The Ultimate Money-Saving Guide to DIY Wedding Invitations
While planning their wedding, Kacey Yates and her fiance discussed what would make it the “perfect day.” Since they were on a budget, they needed to determine their priorities — and cut costs everywhere else.
The first thing that came to mind? The invitations.
Yates thought about how she felt when she received a wedding invitation: “Did I keep it? Did it shape my opinion of the couple? Did it shape my opinion of the day?”
Since the answers were all “no,” Yates and her fiance determined that wedding invitations weren’t high on their priority list and were a prime place to cut costs.
So she decided to make DIY wedding invitations. Not only did she save a significant amount of money — spending 50 cents per invitation, as opposed to the $2.50 she’d seen online — she felt like her invites were “very personal.”
If you’d like to save money on your wedding with DIY invitations, keep reading. From template options to paper choices, here’s everything you need to know.
The Wide World of DIY Wedding Invitations
When it comes to DIY wedding invitations, there are two basic levels of DIY.
The first is purchasing a template (more on those below) that you fill in, print and embellish yourself.
The other is doing everything from scratch: You create the design, then print, cut and package the invitations yourself.
When Katie Nathey couldn’t find invitations she liked within her budget, she decided to go this route and handcraft her own rustic wedding invitations.
Although she spent $150 on supplies for her 50 invitations, she used the leftover materials to create drink tags, wedding wands and s’more kits.
“This amount was around $100-$150 less than purchasing pre-made invitations, and those didn’t include any embellishments,” she says. “Designing our invitations was one of the best decisions I could have made.”
Before deciding how DIY you want to go with your invites, do your research and think about your preferences (your true preferences — not the preferences of the Pinterest princess you wish you were).
Do you enjoy crafting? Or are you just trying to save a little money? How much time can you devote to the project? Would you rather spend time on your invites, or, say, custom centerpieces?
Ready to take the plunge? Here are your options for DIY wedding invitations.
DIY Wedding Invitation Templates
As mentioned above, one of the easiest options is to use print-yourself DIY wedding invitation templates.
They’re plentiful online — and many are even free. You simply add your details, download the template (usually as a PDF) and then print the invitations at home or a copy shop.
Here are some places to start your search:
- Printable Press: Variety of designs; downloads start at $79
- Download & Print: Access to 130+ templates for $49
- e.m.papers: Unique printables for $27 each
- Etsy: Search “DIY wedding invitation templates” and tons will pop up; this shop has some cute designs
- Wedding Chicks, Greetings Island, Printable Invitation Kits and Paper Source: Dozens of free templates
Nathey, whom you met earlier, found that her rustic DIY wedding invitations were so popular, she created a free template for readers to download.
“The good news is you don’t have to design your own invitations to save money,” she says. “There are more printable options available online, making it easier to customize your invitations on even the tiniest of budgets.”
Besides templates, another option is to order a customized wedding stamp with all the pertinent details on it. Rather than printing out the invitation, you simply stamp the info onto a piece of paper.
Want to see what they look like? Here’s an Etsy store that sells partially hand-lettered wedding invitation stamps for $80 and up.
Designing Your DIY Wedding Invitations
If you enjoy art, graphic design or calligraphy, then you might want to take it a step beyond the template and design your own wedding invitations.
First things first: The words are the most important part, so make sure you get a second pair of eyes to proofread!
Then, to create the basic layout of your invitation, you can use a free trial of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator; a free online program like Canva or PicMonkey; or a word-processing tool like Word or Pages.
Important design elements to consider include fonts, line spacing, alignment, colors and theme.
Yates, for example, added an image of a golden snitch to allude to her Harry Potter-themed engagement, while Nathey went rustic to match her cabin wedding.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t mix more than three fonts and should stay consistent throughout the invitation suite (including other inserts like RSVP cards or maps).
Choosing Paper for Your DIY Wedding Invitations
Although it might seem unimportant, don’t skimp on the paper — it can make or break your invitation.
You should try to buy cardstock that’s at least 65-pound, though 80-pound is even better.
“I would recommend printing on the heaviest cardstock paper you can find and afford,” writes Nathey. “The thicker the invitation, the better it will look and feel.” For her invitations, she used 110-pound heavy cardstock, which resists both bending and bleeding.
If you’re printing from home (more on that in the next section), she says you should make sure your printer can handle whatever cardstock you choose. You can find this information in your printer’s manual, or by searching online for your printer’s “max paper weight.”
You can also choose different finishes for your paper; for wedding invitations, popular finishes include cotton or linen, which are beautiful but more expensive.
For her golden snitch invites, Yates used premium linen cardstock. She felt it “really added that something special to the wedding invitations, making them look elegant and sophisticated as opposed to normal card paper.”
