8 Tips to Create Custom Wedding Invites on the Cheap

Looking for a custom invitation without spending upwards of $700? The average cost of wedding invitations and reply cards is $659, according to 2010 data from The Bridal Association of America.
Here are some ways to trim costs for your 2012 wedding. When using these tips, expect to pay around $200 for 100-150 invitations.

1. Establish the Look
Use Pinterest to browse for invitations from which to draw your inspiration. Start a board and “pin” examples. Once you find a direction you’d like to go in, you’re ready to start on your very own. There are several options for today’s budget bride including free online templates, designing it from scratch or ordering at a discount.

2. Use a Template
There are several online printers that are affordable. Some offer wedding invitation templates, and if you’re feeling like you don’t want to try designing an invitation yourself and don’t have access to a designer, this is the way to go. One of the best sites with customizable templates I’ve seen lately is WeddingChicks.com. They offer entire invitation suites for free (invitation, rsvp card, table numbers, escort card, etc.), and you can edit it all online, instead of relying on software. Oh – and the designs are modern and gorgeous.

3. Design it Yourself
Use a stock photography sites like iStock or Shutterstock where can search for stock illustrations and graphics. Search for illustrations or vectors similar to the look you’re going for by using keywords like “swirl,” “scroll,” “vintage,” “invitation,” etc.
Using your inspiration invitation, find a font(s) that closely matches your look by searching websites like DaFont.com and UrbanFonts.com.

4. Save on Printing
If you create you own design, look for a printer who specializes in invitation printing so you’re sure to get the type of paper you need. Online vendors like PSPrint.com and VistaPrint.com provide online quotes for easy cost comparison. Before using any site to order invitations, find online coupons from CouponSherpa.com for money-saving discounts you can use toward your purchase. Some of these sites regularly run specials like 25% off on invitations. Plus, when using a new site, always sign up for newsletters or free loyalty accounts.

5. Think Small
If you’d like a separate RSVP card, consider making it the size of a business card and include a URL where guests can register. When the RSVP was a web address, there is no need to make the RSVP card postcard size to return, so you’ll saved money on printing costs and return postage (and extra envelopes!). ProjectWedding.com offers free wedding websites where you can track RSVPs, but there are other sites that offer this service as well.

6. Picture Perfect
Bride Erin added a really cool touch to her invitations to ensure that it wasn’t quickly tossed. On the back on the wedding invitation she included a photo of her and Eric from their professional engagement portrait session. It printed beautifully and now her friends and family have a photo they can keep of the couple. The cost to print on the backside was nominal and she saved a lot of money by not developing pictures separately.

7. Off the Shelf
Printing custom invites still out of your budget range? Craft stores offer kits you can use on your home printer. Nashville bride Amanda says, “We’re making our own invitations from those prepackaged kits you can buy at any office supply store. We’re doing all the invitations for $80, and they’re actually quite pretty.”

8. Handmade Touch
A big trend for weddings and paper goods these days is using a personalized, custom rubber stamp. Etsy.com artisans offer both custom and pre-designed choices, while sites like PictureMyStamp.com allow you to upload your own art. Antiquaria Design Studio offers some absolutely stunning customizable stamps for weddings. The bonus? Use your stamp to customize paper goods for the wedding — like the wedding program, water bottle wraps, paper bags and more.

Weddings expert Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and blogs from her home in Orlando, FL, about cheap ways to spend and save at CheapWaysTo.com.