Wedding Guide: How to Finance and Budget For Your Dream Day Chapter 2: Cost-Effective Wedding Stationery

There are loads of beautiful wedding stationery ideas that you dream of using to invite your guests. But, they often come at a very high price. Read on to find ways from Personal Loans Now how to keep the wedding stationery costs down.

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Learning Highlights
  • The average price of a wedding in the UK is £20,000-£30,000.
  • The price of custom-printed invitations can be anything from 60p to £7.50 per invitation.
  • Online printers can charge as little as 40p per invitation for in-house printing or £15 for a wedding invitation template.
  • E-vites (inviting guests by email) are becoming increasingly popular.
  • When printing or making invitations, you should allow for some people being unable to attend. Prepare 10%-15% more invitations than your proposed guest list.

This chapter is about the first decisions you will need to make as you start your wedding preparations. Personal Loans Now explains how to make a wedding budget so that you avoid unsecured personal loans. This will help you see how much you will have to spend on your wedding and how many guests you can afford to invite depending on the type of wedding you would like. We then continue by explaining how to save money on wedding stationery and what your choices are for wedding invitations.

Budgeting For Your Wedding Stationery

Once you have set a date for your wedding, you should start thinking about how much money you will have available to spend. Consider any savings you might already have as well as any contributions you expect from members of your family, usually parents. Some family members are quite happy to hand over money as a gift. Others expect to be able to have a say in the planning of the wedding or how many people will be invited. Make sure you are clear on this beforehand as it prevents any arguments later down the line. Furthermore, you might have to take out a best rate personal loan to fund your wedding.

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The next thing to do is consider your joint salaries and your monthly expenses. This will give you a realistic idea of how much you will be able to save without making any sacrifices in your daily life. Look at ways that you might be able to make cutbacks so you could save more for your wedding. For example, could you cut back on how often you buy new clothes or could you reduce how often you eat out? If you are struggling to save money there are many budgeting advice services to contact.

Prioritise What is Important

The next part of your wedding budgeting is to prioritise what is important to you. Consider each aspect of a wedding from the venue to the decorations and decide how important they are to you. Which parts are essential and where you can make savings. Some people prefer to spend money on their wedding outfits. Others are more concerned about having an enjoyable reception with plenty of food and drink. Consider ways of cutting the projected costs for the wedding. For instance, is there a family member who is a talented amateur baker who could make your wedding cake for a fraction of the cost?

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You should also keep a contingency fund for emergencies. Either because you have forgotten an important detail or because things cost more than you had originally budgeted for. Ideally, this should be around 10% of your projected wedding budget.

Shop Around In Wedding Invitation Stores

When it comes to researching suppliers, always get quotes from a couple of businesses before making your final choices. Before making the booking or signing any contracts, clarify exactly what you are paying for and check to make sure that there are no hidden costs such as VAT. Also, if you are booking a year in advance, check whether you will be paying that year’s prices. You may be paying the probable increase in charges which will have come into effect when the wedding actually takes place.

To help with your budget, there are many wedding budget tools available online, which can help you to whittle down your choices and plan your expenditure. There are also wedding loans available which are tailored to pay for your big day. But only use these if you have no other option and if you know you will be able to repay the loan.

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You should keep careful track of your spending and use a system which you can both use and understand easily, whether this is a spreadsheet, a monthly planner or your own personal system. You should keep a record of all payments made as deposits and have a folder with receipts, contracts, personal loans etc. It is surprising how quickly the money leaves your account as you start paying down-payments! Finally, your records should make it clear at a glance when final payments are due.

The Guest List

Although you may be planning your wedding 18-24 months in advance, the guest list is crucial. It will affect all aspects of your wedding preparations from the size of the venue to the type of meal you choose. Of course, this list is purely provisional in the beginning. However, it just gives you an idea of numbers and can be altered nearer the time of the wedding.

Finally, it is common sense (but often overlooked) that the size of your guest list dictates to a great extent the amount you will spend on your wedding. You must agree which relatives you invite. Maybe aunts and uncles but not cousins?

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What about friends? Which friends – for example, if you have not seen a friend in over a year, should you still invite them to the wedding? Should they be invited to a sit-down meal or only for the evening reception?

Drawing up the guest list is the moment when couples are more likely to have problems with family. Its usually when parents wish to invite their own guests. It is up to you how you deal with this but never lose sight of the fact that it is your day and you are not having the wedding to please others.

