5 tips (including the oldest trick in the book) when it comes to DIY wedding invitations

January 12 | Guest post by Anna Skye

You may remember Anna Skye from when she gave us the tutorials to make DIY vinyl and tape deck wedding invitations. Now she's back to give you some solid advice on DIYing your invitations.

5-tips-to-diy-your-wedding-invitations
Vintage Wedding Invitation Printable from VineWedding

DIYing your invitations is a great way to save money, and it's much easier than you may think to get jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind pieces.

The DIY invitation process can be as simple as using a template to print, trim, and ship. Or, if you are the crafty/creative/move-mountains type of person, your invitation suite can be as elaborate as your mind can dream up.

However you approach your invitations, the following five tips will save you from a hand-made disaster and lift you into invitation folklore…

This post originally appeared on Download & Print
This post originally appeared on Download & Print

1. Splurge on fancy envelopes

The best part of DIYing your invitations is you get them to look exactly as you want. This includes not being restricted to the envelopes that come in "the set." Buy envelopes in a coordinating color to your invitations or wedding theme. Envelopes come in every color under the sun, and all different paper finishes, from bold and sparkly, to ever-so-slightly nuanced. You will be amazed at how opening a luxurious envelope sets a positive tone for the reader.

2. Use a standout font

I'm a bit of a font collector, and love to come across a new and unusual font — particularly when the font is free! There are tons of free fonts available online and a quick Pinterest search on "free fonts" will bring up collections of fonts to suit any need. Your font choices can set the mood as much as the graphics and envelope color. Fonts can be bold, daring, vintage, casual, personal, classic, and romantic. They can say punk, gothic, or black tie affair.

My rule of thumb is to use two fonts on your invitation and carry these throughout your invitation suite. Use a standout font for the bride and groom's names, such as a handwritten, script, or vintage font. Use an easier to read font for the rest of the details, such as LondonMM or Garamond.

3. Trim to size

As a designer, this is the oldest trick in the book to take your invitations from looking home-made, to looking professionally finished. You can create your invitation in any size (just make sure you can buy envelopes to fit), with the standard invitation size being 5×7". When designing your invitations, you can fit two 5×7" invitations on one sheet of paper (hello to saving on printing costs). Design the graphic to go just past the edge of the 5×7" border, this is called the bleed. Allow about an 1/8" bleed so that when you trim your invitations down you don't end up with any white space around the border of your invitation. Remember to keep your text well within the 5×7" border though.

It's also worth noting that postage varies by invitation size, so it might be worth a trip to the post office with your invitation mock-up to get an accurate price for your budget.

4. Paper quality matters

Oh, the endless possibilities when creating your own invitations get me in such a tizzy. First I recommend using a heavier card stock than your standard printer paper. I find 65lbs to 90lbs works well and can be handled by most home printers.

Second, get creative with your paper choices. Don't just think white or cream, though if you have a colorful design to print these are probably your best bet. If you have a neutral color design play up the paper color. A black and white design can be printed for pennies at your local copy shop, and can look fantastic on the right paper.

Also consider doubling up your paper. Use a colored, patterned or textured backing card cut to 5×7", and print your design and details on a slightly smaller sheet of plain paper that can be adhered on top with double-sided tape. Corrugated card, vellum, and scrapbooking paper all make good backing cards.

5. Check, check, and re-check

Before committing to print your entire invitation suite, print off one copy and look over it for alignment issues, spacing, spelling, dates, grammar, etc. Have a second set of eyes read over to catch anything that you may have missed. Then read over it one final time before hitting the print key. There is nothing worse than printing off 100 copies only to find instead of May 23, you typed May 2. Who wants to have a wedding three weeks earlier?!

What are YOUR tips and tricks for DIY wedding invitations?

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  1. When you take that one copy to the post office to check on the cost to mail it, you can send it to yourself for a keepsake. (This also gives you some "drawer time," as a professor in college called it. It's time between when you finish something and when you look at it again with a critical eye for errors.)

    26 agree
  2. A place to get good and free fonts: fontsquirrel.com. They're sharp, professional grade, and (if you're using for something you'll get money from) won't get you sued!

    10 agree
  3. I had thought of doing my own invitations, then found out the paper and even the envelopes I'd like were too expensive for my measly budget (they were far from being the most expensive at stores, and still…).
    So I opted for photos. I took pictures of my wedding cake toppers (Playmobil!) in a park, as if they were bride and groom and I was their photographer. Using a free software, I edited some of them, then wrote the invitation text on the side. I had them printed on photographic paper, which cost me 1 cent (of euro) per invitation! I ended up using a backing card because they felt a little naked but the paper wasn't very good. Still, because the photos are very sturdy in themselves, this wasn't a problem!

