5/2 Real Bride Megan: Mo’ Wedding Paper, Mo’ Problems

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Within a week of selecting our venue and wedding date, I started daydreaming (and night dreaming) about save the date magnets. I wanted to send out magnets with a photo of us with our date in a cute font and the wedding website and they would be perfect and cheap and so cute!  Everyone loved the idea. But then we told the Germans about my great idea and they brought us back to reality: most German’s don’t have a magnetic refrigerators. Oh yeah, we knew that.

At the same time, the Germans were asking if they were going to get invites and we said nope. Originally, I had wanted to do electronic invites. “We’re on a budget” is our theme and this is 2017 and we live a very technologically enhanced life (we use our phones to turn our lights on and off, it’s so cool!). I know that change is difficult for people, but I feel like putting less money toward an item that someone is probably going to throw away and instead redirect those funds towards something more awesome (see: booze) just makes sense.

All the parents went nuts. “WHAT?! NO INVITATIONS?! How will we know what is going on?”
Me:”You go to the website because this is 2017.”

Have I mentioned that I get glared at a lot?

Well, I do. I have this super annoying charming smile I return to the glareer. It’s just a winning situation all around.

Admittedly, I often shun traditions for more modern approaches. This is just one instance. I try to take a very objective approach to traditions because I’m aware that some things are traditions for good reasons. For instance, wedding invitations used to be a practical thing to spend wedding dollars on. We didn’t have the internet. Yet, I believe if you’re keeping traditions alive for the sake of “it’s tradition,” that’s stupid. Don’t get me wrong, paper invites are beautiful and “everyone” does them and you just “have” to have them and how will people know about the wedding if you don’t send out paper invites?

Since this isn’t 1792, I can actually use the phone and call people to tell them about my wedding. I can also email people. In addition, I can SEE people and tell them face-to-face. Because let’s be honest, we’re all looking for a way to trim the guest list to keep costs down and if I can’t find a way to communicate with you in 2017 without mailing you a piece of paper, you are only at my wedding because someone’s parents insisted or we felt obligated. #youknowitstrue

Additionally, now that the wedding industry is an industry, wedding invites aren’t practical to me, or cheap! Because we would like to send out invites in German and English, that means we will need “less” (not actually, but printing totals are based on the total number, not how many languages you choose to use). So instead of needing 100 invitations, we will need 35 German invites and 65 English invites.

Let’s have a break down session based on the wedding suite we liked the most (from a very popular wedding paper website that is linked to a very popular wedding website host site):
Wedding invitation (the single piece of paper that has all the fancy cursive writing on it): $3.29 each for 35, $2.09 each for 75.
Enclosure card (I planned to skip this piece and print on the back of the invite but I got a lot of flak, as this is the piece of paper that has the deets on it): $1.84 each for 35, $1.39 each for 75.
RSVP card (which I may break down on and have a few (10, as that’s the minimum) printed and stick them in the invites for the elders): $2.94 for 10.

Totals:
Invites: $271.90
Enclosures: $168.65
RSVP: $29.40
Grand total: $469.95 + tax, title, license, and fees.
That would be $4.70 per invite (not including postage or upgrades)

WTF? For paper that most people are probably going to have no idea what to do with and eventually toss in the garbage.

Automatically, the enclosure cards were eliminated in favor of just printing on the back of the invite. Save trees and dollars. Do not care about your traditions.
I figure I could just buy enclosure card paper at Michael’s and print out 10 RSVP cards for wayyy less than $30.

So even if we wanted to do just invites through the site, it would be around $300. If we were lucky to find a discount code, it might be less than that, but considering our original budget for paper was $300 and that was for magnetic save the dates and a few paper invites to the elders (so I wouldn’t have to deal with so much bitchin’), that seemed like too much. That doesn’t include having them addressed (or the ink for printing addresses in our case, because there is not a single person that could talk me into paying someone $1+ per envelope to write an address in pretty cursive because tradition) or postage. Reminder, we are mailing things overseas, so that is even more dollars. We’d definitely go over budget for these invites and I was sad to have to tell Timo that our pick was probably a no go unless I could come up with an alternative or we picked another stationery design we liked from somewhere like Walmart Stationery (yep, Walmart does wedding stationery) that was “cheap” but not really.

In the midst of the invitation debacle, we spoke with the Germans — which resulted in my first wedding breakdown. Pretty good considering we’ve been at this for a month and made some pretty substantial decisions. Despite our agreement that we would just send out paper invites instead of doing a save the date with an electronic invite thing (another problem I hadn’t yet solved), Timo agreed to send the Germans paper save the dates. I essentially said, “Not my problem.”

And most will predict the ending of this story: It became my problem.

This time though, I kinda brought it on myself because I was afraid of what Timo would do.

I imagined a literal letter printed out that said “Save the date. We’re getting married on November 1st. Check out our wedding website.” I couldn’t let it happen. So we discussed it. I said I’d help him do the save the date, but he had to help me, not “help” me while I do all the work and he sits beside me scrolling through his never ending Instagram feed (seriously though, how do they find so many things to look at?).

In the beginning of the process, I had suggested we do postcards to save money on paper and postage and he agreed. They were simple enough, easy to print at home, and would meet the demands of the Germans. Timo not only had to help me find the paper for the project, but he also had to find the template he liked that I could design something off of AND he had to translate the sentences into German.  He also knew that anytime I asked him to review what I’d done, he had to respond immediately.

Since I have a mediocre set of Photoshop skills, I was able to take templates he had found and make them into something that was satisfactory enough to meet my standards and his needs. I did some test prints on our paper and after some tweaks they were ready for printing. An additional task I gave Timo was to cut the paper to a perfect 5×7 measurement since the pad had extra on the end of the sheets to have a hole punched for hanging in the store. I also knew that tasking a German for precise measurements was a perfect match and he has a paper cutting machine at work.

The most difficult part after the design was having to manually address each postcard in Photoshop. I’m sure I could have found an automated way to set up the addresses, but that was yet another thing that I would have to figure out how to do, and it just wasn’t worth the effort. Additionally, while I typed in the addresses, Timo could turn the paper over. If I was suffering because he refused to say no, then he would suffer with me.

Honestly, the process wasn’t that difficult and I may have even enjoyed it a little. It also made me realize that self-printed stationery doesn’t have to be a hassle and I’m looking into options for our invites now since I just cannot stomach paying so much for paper.

Price breakdown:
5×7 cardstock (50 sheets): $8.99 – a Michael’s coupon = $7
Postage: $20-30
Plus ink and time.

Fortunately, Timo’s dad (who was primarily making the paper demands) said that if we mailed them a single package of save the dates, they would pay to put the postage on the cards and mail them. Same for the invitations when they were ready.  This will hopefully save us some money in the long run since mailing anything overseas from the US is super expensive (for comparison, a stamp for a 1 ounce package is $1.20 and we’d be sending 30 postcards).

Final save the date postcard:


Megan and Timo's Save the Date Postcard

 

Were there any things that you said no to doing/having that you ended up “having” to do?
Did anyone else do their own wedding stationery? Was it worth it?

 

 

Megan emulates an old-lady in Charleston, SC. She's a fan of the oxford comma, all things Disney, most things chocolate, handy-dandy notebooks, earning medals for running, giving inanimate objects names, and laziness. Timo, Phil, and Meri alternate between driving Megan insane and keeping her sane. She knows it's all about balance, but if you could please pass the run, or the gin will do, too. When she isn't wedding planning, she blogs at < Can I Decide Another Day?.
  • Megan: Your story cracks me up! I designed, printed and trimmed all of our own invites, so I know your pain … I also asked for RSVPs via our website and – no surprise! – got a few complaints on it. Such is life! The plus side of all of this was that after I was done creating a ton of templates for our wedding (printable place cards, menus, ceremony programs, etc.), I uploaded the templates as “Instant Downloads” on Etsy and now make a few bucks each month off of them 😉