The joy of stationery

by Suw on July 18, 2007

I've always found stationery to be very exciting. Don't ask me why, but the sight of a clean, pristine sheet of paper just fills me with joy. Blank books even more so… actually, to the point at which I have banned myself from buying new books until the ones I have are full up. My tendency is to buy really nice books and then think “I can't possibly use this for anything mundane, I have to wait for something really special”. Of course, that just means that I buy more books and never use them.
So having our wedding invitations printed was never going to be an option for me. It's not just that it's so expensive, although that point certainly doesn't swing me in favour of going to a printers, it's that it is so much more fun to make your own.
I spent some time a couple of months ago, searching the web for ideas on how to make my own invitations, but it was a friend of a friend who told me about WeddingDIY, which I think is run by his sister or cousin or friend. The site is heaven for stationery lovers – all sorts of papers and ribbons and card and envelopes, all cunningly put together in kits to allow you to make your own invitations.
Invite Mtburgundy865 Evening Inv Photos 00025Sm
This gatefold design is the one we're using for the main invitations, and the other is for the evening invitations.
A fortnight ago, I ordered three sample packs, which arrived very promptly a few days later. Last weekend I spent some time making up the samples to see how easy it is.
Materials wise, the quality of these kits is very high. The only issue I had was that the burgundy card that I'd ordered to form the back of the gatefold invitation wasn't burgundy – it was more a sort of plumy-chocolate colour than it was a true burgundy colour. And the two different ribbons widths were slightly different colours. I know that's nitpicking, but, well, I'm like that.
The instructions for assembling the kit were really clear, and WeddingDIY actually provides you with downloadable Word documents with the right layout for the size of paper that you're printing, which saves a lot of time in getting that right through trial and error!
Of course, getting the wording right on the invitations is a whole different matter. I had no idea it was so complicated! Do you go with “Request the pleasure of your company” or “Would be honoured by your presence”? Do you type in the names? Or handwrite them? Or have a generic invitation? And fonts! Which fonts do you use? Small caps for the details, big swirly script for the names? Prepositions on their own line? Time and date before venue?
Eventually I settled on something that I think works ok, although if there are any typographers reading this who want to take a look and give me some hints, I'd be more than happy to hear from you! (Bearing in mind, this is going to have to be done in Word or Pages, rather than proper typesetting software.)
The invitations were pretty easy to put together. I didn't have particularly good glue to hand, so the paper sort of wrinkled up a bit, but I am sure that's a problem that can be pretty easily solved, perhaps by using a proper glue roller, or spray mount.
Of course, because I am both a perfectionist and a skinflint, I spent some time yesterday at Paperchase and at the London Graphics Centre, looking to see if I can get any of the materials cheaper, and searching for exactly the right shade of burgundy card. It turns out that WeddingsDIY really has a very good price on raw materials, and the quality of the scored card (for the evening invitation) was higher than the card I could get in the shops in London – just a higher weight and better colour. I did find a better burgundy card, but at twice the price and with a laid surface instead of smooth.
I think I'm going to have to keep looking for the right shade of burgundy card, although I have some leads for a paper suppliers online and will be chasing that up as soon as I get somewhere near a working internet connection. (Right now, I'm on a train… but more of that later.) And I'm going to continue to search for matching organza ribbon in the right shade. But for the rest of it, I don't think I can do any better than WeddingsDIY.

Anonymous July 20, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Are you sure you want the diy option? We found a really good, helpful, cheap place for our daughter's wedding. They let us pick a font which wasn't on their list, what we got was exactly what we'd asked for and they were there at the end of the phone whenever we needed to talk to them.
And my husband is a newspaper/magazine designer, so he's picky.
Mother of the Bride (

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: