Monday, September 8, 2014

Creating my own wedding invitations

If you've been following along with my blog, you know that I tackled a lot of the wedding projects myself, or with the help of my mom and sister. One of those projects I decided to take on all by myself was the invitations. I already told you about the engagement party invites and the save the date postcards I created, but today I am going to tell you all about our invitation suite for the wedding itself and the thank you cards.

Our invitation suite all assembled and shot by our photographer Ann Coen

A close up of the invitation side of the suite

Our wedding invites, engagement party invites and save the date postcard in one shot.

Deciding what we wanted

Since our wedding required most guests to have to travel at least a few hours if not by plane to get to, and the hotels required a two-night minimum stay, we treated our wedding the same as most would a destination wedding. Not only did we have 150 guests at the actual wedding itself, we invited everyone to an after party directly after, a post wedding celebration dinner the next night and a brunch on Sunday. With so many wedding activities going on, we decided that an invitation suite would be the easiest way to capture all of the important information guests would need. Knowing the more pieces to an invitation, the higher the cost, I set about finding a source that I could order all of the paper and pieces and not have it blow our budget.

While browsing through Pinterest, I found an invitation suite I liked. It was clearly DIYed but still was high quality stuff. I followed the pin to a post on Wedding Bee, which then led me to the source: Cards & Pockets. There I found pretty much every option I could ever need. Pocket folders? Check! Inserts? Check! Belly bands? Check! Embellishments? Check! But the most important thing was the color selection. Our wedding colors? Check!

Creating the invitation and inserts

Now it was time for the hard part. Using the size templates provided by Cards & Pockets, I set about creating each piece that would need to be printed — an invitation and four inserts (a map and directions insert, a wedding festivities insert, an RSVP insert and an accommodations insert).

First, I had to settle on an overall look for the invitation suite. After a lot of trial and error, I figured out what I wanted in which colors, what fonts (Sofia and Minion Pro) I wanted to use and an overall theme. Then I just carried those elements through on each part of the suite.

The hardest part was figuring out where to place everything so that it all fit together when the inserts were stacked in the pocket folder. I wanted to ensure that each header for the insert was shown, especially because that design element of the sea plane and banner became such a big part of our wedding theme. As I mentioned in a previous post, I made the sea plane and banner come to life in the form of 3D flying table names.

The sea plane and banner from the invitation comes to life in the form of our table names

Here are some close-ups of the invitation pieces:

 I was most proud of the map I created to go on the directions insert:

A close up of our directions insert with a map I created


Once I was satisfied with the design and I had gone over the proofing process with my now hubby, mom and sister, I was able to send all of the pieces straight to Cards & Pockets through their website. I had a proof sent to me to be sure that I did in fact format everything correctly and nothing was cut off or just plain ugly. Then I pulled the trigger and ordered them. A few weeks later they arrived looking just as beautiful as I had hoped and ready for my mom and I to assemble and mail.

To put everything together, we did an assembly line. One of us put the inserts in a stack while the other stuffed them into the pocket on the right side of the pocket folder. One of us then put the belly band around the pocket folder while the other secured the starfish on the seam with a glue dot. Then we both stuffed the now completed pocket folder into the inner and outer envelopes.

I choose to not hire a calligrapher and instead used the same combination of fonts (Sofia and Minion Pro) from the invitations to address the envelopes. I purchased the envelopes through Cards & Pockets but had them printed up at a local print shop so I again did not have to wrestle with my printer. Does any one else hate trying to get things to align up perfectly with their printer, too?

The style I used to address the envelopes and the color of the outer envelopes called Straw Kraft, which tied into the color of the starfish embellishment glued onto the belly band, which was in a color called Lagoon.
The style I used to address the RSVPs and the color of the RSVP envelopes called Lagoon.

Tips for a smoother invitation process

First off, I want to say if you have the time and the skills, I highly recommend doing your own invitations. We saved a lot of money by me doing all of the design work myself. In fact, the wedding invitations cost us just $500 plus stamps when all was said and done. That is for a guest list of 170, and ordering about 100 of each piece of the invitation. What I will say is if you are easily frustrated by things and tend to be a perfectionist like myself, I would suggest not printing them yourself. There are a few services out there, like Cards & Pockets that I used, that will gladly handle all of the printing for a fraction of the cost of a professional and for a lot less hair pulling out.

Thank you cards

The front of our thank you cards on the left, and the inside of the cards on the right

The thank you cards were probably the easiest invitations to create. Instead of using Cards & Pockets, I went with Vistaprint, which I has used for the engagement invites and save the dates postcards. I used their dimensions for a 4 x 6 folded notecard. I designed both the front and inside of the card using InDesign.

The cool thing about Vistaprint is that they offer free color or black and white printing on the inside or back sides of their cards, too. Taking pinspiration from a few sources, I went with a simple look for the front side to share some of our favorite wedding photos. On the inside, I used a single image with the opacity turned down to 50% so that we could easily write a message over top of it. I loved the way they turned out and we received many compliments.

I know there was a lot of information crammed into this post and it all can be a little confusing, so if you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment.

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