How I Designed My Wedding Invitations

I was scrolling through pictures when I realized that it has been a year since we mailed the invitations for our wedding! In an earlier post, I had briefly mentioned that my mom and I actually ended up creating and printing our wedding invitations. I thought I would share my process in case you were interested in learning how I decided to do them myself and how I did.

After much indecision when it came to our Save the Dates, I ended up choosing a cheaper print, solely to have more room in our print budget for the invitations and all that came with that. Initially, I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted the invitations to look like, but I knew I wanted more than just an invitation and response card. I also knew, as long as it took me to pick the design I wanted for our save the dates, I needed to start the process of designing my invitations early.

Not long after the save the dates were mailed, the search for the invitations began. I started by looking through the real wedding features in my magazines for inspiration and look at online companies, such as Minted and Wedding Paper Divas. I thought I would find what I was looking for on Minted since it is one of the most well-regarded companies in the wedding industry and their designs are truly unique and customizable. This was helpful in figuring out what I didn’t like, but didn’t get me any closer to finding my invitations. Here is what I had decided I liked and what I didn’t:

What I Liked:

  • An actual suite with the invitation, detail card, weekend timeline, response card, etc.
  • Something holding all of the cards together
  • Envelope Liners
  • Traditional wording and design
  • Incorporating my theme into the invitations

What I Disliked:

  • Horizontal design
  • Busy designs that take away from the wording
  • Invitations that weren’t printed on white
  • Lightweight paper
  • Designs that gave the “save the date” casual feel

I decided to book an appointment with a nearby design studio to customize invitations for our wedding. I brought my wedding planner with me for details and inspiration, as well as examples of what I liked and a list of what I had decided at this point that I didn’t. We spent almost two hours looking through their examples, discussing the color scheme and wording of the invitations, if there were any add-ons, such as a details card or banding to hold the cards together, and eventually designing my invitations. However, when I received the quote, (it was over $1,000!!) I was shocked, especially since I only had picked the basic necessities, and opted out of adding on all of the bells and whistles that truly make up the invitation suite. Even though I had budgeted to spend more on our invitations, I still wasn’t willing to dedicate that much to paper products, considering I knew most of our guests wouldn’t keep our invitations forever, and I didn’t completely love what we had designed. I left that appointment feeling a bit discouraged — I knew what I wanted but I just couldn’t put it into words.

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I spent the next few weeks ordering samples from a couple of website and shops that I found on Etsy. After days of scanning page after page, I found a small company that had the simple, but elegant design that I was looking for. The traditional wording took center on the card and was adorned with a wreath at the top, with the couple’s monogram in its center. I immediately ordered a sample pack, with color samples and paper options (kudos to shops who do this — SO helpful!). Once it arrived, I picked out what I liked best and headed to their website to order! However, it was still more than I wanted to spend. While trying to decide whether it was worth spending or not, I headed back to Etsy for one last ditch effort before deciding.

My mom (bless her) had helped a lot, too. Even though I had started the process early, I was getting closer by the day to the date I wanted to mail our invitations. She was the one who ended up finding a downloadable jpeg of a wreath that was almost identical to the ones that were on the invitations that I fell in love with. Considering it was only $3 for the download, I went ahead and purchased it to test it out ourselves. 

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We then made a trip to almost every craft store in a 50-mile vicinity to view their paper selection. We bought several reams of different paper, from creamy cardstock to shimmery pearl, from thick to more flimsy. After collecting various types of paper, we printed the invitations we designed with our initials within the wreath at the top center and our traditionally worded invite printed in a taupe colored font on the different paper options. From there, we trimmed the paper to the 7×9 size that I liked. This was one of the best parts of doing the invitations ourselves because I could physically hold the different types of paper with our actual details printed on them. It was basically a pick-and-choose kind of thing from here!

Once we chose the paper I liked, we then began to design the rest of the suite. Since we had only spent under $50 on the paper, I could definitely now afford the entire suite that I desired. We created the response postcard (an easy way to avoid the cost of additional envelopes!), a details card with the information regarding hotel options, addresses of the two venues as well as a note about children, and a timeline of the day of the wedding. Another paper product that we were about to make was a program for the ceremony that matched the invitation suite; something I definitely would not have been able to do if I hadn’t purchased the jpeg.

 

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Image by wonderful Laura’s Focus Photography

 

Ribbons were a consistent theme throughout our wedding (as a nod toward the ribbon that I was wearing in my hair when Jody and I met) and our invitations were no exception. I knew tying a ribbon around the suite would be a perfect way to hold it all together. We did buy a few different spools of ribbon to test which one would look best. We ended up going with a gold sheer ribbon, which really complimented the entire suite without making too girly, a concern of Jody’s. We also lined our envelopes as well — gift wrapping paper is such an easy and inexpensive liner. I bought an envelope liner stencil and traced it onto the wrapping paper, and then all we had to do was cut it out and then glue it in. So pretty and such a nice little surprise when you open the envelope!

I know that this is a long post, but I would have loved to see someone share their experiences when it came to their wedding invitations when I was finding mine. Once you know what you are looking for, the process really isn’t that difficult, and it ends up saving a lot of money as well. I had budgeted around $300 for paper products, and I don’t think I spent over $100. Oh, and all of that paper we bought to sample didn’t go to waste; we ended up using what we couldn’t return for various wedding related products, including our rehearsal dinner invitations!

 

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Image by Laura’s Focus Photography

 

Even though I don’t plan to ever need wedding invitations for myself again, I definitely anticipate that I’ll be designing more invitations for future events — bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations and probably any type of party for our future children! Designing my own invitations was a great option to not blow our entire budget on some invitation that most of our guests don’t even have anymore, but it really was the best option for me to get exactly want I wanted. Paper is near and dear to my heart and I love the fact that I didn’t have to sacrifice anything I wanted for our wedding invitations.

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