Wedding Invitations – Should We Buy or Create Our Own

by Guest Contributor · 14 comments

Encouraged by my dear husband’s post on How to Save Money on Weddings last week, I’m going to dive deeper into wedding invitations and in particular, whether you should buy or create your own.  For many of us budget folks, this is one of the easiest ways to save some money but obviously, we need to decide whether we have the time and skill to create a wedding invitation.  In addition, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you or your fiancée a creative person?
  • Do you (and your fiancée) usually enjoy hand crafting?
  • Could your siblings or close friends help?
  • Do you have a good sense of design, especially creating something from scratch?
  • Do you have a tight budget on wedding invitations?

If most of your answers to the questions listed above are “yes”, you are a good candidate to create your own wedding invitations, and in the process save about 30% to 40% than ordering from stores.

When my husband and I went through the list of answers two years ago, it was crystal clear that it wasn’t for us! Both of us are “artistically-challenged” and we had no idea which kind of invitations we wanted to get. Instead, we hired someone overseas to design an exclusive card for us. The total cost was about $300 for the cards including design fee.

Remember that it is important to discuss this with your fiancée. Sometimes, you might not enjoy DIY or hand crafting but your significant other might and vice versa. One of my friend actually had a similar experience recently. She wanted to just order some cards online, but her fiancée wanted to design their own cards. It took them about a month to finalize the design, color, material, size and content. They had a few minor arguments about the design (one preferred simple design while the other wanted a traditional style). We recently received their cards and it turned out quite nice because the card represent the personality of the couple! Another example is my co-worker. She said she had the design of her wedding invitation card since she was in college. So, the decision to her was easy! She had her sisters and a few close girlfriends helped her on the task, and her graphic designer background didn’t hurt either.

It is also not a bad idea to just order the generic cards online or order through the paper stores to get a semi-custom card. It will save you some time on this part of wedding preparation. The cost will be fixed too. Just keep that in mind: Don’t over spend on the cards! Do you keep all your friends’ wedding invitations? If the answer is no or you don’t even keep them after you mail back the RSVP card, you know what they will do to yours! I suggest allocating 1.2% to 2% of your total wedding budget to be your invitation budget. You have way too many things on your list that will tempt you to overspend the original allocation.

Few other reminders if you create your own:

  1. Size: Does size matter? Yes, it matters to your bucks. Different size of the cards will cost differently when it comes time to mailing them out. Make sure you get the right size before you cut all your cards and envelopes. You also should watch the total weight too by making sure that the paper you choose aren’t too thick and heavy.
  2. Sampling: Buy a smaller quantity of the materials at first to see the color and quality first before you jump in to buy bulk. Don’t be afraid to try some other material and colors for the sampling to get more ideas.
  3. Enjoy the Process: You may have doubts in the middle of the whole DIY process but it’s all worth it!  Try to make this as part of the good memory for your wedding preparation no matter what happens. Appreciate the help of your close friends and siblings as well as everyone that is helping you.

Few other reminders for overall invitation preparation:

  1. Prepare at least 10 to 20 extra: you never know when you will need them even if you already set a pretty accurate guest list. Also, you might want to keep one (or a few) as part of your wedding album.
  2. Pre-number your RSVP cards: I learned this from my friend. To simplify the process of receiving and tracking, put a number on the back of your RSVP cards and log them into an excel sheet. When you receive the cards back, you can just find the number and count the attendance and food preference.

Hope this helps and remember to have fun the whole time!

Editor’s Note: If you don’t believe that persistence and consistency is key to success, you are wrong. After 2 years of posting regularly and discussing the possibility of a guest post, my wife surprised me with this amazing article. Please let her know how great this piece is via the comment section on the blog.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Great post–please keep writing, you have what it takes.
    I wanted to add that there is something in between doing it all yourself and having it done for you which is printable wedding invitation kits. I should know because I designed and created some of them for our website. My intention was to have a product that was something I could use. I am craft impaired but love the idea of creating something myself.
    To give you an idea, when my goddaughter comes to cook with me she just looks in the fridge and decides what we are having based on the ingredients I have. I look at my recipes and decide what we are having. If I tried cooking “freelance” we end up going out to eat. But if I have a recipe to start with, I can alter and create from it to suit our tastes and ingredients.
    That’s how I designed our kits. We have many different components, you choose the ones you want in the colors you want for your complete kit and print them yourselves on your home computer using our free templates. You then assemble them and you have a unique invitation at a fraction of the cost without all the hassle of finding every part of it yourself.
    By the way, we are not the only ones doing this–just search “printable wedding invitation kits” in your favorite search engine and you will find many, many sites that specialize in all kinds of wedding invitation kits. You are certain to find a kit that fits your style. Happy semi-crafting!

