Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rethinking the invitations

First, an update on the dress: It fits. Almost perfectly. It needs to be taken in up top (no surprises there) but otherwise it's amazing! I'm so relieved :-)

Like I said in an earlier post, I've always loved paper and stationery, and with the possible exception of the dress, the invitations may be the wedding item I've spent the most time thinking about. I've poured over invitation websites, ordered lots of samples, and eventually I thought I'd made a decision: go with a pretty, colorful, flat-printed invitation.

But I couldn't quite shake a certain disappointment at the idea of using flat printing. I love the feeling of raised print, and I extra-love the old-fashioned texture of letterpress. I also couldn't shake a skeptical voice in the back of my head. "Digital printing?" the voice whispered. "You *could* print something like that yourselves, you know. Why not just buy some nice card stock or a pretty DIY kit and put the extra money into the food?"

When I asked Econo Boy for his opinion, he admitted that he'd been thinking the same thing about flat printing but hadn't wanted to say anything. Together, we decided that we'd go with one of two options: one, print them ourselves and save money, or two, beef up the invitations budget and choose a more exotic printing method.

Mmm, pretty paper! Image from Dauphine Press, one of
many wonderful letterpress printers who's way out of our budget.

Inspired by Sweet T, I began considering a combination of flat and letterpress printing -- letterpress (preferably 2-color) for the invitations, and flat printing for the RSVP cards and envelopes. Unfortunately, few of the major invitations websites offer matched sets of mismatched printing. Hello!Lucky was the exception -- they now offer all of their letterpress invitations and RSVP cards in less expensive, digital print versions, so we could have ordered a letterpress invitation and a matching flat print RSVP card. But none of their invites seemed to fit quite what we were going for, and even their one-color options were slightly out of our price range.

So I decided to take a chance. I posted an ad on Etsy explaining what we wanted, what our budget was, and decided to see if there were any takers. I half expected to get a bunch of responses saying "that's not a realistic price for letterpress, but I can do it for $X more."

Instead, a printer with her own letterpress contacted me and said she could do exactly what we wanted, at exactly our price point! She even designed the perfect two-columbines motif for the top of our invitation. I'll hold off on an official endorsement until we have the invites in hand, but so far, so good.

For any other couples on a budget who are interested in letterpress, I absolutely recommend Etsy's Alchemy advertising board. I got lots of responses from printers -- some weren't quite what we wanted, but they were all professional and quick to respond. Even if you think no one could possibly work with your budget, give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out you were wrong!


Never teh Bride said...

That's absolutely brilliant! I'll admit that I'm a total wuss when it comes to bargaining or asking for X for $Z, but posting an ad is something I could have done had I even known it was an option.

Bride in Exile said...

NtB, I stink at bargaining too. I always feel like I'm insulting the vendor by saying "that's too much, I can only pay $Z"! This was so much easier for me because I could be explicit up front about what our budget was. Printers who couldn't or wouldn't take a job that small didn't reply, and there was no awkward "eep, that quote is twice my budget" moment.

Jessica @ budgetsavvybride said...

great idea! Never would have thought of that... perhaps I will try it myself! Thanks for the tip! :)