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How to Design, Order and Purchase Wedding Invitations
As with so many wedding details, it pays to plan ahead when ordering wedding invitations. “Save-the-date cards,” for your out-of-town guests, should be sent out six months before your wedding, and your wedding invitations should go out four to six weeks before the event – so plan early!
Find Your Style and Your Stationer
Spend a little time going through bridal magazines and surfing web sites to see what invitation choices stationers have to offer. Make a list of what you like and what stationers sell the designs you like. If you really love one particular stationer but don’t know anyone who’s used them, ask them for references – people who’ve used them for wedding invitations that you can talk to. If they deny your request, that’s a bad sign, and you should look elsewhere.
Make sure the stationer has experience in creating the kind of invitation you desire – and tell them what you want by sharing pictures of invitations you like, fabric swatches, or anything else that will help you share your taste. And don’t be afraid to comparison shop for your invitation design. Large stationers often offer a wider variety of wedding invitations at lower prices than smaller stationers than smaller, specialized shops – but upscale boutique shops offer more unusual papers and designs. If you find the wedding invitations you want in a mail-order catalog, choose a company that will correct any mistakes they make free of charge – anything can happen when you’re placing orders by phone or over the Internet, and you don’t want to have to pay for your invitations twice.
Get Them for Less
There are a few things you can do to get your wedding invitations for less money. First – order early. Rush charges can double the cost of your invitations, so don’t wait until the last minute to place your order. Choosing inexpensive techniques like offset printing instead of engraving will save a lot of money – you can still add a little flash with a ribbon or custom-lined envelope while spending a lot less. If you absolutely must have expensive engraved or letter-pressed invitations, you can go with a less expensive paper to offset the cost.
Make sure you order about 25 extra invitations and envelopes to account for mistakes you make while addressing them and last-minute additions to the guest list – you'll save money by not having to order more at a later date. And remember that simpler is better – if you choose a classic card with a simple design, your wedding invitations will still be elegant, and they’ll cost less than more elaborate designs. Also – skip the reply card and envelope, and enclose a postcard instead – you’ll save on stationery and postage. And finally, skip the calligrapher. If your handwriting isn't very good, enlist a friend with good penmanship to address your envelopes.
You’ll have a lot of expenses while planning your dream wedding, so don’t blow your budget on wedding invitations – save your money for the cake, the rings and the honeymoon!