Our wedding invitations finally arrived! I say finally because I spent FOREVER working on these things. Allow me to present our 3-piece wedding invitation suite, designed by me and printed by Czar Press.
A7 Crane Lettra 220# pearl white
2-color letterpress (pantone 871 & 282)
Edge painting (pantone 8863)
Additional Information Cards
A2 Crane Lettra 110# pearl white
2-color letterpress (pantone 871 & 8863)
A7 Crane Lettra pointed flap pearl white (7.25″x5.25″ regular gummed envelopes, we decided not to do inner/outer)
1-color letterpress (pantone 282)
But Kristen, $800 is a fortune!
You’re right, it is. You don’t need to spend nearly the amount I did in order to get beautiful invitations, but if you spend as much time ogling paper products as I do, chances are you’ve fallen in love with letterpress, too. “Fancy paper goods” was one of my non-negotiable items when it came to our wedding planning process, and we had budgeted accordingly.
For reference, the budget for all of our wedding-related paper goods is $1000. While this may seem like an exorbitant amount of money, I quickly learned that acquiring the letterpress invitations I so desperately wanted was still going to be a stretch. Especially considering there are other paper goods that need to fit under this budget category as well (signs, programs, seating chart or placecards, and so on).
To DIY or not to DIY?
At first, I thought I might letterpress the invitations myself. I guessed that this route would be less expensive and would also provide me with the opportunity to learn something new. My original plan involved taking a weekend letterpress workshop at The Arm NYC. I then thought I’d get some plates made up by Boxcar Press and pay The Arm for ink and studio time while I printed my invitations there.
There were several problems with my original plan:
- A DIY project of this magnitude was going to require a significant amount of time. Since becoming a Gotham Girl, roller derby consumes most of my time outside of work. While I could tell Corner was interested in how the printing presses worked, I wasn’t sure he wanted to spend hours in the studio printing our invites by himself (and besides, I was the one who had taken the workshop, not him).
- The cost of supplies really adds up. I estimated that with the cost for 2 ink colors, Crane Lettra 110# paper, 3 plates, and 8 hours of studio time, it would cost around $720 to do our own invitation suite. Plus all that TIME and who knew if I’d even be able to produce a quality product?! I’d probably have a lot of mess-ups.
So I deliberated. I contacted over a dozen letterpress printers that I found online, asking for a price quote for 100 A7 flat invites, envelopes, and A2 flat additional info cards that I had designed myself (not a big invitation suite, really…and only one set of envelopes since we are asking guests to RSVP online instead of mailing us an RSVP card).
Prices were all over the board. There were many customizations that I drooled over (I wanted more than one color ink! and edgepainting! and thicker paper!). But, when I started finding prices in the neighborhood of $700, I knew I wanted to abandon the DIY route and entrust my invitation suite to a professional.
Tips for reducing costs and still being able to afford pretty add-ons
- Create your own invitation design. Most printers charge less if you can provide them with print-ready artwork (rather than choosing from their list of available designs or paying them to design a custom suite).
- Limit the number of colors. With letterpress printing, each item is run through the press by hand (one time for each color, so adding a second color really bumps up the price). When I originally designed the invites, I used all 3 of our wedding colors (navy/gold/raspberry), but I quickly realized that 3-color letterpress printing was NOT going to be possible with our invitations budget. I decided to go with 2 colors on the main invite and additional info card and 1 color on the envelope.
- Limit the number of pieces. This will cut down on printing AND shipping costs (because your complete suite will weigh less!). Even with the thicker paper, each invitation suite of ours weighed in at 0.9oz each, thus still only requiring a 48 cent stamp.
- Forgo belly bands, envelope liners, etc. I thought our letterpress invitations were so pretty that they could stand alone without needing anything extra to dress them up.