Saving Money on Your Wedding Invitations
So you've decided on a theme and a direction, created your guest list, and set your wedding budget. Now it's finally time to start spending some money. This may be the first time you've tried to work within a budget, or you may be a budget expert. Either way, there are always ways to save more money.
No fear. This doesn't mean bare bones, basic invites that wouldn't inspire anyone. I've been doing this for a long time and know just how to get you the best bang for your buck. What this really means is the best quality product for the money you have to spend on it. By following these simple tips, ordered from the beginning of your project all the way to the end, you can be sure to have amazing wedding invitations and be gentle with your wedding budget in the process.
Cut Your Guest List
lol This wasn't what you were expecting, was it? If you've read Cutting Your Wedding Guest List Down to Size you know that each additional guest you have at your wedding means one more place setting, one more plate of food, one more chair and chair cover, one more wedding favor, and even one more wedding invitation, program, place card, escort card, and menu.
By taking a second look at your guest list, and keeping this in mind, you may find a few guests that you are reconsidering. Weddings are not the place to invite someone just because they invited you, invite someone because they'll be angry or jealous if you don't, meet anyone new, or invite those that you know will cause problems. If you remember that each wedding guest typically costs a bride and groom anywhere from $50-$100 a head, it may be easier to leave that person you were thinking twice about off of the guest list.
One of the biggest mistakes many brides make with their invitations is just assuming that all companies and invitations are the same. You're just supposed to pick a company, plug in the right names, dates and times, and order them, right? Absolutely not! This is the easiest way to get swindled big time!
The first place that I always send couples, after they've decided what they want their invitations to look like (Choosing the Right Wedding Stationary), is to the craft and stationary stores, like Micheal's and Hobby Lobby. They've got tons of great wedding invitation kits to choose from for great prices. Choose one of these and basically all of the work is done for you!
Your best decision may even be to make your own DIY invitations using some of the creative, but inexpensive materials they have right there in the store, like scrapbook paper, cardstock, jewels, ribbons, etc. If neither of these sound like options that appeal to you, not a problem! There are tons of amazing stationary companies and stationers available to you to make sure that you find that perfect piece you're looking for. The key throughout the process though, is to make sure you are price checking and really shopping for the best product for your budget. In the end, with your list and options in hand, you'll be able to make an informed, educated decision regarding your wedding invitations.
What was the hardest part about your wedding invitations
Cheaper Invitation Options
There are some really great options for saving money on your wedding invitations with some simple creativity. Why not have 2 sided invitations and inserts? Not only will this save you on paper but on the weight of your invitation (which we will talk about in a little bit).
Bypass the heavyweight papers, and doubling and tripling the layers for an invite with more color and depth. Stick with a lighter background paper with simple printer paper or a paper with similar weight. This sounds like a small change to make that wouldn't make much of a difference. However when all of the pieces come together in the end, that small bit of weight will really make a big difference in your postage. Even 0.13 cents an invite adds up to another $13 total for 100 invites.
I know you want your invitations to be unique, but really consider the size and shape of your invitations. Any size or shape envelope will add a great deal to your postage when mailing them at the post office. It's too easy to stick with a standard size to allow this to trip you up and possibly push you over budget.
Finally, consider your printing. Engraving may look nice, but in the end is a really unnecessary expense. Stick with laser printing for inexpensive printing that your guests won't even notice. If you really have to have engraving on your invitations, try blind engraving for your return address on the back flap (engraving without ink, that leaves the indention on the paper) for a fabulous look for less!
Simplify the Insert Cards
There's really no reason that your guests really need a map, directions, a wedding schedule, an accommodation and transportation card, a pew card, etc. in their invitation. You are sending information to people that you don't even know yet if they're going to make it. SAve all of that good stuff for only those that you know are coming.
A single insert card is usually about 1.5" by 3" and won't really make a huge difference in the weight of your invitation, but if you can save some room in your envelope for other great stuff, why not? If your reception is being held in the same location as your ceremony, simply add "Reception to follow" or even "dinner and dancing to follow" at the bottom of your invite. If your reception will be at another venue, include "Reception to follow at the Elephant Bar (Next line) 1234 Parkway Boulevard Anywhere, AZ" to your invite. Really simple and one less card.
