Today’s insightful guest post comes to us from Barbara of AvantGarde Design. Barbara is a type loving, coffee drinking, ice cream fanatic, runner who loves designing and pushing boundaries. She’s also currently enjoying all the fun of wedding planning for her upcoming nuptials next September! :)
So you want gorgeous invitations, but don’t want to break the bank. Well, that’s understandable! Usually wedding invitations are the first place where a budget cut happens. Your save the dates and wedding invitations are the first look your guests have of the occasion to come, so presenting yourself in the best way possible is the only way to go. Below are some tips I share with clients when it comes to saving money without compromising the final product.
Read the full post after the cut!
Do Your Research
Researching is a great start. There’s been one too many times where I’ve come across expensive yet poorly designed invitations. Honestly, it breaks my heart to see that happen. A professionally designed invitation will not necessarily cost you more, so doing some research on what is available to you will make a world of difference. There are just so many good outlets to choose from – whether you work with a designer, order online or from a stationery shop.
If you’re a Do-It-Yourself-er, there are companies who offer quality designed, printable invitations that you can embellish on your own. Check out tip #9 for some resources! Be sure that not only is the paper great quality, but that the design is professional as well. A poor decision like using “Comic Sans” to write your names will tarnish the look of the invitation and the expectations of what’s to come for your guests.
Limit your layers
Using layers for invitations, also known as “matting” will add that extra special touch. The fine papers used for wedding invitations, however, can be pricier than your average printer or photo paper. There are often additional charges besides the actual paper associated with cutting the paper to the desired size and adhering it to the layer above it or below it. Choose a heavier paper stock or a paper with a unique finish, like shimmer or texture such as linen, to achieve an expensive look.
Choosing to print digitally or “flat” rather than using methods like letterpress or thermography will save you a significant amount of money. Digital printing also allows you to print in smaller quantities and gives you unlimited color choices.
Combine your enclosure cards
Do your best to keep information as concise as possible. Eliminate the need for a reception card by including your reception information directly on your main invitation. This will also help your guests as it is one less thing to keep track of. Also consider combining additional details like hotel accommodations and directions on to one enclosure card.
Keep your postage costs down
There are many factors that can drive up the cost of postage for your invitations, including weight, size and materials used. I highly recommend working with a company that offers you a physical proof or sample so you can have it weighed to avoid postal sticker shock. For more elaborate invitations, have them weighed and measured to see if it will require more postage before you place your final order. Keep your costs down from the start by mentioning your postal budget and opt for a flat, rectangle invitation card with minimal enclosures.
Proof and proof again
It is so exciting to see the first drafts of your invitation. There’s just something about seeing your names and wedding date written out that makes it all feel so real. Do your best to not let the excitement or anxiousness distract you from the extremely important task of proofreading. Read it and read it again, and again. Give it to a few others to do the same. Having to reprint invitations due to a text error is not only costly, but a waste of paper and will also delay your invitations and ability to mail them out.
It may feel like you are spending money on something that you may not need, but think of ordering an extra 10-15 invitations as a backup or a buffer. Last minute guest additions are very common for weddings, so it’s better to have an extra few ready to send out if needed. If you are stuffing your envelopes yourself, it also doesn’t hurt to have some backup on hand in case any of them get bent or worst case, spilled on. On that note, always keep food and drinks away from your assembly table! Ask upfront about order quantities, as some stationers /vendors only offer large quantities. You don’t want to get stuck with ordering 50 extra when you only need a few. Worst case scenario you can always hand out a few to close family and bridal party as mementos.
Buy more, save more
Many vendors offer discounts if you order a package that includes multiple wedding stationery pieces like save the dates, invitations, menu cards and thank you cards. Others may offer you a discount on future orders after your initial order has been placed. Promotions like that would be ideal to utilize for your wedding day paper such as programs and escort cards.
Do-It-Yourself has become a pretty popular avenue for brides on a budget, and with the right approach, can be a great solution for invitations. Going back to tip number one, it is very important to think of your invitations as a representation of yourself and your wedding. The best DIY invitations look professionally made and are a result of some smart decision making. Consider a semi-homemade approach by purchasing your design from a printable invitation source and having it printed at your local print shop. Another suggestion is to purchase simply designed invitations and then embellish them with your own ribbons or matting.
Be sure to keep in mind that many stationers have professional relationships with resources like printers and paper suppliers, and may be able to get these materials at a lower cost than you will. Also add up all your expected expenses before plunging into a DIY project, as they can add up to be more than ordering from a professional. Michael’s Craft Store is a great place to start if you want to take a more hands-on approach. They offer box sets of invitations which allows you to do everything from printing at home to assembling yourself. Just be prepared to buy a few extra in case you have a few slip ups. Etsy.com also has stationers that will design and email you proofs if you want to try printing on your own, which you can then also embellish how you see fit.
Great advice, thanks Barbara! For more information about AvantGarde Design, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website. This post originally appeared on AvantGarde Design’s blog.
Do you have any questions or comments for Barbara? Add them to the comments below!