Lifestyle Magazine

DIY Wedding Stationery — When It Works, and When It Really, Really Doesn’t.

By Claire

I’ve seen bad wed­ding invi­ta­tions as well as good — on wed­ding forums for exam­ple. I’d never say so if it would offend some­one… but Wed­ding DIY cer­tainly isn’t easy for every­one! Mak­ing invi­ta­tions often looks easy — even cou­ples with no craft or design expe­ri­ence can be tempted down the DIY route.

If you have a craft or design back­ground then mak­ing your own invi­ta­tions and sta­tionery is almost instinc­tive — and it’s a must! I’ve seen the most amaz­ing sta­tionery dreamed up in the minds of cre­ative cou­ples, like Jo, Aqua Kat and Far­rah who I was chat­ting to on my Face­book page last week!

But if you’re not nat­u­rally handy with a glue gun some­times it can all end in tears. Wed­ding DIY can cost huge amounts of money and take up valu­able week­ends of your time in the run up to the wed­ding day leav­ing you stressed, frus­trated and cov­ered in glue.

So how do you know if you should risk mak­ing your own wed­ding sta­tionery or not? Here’s how…

DIY wed­ding sta­tionery — 7 signs it’s a good idea for you!

Some of us are nat­ural crafters; some are laid back and immune to stress. Some of us have all the free time in the world and an army of friends who are wiz­ards with scis­sors. You know you’re safe to embark on a bit of wed­ding DIY

  1. when you’re design­ers or crafty types of peo­ple already. If it comes nat­u­rally, you’re onto a winner.
  2. when you have time! Will you have three or four totally free week­ends in the months before your wed­ding? If the answer is yes, then you can spend them mak­ing your invites and recep­tion sta­tionery… Wendy Bell from WBD Designer Wed­ding Sta­tionery advises, “Mak­ing your own wed­ding sta­tionery can be a great money sav­ing idea, though def­i­nitely not time sav­ing. Ask your­self, do you have plenty of free time on your hands? Are you nat­u­rally cre­ative? If the answer is no to these two ques­tions then you should weigh up the pros and cons to sav­ing money ver­sus pay­ing a pro­fes­sional. If you’re a per­fec­tion­ist and you’re not enor­mously gifted at design­ing on a com­puter or hand mak­ing craft items, chances are you’re going to be sorely dis­ap­pointed with the end result in spite of the fact that you have put your heart and soul into time con­sum­ingly mak­ing your wed­ding stationery.”
  3. when you plan care­fully — we’re talk­ing bud­gets, mea­sur­ing and team­work here! Know how many cards to buy, how much string you’ll need, how much glue or tape, and how long it will take to make 50 invi­ta­tions and so on.
  4. when you save money.The more fid­dly your invi­ta­tions, the more you’ll spend on bits and pieces. If you’re buy­ing online don’t for­get deliv­ery costs for all your bits and pieces. Will you need a guil­lo­tine, printer car­tridges, cus­tom stamps (expen­sive!), lace (ridicu­lously expen­sive!) or beads and but­tons? Work out your bud­get and com­pare it to online sell­ers, who might save you money because they buy their bits and pieces in packs of 1000… Matt and Lisa from Olivia Samuel told me, “We made the deci­sion to cre­ate all our ranges to be DIY because we have found more and more cou­ples are look­ing to save money by mak­ing their wed­ding invi­ta­tions, but often find­ing that by the time they have sourced all the mate­ri­als and put all the work into it, they prob­a­bly had spent more than they would have get­ting it made.”
  5. when you work together! I promise you that DIY wed­ding sta­tionery takes longer than you’ll think. Don’t try and do every­thing your­self. Work together as a cou­ple or with a few of your besties — you’ll appre­ci­ate the support!
  6. when you proof­read! Only this week I heard about a bride who’d made her invi­ta­tions and for­got­ten to include the time of her wed­ding. Lit­tle mis­takes are very eas­ily made — espe­cially if this is your first time mak­ing invi­ta­tions. If your spelling and gram­mar are excel­lent, and you’re pre­pared to proof­read again and again you’ll be fine
  7. when you cheat just a lit­tle — think about buy­ing a qual­ity DIY wed­ding invi­ta­tion kit instead of start­ing from scratch! Not the ones from Hob­by­craft which are pretty god­damn awful qual­ity, but some­thing like Olivia Samuel or Man­dalay. You’ll save so much time if your invi­ta­tions are pre-cut, mea­sured and planned for you!
diy wedding invitation Olivia Samuel UK
DIY wedding stationery — when it works, and when it really, really doesn’t.')">

DIY wed­ding invi­ta­tion kits will save you time and money! Photo credit Olivia Samuel

… and 7 clues for when your DIY wed­ding sta­tionery might be about to go hor­ri­bly wrong!

