Even since I got engaged this past January I've been playing around with different ideas for my invitations. After many hours I finally came up with a design that met my vision. I decided to go with a pocket style invitation and use an embossing technique for the images.
I probably invested close to 75 hours into my invitations but most of that time was because I kept changing my mind . Once I committed to a design I would say the whole process from designing the layouts in Photoshop to putting the last postage stamp on the outer envelope took me 7 hours to make 25 invitations.
For those of you interested in my fonts, I downloaded them for free from http://1001freefonts.com. I used:
Last names on invite & headings for inserts: Castellar
First names on invites and other "scrolly" text on the RSVP card: Edwardian Script ITC
Most test on invite & inserts: Champagne & Limousines
After I worked out my wording for the invite and inserts I started by designing an image of sea coral in Photoshop then converted it to a vector using Illustrator. The original image was used for my invitations. I then cropped a section of the original image and saved it in a separate vector file for the inserts, rsvp, and, "one love" square on the outside of the pocket. Once the images were ready I contacted Dominion Stamps & Engraving (based out of Calgary, Alberta) http://www.dominionstamps.com and had them turn my custom images into 2 rubber stamps. I must say this company is fantastic to deal with and I highly recommend them. From the time I first contacted them to the time I received my stamps was less than 5 days and I live on the other side of Canada!
I decided to cheat a little in the DIY process and ordered my paper and pockets from Cards and Pockets http://www.cardsandpockets.com . Again they were fantastic to deal with.
Pocket invitations and outer envelope: Imperial Blue
Inner envelope and invitation/rsvp/inserts: Snow white
RSVP envelope and invitation mat: Turquoise
With my invitations and enclosures all printed I was ready to start adding my custom images. I purchased my ink pads and embossing powder from Michael's. I used the Brilliance line of pigment ink in Rocket Red Gold color and Recollections embossing powder in clear. For the back of the RSVP envelope I used a heart stamp I found the clearance bin at Micheal's with ColorBox pigment ink in Robin's Egg and the same clear embossing powder used for my other images. It took a bit of practice to get the exact positioning of my images down but once I did my FI and I were off the races with our embossing assembly line (me stamping and dusting with embossing powder, him "cooking" the embossing powder with the heat gun). The embossing process is dead easy, even for amateur DIYers out there.
The attached pics are of the end result. I'm happy with how they turned out but as a tip to other budget conscience Canadian brides, make a mock-up of your final product and take it to the post office. Because of my inserts and jute ribbon on the outside of the pocket (purchased from Michael's) my invitations were overweight and oversized so I ended up having to spend about $60 on postage stamps