Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

DIY Invitations

Wow. I've written this post in so many different ways in my head.

First, this post was going to be about DIYing invitations in order to save money. We only have $10 allocated to invitations for Henry's birthday party. I started working from the Tiny Prints design for inspiration, but then I found myself trying to replicate the design, which felt wrong for so many reasons. I felt bad for plagiarizing someone else's design (although I might have gotten over it, since I'll just be sending them out to our friends). Honestly, my real problem was that my design paled in comparison to the original (I'm pretty inexperienced with graphic design and don't have any good programs installed on my computer). I tried various strategies, like the collage function in picnik, but then I started getting really frustrated and felt like I was wasting a lot of time.

That's when I was going to write a post about "Sometimes you pay more than you've budgeted in order to save yourself time and stress." So I went back to Tiny Prints. I clicked through all the pages to see how much the total was going to be (including shipping): $21. I reasoned, "That's not bad at all! I can fork over $21 to save myself from this annoying stress. My time is worth more than that."

But then I went back to our budget. Twenty-one dollars would have been 100% more than we budgeted. If we spent extra money on invitations, then we would either need to spend less on something like food (which matters way more to the guests than invitations!) or we would have exceeded our budget (which means we would have been taking money away from our dream home fund). Womp. Womp.

And why are we even having invitations? Why not use something like Evite (which is free, has good design options, is better for the environment, shows you who has looked at the invitation, and tracks your RSVPs?). Because I want something for Henry's scrapbook.

Spending $2 per invitation just so I can put something in his scrapbook doesn't feel right to me. And honestly, I think our friends would rather be invited via Evite and receive a $2 check in the mail instead of a $2 invitation.

So I persevered with the DIY route. I went back to Microsoft Word (which is a terrible design program, but I'm comfortable using it). I tried to move away from the Tiny Prints design that I loved and instead come up with something more original. I decided I needed a dominant font, so I searched on dafont.com for a new, free font to download.
My plan is to print these in color on white cardstock at a local copy shop, cut them with our paper cutter at home, and round the corners with a corner rounder I borrowed from a friend.

I'm excited to see how they turn out!

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Amy A. said...

Great posts! I won't need to be planning a first birthday party for another 8 months, but you've definitely given me some great ideas to save money and still wind up with a great final result!
I'm definitely the kind of person that would just buy a package of invites and then fill up a cart with random food stuff at Costco, so it's always educational to learn about your more intentional way of doing things!

Elizabeth said...

You could always print out a picture of the Evite, along with all the comments people leave about how happy they are to be attending, and stick it in Henry's scrapbook :)

Chloe said...

That invitation is adorable and I CAN'T BELIEVE you made it in Word. It looks even more amazing to me knowing that because I have such a hard time getting Word to do the design things I want it to sometimes. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Is it such a good idea to post your home address for all to see? Just sayin'....

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Chloe: It was easy to design but hard to print! It kept shifting different pieces during the printing process, even though it looked totally normal on the screen. I guess that's what I get for using a word processing program to do design!

@ Anonymous: That's not my real address. I did a mock version for this site. Although, it's probably pretty easy to find anyone's address on the internet these days.

Anonymous said...

Those inviations will look so super cute! Honestly, I agree with you about MS Word. I have done a lot of projects on MS Word for my wedding but I opted out when deciding to make wedding invites. MS Word is complicated and you can't ever centers things randomly. It's a pain!

I use Photoshop which I love so much. I also have a card program on my computer called Print Shop! I love it! I used to use it all the time back in high school! I still use it now to make cards for people. When it came to doing the wedding invites, I wanted something unique and specail! Photoshop was my saving grace!! My invites look amazing and so do the ones you designed!!

-Jodi :)

Meghan said...

I'm so impressed you did these in word. they are super cute!

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