I recently found myself chatting with someone who is considering making DIY wedding invitations for her daughter’s wedding. As we talked, I found myself writing down articles for her to read on the TPK website. I gave her many scrambled tips that probably left her feeling more confused than empowered! That’s when I realized: I don’t have a blog post that breaks down DIY wedding invitations into the do-able endeavor that they are. That changes today! In this article, you’ll learn the process for making your own professional-looking invitations.
1. Make Two Lists
First, you’ll want to plan out two aspects of your invitations. First of all, what characteristics do you want them to have? Title your first list “Adjectives” and write down at least three adjectives that you want to describe your finished DIY wedding invitations. Some words that you may consider include: “Whimsical”, “Formal”, “Casual”, “Unique”, “Artistic”, “Minimalist”. Give it some thought!
Secondly, what information do your invitations need to convey (and/or ask of guests)? Make a list of pertinent information. Your names, the wedding location, and the date/time are biggies. You also may consider writing the dress code for more formal weddings and the location of the reception (if it differs from the wedding). RSVP information is a biggie! Think at this point, too: do you want guests to RSVP via sending a card back to you, or do you want them to RSVP via phone/email/wedding website?
2. Collect Inspiration
Once you’ve made your lists, start looking around the internet for inspiration. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, now would be a good time to start one! I would search Pinterest and Google Images for photos of invitations that fit your taste. You can use your adjectives list to find invitations you like. For example, if “minimalist” is one of your adjectives, try searching for “minimalist wedding invitation”.
Pin the invitation ideas that you like, and write a description about why you like each one. There may be invitations that you don’t 100% love, but aspects of them call to you. Pin those, too! In the draft/design phase, you can combine the different elements of invitations that appeal to you.
3. Sketch Out a Draft
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be artistic in particular, make a rough sketch of what you would like your wedding invitations to look like. First, make an outline of the size you envision your wedding invitations will be (in the US, 5″ x 7″ is standard), then fill in that outline with your idea. You don’t have to make just one draft — try creating a couple for comparison purposes! Remember that drafts shouldn’t be perfect; the point is to give you a general idea of what your invitations will look like.
4. Design the Invitations
Of course, this step will take you the longest. Depending on your schedule, you should give yourself up to three weeks to finish! First of all, I would recommend designing your DIY wedding invitations with digital printing in mind. Digital printing is going to be your cheapest printing option by far, and you can design for digital printing in Photoshop.
If I just lost you at “Photoshop”, I entreat you to reconsider. Yes, Photoshop sounds intimidating, but I promise that you can learn how to use it to design your invitations. If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, then I entreat you to take the Digitizing Artwork and Calligraphy eCourse. Lesson 5 is dedicated to teaching you how to put together a print-ready invitation design file! Photoshop is only available through a subscription plan. If you’re only going to use Photoshop for your invitation design, you can purchase it for a month for around $32. Or — if you really want to save money and you think you can crank out your design quickly, you can do so with the week-long free trial.
Remember that your invitations don’t have to be traditional. If you’re not a fan of digital printing, try making fabric invitations! Also, for the sake of economy, stick to a standard invitation size that doesn’t require extra postage. Again, A7 (5″ x 7″) is a popular size in the US.
5. Print the Invitations
If you’ve expended the energy to design your invitations, you’ll want to ensure that the printing technique does them justice! I highly recommend that you hire a professional printer to print your materials (versus printing at home). Digital printing is not expensive, and you have your pick of companies both on- and offline! I’ve had the best luck with printingforless.com. Their quality is better than any of the local places that I’ve tried.
6. Choose and Address Envelopes
As you wait for your invitations to print, choose some high-quality wedding envelopes. You can learn about characteristics to look for in envelopes (and recommended vendors) in this blog post. Once you’ve chosen your envelopes, order 25% more than you actually need. You’ll want extras to account for mistakes and/or last-minute additions to your address list!
I, personally, love the look of a handwritten envelope. If you have time to learn calligraphy before your wedding, then take the Beginner’s Modern Calligraphy Online Course, practice for a couple of weeks, and address your own envelopes! You can also hire out your wedding envelope calligraphy, but calligraphy is a justifiably expensive service because it’s an art that takes time to create (still: there are some great calligraphers on Etsy). If you don’t have the time or desire to learn calligraphy, you can always neatly write the recipients’ addresses on the front of your envelopes. Handwritten addresses almost always looks more thoughtful than typed addresses.
For the return address, you have a few options. Officially, the United States Postal Service wants you to write your return address on the upper left corner of the envelopes. For wedding invitations, though, people generally don’t do that. Instead, you can put it on the back. For efficiency’s sake, you can use a return address embosser or a rubber stamp to quickly provide your return address on the envelope. Of course, if you’ve got the time and the motivation, you can handwrite your return address instead.
For more envelope addressing tips, check out the How to Address Envelopes for Clients article. Addressing envelopes for yourself won’t entail the exact same process, but many of the steps (and considerations) are the same!
7. Assemble Your Invitations
Assembly is the step where you can get really creative. Think about surprising ways that you can incorporate all of the elements of your DIY wedding invitations together! You can easily create a paper sash/”belly band” to cohesively combine the paper goods in your invitation suite.
You can also incorporate some non-paper goods in your suite. Think: twine, ribbon, dried flowers, fabric, thin wood, a bit of confetti … tap into your creativity!
Once you’re finished addressing your envelopes, double-check all of the addresses. Then, put on the proper postage! In the US, as long as your envelopes are a standard size and weigh 1 oz. or less, your postage cost will be $0.50 per piece. (You can double check USPS postage costs on this website.)
For a more traditional look and to save costs, you can go with one current issue “forever” postage stamp. For an artistic, unique feel, you can make a postage stamp collage. How you decide to adorn your envelopes with postage is completely up to you!
Some Additional Tips
If you feel like you’re in over your head trying to design your DIY wedding invitations, take a breath and remember that your wedding is about you and what you like. If you don’t care about tradition, then your wedding invitations don’t need to be traditional. Just go with what feels right! Usually, though, people send out a main invitation and an information or RSVP card. Add-ons may include wedding maps, pre-stamped RSVP envelopes, and/or — this is more common in some countries than others — entry tickets to get into the reception.
My other tip is to give some thought to your RSVP process. Do you want to provide invitees with a card to fill out and a pre-stamped RSVP envelope? Or, do you want to give them the option to RSVP via email or a wedding website? While the address card and RSVP envelope are traditional — a reminder of times when we didn’t have phones or internet — it is more convenient (and cheaper for you) if your guests RSVP online. As an invitee, even when I’m provided with an RSVP card to send back, I generally RSVP via text or email so I can explain why I’m not coming (or say that I’m looking forward to attending and ask if I can help with anything). Maybe it’s a millennial thing; but still something to consider!
We all have different creative processes, so please feel free to tweak this roadmap to work for your particular situation! No matter what your personal style or wedding invitation suite plans are, I hope that this article gave you some ideas and inspiration. If you have any questions, of course, I’ll be glad to answer them. Just leave a comment on this post! Additional ideas or anecdotes about what you did for your DIY wedding invitations are also more than appreciated.
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and have a great week! I’ll be back on Friday with a creativity-boosting tutorial. 🙂