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Week Before the Wedding: Paneled Program Fans

August 30, 2010

Ever since I saw the idea of paneled program fans online, I’ve wanted to have them for our wedding. Due to the difficulty of this project, however,  I was almost sure that the fans would make it to the “cut list.” However, Mr. Jelly loved them almost as much as I did and was instrumental in making sure we got these done, after all!

To make the programs, I used the Aylee Bits template which can be found here. My super helpful friend Nancy actually designed the panels for me in Word, using my favorite font (Beautiful ES and Beautiful ES Caps, available for free here). We did 5 panels: Title page, Wedding Party 1, Wedding Party 2, Ceremony and In Loving Memory/Special Thanks page.

After the design process was complete, I had to find suitable paper. The Aylee Bits page recommends using 110 lb Cover cardstock, which is incredibly difficult to find in person. Since the wedding was about a week away when we started this, we didn’t have time to order paper online. The big-box stores like Office Depot and Office Max only carry 110 lb Index paper, which is much thinner than Cover. With the help of Mrs. Penguin, I found Kelly Paper in Oakland, and ran into another bride there who was also looking for program fan cardstock (small world!). She talked me out of buying the plain white cardstock and into beautiful stardream paper in two colors, Opal (ivory) and Cappuccino (brown).

The next step was printing. This is where I ran into a big problem – I went to 4 different copy shops and none of them could print on the 110 lb cover cardstock (despite Kelly Paper having assured me that the paper was laser jet compatible). Basically 110 lb cover is too thick and causes jams in any kind of printer where it has to loop around a lot (like a big copier printer).  At this point, I was about ready to give up on the program fans, when Mr. Jelly suggested we try to print them on his Canon Pixma inkjet printer. I had read online that inkjet doesn’t work well with stardream paper, but we gave it a try anyway. It ended up being fine – sure, the black ink came out looking a little muted (more like dark gray), but as Papa Jelly remarked, it makes the program fans look softer. After Mr. Jelly printed the 250 sheets of cardstock on his printer, it was time to cut! And wouldn’t you know it, I called in the reinforcements on this one, too. With the help of 7 other family and friends, we got the panels cut out in a matter of hours. Here is the finished product:

[personal photos]

Cost Breakdown:

5 50 sheet packs of Stardream paper: $112.58

Crop-a-Dile: $18 (after 50% off Michael’s coupon)

7 packs of 3/16 eyelets:  $21 ($2.99 x 7)

Ribbon: $4

Family and friends’ labor: Priceless.

Grand total: 155.58, or about $1 per fan (we made 150 for 225 guests). Not too bad, considering these are $2.50 each and up online!

Dos and Don’ts for those of you considering making these:

DO read Mrs. Mouse’s great tutorial ( for paneled program fans!

DO test print paper before you buy large quantities of it, or make sure you can return it if it doesn’t work.

DO enlist the help of your family and friends. We finished cutting these in less than 5 hours!

DO buy a paper trimmer to cut the straight edges with (then cut the rounded parts with scissors). I highly recommend this paper trimmer by Fiskars, it has a wire guide so you can see exactly where you are cutting.

DO search for extra long 3/16 eyelets online. Due to the time crunch, we had to settle for whatever Michael’s had, and some of the eyelets were a bit short so the back page falls off.

DON’T wait until the last minute like I did. Start looking for 110 lb cover cardstock early, it’s hard to find!

DON’T worry about the cuts being perfect. I like to think that the imperfections in our fans will show our guests that these fans were lovingly hand-made instead of store-bought.

Has anyone else done these programs for your wedding? Do you have any tips?

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