Why Wedding Invitations Matter
Wedding invitations are so much more important than just giving the date, time and location of the event. For many guests, the invitation presents the chance to see the soon-to-be family for the first time. Whether they’re distant relative or friends from the other side of your fiance’s family, everyone will welcome any chance to get to know the couple better.
But you don’t need big bucks to let people know about the big day. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can create beautiful invitations to fit any taste – and save money for the things that really matter.
Initial Wedding Invitation Decisions
Before you do anything else, make a few decisions. How much do you want to spend? Stick to the per-person budget. Then think about the colors and the design. Do you have a particular color scheme set for the event? Do you want to be fun, formal, elegant, chic or completely unique? Having a clear sense of what you want before the process begins will save you time and money as you go.
In addition to showing a bit of your own personality, an invitation should convey the tone of the event itself. If you plan a sophisticated black tie affair, for example, your invitation probably shouldn’t feature a quirky typeface and seashell art worthy of a beachside affair in Cancun.
Among the many decisions you’ll make along the way, one stands out: do it yourself, or go pro? Consider this carefully. Not all “do it yourself” invitations are cheap and quick, and not all professional invitations are expensive and formal. If you can’t set aside time and energy to make something that is exactly how you want, paying someone else to do it – even a trusted, talented friend or family member – will be worth the expense. Let’s face it: you’ve got enough to worry about already and at some point will need and/or want some help planning the wedding!
Here are a few tips that will come in handy no matter what your style or skill level:
Complex invitations cost more. Adding multiple ink colors, even spot color, can require more than one print run, and that takes time and labor. The same goes for additional inserts, such as save-the-date cards, reception information and envelopes. Instead of a full-sized response card, consider a postcard, which will save postage as well. Better yet, place as much information as possible on a website (i.e. a blog post on your personal website).
Know the difference between the various techniques and materials. Paper can run the gamut from craft-store chic to handmade elegance – at a price! The same holds true for printing. Top-of-the-line letterpress and engraved invitations give the most formal, classic look. If you’re set on raised printing, consider thermography, which creates a similar texture for less. Don’t discount simple laser printing, either; choosing fonts and designs wisely can provide a similarly elegant look at a fraction of the price.
Give yourself time. Making a prototype of your own handmade invitation might take a little time to get just right, but it’ll save time and money in the long run when you’re trying to figure out how to assemble anywhere from 20-300 sets for mailing. The same goes for professional invitations, too. Nobody wants to send back a whole batch because of one typo made on your part!
Consider kits and packages. Office supply stores like Staples offer plenty of options, from printable folding cards to specialty papers. Other shops may offer response cards, envelopes, printing and more for a single price. Evaluate what you need; this option can be quick and easy.
Go semi-custom with a few key accents. Save money by using a simple, standard template, but add some flair of your own. A creative stamp (pre-made or of your own design), a flat ribbon accent or a response card in a color complementary to the invitation itself can add splashes of style without breaking the bank.
Watch out for hidden costs. Postage, especially, can run the price of wedding invitations up for a variety of reasons. Keep the creativity inside the envelope; unusual shapes, closures and even address placement can all push mailing costs higher. The same goes for items inside that can make the outside surface uneven, such as knotted ribbons or metal clasps. Over hundreds of pieces, that can really add up.
Shop around! Dealing with smaller local vendors may allow you to negotiate prices, whether on preprinted invitations or specialty supplies. Online options offer a full spectrum, from custom handmade designs on etsy.com to paper suppliers and full-service engravers.
Above all, remember to enjoy the moment and have fun. Nothing is as important as the enjoyment of the couple who will be getting married, and helping them be creative while saving money is a great way to keep them happy. Best of luck!