Save Money on Your Wedding: DIY Wedding Invitations

In addition to doing my own wedding flowers and wedding album, we also made all of our own wedding invitations, save-the-dates, programs, placecards, and favor tags. I bought thank you notes at Target for $5 a box. My total cost for all of my paper items was around $200.

When to Choose DIY Wedding Invitations
If you want a simple printed card, then it may actually be cheaper to buy your wedding invitations from one of the online printing companies. However, once you start veering into complicated invitations with folded cards and ribbons, it’s time to consider do-it-yourself wedding invitations. Although it will take more time, those fancy invitations can easily cost $4-5 per invitation if you buy them from a printer. If you buy the paper by the ream at a paper supply store or online, you’ll pay less than $1 per invitation in most cases. Visit Neenah Paper to find local paper suppliers.

Ideas for DIY Wedding Invitations and Other Wedding Paper
These days, you need more than just an invitation. Everything is supposed to fit your theme, and you need lots of pieces to accomplish that.

Save the Dates
This is the place to get really creative and express your theme or location. My friend made refrigerator magnets and included a list of local hotels with it. My sister made postcards based on the location of her wedding. Another friend scanned and printed photos of them from a photo booth and attached them to simple cards in their wedding colors. They had a photo booth at the reception to tie it together.

I printed our cards on 8 ½ x 11 inch cardstock, then divided it into three pieces, folded another piece of cardstock around the middle and tied it with a ribbon. The first card had the date and location. The second piece recommended costume ideas for our theme wedding. The third card listed local hotels and our website.

My invitations were scrolls, so we had to make them ourselves. My mom designed the border, then we printed them on an inkjet. We made reply cards out of cardstock so there was no need for an envelope. A friend bought a bubble-jet printer on eBay to make special raised ink on her invitations. Yet another friend had the invitation cards printed at a paper store, but lined the envelopes with another paper to match her theme. Both of them bought small envelopes at a paper store for their DIY reply cards.

If you’re willing to corral your friends and use some elbow grease, you can have fantastic invitations for just a few hundred dollars, but people will think you spent much more. Although calligraphed invitations are still traditional, many brides choose to handwrite the envelopes or simply print them in an attractive font. Let’s be honest – most people don’t care about the envelope typeface or stamp placement. They’re more concerned with the details inside.

If you make your own invitations, you’ll probably have some leftover cardstock. If it’s a light color, you can make your own placecards by printing several on a single sheet of cardstock and cutting them out. Use stickers or a symbol to indicate who chose which meal if you offered options.

Favor Tags
We made our own favors, so of course we made our own favor tags. We printed them on the same paper we used for the invitations, cut them into rectangles, punched holes in the tops, and then tied them to our handmade favors (hand-rolled beeswax candles) with blank ribbon that matched our colors.

If you’ve already got paper for your invitations, you can simply print programs on your computer in colors to match. Keep it simple by folding the sheet in half and tying a ribbon through two holes punched near the crease. One friend bought cheap fans in Chinatown and tied her program to it. We rolled ours up and put them through a cheap “gold” ring intended for favors. Another friend simply folded hers into thirds.

Thank You Notes
It’s traditional to order printed cards with your names on them, such as “Bill & Katherine” or your new joint initial or a monogram of your first name, his first name, and your new joint initial: “BMK”. My aunt still uses notes with their names on it to send thank you notes and other correspondence. If you like this tradition, you can order affordable cards from a paper store. Or you could go to a stationery store and buy a box of basic thank you notes in a color that matches your theme. At $5 for 20 cards and envelopes, you really can’t beat that price and you can use the leftovers well after the wedding.

How to Determine Whether You Can DIY
The best way to come up with an idea is to flip through wedding magazines to find invitations you like, then see if you can figure out how to construct them yourself. Visit a paper store to price out your supplies. If it’s less than the cost of the wedding invitations you like, it’s worth the effort. We made ours at Christmas when all the family was together and could help.

If you’re worried people will think you’re cheap, don’t be. When I see a handmade invitation, I’m always impressed by the care and creativity that went into it. Your friends will be, too.

Of course, DIYing isn’t for everyone. If you prefer to buy invitations, choose something original that will reflect you as a couple.

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