In nearly every consultation that I have with a new client, I am asked the same several questions about how they can save money, how they should design their envelope to be the most efficient as well as aesthetically appealing, and how to keep things formal while still making it unique. Most clients I work with have tight budgets and are always asking me for the best ways to save money on invitations and stationary sets, so here are several tips that I give to all my clients that you can use to maximize any budget while making sure your invites are extra special for whatever event you are planning!
1. POSTAGE & THE POST OFFICE: This should be the first thing you consider when making a budget for your invitations as well as throughout the entire design process. Some people get too caught up in making their design perfect to the last detail; however, when it comes time to ship them they are shocked by the costs. Here are some tips to make sure that the cost of postage doesn't end up more the the cost of your invitations.
Here are several items to consider that will definitely increase the cost of postage. The SHAPE: uncommon envelope shapes such as squares, circles, French flap envelopes, and whatever other uncommon envelope shape is out there will cost more to ship. The SIZE: bulky packages such as invites with bows/knots/jewels that cause the envelope to have bumps will also add to the cost of postage. And just as any other package shipping goes, the larger the package, the more expensive it will be to ship. The THICKNESS: layered invitations with blind backing/more than one layer of paper or design details that make the envelope stiff and thick add to the postage costs. The STAMP DESIGN: a lot of people use Zazzle to design custom made stamps that match their invitation design. While this is a nice final touch, it can become an unnecessary expenditure that will easily blow your budget.
Another important thing you should remember when buying stamps is that they should be purchased when your invitation set is done and complete; therefore, you can make sure you buy the stamps for the correct amount. This is also important because stamp values tend to change without warning, so it's always good to to have the correct stamp value when you're about to ship them.
2. INK: If you are looking to save money, black ink will always be your most affordable option. Since most of the clients I work with are looking to save some cash, this is generally the first thing I tell them.
3. CREATIVITY AND DESIGN: Don't be afraid to be bold with your design choices - be creative! Want flourished calligraphy? Go all out. You are already putting so much money, time, and effort into designing your invite, you might as well make those facts known. Aim to make it something people will want to hold on to and keep. Also, consider which design details you are willing to sacrifice if you have a tight budget. For example, having a letter-pressed invitation is a lovely finishing touch, but an unnecessary cost if you want to stay within budget. As my assistant says, "It's like the cherry on top of a sundae, if long as the sundae if good enough - no one's going to notice a missing cherry!" It's better idea to spend a little more on the other design details such as ink color, type of paper, and the design of the overall set. Remember, your invitation is a preview to how your event to be, and you want to make sure that the first impression is one to make note of!!
4. MIX & MATCH: Don't be afraid to mix and match! I have heard a lot of people tell me that they want their entire invitation set to be cohesive. For example, they say that they want the return addresses to be the same color/font as their guest addresses. It doesn't have to be! If you like two different fonts and two different colors, there is no problem with that. It makes for a more interesting design aspect when there is variety. Same thing goes for paper choices - if you like two different textures of paper in similar shades, I think it's a fun way to change it up and make things more interesting. Cohesion isn't always the most interesting option - especially if you want your invites to stand out from the rest!
5. LINERS VS. INNER ENVELOPES: Consider having liners vs. inner envelopes. It can sometimes be the more affordable option and also have more aesthetic appeal than an inner envelope since it is the first thing your guests will notice when they open their envelope. It also helps to protect your invite that you spent a good amount of time and money designing by making your envelope thicker and more durable. This is a good idea to consider since its travel through post offices isn't always the most delicate process.
6. ENVELOPE DESIGN: Really consider the design of your envelope! Don't neglect it! I know a lot of people that have overlooked the design and details of their envelopes because they believe that their guests will just toss them out once they receive them. However, there are a lot of people out there that actually keep the envelope after its been opened for safe keeping of the invite. And once again, first impressions! Your outer envelope is your guests first impression of your entire set! Since you already put so much money into your lovely invite set, you might as well make sure its packaging is just as nice. And as far as formal invitation design goes, it's nearly a sin to use your everyday sticker labels! So if you don't want a calligrapher to hand write the addresses for you, then it's definitely a good idea to consider writing it yourself or making decorative designer labels to keep its aesthetic appeal.