To DIY or not to DIY – Your Wedding Invitations

15 May
Your wedding invitations are the first introduction to the day that your guests will see. They set the scene, give your guests a taster of the colour swatch, provide useful information and generally introduce your guests to the proceedings. Quite an important part of the wedding then, wouldn’t you say?

So how much should you spend and can you ‘do them yourself’?

Well, the answer to the first part is more about your budget than anything else. However, you can have your invitations made for you for as little as $8.00 each – to include all your inserts, personalisation, envelopes, etc. For 45 invitations that’s just $360 – hardly a Kings ransom when compared to the entire price of your wedding!

Can you ‘do them yourself’? Well, of course you can! Most large craft/stationery stores these days will give you different options for DIY. The cost will vary depending on how much DIY you want to do. For example you can start with just the raw materials and do all the cutting, printing & sticking yourself, or you can have most of the materials cut to size for you. Some stores will even do the printing for you! The cost though can still be in the region of $5.00 for each invitation and then you have to factor in your time to assemble the invitations and whether you need to purchase/hire specialist equipment.

Let’s look at the process (& costs) of making an invitation. Why don’t we look at my Seashell Collection and start with the materials needed (I’ve given approx retail prices on the photos to help you work out your budget):

Seashell Collection Supplies

  • White shimmer cardstock (to make the outer card and possibly for inserts) – this can be purchased pre-cut and scored or you can purchase card and cut and score yourself
  • Green shimmer cardstock (for the elements) – this will need to be precision cut into 3 different size squares to make the ‘pyramid’ effect on the front and also into small rectangles for the element at the bottom
  • Seashell design quality linen paper – individual shells need to be cut from some sheets & printing required on others
  • Self adhesive pearl elements
  • White shimmer cardstock pockets for the inside
  • White shimmer textweight quality paper for the inserts
  • White organza ribbon

If you are doing the full DIY job then you need to consider your equipment also:

  • Word processing programme
    Basic Equipment

    Colour laser printer – most quality cardstock and paper will not print well in inkjet printers.

  • Steel ruler & scalpel (or good cutting system)
  • Cutting mat
  • Sharp scissors (they must be sharp for cutting ribbon without fraying)
  • Glues, tapes
  • tweezers (for fiddly bits)

Now you need to consider the time element. Making up the invitations once everything is printed and cut will probably take around 10-15 mins per invitation. Not bad, but consider how long it will take to measure, cut and print everything … This is the longest and fiddliest part of the job. The laying out of the printing and making sure that the wording is absolutely perfect takes time – you don’t want to print out all your invitations on your best paper, only to discover that you’ve misspelt the venue! Measuring each of those squares and cutting them out, then attaching the glue/tape, sticking them together and placing onto the card front – takes time, and lots of it. Cutting out those seashells – painstaking!

There’s no denying the sense of satisfaction you get from seeing 45 completed invitations laid out in front of you ready to go – it’s my favourite part of the job! But do be sure that the work involved is not going to become too overwhelming for you before you leap in.

My best tip? Take your time and practice, practice, practice with plain white paper before you start on the good stuff.

Oh, and if you’re one of those who rings me up and says “I’m not paying $7.00 for something people are just going to throw away”, then you should probably go straight to K-Mart and buy a set of preprinted invitations! Before you do that though I’d just like to say that I have kept every single wedding invitation that I have received (along with the thankyou’s, bonbonniere tags, etc) – they come from my friends and family, people I love and value, who want me to share their special day and I cherish that.

Whichever option you choose, enjoy the process and take your time making sure you get that first impression exactly the way you want it. After all this is your special day and you deserve it  🙂

Here’s a useful link for a DIY invitations and paper stockist:


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