I think there’s too much pres­sure on cou­ples, and espe­cially brides, to save money by mak­ing wed­ding invi­ta­tions. It’s not for every­one and there are bet­ter options if you’re not the crafty type! Think of those week­ends you’ll be able to spend as a cou­ple, which can be all too rare in the run up to your big day. If you’re won­der­ing if you’re up to the job of a big DIY wed­ding sta­tionery project, con­sider what hap­pens when it all goes wrong…

  1. when you’re new to craft­ing. First time since GCSE art classes? Not sure how to glue rib­bon to card or how to print funny card sizes upside down and back­wards from Pho­to­shop? If it’s sound­ing stress­ful already then it might get a whole lot worse!
  2. when you buy cheap card, tacky kits or poor qual­ity rib­bon, glueSav­ing money by mak­ing your own invi­ta­tions is one thing. Try­ing to save even more by buy­ing cheap com­po­nents can be a night­mare. Think floppy card, tape that doesn’t stick, and rib­bon that shines, frays or wrin­kles up in all the wrong places. You could end up with second-rate invi­ta­tions or hav­ing to start all over again when your hard work comes undone!
  3. when you over­spend. It’s really impor­tant to plan what you’ll need. If you head to Hob­by­craft with a vague idea of what you’re going to buy you WILL end up over­spend­ing on alter­na­tive rib­bon colours and ‘lit­tle ideas to try’! When your wed­ding invi­ta­tions are all made and ready to go, if you’ve spent £500 and have reels of rib­bon and reams of paper left over will it really have been worth all the blood, sweat and tears?
  4. when you aim too high! Keep it sim­ple. If you’re not a graphic designer don’t plan a com­pli­cated multi-folding bun­dle of clever inserts. A com­pli­cated design can turn out to look reeeally home made (in a bad way!) and leave you feel­ing disheartened.
  5. when you take it all on your­selfthe run up to your wed­ding isn’t a time to be spend­ing on your own wor­ry­ing about fonts and enve­lope sizes. If mak­ing your own invi­ta­tions and sta­tionery isn’t fun — don’t do it. But if you’re both cre­ative types, you’ll have a ball work­ing together!
  6. when you miss dead­lines and it all gets really stress­ful. Eas­ily done — com­plex plans, not enough hours in the day and ‘help­ful sug­ges­tions’ from all of your aun­ties can all set you back. Focus instead on being in con­trol so you don’t leave things too late and panic.
  7. when you cheat too much. There’s a fine line between draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from styles you find online (vin­tage, rus­tic) and copy­ing spe­cific designs you’ve seen. Please be aware of copy­right issues just in case one of your invi­ta­tions turns up on face­book or else­where on the net (see this arti­cle about wed­ding design­ers and copy­right)

Some of my favorite exam­ples of DIY wed­ding stationery

  • Pine cone invites on Snip­pet & Ink blog (designed by the bride)
  • Vin­tage post­card style DIY invi­ta­tions tuto­r­ial on Oh So Beau­ti­ful Paper
  • Cheat a lit­tle — use stamps. When I read this I didn’t think it could pos­si­bly count as a DIY invi­ta­tion, but if you can afford the stamps the invi­ta­tions are pretty amazing!
  • This is how com­pli­cated it can get: a favorite blog post, but because it shows real­is­ti­cally how dif­fi­cult it can be mak­ing your own invi­ta­tions! DIY invites using Microsoft Word and a some­what mys­te­ri­ous use of the word typography
  • Nice kraft paper pocket invitations
  • Scratch­card invi­ta­tions — a nice design by a crafty bride, but she did have to buy a printer!
  • A beginner’s guide to wed­ding invi­ta­tions (usu­ally I’d type that as begin­ners’ guide). One for my fel­low pedants. Enjoy!
  • I love this! It jumps straight in with the dif­fi­cult part: “first paint your botan­i­cal water­colour pat­tern”… and then gives instruc­tions for the rest. Water­colour flo­ral DIY invitations
  • These are quite nice as well — more from Oh So Beau­ti­ful Paper

DIY invi­ta­tions — top tips and advice from UK wed­ding sta­tionery experts

My per­sonal top tip is to do your research before you decide to make your own invi­ta­tions. Check out wed­ding forum exam­ples both good and bad, and weigh up the costs care­fully: both in terms of time and money. If you have busy lives and you’re not usu­ally craft-loving peo­ple is it really worth spend­ing solid week­ends and get­ting stressed so you can save £200 on your invites? The pro­fes­sion­als can make beau­ti­ful, qual­ity invi­ta­tions at afford­able prices — for a frac­tion of your total wed­ding bud­get! I think they’re worth their weight in gold!