Speaking of one less card. I'm really surprised couples are still including an RSVP card with a self-addressed stamped envelope in their invitations. That's one more card, and envelope, and even another stamp. That can get really expensive really fast. Add it up and see for yourself. If you still want a mailed RSVP, include a postcard instead; one card and half the postage. Otherwise, include a wedding website for guests to RSVP, a phone number to call, and/or even an email to respond to instead.
Get Rid of the Extras
When it comes down to it, do you really need the bling, the ribbons, the heavyweight invite folder, the clasps, and the lined envelopes? So many couples get wrapped up in the excitement, especially in the beginning when you still have a complete budget just ready to be broken into. All of the extras look great, give you an amazing looking invitation, and are totally worthless. Your wedding invitations won't be the only place you're tempted to go overboard.
If it helps, focus on how much each of those little extras is going to cost you in the end. Each of those lined envelopes an extra 0.25 cents. That's nothing right? Wrong. Multiply 0.25 cents by your 100 invites and you'll see that's another $25 added to your bill. Oh, you have 150 invites? That's another $37.50 just for those envelopes. Is it really worth it? Cut back tot he basics and your budget (and your guests) will thank you!
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
There's nothing worse than ordering 100, 150, 200 invitations, opening up your box and seeing that everyone of them has the wrong address on them for your wedding venue, or the wrong time for your wedding. I've seen some of the craziest mistakes just because couples are not taking the time to check their invites thoroughly before ordering them.
The company you've ordered from isn't going to replace them for you, unless it was their mistake. You're going to have to spend more money and reorder all of those invites. I bet you didn't factor in another 6-8 weeks for delivery into your schedule either. Simply proofreading, and getting someone else to proofread with you, will save you more money than you can imagine.
Ordering Your Wedding Invitations
Order all of your stationary at the same time. It may take a little forethought and planning on your part, but if you can order all of your stationary (programs, table numbers, escort cards, place cards, menus, thank you cards, announcements, etc.) at the same time, you'll save yourself a lot of money. Stationary companies charge you a fee per order on top of your shipping and handling. If you are ordering multiple times for each of these items, you will pay that same fee every time. Order everything together and only one fee! Cha Ching!
Order 10% extra. Before finalizing your order, make sure to add an additional 10%, or approximately 20 more to each of your items. Why? This will account for mistakes, tears or stains, lost items, and even leave you some for keepsakes. (I promise both of your moms, and grandmothers, and even possibly aunts will want an extra for a keepsake.) Don't think you'll need that many extra. Do you really want to have to order extras, and pay that fee again, at the last second?
Stick to your budget. Before you press that ORDER button, check out the final cost. You and your fiance' have set a budget limit for your stationary. Remember this isn't just for invitations but for everything. If you're planning on ordering thank you cards or notes for welcome baskets, these are included in that budget. This final number can help you factor in fees, taxes, and even shipping and handling. Are you within your budget? Fantastic! Press that button, If not, this is the perfect time to go back and improvise.
I'm not talking about creating your own invites if that's not what you've chosen to do. What I'm talking about is addressing, assembling, and mailing. Why pay someone else to do these for you when you are perfectly capable of doing them yourself, especially if you delegate?
Instead of paying a calligrapher, your stationer, or even your planner to address your invites for you, either do it yourself or have a friend or family member that has amazing handwriting to do it for you. Save yourself some time and energy and use those address labels that you won't be able to use after the wedding to stick your return address onto the back flap of your invitations.
Finally, assemble your own invitations. There are so many great videos available to walk you through the process of assembling your invites (In fact, I've included one for you below.) that there's no reason you can't do it yourself. Also, stationary companies typically include very thorough written directions in their invitation packages to help you with the process. Practice makes perfect.
There's no reason you should have to worry about your budget or your invite costs with these handy tips available. Remember that this is only the first step in your wedding planning journey. Don't spend all of your money here. There will be plenty of places where you will wish you had a little extra.
Did you find these tips helpful, or was it the same old, same old?
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness