Introduction: Wedding Invitations From Scratch

My fiance and I are on a strict budget so we decided to cut some cost doing our own invitations. I work at a printing company and they told me I could print for free. My fiance gave me free reign as long as I made it green and had some floral patterns. I'll have to apologize for the lighting. I really need to replace those fluorescents. 

What you need:

• Pencil
• Paper
• Double-Sided Tape
• Mailing Stickers
• X-ACTO Knife
• 1" Inch Hole Punch
• Adobe InDesign
• Adobe Illustrator
• Printing Company that will print for free
• Unsuspecting friends to con into helping you
• Patience

THIS PROJECT COST AROUND $20 (Sans printing costs)

Step 1: Logo and Color

I did some research and played around with some ideas and finally I came up with some ideas. Referring back to the logo that was introduced in the other instructable, I decided to agree with myself on a logo and color swatch. I used the graphic designer's trusty color theme aid to sort out the true color matches....Ok, I actually just had my fiance do this part to make sure she got what she wanted. We had a lemon-lime theme so she picked colors that choreographed with that. 

Step 2: Research Ideas

Next, I looked around to see what other people have done with invitations....and of course, I didn't like any of them. Although I did like some direction of others. Examples such as having a pocket and drawing out the map. Of course, I've never done invitations for a wedding before, so I looked up some wording and made sure of the important text. 

I also checked out the Postal Regulations for sizing and weight. My work had a template that shows all of the sizes so that was easy.

Step 3: Formulation

What I came up with was a pocket folded invitation. The logo and date would be on the outside with angle cuts trimmed with green. I wanted to have 3 visible cards to pull out and one hidden except for a tab. So I drew it out. Some of the initial ideas I had ended up not working out such as adding ribbon (due to postal restrictions) and special paper. I didn't want to complain about printing for free so I used what the company had to offer. 60# Text (matte) and 100# Cover stock (matte).  

Step 4: Creation

I started in Illustrator. I work out of order, or some may say I leave the boring stuff (Measurements) for last. I created the logo and found some free floral pattern from It didn't cover everything I wanted so I drew a couple of swoops and curls to fill in some blank areas with the good ole pen tool. I didn't have the time to draw my own swoops and if I didn't have to reinvent the wheel I was fine with that. This would be the background.

 When I was creating the map, I remember going to weddings that had multiple churches on one block. I would drive by wondering "Is that the church or is this the right place?". So after I illustrated a map from Google Maps, I took an image of the church and illustrated that. I didn't want it to be cheesy and just have a photo image of the church which would compromise the clean edgy look. I used the green theme and a couple of gradients to make it look sleek. The view of the church is actually the only view of the church from the only road to get there. So hopefully nobody confuses this with another. 

Step 5: Measuring and Application

Now that I had some creativity to give me enough energy to work through the boring measuring, I was ready to go. I bought some envelopes online from and used those measurements to get started.

I had to make sure that the final folded piece would fit inside the envelope without too much wiggle room, but had to make the background large enough to fold and look aesthetic. After hours....ok maybe an hour of determining the way I like it best, I came to a conclusion. The conclusion was that I really couldn't figure that out until I designed the whole project. There were factors such as words to be displayed without pulling cards out, sizes of the pockets and the staggering of the cards to fit exactly.

This was the hardest part. I had nothing to go off of which presented a challenge. I love challenges so I started with the cards and figured I could modify from there. I created 4 cards; Reception, Directions, Response and a STD (That's Save the Date sickos). I calculated (guessed) I would need about a .25 inch for each card to display the title in the stagger. I wanted the cards to be big enough to read but small enough to fit inside the pocket and still be able to display the background information. I found a size I liked and adjusted the pocket to fit. I had some issues with closing the invitation such as the angles not covering the entirety of the inside contents, but going this far wasn't going to stop me from fixing it.  

Step 6: Cutting

I was dreading this part, but thankfully I knew just enough about the cutter at my work to do this myself. It's a heavy duty hydraulic machine that I was running long after the operators left. It does have safeguards and as long as I followed them, I'd be ok. I was able to create all of my 90º angle cuts. Took me about 40 minutes but I finally had all of the pieces cut.  

I had to cut all of the angle cuts for the trim of the envelope with the X-ACTO knife. After 400 cuts and safe from the cuts from the machine, I escaped with only cutting half of my finger off with the X-ACTO (Scar to prove, but not shown).

Step 7: Party Time! Wait....what?

Nothing is better than inviting people over and writing Party Stuff on the box. Your guests are so intrigued that they want whatever is inside. Well inside of my sharpie written cardboard box were my unsorted invitation materials. After some persuasion (begging) they finally teamed up and helped me collate the pieces. The announcement card was taped with double sided tape to the back of the background. We sealed up the folded side with a rectangular mailing sticker I got from Staples for about $1 (pack of 500). I also bought a 1" circle punch to cut the half-circle to pull out the STD of which I conveniently placed the word "Pull". 

Step 8: Ready to Mail

• Place in envelope
• Address
• Bring in to the Post Office and Mail