Want to know how to make wedding invitations at home that will wow your guests, without breaking the bank? Well, you’re in the right place.
DIY wedding stationery can be a great way to reduce costs and get creative – BUT given invitations are the first thing your guests see, you’ll really want them to look good!
It can be hard to know where to start, so this post is here to help!
Related reading: Save the Date Etiquette; EVERYTHING you need to know!
This post is packed with so many tips, hints, and useful info that it clocks in at almost 4,000 words and covers different DIY methods, where to source supplies, how to make wedding invitations look polished and TONS more.
Feel free to browse the post as a whole, or use the content links below to navigate to each section.
STEP 1: SET YOUR WEDDING STATIONERY BUDGET
You’ll get far more use out of this guide on how to make wedding invitations if you know whether your budget is $50 or $500. If you don’t have a clear idea of how much is set aside for stationery then you’ll definitely overspend.
The invitation budget should, of course, be part of the wider wedding budget.
STEP 2: ARE DIY WEDDING INVITATIONS THE RIGHT OPTION FOR YOU?
If your wedding budget is tight, you may be keen to go down the DIY route for your invitations. But, it’s worth bearing in mind that DIY invitations can be quite time-consuming.
Besides, DIY is not always cheaper than buying (although it mostly is!).
To make sure that the handmade route is right for you it’s worth considering the following questions…
Do you actually like crafting?
There’s definitely a DIY wedding invitation for every skill level. But there’s no point taking on detailed hand-painted stationery if you hate getting crafty. Be realistic about how much DIY you actually want to do for your wedding.
How much will DIY wedding invitations cost?
If you want to save money you need to figure out if it is actually cheaper to make the invitations yourself. Will you need to buy any special tools that you don’t already own that might tip you over budget? Compare the cost of your chosen DIY method (see Step 8 below) vs. just buying the stationery to help you decide.
How much time will you need to make your own invitations?
This is a big one. When are you getting married? Do you have enough lead time to make all your own wedding stationery? Be clear on much time you have spare every week to get your DIY on. The last thing you want is to resent your engagement due to endless crafting sessions.
Do you have any help?
Is your other half on board with Project ‘Make All Our Own Stationery’? Do you have help from friends or family? This could make or break you when you have mountains of fiddly invitations to put together.
… Once you’ve answered those questions you’ll know (a) if DIY is still the route you want to go down, and (b) what time you have to commit to the project.
STEP 3: Define your handmade wedding invitations theme
Are you still on board to learn how to make wedding invitations yourself? Great!
Now it’s time to figure out your wedding theme and how your stationery will fit in. (Hint: this is the fun bit where you can let your imagination run riot!)
I made the mistake of only thinking about our stationery one bit at a time.
I created save the dates a year before the big day, with no thought to how the invitations would look later. I also changed the whole theme of the day between making the save the dates and invitations, so it was a bit random.
You don’t want to make the same mistake when you make your own wedding invitations, so it’s crucial to have your overall wedding theme finalized before you even start looking at invites. This could be a specific theme like rustic/ modern/ vintage or it could be as simple as knowing which color palette you’d like to weave into the day.
STEP 4: FIND YOUR HANDMADE WEDDING STATIONERY INSPIRATION
Now you have an idea of your wedding theme, you can start gathering ideas for how your invitations will look. A great place to start is always Pinterest.
Pin as many examples of stationery that fit your theme as you can find.
Have a look at each image and try to figure out what attracts you about it – is it the shape of the card? The font? The graphics? The way it’s styled and all the pretty extra details?
STEP 5: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN WEDDING STATIONERY: THE BASICS
Before we dive into the different ways that you can create your chosen invitation look, let’s get back to basics for a second.
What is included in a wedding stationery suite?
You might think it’s just invitations, but there are other things to think about too! Consider the following…
- Bridesmaid Proposal cards.
- Save the Dates – once a US tradition, these are becoming more popular in the UK, particularly for destination weddings. These are sent out in advance of the invitations to give people a heads-up of your chosen date.
- Invitation and RSVP cards.
- Wedding day programs, menus, signage, place/ escort cards.
- Thank you cards – to be sent out after the wedding.
You don’t have to DIY all of the above – feel free to make some and buy others if that suits you better, although it will be more cohesive if there is a common theme across all of your stationery
STEP 6: SOURCING SUPPLIES FOR DIY WEDDING STATIONERY
Bear with me – we’re getting to the DIY ideas in just a minute. Firstly, using the right materials is crucial when considering how to make wedding invitations.
Some things to keep in mind before you start:
Wedding paper & cardstock
Nothing screams ‘crappy homemade invitation’ like thin or flimsy card. You don’t have to spend a fortune on cardstock, but keep the following in mind:
For my American friends, you’ll be looking at paperweight in pounds (lbs). You should be looking at card stock 80 lbs+ depending on your needs.
