Your big day invitations are likely your first major wedding project, so it’s understandable why you may be tempted to go all out and spare no expense on them. But unless you have a wide budget, this is a big mistake. It may surprise you, but wedding invites can cost a pretty penny. The average couple spends around $500 on this stack of stationery and many end up splurging over $1,000 or even a couple thousand! If you’re not careful, they can easily eat away the money you set aside for your special day.
As a rule, invitations (which includes save-the-dates), RSVPs, and thank you cards should take up no more than 5-10% of your wedding budget. But if you’re looking to save money, you may want to cut that number down even further. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this, especially in the 21st century.
Taking advantage of technology is a no-brainer for many modern couples, which is why lots of them are going fully digital with their wedding invites. E-vites are becoming increasingly popular, as are wedding websites. Taking things online allows you to not only save money on stationary but on postage too, providing you with hundreds of extra dollars to spend somewhere else.
If you’re still somewhat traditional, consider a mix of both. Order only a one-page invitation and direct the guests to find out more details and RSVP on your personal wedding website. This is guaranteed to cut your costs at least in half.
Do it Yourself
Do you have a printer and some card stock? Great! That means you can print your invitations at home. If you’re artistic (or have a friend with talent), you can also design them yourself. And if not, you can find plenty of free templates online. Should those options be too basic, hire someone off of a freelance website such as Fiverr to create a custom design.
Post a Picture
A fun alternative to a classic invitation is a photo postcard. Have a photo of you on the front and basic details (including the wedding website URL or QR code) on the back. There are many advantages to this option. Not only will you save on envelopes, but on postage as well (postcard stamps are notably cheaper than letter ones). In addition, this is one way you can guarantee your invite won’t end up in the trash as your guests will definitely want to keep the snapshot as a souvenir.
One of the benefits of hiring a professional stationery designer is having them do all the work for you—which includes addressing and stuffing the envelopes. Guess what? All of that can be done for you with a few clicks on the computer for a fraction of the price. There are numerous printing services such as Minted, VistaPrint, or PaperlessPost that offer both classic and custom invitation designs, as well as the full-service package. Some of the additional services may cost extra, but it’s usually not much. If you’re tight with money, you can always opt just to get things printed and delivered, and do the rest of it yourself.
Skip the Upgrades
As sad as it is to say, your invitations won’t have a long lifespan. Guests will likely throw them out after the wedding, if not after they’ve sent in their RSVP. So, you’re better off saying no to extras such as glitter, ribbons, engraving, or wax seals. Or, choose just one of two details for your order. And going back to the subject of DIY—you might also want to consider ordering plain invitations for a cheaper price and transforming them into something luxe yourself.
Should you choose to hire a stationary artist, make sure to book ahead. Many professionals are swamped with orders and require them to be made months in advance. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a hefty “rush” fee. In addition, planning in advance will give you time to shop around. Stationers know this, so you can try to negotiate for a discount, even if that means placing a deposit to get it.