Adventures in DIY Cost-Saving Wedding Invitations | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

 

My health had gotten the best of me lately and it’s been rather difficult to get any of my DIY projects done. The list is rather lengthy, so I’ve been feeling the stress in more ways than one and it came out in my first wedding nightmare. The scene began really normal; set during wedding rehearsal.  All of a sudden I felt rushed for time. Nobody was doing what they were supposed to be and things were going undone. The discomfort was enough to wake me briefly, but I fell right back asleep into the nightmare. Only this time, it was the wedding day. The panic was about stage 9 and I was having a full-out melt-down.  It was 45 minutes to show time and my makeup wasn’t done. I called out for my makeup artist (MUA) and Puff Daddy appeared with his handlers not far behind carrying makeup brushes insisting that he didn’t work before he had a few drinks—(BLANK STARE). It got even weirder from there, but I won’t bore you with all my foolishness. I’m chalking it up to all those Ciroc commercials that have inundated the television and apparently my consciousness.

One thing is for sure, it helped me get moving enough to finally break through the haze and get off my tush. As of today, I’m proud to report that my invitations are done and out the door. If it wasn’t clear before, I really enjoy print/visual projects. And it was really eating me up to not be able to get them done.

For starters, the invitation design was done long, LONG ago—even before our save the dates were finished. The biggest hang up was the RSVP information card. It was my decision to nix response cards in order to eliminate the costs of return postage and envelopes in favor of a live RSVP service. One of my best friends used a RSVP service where guests called and got a live agent to go over all the pertinent questions (i.e. meal choice, guest’s name). I was impressed by it and planned to use it for our guests that aren’t savvy enough to RSVP via our wedding website (which I LOVE btw). Well, that plan went bust when I called and discovered that the company no longer offers the service. I was SO bummed. I searched and searched but couldn’t find another service like it. Every other service offered a voicemail message system, where they’d compile the information and send it upon request. I wasn’t impressed and the cost was laughable. Why pay someone hundreds of dollars to do what can be easily done for free?

In what could be described as nothing short of a state of delirium, I found myself saying aloud, “Nice job Bianca, you now have another project.”

giphy.com

giphy.com

I know what you’re thinking…I should probably suck it up and spend a little more money, huh? Well, I thought so too until I had a major breakthrough. A few months ago, my fellow budget blogger Abby, posted about ways Google can be helpful in wedding planning. And I happened to stumble upon another great use to add to the list—Google Voice. It turned out to be an incredibly awesome and VERY easy solution to my RSVP dilemma for a whopping $0.

All I did was sign up for a phone number and create a voicemail message for guests to RSVP through. In the message, we ask callers to leave their name and number, as well as, confirm their attendance (ceremony only, reception only, both or none) and meal choice (seared salmon, grilled chicken or vegetable lasagna). Using the default spreadsheet generated by our wedding website (which is our alternate RSVP option). As the calls come in, we can either answer them or wait for the voicemail messages to record the guest information. Google makes that easy by giving the option of listening to the message or reviewing a Google-generated transcript of the message. And every time a message is received, Google sends an email alert. The best part is that I’m not stuck with this task all by myself. I can route incoming calls to Sherrod and my sister/MOH who have graciously agreed to help manage the incoming data via Google Docs.  If you’re interested in a more detailed description of this process, leave me a note in the comments section and I’ll get to work on a tutorial and share the script we used.

This invitation project was all about saving money. And at a grand total of $225 (including postage), I’d say missioned accomplished. Here are a few more ways we saved on our invitation suite.

  • The design was made using free fonts I found on the web. Pinterest is full of ideas for fonts to use for wedding invitations. I picked fonts that best suited the elegant and modern feel we chose for our wedding.
  • I purchased the paper and envelopes from Paper and More. I am a BIG fan! I did very thorough research on the cost of paper and found their costs to be the lowest around. They offer a $3.99 flat-rate shipping rate no matter what you order or where you order from (in the U.S.). Even better than the low cost is the fantastic customer service.
  • Google also came in handy in creating a personalized map for our details insert. I wanted something clean and found a few helpful tutorials. This one is solid, and it was right up my alley since I don’t have Photoshop on my computer. It’s not a perfect map, but overall I’m happy with the results.
  • Last but not least, printing didn’t cost a thing…except a promise to my girlfriend that I would design her invitation suite. Done and DONE! This was an easy ASK because the project didn’t require many prints and I enjoy designing print projects. Every invitation and details card printed 2 per page; and the reply cards printed 4 per page. I did all the cutting myself.

Without further ado, here’s a preview of our invitation suite.

Invitation Suite --Edited for BSB

Slightly edited to protect sensitive information

Cost Breakdown

Paper: $148

Adhesive: $7 (approx.)

  •  Miscellaneous purchases of Adhesive Dots and Rubber Cement

Postage: $70

I made 150 invitation sets and still have plenty of paper left to make signs and cards. I loved the silver brushed paper so much that I purchased additional packages for our program covers.

