Ways to save on wedding invitations

You no longer need to depend on some hoity-toity stationer to design and print your wedding invitations. You have the Internet, a computer, a printer. With these modern conveniences plus some old-school ingenuity, you can wow your guests with beautiful invitations without shredding your budget. Don't get sucked into paying $500 for invitations. After all, there are many other important things to buy, like the dress!

Off-the-shelf

Michael's craft store has stunning printable invitations by Brides magazine: everything from intricate designs with lace and ribbon to more contemporary looks with neon colors, modish flair.

A 30-count invitation suite goes for $39.99, a real bargain. The suite includes invitations, jackets, response cards, envelopes, ribbons, tags and menu or direction cards. A 40-count option, also $39.99, leaves out the extra decor and just has the invitations, response cards and envelopes. Pick up a matching box of thank-you cards, 40 for $9.99, and you can get all your stationery done for $50. The only flaw: Postage is not included.

Do it yourself

Browse the Internet for some design ideas by searching "DIY wedding invitations." Narrow down to a few options that would be easiest to replicate. Choosing your invitations is the hardest part, but if you're willing to compromise highly detailed invitations for something a tad simpler, you could save a mound of money.

Then all you need is basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, or even Microsoft Office, to lay out the invitations. You can find fonts on websites like dafont.com or urbanfonts.com. They have everything from showy calligraphy to something that would don a movie poster for Saw III — all for free.

To add some extra dazzle, order rubber ink or digital stamps from etsy.com ($25, on average), a one-time cost. You can stamp all your invitations with monograms or other personalized art. Or put some confetti inside the invitation to surprise your guests when they open it.

Free templates

Some websites offer free templates that you can customize and download. Weddingchicks.com, for example, has invitation suites (save the date, invitation, RSVP, and thank-you cards) for download. Simply put in your wedding information on the online form and then submit it to generate a custom invitation. Then print it out.

You may have some templates on your computer without even knowing it. Microsoft Office has a few good options. You can also download templates on the Microsoft Office website for free.

Ditch the extra cards

To shave off some extra dollars, don't send out save-the-date cards. Or eliminate the RSVP from the invitation.

With Facebook and Twitter, you can easily announce your wedding. No worries — this isn't a tacky move. Using social media to get the word out is simply an accepted convenience these days. You can group message all your guests with the date, then dial up the ones who aren't Facebook-friendly, like Grandma Ruth in Wallace, Idaho. Tell everyone that a formal invitation will follow.

When you include the RSVP, you're adding on the cost of printing the extra card, the cost of the return envelope and, the worst part, postage for guests to mail them all back. Instead, include a link to your wedding website or an email on the invitation where guests can respond. It's also more handy for them as it saves a trip to the mailbox.

At the post office

Stick to a rectangular invitation because square cards cost more to mail. This has to do with the way mail is sorted. The sorting machines have trouble picking up mail that is square or unusually shaped. Because of this, the post office will tack on a "nonmachineable surcharge" per item.

Sabrina Rocco can be reached at srocco@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8862.

Ways to save on wedding invitations 05/20/12 [Last modified: Sunday, May 20, 2012 9:03pm]

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