Well, I wanted to write about the process of creating my wedding invites, envelopes and stamps, because I spent a lot of time on them and I just sent them out last week. I wanted to post a picture of it, but there are so much personal info on it, that I would have to redact a lot and it ended up looking like a top secret government doc. So... no luck there. I will say though, that I created it in Photoshop from scratch, and it has 2 poems on it written by my grandpa and grandma. My grandma has beautiful handwriting, and she wrote them on paper. So I scanned them and was able to use her handwriting on my invite which was very cool. Then I found some pictures on google of cherry blossoms and branches, and I was able to fit everything on one 9X4 horizontal paper. Originally, the whole idea of having everything fit on one horizontal page was so that I could make them into scrolls. I saw some scroll invites at that bridal expo I went to a few months ago, and thought they just looked so cool! I was dead set on it for a while, but once I received the printouts of my invites, I liked them so much the way they were that I decided not to bother rolling them up. I've been getting so many compliments on them about how personal and how different it is from anything people have seen, so I'm very happy with it! In fact, some people refuse to send back the RSVP cards because they want to keep everything! I also have a wedding website, so some choose to RSVP there as well.
I found this guy online who printed them for me on hemp paper. The paper is really cool... it is an ivory color and has some texture to it. I first found his website when I was looking for some kind of rice paper online, and came upon some sample printouts he had on hemp paper which looked gorgeous. His site is called Hemphasis.net and he was super responsive and did a great job. Seriously I could not have asked for a smoother experience. He even shipped me a free sample so I could see the paper and how my invite looked before ordering bulk. So I would highly recommend this guy for any print work. I had him print 70 invites and 70 RSVP cards on high quality printer, and cut to size. His cost was so reasonable, I spent about $150 on everything after shipping! And I got them within a week. Here's some samples from his site of different stuff printed on hemp paper: Though the paper I printed my invites on were a much lighter color.
The paper is the same thickness as a greeting card. So to reinforce my invites, I had to go to Michael's and buy card stock and spray glue. Then I went to Kinko's and cut them into the sizes I needed. When I got home, I spray glued the cardstock onto the back of each invite and RSVP card. That was kind of labor intensive, but didn't take horribly long and I did everything in one night when I got home from work. I didn't want my invites to bend in the mail so it was worth it! My only faux pas with creating and printing everything on my own was I didn't size the RSVP cards well. I meant to make the RSVP cards kind of like a smaller version of a post card. I had printed my address on the left hand side, and left some room for a stamp on the top right corner. However, I did not leave enough room to fit my stamp property, so I had to totally throw out the idea and order envelopes for the RSVP cards. It set me back about 2 weeks!
I used Vista Print to customize and print my envelopes. They actually had some cherry blossom themed envelopes which worked perfectly with my invites. I got the regular letter sized #10 envelopes in white (when I created my invites in Photoshop, I made sure to size them so that they could fit into a regular envelop), and smaller RSVP card A2 envelopes in pink. It was my first time using Vista, and it was actually pretty cool how customizable all their products are. I was able to print whatever I wanted on the front or back of the envelopes. And the cost was not bad at all. I think something like $30 for 100 envelopes. Of course the envelopes are nothing special - I would have preferred the paper to be a little thicker but whatever!
I also printed seals with Vista Print using one of my engagement photos because it was only $10 for 100 seals! It actually turned out great and I really liked it. This website also prints many other things like post cards, return address labels, business cards, etc. and they even make websites for you. It's pretty cool for a small business or an event. The only thing I didn't like about this site was shipping was way too $$$. I paid $20 for "expedite" shipping which I received my product 2 weeks later. That's not very expedited in my books. And they could have easily put my envelopes in a flat rate box with the USPS for $4.95.
Here's what my envelopes and seal looks like! Again for security reasons, I redacted our names and address on the seal and return envelopes.
|Invite #10 Envelopes - the back side says "We are getting married, please come to our wedding" =)|
|Seal using engagement pic|
|RSVP Card Envelopes|
I also printed out customized stamps from stamps.com. Funny enough, they are a client of my old firm so I knew their business. It is based in Marina Del Rey here, and they have a contract with the USPS to print out stamps so it's totally legit. They actually make a lot of money. It's a neat idea that you can upload any photo and make it into a stamp. Then you can either print the stamps out yourself on your printer, or have them print it out for you and pay for shipping. I chose the latter because I did not have label paper and shipping was cheap. Plus, I wanted the "teeth" side of the stamps to be cut right. I printed out 160 stamps total - 80 of one pic and 80 of another. This way I could have one stamp for the outer envelope, and another stamp for the RSVP card. It's not cheap though, basically you are paying about $1 per stamp. But you get a minor discount as your # goes up. It still adds up though. But since I spent so little on everything else, I felt it was definitely worth the splurge on this one. The print job and shipping was super fast for this service, I received everything in 2 days! Definitely give them props for being efficient.
So here are my 2 stamps. Aren't they cute?? I know it's hard to tell on the computer, but in person the photo qualities look great for such small stamps!
Ok so that was everything I did for my invites. I thought it was really fun doing everything on my own, and it turned out a lot more economical than paying someone else to do it. I don't think I would have achieved the personal touches if anyone else were to do it anyway. Altogether, I think I spent somewhere between $350-400 for everything, including the stamps. From what I've found by looking at different vendors, that is marginally cheaper than anything I could have paid for. I still have invites, envelopes and stamps left over too. I ordered more than I needed "just in case". It's kind of a waste with the envelopes since I put "please come to our wedding" on the back of them, I can't use them for any other occasions. I guess I can keep the small pink ones but how many times do I really have to send people self-addressed envelopes? I could always use the stamps though, especially for Thank You cards to send out after the wedding. I have not even started creating those yet, but I think I will keep the theme similar and go back to the hemp guy for printing.
I know it's kind of lame that I can't post a photo of the actual invites and RSVP cards I made. But hopefully my documenting this process will help another DIY bride-to-be! It really wasn't hard at all, just have to be organized and creative to save bundles! Most importantly, it is FUN!