When I got married, my crafty aunt handmade my wedding invitations as a wedding gift. Though they were exquisite and I got multiple compliments on them, I didn’t realize quite what a gift it was until I learned that the average amount that a couple spends on wedding invitations is $650 – and lots spend upwards of $2,000 or $3,000.
Who knew that paper cost so much? But it’s not just the paper – there are envelopes, second envelopes, response cards, response card envelopes, tissue paper, and postage, for starters. Money also goes into the design of the invitations as well as the actual printing of the message.
But does it really have to be that way? Just like saving money on wedding venue ideas, invitations are an easy area for a couple to save quite a bit of money in preparation for their marriage. Here are 16 ways to save money (up to an average of $650) on wedding invitations.
Ways to Save Money on Wedding Invitations
1. Make Your Own
This is probably the most obvious way to save money on invitations, but it’s often overlooked. So many couples are worried that if they make their own invites that they will look sloppy and unprofessional. They also do not want to go through the hassle of making them when they already have so many other things on their plate. However, with more couples looking to save money on their wedding, there is an increasing number of easy make-your-own-invitation kits coming on the market. If you need some inspiration, Michael’s has some beautiful invite samples you can use.
2. Enlist a Crafty Friend
If you still feel uncomfortable creating your own invitations, ask for help from a crafty, creative friend (or aunt!). Some people love to do projects that allow them to express themselves creatively, and will probably own a lot of the necessary tools – saving you even more money.
3. Use Your Own Cardstock
Many stationary and invitation stores sell you both the paper and the printing separately. Therefore, you are not bound to buy the cardstock at their store. To save money on the actual paper that the invitation will be printed on, buy cheap cardstock at a discount store, and bring it with you to the printers. Or you can go with the nicer quality cardstock bought from the printer and use your own cardstock for the response cards and other miscellaneous cards included with the invite.
4. Skip Engraving and Embossing
Engraving is the oldest form of printing, and the priciest. Although it looks beautiful and formal, you can go with thermography instead, an alternative that costs less but looks similar to engraving. Embossed accents are another added cost so skip that as well.
Formal wedding invitations are very complicated with multiple envelopes and sheets of tissue paper. Even though traditional wedding invitations typically include many layers and formalities, many couples are eschewing tradition in favor of more eco-friendly designs (i.e. less paper waste). Save money by only including the essentials in your invitation.
6. Use a Standard Envelope
When you try to get fancy with your envelope, it ends up costing you. Although square envelopes are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the post office charges extra to mail that size. Also, go for non-lined envelopes since the weight of the lining can increase the price. Remember, envelopes are just packaging and will be torn into very quickly once received.
7. Shop Around
My first instinct when shopping for anything is to search the Internet. But to save money on wedding invitations especially, it is a good idea to shop around, both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. There are some places that you typically do not think of when looking for wedding invites that are worth checking out, like Costco and other warehouse retailers. Wedding invitations are usually bought in bulk, anyway!
8. Start Looking Early to Score a Deal
On a wedding planning timeline, you are supposed to pick out your wedding invitations about four months before the big day. I say to start looking for deals on invitations as soon as you have your wedding details nailed down. You can order them early even if you do not send them out until two months before your wedding. Make sure to sign up for group buying and daily deals sites, such as Groupon, and check them daily.
9. Send a Photo Invitation
Just like Christmas cards and baby announcements, wedding invitations can be sent in photo form. Not only is it fairly inexpensive on sites like Shutterfly, it also gives invited guests a nice keepsake of the bride and groom.
10. Send Postcards
Not only will you save money on the invitation, you will save money on the postage when you send a postcard invitation. Or if you don’t want your entire invitation to be a postcard, make the reply cards postcards. I recently received a wedding invitation that included a postcard reply card that tore off from the actual invitation. Very creative!
11. Send an E-mail
In an age of digital media and social networking, it has become perfectly acceptable to send an invitation by email. You could send an email invitation that includes pictures, accommodation information, and even a video of the bride and groom. This is a great idea for a frugal but creative couple.
12. Do an Email Response
If you want to send out a traditional invitation by mail, you can cut costs by doing a response through email. Instead of including a response card to be mailed back to you, include an email address for your guests to send their RSVP. This will give you an opportunity to get everyone’s email addresses as well. I used this method, and it worked well. Alternatively, you can set up a password-protected web form on your wedding website that people can go to and send in their responses.
13. Send Online Invitations
If you like the idea of sending an email invitation, but feel that you lack the creativity to make your own electronic invitation, create online invites through sites like Evite instead. Their invitations are easy to create, and makes it easy for guests to respond. Best of all, this service is free! If you’re looking for more features, another paid you can check out is Cocodot.
14. Order 10% More Than You Think You Will Need
At first it may not seem as though this is a cost savings, but you will end up needing extra invitations. You may remember that you forgot to invite someone important. Or perhaps an invitation gets lost in the mail, and you have to resend one. It is easier and more cost-effective to order extras with your original order rather than later on.
15. Remember to Proofread
And proofread, and proofread, and proofread. And then have a few friends proofread. You do not want to send out invitations with incorrect information and have to have them reprinted and resent!
16. Design Your Own Invitation
When I was planning my wedding, I found an invitation design I really liked online. The price was pretty steep, and I knew it was way over my budget. So I took the concept of the design and created my own wedding invitation design. I took my idea to a stationary store (along with my own cardstock), and they were able to turn it into a wedding invitation unique to me. I saved money by creating a similar design to a much more expensive one.
Wedding invitations don’t have to cost a fortune. Save money with the above tips so you can splurge on more important things – like your honeymoon.
In what ways have you saved money on wedding invitations?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)