Nothing helps you realize that your wedding day is a real thing until the evening you begin to put together the wedding invitations. After hours of going over the guest list, you’re finally holding physical proof that this event you’ve been planning for a while now is real and it’s totally happening. Or at least that’s how I felt putting together our wedding invitations.
I’ve written before about my quest to find an inexpensive way to do all things paper related for our wedding. I found that Vistaprint’s paper and print quality was just as nice as their competitors and with coupons, you could really save some money. I understand that paper can be important to some people but it wasn’t so important to us to justify spending $500 or more. I spent a few months in ordering free samples from various companies to see if I could figure out why one company would charge .49 cents for a 5″x7″ card whereas another would charge $1.49 for the same card that was printed on the same cardstock. If you’re worried about not spending a lot of money on invitations, I can’t recommend Vistaprint enough. In total, we spent just at $215 total for save the dates cards and invitations. On Wedding Paper Divas, that same order and cardstock was going to cost us well over $400+ and that was with coupons. WPD does feature beautiful designs and I’m sure some of their costs come from use of premium designers but Vistaprint also has hundreds and hundreds of designs that you can choose from. It’s just about what is important to you.
Because I designed our save the dates, I decided to be consistent and designed our invitations in Photoshop to match them. If you’re thinking about doing this yourself and plan to order through Vistaprint, they provide Photoshop and InDesign blank templates to help you make sure your print bleeds are in order and that you face no issues with your invitation design. I didn’t find it to be too stressful to design our invitations from scratch but that was just me. Even if you’re not using Vistaprint for printing, I found that all the major wedding invitation websites like WPD offered options for uploading your own design.
We ordered our invitations in February during a semi-annual sale that Vistaprint was having and I later had to design and order an additional enclosure card when I discovered how we would need to detail security procedures at our venue. We’re getting married in the state capitol building and just this year, security procedures were put into place. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would have to write about how guests will go through a metal detector at one specific entrance. The plus side to that enclosure card was being able to add a map of the state capitol grounds to help clear up any confusion about parking and entrances. All of this information is on our wedding website too but after looking through our guest list, I realized that not everyone is going to visit that website and it was better in the long run to provide that information via paper.
In all, our invitation suite included a 5″x7″ card, two 5.5″x4 cards which were reception information and response cards and a 5.47″x4.21″ postcard which had a map and security details. When weighed at the post office, our fully assembled invitations weighed “right on the nose” at 13 oz which meant we could send them with a standard .49 cent stamp. That saved us around $15-$20 in additional postage which was nice. Total cost of printing and mailing all of the save the dates and wedding invitations comes at just under $310, well under my original $500 budget goal.
Pro Tip: I can’t stress enough how important it is to take a completely assembled invitation (that includes the stamps!) to the post office and ask them weigh it to make sure you include enough postage. Even in the days after I mailed them, I worried about whether or not the .49 stamps were enough. As of now, I haven’t heard of anyone not receiving their invitation. I have heard horror stories of brides not using enough postage and later discovering some of their beloved guests never knew they were invited or invitations came back through the mail weeks later. Yikes.
Here’s a note or two about wedding invitations; no matter how much time you spend looking over and checking the guest list, no matter how lists you may have prepared or how many times you told yourself “this is the FINAL count!”….chances are, there’s going to be some changes to it. Because it happened to us. As I hand wrote out the invitations, names of guests we hadn’t originally included popped into my head which meant we had to take another look at the guest list count. At 11pm on a Wednesday night, I found myself mulling over “is this truly the final, FINAL count?” Even after I dropped them in the mail, I experienced moments of “wait, did we invite so-and-so?” That’s probably going to happen to you, too, when wedding planning.
We sent out invitations giving our guests 5-6 weeks to respond to the RSVP date that is exactly a month before the wedding. I planned it out this way to make sure they had enough notice and it gave us buffer time to track down missing RSVPs before giving a head count for catering. As of today, we’re two weeks out from the RSVP deadline and nearly 30 percent of our guests have responded…which means I hope there’s a flurry of small, white envelopes in the mailbox soon.