Get Me to the Church on Time

Wedding websites like The Knot, Weddingbee and Ruffled are mixed blessings. The timelines and checklists, etiquette discussions and stress-relieving tips were amazingly helpful.

But they also fill your head with a billion things that you just don’t need to have or do, especially if you’re trying to maximize your guest list without doing the same to your budget.

I won’t get into all the details of what those things are – every bride and groom is going to have different priorities – but for me, I fell victim to one silly I must have these item: pocket fold invitations.

Can I just say, wedding invitations are crazy expensive, especially when half of them are going to be misplaced by the postal service and the other half are going to be misplaced by your guests. Even on some of the more reasonable websites, like Wedding Paper Divas, ordering invites + reply cards + accommodation cards + direction cards + cost of shipping, it can add up to more than $4 per invitation. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but let’s say you’re sending out 200 invites like we were – that’s $800 right there. Blown on paper.

But they’re the first impression your guests will get of what kind of event they’ve been invited to, and the information they contain is important. So they’ve got to be right.

We had already decided to print our own invitations before I began my pocket fold fixation, but I found the print-at-home kits to be horribly limiting, plus I had a lot of information to include and I was going to have to add my own accommodations and directions cards anyway. So why not print (and cut and paste) everything ourselves?! And since we’re gonna do all that, would it really be so much more of a hassle to make pocket folds? More importantly, I wanted them.

This started out trial-and-error style.  I read dozens of DIY instructions and suffered through a lot of cutting and folding and pasting that made me wonder how I ever passed kindergarten. The problem wasn’t with the design or the instructions other brides had created – the problem was that many of those brides were making fewer than 50 invitations, so a time-and-labor-intensive project is somewhat reasonable. But I needed to make more than 200.

I already knew I’d be enlisting the help of my bridal party and my family, so I needed a design that was easy to explain and conducive to an assembly line setup.

The final design was a 4 x 9ish pocket fold invitation which fit into a No. 10 envelope.  I started with a 12 x 12 piece of cardstock paper and cut it down to 12 x 9. For the cardstock, we ordered Bazzill 12″x12″ cardstock in Admiral from JoAnn Fabrics.

Then I measured and marked off where the folds would be. For the fold dimensions, I will show you my skills of an artist:

The dotted lines are creases to help guide the folds. To crease the paper, you could purchase a $12 bone folder:

Why?

Or you could do like I did, and use things like an orange peeler, the back of a butter knife, or a clicky pencil minus the lead, and crease the side of the paper that’s going to be the inside of the pocket fold.  I used a metal ruler to guide the pencil/peeler/knife in a straight line.

Measuring for creases. I just made a little pen mark at the top and bottom of the paper.

Using the tip of an empty clicky pencil to crease the paper.

Creased

Then I gently folded along the creases.

Fold on the creases

Folded, ready to be glued

If you look at my fabulous drawing up above, you’ll see that one wide rectangle is 4 inches wide, and the other is 1/8 inch thinner. There’s a reason for that! It’s so that everything lays flat and fits nicely once it’s all folded up and stuffed. Trust me on this.

About the glue: I tried several glues and several ‘permanent’ roller adhesives that I had on hand. I kept test runs under a heavy book for a day, then let them sit around for a day, and time after time they fell apart.

And then I found this:

Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive. It dried in under a minute, didn’t wrinkle the paper, and didn’t fall apart several days later. I only used a few dots on each pocket, near the edge of the paper.

Here’s a tip: make sure you’re gluing the correct side down. If you glue the wrong side, the pocket fold won’t close. So check twice, glue once. Once the glue was dry, the pocket fold was ready to be stuffed with wedding information!

All of the inserts (invitation, accommodations, RSVP postcard, map with directions) were printed on 110 lb white cardstock, some at my parents’ home and some at FedEx/Kinkos, because I don’t have a printer. I just put them together in Word, and saved the ones for the print shop as PDFs.

After several sessions (with my wonderful bridesmaids and my family!) of cutting all of those pieces to size, we set up an assembly line to stuff them.

The invitation pieces went in first. They were 8 1/2 inches long and a little under 4 inches wide. I printed two per 11 x 8 1/2 piece of paper and we trimmed them down width-wise. We put Tombow Permanent Adhesive on three spots on the back of each invite and just kind of eyeballed putting them in place.

Then we gathered up all of the inserts that were going in the pocket and arranged them as best we could.

If you’re interested in making your own map and directions, I followed these instructions on Weddingbee.com.

Then it was folded up and sealed with a sticker. I printed the addresses on light gray linen No. 10 envelopes from Staples (fact: you don’t have to have the addresses handwritten. I used the same art deco font from the invites).

Done!

I was so happy with how these turned out! The color was perfect, I got my pocketfolds, I was able to use our wedding logo and all the fonts I wanted. I was also able to base our RSVP card off of what we used as our Save the Dates (I might do a brief DIY for those soon, too).

I don’t have the exact prices tallied up anymore, but I do remember that we spent more on postage (65 cent stamp for the invite, 32 cent postcard stamp for the RSVP) than we did on all the materials for the invitations combined, including the things we had printed at FedEx/Kinkos. If you (and your bridal party/friends/relatives) are willing to put the time in, this kind of project is perfect for both cutting costs and getting the exact look you want for your invitations.

Any other DIY brides out there? What did you do for your invitations?

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9 responses

  1. Pingback: Grab a Cheap Seat and Settle In | lace and lemons

  2. Thank you SO much for this tutorial. I just practiced it and it’s exactly what I was looking for – there are few tutorials out there for this sized envelope and I wanted a long “scroll” vellum invite that I will clip where the invite goes on here. So excited!

    • I’m glad you found this one, then! My only concern with this size of envelope was that folks might think it was junk mail or a bill, so we made sure to choose an envelope with some texture and a nice script for the addresses.

  3. Pingback: Lace and Lemons DIY Wedding Roundup | lace and lemons

    • I don’t have the exact pricing anymore, but in the end we paid less than $1.00 for the invitation (which included the envelope, the pocketfold, and all the stuff inside), and $0.97 per invitation for postage (a stamp to send them out and a stamp for the RSVP). Some places charge $1.50+ just for the invitation, and any inserts or RSVP cards are extra. You could save quite a bit by making your own invites if you’re willing to put the time into designing and assembling them. For me it was also about getting the look I wanted.
      Hope that helps!

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