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How to Create a Vintage Wedding Invitation in Adobe InDesign

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This post is part of a series called How to Create a Wedding Invite.
Create Beautiful Wedding Invitations Using Adobe InDesign and Typekit
How to Create a Wedding Invitation With Cool Post-Print Effects
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

These invitations, with their vintage-inspired design, wouldn’t look out of place on the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel. They would look great for traditional or vintage-themed wedding celebrations. They also happen to be in Pantone's two colors of the year, 2016—baby blue and powder pink!

In this tutorial I’ll show you how you can create these pretty-as-a-picture invitations, and prepare them for sending straight off to the printers.

final version in bluefinal version in bluefinal version in blue

For this tutorial, you’ll need to have access to Adobe InDesign. If you want to find even more inspiration for wedding invitations, check out the stylish range of invite templates on GraphicRiver.

1. Prepare the InDesign Document

First up, we need to set up a new InDesign document for the front and reverse of the invitation card. Our card is going to be 175 mm by 125 mm, a dinky size that will fit nicely in most standard envelope sizes.

Step 1

Open up Adobe InDesign and go to File > New > Document.

In the New Document window that opens, increase the Number of Pages to 2, and deselect Facing Pages.

From the Page Size drop-down menu choose Custom... to open up the Custom Page Size window. 

Type ‘Wedding Invite’ into the Name text box, and set the Width to 175 mm and Height to 125 mm. Click Add, and then hit OK

custom page sizecustom page sizecustom page size

Step 2

Back in the New Document window, set the Margins on all sides to 10 mm, and introduce a Bleed of 3 mm on all sides too.

new document windownew document windownew document window

Click OK to create the new document. Page 1 will be the front of our invitation, and Page 2 will be the reverse.

new documentnew documentnew document

2. Layer Up!

It’s really important to layer the content of the invitation; this helps to keep your content organized and easily editable.

Step 1

Expand or open the Layers panel (Window > Layers). 

Double-click on the default Layer 1 name in the panel to open the Layer Options window. Rename the layer Background Texture and click OK.

background texture layerbackground texture layerbackground texture layer

Step 2

Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom-right of the Layers panel. Double-click on the default layer name that appears.

Rename the layer Background Color and click OK.

background color layerbackground color layerbackground color layer

Repeat the same process, creating and editing the names of a further three layers, called Border, Ribbon and Typography, until you have a set of layers as shown below.

layers panellayers panellayers panel

Step 3

Invitations look extra-special if they have unusual trimmed edges or corners. For this invitation design, we’re going to create a simple rounded-corner effect on the card, which you can achieve by creating a die line.

When you send the artwork to print, the printer will be able to see that this layer is not to be printed, but indicates that the die line is to be cut post-printing.

To set up a die-line layer, once again click on the Create New Layer button on the Layers panel, and double-click the default layer name to open the Layer Options window.

Rename the layer DIE LINE - DO NOT PRINT

layer options die linelayer options die linelayer options die line

From the options available at the bottom of the Layer Options window, deselect the box next to Print Layer. Click OK.

unprint layerunprint layerunprint layer

Now you have a full set of six layers—great job! For now, lock all the layers in the Layers panel.

layers completedlayers completedlayers completed

Now we can get started with the fun stuff...

3. Introduce a Vintage Texture

Vintage-style designs look more authentic if they have a slightly aged, worn look. We can introduce a background texture to the card to recreate this look.

Step 1

Unlock the layer at the bottom of the pile, Background Texture, and click on the layer to activate it.

Remaining on Page 1 of the InDesign document, take the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and drag across the page, extending to the trim edge of the page on all sides (not as far as the bleed edge).

rectangle framerectangle framerectangle frame

You’ll need to select a photo or vector with a suitable vintage texture to place in the background of your card. I like vintage-style paper textures with a warm color, as this usually gives a really nice effect to the final design. Try out this vintage paper texture from PhotoDune.

Back in your InDesign document, select the rectangle frame with your mouse, go to File > Place, and choose your paper image. Click Open.

Step 2

Arrange the image in the frame proportionally, by selecting the Fill Frame Proportionally button from the Controls panel running along the top of your screen.

