This is one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, and strangely also one of the easiest (perhaps cost and difficulty level have an inverse relationship…) Invitations can cost you hundreds of dollars, and combine that with RSVP cards, Save the Date’s, and registry cards, you could easily be looking at upwards of $1,000 or more in paper.
First, Save the Dates are definitely not a must. They are spendy, and there is little to no way around it. They are, however, very cute, very nice, and a great way to send a happy announcement to all your friends and family of your engagement and your chosen wedding date. If you choose to send Save the Dates, keep in mind that you should not send them to folks that will not be receiving a formal invitation. This should go without saying, but I stated it just in case… A couple places to order them from are Wedding Paper Divas or Vistaprint. Wedding Paper Divas has hundreds of super cute designs. Vistaprint does too, and theirs are much cheaper (I’m a huge Vistaprint fan, you’ll find out shortly).
Your invitations should be mailed out about 2-3 months before the wedding. I mailed ours 3 months in advance, and asked people to RSVP by May 1. David’s Bridal, Wedding Paper Divas, Invitations By Dawn, and Vistaprint all have beautiful, unique invitations and matching RSVP cards. I went through Vistaprint for mine, and I was one extremely happy camper. I got 150 invitations and 150 RSVP cards both with white envelopes for $120.23, not counting shipping (which was $17.60 to Alaska). They were printed on card stock, the colors were perfect, and I was very impressed with the quality. Everywhere else I would have paid well over $300, maybe upwards of $500. For something most if not all people are just going to throw away? No thanks!
Wherever you choose to get them, the site should tell you what information to put on the invitation such as time and date (duh), address of the venue, address of the reception site, time of the reception, etc. On your RSVP cards, put a place for your guests to write down how many will be attending from that family or group. I also saw a neat idea (on Pinterest of course) to put a line for your guests to request a song they’d like played at your reception. It will help you get an idea of guests taste in music and it makes it kinda fun.
Here’s what our invitation package looked like:
A tidbit of advice: buy a stamp with your address on it for this and for when you write all those thank you cards after the wedding. Your hand will thank you. I went through and stamped every RSVP envelope with our address on it so guests could just throw a stamp on it and drop it in the mail. Your choice though.
Since we didn’t do Save the Dates, I went to WalMart and printed wallet sized copies of one of our engagement pictures and put one in each invite packet. It was inexpensive, and it let everyone see our faces. The registry card I made myself. I went to WalMart and bought the perforated business cards by Avery, downloaded a free template from their website, and designed the cards in Microsoft Word. I was able to print them from my own printer, and I added the stores we registered at and the URL for our wedding website. This turned out to be an excellent idea and I highly suggest doing this yourself.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)