Home DIY Projects + Tutorials Tools of the Trade: DIY Guide to Designing Your Own Invitations

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When I first accompanied my friend to her visit with a professional wedding invite maker, I was literally crushed by the options available. And I mean that in the actual sense of literal, not in the way people misuse it today. Sitting there in her doily-laden lounge thumbing through a massive invite binder for two hours, I was relieved I was even able to walk when I was done.

None of the invites ‘clicked’ and the price tag was overwhelming. While my friend did eventually find something decent, I’ve wondered more than a few times after seeing so many funky and original DIY invite out of an envelope, how do these people come up with these ideas?

So, when yet another friend of mine got engaged, I thought I’d do a little investigation. What exactly is it like to design your own invitations, and how is it done? Here’s what we found.

1. Choose Your Paper

As I found out that day with the invite pro, there are — no exaggeration here — a zillion and one kinds of paper out there. You can have straight up white or just off white or bright red or subtly red and even more subtly crinkled or stained or lacy or…(I could go on).

To narrow your choices, you might want to go with your chosen wedding color, the color of your bridesmaids dresses or flowers, or a simple white. Then choose between regular old flat paper, recycled paper or embossed for a nice glossy look. If your invite design will involve any kind of folding, make sure you go for a pliable yet sturdy construction.

In general, it’s good to order about 20 – 25% more than you’ll need to send out, so you can practice with prints.

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2. Choose Your Design

There’s much to consider in terms of design. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to assume here you’re going the easiest DIY route, designing with user-friendly software like Adobe Photoshop (though I’ll discuss a few non-computer options below).
Font: The text styles and size you choose will have a great impact on the look and feel of your design. A fairy tale wedding will require a much different font than a punk wedding. Your best option is to try a few out in the software, either using the program’s fonts directly or choosing from a variety of free fonts online with a site like DaFont. You’ll also want to experiment with various treatment options, like italics vs. bold, uppercase vs. lowercase, and don’t be afraid to mix and match between several different fonts.
Ink Color: Again, the color palette is wide open to you. Narrow your choices by complementing your wedding color, or trying on several hues to glean their emotional tenor.
Background: Have fun experimenting with background as well. While going plain is a simple option, even small embellishments like a few tree leaves can spice things up or add a nice touch. If you’ve got a hand drawn background in mind, or if you have a beautiful or interesting material, just scan it in and drop it into the program.
Photo: Most wedding invite software will have space for a photo of you and your soon-to-be. Pick one that really captures your personality, and that’s not too dark or blurry.
Line Spacing and Alignment: That beautiful text and photo won’t look so beautiful if it all bleeds together. Decide whether you want to align towards the center, left or right, and find a nice balance.
Logo: If you’ve really got an eye for design (hey, maybe you’re even a graphic designer), a logo can be a fun way to “brand” your wedding theme and personality, especially if you’re doing something offbeat or tongue and cheek.

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3. Decide on Your Content

Whether you’re a writer and want to give your invites an injection of humor or you’d just like to keep it cut and dry, there are certain things all invites need to include.
Who, what, where, and when. Who’s invited to your wedding? When will it be taking place, and is there a reception or rehearsal dinner? And where will all of this be happening?
Helpful hotel information. Give guests options for a variety of budgets.
Transportation tips. Car rentals, public transport, you name it.
Things to do in the area. This is especially good for people who are coming from out of town.
An RSVP card… with a tracking number on the back in case the respondent doesn’t specify who they are.

These latter four can be inserts rather than info on the invite itself if you so prefer.

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4. Print

You loaded up on ink, right? Yeah, you should load up on ink. You might also want to get a cheap paper cutter, too, if you’re going to be cutting larger pages into smaller forms, or even a nicer printer than that old clunker. Then it’s time to just sit next to your printer and feed it pages. And, FYI, you won’t lose any of your DIY cred if you go to a professional printer for this part instead. Doing so can save you a lot of headaches, and hey, it’s still your design!

5. Add Final Decorations and Match With Envelopes

You may want to add a few little sparkles or ribbons to make things manageably 3D, or simply add a splash of color by pasting that white invite onto a green background.

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Then decide on an envelope look, whether you want something that’s matching or complementary, plain or full of designs. Even a fun stamp can add the little bit of personality you may be looking for. While you could go to specialty stores, even places like Staples have a good mix of envelope options. Now just fold those invites, stuff those envelopes, write out those addresses, and voila!

Other Approaches

While computer software is great, it’s not the only option. Here are a few more awesome routes to go.

1. Stamps. Yep, custom ordering stamp designs like this bride can mean making something as ordinary as an index card look cute.
2. Invitation kits. There are a number of companies that sell DIY wedding invite kits, which are fully customizable to the bride and groom.
3. Online template sites. Don’t let “template” give you the wrong impression. Sites like Minted are stuffed with interesting and customizable designs, and while, yes, someone else in the world will also choose your design, I’m betting none of your friends will. This is an easy, fun way to do something new and you yet still impress.

So there you have it! A number of approaches for going DIY. I highly recommend going this route and saving yourself from the professional invite book of DOOM.

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