When we planned our wedding last year, like most, we had a strict budget to stick to. We needed to work out exactly what our priorities were and expensive wedding invitations were not one of them.
‘ It’s how much per invitation? And RSVP cards? Plus postage? Plus a stamped return addressed envelope? AND we’re expected to send out save the dates as well? TIMES ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE!?’ We were looking at over $500 easy and that didn’t even include the stamps.
I. Don’t. Think. So.
Some of those things may be important to you and that’s totally cool. Perhaps you have a budget big enough to cover such expenses. But I’m a tight arse and I’m an artist. I can make that shit and I can cheat.
Our save the dates were sent via Facebook – as an event, or through text messages to those who aren’t on Facey. I know, it’s so untraditional and informal, but hell it was free and it worked a treat. It also meant more bottles of booze. Like I said earlier, priorities.
As for making the invitations, well, I won’t lie. I was excited. I do love this sort of thing, and I knew I could do it. But not without some hiccups along the way. So please, learn from my mistakes. Here’s a list of Do’s and Do Nots I recommend and a few tips to keep the price down..
- Prepare to make more than you need. Always.
- Start early. Real early. As soon as you can early.
- READ packaging correctly. I bought 6 packets of cards and envelopes with 20 items per pack. 20 meaning 10 cards and 10 envelopes, not 20 of each.
- Always make a mock up and see how it looks before you print them 100 times wrong.
- Print in batches. If you notice a stuff up (my printer started smearing ink) it will only ruin a batch rather than the lot.
- Work out how many people can be handed their cards and won’t need a stamp. You can probably hand out a few to Aunty A who will be able to pass them onto cousin B, cousin C and family friend D. Those sticky little morsels of currency add up quickly.
- Leave it until the last minute. Rushing = more mistakes.
- Forget to write the guests NAME on their RSVP. We had no idea who was coming because the RSVP card had no name on it! *facepalm*
- Let the expensive details and premium paper lure you too much.. we’re trying to save money here not spend more! (Unless you want to)
- Recycle wherever you can, it’s good for the planet and good for your pocket.
- Remember, these will eventually end up in the bin. They don’t have to be perfect.
- Not everything has to be exactly the same – I ran out of metallic envelopes, so some people got gold. Some even had plain recycled envelopes. Unless guests are going to compare their invitations with each other, it doesn’t really matter does it?
- Avoid writing guests names on the actual invitation, just write it on the envelope and RSVP card. The reason for this is because we had some guests politely decline before receiving an invite (they were heading overseas for example) so this made room to invite someone else. See where I’m going with this? All I had to do was replace the envelope instead of making up another invite.
Ok so we’ve got a few main points out of the way. Read on to see how I made our viking inspired budget wedding invitations.
- Kraft recycled paper cards and envelopes – $3 per 10 pack / $30 for 100
- Bronze metallic envelopes (yes, I was lured but they were on special) – $5 per 20 pack / $25 for 100
- Coloured paper strips from my paper collection – Free
- Kraft recycled paper A4 sheets in my collection – Free
- Stanley knife
- Air drying clay left over from another project – Free
- Paint – Free
- Ink in printer – Free
- Twine – $3 roll
- Mini wooden pegs – $2 per 25 pack / $8 per 100
- About 60 stamps and we handed out the rest – 70c each / $42
Total: $108 / $1.08 per invite
After having a good look on Pinterest for inspiration I decided to make some little clay decorations to tie onto each invitation. Going with the Viking theme, runes were a must. These were super easy to make: roll out little balls of clay, squish them flat, use a piece of wire to imprint the rune symbols. As an added bonus, if guests wanted to they could look up the meaning of their rune.
Instead of a rune you could imprint a leaf, use a rubber stamp, thumb print? So many options! Leave them to dry overnight then carefully paint the rune – or leave bare.
I set up my printer to print directly into the cards. ALWAYS do a test print to make sure it looks right and your card is in the correct way! If you use metallic or pearl cards you may need to print onto paper then stick it inside the card as the ink may not dry properly.
Below was a test print, we tweaked the wording a bit but you get the idea.
Ideally I wanted to use a beautiful olive green metallic paper for the decorative strip. I used the strip for added colour and to hold all the pieces together. (RSVP card, Map, note with dress code etc.) However when I found the paper I wanted it cost $4.50 per sheet. I needed about five sheets which would cost $22.50. For coloured paper. Oh hell to the no. So instead I raided my crafty paper drawer found an assortment of colours and textures.
The RSVP cards I designed on computer, printed onto recycled kraft paper and fit about 12 to a sheet. Easy peasy. Although as you can see I didn’t leave any room for the guests to write their name.. so that was silly of me.
If you can’t quite see, the card options read:
- Fierce axe wielding Vikings couldn’t keep me away!
- Sorry, I heard about he Vikings
Below is the mock up but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture with all the pieces tucked into the back and held with a peg. I’m sure I did but I can’t see to find it. It was a neat little package though!
Overall, was it worth it? For me, yes, hiccups and all. I really enjoyed the process and was stoked that it only cost me $1.08 per invitation. If you’re not the crafty type then don’t bother – it will do your head in. But don’t worry, there are other budget options!
Do you have a crafty friend or family member wanting to help? Ask them to design you a postcard invitation (as I did for my sister) and print through someone like Vistaprint, an Australian company where 50 postcards will cost as little as $14.99 (plus postage) with free envelopes!
Here are the simple Save the Date postcards I designed for my sis, printed through Vistaprint: