In a digital age, there’s something very special about receiving something in the post that doesn’t remind you that you need to consolidate your super/renew your car rego/pay your electricity/get your adult shit together (or is that just our letterboxes? Every damn week.).
Clever couples like, say, you guys know this and it’s why we’ve seen an explosion over the last few years in the number of amazing stationery companies servicing the wedding space. With so many different graphic elements to the big day (save-the-dates, invitations, signage, place cards, menus), it makes sense that you’d want to bring in a pro to keep things consistent.
If hiring a stationery company to put together a full invitation suite isn’t in your budget though, you’re not alone. We chatted to Jo Eleanor, Founder of Calligraphy en Vogue, to find out her top tips for creating affordable stationery that doesn’t compromise on style.
1. Digitally print vs. press
Digitally printed invitations can sometimes be viewed as a “cheap” alternative to the most expensive choices such as foiling or letterpress. This doesn’t need to be the case.
“Choosing a digital print on a luxury card stock still produces a high quality feel but is more affordable”, says Jo. “Add your own assembly accessories such as ribbon, string ties or pre-made wax seals that you can easily purchase online and DIY and you’ll create a beautiful unwrapping experience for each and every guest. Plus the invite will still fit in a standard mail-able envelope”.
2. Don’t print in metal colours – have it hand-written
Printing using gold, silver or other metallics (rose gold, bronze) can drive the price up. This is especially true of small print runs.
“What many couples don’t know is you can engage a calligrapher to hand write beautiful calligraphy in metallic colours on digitally printed invitations. Think couple names or guest names, for example. It will produce a raised metallic finish and can often be a fraction of the price of foil stamping, while gifting the art of calligraphy to each of your guests”, says Jo.
Calligraphy name writing can start as little as $3 per invitation depending on the style and wording. So it’s worth doing some comparisons and seeing if this is an option that could still allow you to have that elegant metallic pop on a budget.
3. Do a calligraphy course and DIY
Gather some friends and do a short calligraphy course – not only will you be upskilling in life but it will give you an appreciation for this craft that you’d never have had before. At least, that’s what we found when we gave it a go.
The beautiful thing about calligraphy is that there’s no one-size-fits-all – once you have the right technique, you can develop your own personal style. So don’t be put off if you don’t think your writing is ‘pretty’ or ‘neat’ enough. This is actually a cool thing as it’ll mean your stationery has plenty of personality.
And if you don’t feel confident about having your own calligraphy on your actual invitations, that’s fine says Jo – there are still plenty of areas where you can put your newfound skill to use. “It can be a way to save on envelope addressing costs while still adding a personal touch to your invitations. Or handwrite your wedding place cards for guests”.
4. Source your own printing
“If you are print savvy, engaging a designer to provide you with print ready files for a one-off fee and sourcing your own printing can reduce your costs and ensure you have control over envelope colour choices and stock options”, shares Jo.
Jo’s other hot tip is to order sample prints from your chosen company so you can make sure you’re happy with the look and feel. Also, brief your designer on the printing you’ll have done so you can ensure the design is compatible (i.e. not outside the lines or a completely different shape).
5. Pay for one-off calligraphy elements
Craving calligraphy design details but don’t have the budget for handwritten work across all of your invites? Some calligraphers offer handwritten, digital elements that you can add to your own design, meaning you still get the custom calligraphy feel but for a one-off fee.
“The design can also be used in other stationery elements (e.g. any wedding day signage, menus, order of service, etc) to ensure maximum return on your investment and have a beautiful cohesive feel throughout all the different written bits and pieces”, Jo suggests.
6. Send digital invitations
Digital invitations/e-invitations/virtual invites: whatever you want to call them, sending wedding invites online is growing in popularity and we understand why. For one, it’s the most affordable option by far – you save on paper and postage. And depending on what platform you use to send them, you can easily collate your RSVPs (hello, Paperless Post).
But just because these invites are created and sent online, that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on customisation.
“You can choose to have these designed by a designer for a one-off fee and can even include things such as handwritten calligraphy that has been digitised to create a personal feel without the print cost. There is also a huge variety of pre-made digital designs ready for purchase and editing at home from places such as Creative Market and Etsy”, says Jo.