Ryan Masuga's Wedding Invitation Books

A Wedding Invitation
Cover Seal : Cover seal. Each book had to be "opened."
Opening Quote : "Love is no assignment for cowards." - Ovid
They Meet
The Question
Invitation Envelope : A stamped envelope was attached to this page with photo corners.
Map Tied to Page : Each map was folded and tied onto the page.
Wedding Map : The included map.
Closing Quote
Cover Emboss : Cover emboss. "Ryan Masuga & Marie Nielsen, September 20, 2003, Grand Rapids, Michigan"

I (still) get mail about the wedding invitations I put together for our wedding in 2003. People want to copy them, borrow from them, have me design theirs, etc. I have a lengthy stock email response I used to send out, but now interested parties can refer to this page for information.

I don't make these for other people. I wanted to make something fun for my wife and myself. They turned out to be a lot more work than I anticipated. I put it out there online because I was happy with the result and I thought other people might like to see it.


I wanted to find some way to at least match our Save The Date card's popularity, so I decided to make our wedding invite into a small hardcover book, sort of like a photo album. This way, guests could feel like they are looking into an old personal photo album. It also supplied enough of our background to let guests who may know nothing about us (the guests of our friends, or our parent's friends) get an idea of who we both are, where we're from, how we met each other, and how we became engaged.

This was a hit or miss project, but the response was tremendous. People cried. Strangers sent me email to tell me they thought it was great and to wish us well. People sent RSVP's via email so they could keep the envelope intact on its page. I was asked if it's possible to steam off the outer seal to avoid tearing it open. Guests got directions from the internet rather than untie the map we supplied for them. I've never received such positive feedback to anything I've ever made before.

All I remember is I wanted a book, and it was way too expensive to have "real" books made - and no printer wanted to touch that job (probably not profitable) - so I just made books myself. The books were mostly handmade, but the print shop had quite a few things to do as well. They took care of the following:

  • Print and cut the pictures
  • Print and cut the pages
  • Print the enclosed return envelopes
  • Print the stickers/seal on sticker paper
  • Drill the little holes in the page for the twine to hold the map
  • Glue press the blue paper to the cardboard resulting in "covers"
  • Staple the covers and pages together into a book
  • Make the die to press the letter impressions on the cover.

I don't recall how much that stamp was - I don't think it was too bad, though - under $100, if I remember right, but this was many years ago (2003).

After all the pages were printed, I bought photo corners, and we placed all the photos in their photo corners on the unbound pages, because this would have been a total pain to do after the books were bound. I also printed all the maps (on a regular laser printer) and folded them, tying each one onto its page with the thinnest twine I could find. I then took all the pages back to the printer to have the books stapled together.

After the print shop stapled the books together, I bought some bookbinding tape (black tape) and taped that on the sides, hiding the staples, making it look more like a real book. Between doing all the photo corners, the map folding and tying, and the bookbinding, my fingers got raw…and it seemed to take forever.

The materials were purchased at a few different craft stores (twine, picture holder corners); a local paper company (I got the blue paper free because it was "overstock" (I can't remember the actual term) and they also had the cardboard for the covers just lying around) and I got the inside (brown) paper and light green map paper from French Paper Co. The little label was just some sticker paper I bought at an office supply store.

One bit of advice: It pays to get friendly with someone from your local paper companies if you're going to do print work! You get samples, freebies, etc. I don't do any print anymore (I'm strictly web) but if you use paper in your work, find out who paper distributors in your area are.

I designed the book to be a certain size so that it would fit perfectly inside an available envelope (which I did have to buy at a paper store, as it's not a very commonly used envelope size - A6 or something like that). I can't remember how much it all cost, but the books were about $1.70 each to mail. Again, this was in 2003, so don't quote me. The wedding was family only, but we both have pretty good sized families. I seem to recall making 30-40 of these. I made a couple extra copies which I still have.

This is not something I'd do again. From the design through the execution it was a ton of work, and it was worth it for us, this one time. And you're only supposed to get married once, right?

What Other People Say

Following is a list of sites that reference the wedding invitation.

Ryan spends most of his time as Mystery Supply Co. He's been floating through space with you since the 70's. King of Michigan.

Alas, he no longer does print projects.