Ask Carolyn: Should I Send My Wedding Invitations Online?carolyncastiglia
A friend wrote to me recently to ask what I thought about sending wedding invitations online. After writing back immediately, “OMG DOES THIS MEAN YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED?,” I told her no, I don’t think online invites are a good idea. (Innocently asking people about wedding etiquette out of the blue is a great way to invite them to your wedding, though – no paper required! Reminds me of the time I rejected a glass of wine from a good friend and she said, “OMG YOU’RE PREGNANT.” People just know.)
My friend isn’t getting married just yet, but she and her boyfriend are pre-planning, and she told me she started thinking about online invites because she thought paper invitations would be super expensive. Here’s the thing – while you can spend thousands of dollars on anything wedding-related, you can also have an amazing event on the total cheap from top to bottom. One way to save on invitations – especially if you’re having a small wedding – is to make them yourself. You can either buy invites and write them out by hand (a charming touch, especially if you have great/distinctive handwriting) or print them using your home computer. Stores like Papyrus have affordable and adorable invites in both the fill-in and print-at-home categories, or go to your local gift shop and buy a pack of blank cards with whatever color scheme/theme works best.
It can also be very affordable to hire your local print shop to make invites. Just tell them what your budget is and they’ll work with you to create a package you’re happy with. Remember – while fancy invites are nice, most people won’t keep your wedding invite, so don’t feel like you have to spend a ton of money on something that will wind up in the recycle bin. You can also save paper (and money and the environment!) by reducing the amount of envelopes and cards inside your invite package. Rather than send a paper reply card and a separate meal card, ask guests to reply via email or using a wedding website. It’ll be easier for you to keep track of responses that way, but then guests will still have a paper reminder of your big day to put on the counter or fridge.
Another option is to send a cute save-the-date card in the mail, then send follow-up RSVP requests via email. If you use a postcard as your save-the-date card, you can send it at the cheaper postcard rate, so that will save you money, too. I have several save-the-date cards on my fridge from weddings I’ve attended over the past few years, because they’re easier to keep up than heavy invitations, lots of them have cute photos of the couple on them and they remind me of how much fun I had at the wedding itself.
No matter what method you choose to send your wedding invitations, though, remember that when the wedding’s over and all is said and done, nothing replaces a handwritten thank you card! Include a wedding photo of yourselves and/or a photo of the guest(s) you’re thanking to add a special touch.