In the UK and Ireland, when you go shopping for cardstock you’ll see ‘gsm’. This stands for ‘grams per square metre’ and the higher the number, the thicker the card.
As a rule of thumb, most professional invitations will be 250 gsm+ and 300 gsm card makes particularly sturdy and impressive invitations. But, be aware that card this thick won’t go through most standard home printers.
It’s easy to get confused about card sizes. A lot of standard invitations are ‘A6’ or ‘postcard’ sized (also known as 6″ x 4″). RSVP cards are often smaller ‘A7’ cards.
You can print off your invitations onto paper and then affix this to thicker card. Or you may want paper inserts to affix to gatefold invitations.
Invest in paper with a luxurious sheen (vs. standard printer paper) for a more professional feel.
My Favorite sources for card & paper
Where to buy wedding cardstock in the US: I hear good things about Paper and More.
Wedding Card making tools
Depending on what DIY method you choose, you may not need any tools at all. However, the following are helpful for making wedding invitations – I still use mine for tons of other crafts now!
- Paper trimmer: if you are cutting paper to size, you can’t beat a trimmer for creating an accurate straight edge. You don’t need to splash out too much – mine cost less than £11 and is still going strong.
- Double sided tape: I often hear people asking what glue they should use for wedding invitations. My answer is none. Well, not for affixing paper to paper anyway – glue can crease and cause bumps in the paper. The answer is double sided tape – I’m pretty obsessed with this stuff! Best of all, it’s cheap as chips.
- Hot glue gun: whilst gluing paper to paper isn’t the best idea, a hot glue gun is a great way of attaching embellishments such as ribbon or lace to your cards. Again, you don’t have to spend a fortune.
- Envelope moistener: believe me, you do NOT want to lick 100s of envelopes. Shredded tongue anyone? An envelope moistener is the perfect answer.
The fonts that you use for your wedding invitation text should complement your theme.
As for where to source fonts, you have so many options…
- Check out the fonts that come with your computer – you’d be surprised at what you already have access to.
- Use Picmonkey or Canva to design invitations and take advantage of the free and upgraded fonts you can use.
- Buy a more bespoke font to match your theme – try Etsy or, my personal favourite, Creative Market.
STEP 7: PRINTING YOUR OWN WEDDING INVITATIONS
When considering how to make wedding invitations, a key question is how are you going to print them? Luckily, I’ve tried ALL the options and can give you my two cents:
Print at Home
Not all home printers were created equal, so very thick card may not go through your printer. But, you can certainly create some lovely stationery on your home printer. My tips for printing your own wedding invitations:
- Use the best quality paper you can – my printer takes card stock up to c. 220 gsm/ 80 lb. This isn’t particularly sturdy but can still look lovely.
- Be aware of how printing quality will be affected by the finish of paper. For example – glossy paper may need more ink and matt or textured paper may be more likely to see ink bleed. If you can, buy a sample of the paper you’re hoping to use to check how well your printer will print onto it.
- Maximize printing quality by tweaking the settings:
- Choose ‘photo paper’ as the paper type (even for matt paper).
- Make sure you choose the highest quality color option.
- You can get streaks on the card if the printer rollers are dirty. Look the option in printer settings to clean the rollers. Tip: google the instructions for your printer model if you get stuck!
- Make sure you choose the right paper size. If there’s no exact size option in your printer settings, you can create a custom size within the settings. Tip: save that custom size so you can reuse it for other stationery of the same size at a later date!
You’d be surprised how much ink you’ll go through when printing onto card. You can try to limit the ink cost by choosing designs with a limited amount of text. It’s also wise to steer clear of large colorful graphics.
Print the invitations off on nice paper, then affix to thicker card using double-sided tape.
This layered look can look gorgeous – especially for vintage themed invitations. But, you have been warned, it is time-consuming.
Opt for professional printing.
Printing costs soon add up if you’re printing a whole invitation suite. In that case, you may be better off opting for professional printing. This isn’t as expensive as you’d think.
You could try your local print shop, or look online for a few options to choose from.
STEP 8: CHOOSE THE DIY INVITATION METHOD THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Ok, we’re finally on to the juicy stuff now. Drum roll… it’s time to choose how you’re going to make your own wedding invitations!
You might have an idea of what you want to create from the moodboard you created in Pinterest. But it’s also important to decide which DIY method will work best for you based on your budget and the time you have available.
I’ve pulled together the six main options for you to consider. Listed in order of ‘difficulty’, I’ve estimated the easiness, cost and time commitment of each to help you weigh it all up.
