So, you’re getting married, congratulations! I’m so excited for you! But I think this means it’s time to have the talk… no, not The Talk, we’re a paper store, not your parents circa your early teens. It’s time to have the talk about…You just got engaged! Over brunch! You know what you should do? Start making wedding invitations! Look, there’s the paper store! NOPE. Back it up, you crazy kids. We know you’re excited; you should be! But go home and bask in it a little bit– indulge in some fantasies about the perfect wedding. Then remember your actual friends and family. Indulge in some fantasies of eloping! Breathe.
Now it’s time to think about invitations.
In this series of blog entries, I will be going over different steps and techniques for creating wedding invitations.*
A FEW QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELVES
-What is our style? Look around you, at your homes, your clothes, the films you enjoy. You will find aesthetic choices everywhere. Vintage, antique, deco, whimsical, rustic, minimalist, maximalist, modern, contemporary. Etc. Use this as a reference point. It defeats the purpose of making your own wedding invitations if you make them look like someone else’s. It’s for you. Put yourselves in it!
-What colours reflect our style, choice of venue, the season of the wedding, our personalities? Put together a palette, use paint swatches (convenient and free) this is a great way to build a base for your invites. That said, do not get completely set on these exact shades for envelopes and cardstocks, instead keep it as a reference, a way to layer and arrange colour that can come from other elements—like decorative paper, ribbon or washi tape accents.
-How many invitations are we actually making? This is not how many people you expect at your wedding, take into consideration couples and families, this will cut your number considerably.
-Are we printing at home or with a print shop? There are pros and cons to doing either. I will go into this a little further down.
You should also prepare a list of questions you would like to ask our staff, we would be more than happy to calculate yield for you, make notes, and help you with your estimates.
TIPS AND THINGS TO CONSIDER
-Look at style blogs, I would suggest avoiding wedding blogs at first—don’t be influenced from the get-go by someone else’s personal design, get an idea in mind of what you want to say about yourselves first, then look at wedding blogs for suggestions on how to translate your ideas into something concrete.
-In terms of constructing your invitations, work backwards when it comes to size. Be clear on the sizes of envelopes we carry, and make your cards to fit them (in the case of our A7 and #10 envelopes, we have cardstock cut to those specific sizes 5×7 and 3.875×9.25 respectively.
-If you are designing your own print file, and are stuck on the basics, first things first: Pick a program. I use Photoshop because it’s part of my trade, but you can use Adobe InDesign which is a little more friendly to first-time users in terms of setting up a file and placing text and images.
- Look at fonts, websites with a thousand fonts can be overwhelming, first do a search of designers top lists. You’ll find fantastic typefaces tried and tested by design professionals.
-Know your skill level, if you can’t get graphically creative in a digital way, look at decorative papers as an alternative. This way you just do the text work, and leave space to accomodate your layered paper.
-Consider incorporating patterned paper to pick up your palette, we have hundreds of prints that may reflect you and your aesthetic; they can be used as band accents on your invite, envelope liners, and as elements in your place cards, menus and favours.
-If you are doing a pocket fold, know that you will need an envelope. They would seem to perfectly encapsulate all your elements, like an envelope, ready to mail. But I’m afraid not. They’re not sealed on all sides, and so cannot be mailed. Knowing this, if you still would like a pocket fold invitation because they are pretty and nicely cohesive, of course we would be more than happy to help you make one (if you have the time) or order pocket folds and corresponding envelopes from a line we frequently work with: Envelopments.
-If you are printing at home, or with a print shop, find out whether your printers can print borderless, meaning right to the edge. If you/they can, it will make the most of your paper/cardstock, if not, it will change your yield and how you will lay out your print file (borderless: move your images right to the edge, less cutting. Bleed edge: move images to the center)
YIELDS: A VISUAL GUIDE
HOW TO CALCULATE YIELD
width of paper/cardstock = W
length of paper/cardstock=X
width of invitation=Y
length of invitation=Z
W ÷ Y = V
X ÷ Z = U
V × U = YIELD
Algebra, you guys, I just did ALGEBRA for you, that is how much I care! That said, if you didn’t follow… because it’s been a long time since senior advanced math, which I barely passed (I’m more of a biology/art kind of person) you can always ask one of our associates to work this out for you. In the meantime, here are some visual representations of the most common invitation and reply sizes when working with the most common cardstock sizes:
WE DO NOT PRINT! AT ALL! Sorry, it’s just not what we do, that said, here are tips for choosing your print shop/or home printer:
-Research different local print shops: they must be able to take outside stock. Look around for any special services you may want, not all print shops can do work with metallic or white inks.
-Ask them if they will print on large sheets of paper or cardstock and cut it down for you.
Reasons to go with a print shop: They will do most of the work for you. This alone might be the best reason to do anything.
What to look for in a home printer–whether it’s things you need to know about the one you have, the one your friend has, or the one you are going to buy so you can print your invitations in the comfort of your living room while sitting in your underpants and watching Law & Order reruns.
-Can it print borderless? This will potentially save you time and effort, or, if it can’t print borderless, effect your yield and how much time you need to set aside for cutting.
-Can it print on custom sizes? 5×7? Smaller? On envelopes? If yours can take a 5×7” card, you are SET. And likely if it does, it will allow you to print on envelopes. Life. Saver. Especially true if your penmanship is atrocious.
-Can it print on a shimmer or textured surface? Shimmer papers are not porous, so they don’t dry very fast, it’s important to do a couple of tests or ask a salesperson (not us, a printer sales person, there are hundreds of printers, we… don’t know. Sorry!)
Printers these days are ridiculously cheap. They are also annoying and ink is expensive and blah, blah. I know, I hate obsolescence as much as the next person who has gone through four iPods, but here are the reasons I would suggest working on a home printer:
-You are the type of person who measures twice and cuts once. Or designs twice and prints once. And then figures out you measured/designed wrong both times and just wrecked a dozen invites. Home printers mean you can fix that and no one has to know.
-You’ve come to understand that invites are not all you need– there will be place cards, menus, thank yous and possibly baby shower things in future. It… might be best to invest in a home printer. I swear I am not sponsored by Best Buy. But I would not turn down a free printer if they were maybe reading this. (Canon, plz!)
TIPS FOR TRANSLATING YOUR DESIGN FROM SCREEN TO PRINT
- Lighten your image! Your display is bright, and glowy. Paper can be bright, glowy? Not so much. So lighten your image, including your text. Want a nice bright blue? Go brighter than you think and do test prints. Your paper choice will likewise change the look of your design and colours a fair bit– a vibrant orange will hold on a bright white card, but on ivory will go a little more harvest-rust.
- TEST. TEST. Oh, also, TEST. Look, I know it’s a pain coming and going from home to the shop, and adjusting your file, again I am in favour of staying home, but test prints tell you so much about the materials you’re working with. You will not regret it. Or, if you have a home printer… no excuse, test-law-and-order-test-test.
- If you’re printing at home, make sure to adjust all your media settings for optimal printing. Check your instructions! (I can’t believe I just wrote that, I have never made it past “Congratulations on your purchase…” of anything, ever. But then I just play with things until I make them go… or break them. Normal people, sane people, read instructions.)
The Screen Alternative. You guys, you can have custom stamps made, not with us, but check Google! But before you commit, you better make sure ALL of your information is correct. Essentially the basics are the same—scale your stamp to fit your invite size—which should already be scaled for your envelope.
How to make invitations with our decorative papers!
*All of these designs were created by me. In my spare time. Probably while watching television. I tried to make them examples of attainable results. Full Disclosure: I have over ten years experience with Photoshop and a visual arts degree. Also: I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.