Wedding invitations can take a major chunk out of a wedding budget if you go for professionally-printed invitations with all the bells and whistles. A professional printer will show you sheets of paper that cost more than you could ever imagine wood pulp would, and will try to convince you that if your invites don’t have gold leaf embossing they’ll be chucked into the trash like a sales circular. The truth is, the advent of good inkjet and laser jet printers means that you can print your own invitations without them looking like–well, without them looking like you printed them yourself. Instead of virgin goatskin vellum and other fancy stuff, make your invitations eye-catching with an imaginative design. Here are a few possibilities.
Faux boarding passes
For a destination wedding, or just for a bit of visual interest, design your invitations like old-school boarding passes. All you need is the right form factor, some blue stripes, and a sufficiently dot-matrix-printer-looking font to create the illusion. Tuck them into a little envelope with a pretend airline logo on it and they’ll look fantastic.
Sometimes planning a wedding can seem like an impossible mission. That’s why we love the idea of doing wedding invitations as though they were a briefing dossier for a secret agent. You can include profiles of the bride and groom with their known aliases, prior convictions, and current whereabouts. Your guests have been recruited to bring the couple in, and the dossier contains intel about where they’ll next be seen together. It’s a great way to include a schedule, map, and hotel info in a fun way; and those are all the most important elements of properly designed wedding invitations.
With vibrant colors and fun fonts, a concert or circus poster invitation is more likely to end up stuck to the fridge than forgotten in a desk drawer. For a really old-timey feel, you can go for the classic Victorian poster, with its big bold fonts and superlative text. Or take the style of the iconic Woodstock poster, with the bride and groom names listed as though they were performing at the show. Depending on your sensibilities, though, the DIY-grunge of a punk poster might fit the bill. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have all the crucial info sandwiched in with the neat design.
The next two are less DIY, but they’re still inexpensive, and they’re definitely memorable. There are tons of companies online who do custom-printed balloons for pennies a balloon, in lots as small as 25 all the way up to 500. You can have all your crucial wedding details printed on the balloon, and then tuck the balloon in an envelope with a bit of cardstock that repeats the information (in case of popping). The recipient can inflate the balloon to see the design, and then have a bouncing, battable reminder of the upcoming ceremony.
For a rustic or green-themed wedding, plantable invitations are printed on paper infused with wildflower seeds. After copying down the details (or bookmarking your wedding website), guests can plant the whole thing in their garden and watch flowers bloom. It’s a beautiful way to make your invitations zero-waste.
A wedding invitation doesn’t have to be some staid, traditional, and expensive part of your wedding planning. With a little imagination, your invitation can introduce your theme and be as fun for your guests to read as they were to create. Like everything about a modern wedding, traditions about invitations can be discarded if they don’t fit the couple’s personality. If you’re into the globetrotters, secret agents, rock stars, clowns, or hippies, let your wedding invitations have as vibrant a personality as you do.