Wedding Invitations & Paper

Lessons learned?

We are about to start looking into invitations. I have literally no idea what I'm doing and came here looking for some other experiences to help guide me.  Looks like most of the posts are specific about Save the Dates (I can't stop giggling at "STD" because apparently I'm 12) and wording. 

I wonder if people would be interested in sharing some of the tips, lessons, whatever you learned abut invitations in general.  Thanks!

Re: Lessons learned?

  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    Are you looking for anything specific?

    The easiest thing to do as far as purchasing invites would be to go to a wedding paper website like Minted, Wedding Paper Divas, etc. etc. and buy a suite. You put in the wording, they print everything and either cut it or perforate it for you, and send it to you in a box and all you have to do is stuff envelopes. This can be anywhere from $150 to $500 depending on how many inserts, the complexity of the design, etc.

    Your other options are buying a template on Etsy and printing at an office store (or at home), buying a kit from Michael's or JoAnn and printing at home, going to a stationer or somewhere like Hallmark, getting a custom design from a graphic designer and printing yourself, etc.

    Or... consider going my route and doing a hodge podge of various crap, haha. I designed the invites on canva.com and had them printed at catprint.com. (What I love about Catprint is you get a free hard copy proof so you can physically, tangibly see what it will look like, and they also print completely custom sizes and odd #'s whereas with Vistaprint you've gotta buy 10 or 50 or even 100 of whatever it is sometimes). So then I bought 25 sample sheets of woodgrain cardstock at $0.50 a piece from paperandmore.com for backing and had them cut at Office Depot for $0.80 total, then attached the invites to the woodgrain backing using a little tape runner tool. I bought some bulk lace from Lace Heaven, cut it in lengths, and hot glued the lengths in a circle to make belly bands. I printed business cards from Vistaprint with our (online or phone) RSVP info, but I lost all of them, UGH, so I'm having them reprinted by catprint.com, still business cards, but with rounded corners to make them a little nicer. Oh and I bought Kraft paper envelopes and stamped them with a pretty stamp from Michael's. I will address them by hand because my handwriting is quite nice and because I love sending mail. I will probably put up a pic eventually once I get everything assembled. 

    Basically I had an idea in my head and I just looked around and collected the components as I found them or as they went on sale, etc. It all came to about $85 for 45 invitations, not counting the reprint of the RSVP info cards. Not the most economical per-invite cost I have ever seen, but for something that I came up with on my own and didn't come out of a box, I'm really proud. And it fit the budget. All of our stationery, including postage and two years of a custom domain for our wedding website, was less than $150.

    Wording wise... stick to the basics and don't try to be unique (IMO). I got a little caught up in not wanting to use traditional wording because it felt too formal and stuffy for my backyard event. In the end I stuck to the traditional stuff because it made it very simple and communicated everything that needed to be communicated without being cheesy, cutesy, or overthought. I did "Together with their parents spockforprez and FH request the pleasure of your company as they are joined in marriage." It might sound a little stuffy to my ears still, but it's short, simple, and sweet. I did set fire to tradition on the date and time, though. I just couldn't bear to write "Saturday the twenty-fifth of May at four o'clock" so I put "Saturday May 28th, 2016 at 4pm" LMFAO! Oh well. It is what it is. ;) 

    Other than that... make sure to budget for postage. If your envelope is bigger than A9 (which is half of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper) or weighs more than 1 oz, you will need additional postage - $0.22 per ounce. Avoid bulky items like brads, bows, knots, etc. because the machines can rip your envelopes open and they won't be delivered. Consider taking your invites into the PO to be hand-canceled so you don't get any surprises or your guests don't get asked for extra postage! (I have heard of that happening!)

    Hmmm. What else. Pick a system of addressing as far as "Mr. & Mrs. Robert Smith" or whatever you want to do, and stick with it. Our wedding is casual so I am going with "Bob & Sally Smith" and I don't give a single fuck. There are guidelines for the more formal ways, like listing unmarried couples on separate lines. I am sure @CMGragain can give you all the info you need on that. I am skipping inner envelopes for budget reasons and because I did my invites DIY and trying to figure out the sizing was giving me a headache. (Much easier to just chop my cardstock in half and have it fit my A9 envelopes perfectly.) I haven't decided yet if I will write "and guest" on the outer envelope, or include a note to each single guest letting them know they can bring a date. 

    Okay I think I have written enough! I am sure others will be by to share info, too. Let us know if you have something specific you are wanting!
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    Pinksatin91016
  • I wrote a guide for wording invitations that is a sticky at the top of this board.  I will be glad to help with any wording questions.

