Ideally, invitations should be mailed out 6-8 weeks before the big day to give guests time to make arrangements to attend and RSVP back to you.
The first step is to get organized. Remember when we suggested a folder earlier? This is where it comes in especially handy! Begin by making a list of the people you just can’t stand to get married without them there. This will probably be mostly relatives and close friends. Ask your parents and the groom’s parents to provide you with a list of who they would like to invite. Make sure you have accurate addresses for your guests.
One caution here: don’t think you HAVE to invite everyone you know. If you haven’t talked to your high school lab partner since graduation, he or she probably doesn’t need to be invited. And don’t get all caught up in possibly offending someone by not inviting them to your wedding.
Often, people get sick of attending weddings for people they barely know. Unless you talk to them every day, chances are pretty good that they won’t give it a second thought when your invitation doesn’t arrive. Remember, you’re trying to save some money on your big day. Extra people means extra expense – cut corners here.
Once you have your guest list, you’ll have an idea of how many invitations you’ll need. Next, you’ll need to pick a design.
Wedding invitations shouldn’t be a big expense for you. Yes, when it’s delivered all pretty in its customized envelope and small tissue square inside, it can make an impression – for about a minute! Most people read it once, note the date, take out the RSVP card and throw the invite away. So why spend a lot on them? Remember, we’re trying to save money here!
The obvious thing to do with your invites is to create them yourself on your personal computer. You can use Microsoft Word or Publisher to create beautiful invitations that are ALL you!
There also are inexpensive programs out there specifically made for creating invitations and greeting cards. The best part about buying programs like this is being able to use it again after the wedding is over! I’ve had this program save me many times to print out a special occasion card (Birthday, Anniversary) at the last minute if I’ve forgotten!
You can buy heavy card stock at any office supply or discount store. Consider some pre-printed stationery which is also available at most office supply stores.
Not really hyped up on using up all your printer’s ink on your wedding invitations? Take them to a specialized copy shop or office supply store. They can usually copy onto whatever paper you want (heavy card stock, pre-printed, etc.) and in color if you choose.
You could also print out simple text of your invitation then use rubber stamps or embossing powder to decorate them. Keep in mind, though, the number of invitations you’ll need to embellish. If you’re looking at a few hundred, you could be up nights just decorating them!
The traditional practice for wedding invitations is to put the invitation inside an envelope and then place that envelope inside another envelope. Why bother? One envelope is plenty and you’ll only need one stamp to mail if you use one.
If you’re doing your own invitations, check with some small local print shops for leftover envelopes they might have. You can buy these a hugely discounted price. Don’t get freaked out if you have several different sizes or styles. How many people are going to ask each other at your wedding what size envelope their invitation came in?
If you need to have RSVP’s, consider putting it on a small postal size card. That way you eliminate an envelope and it adds to the convenience for your guests. All they have to do is fill it out and drop it in the mailbox. Of course, you’ll have to provide the stamp for this card.
Consider also printing reception information directly on the invitation itself. For an RSVP, provide a phone number and/or e-mail address for guests to respond to. Not only will this save you on postage, you’ll have all the information right there for your guests to refer to before the big day instead of them having to save a separate reception card.
You can use labels to print out addresses on your computer. We would suggest getting the clear labels as it just looks better. The most prominent label maker is Avery. Their website offers free templates to print out your labels, so you may want to check that out before struggling with a software program.
If you don’t like the impersonal nature of address labels, address the envelopes by hand. You can get information about calligraphy online or just use your best handwriting!
Some brides don’t want the hassle of do-it-yourself invitations. We happened to have a friend who sold wedding invitations as a side business at an incredible cheap rate and she offered up a discounted rate as a wedding gift. We ended up with 300 invitations for just $60. Not everyone can be that lucky, however. Check out places online for the most savings.
Finally, when it comes to wedding invitations, one of your largest expenses is going to be the postage. You really have no control over that unless you’re the Postmaster General and even then, I doubt it! You may want to hand deliver some invitations to save on postage. I know I would prefer to have the bride or groom personally hand me their invitation. It tells me I’m special to them and I know it’s saving them the cost of a stamp!