Summary:
  • Consider savings, contributions from family and how much you are realistically able to save during your engagement, so you know how much you have to pay for the wedding.
  • Have a contingency fund put by to allow for unexpected expenses.
  • Prioritise, so you know which aspects of a wedding are important to you and which are luxuries.
  • Make a provisional guest list, so you have an idea of numbers. This will help you make decisions about all aspects of your wedding preparations.
  • Remember that the more guests you invite, the pricier your wedding will be.]

    Once you have agreed on a guest list, it is time to think about inviting your loved ones to share your day with you and the issue of wedding stationery.

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Wedding Stationery

Looking through bridal magazines or books of wedding etiquette, you will immediately notice that they mention invitations as part of the category of ‘wedding stationery’. This term refers to:

  • Save the Date cards,
  • The invitations with a separate RSVP card,
  • Wedding programmes (for the ceremony),
  • A reception seating plan,
  • Wedding breakfast menus,
  • Table settings cards and Thank You cards.

The first decision you need to make is how many of these you can realistically afford, how many are a luxury rather than a necessity and if any of them could be made by yourselves, possibly with help from friends and family members.

Upon reflection – and especially if you are on a tight budget – you might decide that the most important part of wedding stationery is letting your family and friends know the time, date and venue of the ceremony and/or reception. Therefore, let’s consider your wedding invitations in detail.

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Wedding Invitations

Which kind of invitations you choose for your wedding depends on how formal you wish it to be. There are a number of options from glossy printed cards trimmed with a satin ribbon to the informality of E-vites sent by email. As you will appreciate, there is an enormous difference in prices between the two extremes, so first, we will present your options along with a number of ways to cut costs whichever invitation you decide on.

In times of illiteracy and before the invention of printing, wedding invitations did not exist. Instead, the Calling of the Banns in church was considered to be partly a ‘group invitation’ to people in the parish to come to a wedding.

Wedding Invitations Done By A Printer

Custom printing – when you pick a design, and they fill in the details – is one of the most expensive ways of having your wedding invitations made. The price per invitation varies enormously on the style you choose, the design of the card, the printing process and the quality of the products used. There are things to bear in mind when you are ordering your invitations to keep the cost as low as possible.

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The paper you choose for your invitations can have a direct effect on the price you pay. Heavier stock looks and feels more luxurious, but it is also more expensive. Matte paper is more expensive than gloss or metallic types. Handmade paper is among the high-end range of stationery supplies. If you choose to add trimmings such as ribbons and bows, this will add considerably to the final bill.

The size and style of the invitation can also affect how much they cost. Double-sided invitations are on average 15% more expensive than single-sided ones while choosing to have rounded corners is also passed onto the customer in higher rates. As for the printing process itself, engraved printing is much pricier than digital offset printing.

The cost of the envelopes should be included in the price of the invitation. Bear in mind, however, lined envelopes are much more expensive than ordinary ones even if they look great.

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Summary:
  • The type of invitation you choose depends on how formal you want your wedding to be.
  • Paying for the whole wedding stationery ‘package’ can add a lot of money to your wedding budget.
  • Before considering which components of wedding stationery you wish to order, think about which ones are unnecessary expenses and which ones can be made/written by hand.
  • Having invitations done by printers is the most expensive option. There is an enormous range of prices depending on factors such as the type of paper used and the printing process.

FAQs on Budgeting for The Wedding

How can we afford to get married?
A longer engagement can give you the time to save for the day of your dreams. A realistic budget for day-to-day expenses and cutting down on luxuries mean that you can save as you go along and do not need to resort to personal loans. In this way, you start your married life together without debts.

How do we decide what is most important for us on our wedding?
You should prioritise, and if necessary, compromise on what you believe are the most important aspects of your wedding day. For each one ask yourselves; is this essential? How would I feel if this were missing from my wedding? In this way, you will be left with the components that will make your day special for you both.

How soon should I order my wedding invitations?
Ideally, you should give your guests an average of 4-6 months’ warning about the date of your wedding so start looking at wedding invitations as soon as you have booked the venue and/or reception, finalised the dates and times; about 6-9 months before the wedding.

Do I have to purchase the whole wedding stationery ‘package’?
Absolutely not. The most important is to let your guests know the date, time and venue of the wedding. The rest of the ‘package’ can be considered as unnecessary luxuries.

What are the cheapest type of printed wedding invitations?
So many things affect the price of an invitation but if you are on a budget, the cheapest type is a postcard-style invitation printed on light card with a simple design (preferably in one or at the most two colours), square corners and without any inserts or trimmings. Also, choose simple envelopes rather than lined ones.

Buying Wedding Invitations Online

There are two main ways of using printing businesses online. The easiest is to choose the design you would like from their online catalogue. Fill in the order form with the details of your wedding. The invitations can then be made up using their in-house printing service. A cheaper version is to pay for a digital template download from which invitations can then be printed on your home printer.

