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Wedding invitations on a budget

Let's face it. When it comes to planning your wedding you want everything but in reality the wedding budget shouts "stop." But it doesn't have to be that way. Hunting around for the best deal may take a while but in the end you will see the difference. One particular area for the cost factor is invitations. They have special requirements: they have to match your theme and color scheme, and have a specific design.

Tips

  • Go direct to the printers. Look up in your yellow pages and find the ones that offer foil blocking as a service. This will give the stationery a raised embossed look. Foil blocking comes in a wide range of colors so ask them. They are also very accommodating if you a specific design in mind. They may be able to do everything: order of service, table place names, etc for a reasonable price. Many printers are also agents for the leading stationers. Take a look in the sample albums and see if you can re-create for half the price.
  • If you don't like the prices they have quoted -- and remember to shop around -- use your own PC. Most PC software has a template for invitations. www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk has a great selection of free templates and material to match.
  • Have a favorite photo? They look great with a caption and you would only need to find the card. You can also take your photo to the printers and they can print the invitations if you don't want to do yourself.

Materials
You're probably thinking where do I start? What kind of cards do I use? What materials are available? Below is a checklist to help you get started.

Cards and envelopes
Card stock quality is dependent upon your price. The usual invitations are done on laid or hammer (cream, ivory or white) effect between 200-250 grams in weight. www.stick-n-mix.co.uk and www.madaboutcards.com offer a wide range of materials. Buy prefolded if you are using a greeting card style invitation, as this looks more professional. www.craftcreations.com supplies everything at an affordable price and don't forget to ask for there free sample card and paper swatch book and catalogue. You can then see before you buy.

You can buy envelopes from discount shops or look for buy one, get one free.

Parchment paper is a marbled paper and comes in green, pink, cream, blue. This looks nice as an insert or as a scroll.

Ribbons
Sheer organza ribbon has a nice effect. Florists also sell raffia or paper yarn which comes natural or in a variety of colors.

Embellishments
Buttons, paper flowers, miniature rings, even garters (www.stick-n-mix.co.uk), are available from a variety of craft web sites.

Design help
There are many forums out there (www.craftsbycarolyn.co.uk) catered for brides or crafters to express ideas and advice for making invitations (www.mulberrybush.com) that also offer a do-it-yourself pack of the materials already assembled together if you are having a design block. You will find the best craft web sites and the most affordable on forums (www.card-inspirations.com, www.crafts-beautiful.com).

  • If you are pushed for time, there are many people who love making cards who could re-create the design. Friend of the family? Wedding present? Alternatively searching the Internet will bring a wide range of sites offering the service.
  • Do you have children? What about using one of their drawings or even better get them to do some!

Ideas

  • Vellum (transparent paper) as a cover for a plain folded A5 card tied with matching ribbon. www.paperpoint.com allows you to order 8 A4 samples of paper a day. This can give you an idea on the different cards and papers you can use.
  • Use tassels to hold inserts together.
  • There are many parchment paper flowers in many styles, which look great alone on a card. Add a 3mm bow in your color for effect.www.cardinspirations.com.
  • Gold or silver peel offs found in most craft shops as an alternative to foil blocking. They come in a variety of wording.
  • Rubber stamps can be found in all craft shops and can add a stylish touch. A plain cream card with a black stamped Celtic design looks effective on its own.
  • Using material from the bride's maid dresses is a nice touch as a backing fabric or a bow.
  • Look in your herbs and spices or garden for lavender or roses, to embellish cards. (Star anise can be used) Use scented draw liner to use as stylish envelope inserts.

From invitations can come table cards and seating plans, wedding albums or memory boxes? Let your imagination run wild but remember less is always best!

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