Even if you opt for a wedding printer, you can skip pricey extras like embossing and engraving and opt for cheaper online vendors unless you can find a deal.
One expense you might not be prepared for when budgeting your wedding is the cost of inviting people to share in your big day. You can expect to drop a few hundred — if not a few thousand — on invitations, depending on your taste and style.
Who knew paper could cost so much? But it’s not just the paper. There are pretty envelopes, mailing envelopes, response cards, response card envelopes, tissue paper, and postage, for starters. Money also goes into the design and printing of the message.
But does it really have to be that way? It’s easy to save money on your wedding by looking into alternatives to pricier wedding invitations.
Ways to Save Money on Wedding Invitations
You have multiple options for cutting the costs of wedding invitations without looking cheap. Choose one or more of these ideas for maximum savings.
1. Make Your Own
Many couples worry that making your own invitations looks sloppy and inelegant. They also want to avoid the hassle of making them when they already have so many other things on their plate.
Luckily, there are plenty of easy make-your-own-invitation kits out there for couples looking to save. If you need some inspiration, Michaels has some beautiful options.
2. Enlist a Crafty Friend
If you still feel uncomfortable creating your own invitations, ask for help from a crafty friend. Some people love to do creative projects, meaning they probably own a lot of the necessary tools, saving you even more money.
3. Use Your Own Card Stock
Many stationery and invitation stores sell paper and the printing separately.
To save money, buy cheap card stock at a discount store for the printer to use. Or you can go with the printer’s nicer quality card stock and use your own for the other miscellaneous cards included with the invitation.
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. This alternative 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. Many couples are eschewing tradition in favor of more eco-friendly designs with less formality and fewer unnecessary pieces. 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 costs you. Although square envelopes are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the post office charges extra to mail that size. Also, go for unlined 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
Don’t limit yourself to online wedding invitation vendors. Check out printing sites like Vistaprint or Invitation Consultants, as they usually have some good deals and promotions for wedding invitations and save-the-dates.
And hit up local brick-and-mortar stores to see if you can find deals. But don’t just stick to wedding boutiques and stationery shops. For example, you might find some fantastic deals at warehouse retailers like Costco.
8. Start Looking Early to Score a Deal
Many wedding advice articles suggest ordering your invitations as late as three or four months before the big day. That’s good advice for ensuring you have your invitations on time but terrible advice for saving money.
Start looking for deals on invitations as soon as you have your wedding details nailed down. You can just hold onto them until you’re ready to send. Plus, that gives you plenty of time to assemble and mail them.
Sign up for daily deal sites like Groupon or LivingSocial, and check them every morning to snag the best deals.
9. Send a Photo Invitation
You can send invitations in photo form just like Christmas cards and baby announcements. It’s fairly inexpensive on sites like Shutterfly and Simply to Impress, and it gives invited guests a nice keepsake of the wedding couple.
10. Send Postcards
Postcard invitations cost less to produce and mail. You can order custom-made postcards from Etsy or Zazzle. Or if you don’t want your entire invitation to be a postcard, make the reply cards postcards. Just ensure you order qualified postcards (3.5 and 4.25 inches high and 5 to 6 inches long) to keep postage prices down.
11. Send an Email
In an age of digital media and social networking, it’s become perfectly acceptable to send an invitation by email. And you can include things you can’t include in a snail mail invitation, such as pictures, accommodation information, a link to your wedding website, and even a video of the wedding couple.
If you’re committed to paper invitations, you can at least use an email for the save-the-date.
12. Request an Electronic Response
Instead of including a response card for them to mail back, ask guests to reply by email with their RSVP.
That saves you the return envelope stamp people may or may not use and is more convenient for your guests. To keep your inbox from getting too cluttered, set up a special email account just for RSVPs.
Alternatively, make a Google form to collect RSVPs. If you have a wedding website, the vendor most likely has an RSVP section for you to use.
13. Send Online Invitations
If you like the idea of sending an email invitation but feel you lack the creativity to make your own electronic invitation, create free online invitations through sites like Evite or Paperless Post instead. Their invitations are easy to create and make it easy for guests to respond.
14. Order 10% More Than You Think You Need
It may not seem like this could save you money, but most people inevitably need extra invitations.
You may initially forget to invite someone important. Or perhaps the post office loses one, and you have to resend it. It’s easier and more cost-effective to order extras with your original order rather than do a small run (usually with a minimum order volume) later.
15. Remember to Proofread
And proofread, and proofread, and proofread. And then have a few friends proofread. You do not want to send invitations with incorrect information and have to pay to reprint and send them.
16. Design Your Own Invitation
If you see a design you like that’s way out of your budget, put your own spin on it. Use the design concept and create your own invitation.
Then, take the idea to a stationary store (along with your own card stock). The store can turn it into a wedding invitation unique to you.
Popular culture tells us your wedding day is the most important day of your life. But really, it’s just the beginning. It’s not worth going into debt over.
You can have a beautiful wedding on a budget, from saving on the invitations to finding an affordable venue. If you feel down about cutting costs on the ceremony and reception, just think about how you can use the money you saved to build a life with your spouse.