Printing invitations at home can seem a daunting prospect. If you do a ‘practice run’ with cheap photocopying paper, you can avoid some expensive mistakes. You should make sure that your home printer can accommodate the weight of the paper you have chosen for your invitations and ensure you have extra pre-cut paper and ink cartridges. It is entirely feasible to print double-sided invitations on a home printer, but unless you are technologically-savvy or have experience (or know someone who has), probably the single-sided types are the easiest for you to make.

Buying Invitations In The High Street

Many department stores and stationers sell ‘You Are Invited’ cards. There is no reason why these could not be used as wedding invitations. You could even ‘customise’ them to make them look more like wedding invitations. Even packs of party invitations (with their spaces for date, time, etc.) could make a fun and alternative of letting your guests know.

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DIY Wedding Invitations

If you are creative or know someone who is, it is quite feasible to design and print your invitations completely by yourselves. There are many sites and applications to help you make something unique. For example, a reference to how you met or a photo of the two of you. The results may not be as professionally slick as the work done by a printer, but it might mean more to you because it is your own creation and entirely personal. Apart from postage, the only cost to you would be the price of the paper and ink.

Inviting Guests By Email

If you cannot afford to spend a great deal of money on wedding invitations, the cheapest option of all is to send your invitations by email (or E-vites as they are sometimes known.) These can be as basic as the details of the ceremony or could be accompanied by a photo, cartoon or design. If you are planning to invite older relatives who are not familiar with computers, do not forget to let them know by telephone or print off a copy of the invitation for them specifically.

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Summary:
  • Cheaper prices for invitations can be found by having the printing done in-house by an online printer or by paying for a digital template download.
  • Savings can be made by printing your invitations on your home printer.
  • Party or ‘You Are Invited’ invitations could be ‘customised’ to be sent as wedding invitations.
  • The cheapest options are to make personalised DIY wedding invitations or notifying people by email.

Other Components Of Wedding Stationery

If you wish to have the complete set of wedding stationery, a tip is not to waste your time looking for the best bargains for each component. Order them all from the same printer. Firstly, you can expect a discount for buying the whole ‘package’. Secondly, if you use different suppliers and it is important for you to have everything coordinated, then you might find yourself having to have something redone as colours/the paper stock do not exactly match. This can be an extremely costly mistake.

On the other hand, you might consider the entire wedding stationery ‘package’ to be luxury items apart from the wedding invitation itself. If you decide to have a buffet wedding breakfast, you will not need a seating plan, menu cards and place name cards so this is another way that a buffet can save you money.

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Instead of paying extra for RSVP inserts or cards for your guests, you could include a phone number, email address or set up a website for your guests to let you know if they will be attending.

Money-Saving Ideas For Other Parts Of Wedding Stationery

You might dispense with the whole idea of Save The Date cards or choose to notify guests more informally such as by phone, text message or email. Certain elements, such as the table settings and the seating plan, could easily be made by hand at very little cost. If you have wedding favours with the guests’ names on them, use them as table place settings as well. It will save you a great deal of money.

Instead of paying for individual dinner menus to be printed, you could make a single one, poster style, to be displayed at the entrance to the venue of the reception. You could even write it on a stand-up blackboard.

As far as Thank You cards are concerned, most guests would probably appreciate the time taken to write a hand-written card. It adds a personal comment rather than a more formal, but more impersonal, printed card.

FAQs on Wedding Stationery

How many wedding invitations should I print/make?
You should make about 10%-15% more than the numbers on your guest list. This means you have extra invitations in case some people are unable to attend and you would like to invite someone else in their place. It is much more expensive to have an extra print run for only a few invitations.

How soon should I order invitations online?
If you are using their in-house printing service, you allow the same amount of time as for any other printer. If you are planning on using a template, give yourselves enough time to make the invitations.

Where can I get ideas for my home-made wedding invitations?
Stationers and craft shops have many ideas for you to create unique wedding invitations, either by buying a book or in the form of kits. Alternatively, another source of inspiration is the Internet.

How can I make a cheap seating plan for the wedding breakfast?
The easiest way is to give each table a number and have a list of guests’ names, printed off a computer, at the entrance with their table number. Once they reach the table, they can find their name at their place setting.

Which types of weddings have wedding programmes printed?
They tend to be more formal affairs or ones which have been highly personalised with pieces of music, poetry readings etc. In a Church of England ceremony, for example, they are not really necessary as hymn numbers are placed on the board by the pulpit while the ceremony itself is usually the same for everyone.]

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