Today I’m finally getting the chance to reveal our wedding invitations, the project that has been a DIY work in progress over the past several months. I was shocked (yet impressed!) to learn that our St. Louis guests had already started receiving their invites on Monday, only 3 days after having mailed them out from Tampa, FL. Hopefully by the time this blog is posted, our guests will all have gotten a first hand glimpse at the invitations and I’m not ruining the surprise for anyone.
Let me start out by saying that this was one massive undertaking. I love hand making all types of things; I take pride in being crafty and putting a personal touch on anything I can, especially when it comes to our wedding. But even with tons of help from my fiance, creating our own stationery was a huge challenge, and if I could do it all over again, I’m not sure I would go the homemade route. I’ll explain why.
Joe and I are both very picky and detail-oriented. To call us both perfectionists would not be a far stretch. So when we began the search for what would become our invitations, we started out like any other engaged couple would. We scoured the internet and browsed catalog after catalog, looking for the perfect invitation style to match our personality. But even after all of our research, the only thing that even came close to being exactly what we were looking for was $4.50 per invitation/response card set. Seeing as how we needed 60 total (without accounting for a few extra to have on-hand), that put the cost for just the invitation and RSVP to $270. Not bad, right? The only issue was, we KNEW we could create something similar to – if not better than – that same invitation for a fraction of the cost. All it would take was a little patience and determination. (Or a lot of it, as we would come to find out.)
From my experience, the most challenging aspect of invitation creation was finding all the supplies we needed. I had a very specific vision in mind and wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfect, no matter what obstacles stood in our way. We’d decided to use metallic pink, brown, and pearlescent ivory papers in the exact shades of our color scheme, which proved to be very difficult to find. We also needed the paper to be a certain thickness to ensure that each invitation would not be flimsy once we glued all three layer together. Eventually we did find exactly what we were looking for at Michael’s craft store, only to discover that the “special” pink paper had been imported from Italy and was being discontinued. We then began researching online paper suppliers and ordered numerous samples until we finally came across a paper similar enough to the ones we’d originally selected in the store. Fortunately the same supplier also stocked the brown and ivory paper we needed, so we were able to order it all at one time. Total spent on ALL wedding stationery, including the invitations, RSVP and directions cards, menu cards, programs, escort cards, and envelopes for 90 guests? A mere $150.
It was planned for each invitation to also be embellished with glitzy crystals and pink-tinted glitter to add a touch of eye-catching detail. We purchased two bottles of Stickles Fruit Punch glitter for a just few bucks, and I found all the Mark Richards crystal stickers we needed for a low bargain price on ebay. The glue we used to fasten the layers together was a tricky trial-and-error process, but we eventually settled on a simple stick of crafting glue found at Joann’s craft store. Since my scrapbooking paper cutter was pretty old and dull, we also invested $15 on buying a brand new one from Target. Total cost for all additional supplies? $25.
Joe and I worked together to create the printed design in Adobe Illustrator, a graphics program that I conveniently already had on my personal laptop at home. I searched high and low for the cursive font that we used, Feel Script, and the secondary font we chose was called Cambria Math. In order to create the green branch-swirl, I utilized the freehand pen tool and then used Photoshop to draw the little pink lovebirds. Then we used a laser printer to make sure the colors turned out clear and crisp, and printed several different times to ensure the ink colors matched the paper shades perfectly. Once everything was printed, I hand-sliced each ivory page, and Joe was on the glued-layers station where he put brown on pink, then ivory on brown. Then we set them aside to dry, and… Ta-da!
For Christmas last year, my Dad had given us a gift card to Stamps.com so we could order personalized postage for our invitations, featuring any photograph of our choosing. It was an easy choice to use my favorite black and white image from our actual proposal, and assuming 44 cents would cover our lightweight invitations, we ordered the stamps as the last step in the process. Meanwhile, my Mom was finishing up the calligraphy addressing of the envelopes, and the very same day they were returned to me, I stuffed, stamped, and sealed each and every one. (After months of planning and embellishing them, I was beyond ready to get them out of my sight!) I contemplated whether or not to just put the entire stack with the outgoing mail, but the less impatient part of me decided to first have them weighed at the post office just in case they required more postage. And guess what… it was a good thing that I did! Every single envelope required an additional 17 cents!! I was a little disappointed that the second stamp ruined the look of the pristine presentation, but I figured it was a better alternative than having the invitations returned to us, or even worse… requiring additional payment from the recipients. If I could offer my best advice for this stage in the planning process, it would be this: Make sure you weigh the invitations at the post office before mailing them!!! I thought I was in the clear with a 44 cent stamp, but the USPS certainly thought otherwise. Better safe than sorry!
With the invitations out of my hands once and for all, I reflected on all the time and hard work we spent planning, researching, designing, testing, printing, slicing, cutting, gluing, embellishing… But can you believe it? We saved nearly $100 by creating our own invitations, and saved way more than that when you factor in that we got supplies for ALL of our stationery and not just the invitations. This is definitely promising news for any bride on a budget who is considering DIY invitations, but just understand that comes at another cost… commitment and dedication. It wasn’t always fun to hand cut, glue, and embellishment page after page, so I had to keep reminding myself how much our guests would appreciate all the time we spent making them personal, and how proud I would be of the outcome. In the end they turned out even better than I could have hoped, and they’ve been accepted with very positive feedback thus far.
So, what’s next on my to-do list? Menu cards! Ceremony programs will follow, and then lastly, escort cards. I’ll continue posting with updates on our progress. But now, without further ado… I present the photos of our DIY wedding invitations!