Trim your wedding paper costsPosted: 05/10/2011
First off, apologies for the delay in blog posts. I made the decision a few weeks ago to no longer post about the Etsy Treasuries my work is included in, but then I totally dozed off at the keyboard when it came to other kinds of posts as well. Bad blogger, bad.
I’ve been working on a few wedding suite designs so far this year, and I think that brings my total to 15. Over the years, I’ve done them for couples with budgets big and small, but mostly small. Since I’m one of the most frugal people you’re ever going to meet, I do my best to keep my design costs down, and also find ways to get the most bang for my clients’ buck when it comes to printing, paper, and envelopes. Following are some tips for keeping your wedding suite within budget:
- Know that small runs usually equal higher printing costs. It’s unfair because if you only need 60 invites, say, you’d think that would be cheap to print, but in fact it’s going to cost more than if you printed 200. Set-up fees kill ya. The same goes for lots of pieces (invite, rsvp card, itinerary card, program, thank-you card, etc., etc.). Set-up fees for all those pieces will sting. But one thing I can do as a designer is create the pieces in sizes that can be “ganged up” on a printer’s sheet, so they do one print on a large sheet and then trim the pieces out of the large sheet. I try to find out what size sheet my printer will run and then use my math skillz to ensure that as many pieces will fit on that sheet as possible. Having all one-sided prints helps, as does avoiding “bleed” (when the ink runs off the edge of the paper).
- Hand-writing addresses on envelopes will cramp your digits, but printing them will hurt your wallet more. I know that printed envelopes look absolutely lovely–they absolutely do. But they have to be printed offset, and that is a lot more expensive than printing digitally (more on digital printing to come). One option I offer couples who have small numbers of invites is I’ll print the addresses on their envelopes on my home printer, which is a high-quality Epson ink-jet. It doesn’t take me much time, I can rip the addresses from my clients’ Word or Excel doc, and it saves them a ton of moolah in the end.
- Turning pieces into an online item that’s emailed out can save dough. Online map/directions cards or RSVP cards are great. If you have a wedding website where people can click a button to let you know whether or not they’re coming to your shindig, that can work as an online RSVP. As your designer, I’d be happy to design said directions card and/or RSVP card, and then email you a PDF that you can then send to your guest list. Save money, save a tree.
- Odd sizes add postage. Sometimes it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s not. I always discuss sizes with clients and check with the USPS to make sure the size the clients want will not cost extra to mail (or, if it does, that my clients are OK with that).
- Going digital will be the most cost effective. If your budget is really tight, this is always the route we’ll go, and I’ll design something that works well with digital printing (not everything does, unfortunately). If you’ve got some money to spend, it’s almost always worth it to go offset, letterpress, or screen print. But since most budgets are small, we’re probably goin’ digital.
- Use a previously made design. As I said earlier, I’ve designed 15 wedding suites in my day. If you like one that’s already been created, I can change out the colors to match your event, and even change the fonts in most cases, so in the end it’s semi-custom, if not completely custom. This is an excellent way to save money, since swapping out colors and fonts takes a lot less time than designing a suite from scratch, so my quote will be a lot smaller than if we were going 100% custom. If you’d like to see some past examples of my work (new photos coming soon to my website and Etsy page), I’ll send you images or samples.
Let me know what you think about my tips, and please share comments on other ways couples can save money on their wedding suites. I’d love to learn some new tricks!