5 Ways to Customize Off-The-Shelf Wedding Invitations

By Chanel Dror
Chanel Dror's Wedding Invitations

One of the biggest challenges of our wedding planning process was getting our invitations made and out the door. For some couples, printed details might be the least of their worries (these days it’s not uncommon forgo tradition and send out a digital invitation altogether) but for us (ehem, for me), these elements were a big focus.

I set my sights on some pretty aspirational designs — cause how gorgeous is something like this? — but in the end, decided that an entirely custom wedding invitation wasn’t the best use of my budget. So, I did the next best thing, and found a more moderately priced invitation that I loved, then dreamed up a few clever ways to elevate the design. I must have done something right, because since our wedding story went live, I’ve received countless inquiries from readers asking for more information. It’s a few months overdue, but finally, I’m excited to share with you all the few resources and tricks of the trade I used to bring my wedding invitation visions to life…

The Liners

Finding the right patterned liner was the first priority, and after many hours of searching the internet for the perfect vintage or vintage-style pattern, I landed on these three complementary ones: Still Life Floral Paper from Etsy, Italian Decorative Paper from Etsy, and a Light Green Antique Greyhound Toile from Spoonflower. The design on the far left was my personal favorite, but as we cut out and stuffed the liners into the envelopes, I couldn’t help but choose for each recipient the liner that I thought they would appreciate most.

The Ribbon

Using some kind of ribbon or twine to bundle all the different invitation elements certainly isn’t inventive, but in our case, it served as an opportunity to add an extra pretty detail. I went with a super wide ivory satin ribbon, and tied the ends together in a simple knot in the front of the stack. Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious by now, recruiting friends and setting up an assembly line to get these done is a must.

A Little Something Special

Since we had a destination wedding, I dreamed of slipping a vintage French post card into each invitation. In the end, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth, but I was able to work these beautiful Hotel Emma post cards into the suite when styling these photos. Buying enough of these to fit in every invite would have put us over budget, but it’s nice to see how much one unexpected element can make an overall design feel more special.

Vintage Stamps

Mix-n-match vintage stamps are beautiful, but I’ll be honest, piecing together the perfect stamp combination that was both pretty and amounted to .89 was a total pain. They aren’t pictured here, but in the end I found the perfect ones on US Mint Sheets, which is an amazing resource for finding full sheets of almost every stamp ever printed. Was it worth the hours of browsing? I’m not so sure.

Wax Seal

Lastly, we sealed each envelope with a bronze colored wax seal. This was surprisingly inexpensive and easy to do, and it makes such an instant impact, that I recommend it to anyone who’s planning a formal-ish wedding. Plus, I’ll have that stamp forever, and can continue to use it over the years.

photography by Buff Strickland