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Save Money on Wedding Invitations - Without Offending Grandma

Updated on March 30, 2014

Save Money on Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitations are super-expensive, and even cutting your guest list won't help you cut the cost (much). Even if you're being DIY and making your own, you've still got material cost and people, time is money! Here's how to figure out what you need and what you can cut--without offending!

That giant gold plate is gonna add to your postage costs!
That giant gold plate is gonna add to your postage costs!

Wedding Invitations - The Math Doesn't Add Up

Math, you lied to me!

One of the best ways to save serious money on your wedding is to limit your guest list to close family and friends only. This will lower your catering costs, your venue costs since you can rent a smaller venue or even an unusual space that can't accommodate a larger party (like a small garden), the cost of your decorations since you'll have fewer tables and a smaller room to decorate, and so on. Almost all of your costs will go down--except the cost of your wedding invitations.

Stationary stores don't like small orders. Here is the price breakdown of some invitations from Landmark. By the way, this squid is not supposed to be a diss on Landmark. You will run into this pretty much any place you get your invites:

* Invitations for 25: $153 - $6.12 per invitation

* Invitations for 50: $168 - $3.36 per invitation

* Invitations for 75: $183 - $2.44 per invitation

* Invitations for 100: $198 - less than $2.00 per invitation.

So for $150, you can get 25 invites. For $200, you can get 100 invites. Uh, what?

It gets worse. Those prices are just for the invitations. Once you include the price of Save-The-Dates, pre-addressed envelopes, the Thank You Notes, and the response card, the price jumps to over $400 for just 25 invitations, or $16.82 per invitation(versus $535.30 for 100, or $5.35 per invitation).

Emily Post says it's OK to skip the scroll unless you or your intended spouse are a wizard, warlock, or mage.
Emily Post says it's OK to skip the scroll unless you or your intended spouse are a wizard, warlock, or mage.

What you need & what you don't

As you can see, your invites are one of the few places you will not save any money by cutting your guest list.

So if you do want to save money, what should you do?

* Skip the Inner & Outer Envelopes. Just use one envelope. In fact as a general rule, the less "stuff" your wedding invite has, the less bulky it'll be and the less postage you will have to pay to send them. For every insert and extraneous thing you cut, you'll save twice.

* Don't Skip the Thank-You Notes. Everybody who attended the wedding and/or gave you a gift gets a paper Thank-You Note, period, end of story, even if you thanked them in person. E-mail and Facebook don't count. However, your Thank-You notes don't need to match your invitations. There is absolutely nothing wrong, etiquette-wise, with sending your guests hand-written thank-you notes on stationary you already have, or even plain paper!

* Do: Skip the printed Save-The-Dates. Save-The-Dates are not necessary unless most of your guests will need the extra notice (like if this will be a long-distance wedding for most of your guests), and e-mail is acceptable in lieu of printed cards.

* You can: skip the pre-addressed envelopes if you are having a small wedding. Don't worry, you have time to address the envelopes yourself if you are only sending out 25-50 invites.

* Don't: Try to save nickels and dimes by not sending paper invites to all your invited guests. Now, 100 guests does not equal 100 invitations. Married people, couples who live together, and any dependent children, can all share an invitation. But if cousin Susie moved out of her Aunt Julie's home six years ago, you need to send one invitation to Aunt Julie and one to Susie if you would like both to come. Invitations are keepsakes for many people, and sending paper invites to some guests and not others can make your guests feel like afterthoughts.

* But Don't forget to get a couple of extras. Unless you're little miss perfect, you're going to spell somebody's name wrong or something and you'll need an extra invite.

* Don't EVER use the free invites certain stores give out when you make your wedding registry with them. Throw that mess away. Sending out an invitation with your registry info plastered all over it is tacky, plain and simple. If you truly don't have a cent to spare on invitations, hand-write your invites on whatever you already have. You can never go wrong with a personalized, hand-written letter.

Maybe you don't need all of that
Maybe you don't need all of that

Don't Forget Postage!

I'm a part time mail carrier. At least once a week or so, I get a letter with either no postage (?!?!?!?!) or insufficient postage, and it's usually a wedding invite. Wedding invitations are usually heavier than a normal letter. A lot of times you can't put a normal stamp on them. Take your invitation, with all the bows and doo-dads and inserts, to the post office to get the proper postage for it, or else three weeks later, instead of RSVP cards, you'll be getting your own invitations back.

The bad news: your invite might cost more than the normal 48 cents to mail.

The good news: your RSVP cards might cost *less*. If you use RSVP postcards, you can use the 29-cent postcard stamps.

Don't worry, they don't all have awful puns.
Don't worry, they don't all have awful puns.

RSVP Cards - Do you need them?

Never underestimate the power of laziness.

You have several options here. The easiest thing, especially if you're having a large wedding, is to provide pre-stamped RSVP cards. Use RSVP postcards instead of dealing with tiny cards with little tiny envelopes. Postcards are cheaper to mail than mailing a regular letter, plus you won't be bulking up your wedding invitation with an extra envelope.

I'd either provide RSVP cards and pre-stamp them, or don't do RSVP cards at all. Unfortunately people in this day and age have been spoiled by the pre-stamped ones and will try to send them out to you without a stamp. So either do it all, or don't do any of it.

There is nothing wrong, etiquette-wise, with not providing RSVP cards. Just make sure you have plenty of ways to contact you or your fiancee.

What are you doing? - Making your own or buying?

What are you doing for your wedding invites?

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