Really, Really Geeky Wedding Invitations


Being real, ultimate geeks, [Bill] and [Mara] didn’t want to settle for plain, paper-based wedding invitations. No, they wanted something cooler, and came up with their own DIY electronic wedding invitations.

Since they would be making the invitations themselves, [Bill] and [Mara] needed a simple circuit that could be easily mass produced. They turned to the classic microcontroller-powered blinking LED circuit powered by an ATtiny13.

The first order of business was producing 50 printed circuit boards for each of the invitations. For this, [Bill] picked up an Xerox Phaser laser printer off of ebay and a few sheets of copper-clad kapton film. The etch resist was printed directly onto the kapton film and etched in a bath of ferric chloride, effectively making a flexible PCB.

These circuit boards were soldered up and laminated between the printed invitation and the card stock cutter with the help of a Silhouette Cameo paper cutter. After the cards were assembled, the battery was wired up and the cards shipped out.

The microcontroller inside the card was programmed to be asleep most of the time, waking up only every few seconds to check a light sensor to determine if the card was opened or not. If the microcontroller sensed the card was open, the lights began blinking, making it one of the most memorable wedding invitations [Bill] and [Mara]’s guests will ever receive.

You can check out a demo of the invitations after the break.


53 thoughts on “Really, Really Geeky Wedding Invitations

  1. I like it! I especially love the amount of personal effort gone into making these, they truly are unique! I wouldn’t be surprised if these ended up costing less to make than to buy professionally made Invites.
    And even if the guests do think they’re ‘too tacky’ you can be sure that it’s an invite that they’ll never forget!
    Great build! :)

  2. I find it uber-ironic that the ONLY people who think their “geeky” invitations or business cards, etc are clever are the people that waste their time and money making them.

    The recipients just shake their head in wonder (wonder at “what they were thinking” not “how clever that is”) and then tosses them in the bin.

    1. Because doing something differently or doing something that stands out from your average wedding invitation is such a horrible thing, right? Especially considering these more than likely cost less to make than buying your boring, generic wedding invitation cards from a store.

      Please explain to me exactly what you’re doing here, since you seem to think that every project is a waste of time and money… Sounds to me like you don’t have the “hacker/tinkerer” mentality, so what’s your purpose here again? Other than being a complete douche of course…

      1. I think ‘comments’ means you are supposed to comment about the original post, not be rude about other people in the comment section.
        Why do you care why he comes here? If you dont like negative comments about the things on the site then don’t read them.

        1. Yes, I’m sure he’ll just use his psychic abilities to predetermine which comments are negative or not, so that he doesn’t have to read them in order to ascertain their leanings.

          I’m pretty sure vonskippy has a track record, so why not just butt out and let the comments self regulate, pff?

    2. Well, I’d think that at least some, if not the majority, of the people they invited to the wedding are their geek friends and family who are just as geeky as they are and can appreciate the card.

    3. While I admire craftsmanship and creative use of microcontrollers, it’s an example of something the creator enjoys more than the audience.

      I am not sure if the whole wedding party and family consists of electronics hackers, it would certainly result in promising offspring, but the likelihood of it is small in reality. Let’s assume most guests were surprised by the novelty-invitation and will not ask for the ATtiny’s source code after the wedding. I would. We can discuss if something is “geeky” because a product uses technolog or because it’s a useful products with technology. I think it’s good to know the difference. Think about it, do you enjoy more when people are delighted by what you do or that you have fun while doing it? Different people have all sorts of motivation to create things, for some the impact of their design artifacts matter more than a craftsmanship love affair with technology. When we talk about it we should be able to do this without verbal abuse and name calling. We are all creators.

      Bill and Mara, hope you had a great time!

      1. While I admire craftsmanship and creative use of microcontrollers, it’s an example of something the creator enjoys more than the audience.

        I hope Bill and Mara enjoy the wedding and the marriage more than the audience does as well.

    4. I certainly would not have looked at it that way. There are plenty of “overdone” wedding invitations, (and other types of things in that vein) – where the thought: “too much time on their hands” comes to mind. But this is something different and imaginative – and that alone, makes it well-worth the effort.

