The Minks’ DIY Program Fans, Part 1

I don’t know where I first saw a picture of a wedding program that doubled as a fan, but I loved the idea immediately. I knew I’d be making some for our wedding eventually. When I started to work on a design recently, I wasn’t happy with any of my drafts. I originally tried to use the “monogram” I wrote about awhile back. I didn’t like the results. I kept wishing that our program fans could look like our guestbook poster.


By AmpersandInk Designs (with minor edits on names)

I decided to reach out to Tasha Montgomery, the artist behind AmpersandInk Designs and our beautiful poster. We loved the illustration that Tasha created for our poster and were thrilled when she gave us permission to use it on our program fans.

Now that I had permission to use the illustration, I had to change the text to work for our programs. While I consider myself pretty tech savvy, I had always been intimidated by the software programs I’d need to use to make the edits (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.). I spent a few frustrating nights at the computer before things finally “clicked” for me while using Illustrator. Suddenly, I was tweaking layout and using glyphs (pretty characters that come with a font that you can’t use in simpler word-processing programs).

I was so proud of the final product. I had wanted to print the programs at home, but my Epson Artisan can’t handle the nice, linen card stock that I bought from Cards & Pockets for this project. A colleague suggested I take the files and paper to our copy center at work. They were happy to do personal jobs. Their prices seemed reasonable and the brochures they did for our office always looked great. I dropped everything off and almost sprinted to pick them up two days later when I got the call that the job was done.

They did it all wrong.

I opened the box and my heart sank. They had resized my image to fit the entire page. Perhaps I missed a setting that would prevent that in Illustrator, but every time I test printed the files, the size was exactly as I designed it. I couldn’t really have 8.5″ x 11″ fans! They’d look ridiculous!

What’s more, the quality of the printing varied dramatically throughout the stack. Some pieces were just fine, but others were faded out, as if the machine that printed them was low on ink. They also told me that they lost about 30 pieces of my beautiful card stock to a printer jam. I was kind of puzzled by that, but there was nothing I could do about it.


Photo by Miss Mink

To their credit, they offered to reprint the job and not change the size, but they didn’t have any paper that was nearly as nice as the card stock I gave them. I didn’t even have enough card stock left for that and I didn’t feel like there was any guarantee that the quality of the color would be better.

I quickly emailed T&N Printing, the people who printed our guestbook poster. I asked if they’d be willing to print on the back of the paper I had, and they told me to come right over. Within minutes of walking in the door, they handed me the product of a test print. I think I heard birds singing.


Photo by Miss Mink

As I waited, I looked around the shop and saw about half a dozen jobs that were being done for other offices where I work, including the President’s office. That was telling!

The staff at the shop was nice enough to do all the cutting for me, too. I had anticipated spending some time with my office’s paper cutter after hours, but a big paper-cutting machine took care of that task pretty quickly.


Photo by Miss Mink

The print shop at work didn’t charge me for the job when they saw my reaction to the finished product and acknowledged that they had resized my images. I know how much they would have charged me, though, and expected to pay more at the independent printer. In the end, T&N charged me half what the print shop at work would have charged. I was stunned and very grateful.


Photo by Miss Mink

I’m so happy with the final product. The size is perfect, the colors are strong, and the text (which I can’t really show) looks fantastic. I’m so excited to move to the next part of this project—putting the fans together.


The first job vs. the second / Photo by Miss Mink

Did you have any vendor mishaps? How did you resolve them?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Holy Moly Matrimony: Cocktail Hour in Milwaukee
Wanted: A Dress (Part 1)
Add a comment


  1. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 12:53 pm

    Oh, I’m so happy you were able to get them redone! Losing all of that pretty paper would have been terrible. :(

  2. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:54 pm

    I was sooo upset! Since I ordered the paper online, I didn’t think there was enough time to get more. Thank goodness the 2nd printer was willing to print on the backs!

  3. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:54 pm

    What a difference! They look great (the ones by T&N I mean).

  4. Member
    jaina8851 107 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:03 pm

    I have straight up decided not to do programs because of the hassle I went through to get my invitations printed… I stupidly thought I would just print all of mine myself. Which would have been fine, if my printer hadn’t broken a quarter of the way through. Then the new printer I bought couldn’t handle the card stock, which became a huge problem when I tried to print my double sided directions card. So I got that one card professionally printed. And then the ink colors on that card didn’t match the rest of the set. Total waste of paper, ink, and time… Fortunately it looked beautiful in the end, but man… I’m so done with paper products, haha.

  5. beanstalk Member
    Mrs. Beanstalk 770 posts, Busy bee @ 1:09 pm

    Printing can be so stressful because so many things can go wrong!!! I’m so happy that you found a solution quickly and ended up saving money in the process!!! Like you miss mink, I too am caught up in the allure of program fans! That is definitely on my list of projects to DIY!!! Yours came out super cute!!!

  6. scepter Member
    scepter 333 posts, Helper bee @ 1:25 pm

    The final one is beautiful! So glad you found a place that made your vision come to life!

  7. Member
    amy.kriesel 18 posts, Newbee @ 2:01 pm

    Please post pictures of your finished program fans. I would LOVE to see them as I am planning to make program fans for my wedding since we live in Florida, wedding and reception are outdoors and in May…Oui Vey!!

  8. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:25 pm

    How frustrating, but the finished printing is gorgeous!

  9. mole Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:46 pm

    I love how they turned out in the end! I’m sorry there was some frustration along the way, though.

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Cherish, Guest @ 4:04 pm

    That’s a crazy difference! I know the printer in my office would go all crazy if we were trying to do big jobs and would produce results like your first try. So glad you had the chance to redo them properly. They’re so pretty, I may just reconsider my decision to skip fan programs…

  11. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:06 pm

    The second one is so much better. Glad it worked out!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    PacNWbride, Guest @ 8:04 am

    I went to a wedding a week after I got engaged and the couple had done program fans and I was smitten. It was early September, all outside and a random 80 degrees in Washington! The definately got used! I loved the program so much that I kept it but as much as I like the style I don’t know if it will be useful for our wedding because we are getting married in October and it will all be indoors!

  13. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:45 am

    The first one isn’t bad if you were wanting it to look rustic, but the difference between the two is astronomical! Glad you were able to get the result you wanted.

  14. coyote Member
    coyote 1933 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:42 am

    Oh my gosh Mink, I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that frustration, but it looks like it all worked out for the best! They look beautiful!

add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors