I’m not going to pretend that we did a DIY-style wedding because a) have ya seen me try to make anything myself?! and b) I don’t understand printable templates/ribbon glue/patience/fingers or any of those other things you need to pull off a DIY wedding.
BUT I am still by nature a thrifty person and if there was anywhere to cut costs, I did it. I may not have gone so far as to glue rhinestones or feathers onto anything, but I did do some of my own printing (I KNOW!) and I did try to keep costs down as low as I could. That way more money could go towards the bar 🙂
So here’s what I did and how I saved money on the wedding stationery…
1. We scrapped Save The Dates.
Doing this is a MASSIVE money saver. Assuming you have 100 people to your wedding, you could easily save £75 straight away just by not sending Save The Dates.
Arguably our wedding invites themselves were more like Save The Dates as we sent them so bloody early. “Traditionally” people send wedding invites six weeks before the wedding whereas ours were sent six *months* before the wedding, but either way it saved us money so I see this as A GOOD THING.
Printing cost = £0.
2. We commissioned an illustrator and designed our wedding invite as a postcard.
I really wanted to have FUN invites, ones that reflected our personalities and the fact we were really excited about marrying each other. We’re not overly fussy/formal people, so why would we want our invites to be diamanté encrusted scrolls written in illegible Shakespearean style calligraphy?
I had an idea in mind (salt and pepper pots because our initials are S&P, geddit?!) and took to Twitter to find an illustrator to make it happen. I was recommended Claire Wood, an AWESOME Leeds based illustrator, and she brought my sketchy sketches to life and created the perfect invites for us…
I don’t want to say how much Claire charged for this (simply because I’d be annoyed if someone blogged about how much I charged for freelance work without asking me!) and I don’t actually know if Claire still takes on little ad hoc projects like this but you can see how talented she is from her website (and the above!).
There are plenty of illustrators who do these sorts of projects though so you should be able to find someone who has just the right style for you if you did want to take this route. Some charge as little as £15 on Etsy, but the cost will of course depend on how much custom work you want.
Once you have a design you of course need to print it though and it’s not until you come to researching printing costs that you realise just how much, well, printing costs.
I asked Claire to design our invite in black and white as that saves a lot of money on the printing and we purposely chose a postcard rather than a folded card as that also makes a difference. We put the saved money into having a really heavy stock card to make our invites that bit more high luxe and I also bought really nice silver envelopes. The printing cost for 50 – with luxe silver envelopes – was £29 delivered from Printed.com. TWENTY NINE POUNDS FOR ALL OUR INVITES.
Printing cost = £29
3. We didn’t bother with surplus paper and inserts, opting for a wedding website instead.
One of the reasons most people can’t send wedding invites early (and therefore need a Save The Date as a placeholder) is that they are waiting for all the necessary info for the invitation pack: menu choices, gift list info, hotel details, driving directions etc. All of these extra bits of paper cost money, both in designing and printing, so we opted to have all the info on a wedding website which we could direct people to instead.
I built the website myself in WordPress using a free theme and it was small enough to be hosted for free, so all I had to pay for was the domain which was less than a fiver. I appreciate not everyone could build a wedding website “for free”, but it’s a fab idea if you can do it cheaply. (Especially as you can share so much MORE info than you ever would in a usual invite pack).
Website cost = £5
4. We printed our own Orders of Service at home.
Okay I’m not going to lie I did find this quite stressful, but I’d spoken to our reverend and she was of the same thinking as me: fancy Orders of Service are a complete waste of money. She said most people leave them behind after the service so unless you’re desperate to have them, don’t bother. All churches will have the standard Order of Service booklet but I did want to create something bespoke that had our names and hymn lyrics in, so people who weren’t familiar with hymn books didn’t have to faff about.
I worked with our reverend to get the necessary text from the church and then added in our hymns, readings and names in the relevant places. For the front cover I just reused the salt and pepper illustration from our invites and added the date/place etc and then for the inside back cover I wrote a “cast list” of all the key people in the wedding. For the back cover I just wrote something twee like “And they lived happily ever after….”. Awwwww.
I ‘designed’ them in Microsoft Publisher (I use the term design loosely!) and then printed them at home. I bought an extra printer cartridge and block of paper from Wilko and the whole cost for 100 Orders of Service (it’s worth remembering with Orders of Service that you should do some extras if you have a choir, organist etc) was £14.
Printing cost = £14
5. We let the hotel take care of printing menus, name places and seating plans.
Our hotel had a gorgeous design aesthetic so I was very happy to let them take care of printing the menus and so on as I knew they’d be a gorgeously high standard and in keeping with the theme of the hotel. It was included as part of the wedding package anyway so it seemed crazy to incur further stationery costs ourselves just so everything matched the invites.
Printing cost = £0
6. We designed individual thank you cards and had these printed online.
For our thank you cards I used our wedding photos and had some of our fave pics printed as greeting cards by Moo.com. What I like about using Moo is that they make the design side of things ludicrously easy but you can also have as many different designs as you like, so we tried to use “tailored” pics where possible for people e.g sending a card to my parents that had a pic of them on the front, for my mates it was a drunken pic from the dancefloor etc etc.
It’s no more expensive to do 50 different cards rather than 50 all the same and our total printing cost (for 50 on a decent weight card with luxe envelopes) was £36.32 delivered.
I hand wrote them all (FYI, I think all couples should do this, despite the fact it takes forever and you get blisters on your fingers) and made sure they were sent promptly after the honeymoon.
Printing cost = £36.32
7. We purposely used small sizes and sent everything second class.
Again, it sounds minor but something as simple as sending second class rather than first class makes a difference overall. Similarly using a small size for your invites so you don’t have to use “Large Letter” stamps makes a difference too. 100 first class Large Letter stamps cost £95 whereas 100 second class standard stamps cost £54. THAT’S £41 WHICH COULD GO TOWARDS YOUR VEIL. Or gin.
Postage costs = £54 (I had lots of stamps leftover somehow, but these quickly got used up by Christmas!).
So our total stationery cost was £138.32, a good £130 less than the “average” stationery cost. It’s not a life changing difference, but saving £100 here and there throughout the budget is what allows you to save *thousands* overall – or at least gives you more budget to play with in the areas of your wedding you care more about 🙂
You can find all my other wedding posts here.