Shortly after getting engaged, I began to price out wedding invitations. I had a good idea of what I wanted due to the fact that I have been planning my wedding since long before I even met Tim. Thankfully, Tim was completely on board and so the search for a pocket invite begun!
I reached out to roughly 20 different vendors for quotes – almost all of them said either $9 to $19 per pocket invitation. I even had one vendor quote me $20 per invite!! Given that I needed 70 invitations, I wasn’t willing to pay 1400 dollars for something that people will most likely throw away.
Now, I did happen to want what seemed to be the most expensive type of invitation. But due to the ridiculously high quotes I was receiving, I knew I had to go a different route. I began looking at single page invitations. These were definitely way more affordable. Vista-Print offered single-page invites (with no RSVP card) for prices as low as 70 cents per invite. The issue was, I just didn’t love them.
When I was about ready to give up, my Mom suggested to my sister-in-law and I that we DIY the wedding invitations ourselves.
This for me was a terrifying thought – I am not a very creative person. I also am a big perfectionist, which is just not a pretty quality when you’re trying to make multiples of the same item. Maybe had we’d known what we were about to get ourselves into we wouldn’t have agreed to tackle the challenge, but I am so glad we did because (spoiler) they turned out amazing.
Making A Sample
Before we fully agreed to create the invitations ourselves – we created a sample. This way, we could get an idea of what look we wanted, how good a DIY would look, and if it was do-able for us. We went to a local craft store, bought some cardstock in the wedding colours, and made our sample. We ended up loving the sample and fully commited to doing the project. With this sample, we were able to calculate how many cardstock sheets we needed of each colour.
Before I go through the steps of making a DIY wedding invitation, I want to share the two rookie mistakes we made that seriously hindered our project.
Rookie Mistake #1: Not picking a supplier you can mass order from.
The first rookie mistake we made was not checking with the craft store if they did personal orders. Being that it was a chain craft store, we just assumed that ordering was a possibility. After we created our sample, we went back to pick up all the cardstock we needed. We were let down to hear that we couldn’t order from them and instead, we just had to go from store to store to get what we needed.
At this point, we already had the process down; we knew our exact measurements, how to fold everything to make it work, and how to tape/glue it all down in an unnoticeable way.
The process of collecting everything took about three weeks. We ended up having to go three towns over, hitting up four separate stores, in order to collect all the cardstock paper we needed. We literally had the delivery days of each store memorized! It became a chore really – we would go to the stores once a week to get whatever we could.
Rookie Mistake #2: Not ordering envelops first.
The second rookie mistake we made was waiting until we had all the invitations created to even consider the envelopes. We went around to all of our local craft stores to see if any of them carried an envelope that nicely fit our invitation only to be disappointed. None of these stores carried any envelops even close to what we needed! Thankfully, we managed to find some pretty great ones on Vista-Print for a really good price. They even customized by including the return address!
Due to leaving the envelopes to last, we did get stuck with envelops that didn’t properly hug our invitations. We didn’t make our invites a standard size so we had to get envelops that were too big.
They looked really good still, but if I was going to do this again, I would definitely order my envelopes first. Or at least know the envelope size I want and keep my invitations under that measurement.
Creating Your Pocket Invitations
Pre-Step: Count Your Invites
A big mistake people tend to make is using their guest list number as the number of invites they need. Doing this can be extremely costly! Make sure to go through your guest list and group together those who will be sharing an invite. If you’re planning to invite your aunt and her family, know that they only need one invite – not five.
However, if your aunt lives with her adult child and you’re planning on giving that adult child a plus one, sending two separate invites is not a bad idea. It will help in avoiding any confusion on who is and is not invited to your wedding.
Step #1: Order Your Envelops
As stated above, I highly recommend ordering your envelopes first. Or at the least, know what size envelops you would like and design your invitation off of those measurements. Keep in mind that on average, the inside of the envelope measures slightly smaller than the outside. It is the inside measurements you want to work with.
The bigger your invitation, the more it will weigh; the more it weighs, the more stamps you need to mail them out. A standard envelope usually only needs one 75 cent stamp; however, a bigger envelope may need a 1.00 dollar one or more. This can really add up depending on how many invitations you’re mailing out.
Step #2: Figure out your design
To begin in creating your pocket invitation (or really, any invitation) you need to figure out the design you want. How do you want the pocket? What colours do you want for each part? Do you want an invitation mat? Do you want a floral invitation? How many inserts do you want? Etc, etc. Pinterest is a fantastic place to gather some inspiration!