      They could have, instead, just sent two rocks for guests to bang together. . .

  3. I’d be impressed if I received one, much more memorable than the ones I usually see. It’s something that Bill and Mara created together, way more personal than an off-the-shelf card that happens to color coordinate with the bride’s maids shoes.
    Kind of surprised there aren’t references to the Big Fat Geek Wedding…

    Best wishes for the wedding.

  4. “The first order of business was producing 50 printed circuit boards for each of the invitations.”

    Holy carp! If they sent out only 10 invites that would be 500 of them! I call that uber nerdy!

  5. So many negative comments. Wedding invitations are supposed to reflect the couple’s personality, not the guests’. If they were cowboy types, they would probably have horses. If they were into sailing, they would have nautical elements. Why all the worry about the guests perception of the card? If it matches the couple, it is perfect.

    and btw, I would love to read just one article here where not a single comment mentioned a typo, complained that it was not a hack, or linked to proof that the subject of the article happened months ago.

  6. I am VERY IMPRESSED with those invitations…I just hope I can convince my sweetheart to let me make some to send out when we do our wedding! I may have to hit you guys up for all the specs, circuit layouts, etc, though, ok? Will you share? As for the negative comments, ignore them. They are just jealous they didn’t think of the idea or have the skillz to make it! Keep up the hacks!

  7. Looks great! I wounder if this could have been done with conductive ink and some glue. I know conductive ink isn’t really stable as far as connection but I would think that it may be fine for this.

  8. Sheesh folks, guy did a nice write up,
    loads of clear well lighted pics, etc.
    Yeah I see the thoughts of waste
    but how many of our hobbies or jobs aren’t
    pretty rough on Mother Earth?
    I have seen & heard a dumpster load of
    dying audio greeting cards
    Was as bad as a herd of bad bagpipes ;)
    now that! was mentally scarring O-o

    Mara & Bill,
    I think it was nice gesture between the two of you.
    heck, if you had glued magnets to them
    and used as “throwies’
    (most of) this crowd would have eaten it up.
    hmm, go ahead do it with any leftovers.

    1. I forgot to mention that high voltage is sometimes used to micro etch some plastics, so that ink will print and not bead up.
      wonder if you need a way to fine etch
      and be certain all cleaning agents are off the
      sheets you need to retry printing?
      maybe you’ve already looked into this,
      but I just though it was worth a mention.

  9. I don’t have a lot of friends but we still had to do over a hundred invitations to mail. even with editing and printing up our own scanned/cardstock printed/reply envelopes/postage/etc. it took us both over a week between work hours to get ours out. How long did this take? More work and money than I woulda been willing to outlay thats for sure lol rather save more for the honeymoon :)

  10. Great invites…a wedding invitation is a reflection of the event and those the event is honoring…for a wedding it is the Bride & Groom. Kudos to you guys for being inventive and doing it together. Fuck the naysayers. A classic envelope style invite with your standard 3 inserts is roughly $8-$12 a piece – yours were cooler for a comparable cost…get hitched, be happy, and make geeky babies. Cheers!

  11. Bill and Mara:

    Well done!

    The nerd question is: where did you get the copper-clad Kaptan? I think this is a *great* level of tech for hackerspaces.

    (please post the hidden message soon for us non-hams.)

    To the nay-sayers: Y’all have no soul. Why do you even get out of bed in the morning?

    The invites to our reception read “wear a costume and bring a sword” – for the sword arch. And .. 90% of the folks we invited had costumes and swords, just because they were that kind of person. (One friend had an old German Mace; an ex-girlfriend brought a very nice fountain pen, which was very much her style.)

    If I was on your invite list, I would have framed it in the guest room, and invited y’all over for the weekend in a few months.

  12. I’d have used a LiPo, for the simple reason that the resulting card could then be used for years as a decoration.

    You can get wafer ones now that are about 100mAh and they are pretty safe, tried the usual “flambee” tricks and they just sat there.

    Also feasible, have a USB connection via 5 pin wafer header and LED matrix with speaker and local memory, so it can be customised to the event.

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