Nice paper is one of my favorite things in the entire world. As a matter of fact, I might be what people would call a ‘paper snob.'
For me, nothing looks more polished than when an entire invitation suite (Save the date, Invite, cards, etc.) use the same colors and type of paper throughout. Because we worked with a custom designer on the first pieces of our wedding suite, we were able to save several hundred dollars by having the Save the Dates printed ourselves (which is different from printing themselves on our printer).
Sadly, one of the biggest ‘costs' involved with stationery is the mark-up between the printer and the designer. By printing our save the dates ourselves, working directly with the printer I was able to receive 250 postcards for just $50 (or $.20 each). Compare that with the $1.15 and up postcards you will find when you order from a shop.
When you are looking for a local printer, make sure to know what you are talking about when asking for price quotes otherwise you might get taken advantage of. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
1. Does the printed item go all the way to the edge? If you are printing a color on a white paper is there a background? Does it touch the sides?
If your design runs all the way to the edge of your paper, this is called a ‘Bleed.' You need to get a quote for a ‘full-bleed' print.
2. Is there more than one color? How many are there?
Different types of printers use different types of printing – Offset or Digital. Offset printing costs more but will have a more high-end feel. With offset printing, you can print two colors or four colors and costs will go up accordingly. For something with many colors, such as a photo, you will want to do Digital Printing. Digital printing (otherwise known as flat printing) is much more affordable than the other methods.
3. What kind of paper do you want? Cardstock, linen, paper with glitter?
The different papers have different costs. Some smaller printers will sometimes allow you to bring them the paper and they will print on its and save you some costs.
I wanted to make sure that we used the same type of envelopes for the save the dates as the invitations so I headed over to our local paper shop to pick out exactly what paper we would use later.
We are really lucky to have Donahue Paper which is an incredible local store that is a paper lover's dream. They carry a lot of wedding invitation supplies (Pocket folders) and also provide paper to local businesses. Most cities have some type of paper provider that may not be as public friendly as Donahue's but will carry high end beautiful paper at a wholesale price. Google paper suppliers in your city or ask a local printer for a recommendation.
Image Credit: Donahue Paper
Being able to touch and feel paper will give you a better idea of what it is you like. If you do not have the ability to find a local paper supplier in your town make sure you start planning your stationery needs far enough out that you can order samples of the paper online. Cards and Pockets and Paper Source are two online retailers that carry beautiful paper and wedding invite supplies at affordable prices. Paper will look very different in person from how it does online, especially if there is a bit of texture of glimmer to the paper. Order a sample of a few colors and decide which on will look best with your design.
I ended up going with a sparkly linen envelope for the Save the Dates and we decided that we would use the same sparkle white paper for the invitation inserts, RSVPs, and RSVP envelopes.
For me using the same paper throughout pulls the entire suite together and creates a theme that looks like it came from an expensive invitation company.
What are your favorite things about wedding invitations? How are you cutting costs on this wedding necessity?
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.