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Congatulations on the big event! These big events can eat up a budget. Doing your own invitations offers a way to save money. Creating the invitations yourself doesn't mean it'll look and feel cheap. I printed addresses on the envelopes for a friend's wedding invitations. She and I selected a nice fancy font, then I created the template in Microsoft Word. She received many compliments on her invitations.
As a hostess of a wedding shower for her, I created invitations using Microsoft Word and pre-printed paper with embellishment and flowers on it matching her wedding colors. For another event, I ordered plain colored paper.
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Using Pre-Printed Paper
Do an online search for "stationery", "card stock", "event card stock" (replace "event" with wedding, bat mitzvah or whatever event) to find different stores selling stationery that you can buy without having anything printed. You might check local stores and mass merchandise retailers.
Traditional wedding invitations have simple designs such as a line around the edges or accents. They also tend to use black for the font, so no color printed needed. The trick comes in selecting the right paper and the right font. Find fonts by searching for "free fonts" and you'll have more results than you know what to do with.
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Working with Plain Colored Paper
Stationery stores also sell card stock that's thicker than your printer paper. You can go with that option and add the accents yourself with graphics and symbols in Microsoft Word, Publisher or other desktop publishing software.
I bought beautiful silver paper with a unique feel to use for programs. The silver sheets made great covers. Inside, they held two sheets of plain printer paper and font in black ink. I selected three fonts: one for the cover, one for the headers and one for the body.
Invitations tend to need only one font style. When selecting the font, verify its readability. Some elegant fonts don't work well because of their design. These fonts work better as big headlines.
I had the local office store staple the booklets for me. This wasn't cheap, but it was worth it since I had other things to do. The entire program came from Microsoft Publisher. I looked for programs online and got many ideas that helped me create mine. To find examples, search for "event program" replacing event with the event type.
You might be able to get more types of the same paper from the same store. For example, the wedding shower flower design comes with large invitations, postcard-sized (for RSVPs or special notes for out of town guests), and business cards for use as place cards or identifying food items on the buffet table. I asked attendees to send their favorite recipes, which I printed on the postcard-sized paper.