If you own a blog or host your own website and are engaged you have to check out these adorable wedding countdown tickers that you can add to your site! They’re from When is My Wedding and I thought they were so cute I had to share!
A fellow stationery designer that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting wrote this incredible blog post yesterday that I just had to share with you all. Sarah always has wonderful tips on her blog so feel free to check it out here.
Every now and then, I like to stir the pot a bit, and ask the questions I *know* you brides out there are thinking, but would generally never ask. This is one of them.
Today, our 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December series goes to the dark side…the side where we talk…money.
Money is kinda like religion and politics. One shouldn’t really discuss it in polite company. Then again, we’ve been at this together for a week now, so I’d like to think we can be honest with each other, right? Good.
I have a confession to make…Hip Ink‘s invitations are not “cheap”, not in price and certainly not in quality. I also don’t think they are, on average, expensive. I do think that they offer a great value (at least in my humble opinion!).
There is a big difference between price and value, and while I will answer the question of why invitations are so expensive (or why you perceive them to be), the moral of the story lies in understanding the difference between price and value.
First let me say that “expensive” is, of course, in the wallet of the beholder. The truth is that one bride’s expensive is another bride’s pocket change. What people really mean when they ask why wedding invitations are “so expensive” is that they had no idea what the cost of wedding invitations was, and it surprised them (and to be honest you can substitute dresses, cakes, DJs etc. for invitations). Fair enough, most people don’t go out and buy stationery to send to hundreds of people every day. In fact, most people only ever do it once – for their wedding – so you are most definitely excused for not knowing whether $50, $500 or $5000 is the appropriate amount to budget for invitations. By the way, the “accepted” amount to budget for wedding invitations is 5-8% of your total wedding budget – that is what most bridal “experts” will tell you, and it would make a fine starting point, but I’ll tell you what I really think of that a bit later…
There is a large range in cost of commercially available invitations, but there is a minimum cost – realistically it’s around $2 for a set including rsvp card/envelope (that’s for a minimum of 25 invitations).
We’re going to stop right here for a little aside: How much do you spend on the average greeting card? $3? $4? $5 or more? Is it totally mass-produced? Yes. Is there anything particularly special about it? Probably not. Is it personalized? No. Do you think its expensive for what you’re getting? You might. Do you buy it anyway? Most of the time.So why is it that there are people out there (probably lots of them) that think $5 for a custom invitation set is “expensive”? Food for thought.
What goes into the cost of an invitation? If you’re looking at traditional invitations (ie. from a large stationery company), there is the actual paper itself (better stock than your local copy place), the designs (although the cost is spread out among the hundreds or thousands of people that order the same design), the set-up costs for printing (remember that the invitations are personalized with your information, which takes time) etc.
But what about custom invitations? I would hate to speak for my fellow stationers, so I’m going to be honest about my own pricing (my views do not necessarily reflect those of your friendly neighbourhood custom stationery designer).
Custom invitations really are in a different category from your standard traditional invites. Custom invitations are created specifically for you, and just you, not designed and sold over-and-over to a multitude of couples. They are handmade, one-of-a-kind and never to be duplicated. They are created by an artist as a reflection of you, your event and yes, they can be pricey.
The average Hip Ink client will pay between $6 and $12 per invitation suite. That price is based on many factors – the style of invitation chosen (flat layered, pocketfold, boxed etc.), the printing method, the number and types of papers involved, any additional embellishments etc. Every invitation is designed personally (by me!), printed individually and assembled by hand. We use the finest papers and embellishments out there, we guarantee your invitation will never be duplicated for another client, we work hard to make sure you are getting the best value possible for your invitation dollars. On any given invitation project, I spend probably 15-30 hours (often more) personally involved – whether that is meeting with the couple, answering emails and phone calls, working with vendors, designing, editing, printing, assembling…the list goes on. The reality is, when you choose Hip Ink custom invitations, you are paying for my training, my talent, my personal attention, my passion and my dedication to making sure you love your wedding invitation. I believe that there *is* great value in that.
