How To: Make (sort of) Your Own Invitation Suite Pt I

Bear with me, dear readers – this one is a bit LOOONG.

Invitations are obviously a huge part of the wedding planning process, and a big part of the wedding itself, for most people. When it came time to figure out what to do for our own invites, I had read enough bridal magazines, trolled enough wedding blogs, and received enough wedding invitations to have an idea of what I did and did not want. I wanted a definite DIY component to our invites, but I wasn’t sure how much I’d want to take on. I also wanted the invites to reflect our style and color scheme, and I loved the idea of the wedding invitations themselves tying into our reception venue, something you see more and more on the ol’ wedding blogs. We could go with some quirky, like hankie invites, or even do an evite thing – but we decided we are paper people. Or rather, I decided I wanted to be paper-oriented, mostly so I could torture myself with as much DIY as possible, pick out vintage stamps, and scrapbook the rsvp’s. Thus the hunt began for the perfect invites.

Here were our requirements – our invites had to be: pretty, fun but a little formal, feature attractive fonts, appeal to the rustic fabulousness of The Barns, and maybe come in navy or have navy elements. Oh, and it had to fit in the budget, which was fairly loose, but I wanted to keep it as small as possible, so basically any fancy paper companies, engraving, professional calligraphy, etc, was out of the question. Could I have the pretty-fun-whimsical-rustic-elegant invites I wanted on a budget?

I decided to start at the beginning – I’d take a Paper Source wedding invitation class to see if I had the power to DIY our whole wedding invitation suite. I had a blast doing this – it was a great decision. I learned about all of the Paper Source paper products, and I learned how to emboss! I also learned that an entirely DIY suite was not for me. The things I learned during this class would come in VERY handy later though, so the workshop was worth every penny of the $15 I spent.

Next, I aggressively trolled wedding blogs for a “designed by someone else, printed by you” option. I decided I wanted to try and find STD’s, invites, and RSVP cards that were pre-designed. Any other additions to the invite suite (menu cards, maps, etc) I decided to make myself. I’d also worry about the envelopes, pocketfolds, printing, and mailing. Through one blog or another, I discovered Printable Press. They had the PERFECT invitation suite called “All Lit Up”

“All Lit Up” by Printable Press

It had everything we were looking for – the invite was navy, the fonts were fantastic, it was a “print your own” company, the design embraced the rustic, whimsical elements of the Barns, and though we hadn’t decided to add string lights to our decor just yet, in the end, the invite proved to be the perfect match for our wedding by featuring the string lights we’d add later. Almost as if it was all planned 🙂

Working with Kimi at Printable Press was sooooooooo easyyyyyy. I’m pretty easygoing (though I heard later, after the wedding, “we thought you were going to be a bridezilla and you totally weren’t! It was great!” Um, thanks?!) and I’m hoping I was easy to work with! After sending Kimi the customizations she needed, she sent the proofs. I showed them to husbando, we decided we loved them, and that was that. The design charge was $190. Can you even believe it? The whole process took just a few weeks (I ordered these in December 2009, 10 months before our wedding, so we were working with plenty of time), from initial contact to pdf proofs.

Next came the “where to print?” question. Since we chose the All Lit Up design, we knew we wouldn’t be printing these color-heavy invites on our own printers. At the time, Printable Press recommended CatPrint (they have new recs on their, site, check them out if ordering from them!) I liked CatPrint’s options (mostly their off-white options for the RSVP cards) and prices ($26 for our Save the Dates, and about $90 for the invites and RSVP cards). They were great to work with. I also visited Cards and Pockets because I loved the idea of pocketfolds. That site allowed me to order a few pockets in different sizes and papers so I could experiment.

Once everything arrived, I pulled together the Save the Dates. Next, I focused on the invites. The pocket folds from Cards and Pockets did not work. I didn’t like the set-up and the colors were wrong. They cost less that Paper Source pockets did, but a quick visit to my local Paper Source (with printed invites and RSVP’s in hand) showed that it was worth spending a few cents extra per pocketfold to get what I wanted, which was the A7 folder invitation enclosure in ecowhite. Ecowhite was just “off-white” enough for my taste, plus cheaper than the luxe option in cream.

Next up, I decided I did want to bring in a third color for the invitations. I was thinking gold, but again, a visit to the Paper Source to look at my options changed my mind completely. A7 Notecards in Copper Shimmer were the right size and color for the background.

Once the invitations were printed and the pocketfolds and background pieces were chosen, most of the hard decision work was finished. Next up, manual labor time!

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