Then, with the frame still selected, go to Object > Corner Options. 

object corner optionsobject corner optionsobject corner options

Select Rounded from the drop-down menu of Shape options, and set the Size to 8 mm on all corners. Click OK.

corner optionscorner optionscorner options

Step 3

With the frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. In the Effects window that opens, keep the Mode set to Normal, and reduce the Opacity to 77%.

effects transparencyeffects transparencyeffects transparency

From the window’s left-hand menu, select Gradient Feather. Under Options, set the Type to Radial, and pull the slider to the left to make the gradient effect very subtle.

effects gradient feathereffects gradient feathereffects gradient feather

Click OK.

final background texturefinal background texturefinal background texture

As a final step, select the frame on Page 1 and Edit > Copy. Scroll down to Page 2, and go to Edit > Paste in Place.

pasted imagepasted imagepasted image

4. Sort Out Your Swatches

Color is going to be key to achieving that lovely vintage effect. Muted, sugar-sweet shades are going to make your invitation look wonderfully romantic.

Step 1

Expand or open the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches). 

From the Swatches panel’s drop-down menu, select New Color Swatch.

Uncheck the box that reads Name with Color Value, and rename the new swatch Pale Grey. Set the values below to C=11 M=8 Y=11 K=0

Click Add and then OK.

pale greypale greypale grey

Step 2

Repeat the process, adding another new CMYK swatch. Rename it Pale Blue, and set the values to C=26 M=4 Y=6 K=0.

pale bluepale bluepale blue

Create a further three new swatches with the following names and CMYK values:

  • Pink: C=0 M=33 Y=14 K=7
  • Peach: C=6 M=44 Y=53 K=0
  • Rust Red: C=18 M=79 Y=78 K=7
rust redrust redrust red

Great work! Now you’ve got a set of vintage-friendly CMYK swatches ready to use on your invite design. 

swatches panelswatches panelswatches panel

Step 3

Now we can apply some of the colors we’ve created to the backdrop of our design.

Return to the Layers panel. Lock the Background Texture layer, and unlock the next layer up, Background Color. 

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tools panel and drag onto Page 1 to create a shape the same Width and Height as the rectangle with the texture photo sitting on the layer below.

Adjust the corners to match the 8 mm rounded corners of the frame below (Object > Corner Options).

With the rectangle still selected, set the Fill Color to Pale Pink, and the Stroke Color to [None].

Then go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Reduce the Opacity to 80% and click OK.

transparency effecttransparency effecttransparency effect
pink swatchpink swatchpink swatch

Select the rectangle shape and Edit > Copy. Go to Page 2 of the document and Edit > Paste in Place.

pasted backgroundpasted backgroundpasted background

5. Get Decorating!

We want to make our vintage design look as delicate and intricate as possible. To do this, we can add some ornate graphics onto the design to frame the text and decorate the border of the card.

Step 1

Glyphs, characters that make up part of a font, are a great way of introducing effective decorative elements in an instant. 

Davys is a great font for decorative glyphs. Download it (for free!), install and return to your InDesign document.

Take the Type Tool (T) and drag onto Page 1 of your document to create a frame that takes up about a quarter of the page. 

Set your type cursor into the text frame. Then, from the Character Formatting Controls panel at the top of the screen, choose Davys from the Font drop-down menu. Set the Font Size to 140 pt and Font Color to [Paper].

Open up the Glyphs panel by going to Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs. Choose the swirly glyph shown (loaded as a comma [,]) and double-click to insert it in the text frame.

Position the text frame in the bottom-right corner of the page, resting the edge of the glyph against the margins.

glyphs panelglyphs panelglyphs panel

Step 2

Select the text frame with the Selection Tool (V, Escape) and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste. Select the pasted frame and Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Flip Horizontal.

Position the pasted text frame in the bottom-right corner of the page, as shown.

pasted glyphpasted glyphpasted glyph

Step 3

Select both text frames, Copy and Paste to create a further two identical text frames, and then Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Flip Vertical.

flip verticalflip verticalflip vertical

Position the two new frames at the top of the page, as shown below.

completed decorationcompleted decorationcompleted decoration

Select all four text frames containing the decorative glyphs, and then go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Reduce the Opacity to 45%, and click OK.

effects panel transparencyeffects panel transparencyeffects panel transparency

Select all four text frames and Edit > Copy. Move down to Page 2, and Edit > Paste in Place. Adjust the Font Color to Pale Blue.

pale blue swatchpale blue swatchpale blue swatch

Step 4

Return to the Layers panel and lock the Background Color layer. Unlock the next layer up, Border.

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag to create a shape 168 mm in Width and 119 mm in Height. Position the shape centrally on Page 1 and adjust the corners to rounded 8 mm corners (Object > Corner Options).

