Coming to Your Mailbox

I love to get mail. Seriously, I know the sound the mail truck makes. So when we began our invitation process, I wanted people to have something enjoyable in the mailbox waiting for them.

Ok, fine. Enjoyable and glittery.

With about less than 50 days to go, I thought I would share our semi-DIY wedding invites with you. We knew the style we liked but spent hours looking for an affordable option. When crafting these, I spent so much time worrying that they looked homemade. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I just wanted it to look polished.

If you are looking for wedding invitations, all of these sites offer great options in a variety of price ranges.

To make this easier, I’m going to break it down into stages.

Design

We wanted the invitation to look formal but have the typography feel to it. After pricing a few out, we decided on Etsy because we could get a digital file to print on our own. When we started looking, I told Greg I wanted it to be his decision. He started worrying about making a bad decision so we came to a compromise—I’d find a bunch and show him, pick the top three finalists, and he would crown a champion.

After hours of debating the winner, Greg chose Pomp Designs on Etsy. There was just something about her design which we both loved.

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This is our design but with navy text. Sorry but I’m not posting my real ones for anyone to see on the internets until after the wedding.

I contacted her and sent her all vital details and she sent me a draft. To make sure the blue was right, we printed it out at home but it looked a little off. So we went to FedEx/Kinko’s to have them print it in color. It still wasn’t the color we wanted, so I talked to her and she made an adjustment. One more trip to FedEx/Kinko’s and we were good to go.

Side note: colors don’t always translate the same from computer to paper, always double check your colors.

We received a PDF (with two of each piece per page) complete with full bleeds and crop marks.

Full bleeds and crop marks?

Full bleeds means refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed is the part on the side of a document that gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies.

Crop marks are lines showing you where to cut the image.

Printing

We could have printed the invitations ourselves but decided to let a professional handle it. For our save the dates, we used CatPrint.com based out of New York. They were great to work with and offered amazing paper. Plus I had a coupon for 15 percent off.

I have a vision for our invitations—simple and yet sparkly. We chose a heavy linen paper to print all our cards on (invitation, reception, response, and accommodations). CatPrint sent us hard copy proofs to review before they ran the entire order. A few days later, a very heavy box appeared at the door.

Envelopes

I ordered our inner and outer envelope from PaperPresentation.com. I would advise ordering a sample envelope before ordering all of them. A color I thought was white definitely was not. Needless to say, I had to return and rebuy in a white.

For the RSVP cards, I wanted them to stand out a bit more just to remind people to mail them back. I Found 100 French Blue 4-Bar envelopes on Etsy.com and picked them up.

Every inner envelope and RSVP envelope was lined with glitter paper. To make liners, it’s easy—make a template (out of cardboard) by tracking your envelope and cutting a quarter of an inch off each side and a half inch off the bottom.

We found glitter wrapping paper at Michael’s which was nice and thick. You can’t use cheap wrapping paper for this or it will rip as you cut it with the Exacto knife. I busted out my craft table and rolled the paper out. After doing a few, I realized it’s easier to cut the glitter paper on the wrong side. You got a cleaner cut. I know this seems like it will take a long time but it really doesn’t. Two hours max to cut out all of the liners (with extras).

Each roll gave me about 35 A7 liners. One and a half rolls gave me over 100 RSVP liners.

I printed the guest name on each inner envelope and then inserted the glitter liner. I lowered the envelope flap and folded the gold glitter liner. When I raised the flap, I applied the glue and raised the liner to it. Very easy. The same method was used on all our RSVP envelopes.

Belly Bands

What a pain to make. I would never make these again. They looked great on the invitation but took too much time. I bought navy craft paper (12×12) and cut them into 1.5” strips. I found decorative edge cutter and cut all the edges.

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Never again.

Cutting

Since each sheet had two items on it, Greg and I needed to crop it to size. Our designs came with crop marks but they did not extend to the edge of the page. My friend Michele and I spent one Pizza Monday watching Pitch Perfect while drawing five lines per page on 220 pages of paper. She rocks.

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Speaking of rocking, Greg was the paper cutting king who was amazing with cropping all the invitations and enclosures on the paper cutter. Our paper cutter is a basic one from Staples which I’ve had for a few years.

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Assembly

To bring all the pieces together I folded each belly band around the invite, leaving a bit of room to allow for all the enclosures. Once it was folded, I trimmed it and adhered the belly band with double sided take.

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Then I inserted all the enclosures pieces and placed it all in the inner envelope. Once I had all of the invitations done, I placed the inner envelopes in the outer envelope.

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I recommend numbering your response cards because someone will forget to write their name down. As you can see from this picture, I was working off my list while assembling.

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But when you are done, you will have a box that looks like this for the post office.

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Cost

Our invitation breakdown:

Design $65
Printing $172
Envelopes (A7 inner/outer & 4-Bar) $60
Belly Bands (paper and cutter) $10
Glitter Paper Free*
Liner Template Free**
Paper cutter Free**

Total

$307

Per Invite (100)

$3.07

*Purchased when Michael’s offered a $5 off $5 coupon. Bought the wrapping paper at $4.99 and then added a sheet of paper for the belly bands at $.30.

**Already owned from a previous project.

Now let’s compare it to a similar invitation from Wedding Paper Diva (Everlasting Romance)

wpd sample

Invitation $214.20
Response card $140.70
Accommodations card $166.95
Reception card $166.95
Liners $31.50

Total

$720.30

Per invite (105)

$7.20

*Additional fee for inner envelopes but couldn’t find the fee.

**Belly bands not sold by Weddingpaperdivas.com

In all, we probably spent about 8 hours doing craft related aspects of this job which would not have happened had we ordered the invites. What made it worth it was the cost savings of over $400. If you break out the time we spent crafting (not including assembly or envelope printing since we would have done them anyway), it averaged about $50 an hour which our time is definitely not worth. We could have also made our costs less by choosing a different paper or even printing ourselves but we decided to go with a professional.

We spread these tasks so that they did not seem overwhelming such as doing 10 belly bands a day. By spreading out all the tasks, they became manageable and not overwhelming. It also helps to have great friends and a wonderful fiancée to help out.

In the end, the invites looked great.

finished

Mickey and Minnie thought so.

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