We sent our wedding invitations out last weekend. Woohoo! One thing down. Choosing and receiving our invites has been one of the easiest parts of our wedding planning process so far.
Our original invitation budget was $150 (total guesswork), which we quickly realized was very hard to do unless we DIY’ed our invitations. We did not want to DIY our invites because:
- We were worried that they’d never get sent out if we were in charge.
- We would have been starting from scratch and would have needed to invest in materials and equipment since we have no paper craft supplies (not even a printer).
- Friends who had done their own said they would not do it again. Making one invitation at home seems like a fun, creative task, but making dozens and dozens of them is a little different.
We upped our budget to $500, including postage and all other associated costs. In the end, we exceeded that budget by about $150, and we do not regret that at all, especially considering that we recently snagged Tim’s wedding ring for only $49! I am all for spending money on what you really love if you can make up for it in other areas. One thing that we did to save money on paper products was skipping the save-the-dates. We spread our date by word of mouth and didn’t worry about clogging up our friends’ refrigerators with another wedding reminder.
We ordered sample invitations from multiple vendors when we were weighing our invitation options, including Paper Truly, Wedding Paper Divas, VistaPrint, and a couple of vendors from Etsy. Ordering samples turned out to be one of the smarter things that we have done so far. For a very minimal cost, you can see how easy a company or individual is to work with, how quickly they ship, and you get to see the paper, ink, and design quality up close. We chose to order our invitations from Paper Truly, owned by Melissa Meek. More information about her business can be found here. Melissa impressed us immediately–we received her sample before anyone else’s, and when we requested a subsequent quote we received it very quickly and it was clear, complete, and easy to make adjustments to. She made the process so simple that we had received our final design and sent her our deposit before some of the other samples arrived. The invitation that we chose is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, but is so beautiful on its own that we knew it would appeal to our nerd and non-nerd friends alike. Once I saw it, I was in love.
Paper Truly has an awesome variety of classic and less traditional designs (example: Harry Potter!), and allows you to completely customize which pieces you do and do not want to include. Tim and I chose the following pieces for our Tolkien-esque invitation: the invitation itself, a map/detail card, a postcard RSVP (we could have also chosen an envelope RSVP), lembas leaf wrapper, twine tie, assembly, addressing, and postage. Invitations on other sites cost less upfront, but there did not end up being a substantial cost difference once we calculated what it would cost to include all of the pieces and assembly that Paper Truly includes, and the craftsmanship of Paper Truly easily beat that of the other samples that we received. The custom map of the “realm” of Pittsburgh might be my favorite part. A picture of the sample invitation suite from Paper Truly’s website is below.
Why it was worth it: Originally, Tim and I wanted our wedding to look and feel like “The Long Expected Party” in the Lord of the Rings, complete with a large tent, casked ale, strings of soft lights, and sweet fireworks set off by a wizard. That’s not likely to happen, and we love the wedding that we are planning all the same, but it was pretty exciting to be able to set a Lord of the Rings tone with our invitations, even if we aren’t carrying the theme completely through the rest of the wedding. We knew that we loved our invitations but did not expect the AWESOME response we got from friends and family who received them. We got at least 10 texts from people telling us that it was the best invite they’d ever received, which easily made it worth the very minimal extra cost. Tim and I are thrilled that we could fit custom invitations into our budget.
Author’s note about compensation: Paper Truly provided complimentary shipping for my order as a thank-you for being featured here, but I would have featured the company regardless. I could not have been more pleased with the customer service, design process, and end product.
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 pandemic wedding resources here.