Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Knot's 6-months-away task: invitations

For whatever reason, I enjoy keeping tabs when it comes to's monthly countdown emails: me versus their timeline. I think I got my first to-do from them at 11 months out from the wedding, and since then, I've only been behind once (re: the guest list). I'm 5 for 6! Not bad.

Anyway, the 6-month mark rolled around a few weeks ago, but since I haven't settled up on that score yet, I'm doing it now. "Order your invitations," the email said. Well, I didn't have my invitations ordered by November 22... but that's because I'm not ordering any! I'm designing/laying out my own and printing them on Chandler & Price old-style platen presses at a local community studio. I did, however, have many working InDesign files on my computer as well as an order in to Keldon Paper, so I'd have something to print on (eventually). The week after Thanksgiving, two ginormous packages from California turned up at my door. Here's what was inside:

This is $251.20 worth of Crane Lettra paper products (and cutting fees): 300 regular envelopes, 300 ungummed (inner) envelopes, 300 5x7 pieces for invitations and announcements, 250 3.5x5 pieces for reception cards, and 250 3.5x5 double-thickness pieces for RSVP postcards.

That may seem like a lot to pay for just paper, but a) it's really nice paper, and b) considering that the only additional cost I'll incur will be the plate-making, I think I'm doing pretty well. It costs to use the printing studio that has the presses, but since I'll be printing invitations for a friend at the same time, she'll cover the $80 in studio fees, which gets me a month of access. All told, I'm anticipating that I'll come out under $400 for 250 sets of a 3-piece custom letterpress suite.

For comparison, I just priced what I am planning -- one-color letterpress printing on regular Lettra paper for everything except the RSVP card, which is twice as thick and printed on both sides -- with a local letterpress company whose website gives handy instant quotes, and the savings are astonishing! 250 5x7 invitations with inner and outer envelopes come out to $856; 250 reception cards are $401; and 250 duplex double-sided RSVP postcards cost a whopping $1071. That's $2328 total! Damn, I'm doing way better than I thought. (If it weren't so late, I'd call my mom to tell her that impressive figure!) Even if you include the $240 cost of the letterpress class I took, which was my birthday present from my parents, it doesn't come close.

Of course, the cheapest option for wedding invitations is to go for some method of printing that is not letterpress (or engraving, or custom illustration). In recent years, though, I've developed an appreciation for paper and stationery, and I wanted something nice and tactile for our wedding. Since we couldn't afford to pay someone else to do letterpress, I decided to do it myself! I may yet come to regret this decision, but so far I'm feeling pretty good about it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the community print studio is a fantastic idea! Wish we had one in my town. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!