How to design a wedding invitation from scratch

Want to make your own wedding invitations? Inside, we've got tips on how to design a wedding invitation from scratch

Getting married can undoubtedly be one of the most exciting times of your life. It marks the beginning of a new chapter. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to get all your nearest and dearest together in one place for a fun celebration!

However, it can also be one of the most expensive times of your life. From the venue and attire to the catering and the photographer, there’s an endless list of things to pay for (and organize). And that’s just the essentials!

With so many expenses involved in planning your nuptials, you may want to keep the cost of your wedding invites down by designing your own. As an added bonus, it also adds a more personal touch. The good news is, you don’t have to be a professional designer to create gorgeous invitations that perfectly embody your one-of-a-kind relationship. Or, if you’re known as the ‘creative’ friend or family member and have been tasked with designing the invites, you don’t have to procrastinate while avoiding your blank canvas.

Here, we’ve put together a handy guide to creating beautiful wedding invitations from scratch.

Pick your shape and dimensions

tnw_16_invite-mockup_dribbble

Via Dribbble

Designing your own wedding invitation starts with choosing the right layout and dimensions. Traditionally, wedding invitations are rectangular, with 4.5-inch-by-6.25-inch dimensions. So, if you’re looking to give your wedding invites a more classic feel, this is the way to go. Opting for this leaner size can also help keep your printing costs down, too!

If you’re looking to go down the more traditional route, our Blue and Yellow Vines Wedding Invitation template is ready to be personalized with your own colors, fonts and imagery.

Of course, this is your wedding, and you don’t have to stick to tradition if that’s not your style. Other wedding invite styles that have gained popularity in recent years included horizontal rectangles and scalloped designs. No matter what size and shape you’re after, working with a template is the easiest way to get you started.

Consider your location

Location is everything when it comes to weddings, and that extends to your invites, too! Thinking about where you’re getting hitched can help guide the overall theme and design of your invites. For example, if you’re getting married in a church, you might decide to opt for a more traditional, romantic aesthetic. Or, if you’re tying the knot in a country or farm setting, a rustic and natural look might be more appropriate. Not only does this give you an excellent starting point for your design, but it really helps to set the scene for your big day.

rf-Pink-INVITATIONS-Portrait-178mmX127mm

Via Paperlust

This invitation invokes a tropical feel that’s perfect for a beach or destination wedding. It has a laidback and relaxing feel, but is still elegant and refined.

artboard_7

Via Dribbble

This invitation has been designed for a destination wedding in a less typical setting — Cairo, Egypt. The designer has done a fantastic job of representing this through the illustrations of the pyramids, giving the invite a unique and eye-catching look.

Choose romantic fonts

It may sound like nerdy design speak to say that one font can be more ‘romantic’ than another. But different typefaces have different qualities, and they can really make or break the overall personality of your design. For example, unless you happen to be two clowns getting married, Comic Sans probably has no place in your wedding invitation! In general, bold, blocky fonts are best avoided, as they can appear too ‘harsh.’ Meanwhile, cursive or calligraphy fonts are excellent choices for wedding invites—especially if you use them for your names. They’re soft, romantic and elegant. They also look great when paired with a serif font for the rest of the text in your invitation.

0419_SEO_WeddingInvitationWording_3

Via Papier

You can see this in action in the above example. Having the names centred and in a cursive font draws the reader’s attention to the most important element—the names of the couple getting married. The typography really compliments the overall classic and simple look of this wedding invite.

Need help picking out a ‘romantic’ font for your wedding invite design? We’ve done the hard work for you in the Grey Textured Wedding Invite, which uses the Libre Baskerville font for its main text. 

Think about your imagery

They say a photo can speak a thousand words, and that’s certainly true when it comes to relationships! Using a photo of yourselves in your wedding invite is the perfect way to showcase your deep love to your friends and family. Plus, it can help to give your invites a more personal feel, and makes a great keepsake for your loved ones.

a396ac6f295bdee94f74698edb3c681a-20-132173478

Via Paperless Post

When paired with the watercolor texture, this beautiful black and white phot really brings the above wedding invitation to life. Having such an eye-catching focal element has allowed the designer to stick to a simple overall color theme.

Want to get the look in your own wedding invites? Canva’s Gold Paint Couple Rustic Collage Wedding Invitation template is the perfect place to start! Just swap out the image, names and info and you’re well on your way to announcing your big day.

Think outside the box

Your relationship is unique, so your invitations should be, too! There’s no reason you need to stay with the confines of what a traditional wedding invitation ‘should’ look like.  Don’t be afraid to switch up your format, themes and even incorporate some personal jokes into your design!

download

Via Paperless Post

For example, this wedding invitation uses a clever, ‘timeline’  format that maps out the course of the couple’s relationship. This injects extra personality and visual interest into this invite, especially when coupled with the cute illustrations.

Creating a unique format for your wedding invite can sometimes be as simple as switching up your wording. From there, the other design elements often flow naturally.

Canva’s Blue and Red Colorful World Map Wedding Invitation template proves that the sky’s the limit when it comes to your invite format. It’s perfect for a destination wedding, or a couple who loves travel.

