With the average cost of a wedding hovering somewhere between $21,000 and $24,000 as of 2008 according to Smart Money magazine, saving a penny everywhere you can is a worthwhile endeavor. With their relatively high cost, plus postage plus time consumption, wedding invitations are a perfect place to look for savings. When it comes to inviting everyone to your wedding for cheap, you need look no further than the tool you have in front of you. Online arenas offer many opportunities to get the word out for little or no cost. If you want to send something in paper form, there are still cheap options for you, too.
Skip the hand-engraved, calligraphic invitations on gold-foil embossed-linen paper. That's really unnecessary and won't be more memorable than your kiss. Head to your local office supply store instead. The stationary section will have plenty of invitations to choose from, and you can slip them and their envelopes right through most inkjet printers. If that's too high-tech for you, head over to the store's printing services station and ask for the invitation catalog. A representative can help you pull together a project that fits your budget.
With an eye toward being eco- and economically conscious, consider making your wedding paperless. Be friendly to your budget by skipping hard copy invitations altogether. Wedding websites, such as eWedding, offer guest list management services beyond what your invitation can offer. For example, it can electronically manage your RSVPs, take menu choices and connect guests with your registry, lodging information and directions to the chapel. In addition, electronic invitation sites such as Paperless Post and Evite offer simple and free event planning services. Using these sites save money and time. The sites have also got bells and whistles such as music and video capabilities at no extra cost. Try getting that in an envelope.
Send the word out where everybody already congregates -- Facebook. It's also free and simple, and, according to a September 2011 article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, more couples are using Facebook to send invitations on the cheap. The "Create Event" feature sits at the top right of your home page feed. Beware, though, many Facebook users get so many invitations it's easy for your invitation to get lost in the shuffle. Try creating a wedding page as well to regularly send posts and reminders to the guests you wish to invite. Keep the group closed to avoid wedding crashers.
Don't Forget the Remnant
If you go the electronic route, chances are not everyone on your list will be so technically savvy. You could elect to print a few invitations for those who are not plugged in, or you could get really renegade and call them. Let them know whether they should expect a hard copy invitation, and tell them when you need to know for sure whether they are coming.
A Word About Memories
Most people only get married once, so it's important to keep in mind that every element of your wedding, including your invitations, will be part of the memory of the moment. Some might regard electronic invitations as too informal, possibly even a bit tacky, regardless of the savings they offer. They'll argue that the fancy handwriting and the delicate stamp convey a message of tradition and honor to guests. It could also be a keepsake. Carefully weigh what matters to you most and make decisions on how to save money on invitations from those core operating values.
Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.