Your wedding day is approaching and it is about time to start giving out wedding invitation cards! However, you haven’t started to design the cards yet and you are feeling pretty stressed out because there’s a ton of other things to do for the wedding. This was how I felt when Evan and I were coming up with our wedding cards, but we have survived to tell the tale.
In the beginning, we contemplated using one of the standard templates provided by our wedding card vendor as it would have been a much easier option, but we couldn’t find the exact design that we wanted. Therefore, we decided to bite the bullet and design our own cards. To help other couples who are going through the same challenge, we have come up with this concise guide on how to design your very own wedding invitation card.
1. Choose a Wedding Card Vendor
Our wedding will be held at The St. Regis Singapore and we were given a few vendors by the hotel to choose from. We went with American Wedding Treasures (AWT) because we really liked some of the wedding invitation designs on its website as well as the designs emailed to us by Shirley, the boss of American Wedding Treasures.
We enjoyed going to AWT (located in Kampong Glam and within walking distance from Bugis MRT) as it is a cozy and homely space lined with comfy sofas and exotic South Asian paintings.
Working with Shirley was a pleasure as she is very experienced and professional. She answered our tons of queries on the card (type of paper, color, thickness), printing (embossing, hot stamping or ink printing), envelope (thickness, mix grain or one direction, etc), pricing and many other miscellaneous issues. She was also very knowledgeable and able to advise us on our customized card design even though it is not one of her standard templates.
AWT also provides Wedding Favors and Ang Bao Boxes but we did not choose those as ours were already provided by St Regis.
American Wedding Treasures
Address: 14 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199081 (walking distance from Bugis MRT)
Opening Hours: | Mon – Sat: 1pm to 7pm (by appointment only) | Closed on PH |
Phone: +65 6834 0662
2. Look for Inspiration!
Pinterest is definitely a good place to start!
One of the many samples at American Wedding Treasures
“Raw” designs before printing
This is the fun part!
We went through various sources to get inspiration for our wedding invitations, such as browsing through Pinterest, searching for wedding card designs on Google and looking through the designs on AWT’s website. We also went down personally to AWT’s shop to look through the sample wedding cards (this is by appointment only). Remember to take photos so you can look through the designs later!
This process took quite a while because we had so many designs to consider and we also wanted to make sure that our card design would be something we really loved.
Ultimately, we decided to design our own English wedding card based on a sample we had seen online. It was a relatively simple design, but it was elegant, stylish, and timeless. For the Chinese invitation, we did not follow the traditional design (vertical rows of esoteric Chinese words) but designed a simple one instead.
3. Decipher the Chinese Words on a Chinese Wedding Card
Since we were designing our own Chinese wedding invitation card, we had to first decipher the meaning of the Chinese words on a traditional card. After some research, we managed to find out the meaning of the below words:
长男/次男/三男/幼男 – Eldest Son / Second Son / Third Son / Youngest Son
(from the third son, the Chinese character just increase in number. e.g 四男,五男,六男… )
长女/次女/三女/幼女 – Eldest Daughter / Second Daughter / Third Daughter / Youngest
公历 – Gregorian Calendar (the normal calendar we use, instead of the Chinese Calendar)
谨订于 – Setting this formal date after much sincere consideration
举行结婚喜宴 – Hold our wedding banquet
敬备薄酌 – We have respectfully prepared modest food and drinks
恭请 – Respectfully invite
光临 – Your honoured attendance
下午十二时 – 12pm
Our Chinese card is pretty simple so it only made use of the above words. If you are planning to design a Chinese wedding card with more traditional Chinese words, you can refer to this picture for a detailed guide of the Chinese words in a wedding card.
4. Choose the Perfect Font
Now that we had gotten an idea of the wedding card designs, it was time to select the font. It was not really possible to get the exact font that we saw on the samples because we didn’t know the font names. Therefore, we had to go to www.dafont.com to look for fonts that were as similar as possible to the samples.
We looked through the multitude of fonts under the various themes (Old School, Groovy, Curly, etc) and downloaded the shortlisted fonts into Microsoft Office for Mac.
I am using the Mac OS, but Window users can click here to find out how to download custom fonts into Microsoft Office.
We then used Microsoft Powerpoint to try out the various downloaded fonts and select the ones we liked best. Below are the fonts we used for the English and Chinese invitations respectively:
– Caviar Dreams
– Shorelines Script Bold
– Mathilde Castleland
– Quickier Demo
– 宋体 (Body)
– Edwardian Script ITC (for the & sign)
5. Choose a Pretty Motif
Sample motifs at American Wedding Treasures
Our English invitation card did not have any motifs but we wanted a floral motif for our Chinese card. We looked through the internet to find a suitable floral design and download its vector file.
You may be asking, er…what’s a vector file?
We were puzzled as well when Shirley asked us to provide her with the vector file, but luckily Google saved the day. Basically a vector file is an electronic image file that can be scaled to any size (from really small to huge) with no loss in resolution. This is because it is created from lines, shapes, points, and curves using mathematical formulae. In this way, it is much better than a typical JPEG or Bitmap file which is subject to loss in resolution.
