Well... These are not 100% DIY, I had two of my talented friends help in the creation process! And before I go any further I just want to toss in a quick note - if you have friends who have graphic design or art business, USE THEM! Why would you not want to support 1. your friends 2. local businesses?
If you need to borrow a talented friend, mine are:
Tess Erlenborn - a Nashville based artist who did all of the watercolors and the map
Eugenie McLellan - a New Orleans based graphic designer with an eye
I knew I wanted something elegant but woodsy and these two helped make that vision possible. Eugenie put Tess's artwork together to create the formal invitation, the map/itinerary, RSVP card and rehearsal dinner invitation. We worked through a few drafts and I am so grateful both Tess and Eugenie were so easy to work with and open to change and suggestion.
My big take aways from working with friends are:
1. Be very clear about what you want / don't want
2. Be okay with saying you don't like something
3. Send ideas of what you like - help them see your vision
4. Work out payment / terms BEFORE everything
5. Just don't be weird! Yes they are your friend but this is also their business and they do this every day.
Formal Invitations should go out anywhere from 2-4 months before the wedding date. Make sure you give yourself some time to print and assemble everything... printing and shipping, stamps, wax seal, etc.
Eugenie had them printed and shipped to my house so I could assemble everything together with raffia. I wasn't crazy about the look at first and really wanted some kind of sheer / vellum paper over it all so I went to Hobby Lobby and bought vellum paper and cut them in half (thanks FedEx Store) to fit the invitation size.
Fake Baby's Breath - Michaels Fake Flower Section
Before you start putting stamps on, take one of the envelopes with everything inside and have the post office weigh it and tell you how many stamps it will need. (Note: if you are mailing overseas it will need more).
Once stamps are on and the envelopes are ready to go, bring them to the post office and ask if you can stamp them yourself instead of putting them through the machine. They will most likely hand you a stamp and have you stamp each envelope (sometimes they will do it themselves).
and then they are off! I definitely was crunched for time so if I could go back I would have allowed more wiggle room for wax seals... stamps... etc!