Category: Birth Announcements

Do It Yourself (DIY) versus Professional Invitations: Pros and Cons to Help You Decide What’s Best for You

Last month, I wrote about how to add unique and personal touches to your wedding or party décor with projects you do yourself (known as Do It Yourself, or DIY). The article was actually about how you can hire a professional to help you if you don’t think you can or don’t want to do the work yourself, but still want that personal touch at your party. This month, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the Do It Yourself decision as it pertains to invitations, and present some pros and cons to help you decide whether or not you should make your own or hire a professional. This article will help you figure that out so you can set the right tone for your event.


The invitation you choose for your event is largely based on how formal your event is and what tone and expectations you want to set for your guests. If you are throwing an elegant affair, you’ll probably want to have an invitation that imparts the formality of the event. Fancier invitations such as letterpress, foil stamping, laser cut designs, and printing on things other than paper (like plastic or wood), are not easily done from home. Ordering invitations from a professional company expands the range of papers and printing styles you can choose from. Also, if you have a specific design in mind, the best option is to hire someone to create a custom invitation for you so you can have exactly what you envision.

However, if you’re having a small party with a limited guest list, printing your invitations from home is a great idea. You can pick up some colorful papers from a local arts and crafts store and download a template online.


Professional invitation companies and invitation designers create invitations all day long. It’s what they do. To that end, you can expect nothing but the best quality. Layers will be cut straight, borders will be even, and the printing will be even and consistent. Not all home printers are capable of such high quality, and not all home printers can handle premium papers such as metallics, shimmers and other specialty papers. Also, if you are creating a muli-layered invitation at home, you’ll need a good paper cutter and keen eye in order to make sure your cuts are straight and your borders are even when you affix one layer to another. And printing on envelopes is a whole ‘nother skill. Many home printers won’t feed envelopes, so printing directly on the envelope is not an option. That leaves you with having to print your return and/or mailing address on a label, which gives a much less formal look to the invitation.


There is a lot of work involved in assembling a full invitation suite, more than most people realize when they make the decision to create their own invitations. Not only do you have to purchase all the raw materials, such as paper and envelopes, but you have to also purchase whatever additional embellishments you want to add to the design. Do you know where to shop for the supplies? Do you know how much to purchase to create all the pieces in your invitation suite? Many people don’t realize they will likely make mistakes and misprints along the way. Do you have extra materials just in case?

Also, as I noted earlier, you have to have a good paper cutter, one that cuts accurately and that cuts straight. Can your desktop printer handle the papers you want to use? What about envelopes? And do you have the right kind of adhesive tape to affix the layers to each other?

By ordering your invitations from a company, many of these details are handled for you. And if you work with a custom invitation designer, you can get that personal and unique invitation without all the struggle of making them yourself.


How much time do you have to put everything together? Even a small invitation job will take hours of time because you’re likely not just printing the main invitation, but are printing multiple pieces as well as envelopes. Multiply how long it takes to assemble a single invitation by 200 and you can see you may need more time to finish the job than you originally thought. Also, if you’re printing on specialty papers, you’ll need to leave enough time for the ink to dry. And if you’ve never done this kind of thing before, count on making mistakes. Everyone does when they’re learning a new skill. Can you afford the time to remake invitations if you make mistakes?

Ordering invitations from a professional eliminates this issue because most invitation companies publish their production times. If you need your invitations in a hurry, say within four to six weeks, it’s probably best to let a professional help you.


Making your own invitations won’t always save you money. That’s because large invitation companies and professional custom invitation designers can order supplies at wholesale prices. They’re able to take advantage of better pricing because they typically order in larger quantities than you can as an individual buyer. You also have to factor in your time. Even if you plan to make your own invitations, there is a cost associated with your time. There’s also a time factor involved with searching and procuring all of the supplies and tools you’ll need, not to mention shipping costs which many people forget to factor in.

For assistance in designing a one-of-a-kind custom invitation suite that fits your budget, contact Invitation Maven at




Making Sure Your Invitation is Functional, Not Just “Pretty”

Why Invitation Design is Important

This beginning post isn’t really about invitations, per se. It is about how what may become the most infamous design flaw in the print world ruined such an important and special moment for many people anticipating a crowning achievement in their careers. This story highlights the importance of a good, functional design and demonstrates why function and clarity are more important that looks.

Here’s what happened:

It’s Oscar Sunday, 2017, Hollywood’s most important night of the year. They save the biggest and most anticipated Oscar for the end of the show: BEST PICTURE. Anticipation builds throughout the evening, and the moment everyone is waiting for arrives.

To add to the drama of the moment, two iconic stars, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, open the envelope and announce the winner for Best Picture. Actors, producers and others involved with the winning film come up on stage. Acceptance speeches are given. Then, in what is perhaps the oddest and most surreal moment in Academy Awards history, utter confusion ensues and the REAL winner is unceremoniously revealed.

It’s a chaotic and embarrassing scene as it becomes apparent that the presenters were handed the wrong envelope. The protocols that surround this process are well known and strictly adhered to, so how could this happen?

