Following on from my engagement post, we’ve since secured a wedding venue and plan on getting married next year. In 11 months to be exact. I know that’s not the norm, but we’re not very patient people.
It helps that during the first couple of months of my maternity leave, I binge watched Escape to the Château on Channel 4. In fact, I watched so many episodes of the main show, that I also ended up watching their spin off – Escape to the Château DIY.
Fast forward 7 months, and no sooner had Stew proposed, than we knew exactly where we wanted to get married – France! I mean, why not carry on the French theme right? Proposal in Paris, wedding in Cognac.
So that’s the plan. Next July we hope to be married in South West France at the beautiful Château de Brives. Fortunately the Château comes with a wedding planner, who has been super organised in getting our plans in motion quickly. It’s imperitive that we move fast, as many suppliers are already booked up for next year. Especially as most weddings from this summer have been postponed until 2021.
I never thought I’d want a wedding planner. I always thought they would be too expensive, and my wedding would be something I would want to plan. But I have to say, they have been a huge help so far. With the wedding being abroad, I think it’s crucial we have one, as neither of us speak French, and I will soon be back at work, juggling full time employment with a 10 month old. I often think of myself as superwoman juggling all sorts of tasks at once, but I think planning a wedding on top would be a step too far.
That being said, there are still elements of our day that I am taking full control of. Starting with our invitations…
After doing some initial research, I quickly learned that buying wedding invites is a very expensive task. No sooner had we signed the contract for our wedding venue, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of spending between £300 – £400 on wedding invites. This seemed ludicrous to me.
Why should wedding invites cost so much. Of course, if you’re doing them the traditional way like we wanted, you expect to pay more for nice paper, nice envelopes etc. But I knew I could do things cheaper.
How to design your own wedding invites
I have a degree in graphic design, but other than some basic Photoshop skills, I designed our invites with Canva. Canva is a fantastic (and FREE) platform where you can design just about anything. Business cards, logos, media kit, Instagram post, Instagram Story, invitations. You name it.
I already have a Canva account that I use for my Instagram and blog, but it’s super easy to get started. I only have the free version, and there’s still so much you can do with that alone.
Where to begin
I started by selecting a blank A6 template. You could go with A5, but I preferred something smaller. Then I created a colour palette. I did this by looking at my Pinterest boards. For example, what colour of flowers do I hope for? What colour of bridesmaid dresses would I like to opt for? Once this was established, it helped inform what I would like for our invites.
I knew that I wanted some kind of foliage on our invites, and although I’m okay at designing things on a computer, I’m terrible at drawing. So I very kindly asked a friend, who happens to be an illustrator, to draw up some of the flower arrangements I had pinned.
She does wonderful water colours, so I asked her if she would be able to draw and paint them in watercolour. She chose a few different arrangements, which gave me options to play around with when creating the invites. For example – a bouquet of flowers, a fan of flowers and a corner piece.
How to decide what to write
I did a lot of research by looking at invites available to purchase online, to decide what I wanted our invites to say. With it being a location wedding, there were certain things we needed to consider. For example, a date for people to RSVP by, travel and accommodation info, and more details on the full wedding weekend. (We’re planning a three day event, so we can make the most of the beautiful Château, and the fact we’re doing it in France).
I jotted down what I wanted to say, and then began to play around with fonts and the layout. This took a while and once I had the flowers I continued to play with the composition for a while before I was happy.
How to include illustrations
As I mentioned, I used Photoshop to cut out the flowers my friend had painted. However I’m sure there are online tools that could do the same. Failing that, there are a number of wedding invite designs available to purchase on Etsy in PDF format that include different foliage.
Otherwise, why not choose something more simple, like a pattern, shapes or lines? You can do this on Canva. A friend of ours is getting married in Portugal and their invite includes a repeated blue and white pattern, similar to the iconic tiles found in Porto. Genius! I’m sure there are plenty of options available elsewhere online too. You may have to pay for something more specialist.
Of course, there’s also the option of paying a designer to mock something up for you. Or, like I did, call on your friends to help you. Do you know anyone that could draw something? Or perhaps you can draw, but could a friend help you edit it online?
How to get them printed
Once again I looked at invites available to buy online to see what paper stock they were using. I then used Digital Printing to print them. It cost as little as £15 to print 100 invites, depending on how many pages you include, what paper you choose etc.
What extras are there to factor in?
We chose to use green envelopes which cost more than white, around £25 for 100. We also chose to create a personalised wax seal which cost about £30 for both the seal and wax. I already had some green twine, and I chose dried lavender to tie the invite together, as we’d printed 3 separate pieces of card. I found the lavender online for just £8.50 for 300 stems.
Postage was the biggest cost, which you might not think to factor in.
How long does it take?
The designing of the invites didn’t take long at all. I was able to do it in my free time quite quickly, and printing took just a couple of days. What took the longest was adding the twine and lavender sprigs, and the wax seals. In fact, the seals were by far the most time consuming part. (We found melting the wax in a spoon over a candle, and then pouring it onto the envelope, was a lot quicker than trying to burn the wax and drip it onto the envelope FYI).
Writing out guests addresses also takes a while. I initially wanted to write them in calligraphy but I had no time to learn and quickly realised I was terrible at it. So I stuck with my own hand writing. Equally I at first wanted them to be very formal with everyone’s full name, but quickly switched to using initials to speed things up. I would also recommend creating a spreadsheet with everyone’s names and addresses to make it easier and quicker.
Overall I think in total we’ve spend just shy of £150 on invites, as opposed to £300-£400 that I had originally seen online. I’m super happy with how they’ve turned out and I’m glad I did them myself. I have no regrets, despite the wax seals being tricky to master at first. We made very few mistakes, and I bought more than enough invites and envelopes etc to know that if we did make a mistake, it wasn’t critical. (Another top tip!).
Not only have they saved us money, but they are fully personal to us and our wedding now 🙂
Have you created your own invitations? Would it be something you’d consider?