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[Our engagement party invitations, printed]

We could have gone with the cheap-and-easy route (yeah, that’s right, I’m talking about you, Evite), but seeing as how that would require us my mom and DL’s mom to call up all of our “Internet? What is this Internet you speak of” relatives and personally invite them, we opted to send a good old fashion card.

Keep in mind: We started planning this little shin dig less than a month out. This meant we had about one week to pick, print, and mail the invites in order to give our guests at least two weeks to admire the cards before we called/IM/emailed them to see if they were coming RSVP.

I considered my options carefully:

  1. Buy a box of DIY invitations from Target or Michael’s and print from home

    Pro: Cheap, Con: My printer will hate me and takes its revenge, which means I may lose sleep over this

  2. Order custom invitations online from Wedding Paper Divas or MyExpression.com

    Pro: Pretty and cheaper than brick-and-mortar shops, Con: Still pretty pricey, especially if you do custom printing (to print at home at this point would completely defeat the purpose of ordering custom cards, dontcha think?)

  3. Summon my inner-Martha and make EVERYTHING from scratch with supplies from Paper Source

    Pro: They’d turn out AWESOME like my Cousin’s wedding invites, Con: I might bash my head over the shear cost of materials and the lack of sleep from spending my “free” time making invitations

  4. Hire an Etsy invitation maker to design my invites and have Vistaprint or CatPrint do the printing

    Pro: Custom design without the custom price tag, plus I can save some time, Con: Still not as cheap as option #1

The choice was not easy and I second guessed myself throughout the whole process, but in the end, I’m absolutely thrill with the results of going with option #4, which I will recap in three easy-to-replicate steps.

  • STEP #1: Find a design you like on Etsy. Use key words like “engagement,” “invitations,” and “party” in your search. I fell in love with this tandem bicycle design by Erin at Pink Peony Designs. She was great to work with – responsive to email, flexible enough to work with my tight turnaround,  proactive in giving me several designs and looks to choose from, and accommodating about making last-minute changes. I highly recommend her if you’re in the market for invitation designs. Total amount of time = 4 days (1 day for browsing through Etsy and finding a designer/design that I liked, 3 days for Erin to draft and finalize my invitation design)
  • STEP #2: Take your design to a printer. I recommend using online printers because they’re cheaper. They don’t have the overhead costs of maintaining a physical store; however, it’ll be harder for you to proof anything beforehand. I decided to work with Catprint on this project – loved how my Cousin’s Chinese wedding banquet invitations turned out and I was especially drawn to their low prices and easy to use ordering system. Total amount of time = 4 days (1 day to print, 3 days to ship….though that’s cause I selected 3 day shipping)
  • STEP #3: Mail your invitations. While I had dreamed of going the extra step to find/buy/use matching postage stamps, hand make envelope liners, hand write the addresses and use a wax seal – I didn’t in the interest of time. Instead, DL and I formed a production line to stuff the invites in the envelopes, slap on the address labels & stamp, seal the envelopes and add a heart sticker as a seal. Total amount of time = 2 day (1 day for post production and we lost 1 day since the Post Office is closed on Sundays)

All in all, this project took about 10 days from start to finish – not bad, if I do say so myself ^____________^