Budgeting 101: Save the Dates

Now that we have our engagement pictures, G and I are ready to begin the trek into the wonderful world of postage, stationary, and all things calligraphy. I say wonderful very loosely though, friends, because as I have started to look into options it seems as if this stage may be one of the most over-looked expenses a bride-to-be has during her wedding planning experience! I mean, I never realized different envelope types needed different stamp costs. Nor did I know that there were so many options for stationary: postcard, petite, classic, folded, etc. When in the world did a card become so expensive?!

That brings me to today’s discussion: Save the Dates.

I’m sitting here with a glass of Cab Sauv thinking about budgeting and wishing my glass was a little bit more full… As I’ve said before, G and I are trying to be as thrifty as possible with our wedding. So spending an arm and leg on paper isn’t our idea of a party — we’d much rather spend more money on the actual party! Thus, I’ve been doing a lot of research.

Here are the most popular Save the Date stationary wedding websites and a little blurb on them:

Vistaprint – seems to be better for those needing smaller quantities; able to customize completely; most beginning cost of 10 for $7.30

Basic Invite – many templates; instant online customer service through chatbox; cost beginning as low as $0.64 with large quantity orders

Zazzle – range of amateur to professional looks; usually a special promotion happening every month; cost beginning at $0.95 per

Shutterfly – known for good quality with photographs; able to sort by price (!!); costs begin at $0.40 with large quantity orders

Minted – stunning designs; matching websites and other stationary; work with individual artists to customize; typically more pricey with costs beginning at $1.14 per

Of course, there is always Etsy as well, but it can be overwhelming simply sifting through the various stationary websites let alone all the individual storefronts. I recommend having a precise design in mind if you venture onto the crafting site. There are some adorable options, so definitely do not out-rule it if its within budget.

As we narrowed down our guest list, though, G and I began to realize that even some of the less expensive online options were going to be higher than our anticipated cost on our budget. (Granted, we honestly had no idea what number to put down under “stationary” when we first created the budget but still…) We are currently looking at about 200 guests, meaning about 110 Save the Dates need to be mailed out and when you do the math, that cost is pretty steep. So we looked at alternative options.

With my line of work I sometimes am placed into the position of contacting and working with local printing shops. Considering that we could also keep our money localized, G and I figured we might as well get some quotes on what creating our own Save the Dates might be and having them printed. So, jumping into my love for graphic design, I drew up a Save the Date postcard creation and asked for an estimate from the printing shop I work with the most.

Their quote brought a smile to our faces!

Given that quantities on most of the websites go in 25’s (100, 125, 150, etc.) we were pricing our stationary at 125 cards. This meant our average cost ran about $140 without envelopes and postage included. The printing shop though? For 125 4.25″ x 5.5″ postcards of our design would be around $36. Hmm…

The $36 quote was only for one-sided printing and would include an additional $12 for envelopes. We debated. Envelopes would mean sticking both our home address labels and our guests’ address labels to them, sticking a stamp to the corner, plus licking each to close the postcard inside. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of licking envelopes. Instead, I proposed we create a second side to the postcard — an actual postcard look with a message — and eliminate the need for envelopes altogether. In this manner we would only need to stick on the Deliver To address labels and a stamp and be Good. To. Go.

Done deal, friends!

Here is our final Save the Date graphic (they will have rounded corners when printed):

The final quote for this two-sided postcard is $56, which is such a far cry from the $140 + envelopes and postage. Plus, now that we are using 4.25″ x 5.5″ postcards, postage stamps are only $0.34! We’re so excited to have saved nearly $100 on this stationary which we can now apply towards something else on the budget. Woot!

Not just the budgeting factor makes this Save the Date the best for us as a couple. Like G said, I was able to create this postcard exactly as I wanted it — every inch of it is my creation. It may not be perfect. The fonts may not be exactly lined up or the paper have foil accents to it, but this was made by me. I love designing, and I was able to design my own Save the Date. I’m a bride who finds that to be really awesome! And we’ll be continuing this conception through to our other paper products for the wedding also… G and I are quickly becoming budgeting pros, finding corners to snip here and there to make this wedding our own while also affordable. I’m proud of us.

However, perhaps this option isn’t for you! That is completely okay. What are some other options you’ve found to be savvy with your stationary dollars while wedding planning? All of us brides-to-be would love to hear! Leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram @uncorkingpeonies. I would love to hear from you!

Until next time, friends,


2 thoughts on “Budgeting 101: Save the Dates

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