Choose your colors

Your color scheme has a huge impact on the overall look and feel of your wedding invite. But as any couple who has ever tried to design their home together can attest, it can be very difficult for two people to agree on one color palette! If one of you has a penchant for purple but the other is all about brown, trying to combine those two colors might end in disaster. So, rather than attempting to get both of your favorite colors in, you might need to compromise with some tried-and-tested color combinations.

wedding-invitation--dribbbble_2x

Via Dribbble

For example, green is a very popular choice in wedding invitations— especially for outdoor ceremonies. Perhaps it’s because it’s typically associated with new beginnings!

Not only does it have a calming and energizing feel, it can also look luxe when paired with colors like rust or gold. Using varying shades of green can also help add some extra visual depth to your design, as you can see in the above example.

Feeling inspired? You can get a similar look with Canva’s Beige Bordered Leaves Geometric Floral Wedding Invitation.

Some other color combinations you can experiment with for your wedding invites is pink with purple, blue with white and gold with, well, anything!

Inject some personality into your design

Your loved ones aren’t coming to see just anyone get married. They’re there to see you two get married—the people they know and love. Chances are, many of them have seen the evolution of your relationship blossom over the years. So, to give your invitations a more personal feel, try to incorporate what makes you tick as a couple. For example, maybe you have a shared hobby or interest that brought you together, or have an interesting story behind how you met.

dribbble_m_e_02

Via Dribble

For example, this risograph design features a unique, retro feel that feels reminiscent of an old TV broadcast. It would make a sweet wedding invite that would be perfect for a couple that shares a mutual love for all things 80s.

Canva’s Yellow and Green Flasks Save The Date template is the perfect fit for a couple who bonded over a shared passion for science. However, the icons can also be easily swapped out for hundreds of others in our elements library to fit your own interests.

Consider the purpose

envelope-sizes_outline-rectangle_2x

Via Dribble

For most couples, there are a few different stages of the wedding invitation process. For example, before you send out your final invite with all the details, it’s customary to send out a save-the-date beforehand. This gives your guests plenty of notice to block out the date in their calendar and ensures they don’t make other plans. The timeframe on this varies—eight to twelve months in advance is customary for destination weddings, while four months is usually sufficient for local weddings. Generally speaking, six months is a good rule of thumb. When you’re sending out wedding invites, it’s important to define what stage in the process you’re at. For a save-the-date, it’s generally enough to include your names, the date (make sure you include the year, too!) and if you know it, the rough location of your wedding.

bm_wedding_std

The above example beautifully showcases great save-the-date invitation etiquette. All of the necessary information for this stage in the process has been included, without overloading it with text.

Want to send out save-the-dates before your official invitations? Canva’s Polkadotted Save-The-Date Postcard template is a great jumping off point. It even includes a handy postcard design with room for a stamp, for easy sending!

Once you’ve settled on all the details of your wedding, it’s time for the main event: your wedding invitations! Usually, this will include a lot more information than your save-the-date. It goes without saying that the time and location of your wedding are non-negotiables. But, you may also choose to include information on the dress code (if there is one), where the ceremony and reception are (and how you’ll get between them), your catering situation (is it a sit-down-dinner, banquet or informal BBQ?) and your policy on gifts. You may also want to specify whether the wedding is child-friendly. Also make sure you also let guests the deadline to RSVP, and how.

Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 2.28.45 pm

Via Dribbble

This stunning wedding invitation includes all the relevant information a guest would need to know—including the dress, date code, RSVP information and even the timing of the event. However, the designer has used delicate iconography to break up the layout and prevent it from looking too overwhelming.

Looking to channel the above aesthetic in your wedding invites? 

Canva’s Intricate Background Fall Wedding Design template uses lines and symmetry to create a similarly balanced look.

Decide on your delivery method

Before you even start designing your wedding invite, it’s a good idea to think about how you’re actually going to get them to your guests. Instead of mailing them in the post, some people opt to send virtual e-vites or even make a mini website for their wedding invitations. This can be an easy and cost-effective option that also saves paper!

Canva’s Gold Wedding Events Website template makes it easy to create a gorgeous website for your wedding—and publish it straight from the app!

However, sending your wedding invite by post has its advantages, too. Not only is it more traditional, but there’s something particularly special about receiving physical mail. Plus, it’s something that your loved ones—and you!— will be able to keep to commemorate the occasion forever.

The good news is, if you decide to go with the second option, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. With Canva Print, you can get your invites printed straight from your design with the click of a button! At 5x7 inches and printed in stunning full color, you can rest assured the final product will do your wedding justice.

We also offer several paper and finish options to fit your budget and taste. Choose between a Silk finish for a smooth, low-sheen texture or a Gloss finish for a more reflective, magazine-like appearance. There’s even a paper crafted from 100% post-consumer waste material, if you prefer a more eco-friendly option.

When it comes to actually sending off your invites, your envelopes are just an afterthought. But they’re actually an important part of the overall presentation of your wedding invites! Consider using envelopes that fit the overall theme and aesthetic of your invites, and adding an embossed seal for an extra special touch.

Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 2.52.22 pm

Via Dribbble

At the end of the day, the best wedding invitations are the ones that feel authentic to you and your partner. But by using the tips, considerations and inspiration in this article to guide you, you can create wedding invites that delight and dazzle your guests.

Your secret weapon for stunning design