Budgeting 101: Invitations
by Shilora Jean
In our previous blogs we looked at the guest list and basic wedding expenses . Now we’re moving on to invitations. There are many styles and many ways to purchase invitations but whether you commission a custom design or personalize a pre-formatted version, there are basic things you need to know and guidelines to follow in order to control costs. These hold true for invitations as well as save-the-date cards.
Type of Stock (paper)
The type of paper, or stock, you use conveys the theme or “feel” of your wedding. An invitation to a casual affair may be on text stock while an invitation for a formal affair will most likely be printed on cover stock. In basic terms, text stock is thin and cover stock is thick and rigid. (For more details on stock, click here.) Stock also comes with different coatings (from dull to gloss to unique coatings such as pearl) which also affect the look and feel of your invitations.
Why does stock matter?
• Stock has to support the amount of ink required by your design
• Some types of stock cannot be folded
• Stock adds to the weight
• Stock determines how your invitations can be printed (offset, digital, or home printer)
Rules of Thumb:
• If you prefer a folded invitation, make sure you choose a stock that folds well. Some folding stocks may need to be scored in order to prevent “cracks” in the paper or ink. (This also applies to coatings and finishes.)
• If you choose a design that requires ink be printed all over the paper, you’ll need a thicker stock that can withstand being saturated by ink.
No matter how you get your invitations (custom design, personalize a pre-formatted layout, design them yourself) here are a few things to consider.
Many brides have been surprised by the cost of postage. This is determined by a combination of size and weight, but mostly size. The USPS (United States Postal Service) has standard postage rates based on the size (dimensions) of your piece/envelope. The reason is simple: standard sizes of envelopes can be sorted with machines; odd sized envelopes have to be hand-sorted.
As mentioned above, any item that can be sorted by machines will cost less to mail than those that must be hand-sorted. Thickness plays into this as well as size. If you choose a standard-sized envelope but stuff it too much, you may wind up paying the hand-sort postage rate.
ENVELOPE COLOR & FINISH
Once again, a colored or finished envelope can be impossible for a postal machine to read and print upon. If you choose a custom envelope, choose carefully. If you really want to incorporate color, choose a colored lining inside a white envelope and use the specialty envelope on the inside.
While I realize millennial brides are utilizing digital RSVPs, I encourage you to think of your other guests (Boomers and some Gen Xers) by including an RSVP card and postage-paid return envelope. All the same rules above apply to the RSVP card & envelope.
*In all honesty, I’m completely against the idea of RSVP’ing online for a wedding instead of by post. If you’re sending a printed invitation, you should be providing a printed RSVP card, complete with pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope. A formal event (wedding) requires a formal invitation, which in turn requires a formal response.
There are many options for today’s bride and groom when it comes to invitations. Like everything else concerning your wedding, be sure to look at several options and estimate the expense. If you have plenty of money for square, die cut invitations, go for it! But if you’d rather spend money elsewhere, consider a traditional one-sided, no fold invitation at a standard size. Most of all, be sure to review the USPS page regarding size and postage.
TIMING TIP: It’s important to time the mailing your invitations properly. If you’re thinking of DIY’ing your invites, be sure to get started early. Your RSVPs (guest count) are needed for food, beverage, rentals, ceremony seating and reception seating so make sure you get your invitations out in time for them to arrive to your guests, and for guests to RSVP.
DESTINATION TIP: If you are planning a destination wedding, you’ll need to know your RSVPs earlier than if you’re planning locally. For this reason, we strongly recommend sending Save-The-Date cards. Because guests have to travel for a destination wedding, you should reasonably be able to get your RSVPs by 4-6 weeks before the event. There are seldom last-minute guests at a wedding that requires travel.
Weddings can be overwhelming but it’s going to be great! We’re here for you™.
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