How to Make Your Own Invitations for Your Bike Themed Wedding
After you say “Yes!” one of the first things a bride-to-be begins thinking about is the theme of her wedding. What are your colors going to be? What kind of flowers are going to go with that color theme? And what about the decorations? Rustic-chic? Uptown-modern? Antique-classic? Themes for weddings can make a girl (or guy) crazy, but for me, there wasn’t much of a decision to make. Our wedding would be a bicycle wedding.
But after that, there are still decisions to make for this unique wedding theme. What style of bike will your wedding be themed on? Road bikes? Cruiser bikes? Mountain bikes? Cyclo-cross bikes? Penny farthing? Tandem? And if you are like any of us girls here at Liv, you are thinking to yourself, “All of them?”
Although my fiancé and I have a deep love for mountain biking that actually formed the basis of our relationship, we decided to highlight the bike that has been the most meaningful addition to our bicycle stable: the tandem. Last year, after an injury side-lined me from mountain biking, road riding, working and pretty much anything fun, my better half (thinking only of my happiness, I’m sure) brought home a beautiful, white cruiser-style tandem bike that he found at the local coffee shop. With a broken shoulder and hand, I could precariously straddle the back half of the tandem and go for a ride, assisted by my boyfriend/driver. After that first ride—feeling the wind through my hair again after being cloistered inside for weeks—every time we hop on the tandem, we both can’t help smiling.
Tandem bikes not your thing? Then pick a different bike! As you start to plan the details of your wedding, it is important to stay true to you and your significant other’s personalities. So, after you pick your theme, it is time to let your guests know they need to SAVE THE DATE! Follow along with my journey in DIY wedding invitations.
Save the Date
If you want to take a stab at DIY wedding invitations, the first step is DIY “Save the Dates”. Basically, a Save the Date is a note to your guests, letting them know that you are getting married and you would like them to mark the date on their calendars.
First thing is first: Get organized! Before you get started designing and buy the paper, you need to figure out who your guests will be and how many guests you will have (tip: take the your total number of guests and divide it in half to figure out how much paper and envelopes you will need, since your total number factors in everyone’s spouse/significant other/+1—I learned this one the hard way with my Save the Dates). After sketching out your guest list with your fiancé and parents, do yourself a favor and create a spreadsheet with their names and addresses. I printed mine out so I could mark each person off after I addressed their Save the Dates, invite to our engagement party and wedding invitations. You can use the same spreadsheet to mark off each person after they RSVP to your invitation.
With a quick browse on Pinterest, you will find that you can spend as much or as little time, money and effort on your Save the Dates as you want. To save the time, you can find plenty of templates for your Save the Date online, buy printable Save the Dates on Etsy or hire a graphic designer. I threw my design together myself, but don’t waste time in the design phase if you know you it is not your strength.
Include on your Save the Date:
- You and your fiancé’s name
- The Date!
- A little hint at your theme
- Let your guests know that a formal invitation will follow
That’s it! In my opinion, you should pick a nice cardstock that is already pre-cut to your desired size (to save time and money), add a couple of nice touches that will give your Save the Date personality and don’t sweat the small stuff (use this as a practice run for the invites!).
Although you can make your DIY wedding invitations as simple or as complicated as you want, I will be the first to tell you that it is not easy. Yes, it is possible to save some money by buying your own paper, doing all the crafty stuff yourself and printing at home, but if you are not careful, you could end up spending more, stressing yourself out and spending A LOT of your time. Also, once you start the process, you can’t back out. So, before you start your DIY invitations, ask yourself these questions:
- Were the DIY Save the Dates easy? (Because the invitations will be a harder and involve more steps)
- Did I have fun making my own Save the Dates? (If it isn’t fun, it’s not worth it!)
- Do I have general “crafting ability”? (If you can’t cut a straight line or use glue without gluing your fingers together, DIY wedding invitations are not for you)
- Do I have more than 150 guests? (The more guests you have, the more cutting, printing, gluing, addressing, stamping, etc. you will be doing)
Still want to add that special touch that only you can give to your wedding invitations? Sweet! Let’s get started.
Step 1: Plan of Attack
For DIY wedding invitations, start planning about three months before your wedding date so you can have fun with it. The invitations will need to be in the mail about two months prior to your wedding.
I started the process like most brides do now-a-days: by browsing Pinterest. It is a great way to find out what you like and don’t like as far as style, color and wording goes. But, remember: It is Do it Yourself, not duplicate it yourself. If you find an invitation you absolutely love and wouldn’t change a thing about, then purchase it! When making DIY wedding invitations, you have to come to terms with the fact that whatever you make WILL NOT BE PERFECT, but you are going to love it anyway.
