Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Giving Thanks

We finally got our wedding thank you cards sent out. According to proper wedding etiquette, you have 1 year to get the thx cards signed, sealed and delivered. While we sent our cards out within 1 year of our wedding date (which is next month), I wish we could have sent them a wee bit earlier. Our photographer was awesome in every way, but we didn't receive our wedding prints until the end of 2010 and it really delayed me being able to send out my cards (which contained pictures from the wedding). All is well though, as the cards got sent (and got rave reviews) & we love our wedding pictures - late or not. Here is the end result of our DIY thank you cards:

Front of card:
Back of Card:

Here is How I DIY-ed our wedding thank you cards for under $20 (not including stamps):

1) I used our pro wedding pics to create a wedding photo collage on Picnik (which is an awesome, *free* and easy to understand photo editing website). Some of the features do require a premium subscription (which I have had for a few years now), but it is a very small price at around $20/year. To create the gallery, click on the "Collage" link on Picnik's homepage. The basic (free) membership will allow you to create many different collages, and the premium membership will give you even more variety. I used a 9-grid premium collage. Here is what my photo collage looked like after I created it on Picnik:

The site makes it very easy to create collages - just upload the pictures you want in your collage and then they will appear onto the site. Drag and drop them into place on the collage template. You can change crop the pictures, edit the grid layout/style, change your pictures, and even customize the color of the grid lines in between each picture. I chose to go white (if you know me this is pretty much what I choose for everything - white car, white kitchen, white wedding, white pants, white spray paint, the list goes on), but you can choose from a variety of colors. Once you've finished your collage, click "Save and Share" in the top right corner of the site and save it to your computer (or wherever you save pictures). It will save as a .jpg file.

2) I went to VistaPrint and clicked on "Advertising and Marketing" on the left side of the homepage, then selected "Post Cards." ***Important note to save $$$: The website lists 100 postcards starting at $25, plus upload charge, envelopes, etc...but VistaPrint also frequently offers outrageous discounts on many items, including postcards. One of their most common promotions is 100 postcards printed for FREE (the only remaining cost would be $3 if you want matching white envelopes and $2.50 if you are uploading your own picture versus using their basic designs). I googled and easily found a coupon code to use for 100 free postcards. These postcards included a color glossy front side and a black and white back side (color is an upcharge for both sides but I actually preferred b/w for the picture I used on the back of my card). I chose one of the more expensive shipping options as I wanted to get my cards out as soon as I could, so my shipping was around $15. There are lower rates available, though.

3) For our envelopes, I really wanted to print out the the addresses directly onto the envelopes as I did for our save the dates and actual invitations (future post on that - I went over the envelope printing with a calligraphy pen so it looked like the calligraphy was professionally done and you couldn't see the printer ink behind the writing). For whatever reason, I couldn't get the printer to accept the envelope size, even though it looked like a standard size to me. My husband had printed out the previous envelopes for me and since he was away on business I just decided to go the ole' address label route. I tried to pretty them up as best I could, and I even got animal rescue stamps in honor of our recently adopted golden remember Kaylee, right? This is what the envelopes looked like:

I hope this tutorial helps you create beautiful, custom yet inexpensive cards whether for a wedding, Christmas, or anything else worth celebrating!

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