10 design programs to use for your DIY wedding invitations (including 5 FREE ones!)

DIY wedding invitation software recommendations from @offbeatbride

Feeling the design spirit and want to do DIY wedding invitations? We get you. Sometimes what you want only exists in your brain and only you can pull it out. You'll need some tools to make this happen, so let's talk wedding invitation design software, both big and robust or small and easy-to-learn.

Adobe Creative Suite contains access to an array of professional-level graphics programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign which will allow you the most freedom to play and create. Creative Suite runs about $60 per month (with a 30-day free trial!), so it's not for everyone.

But if you already have access or want to get started with these programs anyway, Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign will be your best bets. Just keep in mind that since they are professional level programs, they have a professional level learning curve, too. Let's explore these options and then go into some free and cheaper software where the learning curve isn't quite as steep.

Adobe Illustrator

For invitation suites where typography is key, Illustrator is ideal. The graphics are vector-based (meaning not made of pixels), so you'll get the smoothest output on your type and illustration elements while still being able to include photos or other pixel-based graphics. You'll be able to include any of your favorite fonts, favorite stock or custom illustrations, and be able to arrange them as you please.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop has similar layout capabilities to Illustrator with added robust graphical manipulation effects that you might already know about. You'll be able to create type and include photos or other graphics, but make sure you're setting your image size to be 300 dpi (dots per inch) or those pixels will start to look pretty janky in this kind of graphics program.

Adobe InDesign

InDesign isn't a graphics program like Illustrator or Photoshop, but rather a layout tool that allows you tons of control over documents where text and paragraphics are key, like on your programs. A great combination would be to create your graphics in Photoshop or Illustrator and then import them into InDesign to lay out your type. It will make creating well laid-out paragraphs a cinch.

But what if you're not Adobe software-savvy?

Most beginners aren't ready to tackle these hefty programs just for their wedding invitation set, so let's see what other free/cheaper/easier options there are to try.

MS Publisher

Yep, MS Publisher is still kicking around giving us desktop publishing layout options. It'll get the job done and might already be installed on your PC.

Pages for Mac

For Apple users, Pages is a pretty standard word processing tool, but it has some fairly nice layout options similar to InDesign that allow you to crank out some layouts pretty easily.

Inkscape

Inkscape is another vector program (like Illustrator) that has similar drawing tools, type elements, and of course, the ability to crank out some invitations. You can check out all the features here.

Editor by Pixlr

Editor by Pixlr is a very pared-down version of a Photoshop clone that is completely hosted online, which means you don't have to download anything. It will give you enough tools to get the job done without being totally overwhelming.


Bell Jar Wedding Invitations

from: Minted

GIMP

GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program is a mainstay in the open-source graphics market and runs on most platforms. It's pretty Photoshop-like, so you'll get similar tools to that set.

GimPhoto

GimPhoto is definitely going for a Photoshop feel, so you'll be encountering similar tools and capabilities to GIMP.

Seashore

For Apple users, Seashore is an OS X application that brings you some basic image editing tools with a streamlined interface.

Printable invitation sets

In case you're starting to doubt your ability to craft up invites with which you'll be satisfied, don't want to be burdened with learning a new software tool, or are just running out of time in your DIY wedding invitation schedule, consider some printable wedding invitation options. Printable invites allow you to purchase a (usually pretty inexpensive) template, customize it with your information, and print it up yourself. e.m.papersThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them is one of our vendors who offers printable wedding invitations, thank you notes, save the dates, and escort cards in loads of styles. A Printable Press and of course Etsy offer great options, too.

This cute mason jar wedding invitation design is from Minted.
This cute mason jar wedding invitation design is from Minted.

Quick tips:

  • Always set your dpi to at least 300 to make sure that your invitations won't look pixelated when they are printed out. This includes any graphical/photo elements you want to import into the document.
  • Speaking of printing, you can get pretty great deals from places like VistaPrint to print your invitations on a budget.

Need more wedding invitation tips?

They ♥ OBB; we ♥ themThis post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides:

  1. These suggestions are great! I used Canva to design my invitations, RSVP postcards and business card sized inserts about the rehearsal dinner and hotels and I found it really easy to use. They have a limited number of free graphics, graphics for $1 and you can upload your own. And they have some beautiful templates! Once designed I them I used Vistaprint (and the great Offbeat Bride article about Vistaprint: http://offbeatbride.com/2013/05/vistaprint-tips-and-tricks) and saved lots of money on printing!

    6 agree
  2. Also: make sure your colors are set as CMYK. RGB is for computer display, CMYK is for printing. If you don't do this, your colors might be off when they're printed.

    9 agree
  3. I used Inkscape for the first time to design my invites, and I loved it! (I was going to write up a post about the tools I'd used, but hey, this gives a wider range!)

    I have used GIMP a fair bit in the past, so I was familiar with basics of image manipulation, and somewhat ready for the open-source learning curve. It was a bit tough at times (and there were probably better/faster ways to do what I wanted), but I figured it out ok in the end!
    There are also lots of video tutorials and such out there, so if you've got a design idea but don' t know how to, say, make the text go on a curve, your friend Google will help you find a tutorial for it!

    Yay open-source. 🙂

    1 agrees
  4. I have used Adobe photoshop in editing my pictures. But, I'm not confident risking my destination wedding invitation for amateur editing skills that I have. I might as well try Microsft publisher. It's more user friendly. Also, you could try Picmonkey.com. It's photo editing website and has lots of features.

    2 agree
  5. Thanks your sharing. I have used the photoshop and Amoyshare photo collage maker. I think they are very nice. Photoshop is professional tool which has rich features. Amoyshare collage maker, it's a simple and creative photo tool which suits for amateur people.

  6. Excellent ideas! Thanks for sharing. I created video invitations for my wedding, for that i used http://inviter.com/ platform. I sent them to my guests via email & it also have rsvp option. It is simple tool & also affordable.

    1 agrees
  7. Wow, its really great designs. May be I am going to create one design for my brother wedding. Best blog ever on card designs. I think I should contact to a card printer from http://www.theweddingmall.in/ to print it.

    1 agrees
  8. I have used GIMP to create the background images for the invitation. Then I added them in PowerPoint, because that's how I learned to make posters in university and it has worked great for all my print work. In PowerPoint I added text, other images (our invite comes with instructions) and crop marks. Save as PDF and done! Fiancé is super happy with them and so am I. It was totally worth learning to use GIMP a bit!

  9. Hi

    If you was to print them yourself, what type of printer is the best one for home use.?

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