My Maid Of Honor, Stacey, was about to go through the same thing. She found invitations online that she really liked but they were $2.50 per invitation. I came over to help her and recommended that she do the same thing I did with my wedding invitations--make them! Not only is it a simple way to save money but it can be a fun way to bond with your girls! Allison, one of my bridesmaids, eventually joined us.
Stacey showed me the template she liked and we got to work.
Microsoft Word can really be a life saver. How simple is it to find a picnic blanket pattern and a couple of bell peppers? Once you find it, copy and paste it into word. Have your picture of your desired template along side your draft on Word. Also, a small tip that is very helpful is to take advantage of Pixlr.com. It is great for photo-editing and it is actually free. I have taken several courses for Photoshop and there really isn't much difference between the two other than Pixlr being a little more user friendly. If you don't know how to use photo editing tools, Pixlr also offers a 'help me' option that will help you nail the basics. Once Stacey had her template on Word, she saved it as a photo so that she could edit it.
Once she was finished editing, we saved it to a USB and took it to Office Depot. I am not going to lie, Office Depot has been a life saver the past couple of months. It cost Stacey a total of $18 to print 30 invitations, and that is including the cream card stock we purchased from them. Also, they have several options for envelopes there. You can get a pack of 50 for around $6.
Let's take a small break here. If Stacey would have purchased 30 invitations from online for $2.50, she would have spent $75. Let's add in another $6 for tax and about $4 for shipping. That is already $85 not including what she would have to pay for in stamps to send them! Stamps for these size/weight invitations were $.60 which means Stacey would then have tacked on another $18, equally a total of $103 for bridal shower invitations. Now with our alternative solution, Stacey spent $24 at Office Depot, $10 Wal-Mart for construction paper and ribbon, and $18 for stamps. This is a total of $52 for bridal shower invitations which in the end saved Stacey more than half! You get the point. Now let's get back to how to do it.
Making the template and printing is the easy part. It doesn't take much time and I wouldn't consider it tedious. Now we get to the part that requires patience.
**Tip: When printing, try to fit more than one invitation per sheet. Office Depot charges by how many sheets you print, not how many invitations you are printing. On a standard 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper, Stacey was able to fit 2 invitations. **
Once you get home-- you should have your prints, your scissors, your ribbon, your glue stick, your construction paper, and a ruler. If you have a sheet cutter that already has a ruler, it cuts your time in half. You may want to stop by Hobby Lobby and pick one up. They run around $10 for a cheap one but it still gets the job done. (Don't forget, Hobby Lobby has a 40% off coupon online everyday!).
Cut all of your prints to the size you want. Stacey and I used black construction paper as a background for the invitation. It isn't necessary, but adds a little something extra. Once you've done that, you can glue the invitations to the construction paper. I would recommend using a glue stick because it goes on smoother and doesn't leave any bubbles or lines. Here is what it would look like so far.
Next, we were going to add the bows. We used a glue gun. If you don't have one, super glue would probably work. We cut each of the ribbons 10 inches. Stacey was in charge of tying the bows and I glued them on.
Finally, all 30 invitations were finished. All we had left to do was fill out addresses on the envelopes.
There! It is a lot of work and it will take some patience, but it is a lot of fun! If you have a night off, you could easily do it, especially if you have friends around to help. Plus, who would argue when you can save?
Stacey got the exact same template but made them cuter by adding a background and a bow.
Good luck with your planning! I'll be sure to let you know how the shower goes in a couple of weeks.