First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…loads of debt?  The average wedding today costs $25,200, according to! My fiancé and I didn't even have half of that to spend, so I had to get creative and crafty to find major ways to save on almost every aspect of our wedding.

Your invitations set the tone for your big day, right?  After looking for the perfect first impression, I realized our budget simply didn’t allow for beautifully printed and pressed foil invitations with butterflies that gently fluttered into the room upon opening. DIY was my solution. Here are some tips on how to save money without sparing quality.

Scour the Internet

Thanks to the Internet, you can find almost anything you want.  This was immensely helpful to me during the whole process, especially when seeking the advice of former brides on a budget.  With websites like Pinterest, you can find hundreds of ideas and templates for invitations in programs like Word that are easy to use.  Use these resources to help you get started or to even serve as the foundation for your final product. The best part?  They're free!

Pick a reputable paper company

There are quite a few, but I went with Cards and Pockets.  They were really helpful and always available (for free!) if I ever had any questions about materials, supplies, or dimensions.  They even help you out with design and assembly questions.  I ordered the Signature Pocket Invite ($0.69), Belly Bands ($9.95 for 50, but this is definitely optional), Mailing Envelopes ($0.23) and RSVP Envelopes ($0.15).  If you want samples of anything, they ship for free, too.  This totaled $128.90 for all of my paper supplies. And don't forget to check out clearance and sales for off-season discounted colors!

Look for codes

A lot of companies offer discounts to first-time buyers—some even as much as 25% off!  You can print your own invitations at an office store, but I found a coupon code for 25% off my first time order (Bay Photo Lab Discount), and ended up getting 100 invitations professionally printed on textured card stock for $86.

Don't be afraid to ask a company representative if they offer any discounts that aren't advertised, such as bulk discounts, first-time buyer discounts, or referral discounts. You'd be surprised at what you can find!

Weigh the entire invitation before buying stamps

Two things to keep in mind while browsing for supplies: the size and shape of your envelope and the amount of "things" that are going on and in your invitations.  Square envelopes cost more to mail than rectangle envelopes, and added bands, ribbons, jewels, pictures and inserts will quickly amount to quite a bit of weight. Avoid the sticker shock (err…stamp shock?) at the post office by putting an entire invitation together and weighing it first before mailing them out. If it requires extra postage, consider adding a two-sided RSVP card or eliminating the bejeweling.

I panicked when I saw almost $900 as a quote for 100 invitations (we had a destination wedding). Thankfully, DIY-ing my invitations proved to save me loads of money and turned out better in the end.  I ended up spending only $215.15 total (and I still could have saved more), a 76% savings, for invitations that looked professional and classy—we even have one framed. It's a completely unique keepsake, and now instead of it reminding us of the financial hardship our wedding put us through, it reminds us of our perfect little wedding on a tight budget!

This is a guest post by Elisabeth from Binghamton, NY.


For more money-saving tips, check out:

How to Set Up a Couponing Spreadsheet—Download Included

The Amazon App is the Secret to Price Matching at Target

Save Your Cell Phone from These Battery Killers

How to Get Inexpensive Wedding Invitations That Don’t Look Cheap