Heather is happiest when taking a beautiful photo, creating something in her kitchen, or elbows-deep in a DIY project.
Making Your Own Wedding Invitations
When my husband and I were planning our wedding in 2011, we were really taken aback at how much wedding invitations could cost—especially unique and custom designs. We didn't want the same generic cookie-cutter invites that everyone else had. We spent hours on the internet trying to get an idea of what we wanted. We really loved invitations that were colorful and customized, but of course, these kinds of invitations were the most expensive by far. We tried finding places that could do it for a fraction of the cost but to no avail.
Refusing to compromise and settle for mediocre invites, my husband and I decided to make the invitations ourselves. We had never done anything like this before and much to our surprise we did a fantastic job!
Establishing what you like and dislike when it comes to invitations is the first step you must complete as a couple. My husband and I had such a blast making these invites from beginning to end. The final product was a truly unique wedding invitation that turned into a gorgeous keepsake.
Picking a Theme for Your Wedding Invites
This step can be the easiest and the hardest. If your wedding has a theme, color scheme, and or motif(s), it's easy to play off of those for inspiration. My wedding was a 1920s-themed wedding with a ceremony that took place in an outdoor garden and a reception that took place in the lounge of a historic downtown Phoenix hotel. We had many motifs throughout our wedding, including skeleton keys, peacock feathers, our monogram initials, the roaring twenties, etc. And since we were the stars of the party, we included our own silhouettes on the invite as well. This made our invitations truly unique with a vintage flair. Our wedding colors consisted of a variety of shades of blues and greens. It certainly helped that many elements of our wedding were picked out and planned when it came time to make our invitations. If you feel overwhelmed about what elements to use in your invitations, don't sweat it. Give yourself plenty of time and do a few mock-ups. My husband and I went to Michael's craft store and a local mom-and-pop scrapbook paper store and bought some scrapbook papers, cardstock, and vellum before we even began designing our invitations on the computer. This gave us an idea of what was readily available to us and how much we could expect to pay for our supplies. This was the first time my husband and I ever worked with or even purchased scrapbook paper.
Making Good Use of Free Font Downloads
Using Google, I found tons of websites that offered downloads of fonts to use for programs like Microsoft Publisher. This step took some time and patience. My husband and I searched and scoured until we had probably 50 fonts that we were happy with. Doing this step together was fun, and it helps eliminate downloading fonts that one of you might hate. It's good to get the compromise over at this step before using a font that you or your partner falls in love with and then is unwilling or unwavering later on when it doesn't fit the invitation aesthetically.
50 fonts might seem like a lot, but it's not. You need a great variety to choose from, and as you'll find out, some fonts don't just work well with others, and you will have to abandon them. Doing a good search and downloading the first time will eliminate having to go back and sift through fonts again and again. Make good use of your time and be thorough from the get-go.
Using Microsoft Publisher to Make Wedding Invitations
Gather your wedding day details and create a basic invite using a program like Microsoft Publisher. The most important step in designing your own wedding invitations on the computer is picking the right size. Many times the invitation size will be determined by the measurements of the corresponding envelope or other factors. Simply enter your desired measurements into the program (this is usually the first prompt when beginning work on a new file). If you have never used this software before, don't worry. This was our first time using Publisher for a full-on project. Using a program for the first time can be confusing but don't get flustered. We used Google many times by simply typing our questions into the search engine and would always find an answer somewhere out in cyberspace.
If this still sounds overwhelming, ask if any of your friends are familiar with the program and could help you out. Make sure you are clear in what you are asking for help with, i.e., if you need help troubleshooting the program or would just like a quick crash course, say exactly that. Asking for "help with my wedding invitations" may result in some unwanted help in the actual designing process unless that is what you want. If you haven't researched the basic layout options for wedding invitations, then it's a good time to start. This is easy to do; just use Google. Some are more traditional, while others are informal and contemporary.
Pick a style that best fits your style as a couple and the style of your wedding. Do a few mock-ups of potential wedding invitations. Play around with the wording and fonts. Print them out and discuss what you and your partner like and dislike about each one. This step is very helpful! You may love the way something looks on a computer screen, but holding it in your hand might be another story. Be open to and ready for changes. You might even change your mind about a certain font when it comes time to assemble your invitation, so consider everything you do to be a prototype until it's finally going in the mail.
Printing Your Wedding Invitations Yourself
Printing the final versions of your wedding invitations is an important step. By now, you have probably decided if you will complete this step on your own or go to a local print shop. My husband and I had printed out our mock-up invites at home since they didn't have to be perfect. When it came time for the real deal, we went to Staples. We saved our wedding invitation as both a .pdf file and the original publisher file. Saving it as a pdf file essentially takes a picture of it, and it cannot be altered. This is fine unless you get to the print shop and find out that the margins are wrong or something similar. Having the original publisher file allows it to be altered on the spot. However, the computer that they use to print it isn't going to have any of the beautiful fonts that you spent hours downloading and tweaking. So if you take it to a third party for printing, be sure to save your invitation as a .pdf, or a .pub, and also save all of the fonts files that are used on your invite. We saved ours on a small USB flash drive. Emailing files to yourself is a good back up too!
