2 weekends ago, with the help of our amazing friends Kristen & Bryan, we MADE our invitations! Yes, you read that right. MADE. As in designed, printed, cut, round-edge-punched, assembled, sealed, stamped, SENT! Here's the breakdown of our process.
One of my bridesmaids, Bekkah, dabbles in Graphic Design. I enlisted her help from the beginning, and she patiently worked with me through all of the tweaks, suggestions, & edits. She made it possible for us to save a ton of money and have an amazing finished product. I am so happy with how they turned out! She was THE BEST!
As you can see, there were LOTS of e-mails back & forth!
As you can see, there were LOTS of e-mails back & forth!
I decided I wanted a tall & skinny invitation (the size is 4" x 9") with a Postcard RSVP (4"x6"). I knew that most of our guests would access our website (printed at the bottom of the invite, the horror, I know) to find the Barn, so I didn't include a Map/Directions card. I'll include that in the Out of Town Gift Bags.
In my mind, I envisioned some sort of personalized symbol that was repeated over the whole invitation suite, as well as through the whole wedding. This came to fruition when I sketched out a C & M with a heart in between. Bekkah was able to look at my really truly horrible MS Paint sketch and create it in Adobe Illustrator. It turned out so well! I also wanted the image of the actual barn we were getting married in (Panorama Farms), so with permission from the venue manager, we created that as well.
I also looked around Etsy and Pinterest for more layout inspiration, and sent Bekkah a few other ideas. She sent me back something with bunting/flags, and I realized we had nailed it. It made the invitation feel more whimsical and fun, which is exactly what I want our wedding to be.
I also knew I wanted 2 very specific fonts, so had to decide on those. I went to dafont.com for inspiration. I thought a handwritten font plus a big, bold font would be really fun to mix, and I think it ended up going so well together! We used "Peach Sundress" and "A Gentle Touch".
2. Paper selection
Once the design was finalized, I knew I needed to decide on paper. I knew that even if I was going to send it out to get printed, I might as well supply them with paper. My first step was finding the right envelope. I had been scouring the web for a while, looking for the perfect Kraft paper envelope in size #10. I looked on Amazon first, but didn't find the right one. Then I just googled "Kraft Paper Envelopes #10"(link here) to come up with lots of results. I knew we needed at least 100, since our guest list is around 200, so I ordered 150 off Paper and More (link here). Their customer service was awesome: they upgraded my shipping from USPS Ground to USPS 2-day at no charge! I was quite pleased. Also, the envelopes were PERFECT!
Then came time to decide on paper. I didn't really know how I was going to have them printed, so I just decided to buy 8.5"x11" standard sized paper and get it cut down to the right size. I agonized over all of the choices, but went back to Paper and More since they had such great customer service the first time around. I picked 80 lb. Linen Cardstock in "Natural Cream", (link here) since our design was a little vintage feeling. The "Pure White"definitely would have been too bright.
I ordered 200 sheets, since I knew I needed to print 100 invitations (which fit 2 per sheet) plus 100 RSVP cards (which fit 3 per sheet). I also knew that I would want to have extra paper for our gift bags (as mentioned above: Map/Direction card, Things to Do, etc), so that's why I ordered 200.
Again, Paper & More upgraded my shipping at no charge so it came quickly! And the paper was PERFECT. I could not have been more pleased.
I decided to first try my hand at printing them at home. I knew it would save us money, as our print shop at the school charges 5 Cents per side of color printing. Plus I didn't know how well it would turn out. Since I am a control freak, I figured it would be better to try it at home. Once I tweaked the final invites (adding in our website information, etc), I had to figure out how to print from Adobe Illustrator. That actually took me about 2 hours of test printing on scrap paper at home before I figured it out. I ended up scaling down the print size (to 25% of original, very high-quality image) and it ended up working! I printed 50 sheets then flipped the paper over for it to print on the other half of the paper. It ended up going pretty fast!
After printing, they needed to be cut down to the right size. My little paper cutter from Amazon (here) was a life saver! I trimmed the paper down to 4"x9". I also saved the bottom scraps to utilize into another project I'll share later.
Thank goodness for out neighbors Kristen & Bryan. They came over for an early dinner of cheeses, dips, bread, and wine. It helps to bribe your team :)
You can see that we put them to work! Again, bribing with wine & food is always preferred.
Once we cut the invites themselves down to size, Kristen & I worked on the printing of the Postcard RSVP's. That was much more tricky, since it was double-sided. We ended up cutting paper to 4x6 size and scaling the (large) image down to about 25% of the original size. It ended up working perfectly! Kristen cut all of the paper we needed while I manned the printer.
You can see below that she was rounding the edges with a VERY handy tool (here), and stamping them with the only postcard stamps USPS had. We lucked out with the stamps, as last year's were Hawaiian shirts (YUCK). This year's postcard stamps are apples! So cute! (here)
So after a few hours of printing & cutting, we were ready to assemble those bad boys. You can see in some of the pictures that the boys were busy cutting twine (similar here) I purchased from Plaid Barn.
We ended up tying them all together and they turned out great!
One other thing I had to decide on is how to get the addresses on the envelopes. I was originally going to print them out in a really light font, and then trace over it in pen to fake-out our guests to think I did it by hand. That seemed too laborious a task so I tried a sample direct from the printer. I used the "Peach Sundress" font for the guest's names, and the "A Gentle Touch for their addresses". I did a quick mail merge (from our major Wedding Planner spreadsheet on Google Drive) and voila!
After printing them all, we used a really cute Return Address stamp I got on Etsy a while back (here). I randomly purchased an ink pad in the perfect shade of turquoise that dried instantly, so that was easy!
Here are our VIP envelopes: Martha Stewart (duh), The Obamas, and Will & Kate (double duh!)
All the envelopes! I used the Lady Bird Johnson stamps (here). They are so cute!
Here is the whole suite, all lined up. What do y'all think? I'm just in LOVE with them!