By Julie Myhre, NextAdvisor.com
It’s no secret that weddings are expensive, so anyway that a couple can cut down on the final bill is always ideal. One of the easiest ways that couples can cut the cost includes watching their spending on wedding stationery. It’s easy to get carried away when shopping for the perfect Save the Dates or Wedding Invitations, but here are a couple tips that will help you watch what you are spending on your wedding invites:
1. Know your complete guest list before you purchase.
This is an important factor that couples often forget. The problem is when you guess or estimate how many guests you’re inviting, then you’ll probably end up with a ton of extra invites or need to order more, often at a higher price. Vanessa Alce, the CEO and Event Planner of I Love My Planner - Event Planning and Design, said that you should have a complete head-and-couple count before you order your invitations. “Divide your guest list by couples, families and individuals to help you determine how many total invitations to order,” she said. “Remember that your invitations become keepsakes for your parents — yes, they get an invitation, too.”
2. Order samples to avoid mistakes.
Have you ever sent a note or invitation with a spelling or grammar mistake? It’s definitely embarrassing, and not something you want associated with your wedding invitations. Alce said one of the major ways to avoid these mistakes is to order samples or proofs prior to purchasing. “Although it's often an additional $15, order a proof prior to finalizing your stationery order,” she said. “Having a second pair of eyes to review the proof will make sure you haven't missed any mistakes.”
Ordering samples or proofs can also prevent you from having to re-order your stationery because of design flaws you didn’t expect. Often colors can look different on paper than they do on the computer screen, so this is a good way to see exactly what your invites will look like beforehand.
3. Order rectangular cards and envelopes.
When choosing your invitations, you might want to consider the shape and size of the paper and envelopes. Although it is fun to pick square, circle or oval-shaped stationery, it will be cheaper for you to mail standard-sized envelopes.
Jamie Chang, owner and wedding consultant at Mango Muse Events, said you save the most money when you avoid certain shapes and choose rectangle envelopes instead. “Square envelopes require more postage to send, which can add up easily,” she said. “Some square invitations have the option of coming with a rectangle envelope, which would work fine, but most don't.”
4. Don’t get too fancy.
Bows, ribbons, seals or any other embellishment can make your stationery look cute, but they can also add an unwanted amount to your stationery tab. Alce said if you opt to not include these embellishments, then you can save money on purchasing and mailing. “The United States Post Office measures and determines your postage by the weight and size of the envelope,” she said. “There are simple yet elegant wedding invitations that won't hurt your wedding budget and will compliment your wedding nicely.”
Also, Chang says, watch your ‘print.’ “There are lots of printing options out there for invites and while it's easy to fall in love with letterpress or embossed styles, the most economical is flat printing,” she said. “It can still look beautiful because of the design, but the printing will be more cost effective.”
5. Ask yourself if you really need all that paper.
Wedding stationery shopping can be fun and exciting, however it’s also very easy to get carried away. Before you order your invitations, ask yourself if you really need each piece of stationery that you have chosen. Will it ruin your wedding if you opt to not use directions or accommodations cards? Choosing not to include them can save you money on printing and mailing.
Caitlin Boshnack, owner of Bridal Mentor.com, said that a lot of brides are opting — or forgetting in the last-minute planning — to not have a ceremony program. “Yes, there is a lot of paper needed for your wedding, but some of it is optional,” she said. “Depending on the formality of your wedding, you may not need the whole gamut.”
Chang said that there are other ways to get information — such as directions and accommodations information — to your guests. “While these are great things to provide guests, if you want to save some money, consider just providing the invite and RSVP,” she said. “Then direct your guests to your free website for all the other information. Or better yet, have your guests RSVP online instead so no additional paper and postage needs to be used.”
6. Purchase the stationery in one large order.
Once you have finalized your invitations and have a complete head-and-couple count, you should order all your invitations at once. Alce said that it can cost you less money when you purchase all your invitations in one large order. “Special pricing applies to increments of 100, 200, 300, etc,” she said. “Additions are very costly and mostly come in increments of 25 for the invitations, response cards, RSVP cards, inner and outer envelopes.”
Alce warns not to cut it too close. “It's a good rule of thumb to order 5-10 extra invitations, and extra inner and outer envelopes just in case you make a mistake while addressing each one,” she said.
7. Be realistic and know how your choices will affect the price.
This is the most important thing to remember when shopping for stationery or your wedding, in general. Just because it’s cute doesn’t necessarily mean that it will add anything to your big day. Boshnack said that your guests will keep certain pieces of stationery as a souvenir, but some will also be thrown away, so it’s important that couples are aware of what affects the price.
In the end, pick what’s important for your most important of days—but nothing more.
Julie is a NextAdvisor Content Manager who covers identity theft, VoIP, virtual phone, online college, photo cards, parental controls and people search. She has experience writing for the Silicon Valley Business Journal and as an editor of her college's daily paper. She is a graduate of San Jose State University, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.