Broke-Ass Tag: Wedding Paper Goods

6/14

Bride to be cellphone case from Etsy seller Guestbookery

Originally, we had planned to do evites but I got so much pushback from the “elders” about using that technology that I gave up the fight and went the traditional route of paper invitations. While they are gorgeous and I’m happy with how they turned out, the price tag didn’t bring me much happiness, nor did having to print out addresses (we had the option to pay to have them printed, but I’m wayyy too cheap for that route since I knew I could do it myself).

I did take a stand on the RSVP front though. After seeing the price of RSVP cards and hearing stories about all the confusion and suggestions to mark them with UV markers to know who is who when they come back with no name, I just wasn’t interested in the runaround. It sounded way too complicated when I knew there had to be a way to utilize technology to do all the work for me.  One of the first things I did to start wedding planning was to download some wedding planning spreadsheets. These were Google spreadsheets which was convenient in many ways: 1) They are electronic soI’m not lugging around a huge binder (think Ted and Lily from How I Met Your Mother); 2) Multiple people could access the spreadsheets if I give them access and; 3) Google Forms integration.

Because I knew I wanted an online RSVP setup, I looked into Google Forms. I didn’t really know much about them other than the fact that they existed. What I didn’t realize is that some wedding websites actually offer RSVP services. Since I had already created our wedding website, I didn’t really want to go this route, so the Google Forms option looked better and better. When I discovered that you can link a Google Form to a Google Spreadsheet, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

I could create all my own questions and all the answers would automatically push to the spreadsheet.

I mainly did a trial-by-error method of learning how to use Google Forms. It’s pretty self-explanatory if you’re moderately tech-savvy. I also adjusted the settings a bit to better suit my needs. For the purposes of being a good blogger, I set up an example form in a few minutes.

It’s that easy, just a few minutes!

From a Google spreadsheet, click on Tools, then select Create a form.


You will be taken to this screen where you can fill in your information and create questions.


Google Forms is awesome because you can mark certain questions as required and you can have different types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, long answer, dropdown options, etc).  My favorite thing about Forms is that you can create a “password.” This was a little tricky and I had to do some research but I really didn’t want our form to be open to just anyone.


To set a “password,” select Short answer as your question type, then click on the three dots icon at the bottom right, then select Data validation. This will generate a line that gives you the option to set an answer. You can select Text (seen in the example) or you can select Number. If you select Number, ensure that you change the second dropdown menu to “equal to.” I put this question in the first section (important) and marked it required so anyone that found the form had to put in the password before seeing any of the questions. I also changed some of the settings (the gear icon in the top right) to collect email addresses for people that RSVP, so  if we had any information we needed to disseminate before the wedding, we had a contact option for each guest that was coming.

I started our questions in section 2. By creating sections, people using the form will only see one section at a time. To put a password on the first section means they are unable to see the rest of the form without answering the password question correctly. Rather than sending out an RSVP card, the first thing our guests will see when they flip over their invitation (please let these people flip the invitation over to see what all that text is!) is:

Please RSVP at our wedding website:  www.address.com
Password: Password

(other wedding info)

(even more wedding info)

I made sure to put the website and password in larger font than the rest of the text.  I tried to make it as obvious as possible.

Our questions are:

  • Who are you?
  • Are you coming?
  • Great! Who is coming with you?
  • Total number of people in your party (including yourself)?
  • Will you be attending the Post-Wedding Brunch on November 2nd?
  • Does anyone have any dietary concerns we should be aware of?
  • Where will you be staying while you are in Charleston?
  • What are the dates of your trip to Charleston?
  • What is 1 song that will make your night if you hear it?
  • Are you excited?
  • What are you most excited for?
  • Do you have anything else you’d like Megan and Timo to know about your visit, their wedding, or in general?

Now that we’ve sent out invites, some reflections on the online RSVP:

I think most people are afraid of the online RSVP. They think it will be difficult. I’ve had to encourage friends who “only use their phones” by explaining that the site is mobile friendly, (yes, I did that for you, friends). In fact, I had to bully my parents into RSVPing to their first child’s wedding. SERIOUSLY? I’ve found out through the grapevine/talking to invitees that they will be coming, but they haven’t RSVPed yet, even though they have purchased plane tickets! WHAT? (This also leads to a bit of self-reflection where I have to acknowledge that I’m not like most people and for me, I would have RSVPed yes, then bought my plane ticket.)

I was hoping we’d get a majority of RSVPs from the invites we sent out within the first month or so (haahahahahahahahahahahahah, our RSVP by date is Sept 15th) so I could send out round two, with a grasp on how many people I knew were coming, but it doesn’t seem like that is going to be the case. Oh well.

Did you do something unconventional in the planning process?  How did it go?

 

  • 5/2

    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?

     

     

  • 9/13

    We love a good paper project, especially when that project can easily, beautifully and affordably replace a more expensive floral decoration. We're huge fans of paper flowers as a broke-ass decor option, but that's far from the only paper decoration option. For this project, made with the Cricut Explore Air machine for Cricut’s Wedding Campaign, “It’s Your Story, Make It Personal,” I found a beautiful lacy doily design…

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    8/29

    Finding wedding stationery that suits you and your partner's style while not costing an arm and a leg can be one helluva daunting task, especially as stationery is the first taste your guests will get of your wedding style. With options ranging from huge mass-printing sites to small bespoke boutiques, it's easy to get overwhelmed and not even know where to begin. Which is why…

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    6/28

    A few months ago, we had received some invitation samples from Minted and fell in love with their Delicate Dots design. I loved the extra elegance foil adds, and since we have a relatively short guest list, we decided to splurge on the invitations a little. We were finally able to get our order in this past weekend, and I can’t wait to receive them!…

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  • 5/4

    On top of making my wedding dress and flowers for my centerpieces, I came to the conclusion not that long ago to yes, DIY most of our printable materials for the wedding as well. This isn't because I'm a crazy-insane person that decided to take on even more to DIY during our wedding planning chaos, but resulted from not finding the exact kind of designs…

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    4/12

    When it comes to wedding stationery, oftentimes it can be easier and more cost effective to take on the printing yourself -- but what if your home printer just isn't up to the job? Finding a high-quality place to print your thoughtfully picked out and painstakingly worded stationery can be a bit of a challenge. But our homies at CatPrint have got your back. With…

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    3/8

    It’s been really nice to take a breather from wedding planning for a bit. I feel like we’ve really stayed ahead of the game by scheduling roughly a task a month or so. It has always been a goal to make planning as stress-free as possible. I never wanted to look back at this experience as a frustrating or stressful time. It helps that my…

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  • 1/22

    It's been said that invitations set the tone for your wedding, but Save the Dates serve an entirely different function. They don't have to be anything like the invitations and can be personalized in so many ways -- whether you want to include a photo from your engagement session, tell the story of how y'all met or you just want to be mysterious while also…

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