During the wedding planning process I started reading a lot of blogs.  Sooooo many brides were doing DIY projects.  The wedding blogs really got my planning/artistic juices flowing.  I would read about how simple it is to make X all on your own and immediately I would want to take on the DIY project.  I would gently remind myself I am not the artist in the family, that would be my sister, the MOH.

My friend from work was kind enough to share A LOT and I really mean A LOT of her wedding/party planning expertise with me.  One of her suggestions was to check out her friend’s blog called Aisle with Style.  As I was browsing the posts I found a post for the wedding invitations my friend had done for her brother’s wedding.  When I stumbled upon the blog post I instantly wanted to make my own invitations.  I emailed my friend and asked her for the details on the invitations she made for her sister-in-law’s wedding.  Then I forwarded the post to my then fiance and mother.

Both liked the invitations; however neither was excited about the DIY part.  My husband was very concerned about hidden costs of DIY as well as the time it would take us to do the invites.  I started pricing out invitations online.  The non diy invitations would still cost a pretty penny even from the online vendors I found.  While visiting my parents for Thanksgiving we spent sometime doing wedding stuff.  Sunday we went with my mom to register at Bloomingdale’s.  There just happen to be a paper/invitation store in the same complex so we stopped in to check out the invitation designs as well as pricing.  As I had assured both my mother and husband the invitations were expensive! Both were finally, mostly, on board with a little (or a lot as the case maybe be) DIY action.

After purchasing the paper and the pretty purple envelopes.  I could barely contain my excitement.  There was only one issue, I had a super old version of PhotoShop and it wasn’t compatible with a lot of the new functionality.  My husband to the rescue!  He quickly jumped onto his computer and downloaded a 30 day trial version of the newest PhotoShop version.  And then the fun began. YAY!

I spent many hours camped out on the couch, watching tv and and cutting our invitations and insert cards down to size.  Below is a little picture of how I totally took over the coffee table to create our invitations.

In the end we had three pieces to our wedding invitations – the invitations, room block insert card and rsvp post card insert.

After completing all the invitation the next step was to do the envelopes.  Check out our DIY invitation calligraphy here.  We also made custom stamps for our wedding invitations, which you can see here.

My tips for a successfully DIY invitation:

1)  Buy a paper cutter.  A good paper cutter is essential for straight lines and a sharp blade is ideal so the edges don’t fray.

2)  Make one complete invitation before printing 100 copies.  When I made my inserts I didn’t put it all together until I had printed multiple copies. I think realized the Room Block and RSVP text was way to big and had to reprint.  Waste of paper and time.

3)  Print High resolution.  I printed the 1st few on standard.  They looked nice, but when the husband took over the printing press he printed on High (he had no idea what setting I had used) the colors popped more and so we had to re-print the ones I had initially printed.

4)  Buy extra paper.  I suggest printing on regular white paper for a while until you think it is right.  See #2 and #3 I needed extra paper because of small modifications and printer settings.

5)  Start early.  Everyone laughed when I started my invitations 8 months out. But I wasn’t motivated some days or just plain didn’t have time.  Giving myself a lot of time to complete the project reduced my stress level and made it more fun.

Happy DIY!

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We had received a few wedding and other party invitations with super pretty writing on the envelopes.  Specifically gorgeous calligraphy!  Despite loving calligraphy I couldn’t justify the cost of paying for hand done calligraphy on something 99.9% of people just throw away after opening the invitation.

So we went the route of DIY calligraphy.  By DIY I mean using the computer and printer, because my handwriting is less than ideal even for meeting notes. :)

Materials Needed:

First the husband and I went online and viewed a ton of different free calligraphy fonts.  After much deliberation we downloaded a free calligraphy font

We had a little over 100 invitation to address.  The envelopes we chose came in packs of 50, 250 and 500.  Clearly the 500 was over doing it, but we couldn’t decide if we should order 150 (3 packs of 50) or just go for the 250 pack of envelopes.  In the end we decided we could find other uses for the extra envelopes and went ahead and purchased 250 envelopes.

How to Create Envelopes in MS Word:

  1. Open MS Word
  2. Click Page Layout > Size > More Paper Sizes
  3. From the Paper Size drop down choose Custom Size
  4. For me I had A7 envelopes (5-1/4” x 7-1/4”)
  5. So within the width I entered 7.25 and height 5.25
  6. Click OK

DIY Calligraphy / Wedding Envelopes | Life's Tidbits

For the return address I decided to use a standard “block” font called “Adobe Caslon Pro”.  I have only received one invitation where the return address was calligraphy font, but I think this is all a matter of preference.  And since it’s DIY you can make it fit your style and font preference.

  • Type in a test address > select font, size and line spacing

Ours looked like this …

DIY Calligraphy / Wedding Envelopes | Life's Tidbits

  • Save the file someplace on your computer and clearly mark it as the return address portion of the envelope.
  • Once you are happy with how it looks print a TEST version.  I suggest plain white paper.
  • Once you are happy with how it looks go ahead and print a test version on an envelope.
  • Confirm everything looks perfect and make tweaks as necessary. Ensure you’ve spell checked as well.

At this point you can go ahead and print return addresses on all your envelopes.  If you have 130 invitations to send make an extra 10-15 envelopes with return addresses.  This will save you time if you have to reprint an address.  As you print them make sure the envelopes don’t fall on top of each other in the tray … it can cause smudging.  We lined our bookshelves with the envelopes and allowed them to dry over night before putting them in a pile.  Our apartment looked like a little printing press! :)

With the return address completed you are ready to start on the front of the envelope.  The steps are the same as above.

  • Type in a test address > select font, size and line spacing
  • Print tests on plain paper and then an envelope.
  • I think it took us at least 5-7 printed drafts to be happy.
  • Once you are happy go ahead and add all the addresses into the word file (click save periodically to ensure you don’t loose your work people!!).

Here’s what ours looked like in Word:

DIY Calligraphy / Wedding Envelopes | Life's Tidbits

A Couple Tips:

  1. Print High resolution.  I printed the 1st few on standard.  They looked nice, but when the husband suggested printing on High resolution it looked better.  This does use a little more in than standard, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t think it really cost us any additional money.
  2. Buy extra envelopes.  As I already mentioned print tests on regular white paper for a while until you think it is right.  You will need envelopes for testing, but you will also find that people move or you have an address incorrect and have to reprint.  Extra envelopes purchased up front save you heartburn later, promise!
  3. Start early.  Everyone laughed when I started printing envelopes 3 months before we sent them.  Giving myself a lot of time to complete the project reduced my stress level and made it more fun. Plus it ensured I gave the envelopes plenty of time to dry before additional printing or sending.  Nothing was smudged because we were rushing.

Here they are ready to be sent!  Oh how I still love those custom stamps.

DIY Calligraphy / Wedding Envelopes | Life's Tidbits

Good luck with your printing press!  If you have any questions about the process, please leave a comment … I’m happy to provide additional details!!

Happy Planning and DIY!!



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