Lots of couples nowadays consider a DIY option when it comes to wedding stationery, and if done well it can genuinely look amazing. There's nothing better then the feeling of accomplishment when you get to the end of the set, post them out, then all the compliments come back and you get to say 'I made those!'
However, they don't always turn out perfectly and a lot of the time its because people think that you can go to your local craft store, pick up a general pack of card stock and a roll of ribbon and produce amazing professional looking stationery at home and it's often not the case.
DIY stationery often considered a 'cost saving' option and depending on the style you have chosen this can sometimes be the case but often people find there are a lot of hidden costs to it that they hadn't accounted for, not to mention the hours and hours of craft time. It is worth considering it properly and pricing everything up along with getting some quotes from suppliers before you make your decision, you could be surprised.
Even making one of our basic designs I typically use around 5 different pieces of equipment and 3-4 different adhesives and this is before we have even factored in card stock/glitter card and ribbon. Now granted this wont apply to everyone looking to make their own invitations, it massively depends on the style you are going for but its with all the added extras that can really push the price up.
Quality stationery requires quality materials and whilst this doesn't always have to cost the earth, there is a lot to consider. I have based these sections on traditional handmade designs, there are of course other options such as online printers or wedding websites that may be appropriate for you also.
The first thing to look for when choosing your materials is a good quality base card stock. When shopping you need to be looking out for the 'gsm' number, the higher this is, the better quality it is. Standard copier paper is normally around 80gsm, a good quality card stock will be anything from 270gsm upwards. I know its tempting to go for a lower gsm and get more sheets for your money, please don't do it! Thinner card wont hold its shape when stood up and will often show adhesive through, not a great look!
Once you have your card stock you need to figure out how you are going to print on it. The vast majority of home printers are not built for card and you will struggle to get it to print cleanly. On the off chance you do manage to get a few sheets through, you may find the print quality is very poor, smudged or you may even do lasting damage to the rollers if you are forcing through thicker material then what it can manage so be careful!
Printers that can typically take this type of card comfortably do tend to be more expensive, probably £100+. Check the specifications of the machine beforehand and have a look at the ink cost as well. Ink is often a forgotten cost in this instance, a full set of invitations will probably take a full ink cartridge, possibly more so if your cartridges are £30 - £40 each which is typical, the costs are obviously now mounting up.
Once you have your designs printed they now need cutting out. Of course it is possible to just use a normal pair of kitchen scissors if you are confident you have a steady hand but I wouldn't recommend it, trust me they will end up different sizes, with wonky edges and it will ruin the hard work you have already put in.
You are going to need a paper trimmer or guillotine probably that can cope with sizes up to A4. A basic one in a craft shop will probably be around £10-£15
There are other tools that may be helpful as well such as:
A scoreboard - in craft terms this is generally a plastic board with ridges moulded in and you lay your card stock on top and with a scoring tool run down the ridges and you get perfect fold lines in your card stock. Cost £10-£15
A fabric fuser - I use this for making flat bows. It essentially melts layers of fabric together and holds them in shape, I make hundreds of bows a week so this is definitely one of my must haves! Cost: £10-£15
Obviously these are optional extras that not everyone will need, it depends on your design and what you are incorporating.
As I mentioned above its quite normal for me to use 3-4 different types of adhesive on one invitation just because different things work better for different materials, a roll of double sided tape and a glue stick won't cover everything!
Double sided tape - great for sticking basic card to basic card if layering different colours up, I also like using it on foil card and even with satin ribbon. One thing double sided table will not work on is glitter card, it won't hold and your layers will start peeling in a couple of days time so avoid this. Cost around £1 per roll
Tacky Glue - Tacky Glue is great for constructing the base of your invitations, it will set hard and give a really strong base structure. Its also my go to glue for sticking on top of glitter card, in most cases it will suffice to just leave it to dry but if you have a really heavy card just glue your layers down and place under a heavy book to be kept flat, it will set perfectly. You can also use tacky glue to glue layers of card together if you don't like double sided tape. Just be careful not to use too much as some card stocks will warp and show glue lines through if too much is applied. Cost around £1 per bottle depending on brand.
Hot Glue - You will require a glue gun that plugs in or charges up in order to use hot glue. It is great for things like embellishments as it has a strong hold, grips instantly and sets quite fast. If you are using metal or 3D embellishments, this is a must have, normal PVA glue will not work. A basic glue gun with glue sticks would probably cost around £10 + depending on size.
Sometimes its not the cost that drives a decision to make your own wedding stationery, maybe you just like crafting and want to have a go, or have something very specific in mind and want to make them more personal by making yourself, that's absolutely fine! I hope this has helped or given you some food for thought and I wish you all the very best, i'm sure they will be absolutely stunning.
If you are undecided I would recommend doing some research first and price up each option for yourself. Going with a professional may cost you more, there is no sugar-coating that but you have to consider what you are getting for that extra. A professional stationer has already done all of the research and trial and error into what adhesives work best with what card stock. They already have all of the professional equipment set up and correctly calibrated, ready to go. The basic materials might cost you less, granted, but once you factor in printer ink, paper trimmers and extra embellishments it might surprise you.
I hope that was helpful, as always we are here if you have any questions, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe everyone