I found EncreStudio on Etsy. I loved the coral, starfish, and shell combination of this design, so I sent them a message and we discussed custom options. I was able to select the wording, colors, and font. I was even able to add a separate enclosure card rather than the Thank You card that they offer in the package. I sent Nadia the language and format for the invitation, information card and RSVP and heard back from her within 24 hours with a first proof. We tweaked a few things, such as fonts on certain lines and I had a final proof a few days later. Another thing that I loved about this company was that they offer both paper and digital image options. They could either print everything for me or I could do it myself, which is the option I chose...well kinda.
I used CatPrint for printing. I found them through Weddingbee and a lot of the brides on the message boards had great things to say about them. Another option for printing like this is VistaPrint or a local print shop.
I selected the white linen paper because the weight and texture added something special to a pretty simple design. After uploading my files and selecting the quantity, my order was complete. I was mailed a hard proof within a few days. I highly recommend this because my crop marks were off on the hard copy and I needed to address that issue with the company. After approval, they send the full printing and I was so excited to receive it; however, I was not excited to start cropping. Upon arrival, the invitations and enclosures were the wrong size, but CatPrint resolved the issue AND reprinted them in the correct size and mailed them out the very day that I talked to them. That is amazing customer service! I spent between 2-3 hours cropping the cardstock to size.
Tate and I stacked the enclosures and envelopes one night and I started the process of tying the raffia and starfish around each group of cards. It took a while, but the end product was worth it to me. I struggled to find an invitation that I liked from a company, and it ended up being easy enough for me to complete on my own after receiving help with the design aspect. After they were stacked and wrapped, I started stuffing envelopes. I'll talk more about the envelopes in Part 2!
Would I recommend DIYing your own invitations? Yes, if you have less than 100, enjoy doing crafty things and are not worried about each invitation being perfect and standardized. I figured that if I wasn't spending my time working on these I would have been baking, decorating, or doing something else crafty, so it was worth it for me.
I will include a breakdown of the price in Part 2, but excluding postage, each invitation cost less than $2.00 each to make!