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Depending on other printing factors, you may not be able to do this step on your own. For example, the invitation we made was printed on gold vellum. It looked lovely but, unfortunately, must be printed on with a laser printer, and we only had an inkjet (which, when we attempted to print a mock-up at home, the ink never dried and smudged all over the place). Our invitations were printed two-to-a-sheet, which also involved cutting them. By taking them to a print shop, both of these tasks were completed and for a very reasonable price. Plus, if it gets messed up in any way, they redo it vs. having to redo it yourself and spend money on more supplies to do so. Keep it in mind.
- Scrapbook paper
- Paper cutter / trimmer
- Decorative paper punches
- 1/8 inch eyelets
- 1/8 inch hole punch
- Eyelet tool (and standard hammer)
- Aleene's Tacky Glue Spray
- Roller (brayer)
- Simple ribbon for decoration
How to Make a Layered Wedding Invitation With Scrapbook Paper
There are many options available when it comes to decorating and assembling your wedding invitations. Keep in mind that ultimately it has to travel in the mail and arrive safe and sound in the hands of your wedding guests. You don't want it arriving in pieces. For this reason, we opted against embellishments. We also were picky about how our invitations would be put together because the dry climate we live in (Arizona) can render glues or double-sided tapes ineffective.
Create Templates and Cut Your Layers
This makes it easy to correctly measure and cut the layers or pieces of your wedding invitations. Having templates is a great tool to use when friends or family members are helping you assemble your invitations. It enables someone else to help cut paper layers to the right size and use the right paper or decorative punch when each template is labeled with that information. It's a great visual tool for anyone working on your assembly line, especially if they haven't seen your vision or don't have experience doing this kind of activity. The largest piece will be your bottom or middle. If all of your event info can fit on one side (perhaps your ceremony and reception are at the same venue), then the largest piece will be your bottom layer. If you choose to do a double-sided invite like ours, the largest piece is the middle layer that holds ceremony and reception details on opposite sides. This helps to keep your information organized and easy to read and helps conceal the unsightly backs of the eyelets.
Assembling the Invitation
Arrange your layers as desired and glue, tape, or secure them with eyelets, grommets, or brads. If punching holes for eyelets or brads, don't punch into your largest (bottom or middle) layer, as it will show on the back. Instead, adhere that layer to the group of layers with hardware using glue or strong double-sided tape to help conceal the back of the hardware. Use a brayer (below) when gluing layers together. It's like a small rolling pin with a handle and will help even out glue and air bubbles between paper layers. Roll on top of the paper; do not actually put glue on it.
If using ribbons for decoration, reinforce punched holes with eyelets to prevent your paper or cardstock from tearing. This also makes it easier to thread your ribbon through the holes. Do this step to the desired layer before it is attached to subsequent layers that you don't want to be punched. For example, if the back of your invitation is blank, you might not mind seeing the ribbon threaded through the back of the card. If you prefer the back not to show, or if your invite is double-sided, prepare ribbons on smaller layers before finally adhering to your largest middle layer.
Does Making Your Own Invitations Save You Money?
Homemade and DIY wedding invitations can certainly cost less money than ordering them, but they could also cost more. It really depends on what you want and how you want it to look. My husband and I made one hundred of these invitations with the help of some friends and family over the course of three days. This project could have been cheaper, but it could have been more expensive too. Scrapbook paper and cardstock can vary in price, from 49 cents up to a dollar per sheet if purchased in a retail setting. A good chunk of ours was purchased wholesale, thanks to my mother-in-law! Using fewer layers can save money as well.
Cost of Invitation Supplies
|item||cost||per||notes||save money by|
$0.49 - $0.99
depending on style
$0.49 - $0.99
you pay more for textures
buying solid color pkg of 50 sheets for $3.99
up to $1.00
depending on size and style
buy a ream online (500 sheets for $20)
paper cutter / trimmer
one portable unit
we used the cricut brand
borrowing from a friend
decorative paper punches
$25 - $35
(cheaper if you don't need corners)
buying only one or two and use a Michael's coupon
1/8 in eyelets
varies in price by color
adhering with tape or glue instead
1/8 inch hole punch
eyelet setting tool
some punches and eyelets do both steps in one
Aleene's Tacky Glue Spray
11 oz. can
we used approx 1.5 cans
using a scrapbook paper gluestick
Michael's value ribbon
we spent less than $10 altogether
using ribbon on only one side or not at all
I had so much fun making these wedding invitations with my husband, our friends, and our family. The whole process was enjoyable and became a treasured wedding memory. I get such a thrill when I see this familiar invitation on display at a friend's house like a piece of art!
© 2012 Heather
amaani691 on June 22, 2016:
Awesome tutorial, it has everything you need to know.
Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on July 23, 2014:
Awesome tutorial. After reading it I think my daughter could make her own invitation.
torrilynn on June 20, 2014:
I think that creating your own wedding invitations is a good idea. thanks for the hub.
Tealparadise on May 19, 2013:
I love that you include a cost breakdown. Everyone needs to see this. Especially that Valentines invite - GORGEOUS. Pinning and sharing :D