Do-It-Yourself Wedding Invitations, Programs, and More!

Yes, you heard that right.

You can make your own wedding invitations, programs, and extras at a fraction of the cost of custom printing. I should know, because that is exactly what I did for my own wedding.

Perhaps I should quantify my previous statement by saying that mon mari is an artist, but even if you aren’t marrying an artist, I’m sure you know someone who can create a design for you, or someone who has a computer program you can borrow to design a one-of-a-kind invitation for your special day.

Save-The-Date Cards

The first step was our Save-The-Date postcard design. I composed the message, and he drew a pen and ink drawing of my favorite flower and scanned it in to our computer, integrating the text and art together in a template. We bought some ivory postcard stock, and printed them out at home. We were even able to custom-color the text in our word processing program. The best part? I guarantee you that no other bride has had a Save-The-Date quite like mine!

The Wedding Invitation

This is a bit more complicated because wedding invitations typically have multiple components and envelopes.

I should begin by listing the items we bought:

  • Business Cards in ivory card stock – For Custom Inserts listing our wedding website address (our free website included information for guests ranging from our registries to hotel accommodations and our favorite restaurants for out-of-town visitors)
  • Post Cards in ivory card stock (these were extras we bought with the Save-The-Date batch) – For our Response Cards
  • Blank Invitations in ivory card stock – purchased at the office supply store. You can also get larger sheets and have a printing store chain cut them down to size for you.
  • Ivory Outer Envelopes – purchased at an office supply store, but you can also get these at party stores (get lots of extras, you will make mistakes addressing them!)
  • Ivory Inner Envelopes (with taupe lining and crepe paper insert) for the Invitation and other components – purchased at a local party store
  • Return Address Labels – we used these for the Invitations and the Response Cards

The business cards and post cards were found online. The return address labels were ordered through the mail. Our card stock, inner, and outer envelopes were found at the printing store, office supply, and party stores in our town. These stores have catalogs of stationery products they carry that you can custom order – just ask the store manager. Also, if you buy these paper products in bulk quantities; think 100, 200, 300, you can often get a discount or free shipping.  The other nice thing about making your own invitations is that it works great for a custom number or odd number of guests.

Once we had all the materials, mon mari drew a design for our invitation that was personal to us and scanned it into our computer using our word processing program. Just be sure you size the page correctly to the size of the invitation you plan to use!  You can do either a portrait-style or landscape-type design.

I added the wording based on examples I liked from wedding etiquette books and bridal magazines. We designed monogrammed website inserts and response cards using templates from our word processing program. Look for the option to customize the paper you are printing to (a business card, a label, etc.) then just add whatever text you wish.

We were able to print a few of the items from home, but for the invitation itself, we took our design on an electronic drive to a printing store chain where they printed our invitations in black and white with gray-scale details, for a fraction of what a custom printer would have cost.

Finally, we enlisted a family member with beautiful cursive to address our invitations as a special favor! This step saved us quite a bit of money compared to the calligraphy services that some couples use.

Programs, Place Cards, and Extras

We also made our own layered wedding programs by purchasing sheets of patterned vellum and lavender card stock at a craft store. I designed the program myself, and we had them printed at the same time as the invitations. We tied the vellum and card stock together with a cream ribbon bow threaded through two holes we punched in the top of each program.

Finally, for our rehearsal dinner, we made a custom invitation and printed it out on ivory card stock with purple lettering. I also made a custom place cards using ivory business cards for each person attending and adorned each one with a flower and a pearl in the center.

The total cost came in just over $162.00 for over 130 wedding invitations, 150 inner envelopes and 300 outer envelopes, 200 postcards, 250 web inserts/place cards, 22 rehearsal dinner invitations and envelopes (we used the extra outer envelopes), 250 address labels, and over 50 programs (including any embellishments).  This amount included all our printing expenses, postage was extra.

Side-notes: One thing to remember if you decide to design your own invitations: some of your guests will decline, so be sure that you have enough extra copies to send out if you are planning to have a certain number of guests. Furthermore, a few family members wanted extra copies as mementos (since mon mari did the artwork) and I have a copy of everything saved in my wedding album. Even if you end up ordering invitations, get plenty of extras!

Also, a quick word about thank-you notes: I purchased 250 thank-you notes separately from my other wedding stationery for a little over $50. They were ivory, shimmery and perfect. I used them for my wedding and shower gift thank-you notes. Even years later, I still have some left! I highly recommend picking a basic design for your thank-you notes in case you wind up with leftovers!

In Comparison:

I looked around online at a few wedding invitation sites and priced their invitation packages. Here are the results for an order of 150 wedding invitations and inserts (I priced for 150 guests because we had 120 guests, but you can’t buy invitations for just 120 or 130 guests):

I found that prices ranged from about $135.00 to over $800.00 just for invitations, envelopes, response cards, address labels (in some packages), and save-the-dates. On the high end, the cost was well over $150.00 just for the invitations alone, and I picked the most basic options. I am sure that there are even pricier designs out there for couples who really want to splurge!

None of the designs I found included a website/registry card. And for an extra $30 or so from the cheapest option, I was able to get address labels, make custom programs for the ceremony, unique place cards, and invitations for my rehearsal dinner.

If you create you own wedding invitations, it does take a bit of time and thought, but when I look back through my wedding album, I marvel at the totally unique experience I was able to create for my spouse and myself on our most special of days. The work we put into our wedding stationery pales in comparison to the memories I have of creating it alongside him.

Your wedding is your chance as a couple to reflect who you are, so spend your budget in the areas that matter most to the two of you. ♥