Alternatively, recycled paper is also a popular option — especially for rustic or boho invites.
Other options worth considering? Pocketfold invitations, which you can order online from sites like Cards and Pockets, or DIY wedding invitation kits, which include paper for the invitations and RSVP cards, and envelopes for both.
That being said, one easy way to keep costs down is to forgo the RSVP card. (Less paper and fewer stamps!)
Instead, ask your guests to RSVP on your wedding website. If you have relatives who don’t use the internet, you can include a small card asking them to RSVP by phone.
Lastly, don’t forget: You need one invitation per address — not per guest. So don’t make the mistake of ordering double the paper you need!
Printing Your DIY Wedding Invitations
Whether you’re using a DIY wedding invitation template or designing the whole thing yourself, you’re going to need to print it somehow.
The most penny-hoarding option? Print your invitations at home. As long as you have a decent printer — and use nice paper — this will probably work fine.
Both inkjet and laser printers are up to the job; just be sure to select the highest-quality print setting. (Here’s an example of a woman who printed her invitations using an HP Officejet Printer.)
To save money, use black ink only; if you want a splash of color, use colored paper.
When it comes to cutting out your invitations, try to get the most out of each sheet. If you’re using 12-by-12-inch paper to print 5-by-7-inch invitations, here’s one bride’s strategy:
Alternatively, you can get your invitations printed at a local copy shop or office-supply store. It’ll be more expensive, but it might be worth it for the time you’ll save, as they can also cut the invitations for you.
Lauren Lanker, for example, got 200 invitations printed and cut at Kinko’s for $32, which seems like a pretty good deal. Just be sure to do a test run, so you don’t end up with smudgy invitations like she did!
Making Your DIY Invitations Shine
If you can believe it, so far we’ve only covered the basics of DIY wedding invitations. Once you’ve designed and printed them, there are countless ways to make your invites shine.
You could add embellishments like:
- Or whatever else tickles your fancy!
For example, Nathey used a combination of hole punches, buttons, lace, ribbon and twine to embellish her rustic wedding invitations.
“We spent roughly $150 on our wedding invitations, with a big chunk of our budget going towards the craft supplies to create the embellishments,” she says. (But don’t forget: She used the leftover supplies to make other wedding goodies.)
The sky’s the limit here. Don’t be afraid to browse the internet for inspiration and let your imagination run wild.
Don’t Forget the Envelopes
One final way to make your invitations stand out? Killer envelopes.
Envelope liners are a popular option. If purchased from a site like Minted, they’d run you a whopping 76 cents per liner — but you can make them yourself with fabric, pretty paper, an engagement photo or even a pencil eraser (though I don’t want to think about how long that would take!).
As for the addresses, you can hire a calligrapher, but that’ll cost you a whopping $2-$5 per envelope. It’s much more affordable to enlist your friends to help you, or just print pretty labels like these.
Don’t forget to include your return address, using a label or stamp.
The Final Step: Mailing Your Invitations
Next, it’s time to visit the post office to weigh your entire invitation and see how much postage it’ll require. (Note: Square envelopes cost more to mail, so unless you’re really attached to that shape, rectangular is the way to go.)
As for postage stamps, you can purchase custom versions with your face on them — but it’ll cost you more than $1 per stamp. Instead, here’s how to save money on Forever stamps.
When it comes time to finally — blissfully!!! — mail out your invites, it’s a good idea to physically bring them to the post office.
That way, you can ask the postal worker to “hand cancel” them (rather than put them through the machine and potentially damage the envelopes). Some post offices will do this for free, while others charge up to 20 cents per envelope.
When in Doubt, Just Customize the Design
If, after reading all this, it turns out you’re not as crafty (or don’t have as much time) as you thought, remember there are still ways to get creative with your wedding invitations — even if you don’t go the DIY route.
But, unlike with DIY invites, the company takes care of the rest. (Minted will even address the envelopes for you.)
“I filled out information as to what I was looking for in terms of look, style, theme, etc,” she says. “They then sent me a folder full of sample paper, color palettes, text samples and so on.”
Once she’d chosen the perfect combo, she ordered it from the site. It arrived as a single sheet she folded up to mail.
Gagnon “loved” her invitations, which cost about $1.50 each. “My hand touched every part of them,” she says. “And then these two little hands went out in a snow storm on Valentine’s Day to send them out because it was cute, darnit.”
That’s it! Now you know how to craft your DIY wedding invitations. Now all that’s left to worry about is the band, the food, the cake, the dress, the honeymoon…
Ready for a glass of wine? I certainly am!
Your Turn: Did you make your own wedding invitations? Was it worth it?
Susan Shain is a freelance writer and digital nomad. She covers travel, food and personal finance (basically, how to save money so you can travel more and eat more). Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.