Thursday, November 5, 2009

Budget Breakdown - Invitations

So little did I know about paper. Oh, so little. Card stock weight, letterpress, metallic versus matte. Good God, what a cacophony of primal fear it can bestow upon the innocent of wedding planning brides. Oh, I fell in love with some invitations. Oh, the gorgeousness of them. Stunning. Works of art. For $4000. For 100 invitations and envelopes. That didn't even COUNT the RSVP card. It really stressed me out because when you look at all this crap (and it's JUST paper, people) on-line and in stores, there's this push that you must have the most fabulous of all because it tells your guests what kind of wedding you're going to have. Really? Really? No it doesn't, you do. Who you and your groom are tells everyone they need to know. And if you can't do that then why are you inviting then to your wedding?

Now, I'm lucky that I didn't have to invite my Dad's boss's cousin. Perhaps if you're having that kind of wedding, the invitation means more. For us though, it just wasn't like that. I also thought through all the wedding invites I've ever gotten in my life. I remember one in particular because it was purple. All of them ended up in the trash, even the purple one. I have no idea if they were letterpress or what they even looked like. NO ONE DOES. Not really, not in the end. In my opinion, if you need to save someplace, do it here. It's paper, people.

About the time I was in the invitation process, I found Jessica, The Budget Savvy Bride. She is one talented lady and I almost used her to do my invites. I did a lot of research and I realized that I could DIY my own invites easy enough, just as she did. For me, time was a big issue, so I went the Michael's route and gave some pre-fab invites my own twist. In fact, I was able to get nearly every single bit of paper product from Michael's and it all coordinated. I used lots of coupons and got creative.

Here's my original breakdown and the final numbers. When I filled in my budget, I really didn't have a great idea of what things cost. I also forgot to add in the postage for RSVP cards, which is why that number is double the budget! Now, I have to admit that I am missing a few things on this template because I had a whole different page that I did some budgeting on that linked over. Below is what I paid for all the paper for my invitations, table numbers, glue dots, programs, ribbon, etc. For just the invites, they were $2.13 a piece including postage. Without postage, they were $1.26 each. Not too shabby, right?

What was nice about all of this is that I got to customize everything I did with my own font and wording that I carried throughout the wedding - from menus to table cards to place cards to programs. I'll betcha people who don't read this blog had no idea I got all that stuff at Michael's or that I did it all myself.

If you click on the above mosaic montage of mega-hot detail shots that my oh-so-fabulous photographer took (like you don't know JCP already), you can see all the printing I did myself on my little $150 HP printer. And you know what? I am not a graphic artist. I am not an artist. I am a product developer, but I don't know how to work in Photoshop. I introduced myself to Publisher for my OOT letters. I do know how to work in ACDSee, but that's it. You just have to know what you want and how to go about ripping it off and making it your own. ;) The web has a crap-load of free templates and clip art and patterns and all sort of stuff you can manipulate to make your own. It's awesome. The resources are there, it just takes a little time to find it.

Try not to get caught up in WIC (Wedding Industry Complex, if you're not down with the lingo yet) on this one. Get caught up in your creativity.

Tell me, are you stressing over invites? How did you get creative? How did you save $$$?


  1. I'm a graphic designer, so I designed my own.
    We have tons of paper swatch books at work, so I can easily find the paper for less online because I know the manufacturer name and color. I did a few mockups of different ideas and kept tweaking things until I was totally thrilled. I printed everything on our high-end printers at work, then trimmed, glued and assembled everything myself. They turned out gorgeous and were one of a kind. If I had paid someone to do these, it would have been $5-$8 per invitation.

  2. Um....My invite was Dark Fuschia with tiny pink flowers. Was that the purple invite you were refering too? hehe.

  3. Lady, your invites looked fabulous! I should know, I design stationery for a living :P

    I do have a question though ... how much did you spend on ink?

    I would get in so much trouble if I tried printing my invites at work, so its a home DIY or a local printer. Sometimes, I think it is worth the extra money to not have to trim 75 invitations, but ... either is fine and I'll be frequenting Dennis Paper as well.

  4. I love the graphic on you OOT bags. And the tags on the favours rock. Well done.

  5. I plan to go the Michael's route as well. I agree that there are some beautiful invitations out there but in the end other than myself and our parents no one will keep these so why spend all that money. Thanks for this breakdown!

  6. Thanks for the ink info, L! I'm hoping to get a handle on all the paper goods over the holidays :)

    Hope you are having a kick-ass weekend!

    - N

  7. Woot, Michael's groupies right here! Can you believe how much time we spent there (or am I speaking for myself?) Your personal details of course really took it home.

  8. Oh. My. God. I spent so much time at Michael's, it was a bit scary. Scarier was the fact that I was on a first name basis with the day-time cashier. I was also starting to recognize people when I was there - other Michael's addicts. Let your freak flag wave!

  9. This is so timely -I'm getting ready to send out invitations next week and needed this reminder that I am over-stressing for nothing more than you even know! P.S. I am in LOVE with your OOT bags - please share me how I can do something similar myself! They're so very Nashville!