Set the Stroke Color to Pale Blue and the Fill Color to [None]

blue borderblue borderblue border

Open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), and set the Weight of the shape’s stroke to 36.85 mm; this will extend the border’s color past the edge of the bleed. Adjust the Align Stroke to Align Stroke to Outside.

stroke panelstroke panelstroke panel

Step 5

Select the pale blue rectangle and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste in Place

Adjust the Stroke Type of the pasted shape to Thick-Thin, Stroke Weight to 2.835 mm, Align Stroke to Center and Stroke Color to Rust Red (all adjustable from the Stroke panel).

stroke panelstroke panelstroke panel
rust red borderrust red borderrust red border

As a final step for editing the border of the card, drag your mouse over the whole card to select both the blue and red shapes, and then Edit > Copy.

Scroll down to Page 2 and Edit > Paste in Place.

Step 6

Let’s now add the ribbon decoration to the center of Page 1.

First up, download and install the free font Adhesive Nr. Seven.

Return to your InDesign document, and go to Page 1. Return to the Layers panel and lock the Border layer. Unlock the next layer up, Ribbon.

With the Glyphs panel open (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs), create a new text frame with the Type Tool (T), perhaps away from the main page and just onto the pasteboard to give you a bit more room to play around.

Place your type cursor in the text frame and set the Font to Adhesive Nr Seven, Font Size 120 pt. Choose a plain, straight ribbon from the set of glyphs available, like the one pictured below, and insert it into the frame.

glyphs panelglyphs panelglyphs panel

Step 7

With the text frame selected, go up to Type > Create Outlines to transform the glyph into a vector. Change the Fill Color to Pink.

create outlinescreate outlinescreate outlines
pink swatchpink swatchpink swatch

Take the Scissors Tool (C) and snip at the top and bottom of the ribbon towards the far-right side, to create two parts to the ribbon.

cut ribboncut ribboncut ribbon

Delete the shorter section of ribbon.

deleted ribbondeleted ribbondeleted ribbon

Select the remainder of the ribbon and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste. Select the pasted ribbon and Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Flip Horizontal. 

flip horizontalflip horizontalflip horizontal

Position the flipped ribbon next to the original ribbon, to the right side, until they are perfectly lined up, and you have a much longer ribbon. This means you don’t have to distort the edges of the ribbon to get more length.

flipped ribbonflipped ribbonflipped ribbon

With both parts of the ribbon selected, Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac OS) > Group.

grouped elementsgrouped elementsgrouped elements

Position the ribbon centrally onto Page 1 of your document, and then go to Object > Effects > Outer Glow.

Set the Mode to Screen, and choose Peach as the Blending color. Set the Opacity to 75%

Choose Softer for Technique, Size to 2.469 mm, Noise to 7% and Spread to 20%. Then click OK.

effects panel gloweffects panel gloweffects panel glow

Your ribbon now has a lovely vintage-style glow.

final ribbonfinal ribbonfinal ribbon

6. Introduce Vintage-Style Type

There’s such a huge range of vintage-style fonts available, but I’m here to help you choose some of the nicest out there...

Step 1

Download and install the following fonts:

Step 2

Return to your InDesign document, and to the Layers panel. Lock the Ribbon layer and unlock the next layer up, Typography.

Zoom into the center of Page 1 of your document, and create a long, narrow text frame using the Type Tool (T)

Type ‘Name 1’ into the frame, and set the Font to Museo Slab 500, Font Size 21 pt, All Caps, Align Center and set the Font Color to Rust Red.

formatted nameformatted nameformatted name

Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste the text frame, position on the right-side of the ribbon and adjust the text to read ‘Name 2’.

pasted namepasted namepasted name

Create a new, smaller text frame, with just an ampersand set in Playfair Display Italic, Size 18 pt, and Font Color to [Paper]. Adjust the transparency a little (Object > Effects) to make it appear a little faint.


Step 3

Introduce two more text frames, one above and one below the central ribbon. 

Set the text in Museo Slab 500, All Caps, Align Center, Rust Red, with hyphens either side of the text set in Fortunaschwein.

glyphs panelglyphs panelglyphs panel

Step 4

Now for a slightly trickier text effect... let’s set some text on a curved baseline.

