Our Budget Invitations – 46 Days

About 6 weeks, you guys! Can you believe it?! 🙂

Invitations: a necessary evil

I know, I know. I have many graphic designer friends and lovers of all things paper, which is totally cool! I can fall in love with beautiful letterpress invitations at a stationary shop or on Etsy as fast as the next girl, but here is my hang-up: snail mail is SO 2001.

Some people say “… but there’s something so pure and special about mailing a letter these days. It’s so exciting to get a piece of mail that isn’t bills or junk!” I say it’s just a pain in my rear. I get all these extra pieces of paper cluttering my house and it costs MONEY to mail things. Emails are free! And then when you get the paper invitation in the mail, you usually have a paper RSVP along with it that will just sit and sit and sit in your house until you finally stop being lazy the day before the due date and take it to the mailbox. At least in the city, it’s not always the most convenient task to mail a letter. I’m lucky because I have an outgoing mailbox in my condo building AND my work building – a rarity.

The 2011 Invitation

So now that I’m done going off on how I think letters should be phased out, I’d like to introduce a new trend. (Maybe it’s not new, but I don’t hear about it very much on the grapevine.) Electronic invitations!!!!! And no, not E-vite. Bleck! I think the times need to change to make sending electronic invitations the norm. Etiquette people, can we talk about this, please? It just makes more sense. People are on their computers and/or smart phones every day! This is part of their daily routine at this point. Get an email that isn’t spam? Respond! It’s so easy. You click “reply” and write back. And then you’re done! It’s magic!

I must say, I’m being a tad hypocritical. We sent paper save-the-dates, on my request. My fiancé insisted on doing it online and I said “absolutely not!” Some part of me just REALLY wanted to mail the save-the-dates so our friends and family could get one, put it on the fridge, be happy for us… I think I had a “put my ‘A’ paper on the fridge” moment. They turned out just how I wanted them to, but they may have been a little too good. Many people that got them in the mail overlooked them (at least at first) as junk mail since it was printed professionally postcard-style. It looked like a marketing piece to them. Meh, oh well. Lesson learned.

Electronic Save-the-Dates

The person who really changed my mind about the whole thing is my (fairly) newly engaged friend Michelle (from this post). It went like this:
About 1 month after she said “yes,” I got this email in my inbox with the subject “Tyler and Michelle’s Save the Date.” First of all, I was impressed that she was able to nail down a date so quickly. Secondly, that took NO TIME at all. She didn’t have to choose the stationary vendor, choose the colors, go back and forth on designs, wait while they printed, and wait for the shipment. Michelle has some graphic design skillz (the z is necessary) that she put to work to design a JPG that she simply attached to the email.

 (The attached save-the-date edited by me for privacy, of course. How perfect?!)

There was a nice message to the recipients in the body of the email letting us know that the save-the-date was attached and she took the opportunity to let everybody know that it was ok not to come. Most of their invited guests are from out-of-town. She worded it in the best way ever (I’m not going copy and paste here simply for privacy’s sake but if you want to do the same and need help, just email me!) to let out-of-town friends and family know that they shouldn’t feel pressure to make the trek to Chicago and that they will still love them no matter what. Also attached to the email were 2 lovely engagement photos of the couple, which gave it a nice personal feel. For the older folks and select others on their guest list, they took the design to a local printer and got some to snail mail. Everybody wins!

Our Invitations

I immediately regretted not going this route. My fiancé was right for a change. (Kidding, dear!) This was the best idea ever! Since Rafael wanted to do electronic everything from the start, I gave in and we met in the middle for our invitations. Since our budget is quickly depleting with various other wedding needs, I decided that print-at-home DIY invitations would be the best for our budget and time restraints. We headed off to Michael’s and picked up 2 boxes of 40 of the easiest-to-assemble invitations. I didn’t want to bother with ribbon and glue and all that mess. I also didn’t want the recipients to open like 50 envelopes and ribbon ties just to get to the message. We picked out some from the Brides Magazine line that they have out now. It only ran us about $80 = $1/invitation.

(Our Brides Magazine invitations. Not too shabby.)

I know, I just said that online is the way to go. Before the invitations went out, we made a Facebook event with one of our engagement photos and the exact wording from our paper invitations. The people that responded on Facebook before we went to address the envelopes did not get a paper invite (so as to not bother them a million times and waste postage). Also, on the paper invitation, we asked that responses be given at our wedding website. On our *free* website, it allows you to import your guest list from an Excel document and it will organize this lovely RSVP feature for you (projectwedding.com). We didn’t have to pay for all of the stamps on the return envelopes and we don’t have to rely on the USPS to get our responses. Chicago’s postal system is inadequate, at best.

Since the invitations came with response cards, I decided to use those as rehearsal dinner invitations. All labels (and rehearsal dinner wording) were printed on Avery shipping labels and printed at FedEx/Kinkos for a total of about $21.

 (Our rehearsal dinner invitations – shipping labels on response cards.)

The responses are rolling in on both Facebook and our wedding website and we’re so excited that it worked! I have so much more to share now that I’m getting things in order! I’m off to the wedding of my fiance’s best friend in Florida this weekend and I’m so excited to see what they did! And to visit with my future in-laws and fiance’s friends! Many pictures, coming soon.

One comment

  1. Melissa says:

    Hello! I believe by now you are married! Congrats! Hope married life has been fantastic so far!

    I was hoping when you had a couple minutes of free time, if you had any photos of Kitchen Chicago decorated, I would love to see it. I am at the point where Kitchen Chicago is the location I want, but am stuck as how to decorate it.

    Thank you so much!

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