    My daughter used the popular and budget friendly Vistaprint company.  Their wording suggestions are terrible, but their product is quite nice.  I do think that I would replace the envelopes with some of a heavier stock paper, though.
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    Pinksatin91016
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    DD's invitations were from a stationary store (yes I know it is 2016). I liked being able to feel and see the actual invitation. They were running a 25% off sale and were nice enough to give us the discount even though we didn't actually order until after the sale was over. We had; however, written up the order. We were just waiting for menu choices. With the sale, we came in under budget for invitations. Invitations were very traditional and simple with inner envelope and even tissue. Everyone complimented us on how pretty they were. I ditto not doing bows and other decorations. We had two problems with PO delivering ours and they were just plain.
  • There is also a site called Basic Invite where you can order custom samples worded and in the color how you'd like. Such as your names, dates etc. I am waiting for my samples to arrive but is was $12 for one each of an invite, STD, RSVP and accommodation card. As for wording @CMGragain has examples of wonderful wording in her sticky and other posts. That's what I used when I was customizing my samples.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Definitely order some samples from various places to see the quality and what things look like in person, and keep in mind that people are mostly going to throw these away, so don't overspend on them just because "they are so pretty!" or because "they match our colors perfectly!" They don't have to match anything but the formality, so don't stress over making sure they do.

    The ones I wanted that would match perfectly had tear-off RSVPs, and I didn't like that. The others that I loved that I thought were perfect and were the perfect color were going to cost $500. I ended up getting mine from David's Bridal. They were not at all in "our colors," but they did have branches on them, which I liked b/c we were using curly willow branches and manzanita trees to decorate. And they were a reasonable price. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited January 2016
    I just started looking at ours and ordered a 10 pack of four different invites from Vistaprint.  ETA:  They said on the phone I could return what I don't like so I'm going to call today to return the two styles I didn't like due to print quality/ink inconsistencies.  

    Vistaprint is at least half the price of Wedding Paper Divas, but they don't have gold foil, just gold print.  Also, like @CMGragain said they don't have the best wording but I found as like the text area doesn't include lines or circles, it's easy to format the way you want it.  We're going to order invitation folders from Cards and Pockets and use scrapbooking squares to mount the invite on the inside, put the rest of the cards in the pocket and find a pretty sticker to enclose them.
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  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We consulted with a local stationary store before ordering our invitations. My sister did too. It doesn't seem to really be the popular route, and certainly not a budget one....but I loved being able to look through all the books and books of samples, see the various color options (ecru sometimes looks VERY different depending on the designer), the ink colors, see the difference in person between thermography and letterpress, etc. The woman we worked with was extremely helpful with wording and keeping with correct etiquette too. Basically ditto on everything @ILoveBeachMusic said. The store we ordered from advised us of when they were running their next sale so we waited to order then, and really the whole experience was wonderful. We had to pay extra on postage because of the weight of the paper. Don't forget to order extra envelopes in case you mess up writing down addresses.

    Oh, my only thing that I REALLY loved was our invitations came with a card that had dark, pre printed lines on it that you inserted in the envelope when writing down the address. You can do the same thing with an index card, but the dark lines showed through the envelope so I was able to write down all of our addresses with straight lines and even spaces.




  • We are about to start looking into invitations. I have literally no idea what I'm doing and came here looking for some other experiences to help guide me.  Looks like most of the posts are specific about Save the Dates (I can't stop giggling at "STD" because apparently I'm 12) and wording. 

    I wonder if people would be interested in sharing some of the tips, lessons, whatever you learned abut invitations in general.  Thanks!
    To second what some other people have said - get samples! If you're going the Vistaprint, Wedding Paper Divas, Minted route, those websites will send you samples for completely free (even free shipping) so you can see in person what you'll be getting. This is huge because in my experience some of the invitations looked a lot different once we got them in person. 

    If you're on a budget, look for "normal" shaped invitations and nothing super thick to keep postage costs as low as possible. You can also cut back on costs by minimizing the number of inserts you have, by putting certain information (transportation, hotel blocks, etc.) on a wedding website rather than inserts. 

    But definitely - get samples! It'll be a good place to start and help you narrow down what you want. Plus, they're free, and they'll send you coupon codes you can use once you place your actual order. 
    --

  • I'm using a stationary store. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest getting style ideas. When I had narrowed it down to a few ideas, I then booked a consultation (which was free for my store) to narrow things down even more and figure out what was possible in my budget. I got a quote on all the separate items (STD, invites, menus, seating chart, thank you cards) so that if I changed my mind about things (like STD) it was easy to figure out the new price.