Well, it seems the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences took the design process in house this year. And while they may have created an envelope that looked beautiful, it seems their graphic designers did not take into account the whole purpose of design: to be functional. And part of being functional, especially when billions of people are watching and Hollywood careers are on the line, is to be clear and to have what is known in the engineering field as redundancy. Clarity imparts the necessary information. Redundancy ensures that if your system fails, you have a reliable backup.

The protocols protecting the secrecy of the winners of the Academy Awards are well documented. Here’s a short video that explains some of the detailed protocols employed: Academy Awards Ballot Process. However, it seems the designers of this year’s Academy Award envelopes failed to build redundancy and clarity into the envelope design itself, measures that could have minimized the possibility of handing the presenter the wrong envelope.

This year’s Oscar envelope was red with small gold writing on the outside. There are two issues with this. First, in the hustle and bustle that occurs backstage at the Oscars, it is easy to misread small print. Second, gold on red does not offer much contrast, and with unknown and changing lighting conditions, it is important that the print be legible and easy to read. Metallic gold foil can be difficult to read in low light situations because of the reflection of the light on the text.

Compare this year’s design (below) to last year’s envelope (above). Several design elements intended to ensure clarity are immediately apparent. On last year’s envelope, the text is written in large black print on a light background. This makes it far easier to read in both low and bright lighting. Further, the category is printed on both the front AND the back of the envelope. This makes it much easier for everyone involved in handling that envelope to make sure the correct envelope is handed to the presenters. So if the person doesn’t read the front of the envelope correctly, the same information is printed on the back.


In the words of Marc Friedland of Couture Communications of Los Angeles, the man who designed the Oscar envelopes from 2011 – 2016, the primary goal of the envelope is to make it “dummy proof.” By building redundancy and clarity into the design, mistakes are minimized.

So while the visual appeal is important, if the wrong envelope is handed to the presenter, it won’t matter how beautiful the envelope is. It has to function properly, and that includes making sure the correct envelope is easily identifiable in the first place.

For more information about what went wrong at the 2017 Academy Awards, here’s an article about the snafu: 2017 Oscars Envelope Mistake

The concepts of clarity and redundancy are just as important in invitation design. You want to make sure your invitation is clear to the reader. Read it from your guest’s perspective, not your own. Does it say who it’s from, does it have the correct date, is the time correct (a.m. vs. p.m.), is the venue accurate so your guests know where to go? All of these details matter. It’s about being clear.

And there are ways to build in redundancy, too. Numbering each RSVP card ensures that you know who the response is from even if your guests forget to write their names.

For assistance in designing the envelopes and invitations for your next event, contact Invitation Maven at




Number One Event Planning Tip: Enjoy the Process

Planning a special event can be a daunting task, whether it’s a small, intimate gathering of friends to celebrate a milestone birthday or a large life cycle event such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. There are thousands of choices to make and a myriad of details to keep track of. Sometimes, the details can become overwhelming, especially when you already have a full time job.

Many people search out advice about how to do this or that. But those lists leave out the most important piece of advice I give each of my clients: enjoy the process, because sometimes, the things that go wrong will become your funniest and most memorable stories.

But what does “enjoy the process” mean?

Events are usually planned months in advance and it takes time and effort to decide what to serve, who to invite, how to decorate, who to hire, etc. Clients often spend hundreds of hours or more planning every detail of the party. This process can often be very stressful. And with all the planning, the actual event itself is over within a matter of hours. So the reason why I tell my clients to enjoy the process is because if you don’t, you will miss out on opportunities to make memories. And if things go wrong, either on that day or in the days leading up to your special event, if you’re not enjoying the process, these mishaps can ruin your entire experience.

I’ll share an example from a client I had a few years ago to illustrate my point.

I designed some bar mitzvah invitations for a client (I’ll call her Julie). We were just about ready to go into production. She had just emailed me her signed proofs when she got a call from her venue saying they’d had a major flood and needed to close the venue to make repairs. They informed her that they could not guarantee that the venue would be ready in time for her event, which was then only 10 weeks away.

Well, anyone who knows about planning a large party knows venues book months and sometimes a year or more in advance. Finding another venue that could accommodate Julie and her 200+ guests at that late date would be challenging, to say the least. But rather than be discouraged, Julie called several local venues and was able to find a place that was available on her date.

While those first few days following the news of the flood added some unneeded stress, Julie recalled my advice and realized that although unexpected things sometimes happen, she couldn’t have planned for that, so she might as well make the best of it. She maintained her positive attitude and friendly disposition and as a result, was able to negotiate more for less, and ended up at a superior venue. And now, two years later, because she enjoyed the process, it’s a funny story she can recall with fondness, not anger.

So I’ll give you the same advice I give all my clients: enjoy the process!

And to help you get started, get my FREE “BIG PARTY GUEST LIST SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to stay sane when 100 or more people are celebrating with you!” by clicking here: SURVIVAL GUIDE.