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tools panel and draw a rough oval, about 83 mm in Width and 45 mm in Height

oval shapeoval shapeoval shape

Use the Scissors Tool (C) to snip the left and right sides of the oval, and then delete the lower section.

cut ellipse shapecut ellipse shapecut ellipse shape

Position the half-oval centrally on Page 1, above the existing text.

baseline placedbaseline placedbaseline placed

Adjust the Stroke Color to [None].

Take the Type on a Path Tool (Shift-T) and click the curved line to transform it into a text path. 

Type ‘-YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED-’ and set the Font to Fortunaschwein, Size 13 pt, Align Center and Color to Rust Red.

You may need to adjust the text to run across the top of the line by taking the Selection Tool (V, Escape) and dragging the small vertical line at the center of the curve upwards to sit above the line.

formatted textformatted textformatted text

Step 5

Select the curved text line that you created in the previous step, and Edit > Copy. 

Edit > Paste, and then Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Flip Horizontal to flip the pasted line.

flipped text pathflipped text pathflipped text path

Then, once again, Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac OS) > Transform, and choose Flip Vertical, so the curve dips downwards.

flipped text pathflipped text pathflipped text path

Grab the small vertical line at the center of the curve and pull upwards to make the text run along the inside of the curve, as shown.

text on curved baselinetext on curved baselinetext on curved baseline

Then adjust the content of the text to specify the dress code, or whatever other information about the event you’d like to include.

formatting textformatting textformatting text

Step 6

Introduce another text frame above the lower curved line, as shown, and type in ‘Location’.

Set the Font to Dorchester Script, Size 25 pt, Align Center, and set the Font Color to Pale Blue.

dorchester scriptdorchester scriptdorchester script

Step 7

Place a small, square text frame just below the top curved line of text, and select the rose glyph from the set of glyphs available in the Davys font (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs). Set the Font Color to [Paper]. 

rose glyphrose glyphrose glyph

Flank the rose with two other glyphs from Davys; here I’ve used the same curly glyph I used on the background of the invitation. Set these in Rust Red.

glyphs panelglyphs panelglyphs panel

Step 8

The typography for the front of your invitation is finished, and it’s looking fantastic!

completed typography on frontcompleted typography on frontcompleted typography on front

All that’s left to do is to put an RSVP note and contact on the reverse of the card (Page 2). 

Set the text in Museo Sans 500, and Copy and Paste the little rose glyph onto Page 2 as well to give an extra special touch.

text on reversetext on reversetext on reverse

7. Create Your Die Line

Before you send your lovely invitation off to the printers, you need to add a die line to the corners of the card to make sure the invitations end up with a nice rounded effect after they’ve been printed and trimmed.

Step 1

To do this, head back to the Layers panel and lock the Typography layer. Unlock the next layer up, DIE LINE - DO NOT PRINT

Create a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a shape the same size as the page, 175 mm by 125 mm. Position perfectly on the page—either Page 1 or 2 will do. 

Set the Stroke Color to [Black] and the Stroke Weight to 0.7 mm. It doesn’t need to be any thicker than this.

die linedie linedie line

Select the rectangle and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste in Place onto the other page of the document, so you have two identical die lines on both sides of your invitation.

Step 2

Go to Window > Output > Attributes. Check the box that reads Overprint Stroke, while you have one of the die lines selected. 

Repeat the step for the die line on the other page.


Your Finished Invitation

Your die line is now ready, and your whole invitation design is complete. Great work!

final invitefinal invitefinal invite

If you’re looking to add special technical details to your invitation, such as a die line, embossing or foil (metallic) effects, it’s usually a good idea to package up your InDesign file (File > Package), and send that packaged folder to your printer of choice. They will be able to set up the print-ready file for the press in the way that suits them best.

In this tutorial we’ve covered lots of design and technical skills, many of which are going to put you in good stead for tackling other print design projects, so give yourself a big clap on the back! To sum up, you’re now able to:

  • Set up the template for a two-sided print invitation in Adobe InDesign
  • Give your designs a vintage-inspired look using textures, colors and suitable typefaces
  • Use layers to build up content on your design in a professional, organized way
  • Experiment with curved baselines for text using the Ellipse Tool and Type on a Path Tool
  • Set up a printer-ready die line on your invitation

Awesome work. Why not take your design to the next level and experiment with reversing the color combination of blue and pink? 

final blue invitefinal blue invitefinal blue invite

If you’re looking for even more wedding invitation inspiration, check out the range of stylish invite templates available on GraphicRiver.

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