  • PP have a lot of great advice. I'm going to add that we decided to do wax seals on the envelopes because I thought they looked cool and when else would we get a chance to use a wax seal. Well turns out that bumped us up from 2oz to 3oz because it was a 2oz odd shape. That meant I had to pay for expensive custom postage because the post office didn't have any pretty 93cent postage. We ended up using zazzle.com.  If you do end up needing/wanting custom postage then try to wait for them to have a $5 off a sheet of stamps sale. 
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  • Wow.  THANK YOU!  See - I can't even read all of this and understand it yet!  Clearly I need to get a little more involved and playing around in the websites.  This is HUGELY helpful, you all hit the nail on the head with answering what I was looking for. It's the whole process really that is overwhelming for me... just knowing what all the different verbiage means and how to go about the process of figuring out what we want.  
  • The invitations were one of the most important details of the wedding, for me anyway. So, I spent the extra to have custom watercolor art created from Mospin Studios (online) who do printed invitations. She did a fantastic job. In my case, the biggest thing I learned, was not to be afraid not to settle. It took 7 proofs for me to find an invitation that was right. But, in the end, the extra money, work, and stress was totally worth it, even if I'm the only one who really cared. Lol. My STDs were cheap and from VistaPrint.

    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Great advice above. Honestly, I started on Pinterest. Don't get swept away by "funny" stuff that's actually rude, but I found cute designs to support my general idea of what DH and I wanted. I think I punched in things like "travel themed invitations" and it got the ball rolling with what I wanted to design. 
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  • I actually felt that the invitations were something I did not want to spend much money on at all. Aside from picking a design that was pretty and showed the formality of the event (i envisioned cocktail party attire- in a restaurant, rented out the whole floor, sit down dinner & some dancing), I didn't think I needed to go overboard or obsess about the invitations or spend $$.

    So, I looked at some of the websites mentioned by PPs, saw the prices, laughed out loud, and then somehow found myself on walmart's stationary website. They had a ton of invitation designs for all types of parties, print your own kits (which I decided against- too much work I wasn't willing to put in the work for that b/c I suck at anything DIY), and lots of templates with "fill in your info here" and then have them printed and sent to you!

    So, I ended up paying less than $100 for our invitations and envelopes. and many people told me they were super cute/pretty.

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    Pinksatin91016
  • I found a really cool map of our venue by a local artist.  I emailed him and he agreed to let me use it for a small donation to his chosen charity.  Then I printed the save the dates with vista print for less than £1 each.  
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    To @floridabride44 's point - yes the samples are helpful.  

    Vistaprint doesn't include any gold print in their sample kit.  So I called and they will allow you to return something you don't like for a merchandise credit so I ordered 10 (minimum size) of 4 different invitations and returned 2 for a credit.  They advertise Gold Foil but it's just shitty gold ink.  Cards and Pockets will also send you samples for $1.00 each which isn't a bad deal if you want to see how things look together.
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  • Wow.  THANK YOU!  See - I can't even read all of this and understand it yet!  Clearly I need to get a little more involved and playing around in the websites.  This is HUGELY helpful, you all hit the nail on the head with answering what I was looking for. It's the whole process really that is overwhelming for me... just knowing what all the different verbiage means and how to go about the process of figuring out what we want.  
    Where are you in the wedding planning?  Your invitations should reflect the style of your wedding.  For example, an afternoon wedding in a park can use a casual font, interesting colors, and maybe even a design or picture.  A formal evening wedding in a country club, however, should have black on white formal invitations.

    STDates (I also can't write STD without giggling) are completely optional.  A STDate is exactly that, a request that your friends and family Save that date to attend your wedding.  So you don't have to do them at all.  You can just call up the people you plan to invite who might need to make more serious travel plans/request vacation time and TELL them what date to save.

    If you decide to send out STDates, they should go out ONLY to people you are 100% certain you're inviting, not co-workers or casual aquaintences who you might change your mind about.  And they should be sent out 6-9 months before your wedding.  (Nobody needs to save a date for a year and a half.)  Invitations should go out 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding with an RSVP date about two weeks prior to your wedding.
  • CattysMomCattysMom member
    Fourth Anniversary First Comment
    edited February 2016
    Something I've learnt just from being on this forum ... Definitely get someone to check the wording on your draft invite before having them printed.  CMGragain will be able to help you avoid breaking any major etiquette rules or using bad grammar.  
    CMGragain
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