Read on to be inspired…
1. Online Printable Wedding Invitations
Calling this ‘DIY’ is probably a bit of a stretch! All you need to do is download the template, personalize your details (if required) and have the invitations printed off (see Step 7 above).
Pros: Wide range of themes available to suit every wedding. Paid for templates come pre-personalized with your details and ready to print off. Others you buy the generic template and populate with your own details in Word or Canva.
Cons: It’s not always possible to find a printable template that covers the whole stationery suite. So you may find a save the date you love, but no corresponding invitation template.
Cost: Many are available for free and paid for templates cost from $15 (no matter how many invitations you need to print off). Envelopes & paper/printing will cost extra (see below for full details).
Where to find them: Etsy, Basic Invite.
2. DIY Wedding Invitations Kits (Print & Assemble)
Again, I’d struggle to call this DIY! This is an option for someone who doesn’t trust their crafting skills. You just assemble invitations (i.e. attach inserts and bellybands) from a pre-printed kit.
Pros: You’ll get everything you need in one kit. You can say ‘I made that’ without really breaking much of a sweat!
Cons: You may have to print your own inserts for the cards (see Step 7 above). You also may pay extra to have your details printed on the cards or to add RSVP cards and envelopes.
Cost: Most cost around $4 per card. Cost increases depending on the ‘extras’ you decide to add.
3. Personalized Stamps
Pros: You can stamp onto the card of your choice (using ink in any color you choose), so you don’t need to print anything off. You can get stamps for save the dates, invitations, RSVPs and thank yous.
Cons: It can be a little time consuming and takes practice to stamp without smudging or making it crooked. Cards & envelopes need to be sourced separately. You may not be able to source matching stamps for all aspects of your wedding invitation suite.
Cost: The stamps themselves cost from c. $15+. Paper & envelopes will be extra (see Step 6 above).
4. Design Your Own Cards & Have Them Printed
Interested in the printable route but can’t find a design that you like? Why not make your own wedding invitations?
You can design them from scratch using cute graphics and fonts that you can often find for free. I designed our wedding invitations, RSVPs, menus, table plan and place cards myself. They’re still my favorite details from our wedding!
Pros: You’ll create a personal invitation that nobody else can buy. And you have the satisfaction of knowing that you designed it!
Cons: There is a small learning curve to get the hang of using an online program to put your design together. Stay tuned to the blog as I’ll be sharing easy to follow tutorials and videos to help very soon!
Cost: This can be a completely free option or you can buy cute graphics (like flowers) from c. $5 and gorgeous calligraphy fonts are available for $10 or less if you can’t find a free font that you like. Envelopes and paper/ printing will cost extra (see Steps 6 & & above).
How to pull it off: I love Picmonkey as an online program to design invitations. You can also try Canva as a program for designing cards. Etsy and Creative Market are my favourite sources of graphics and fonts to suit every theme.
5. Handmade Cards
This is the most ‘DIY’ of all the options, involving handmaking the invitations from scratch.
Pros: There is no limit to what you can produce – just your imagination (and crafting skills!).
Cons: It can be time consuming to make every single invitation by hand. Unless you want to handwrite them all, you’ll also need to figure out the best way to print off the invitations inserts (see Step 7 above).
Cost: You can make this as cost effective as you need. You may need to invest in some tools, but if you’ll use them for other projects then that cost makes sense (see Step 6 above).
6. Cards Made Using Specialist Tools
Laser cut wedding stationery is huge right now. Luckily, it’s possible to create this look yourself using a specialist machine such as a Cricut.
Pros: Any invitations you make will look truly professional and you can create some amazing intricate designs. This is a plus for someone who doesn’t want their invites to look too ‘homespun’.
Cons: You will need to invest in the machine upfront. Unless you feel you’ll use it again, it is a large investment to make just for your wedding invitations. It could also mean the invitations aren’t any cheaper than buying them if your budget is tight. There will also be a learning curve in getting to grips with the machine.
Cost: A Cricut Explore is a large investment at $250. Paper, envelopes & design add-ons for the machine will be extra.
STEP 9: HOW TO MAKE WEDDING INVITATIONS THAT LOOK POLISHED AND PROFESSIONAL
Before you dive in, take another look at your inspiration Pinterest board. I bet most of the images you loved are more than just a plain card and envelope, right?
Adding some easy and inexpensive details can lift your stationery from nice to ‘wow’! Here are some ideas to consider when considering how to make wedding invitations:
Jazz up your envelopes
Spending a little effort on your envelopes makes your wedding invitations look more professional.
- Colorful envelopes: Add a splash of color with envelopes in a complementary color to your cards.