Try to design an invitation that will give your guest a sneak peek into your day. If you’re planning a rustic wedding, send out rustic invitations. If you’re planning a themed wedding, send out themed invitations.
Step #3: Design your invitation + Decide on the wording
Thankfully, Google helps a lot with this one. You can either design your own completely by scratch, or you can purchase a template online that suits your needs. I used this template from Etsy, and I highly recommend it. It has a minimalist design, and includes templates for the invitations, RSVP, details, menu, and monogram. You could also design your own using Canva – it’s free and super easy to learn.
I recommend writing down everything you want to include in your invitations before searching for any examples or purchasing any templates. That way you don’t get halfway through creating your invites and then realized you forgot to include an important detail.
Some information to consider including in your invitation inserts are: hotel accommodations, bus rental details, RSVP card + pre-addressed envelope, wedding website, directions, reception card (if ceremony and reception are at different locations), pre- and post- wedding events card, and registration details.
Step #4: Paper + Printing
Now that you have designed your invitations and your inserts, it is time to decide how to print your cards. There are seven different types of professional invitation printing: digital/flat, letterpress, foil, spot colour, engraving, thermography, and laser cut. Each is more expensive than the last and each fancier than the last.
We printed each piece at home with a standard printer and some standard sized 11×8 white cardstock. While this way saved us a lot of time (no waiting on someone else), it also cost quite a bit of ink and paper.
Tip: Work in a fairly big space because you will have a lot of stuff and a BIG mess.
Step #5: Your Supplies + Cardstock
Now that you have your invitations designed and everything printed, it is time to gather all of your supplies. There are plenty of kits online that include already made pocket invitations if you don’t want to go through the hassle of cutting and gluing yourself.
If you do not plan on utilizing on a kit, you will need: lots of cardstock in your chosen colours, about 8 things of glue tape (or dots, but not liquid), a pair of scissors, and an exacto paper cutter. If you don’t want to spend the money on a paper cutter, you can try an exacto knife and a ruler!
One major tip: Cut out one invitation, one monogram, one RSVP card, one details card, and one of any other inserts you plan to use. Use these and figure out how many sheets of cardstock you need to make the number of invitations you need.
For example: Our colours were navy blue for the actual invitations and silver for everything else; because we wanted 70 invitations, we needed 70 navy blue 12×12 cardstocks. However, we had to do the math to figure out how many silver cardstocks we needed. We knew that one 12×12 silver cardstock could do 3 invite cards and one details card, OR six detail cards, OR six RSVPs and 4 monograms, etc etc. With that, we figured out that we needed 55 12×12 silver cardstock.
Step #6: Assemble
Time to assemble your invitations! Assembly lines are your best friend in this step if you have people who are willing to help.
Using your primary coloured 12×12 cardstock, figure out how you will need to fold your cardstock to create your pocket invitation. To achieve our look, we first figured out where our invitation mat would need to go (the white paper that actually has the wedding information). When we figured that out, we marked the top – leaving some space for a boarder. We then folded the paper accordingly (in half) and cut off the remaining top to have an 8×6 sized invite. Then, we used the top that we just cut off and cut that in half – then cut a triangle out of it. This piece will be our pocket. We glued it on the left side of the original cardstock piece and created our pocket. Make sure to only glue the sides and bottom!
Once you have all your invitations folded and created, start cutting all of your invites and inserts. Don’t worry about them all being exactly the same size because realistically, no one is going to compare. Then, glue your cards and inserts onto your secondary coloured cardstock and cut them out. Remember to leave a border on your monogram, if you have one.
You can then glue your invitation mat onto your invitation and place your inserts into your pocket, along with your pre-addressed RSVP envelope.
Step #7: Addressing
Finally the end, and possibly the most stressful part of all – addressing your invitations. You can choose to do this either by hand or by a printer. We went with using the printer because none of us wanted to address 70 invitations. It also just made the whole process way easier.
The main idea with addressing is making sure there is no confusion on who is invited. If you’re inviting your uncle’s entire family, address it “ Mr John Doe and Family”. If you’re inviting only your aunt and uncle, address it “Mr & Mrs John Doe”.
This lovely chart can help if you are confused on how to address an invitation!
There you have it, you have now designed some beautiful pocket invitations for your wedding! Make sure to save one for yourself as a fruit of your labour.
So, is DIY-ing your own wedding invitations ACTUALLY cheaper? Well, the answer is… it depends. I definitely spent way more than the $50 I could have spent with Vista-Print, but I also spent way less than the $630 I was being quoted from vendors.
As with any DIY, it is as expensive as you make it to be. You can get as fancy or as simple as you want.
Want more insight into my wedding planning journey?