  • Persepone says:

    The “bridge” between do-it-yourself and buying commercial “wedding invitations”
    Find a “business services” printer in your local community. This guy probably not only does “copies” and such, but has a regular press in his basement that no longer gets that much use–but he owns it and does nice work on it.
    He also probably has a graphic designer on staff. He/she seldom gets to do really interesting creative stuff–but knows how. He/she can execute your ideas.
    Yes this printer can “order” invitations for you–but explain that you want your own invitations–not something out of the expensive catalogs. The custom design will probably be nicer, cheaper, and more personal than what you’d order…
    Have them print your invitations on nice paper, with nice envelopes–and explain that you want sizes that go through the mail well and without surcharges for odd sizing, etc. Does “hand” calligraphy for addresses matter all that much or can an “art type” do what you want? If so, consider having them do the addressing for you (from an Excel file).
    My daughter’s invitations were very nice. Other friends’ invitations were very nice.
    By the way, this works for all sorts of cards! Save a bundle, have unique designs, and spend a fraction of what you’d spend for the comercial stuff.

  • Witty Artist says:

    Great post, Mrs. Money Ning. I like this better half of the blog, too 🙂 I’m not married yet, but someday it crossed my mind exactly the invitations. Me and my boyfriend are creative and have lots of ideas, but I don’t think we’ll make the invitations ourselves. We’ll allocate a small sum of the total budget and I’m sure we’ll find something nice and representative for us. 🙂

  • Laura B. says:

    Another place to check for semi-custom invitations is http://www.zazzle.com. You can order from individuals on the website you can often create a design just for you, and the prices are extremely reasonable. The lady I used modified a design for the invite, and then created thank you notes to match. (We spent less than 75 dollars on the invites and thank you notes.) :o)

  • Beautiful blog with great informational content and Thanks for this great sharing.

  • Rochelle says:

    Great article. We are also on a budget and I knew right from the start it would be DIY wedding invites for us. I bought papers, and ribbon and envelopes from all different sources (ebay was very helpful) and they are ready to be made….Thanks for the inspiration…

  • Miss Froogal says:

    Since this blog is about saving money, why not just run to City Hall and get married? You’ll save a lot more money than just what you’d spend on invitations.

    Or even better, just live together without getting married. Depending on your income levels, you’ll save thousands of dollars each year on income taxes. Now this advice is for Americans; I don’t know how it would work in other countries.

  • Meoip says:

    Buy. Find a government printer. My Sister used the county to do her print job, since it’s the government they can take on limited jobs and can’t make a profit.

  • marci says:

    Much enjoyed the post and hearing from your better half 🙂
    Hope she does more of them.

  • FFB says:

    We were fortunate to have a friend of a friend that had a side card business. We were able to get our cards at a discount. We also had a friend that was good with penmanship who did the calligraphy on the envelopes for us.

    Point is: Don’t just check out the stores and businesses. Put the feelers out to your friends and family. You never know who has a connection or a talent that can help you.

  • Amoozing Grace says:

    Great post, Mrs. Money Ning. 🙂
    When and if I get married, can you be my frugal wedding planner?
    Your wedding invitation was so pretty, it’s stored in my ‘beautiful wedding invitations’ binder.
    Hope to see you soon.

  • Dave says:

    I’m getting married in August and we just got our invitations. I would have loved to do them by hand but we just don’t have the time. We ended up using an online vendor, Wedding Paper Divas, that saved us some over a stationer. April, I love your sentiment about the wedding vs. the marriage. Our beliefs exactly.

  • April says:

    I chose to create my wedding invitations by hand when I was married almost 5 years ago. Most of the people who got them were very impressed with how it came out. We were both in college and therefor had a very limited budget but I also wanted the invite to reflect our personalities, which I believe it did. Even if we had had a larger budget for the total wedding I think I still would have done the invitations by hand. As my hubby said before we got married… the wedding is only one day, the marriage is a lifetime; let’s focus on the marriage.

    • MoneyNing says:

      Making your own wedding invitations definitely add a nice personal touch to the whole thing so it’s not all $$$. It’s great to hear that the cards turned out great.

      “the wedding is only one day, the marriage is a lifetime; let’s focus on the marriage” – well said. Not enough people realize this and end up wasting so much on the big wedding day.

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