If you're a budget-savvy couple, you're probably looking to save money wherever you can. One area you might not have thought of is your wedding invitations. Don't think you need to buy flimsy paper or discounted blurry printing. You can still have an elegant but cheap wedding invitation.
Here are my top 10 ways of saving money on wedding invitations:
- Shop Around
While party and stationery stores are great places to see a wide variety of invitations, they're certainly not the only place to buy them. Places you might not have thought of: Kinkos, Staples and other office supply stores, Costco and other discount or warehouse stores, mail-order catalogs and the Internet. Many of these places offer the same exact invitations for much less. You will want to order samples so that you can see the quality of the paper and printing before you buy.
- Different Printing Techniques
An engraved wedding invitation is a beautiful thing – and an expensive one. But there are alternatives. Thermography will give you the same raised look and feel for much less money. And for a more casual wedding, laser printing (the same kind used for magazines, postcards, etc.) is perfectly appropriate.
- The Little Extras
Intricate invitations with jackets, bows, multiple layers of paper and other embellishments are very popular these days. But those little extra details can really add up. Not only will you pay for their cost, but there might be hidden assembly fees (or extra work for you), as well as additional postage costs. Instead go for the classic look of a simple invitation printed on a high-quality paper. And avoid lined envelopes. Although they are a traditional element of wedding invitations, it's a detail that few will notice. Save money by skipping this step.
- A Package Deal
Sure it's fun to personalize, but if you're working on a tight budget, look for company that offers discount packages. Buying your invitations as a unit may be cheaper than choosing your invitation, response card, envelopes and other extras separately. Additionally some stationers may offer discounts for ordering your wedding invitations, thank you cards, and informal stationery at the same time.
- One Envelope
Traditionally, wedding invitations were sent in two envelopes so that they would remain pristine in spite of their journey. But since mail delivery has made much progress since the days of messengers and horses, you can save money by using only one envelope. Make sure to get your invites hand cancelled by the post office, which will minimize extra wear and tear.
- Standard Size Invitations
Some people mistakenly think that as long as their invites weigh less than one ounce, they can use a regular first class stamp. Not only is this not true, but most invitations weigh more than an ounce. According to the US Post Office website, you'll incur an additional $0.13 surcharge on one oz. or less envelopes if any one of the following apply:
This length-to-height ratio is what causes problems with most wedding invitations. Fortunately, the Post Office has a handy calculator on their website. $0.13 may not sound like much, but it adds up.
- It is a square letter
- It contains very rigid items such as wood or metal
- It has clasps, string, buttons, or similar closure devices
- It has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter
- It contains items such as pens that cause the surface to be uneven
- The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5
- No Reception Card
If your reception is at the same location as the wedding, no need for a separate reception card. Instead write "reception to follow" or "dinner and dancing to follow." Even if the locations differ, you can write "Reception to Follow, Jamestown Country Club" on the invitation, and then include a simple photocopied insert with a map and reception details.
A no-brainer, perhaps, but you'd be surprised how many people find errors on their wedding invitations and have to re-order with extra rush charges. Get a couple of trusted friends or colleagues to look over the invitation for extra insurance. Make sure you've got all the details of names, date, time, location, and RSVP correct!
- Postcard RSVP
Rather than a folded card and envelope, use a postcard for your RSVP. Not only will you save on weight for your invitation postage, but you'll save $0.15 in postage for each RSVP.
- Order extra invitations and envelopes
This might seem counterintuitive, but since almost every couple remembers someone that they HAVE to invite at the last minute, you'll want to have a few extra wedding invitations. And since it's likely that you'll make a few goofs while addressing them, order extra envelopes as well. It will cost you a little extra now, but save you lots of reprinting and rush charges later.