We found many websites that provided free downloads of vector files.
At the same time, we also looked through some of American Wedding Treasures’ floral motifs sent to us by Shirley as well as the many sample motifs at her shop. After some consideration, we decided to use one of her floral motifs for our Chinese invitation as we really liked the design.
6. Design your Wedding Card on Microsoft Powerpoint
Now that we had the fonts and motif, it was time to come up with the final designs.
We designed our wedding cards solely on Microsoft Powerpoint. This may seem like a pretty amateur software to use but it was definitely good enough for our purpose. And I have a feeling that 90% of you guys reading this article are like us and not very savvy with graphics software.
MS Powerpoint is very user-friendly and easy to use. We literally came up with a decent design within minutes. After that, however, we spent many many hours tweaking the design and size of the card to something that we were finally satisfied with. Above are the final designs of the Chinese and English wedding cards on Powerpoint.
For the final step, we exported the designs from Powerpoint as a PDF file. We did not export in JPEG format because the file would suffer from a significant loss in resolution (ie it becomes blur) if we did so. Exporting in PDF format allowed us to keep the high resolution of the design.
7. Decide the Envelope, Card and Printing Specifications
Some samples at American Wedding Treasures
Finally, our wedding card designs were done! It was now time to decide on the card, envelope, and printing specifications, which was another headache in itself.
We made another trip down to American Wedding Treasures to check out the many samples at the shop. Shirley was very helpful and gave us many useful advice on the specifications. We did not make our final decisions at the shop; instead, we noted down the various types of paper and thickness for the card and envelope, the printing options, etc. It is important to do this because there are so many options available. Afterwards, we went home to consider carefully.
After going through many wedding card papers, we decided that we wanted a paper with higher GSM so that it would not feel flimsy. The higher the GSM, the thicker the paper (a pretty layman explanation but that’s basically how it works). For the color, we just wanted something simple. Therefore, we decided to go with a slightly off-white paper (Zeta Linen) that was 350GSM.
For the printing of the fonts and floral motif, we wanted an effect that would look similar to the samples we had seen online.
Firstly, we had to choose between Glossy or Matte printing. Glossy gives a shiny and vibrant effect while Matte is more subdued and stately. We went with Matt for both our cards.
Secondly, we had to decide on the type of printing. Shirley was very helpful in this aspect by advising us on the various options available:
Embossing – a process where the font/ pattern is raised against the background
Hot Stamping – a process where colored foil is melted at high heat and transferred onto the paper
Ink Printing – printing in normal ink
There is no “best” type of printing and it is completely up to personal preference. For our card, we decided to go with hot stamping as that was the effect we wanted.
And finally it was down to choosing the envelope! We wanted something classy and stylish, so we decided to go with the navy blue paper (Nadali) at 140GSM. We liked how it turned out very much.
8. Woohoo! The Final Steps…
And so we were all done with the card design and printing specifications! We emailed Shirley our PDF designs along with our finalized requirements:
1. Card Size: 19.8cm (height) x 14.2cm (width)
2. Card Paper: Zeta Linen (white) card, 350GSM
3. Printing: Hot Stamping, Matt gold
4. Envelope: Nadali (navy blue), 140GSM
After about two weeks, our cards were done! It felt surreal to see those thick stacks of freshly printed crisp cards neatly packed and handed over to us by Shirley. This was the culmination of two months of hard work, from seeking inspiration to coming up with our own designs to deciding the final printing specifications. After collecting the cards, we went for a good meal to celebrate our achievement.
But we still had some work to do.
It was now time to write our guests’ names on the envelopes and cards. We used a gold marker for the envelope and a silver pen for the card. We bought the pens from the Prints Shop at Citylink Mall.
And finally (thank God), we could start giving out the wedding invitations! We preferred to pass the wedding cards to our guests personally or drop it off in their mailboxes as we did not want to spoil the aesthetics of the envelope by mailing.
But we couldn’t do so for a few guests due to various reasons (distance, logistics, etc), and so we had to snail mail those invitations. Our envelope size (198mm x 142mm) and weight (30 grams) fall under the “Standard Regular” mail category and postage should be 37 cents. However, we decided to use the 60 cents stamp which is the postage fee for “Non-Standard” mail to ensure that our mail would be delivered. To find out your mail category and corresponding postage rate, check out the Singpost Mail Categories and Singpost Postage Fees.
And that’s it! That’s the end of our wedding invitation card journey, from start to end. We hope you found this article useful. It wasn’t an easy process, but on the whole we enjoyed it and were very happy with the end product. Much credit to Shirley from American Wedding Treasures for her patience and professional guidance during the whole process.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below and we would also love it if you emailed us your wedding card designs at EatandTravelwithus@gmail.com. Good luck with designing your wedding invitations!
This is part of a series of articles where I share about my wedding preparations leading up to the Big Day. Check it out: Evan and Raevian’s Wedding Journey