My friend Nathan at Artemis Sta­tionery has just pub­lished a series of advice blogs with 39 great tips for DIY wed­ding invi­ta­tions — they’re rec­om­mended read­ing! Here are a few examples:

  • For craft style invi­ta­tions before final­is­ing your design time your­self mak­ing it. Lots of peo­ple have given them­selves huge bat­tles by mak­ing a stun­ning pro­to­type but then really strug­gled to find the time to build them in quantity.
  • If you need to send invi­ta­tions through the post be care­ful not to make any­thing that can get crushed. Alter­na­tively buy a post­ing box.
  • If you need 50 pieces of card cut­ting cut them all at the same time rather than when you make each invite. It’s much quicker.


There used to be a fine line between home­made and hand­crafted invi­ta­tions. Now there is a huge gap and it’s increas­ing the amount of com­pa­nies now avail­able to make hand­made invites because the qual­ity of design is poor. Our top tips for brides and grooms who are deter­mined to make their own sta­tionery are to con­sider buy­ing kits or using a pro­fes­sional com­pany to print your designs. Best of all, how about speak­ing to a designer to say you like their design but want to put it together?

We’ve aimed to pro­vide sta­tionery that looks pro­fes­sional by pro­vid­ing kits that utilise card blanks with pro­fes­sional tech­niques that can­not be done at home such as foil­ing, embossed detail or pro­fes­sion­ally printed heavy card stock. We then pro­vide the ‘recipe’ for how to make the sta­tionery. The idea for these kits was to save cus­tomers money, because at the end of the day the biggest cost involved in mak­ing the sta­tionery is the labor costs.
For those that want to have the hand­made look and design and cre­ate their wed­ding invi­ta­tions, the biggest tip we can give is that usu­ally, less is more. It’s very easy to get car­ried away with stick­ing another embell­ish­ment on or add another color so that you end up with a mish­mash of styles. Research, choose a style and stick to it.
Matt & Lisa, Olivia Samuel wed­ding stationery

When it comes to wed­dings, every­one has dif­fer­ent bud­gets and there are a vast array of pro­fes­sion­als who can cre­ate your wed­ding sta­tionery within dif­fer­ent price brack­ets. There will always be some­one to suit your style and require­ments. Just remem­ber that it’s not just the paper/card that you are pay­ing for, it’s the professional’s time and exper­tise.
As a sta­tionery designer myself, it seemed ridicu­lous to con­sider ask­ing some­one else to cre­ate my wed­ding sta­tionery. How­ever, whilst I was per­fectly capa­ble of cre­at­ing my own sta­tionery suite, I must admit that it took a vast num­ber of hours from start to fin­ish as I was incred­i­bly crit­i­cal of my own work. Can you hon­estly com­mit to spend­ing your spare moments out­side of work on such a time con­sum­ing project whilst jug­gling organ­is­ing other aspects of your wed­ding?
Wendy Bell, WBD Designer Wed­ding Stationery

And the last word goes to Craig from men’s wed­ding blog Stag­gered

I wanted to get a man’s per­spec­tive on the whole DIY wed­ding invi­ta­tions dis­cus­sion, so I asked Craig why it always seems to be the brides-to-be that make the invitations?

I’m actu­ally quite crafty myself. I like to sketch and paint, so I can kind of see the appeal of get­ting involved in the design — to a cer­tain extent. I’m not sure I’d trust myself to do a decent job with crepe paper and Pritt stick. There are obvi­ously a lot of notable excep­tions, but quite often the choice of pro­fes­sional sta­tionery veers between dull and obvi­ous or cringe-worthily hipsterish.

The future Mrs Mor­ris is quite crafty too and I can see her want­ing to stamp our invites with some per­sonal iden­tity — not as a state­ment to our friends, but as a nice memento of the day for ourselves.

I sup­pose that would be sur­pris­ing from the stand­point of DIY being more tra­di­tion­ally the man’s arena, but pos­si­bly it’s to do with the stigma — imag­ine all of the groom’s friends find­ing out he sat down with a cal­lig­ra­phy pen and some rib­bon. Instant social pariah.

I bet men are more involved when it comes to dig­i­tal design. If you can see your art tak­ing shape on a web page, or an app, or in Pho­to­shop and tweak it to your heart’s con­tent, then it becomes instantly accept­able man territory.

Also, can it really be con­sid­ered “DIY” in the proper sense of the word or is that just silly?

I don’t think it falls into the ‘Handy Andy’ bracket of DIY, which is some­thing I for one am not into at all — in the sense of shed own­er­ship, or being espe­cially handy around the home — I’m not the kind of man to shop at B&Q, but I con­cede that if I did, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t find any tulle on their shelves.

The thing is, it’s such a cliche that men don’t have the skill to live up to their DIY ambi­tions, but that doesn’t stop us from pur­su­ing them. Maybe DIY is more about spirit than skill.

Craig Mor­ris,

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By Bubbly Creations
posted on 09 February at 17:39
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I love it that couples want to make their own wedding stationery, but i do believe most underestimate the time involved.