Five Mistakes to Avoid When DIY-ing Wedding or Party Invitations

There are many reasons you might decide to DIY your wedding or special event invitations.  Maybe you are a creative person who likes to get their hands into a fun project, or you might want to add a personal touch as a way of connecting with your guest.  Maybe you may have budget in mind; it may be all, or none, of these things.  Whatever your reason is, being involved with creating your own invitation suite is a wonderful and personal way to invite your guests to your important day, and will give you a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

As in everything, however, if you've never done it before, attempting to DIY your invitations without the proper preparation can turn into more of a pain in the neck than a successful endeavor. What follows are 5 thing to avoid when taking on a DIY project like this, along with tips on ways to get started in the right direction.  I will go more into detail of each in subsequent articles. 

1. Not deciding how you want your final product to be presented.  

How do you want your invitations to look: envelopes, pocket fold card holders, and color scheme.
Why is this important? 

You don't have to know exactly how you want your finished product to look  when you start, but by knowing what is important to you, it gives you, your printer, and your designer a set a of parameters to work within.  How you want your invitations to unfold to your guests will determine important factors like size, printing method, and budget.
Things to think about: 

Do you have a size or shape in mind? Do you want to use envelopes, a pocket fold, or both? Do you want to include any tear off pieces?  Are you incorporating backer paper or other accessories, like ribbon? Do you want to print full-bleed (color off the edge of the piece) or use a metallic ink? 

2. Not consulting a printer first.  

This allows you ask questions of and get tips from a professional. 
Why is this important? 

By consulting with a printer, or a few printers, you get an opportunity to ask questions, refine your ideas based on any printing or size limitations, see paper samples, find out about envelopes - whether or not they can be provided or ordered - and get some price quotes.  This step also allows you to price compare and find someone you feel comfortable consulting with.  You can also get a time frame for proofs and the final project, so neither you or your printer have to feel rushed (increasing the possibility of last minute mistakes) and establish a rapport with the person you will be working with over the next few days, weeks, or months.
Things to think about: 

Choosing an online printer may help keep your budget down and include envelopes, or pocket folds; choosing a local printer allows printed proofs before the final product, giving you more control over color and paper stock. 

3. Not considering how to print or write on darkly colored paper.  

This seems like a small point, but it can make a huge difference in the final look and cost of your invitations.
Why is this important?

Most easily accessed printing methods cannot print onto darker colors, or textured paper.  This is important to know if you are thinking about using a navy, black, or some other darkly colored paper or envelopes.  Printing at home or at a local copy shop will not be able to do accomplish this look.  Nor will most of the major online printers, unless they are a specialty printers.  To do this, you need to find a printer that runs presses.  This is also the method to use if you want to use a true metallic, like gold or silver, on your invitations.  
Things to think about: 

This method will increase the time-frame and cost, so if using a dark paper or a metallic ink is important to you, check in with your local printers first, find out who can do it, and start getting time frames and price quotes so you know what you are dealing with.

4. Not finding your envelopes first.  As with dark paper considerations, his seems like a small point; right up until everything is printed and you can't get a matching envelope in the size you need. My aunt pointed this out to me once, "Trust me Amy, always find your envelopes first!"  Trust me. Trust my aunt.
Why is this important?

Invitations can be designed to match and fit any envelope, but envelopes cannot necessarily be found in any color, finish, or size you might want.  If you want envelopes in any color other than white, you may have to special order them.  This means you have to find them, they have to be available, and they have to fit what you need.  The same is true for pocket folds, if you want to utilize them in your invitation suite.  By choosing your envelopes, and pocket folds if applicable, first, you can nail down a size so that nothing has to be adjusted to fit later, and you may save yourself a huge headache.

5. Not considering postage. 
Why is this important?

Invitations usually have multiple pieces and sometimes include things like extra envelopes, ribbons, pocket folds, or boxes.  All these things add weight, and the final shape and size, will also impact postage.  For instance, square invitations cost more to mail than the standard rectangular shape.  Invitations with pocket folds may be too heavy to go at the standard rate.  Using small boxes is unique, and allows for more elaborate accessories, but will add up fast for postage.  And don't forget to include the cost of the return RSVP postage.
Things to think about: 

The cost.  It's so obvious, it's easy to overlook.  If you don't consider it from the beginning, and include it in your budget, you may have an unexpected cost staring at you from your beautiful invitations, and even though you'll have to do it, it will not feel good if you are not expecting it.  

These are just a few things to think about when getting started on any invitation endeavor, but especially a DIY invitation project.  By thinking about some of these more technical aspects first, you can get started with designing and creating the perfect invitation suite for your perfect day with no surprises, and know that you won't be missing anything crucial at the last minute.  

Here's a list of Do's and Don'ts to consider when planning your invitations:


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