The Never-Ending Invitation Design Story

Since I first talked about our invitations here, which was almost a month ago, J and I have been working furiously to come up with our final design and paper suppliers.

Don’t know if it’s because we’re slightly masochistic, cheap, or control freaks, but J and I are designing our cards from scratch–each and every last detail will be handpicked and handled by us.

Step 2: Visit to the Paper Things. After perusing websites and hoarding old wedding invitations , J and I went to Paper Things, a not-for-profit invitation company in Yorkville. If you are clueless about invitations, I highly recommend first visiting a well-respected invitation company. We sat down with one of the consultants, pretending we would be using their services, and she schooled us in custom invitation construction. It was great–we learned the lingo, saw different designs, inspected pocked folds and inserts, gazed at ribbon and colours. Like Jasmine and Aladdin, J and I were in a whole new world. Who knew cutting paper could cost so much money???  The final price she quoted us for 150 invitations–over $2000.00.  Don’t believe me? Here’s the photo evidence:

Yes. The total is $2537.47.

J and I smiled politey, said we’d get back to her, and then quickly ran out of the Yorkville shop with no intention of returning and trying not to hyperventilate. $2500?? That’s 2.5 pairs of Manolos! Maybe 3 if they’re on sale!

However, we did walk away with one good tip– We wanted a high quality mendhi design to incorporate into the card, and the consultant at Paper Things directed us to this site. It has thousands of images for sale. Before buying you can save images onto your computer and use them to create draft designs. It’s an awesome place to start and get creative ideas.

Step 3: Our next stop was The Paper Place on Queen West–aka my Paper Heaven.

My pic of my paper heaven

Since our first visit, we’ve made about 4 more. If you’re designing your cards from scratch, prepare yourself for several visits to paper suppliers. Prepare to be overwhelmed and confused by the paper selection. There is a world beyond lined paper and 8 x 11.5 printer paper, my friends.

A fraction of the paper at The Paper Place

A mere fraction of binders with even more samples of paper at The Paper Place.

The staff at Paper Place are amazing. They are knowledgeable and helpful. They don’t push their products on you and forward you to other vendors who might have more options. J and I considered ordering some sparkly dark purple cardstock from Envelopments (an order-only service the Paper Place offers). We liked these tri-fold pocket folds:

Tri-fold pocket card from

But, at $2.30 per card plus envelope, tax, and shipping, not to mention the extra cardstock for inserts, this option was above our budget.

Step 4:Education application. Our visit to the Paper Place was very educational, and gave us–or I mean J–inspiration to make our own cards from scratch. J made a few visits to The Paper Depot, a bare-bones paper supply company on Nugget Rd. in Scarborough. It’s so bare-bones it doesn’t have a website. The admin assistant, Kim, was extremely helpful and patient with J’s numerous inquiries. He brought back several small paper samples, and we fell in love with dark purple cardstock.

Step 5: Colour scheme. We wanted our cards to match our reception decor, hence going with the dark purple cardstock. After a couple more visits to the Paper Place, we decided on: purple cardstock, silver paper and cardstock for inserts, and fuschia ribbon. Our text will be in dark purple and fuschia. We are also using this mendhi pattern from, which will be in fuschia:

Step 6: Design, Design, Design! J and I have created about 4 templates, and we finally decided on a template and layout we like. The following picture sums up one night of hardcore invitation designing:

A paper invitation explosion.

We still have one design element to finalize: the ribbon. Went to Mokuba on Queen West on the weekend. It was my perfect store: lots of pretty ribbon in pretty colours organized neatly on shelves from dark colours to light colours. All the order in the shop draped me with comfort and happiness. We found one ribbon sample we liked. It was only $3.90/metre, which is pretty good since we won’t need that much. We might trudge out to Michael’s or Fabricland to see what other fuschia ribbon options they have.

Step 7: Learning how to emboss. We wanted to include the Ik Onkar symbol, which looks like this:

This symbol appears at the beginning of the Sikh Scripture and translates to “One God”.

We wanted to incorporate it in a unique way and were struggling to find space for it on the inside of the invitation. I didn’t want it to be miniscule–it requires presence. A friend of mine gave me the idea of embossing. We inquired more at The Paper Place, and they suggested we go to Bizzy B’s Stamp & Scrap . J spent that night googling embossing and trekked out to Bloor West Village. Bizzy B’s had the material J needed. We’ll be embossing Ik Onkar on the front cover of our invitations. Sorry, I mean, J will be embossing 15o invitations. God speed, my love.

Step 8: The math. Paper’s expensive, man.

J tallying up the totals. Ouch. All that money-spending makes my heart hurt.

Step 9: The wording. So, now that we’ve got our papers, finalized our colour scheme, we gotta figure out what the heck we want to say on these cards!!! That’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of tonight…if I can stay awake.

Step 10: Final layout and design. Print. Bite nails while cards print. We are printing with a small company J has used for years.

Step 11: Construction. Family and friends: get the assembly line ready!!!




2 thoughts on “The Never-Ending Invitation Design Story

    • I definitely want to post a final pic!! Will have to alter the image somewhat, though, to maintain our anonymity online. I really hope they turn out. I have grand hopes followed by dismal images of tacky invitations.

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