Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crafting the Invitations -- Budget

The whole invitation recap:
Crafting the Invitations -- Graphics
Crafting the Invitations -- Layout
Crafting the Invitations -- Envelopes
Crafting the Invitations -- Rehearsal Dinner Invitation
Crafting the Invitations -- Assembly

I decided to go DIY with the invitations for two reasons: complete control over every detail and the potential to save some money. I definitely accomplished goal #1. Let's see how I did with goal #2:

Graphic design help from Sue: $20 (Thank goodness for Etsy Alchemy!)
Cardstock, package of 250: $20
Only used 130 sheets, so $10.40
Printing at The Reliable Printing Company: $100 + tax = $106
150 envelopes from ActionEnvelopes: $41.67 including s&h
5 sheets of Unryu Thread Paper from $2.20 each + approx s&h = $13 (I bought some other things in the same shipment so I'm estimating the shipping for just the Unryu paper here)
Pack of striped embossed greeting cards: $1.99 + tax = $2.10
Roll of Zots: ~$3
Package of very flat Glue Dots: ~$3
Only used about 2/3 pack: $1.85
Package of sticko brand repositionable tape: $0.75 (Yup! On clearance for 75% off!)

TOTAL: $198.77 Divided by 100 invitations: $1.98/invitation

Don't forget, that includes the rehearsal dinner invitation, too!

We also used 84 postcard stamps (27-cents each), and 84 first-class stamps (42-cents each), and had to send 9 invitations overseas. I estimate we saved about $27 by using a 42-cent and 27-cent stamp on each invitation/RSVP card, rather than a 59-cent and 42-cent stamp if we had had a heavier invitation and used an RSVP envelope. It's not a ton of money, but $27 counts for something!

I also haven't factored into the equation things like the calligraphy marker I used, because I also used it for the save-the-dates and will be able to use it again in the future. Same goes for the new color ink cartridge I bought; it will be used for printing the programs and escort cards and all sorts of random wedding paper paraphernalia. The various pieces of scrapbook paper I bought as inspiration for the design will definitely get used at some point in time for something, so I'm not going to count those, either, and it was less than $10, anyway.

I could have saved a little more by printing at Kinko's instead of using the local printer (about $22), but I definitely would not have gotten the complete, personalized attention of someone as amazing as Eric. I also could have saved on the per-invitation cost by buying envelopes from a different company, but I would have had to have bought a package of 250, leaving me with 100+ extra envelopes at the end. Sure, I could turn around and try to resell them, but that's an added stress I don't want to deal with at this point. As it is, I still have almost 50 left over I'm not sure what to do with.

So $2/invitation really isn't that bad! It turns out that I met both of my goals by DIY-ing my invitations: complete obsessive control AND saving money!

The downside to all of this? I put in a lot of time and energy to get all of this done. Printing the envelopes, lining them, addressing them, and assembling the invitations alone took a good 15-20 hours over a week and a half. I spent almost two entire weekends just working on this stuff. I watched a lot of DVR-ed TV episodes during that time, including the entire current season of ER. Designing the invitation and rehearsal dinner were also pretty time consuming, although it was spread out over a number of months, so it wasn't too bad. Next year, as an Ob/Gyn intern, I'll be making roughly $11.50/hour before taxes*, so I figure those 20 hours of invitation assembly alone were worth $200+.

Never mind, let's not keep going with those calculations. They're too depressing.

Anyway, what I was saying was that I put a lot of time and energy into these babies, and if I hadn't been totally committed to it and enjoyed doing it, it would totally not have been worth it. But I'm really happy that I created something that was exactly as I envisioned it, and I didn't mind doing it myself this once. After all, I won't be making wedding invitations for myself ever again, and not for anyone else anytime soon. So I won't attempt to calculate what that time could have been worth.

I hope you've enjoyed this little recap of my most time-consuming wedding project to date. Don't worry, there are lots of other projects in the works! I have all of April and May off to do nothing but plan, plan, plan!

*$45,000/year, with 3 weeks of vacation plus 1 week off for either Christmas or New Year's, working 80 hours/week. And let's hope it's only 80 hours/week.