridal party!}.

Start by curating a Pinterest board and narrowing down inspiration pieces – here’s mine to give you a jumping off point or just show you a sources you may want to explore. This will go a long ways towards helping you define your vision and have a jumping off point for your design.

From our research {and Style Me Pretty stalking}, we knew we wanted a gray gatefold and a mix between modern & whimsical. For the layout and fonts, we can’t take full credit for the designs, because we were heavily influenced by 2 amazing Etsy designs {this and this, which you should totally explore investing in if you like our designs}.

Figure out how you’re printing your design.

It may seem counterintuitive to start thinking about printing even before you have a design or paper, but I promise you it isn’t. In my opinion, quality printing is a worthwhile investment for DIY invites, so researching and talking to vendors early {or again, getting recommendations from friends in the industry, as we did} will go a long way.

The printer will determine what type of paper you buy and the sizes you design to. If your design needs to be printed with bleed {a fancy term for printing all the way to the edge of your paper like ours below}, a printer probably can’t do that with pre-cut paper. Since they have big, fancy machines, it’s also likely they just can’t print on your pre-cut paper in general — we learned this the hard way.

So even though we didn’t plan on it, we ended up using paper from our printer and paid them to both print and cut each piece. Still economical at about $200 for paper and printing for 100 invites.

Purple & gray wedding invitation inserts by jessalayne.com

Find & buy the paper you’ve agreed to with your printer. Or, if you’re buying it straight from your printer, find & buy the add-on’s you may not be printing on like gatefolds, belly bands, twine, and envelopes.

For example, do you like the idea of a gatefold with a vertical pocket? Me too! I spent ages trying to track this down. I had hoped to use all Paper Source pieces {including their pre-cut paper}, but theirs only go horizontally, which I think would just make everything slide around awkwardly.

But, Paper Presentation’s Pocket Invitation Style B5 saved the day! They only have a store in NYC but I can vouch for their quality and customer service, if you’re not able to get there in person. And while they’re a little pricey, if you’re only buying add-on’s from them, it won’t break your budget. The total cost for our add-on’s was about $170.

Design away!

This is where you get to be creative and have some fun. But, you also have to make some key decisions on colors, fonts, how to word the main invitation, what other information you want to include, etc.

There are tons of  etiquette tips available online including this, thisthis and of course, the ever-reliable Emily Post. We took the advice that if your wedding is a bit informal, your invite can be, as well and chose the following wording:

Purple & gray wedding invite gatefolds by jessalayne.com

Send all your files to your printer — they typically will want high-res PDFs and the original design files from Illustrator and/or Photoshop. Hopefully you’ve selected a helpful vendor who can walk you through this process if you’re still an Adobe newbie. Luckily, I had T-man to help with this step!

While your invite is printing, see if you can prep any add-on’s so you have an efficient assembly line when your paper comes back. In our case, we needed a way to close our gatefold and we chose purple baker’s twine, which we pre-cut.

Since we also spent a ton of time filling our website with helpful information, we wanted that URL to be front & center for our guests. To do this, we created double-sided tags to hang from the twine. I purchased a tag punch and stamped one side with a small heart stamp {both from Paper Source} and hand-wrote our URL on the other side.

Purple wedding invite tags by jessalayne.com

During this step, also consider any adhesive you may need. We mounted both a purple backing and the invite on the gatefold and found this Herma Classic Vario to work well. It has a smooth application and spits out 1 large adhesive square at a time, allowing us to securely attach the paper without using a ton of adhesive. Just make sure you get the permanent, not repositionable kind.

Tools for adhering wedding invites (jessalayne.com)

Once your paper is back from the printers, set up your assembly line and GO! Bonus points if you get bridesmaids, family {or your puppy} to help out!

DIY wedding invite prep (jessalayne.com)

Of course, this is not exactly where the process ends. I didn’t cover postage, addressing your envelopes, and mailing them {which are not to be overlooked from a cost or timing standpoint!}. I promise to get there in a follow-up post, show you the full invitation and our budget breakdown to show you how we kept costs low.

What do you think? Will you be DIYing your invitations?

Inspired by: Whitney Houston – Step By Step – Junior Vasquez Tribal X Beats

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      Jess at Bubbly Design Co.
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