I design and sell printable wedding paper goods including wedding invitations, so the last thing I want to do is talk anyone out of purchasing printable wedding invites. I do, however, want to make sure that people understand what is involved. I have produced printable wedding items for both of my own weddings (to the same guy - one in Germany, one in California) and have designed and produced wedding printables for many of my friends, and I absolutely think it's the way to go. However, having the right set of expectations is important. When I produced all my wedding printables, I knew from experience how much time I would need and what I items to have handy before I got started, this made it a fun experience. I want it to be the same for you.
1. Time - You can have it cheap or good or fast, but you can't have all three, so the saying goes. One of the benefits of choosing printable wedding invitations is that they are significantly less expensive than pre-printed or custom invitations and there are many beautifully designed options available. What you exchange for cost, however, is time. You have to invest your own time in producing them. If you're printing your own invitations estimate about 15-25 minutes production time for every 25 invitations (depending on how fast your printer is)
2. Wedding Size - Directly related to the amount of time it will take to produce your wedding invitations is the size of your guest list. Producing wedding invitations (and Save-the-Dates and RSVP cards) for a guest list of 25 will take significantly less time than for a guest list of 400. On the other hand, if you are having a large wedding, printing your own invitations and items such as escort cards, menus and thank-you notes can dramatically reduce your costs, since with printable items - you pay for a template once and then can produce as many as you want.
3. Paper and Envelopes - You will need to purchase your own paper and envelopes. The printable wedding invites we offer work beautifully with regular old card stock, which you can purchase at your local office supply store for about $13 for a ream of 500 sheets - more than enough to produce a complete wedding invitation kit. The same thing goes for envelopes - you don't have to go to a fancy stationery or paper store and get super fancy envelopes for $1 a piece. You can go to your local office supply store or just Google 'A7 envelopes' and you'll be presented with a zillion options ranging from inexpensive options through Amazon.com or bulk purchases from online paper vendors. You can easily find envelopes for under $20 for 100. Obviously if you want to use the fancier stuff and have the budget for it, you are welcome to go that route as well. See our list of online and offline paper resources for more information.
4. Ink Usage - If you haven't considered this cost, it can be an unwelcome surprise. Depending on how fast your printer goes through ink and how many items you are printing, you'll need to factor in costs for an ink cartridge or two. The more you print, the more ink you'll use. If this is a concern you should also consider the design of the wedding invitations and printables you choose. Wedding invitation designs with large fields of color will use more ink faster, whereas invitation designs with a lot of white space will be easier on your ink usage.
5. Using a Copy Shop - If you prefer printable wedding invitations, but don't want to spend the time producing them or are concerned about ink usage, than taking them to a copy shop can absolutely be the way to go. Costs average around $1.25 per printed sheet, invitation templates are 'two-up' meaning that there are two invitations laid out on each sheet, so if you needed 50 invitations, you would need 25 copies printed. This can be a great way to go. You will need to cut the invitations yourself, but this doesn't take too much time, about 1o minutes for every 25. Keep in mind you will have to use whatever paper options the copy shop offers, but these are usually fine. Many copy shops allow you to upload a PDF file 0nline and then pick up your invitations when they're printed. I did a test run of this on my own and the process was very, very easy.