Since lavender is the “flower theme” for our wedding, when I saw this photo on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it with my own invitations. Below is my end result. It achieves the same feel as the Pinterest version and includes our bicycle theme with the tandem!
Don’t feel like designing your own invites? That’s cool! Here is a great bike-themed wedding invitation template that is completely free, and there are more out there just like it: FREE CUSTUSTOM BICYCLE WEDDING INVITATION!
If you like options and don’t mind spending a ridiculously small amount of money to save a ton of your precious time, here are some awesome Etsy listings: SUPER CUTE BICYCLE WEDDING INVITATIONS YOU CAN PRINT AT HOME (OR AT THE FEDEX STORE)!
But, if you are like me (stubborn and mildly artsy), then none of those things will do and you have to design your own wedding invitation. Sketch it out first on the paper size you will be using. You will probably find out that you can’t fit that much information on one card, like I did. I discovered I needed four separate sheets of paper to tell my guests everything I wanted them to know. Measure out the exact dimensions of each piece of your wedding invitation, so you know how much paper you will need at the store.
Step 2: Get Crafty
You will need to make a trip to your local craft store. But, before you do, make a list.
Paper: The type of paper you buy is important. It is good to know that your at-home printer cannot print white, so unless you want to up the costs, buy light-colored paper. Also, make sure you get cardstock that is at least 80 lb. weight. Mine was also slightly textured.
Layers: One way to give your invitations a personal touch is to add layers. Make sure the paper you pick for your layering is the same thickness as your printing paper.
Glue: If you are layering your invitation, you will need some glue. DO NOT use just any craft glue stick for this project. I used Photo Mount.
Envelopes: You will need TWO ENVELOPES! One envelope will hold your invitation, addressed to the guest, the other envelope (smaller) will be addressed back to you for the RSVP, unless you use a postcard format for your RSVP. I bought my envelopes in packs that included cards and used the paper for my layering.
Stamps/ Other embellishments: If you didn’t use a stamp for your Save the Date, it is a fun way to make the envelope more personal. I also bought hemp twine and dried lavender (purchased separately at our local farmers market) for my invitations.
Special Pens: Having a nice pen to address the envelopes will make all the difference in their appearance. Handwriting the addresses is much easier than printing each envelope individually. If you don’t have great handwriting, maybe someone from your wedding party does!
Paper Cutter: A must-buy if you see yourself doing more DIY for your wedding. Yes, you can go to your local print shop and use their paper cutter, but for about $25, I am cutting straight lines at home with this paper trimmer.
Step 3: Print, Cut & Glue
Now you have all the supplies you need and you have your bike wedding invitation design ready to go. Next step: Print and Cut!
You have two options here: Take your paper and design file to your local print shop or print at home.
I chose to print at home, but if you want some great advice on printing options read here. With at home printing, you will need to make sure you have a good-quality printer that can handle different paper weights and types. Also, ensure your printer has fresh ink before you begin. I liked this method because I could make sure everything looked the way I wanted. If something wasn’t working, I could change the design or alter a color without wasting all my paper. However, by printing at home, I had to cut my paper to size BEFORE printing since the paper I purchased was wider than my printer.
After everything is printed and cut to size, glue your layers together. If you are using spray adhesive, like the photo mount I used, COVER EVERYTHING with a bed sheet and newspaper. I did mine in batches of about 5 or 6, spraying the entire back of the printed sheets of paper and placing them on the darker cardstock.
Step 4: Putting the Pieces Together
Although it does not have to be lavender and hemp, having something to hold all the pieces of your wedding invitation together is handy. A simple ribbon can do the trick.
Step 5: Sealed with a Kiss
The only thing left to do now is sign, seal and deliver!
If your invitations are “fat” like mine, address the envelopes BEFORE stuffing them! When I began sealing my invitations, I noticed that my nice brown envelopes were having a hard time sealing. A glue stick would have worked great, but I didn’t have one. I did have some very nice floral fabric tape I picked up on sale while I was at the craft store. It worked beautifully!
My last tip is to take your sealed invitations to the post office BEFORE putting any postage stamps on the envelope. It is best to have the postal worker weigh your invites and sell you stamps that you know will cover the postage.
The total cost of my DIY bike themed wedding invitations came out to $160 before postage which was another $40. Included: All the paper for 65 invitation cards and envelopes, RSVP cards and envelopes, accommodations and reception cards, glue, fresh ink for my printer (printing all these invites used a little less than half of each color ink cartridge, to save money print in black), a fancy calligraphy pen, paper cutter (that I will continue to love and use), fabric tape, a roll of hemp (with plenty left over for other projects), and a bunch of dried lavender.
Stay tuned for more great bike wedding ideas!