Brides will often ask me my option on custom vs traditional vs DIY. I like to use the wedding dress analogy, because most brides can understand and appreciate the differences. Picture it: you fall in love with the perfect wedding dress, Vera Wang. It is $6000 (because it is made out of the finest materials, sewn and embellished by hand, and created especially for you with multiple fitting to make adjustments and ensure it is exactly what you want. You go to Big Chain Bridal and see a similar dress. It is $600 (because it is made out of lesser quality materials and mass-produced in a factory, and you will have to pay for alterations to ensure it fits properly). Then you go to Big Box Fabrics and see that you can buy fabric and embellishments for $60 (because you will have to sew the dress and do all the embellishments and alterations yourself). Each of these dresses has its merits, but most people brides can agree that the Big Chain Bridal dress will never be the same quality as the couture gown and that they probably aren’t Vera Wang
That said, lots of people fall in love with beautiful mass-produced gowns or are very successful in sewing their own wedding dress – but, it is important to compare apples to apples. In stationery world, custom is apples, traditional is oranges and DIY is kumquats. The best advice I can give you is to determine your budget for stationery, check out our handy post on what type of invitation is right for you and compare prices within the type of invitation you’ve chosen. Look for value – beware of hidden costs (for example, some companies will quote their price with rsvp cards and envelopes, whereas some will quote pricing for the invitation only) and make sure you compare the quality, not just the price.
Oh, and that 5-8% of your budget thing? Poppycock! Those budgets are all well and good to start with, but all couples have things that are more or less important to them, and you should budget accordingly. Absolutely love paper and design and must have gorgeous custom letterpress invitations – you may be spending 12-15% of your budget on invites. Not really that into it (although I can’t imagine there is anyone who doesn’t love invitations, right? right?), or planning on going DIY, you may be at 1-2%.
As for me, I’m probably not the right person to ask, because I believe that your invitations are the most significant stationery purchase you will ever make and an extremely important part of your event, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make an amazing impression on your guests.
I know and am in contact with many custom stationery designers. We almost all work for ourselves or for very, very small companies. Making invitations isn’t our hobby, it is our livelihood – it may feed our passion for creativity, but it also feeds our families. We do it because we love design, we love paper, but most of all, because we love people. We love seeing the faces of our brides when they see their finished invitations for the first time. We love to hear what their friends and family think. We take pride in our work. And we want you to understand exactly how much of *us* goes into what we do for *you*.
Yes, I may be biased, but I would choose the Vera Wang.
You can view Sarah’s beautiful website here
Believe it or not, it is possible to plan your special day without turning into the dreaded bridezilla many people fear. These tips will keep you from making the transformation into a big, green, scaly wedding-crazed monster.
- Be Realistic – Many brides are budgeting nowadays, but don’t expect champagne on a beer budget. There are many alternative ideas out there that can help you achieve your specific theme without going crazy in the money department.
- Accept Help- Delegate to your friends and family so you’re not overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed will make you cranky and you may take out your frustrations on people who are trying to be helpful. Bridesmaids can be an asset to you, but if you feel like they’re too overpowering let them know. Don’t assume either that your fiancé doesn’t want to help. Nowadays, many grooms are just as involved in the wedding planning as brides and like to have a say in things too. Don’t leave him out!
- Respect the People You Love- Your wedding is just one day in your life. Treat your family and friends with respect; they are forever. If you turn into a slave driver the people around you won’t be able to appreciate your big moment.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff- Attention to detail is always nice, but people won’t remember if your shoes matched your napkins. Focus on the bigger picture and your day will be much happier.
- You can’t control everything- It may rain on your wedding day–which is beyond your control–but prepare yourself for setbacks; things can and will go wrong. When the day comes and goes you will realize just how little the small stuff actually mattered.
- Don’t Read too many Bridal magazines- Yes they can be helpful, yes they can give you ideas but they can also complicate your decisions and steer you away from being realistic.
- The “Center of the Universe” Syndrome- Remember that you are not the only girl planning her wedding. The same time you are planning for your special day there are hundreds of brides doing the same thing. Do not expect people to drop everything they are doing at any moment to help you out.
- Wedding Blabber – Your wedding is important but the more time you spend planning your wedding the more obsessed with it you will become. This can drive you and the people around you crazy. Try not to bring up your wedding at every event or occasion
- Look forward to the future- There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into your wedding day but do not forget that you are also preparing for life partnership as a married couple.
Your wedding day has arrived and you want it to run as smoothly as possible. To avoid any unnecessary stress we’ve created a checklist of wedding day essentials you will need to ensure that you will be prepared for anything!