Not to say that I don't love our invites. I'm actually really pleased about the way they turned out...overall. From the very beginning, I knew that stationery was low on my list. Not that I don't appreciate a nice piece of pretty paper, I just don't think spendng $700 on an invite that most people will discard after the wedding is worth it. But I did know I that I wanted something decent to send to our guests.
At first I had visions of making our invites from scratch...like purchasing our cardstock wholesale and assembling our own trifold invites. That would have been truly homemade! But considering my limited crafting skills, I knew that was never going to happen. So we purchased 3 DIY invitation kits at Michaels for $26 each (thanks to 40% off coupons!). There were 30 ivory and gold invitations in each box, and I only needed 60, but it turned out I really needed those extras for the "oopsies"...and there were many! Being a complete crafty novice, I should have kept it as simple as possible. The kits and the instructions are pretty simple. Grab the templates online and just print. Easy peasy, huh?
But no, I just had to take it a step further and emboss images onto the envelope! The invites are nice as they are, but our colors are purple and gold...where was the purple? We chose a cute floral stamp from Michaels to dress the front of the envelope. Using a monogram design from Custom Printables, I created a stamp and ordered it via Rubberstampchamp.com. I loved the customized design Valerie from Custom Printables made for us (more from her in a later post), but transferred onto a stamp was a different story. The stamp from Rubberstampchamp.com was made slightly lopsided, thus my many discarded "error" envelopes!
The embossing process took much longer than I had anticipated -- stamping each envelope with purple embossing ink, shaking purple embossing powder over the stamped image and heating the image. Long, tedious and pretty messy when going through 60 envelopes! But in the end, we came out with some pretty neat purple images to go along with our color scheme. We also purchased purple ribbon to replace the ivory ones.
My sister and her husband helped us with the printing since they had a better, faster printer. This part took us a lot longer (insert all-nighter here) because the main, front card didn't have enough room for reception information. So we created another card to glue onto the right flap, as well as another card for our menu items. We also made even more edits to our invitation wording and format (thanks to the extra eyes that helped us!) FYI. if you're planning to do any of your own printing, make sure you have a good, fast printer! Nothing sucks more than watching your printer slowly print. It's like watching grass grow!
My FH was insistent that we should write out each of our guests' addresses to make our invites more personal. At first, I wanted to kill him...seriously? Who has the time and talent to do that for all 60 of our invites? Since we have no money for a calligrapher, and our penmanship is craptastic, I printed out our addresses in a nice cursive font in very light ink on our address labels and traced them over with a purple pen. Haha! Calligraphy issue solved! They actually came out pretty nice, and we received some nice comments about the labels. No one seemed to notice we cheated ;)
So in the end, I got the trifold envelope invitations I wanted, my FH got the handwritten addresses he wanted, and we have the cute invites we're really pleased with for a reasonable price.
However, we did go over our budget with the invites. We budgeted only $150, but with the toner we had to purchase for the printer and the extra materials for the embossing, we came out to nearly $200 (including postage). Had I not made so many newbie mistakes, that number would have been more like $150 or even less! Oh well, live and learn.
I love that our invites were made by us, and yes, I do feel more of a connection to them. The more I look at them, the more I think, wow, we made those! It was a true DIT project (Do-it-Together). But considering the time, money and labor that went into them...I don't think I'll be doing that again anytime soon!
So...did you make your own invitations? How did the process go? Did you enjoy it?
(FYI: If you want to save money on postage, make sure your invitations are flat and lightweight. We were warned that the knots from each ribbon in our invites created a bump and might cause some invites to be rejected when cancelled through the machine. I wanted to be sure our invitations went through, hence the more expensive postage.)