- Envelope liners: I’m a huge fan of envelope liners. They’re such an easy way to add wow-factor and can be super cheap too. Try lining your envelopes with doilies cut down to size (just pop in place with double sided tape). Or create a liner from paper printed with your own design.
- Return address: Stamp your return address on your RSVP envelopes for a polished look. Or opt for pretty return address stickers to avoid having to write it out over and over again.
- Calligraphy: Try using this ‘cheating calligraphy‘ method from one of my favourite blogs, The Postman’s Knock, to address your envelopes.
- Use a stencil: Another great trick from The Postman’s Knock is to use a stencil to address your envelopes to keep everything aligned (grab Lindsey’s fab free stencil printable). I did not do this and it looked pretty messy by the time I’d hand-addressed 100 envelopes and started to lose the will to live.
- Cute postage stamps: Opt for postage stamps with a cute design, rather than boring standard ones.
Consider adding belly bands
These are those bands that ‘tie’ your invitation suite together. You can buy these or they’re quite simple to make – just cut paper to size and stick ends together with a dab of hot glue. Or, try a length of lace, ribbon or twine
think outside the box
Who says you can’t add a bit of fun to your invitations? Try adding colorful confetti or whimsical details to give your guests something to smile about.
STEP 10: HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING INVITATIONS
I learned a few money-saving tips from DIYing our wedding stationery. If you’re making your wedding invitations to save money then bear the following in mind:
If you’re not a slave to uniformity you can save a bundle of cash. For our wedding, I lined our envelopes with doilies. When I ran out of the doilies that fitted the envelopes I just cut larger ones down to size. Another example would be to cut any leftover invitation card blanks in half rather than buying smaller cards for RSVPs. As long as they look neat, don’t worry about some invitations looking slightly different. After all, your guests will only see their own card!
Mix & match materials
Try cutting the cost by having a mix of luxurious and cheaper materials. For example, if you splash out on expensive card, opt for cheaper envelopes (but make them a bit more special with a cute but inexpensive liner or calligraphy as outlined above).
Use discount codes & cash back sites
Always check for any voucher codes when purchasing your materials and tools. You never know how much you can save with a bit of strategic Googling.
Move the save the dates & RSVPs online
Cut down on the number of cards you need to make by sending adorable electronic save the dates from Paperless Post or asking guests to RSVP online. Then all you’d have to make are the invitation cards, which is a big cost saver.
For our wedding, postage was more than DOUBLE the cost of actually making our invitations! It’s important to keep postage in mind from the outset. So, be aware that chunky invitation designs will impact the weight of the card and the postage cost.
When it comes to buying stamps, it pays to calculate the exact postage. We had guests coming from the UK, Ireland, US and even further afield. I checked the postage cost for each country and bought smaller ‘make up value’ stamps to put exact postage on each card. This saved a lot of money rather than throwing a few full-price stamps on and hoping for the best.
Read more: How To Print Wedding Invitations At Home
STEP 11: MAKE A PLAN TO GET IT ALL DONE
I have a confession to make. Whilst I’d made the majority of my invitations, I left quite a few until the last minute.
Cue me furiously gluing at 11pm and crying when I cut my finger on a 99 cent paper trimmer. Lesson learned: pay a little more for tools that will last!
In fact, I was so stressed out that I refused to make invitations for my close family. I just couldn’t face making one more.
Clearly, my family knew when and where the wedding was. Buuuut, they still haven’t quite forgiven me for not getting a formal invite (sorry mum!)
I don’t want you to make the same mistake. So, here are some tips on how to make wedding invitations without bursting into tears:
Decide how much time you have to spare
This is important. Yes, you’re planning a wedding, but you also need to spend some time as a couple doing non-weddingy things.
Plus you need to see your friends and family and generally just have ‘you’ time.
This is especially important to consider if you have a lot of other wedding crafting to do. So, try to give yourself enough lead time so that you don’t need to spend every weekend and evening crafting.
Time a practice run
Once you’ve chosen your DIY method, try making a couple of invitations to see how long it takes.
You will get a little faster with practice, but you’ll have a general idea of how much time you need to get them all done.
Get some help
If you have willing helpers who you trust to do a neat job then take full advantage!
The easiest thing to do is to set up an ‘assembly line’… so have someone work on cutting paper, someone else sticking things down etc. Provide pizza and beer and your friends will (hopefully!) be happy to lend a hand.
Phew. That’s a long post! As you can probably tell, I love talking about how to make wedding invitations. It’s one of my favorite things!
Hopefully, by now you realize that you can create awesome DIY wedding invitations no matter what your budget or skill level.
I’ll be publishing tons of tutorials on how to make wedding invitations at home, so stay tuned for even more inspiration.
Are you making your own wedding invitations? What method are you going to use?