Once everything was designed on the computer, we basically had two options: send them off to a printer or attempt to print them ourselves. We had just purchased a new home printer after our save the date envelope fiasco, so we decided to give it a try to see if we could get the look we were going for before exploring other options. We printed a dozen or so samples, tweaking the print settings as we went. We ended up using the “Photo Quality” printing option, along with a number of color and saturation adjustments to get the look we wanted.
We were able to create an end result that was colorful and dreamy. Once we figured out how to create this look with our home printer, I went in search of the perfect paper. I went to my local Paperworks to touch everything look for the paper of my dreams. The woman there was very helpful and suggested a number of options, and she even let me take home a few samples to test it in the printer. I loved the super heavy weight stock, but I wasn’t sure our little home printer could handle it, but after a few test runs, I was pretty confident it would work.
The paper I chose in the end was Crane & Co’s Lettra in pearl white. Paperworks even sells pre-cut cards in both the A7 and A1 sizes (standard for invitations and response cards), so that saved us some time measuring and cutting. I designed the detail cards to be exactly 1/4 of a standard 8.5×11 sheet, so we were able to print four per sheet. I just measured with a ruler and pencil on the back of each sheet and cut them out using a brand new (read: extra sharp!) pair of scissors.
The next step was choosing envelopes. We had good luck ordering through Envelopes.com for our save the dates, so we decided to try them first. After checking out a few samples, we decided their “avocado” color was perfect for our suite and ordered both the big ones and the small ones to match.
We also printed our envelopes on our home printer. Using the same two fonts from our invitation design, I whipped up a quick template in Photoshop and sent them through. Make sure you order extra envelopes if you’re trying this, because we definitely mangled quite a few during our trial and error process. We printed the envelopes using standard printer settings (not photo quality) and they came out great.
The stamps are the Vintage Rose Forever Stamps. I saw a photo of these stamps months ago and knew they were coming out on Valentine’s Day—after almost missing out on the perfect stamps for our save the dates, I totally stalked our invitation stamps! Sigh…the things we do for beautiful paper. 😉 (Disclaimer: I completely recognize that this stamp obsession is insane.) We had our invitations weighed several times, and luckily they were lightweight enough to be mailed with a forever stamp with no added postage.
Because I can’t just let things be simple, I also added envelope liners. Back to Paperworks I went, and I found some super pale pink parchment paper, which I thought went really nicely with the green envelopes. I found this free printable envelope liner online and edited it a bit to make it work for our envelopes. Then—you guessed it—I printed them out on our trusty printer. I was able to fit three liners on one standard sheet of paper and printed a template on the reverse side to make cutting easier. Mr. T took charge of the assembly of the envelopes, and he found that a combination of glue dots and double-sided adhesive was the best system to attach them. I love how the botanical print on the liner looks like it’s growing out of the envelope! Definitely a small and inexpensive touch that made a big difference.
To tie it all together (har har), I used a length of black and white baker’s twine, which I purchased from Paper Source. After much waffling, some helpful bee friends (ahem, Clownfish and Narwhal) suggested I try baker’s twine. I was worried the twine would look too casual for our otherwise moderately fancy invitations, but I should’ve trusted the bees! The black of the baker’s twine matched so nicely with the stamps and the envelope liners, and (figuratively and literally) tied the design together. I used one yard of twine for each suite.
Our invitations, like many of our other projects, were a labor of love. It took us the better part of a weekend (and an entire season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix) to print, cut, stick, tie, and assemble everything. If you plan to take on a project of this scale, I suggest that you leave yourself plenty of time, because things will go wrong (eg. paper jams, running out of ink, shipping delays, envelope-eating printers, running out of ink again). Mr. T doesn’t love fiddly little crafts, so I let him choose his jobs (he chose printing, stamping the envelopes, and envelope liner duty). I don’t mind repetitive and precise tasks, but I can’t deal with technical difficulties, so I did most of the measuring, cutting, and tying, and called him in when I had printer trouble.
How much do custom self-designed, home-printed invitations cost? Somewhere in the middle of the road. For all the paper, envelopes, glue, twine, ink, and stamps, our invites came out to a little less than $3.25 per invitation. That total doesn’t include the cost of any extra supplies we have left over, since we plan to use most of it on future projects (programs, signage, etc). There are surely cheaper or less labor-intensive options, but this was a project that was important to me to take on myself, and the cost is nowhere near the $7-10 price point for some fancy letterpress pocket fold invitation suites out there, so I’m pleased with it.
In the end, we both were so happy to get these out of the house. I think that no matter how much you love something, spending many hours staring at it will make you start to hate it. On one glorious Saturday morning, we took them to the post office and had them hand canceled. Our invitations were finally on their way out into the world! We love hearing feedback from our guests as they arrive in their mailboxes. Funny enough, the most commented on feature? Those last-minute envelope liners.
What’s the biggest DIY project you took on for your wedding? Was the end result worth it?