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Man's Guide To Making Your Own Wedding Invitations

Published Sun, 2 Aug 2009

Having just spent several weekends making wedding invitations for our upcoming wedding, I thought I'd depart from my usual content, just to provide some guidance (warning?) to anyone getting married and considering making their own wedding invitations...

WeddingHere are my tips, after having thought, "wedding invitations? we can do that!", and then spent a great deal of time learning otherwise...


My first tip would be, don't make your own wedding invitations, unless you have a whole bunch of time to spare, or don't really care how they turn out. It will take you many times more work than you expect, you won't save the money you expected to save by making them yourself and you will learn more about the various manufacturers and types of paper than you would care to find out.

Do yourself a favour and go pay someone to do it.


Still keen? Well read on....

It's Really Hard To Line Stuff Up

Printer's are not exact. All printers have an "unprintable" area around the margin of the page which you will need to discover for yourself. In order to minimise cuts you will probably need to "design in" the printer's margin into your template. If you have a complex invite (i.e. requiring the cutting and gluing of several layers) then you will need to consider this for every piece.

And to really make sure you have it all sorted, you'll need to make a test version. Or a bunch of test versions.

Paper Is Expensive

Designer paper is expensive, like several $ per sheet. Just sayin'. Work out how many types and pieces of paper you are likely to need and multiply by the number of invites. You'll be surprised how much paper will cost.

Remember to add extra pieces of paper to allow for some errors - even if you don't make any mistakes (and that's unlikely), once your printer know's you're printing on $4 per sheet imported handmade paper, it will do everything it can to shred, bleed on or stretch any sheet you put through it.

You Need A GOOD QUALITY Paper Cutting Tool

When I say "good" I mean professional. A $70 guilloitiune won't cut the mustard. If you have access to a paper cutter of some sort, test it various thicknesses of paper first, and know what you're getting yourself into. There's nothing worse than shredding your invite that's almost finished because your paper cutter just isn't up to the task.

Don't think you can get away with "doing it the hard way" (scissors, knives, etc.) - if you're making invites in bulk you need to be able to cut quickly and predicably; otherwise your wedding will be over before you can finish the invites.

Buy What You Need As You Need It

Don't try to anticipate what tools you need without doing an actual test invite. The tools that work best will depend on your selection of paper / cardboard and the way you construct the invite.

Similar to software development, test early, test often and don't pre-empt your requirements with speculation and go buying a bunch of stuff you can't use. Give it a go, and then use what works.

You Can't Print On Dark Coloured Paper

Inkjet printers are designed to print on white paper. Any non-white paper will print differently than the colours appearing on screen. Simiarly, it's not possible to "take away" colour that's already on the paper, so buying dark coloured papers pretty much rules out printing of any kind (well except black).

So again, if you're using a cream or light pastel paper to print on, do some tests and alter your source material to account for the coloured paper.

Glue vs. Tape

Glue and double-sided tape both have advantages and disadvantages.

Tape is good because it doesn't stretch or contract, but it's difficult to handle and easy to misalign, then difficult to fix. It can also be thick which if you're attaching several layers of paper means it can really bulk up the invite.

Glue is good because it's easy to apply, and very forgiving to use, but it you get the wrong type or apply too much it can contract as it dry's making your paper go "crinkly".

We ended up using glue, but experimented with both... YMMV


Anyhow, those are my tips. To be honest, I am being a little tongue-in-cheek here - there are certainly advantages to making your own invites too. It can be fun experience to share with your bride-to-be, you can rope suckers friends into helping out and you can control every aspect of your invite and make something truly unique and memorable.

But, I think you really have to evaluate why you're looking at making them yourselves - if it's not for the reasons in the last paragraph then take the points above as a warning, and adjust your actions accordingly :)

About the Author

Richard Nichols is an Australian software engineer with a passion for making things.

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