Hopefully with this task out of the way, Puff Daddy won’t be making any recurring appearances as the MUA in my wedding dreams.  It’s good to be back…

I’m Bianca, a Washingtonian transplant from Chicago’s Southside. During the day, I work for the people; after hours, I moonlight as an artist and avid DIYer. On May 10, 2014, I’ll wed my love of 4 years in Atlanta, GA and add a few letters to my list of achievements…M – R – S.

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  • Comments (15)
    • Monique
    • March 7th, 2014

    I love everything about these invitations and RSVP process! I want them for my wedding in turquoise and grey/silver. We are going for modern & elegant feel as well, so this works perfectly. What program did you use to design the invitation? Also what are the names of the fonts you used?

    • Thanks Monique! I used Microsoft Word for everything–no special design software. My process is really simple. As for the fonts, the script is called Lainie Day, the serif font is called Modern No. 20, and the sans serif font used on the detail cards is called Champagne & Limousines.

        • Monique
        • March 8th, 2014

        Thanks. Before seeing your response, I was inspired by this post to try to make a design in MS Word that is similar to one I’ve been eyeing on Etsy (I used also used Modern No. 20 and P22 Corinthia for the script and damask dings1 for the designs I used in the background). I surprised myself! It is pretty simple and saved me $40. I have just one more follow up question: Did you need a special printer to print on brushed metallic cardstock? I was interested in trying metallic cardstock, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to use any laser printer that accepts 80lb cardstock.

        • I’m glad you’ve found my post helpful. Not all printers are able to handle this paper. It’s not porous, so inkjets are definitely a no-no. The other thing is, you’ve got to be sure that the toner from laser printer won’t smudge off. I ordered a sample paper and did a test print on half the paper, so I could reprint on the other half if needed. 80lb isn’t too difficult for printers, but 100lb is. To help with jamming, adjust the printer properties so that the machine knows what kind of impression to make on the paper. Typically printers have different settings for plain paper, labels, light weight paper, cardstock and more. Not changing this setting is more times than not the reason why cardstock jams in printers.

          After you’ve addressed the paper-jam situation, if you find that your only printer option smudges, all hope is not lost. Learn from this savvy BSB reader who shares how she fixed a nightmare of a situation with her invitations smudging: http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/08/29/the-great-wedding-invitation-disaster-of-2009/. Smudging is a problem that can be fixed with a can of paper protectant.

            • Monique
            • March 10th, 2014

            Thanks a lot for the advice!

    • Christina P
    • March 7th, 2014

    I would love to hear about how you used Google Voice. I had no idea such a service existed, and I also would love to not use RSVP cards! I’m all for going green more than the saving money thing~ although thats a fabulous bonus!!

    http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

    • No sweat, I’ll work on a tutorial and get it up soon.

        • RHONDA
        • March 18th, 2014

        I too am very interested in finding out more about google voice. I am helping a niece who is on a very tight budget and this sounds like a great way to save on postage for rsvp’s. Also any information on free wedding websites would be great as well.

    • Elaine
    • March 8th, 2014

    Love your design, the paper and finished set look beautiful Wondering what type cutter you used ? I have an old fiskers, and even using new blades, don’t get the edges as they should be. Thx for sharing all this greaaat information, E

    • Thanks Elaine! I used a Skillcraft cutting board. If you want to see how old and rickety it is, there’s a picture of it in my how-to save the date post: http://thebudgetsavvybride.com/biancas-budget-conscious-professional-grade-save-date/. The blade isn’t the best, but it served me well.

    • Ann {Bummed Bride}
    • March 8th, 2014

    These invites look awesome. I really love the free fonts you found! When I was helping my friend create her wedding invitations that was one of our issues – finding good fonts. I use the Champagne & Limousines font all the time but I really love that handwritten font! I’ll definitely have to try it next time.

    • Thanks Ann! I felt the same way while I was looking, but I found value in searching for fonts other pinners on Pinterest identified as good fonts to use for a variety of different purposes. I wound up downloading about 50 fonts and chose the font I thought our names looked the best in, LOL. :)

    • Laura W
    • March 10th, 2014

    Your invites are super pretty, Bianca! Great job! I wish I could have used the RSVP on our website, but I couldn’t trust the old folks in my family to do that. haha. Google Voice is a more appealing option, and I wish I had known about it before I bought our invitations because getting those RSVPs back has been a royal pain in my you-know-what.

    • Wanda
    • June 11th, 2014

    Hi! Love your invitations! Question, what wedding website did you use?

    • Thanks Wanda! I used WeddingWoo for our wedding website. I wrote a review on it a while back. Here’s a link to the review: http://thebudgetsavvybride.com/weddingwoo-custom-wedding-websites-by-the-people-of-the-people/. Be sure to check out their examples. Every one of the websites are different and it was very helpful to me in figuring out what I wanted and needed…especially along the lines of the RSVP form.