Graphic designing is my favorite part of planning a wedding. I designed both our NY and Alabama invitations.
First off, we knew we had to have letterpress. Letterpress is so nice and elegant but it is very expensive… or it can be. You can get a pre-designed letterpress invitation on websites such as wedding paper divas, Daphne press or hello lucky for $3.50 to $6.50 a card for an order of 150 cards. That’s just for the invitation. Don’t forget about the response card, reception card, or thank you card. At the end of the day, you can easily spend four figures on letterpress stationary alone. I can tell you how not to without doing too much work (as in buying your own press and printing it yourself).
So the first step is to minimize the number of different pieces to be printed. We had three elements: invitations, response cards, and thank you cards. In our case, the ceremony and reception is at the same location, so we were able to get away with noting the reception to follow on the ceremony invitation. As designers, we felt that it was important to leave a good last impression as well as a first. The invitation is the first impression that the guests will have with the wedding. The thank you card will be the final note. That is why we wanted to have a matching letterpress thank you card.
Next, you will need an invitation design. If you don’t have the confidence or abilities to do so, find a friend who has a creative eye. It doesn’t always have to be someone who has a graphic design background. It can be a friend who is a fashion designer, an architect, or even a photographer. The file will have to created by Adobe Illustrator.
Then, we shopped around by getting quotes from a number of printing shops. It is rare, but I found one based in Chicago, who gives 10% discount to wedding related printing. Chicago Letterpress has competitive prices and also a large selection of paper. They were great to work with from the beginning, by sending us a variety of papers we were considering, as well as some letterpress samples.
You’re probably wondering what about the envelopes? This part requires a bit more work for the bride and groom. Amongst Chicago’s paper collection, we picked a Crane and Co paper. Rather than ordering the envelopes from Chicago, we were able order them directed off Crane and Co’s website. They matched perfectly with the invitations. To save costs, we decided not to letterpress the envelopes for the invitation and response cards. Instead, we used an embosser (ordered from Horchow) for the return address on the envelopes of the invitation. As for the response envelopes, we printed it on a laser printing.
As a side tip, the US post office charges extra postage for certain envelope sizes. We used a #10 flat card which only requires regular first class postage.
At the end of the day we spent a total of $647 on an embosser, 150 invitations, responses and thank you cards including envelopes for all three pieces.