A constant struggle of the Budget Bride is determining where to save time verses where to save money. In theory, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects should save you money; after all, you have control over material and labour costs. Be careful where you buy your materials, however. One haul from Michael’s might set you back much further than you anticipate! My advice: do not go without their handy weekly coupons, and do not forget to shop around for deals. I find that Dollar Tree has some really great crafting essentials.
Aside from material costs, one thing that many of us overlook is the time cost. This is especially true when you embark on a project with which you have no previous experience. The learning curve can be a steep time sink, so be prepared! Fellow bride, Vanessa, learned this the hard way, at one of her crafting parties.
No frills = less money
One of the many things that Jake and I decided to DIY is our invitations. Originally, we were going to do everything digitally – after all, an online invitation is probably the cheapest option. However, I forgot to factor in the “bakery/cookie card”, a Hong Kong Chinese wedding tradition*. Historically, actual Chinese “wedding cakes” were handed out along with the invitations to relatives, but the modern custom is to give out vouchers that are redeemed for pastries at a local Chinese bakery. My mom felt that it would be too strange to hand out the bakery card on its own, so Jake and I decided to make a physical invitation.
As Amanda of Baci Designer notes, invitations “set the tone of what guests are to expect on the wedding day while at the same time helping them prepare for your event”. The question became – how do we make the most inexpensive invitation which spoke to our personalities and the feel of our wedding?
- Drop the fancy trimmings. This was so hard, because I love beautiful stationary, and the gorgeous spreads on Pinterest made it so hard! I mean, look at this stunner:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/262616222001378517/
- Use less paper. The less paper you use, the less paper you need to buy.
- Spend less on postage. This is two-fold:
- Non-standard paper/envelope sizes and weights will cost you more money, as they are considered parcels and not letters.
- If you are printing out RSVP cards, remember that you need to pay for return postage!
- Be creative with design elements. The more fancy trimmings you drop physically, the more the graphic design elements stand out on your invitation.
- Print it yourself – either at home, or at your local printing house (ex. Staples or The Printing House).
- Do not forget that it is an invitation. It is easy to get lost in the sea of design, but remember that center stage should be they key wedding information:
- Who is getting married?
- Where and when is it happening?
- How do you RSVP?
So what did we end up with? A postcard invitation!
In addition to not having to buy envelopes, postcards are actually very special to our relationship. In lieu of traditional souvenirs, Jake and I always send each other postcards from our travels, whether we are travelling together or apart. Luckily, both Jake and I enjoy minimalist design elements, because fitting all the required information on a postcard would be very difficult otherwise. Another bonus? We are collecting our RSVPs through our wedding website, so no need for return postage, and it will be easier to organize our final guest list.
Remember those time costs I mentioned earlier? It probably took me a week’s worth of time to design the invitation, from hunting for the best free fonts, to figuring out where to align the invitation text. Since I am such a perfectionist, the latter took surprisingly long. If you do not have the time, you might just be better off hiring someone else to design and print the invitations for you.
Have you had any DIY projects that took you way too long to complete?
*If you would like to read a bit more about Chinese wedding traditions, check this post by The Knot, this post by Wedding Bells, or your local library! If you want to learn more about traditional Chinese wedding cakes, watch the video below, by South China Morning Post.