arts & crafts,party planning

8 Ways to DIY Expensive Looking Wedding Invites

Mr. A and I eloped last year and after much debate, are currently planning an October Ninth reception so all of our friends and family can help us celebrate with food, sangria and APOLLO COBRA! We’re super excited, but whoa, even a reception without a bridal party, without a dress, without a lot of the traditional aspects, is so much energy, planning, and MONEY. We are constantly finding ourselves painfully saying, “but we could buy {insert expensive, useful item} for that amount”! We’ve literally had to condition ourselves not to think that way as this event is really special to us and we do want everyone to have a great time and thank them for the part they’ve played in our lives. Needless to say, we’re constantly looking for ways to cut down on costs to make this thing more affordable all while keeping it on track with my high expectations and love for details.

Right off the bat, I knew I could make our wedding invites for a fraction of where I was getting estimates. It took a lot of DIY, a little compromising, elbow grease and time, but in the end, it proved to be worth it. The invites below were a mere $1.78/invite and that included: a lined envelope, 3 inserts, AND (drum role please) postage. This is compared to the $4.30-$5.14 alternative that didn’t even include postage. Here’s how I did it:

5 Ways to DIY Expensive Looking InvitesDIY Wedding Invites

Eight tips after the jump!

1. Rely on Your Inner Graphic Designer and Design them Yourself (you can, I swear you can!)
This was the first place I had to compromise. I am a paper fiend and DREAM in letterpress. I was obviously disappointed to learn that true letterpress wasn’t even remotely feasible, but the reality is, unless you’re a paper-loving-hoarder like myself, these are going to end up in the trash. And as perfect and beautiful as invites can be, they’re not the place to blow your budget. Instead I used some of the letter press invites that I like as inspiration for my design and planned on using a super thick card stock.

Find some simple design inspiration on Pinterest and try your hand at designing them yourself. Inkscape is a free, downloadable design program that works like a dream. This was my first time using it and granted I have a little design experience, it’s not needed for this program. It’s easy to pick up and is extremely intuitive.

Look for pre-made graphics and make sure you get .pngs as they have a transparent background. Here are a few spots for free resources that would look perfect on a wedding invite: fonts, arrow graphics, wreath graphics, floral banners, or these geometric overlays. Each of those are a one click download and insert into your document. You can resize and shape all you want. If non of those float your boat, a simple search on pinterest for “downloadable graphics” will give you all you need.

PS. Stay tuned for a DIY Map Insert Tutorial later this week!

2. Skip the Die Cuts and Pop Ups and Square Invites 
I once made an invite to a bridal shower square and found out the hard way that postage on a square envelope is approx. 20 cents MORE than regular postage. That will teach a girl not to be square (hea hea). Elements like die cuts and special sizes are not only more expensive to print, they’re more expensive to ship. Don’t risk something like that on your wedding invites.

3. White Envelopes
I know, colored envelopes are sooooo much more luxurious, but remember: TRASH-CAN-BOUND IMMEDIATELY. White envelopes are a major penny pincher because one, in general, they’re less expensive and two, they easily roll through an ink jet printer to customize any way you please- I mail merged all of my names, addresses and return address into Word and printed them directly on the envelope.

envelopes

4. Line your own Envelopes
You may not have colored envelopes, but gol darn it, line those babies to your heart’s content. If you are lining with a dark color, ensure your envelope is heavy enough that the dark liner doesn’t show through (unless of course you’re honey badger and don’t give a sh*t).

I used and found this video tutorial extremely helpful. The only few things I did differently was create a template out of cardstock to trace so I didn’t have to keep tracing the envelope over and over. I found it to be a little more consistent. I also used wrapping paper as opposed to the Decopatch (? not sure what that is and I think it’s only sold in Europe) she recommended.

This is where the elbow grease came in. One role of wrapping paper and some double sided sticky scrapbooking dots and precious time was all it took to create beautifully lined envelopes. They turned out SO well and compared to an approximate $1.00 per lined envelope, all I spent was $22 for 150 white envelopes, $5 worth of wrapping paper and $5 worth of stick ums.

5. Vintage Stamps
Vintage stamps give impressive, va va voom results with zero additional costs (rare stamps will have a slight up-charge, but the difference is pennies). They make the package look SO fancy and really set the tone for your big day. You just have to know where to find them and be ok with licking a whoooole lotta of stamps. I got all my stamps here, but eBay is another great source. They’re fun because you can pick out stamps based upon your personality, colors and wedding vibe.

stamps

6. Add a Paper Clip or a Brad or a Something
Paper clips and brads and other office-y supply/scrapbooking things come in so many shapes and sizes now days, it’s easy to find one that adds just enough zip to your packaging. Again, my goal was to make my DIY invites look expensive, not be expensive, so I spray painted gold a box of silver paper clips I had laying around and this was how I adhered my invites together. Just ensure your addition doesn’t incur more postage (the post office can confirm this for you).

open the envelope

7. Use a Thick Card Stock
A heavy card stock screams quality and again is the difference of a few pennies.

8. Use your Local Print Shop
Shout out to Carrie at Insty Prints! SO helpful and considerate of the fact I was trying to do things on a budget. Guided me through how to save my art files in Inkscape so they would look great at the printer, allowed me free proofs and would even let me bring in my own paper (although I did in the end use theirs). The fact is their quality of ink and paper is second to none and they cut everything for you!

invite layout1invite suitestamps and layout

Again, I was going for a vintage-y, simple, clean design and I love how they turned out! Stay tuned for more money saving wedding tips from my adventures in wedding planning.

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