Say ‘I do’ to making your own wedding invites at a DIY workshop

Say ‘I do’ to making your own wedding invites at a DIY workshop
Photo by Tom Callan

In this cash-strapped economy, lovebirds about to take the plunge are planning their weddings on the cheap — and saying “I do” to do-it-yourself.

Before walking down the aisle, a half-dozen brides and grooms will roll up their sleeves, slap on an apron, grab a squeegie and screen print their own save-the-dates, invitations, place cards and thank-you notes, at a week-long DIY Wedding Workshop at the Gowanus Print Lab, Oct. 14–19.

“People have taken on the do-it-yourself ethic, and are styling their own invitations and table placements more and more,” said Ashley Hildreth, owner of Gowanus Print Lab. “There are a lot of brides who are control freaks, and want to make sure it’s done right.”

The workshop consists of five three-hour classes, during which couples create and consult on a concept, make sketches and digital templates, select the right paper, shoot the silkscreens and hand-print their invites — no experience is necessary.

The first DIY wedding workshop was held in June, and attracted three crafty brides-to-be. One had met her husband at a food co-op, and designed an invitation to mimic a grocery store receipt; another made a mixed CD for each wedding guest, and screen-printed the cardboard jackets with musical notes.

Ashely Hildreth, co-owner of the Gowanus Print Lab, shows off the finished products from her “DIY Wedding Workshop,” where cost-conscious (or merely creative) Brooklynites make their own invites.
Photo by Tom Callan

The DIY wedding workshop caters mostly to the inherently crafty, but in the midst the failing economy, creative pursuits like knitting, sewing and screenprinting are enjoying a renaissance, and even those who aren’t exactly natural born artists are eager to participate — especially if it will save a few bucks.

“There has been a cultural turn,” Hildreth said. “There are people with no experience trying to turn their backyards into farms to be more sustainable — we get people like that. It’s about having a general awareness of our society, distrust for corporations and the desire to build something tangible. Plus, it’s a beautiful break from the cubicles most people are trapped in all day.”

The DIY workshop costs $500 — plus roughly $200 for paper, which the Gowanus Print Lab sells at cost — and yields between 150 and 300 sets. At one custom design studio, the same yield would run the bride and groom over $2,730; and that doesn’t even include envelopes.

DIY wedding workshop at Gowanus Print Lab [54 Second Ave. at Seventh Street in Gowanus, (718) 788-3930], Oct. 14-19, 7 pm. For info, visit www.gowanusprintlab.com.

Hildreth gives hands-on advice on how to work the silkscreen and other old-school printmaking tools.
Photo by Tom Callan