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  • Lauren Makowski

How to save money on your wedding invitations

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

As a wedding stationery designer, I know how expensive wedding stationery can get. While I have a passion for beautiful, custom, hand illustrated stationery, I understand that some people don’t. You know what I say to that? To each their own! If you’re on a tight budget, as I assume many brides are, you need to take a good hard look at the numbers and decide what matters to you most (I talk about setting a realistic wedding budget here).

I will start this off by saying, the most important thing is the fact that you’re getting married! You get to dedicate your love in front of the world and it’s such an exciting thing. For me, the next most important piece was the venue. I wanted everything to be in one place, easy to access for my guests, and an outdoor ceremony area with an inside reception ballroom. Let me tell you, these types of venues don’t come cheap. After searching around, we finally decided on Ponte Winery in Temecula, CA. And let me tell you, they have it together over there, but it did take up a large chunk of my wedding budget, so I cut where I could.

Once the venue was set, my mom and I went shopping for invitations, and I could not believe some of the prices I saw for standard designs. I was in awe at how much it cost to simply edit a template and print invitations. So what did I do? I made my own. And I saved myself quite a bit of money. If I had an unlimited budget, would I have gone the custom route? Definitely. But that wasn’t an option, so I did the best I could with what I had. Looking back, I still absolutely love how my invitations turned out and I am so glad I decided to design my own.

Cutting back on invitation costs was simple for me because I had the knowledge of designing my own, but you may not be in that same boat. Below, I’ve listed numerous ways you can cut costs on your wedding stationery, without sacrificing quality.

1. Order semi-custom suites

If you want high quality wedding stationery, but don’t have the budget for custom work, many designers offer semi-custom suites. This means they already have a template designed, but it is edited with your information. I have seen so many beautiful semi-custom designs out there, and if you’re trying to stay within a certain budget, this is a great place to start. (Examples of semi-custom designs here)

2. Know your print options

You may or may not know this, but there are quite a few print options available out there, and having knowledge of each will help you with choosing the best option for you. My suggestion is to get the pricing for each of these options and make the best decision based on what you like and your budget.

  • Digital Printing: This is the least expensive printing option available. Flat printing is standard printing, like if you were to print a document from your home printer. If you’re looking to add higher quality for this print option, I suggest choosing thicker paper for an extra wow factor (110 lb and above).

  • Flat printing: This printing method is another choice to keep your costs down, but will provide better quality than the digital printing (in my opinion). In flat printing, the image of your design is transferred to a flat plate, which then uses ink to transfer your design to paper. I find that the color is very vibrant with this type of printing, and is a great affordable option if you're looking for something high quality without breaking the bank.

  • Letterpress: This is where things get a bit pricier. Letterpress printing creates an imprint into the paper. The reason this can get costly is because print shops that offer letterpress need to have plates made with your design on it, ink needs to be specially mixed to match the colors of the design, and thicker paper is required for the imprint to stand out. It is beautiful, and I absolutely LOVE the look of letterpress, but due to the extra work required, it will cost extra. Also, if your design has another element to it, such as watercolor florals, the invitation must first be flat printed and then letterpressed, which can also add to your cost. If you are sold on doing letterpress, but want to save as much as you can, find a design that is simple and uses only 1 color. This way, only 1 printing method needs to be used and only 1 plate needs to be made for the imprint.

  • Foil stamping: I have found this to be the most expensive way to go. Foil stamping involves pressing metallic or solid color foil to your design and adhering it onto the paper through a heat transfer. It gives your invitations that shine and wow factor you may want, but the costs will add up for these types of services.

3. Digital Files

Purchasing a digital file for your stationery is another great option. Websites like Etsy have quite a bit to choose from, so there is bound to be a design you will love that will match your wedding colors/theme. Here’s how it works. You purchase the design. The designer updates the template with your information and sends you the print files. You can either send to a professional print shop, print at home, or even use as an evite if you’re on an extra tight budget.

4. Online RSVP

A great way to save on postage, envelopes, and extra printing costs is to set up an online RSVP for your guests. Many wedding websites have this functionality built in, so you can link your guests directly to your wedding website to RSVP and view all of the event information. The easiest way to do this is to have one "Details Card" that lists the RSVP by date, noting that guests can reply online, and providing a link to the website your using for RSVP's. Since it's a details card, you can also include any other important information that you'd like your guests to know. Here's an example:

"Kindly respond by the thirteenth of October using our wedding website:

For additional information, such as directions, accommodations, and our registry, please visit our wedding website."

I hope this was helpful for you, I understand how stressful and expensive weddings can get! No matter what design services or printing method you choose, I promise everything will work out in the end. If you decide to work with a designer, such as myself, I suggest being upfront about your budget and what you’re looking for. Many designers are willing to work with you to make sure you have beautiful invitations, without breaking the bank!

If you were on a tight budget for your wedding, what was the easiest way for you to bring the costs down? Please let me know in the comments below!

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