    8 agree
    • I would love to see a picture of that! What a creative idea! Invitations can get crazy expensive. I really love that you stepped outside of the box and I bet it was more adorable than just some text on pretty paper. 🙂

      2 agree
    • I love this idea! I am making my own cake toppers from clay and I might have to use this idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

      1 agrees
  4. I've never done wedding invitations but I took some graphic design classes in college. And we print our own Christmas card & party invites on a regular basis. If you are going for 'white' invitations look into some 'bright white' card stock. It will make the colors really stand out better.
    Secondly, if you do not own a quality printer. You can get bulk printing done at an Office Depot or Office Max for pennies a sheet that will look better than an at home printer. They can also cut stuff for you usually like 25 cents a slice for the whole stack. Last year I got 50 Christmas cards, double-sided color, they cost me $15 not including the card-stock I brought from home.
    Lastly if you are planning to fold anything, scoring the paper will save you so much trouble. A right triangle & an exacto knife is like a $10 investment.

    3 agree
  5. A tip for brides in the UK… We found an amazing paper company that will do all fantastic sizes, shapes and folds of card and paper stock and pretty envelopes! They are http://www.pdacardandcraft.co.uk

    We got 70 closet fold square cards… And lush envelopes… And the best bit is no trimming as you can order the exct paper size you want if you're willing to scroll around a bit… Then you can print directly onto the right size if you can customise your print settings.

    2 agree
  6. One word of caution before buying beautiful paper that you love. I worked in the copy department 2 different Staples location. At one we wouldn't print on any paper that wasn't from our centre, including paper bought at the store, and at the other we could on do it if the people had full info for the paper such as weight (in gs/m2 not lbs) and whether it was laser or inkjet. If they had all that we could only do it if it matched what our copiers could do since the wrong paper/setting can seriously damage the machines. So, if you want to get printing done somewhere make sure you find a place that can do it before you get your heart set on certain paper. I had to turn away more than one person trying to make wedding invites that brought their own paper.

    5 agree
    • Definitely! We're lucky because our inkjet at home is set up for lots of different paper sizes so we were able to use it no problem. The UK website I linked above measures all paper in gsm and makes it clear when you're searching what all of the weights are… so that helped too

      1 agrees
  7. I may be a wierdo but I was thinking Walmart photo printing service but specificaly a card designated "invitation" so it's the proper kind of cardstock and just haveing a full face image that I am creating (graphic background and text all together as one picture) Envelopes are included, but I may buy some nicer ones. Check out their service online, it's worth looking into. It's pretty cheap, especialy if you're doing under 100, but it's still better price than buying "proper" invitations and envelopes. About comparable to or less than Office Max type prices, and when you get them they are finished! No more work to do, unlike if you had them printed at Office Max and still had to cut them yourself or something. Anyway, unless I get more money or something better comes along walmart photo print is what I'm gonna do.

  8. I'd also like to point out that you can DIY your own envelopes, too! I really wanted envelopes in shiny purple, but to buy the envelopes would have been around $0.60 each. So I opted for buying 8.5×11 sheets at 10 cents each. With a bottle of tacky glue, a pair of scissors and a little bit of sweat, I got just what I needed for much less!

    1 agrees
  9. I did that for our wedding (which was 15 years ago). Before theme and period weddings were a majority, I created our invitation to look like a scroll and everything was placed in a tube and shipped like a missive. It would cost more to ship now, but it ended up being so much cheaper than sending out regular, store bought invites. And everyone commented on the invites being so unique.

    1 agrees
  10. I DIYed my invitations using the invitation kits you can get at craft stores. These usually come with 1 5×7 and an RSVP card with envelopes. They also had matching programs and place cards available, so I grabbed those too. I also got coordinating card stock to use as a 3rd 4×6 card (4 per sheet!) as an info card. I printed everything myself since I wanted to get a nice printer anyway.

    I DIYed envelope liners and had those printed on standard paper at UPS store (sale!) and got a corner punch in the scrapbooking section that made all of my paper corners round instead of square, which instantly upped the custom feel. (Pro tip, if the punch starts jamming, cut some aluminum foil in it, and it will sharpen back up!)

    The best way I found was to scan the paper, since it already had a design on it, and upload that image to photoshop (or editor of your choice) and set the paper size to the paper size you need. Then you have a real template to go off of!

    You can see my wedding paper stuff on my website under “events”

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