Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Save Serious Money - Invitations, Save-The-Dates, Thank-You Notes, and other Stationary

Or, Save on Stationary Costs without Violating the Rules of Etiquette.

One of the best ways to save serious money on your wedding is to limit your guest list to close family and friends only. This will lower your catering costs, your venue costs since you can rent a smaller venue (compare the price of this banquet hall for 100 versus this banquet hall for 50) , the cost of your decorations since you'll have fewer tables and a smaller room to decorate, and so on. Almost all of your costs will go down--except the cost of your wedding invitations.
Stationary stores don't like small orders. Here is the price breakdown of the last invitations I bought from Landmark (these are so pretty in person, by the way!):

Invitations for 25: $153 - $6.12 per invitation

Invitations for 50: $168 - $3.36 per invitation

Invitations for 75: $183 - $2.44 per invitation

Invitations for 100: $198 - less than $2.00 per invitation.

It gets worse. Those prices are just for the invitations. Once you include the price of Save-The-Dates, pre-addressed envelopes, the Thank You Notes, and the response card, the price jumps to over $400 for just 25 invitations, or $16.82 per invitation(versus $535.30 for 100, or $5.35 per invitation).
As you can see, your invites are one of the few places you will not save any money by cutting your guest list.
What's a bride to do? The bride on the budget has several ways to cut invitation costs:
  • Don't: Skip the Thank-You Notes. Everybody who attended the wedding and/or gave you a gift gets a Thank-You Note, period, end of story, even if you thanked them in person. However, your Thank-You notes don't need to be fancy, costly ones that match your invitations. There is absolutely nothing wrong, etiquette-wise, with sending your guests hand-written thank-you notes on your ordinary stationary.
  • Do: Skip the printed Save-The-Dates. Save-The-Dates are not necessary unless most of your guests will need the extra notice, and e-mail is acceptable in lieu of printed cards.
  • You can: skip the pre-addressed envelopes and the response cards if you are having a small wedding. Dont worry, you have time to address the envelopes yourself if you are only sending out 25-50 invites. If you forgo response cards, be sure your guests have multiple ways to contact you.
  • Don't: Try to save nickels and dimes by not sending paper invites to all your invited guests. Yes, your parents already know they are invited, but they should still get an invitation! Couples who live together, and any dependent children, can all share an invitation. But if cousin Susie moved out of her Aunt Julie's home six years ago, you need to send one invitation to Aunt Julie and one to Susie if you would like both to come. Invitations are keepsakes for many people, and sending paper invites to some guests and not others can make your guests feel like afterthoughts.
  • Don't EVER use the free invites certain stores give out when you make your wedding registry with them. Throw that mess away. Sending out an invitation with your registry info plastered all over it is tacky, plain and simple. If you truly don't have a cent to spare on invitations, hand-write your invites on the nicest stationary you already have. You can never go wrong with a personalized, hand-written letter.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristen,
    Just wanted to add that you might interest brides in another great cost-saving option for their invitations, which is automated RSVP services. We used one for our wedding called which worked great. It saved us about $300 not having to buy printed return envelopes, reply cards, and return postage and guests just called in their RSVP on the phone instead. It was great because all I had to do was give them the guest list and they took care of everything else. We paid just under $35, which to me was a great deal. Anyway, just thought I'd add that since I know not many people know about that. I did have a lot of people mention how unique it was afterwards, so it got some good responses even from guests.