I can’t go as far as to say that our lives have been flipped upside down with wedding planning yet, although we’ll probably be bombed with that feeling sooner or later; our engagement itself is less than 6 months long and we’re already 1/3 into it, but so far, we’re meeting every arbitrary timeline that I’ve set for us with all hopes of keeping things under control.
One of the big to-do’s I set for the month of August was getting our Save The Date cards designed, produced, and mailed. As I eluded to in my July Wedding Update, Pete’s an art director/web designer by profession so it made a lot of sense to have him create both these Save The Date cards, and eventually, our invites. Not only was this DIY approach good way for us to customize something to our tastes, but also save a few dollars and a lot of time.
Together, we flagged a lot of sample wedding invites off sites like pinterest and minted.com to help us identify and agree upon a specific style, so as much as it’s a completely unique and custom design, the samples we liked ultimately drove us down a path of embracing interesting typography and an overall beautiful aesthetic. Watching Pete’s interpretation come together was fun. He did four versions in different sizes and slightly varying typefaces, but this right here was the winning design:
Of course, the cards that we put in the mail have a little more information in them. A date and location, obviously, but for the purposes of sharing what we did without telling you where to go and when, this felt appropriate for sharing now. We’re giddy, but still trying to keep it an intimate event and that means not sharing all of our details with the big world wide webster.
If there were a legal way to get you the photoshop files and fonts for you to customize for yourself, I would, but here are some design notes for reference if you want to create something similar for yourself:
- Headline font: Great Vibes
- Date and Name font: Helvetica Neue LT Std 25 Ultra Light
- Small cursive font: Angel Tears
- City font: Helvetica Neue LT Std 47 Light Condensed
- The flower was a design component in a royalty-free vector art file that we purchased for about $20 from iStockPhoto (the exact file can be found here). Vector means you can take layers of that image and scale them however you need without compromising the print resolution. By taking that floral element, our Save The Date cards required no custom illustration but still gave us a personal touch that ties back visually to my favorite flower (the peony) and the fact that we’re tying the knot in a flower shop.
Having the cards produced was a whole different project and didn’t go at all how we planned:
Instead of outsourcing the print job to a local printer, we realized that we could save mucho dinero by buying paper ourselves and having them printed at Kinko’s. Side note #1: I’m forever cursing Kinko’s because it’s a source that some of my advertising clients have had a tendency to rely too heavily on for cheap production needs, so go figure that Pete and I found ourselves in one on a rainy Sunday. It was a painful sacrifice, but it obviously went well enough for me to be recommending it as a viable alternative to you. Cringe.
First though, our paper stock. If for whatever reason you don’t think of Amazon.com as an “everything” store yet, you really should start to. I had a good idea of what I was looking for when I began my searches, and I was able to easily select a box of 200 sheets of 100# kraft paper card stock (the number# refers to the weight and thickness of the stock, and the quantity happened to be the best value even though it was more than I needed). In the same order, I also picked up 200 A7 envelopes, perfect for our little 5″x7″ cards. Our total was under $125.00, a fraction of the cost of paper as quoted by our local printers.
The French Paper “SPECKLETONE” sold by PAPER PAPERS arrived as 8.5″x14″ sheets, meaning that Pete was able to set up the 5″x7″ print 2-up on a sheet, which then enabled Kinko’s to print two cards on a single sheet for only 10-cents a page (dude, I know this is the longest sentence ever, but that’s an instant 50% savings over doing one save the date card per sheet, and if we had resized the invite to 4″x6″, we could have printed 4-up on a single sheet!). It’s not what we set out to do originally, but it was affordable – $4.40 for printing and $9.60 for trimming, which turned out much better than what I’d have been able to do DIY-style with an X-Acto knife – and that saved us approximately $62.00 from the lowest possible professional printing quote we received (and that was if we were to supply our own paper).
Side note #2: We purposely bought so many sheets of paper so that we would have extras if we totally bombed at DIY production, and also to be able to use the same paper for both our save the dates and our invites. Don’t roll your eyes at that idea, classy bridezillas, it’s a totally legit solution. And even after we print the invites, we’ll probably have 120 sheets leftover, so it’s a good thing we really, really, really like the stuff and will be happy to use it for printed projects throughout the next decade. Baby shower invites, birthday parties, graduations, you name it, we’re set for awhile.
It gets even better. While our at-home printing setup didn’t work for the card stock (yes, I’ll spare you the details but I did briefly try running the too-thick paper through our HP LaserJet), it did work nicely for our A7 envelopes, for which Pete designed a quick little return label for the center of the back flap and saved my hand umpteen hours of sloppy return address handwriting. The design of that label used the same fonts as used in the cards, as well as the flower element, so it did look nicely tied into our overall theme. No visuals of the finished product though, sorry; I don’t especially want to share our address, and I’m not sure how impacting it would be to see a big blur smudge as demonstration.
Side note #3: We briefly considered printing the addresses too, but I’m in favor of the handwritten details over total automation. Recipients, know that they came straight from us and not from hired help or a machine.
With the customized envelopes being free, when you factor in the paper purchase of $125, of which we only used half so it was really just $62.50, plus $14 in printing costs, and almost $34.00 in postage, our save the date card total was about $110.50.
If you want to get really down into the nitty-gritty, we mailed out 75 envelopes, so even with postage the cost only came out to be $1.47/household and on average $.62/invitee. Can you tell I’m a finance and data junkie on the side?
I’m planning to check in again next week with another wedding update, a little recap of some of the things we’ve accomplished in the month of August. With less than 4 months to go, we’re really moving along!