Thursday, February 12, 2009

Budget Crunch: Save Money by Printing Escort Cards at Home

Save-the-Dates, Wedding Invitations, Direction Cards, Reply Cards, Rehearsal Dinner Invitations, Menu Cards, Table Cards, Programs, Thank You Notes, Announcements, Escort Cards, Place Cards ... whew ... . It is more than a little overwhelming.

The sheer number of different types of stationery you will need for your Big Day are enough to give any bride a headache, especially if she is a bride who is crunching her budget.

But don’t worry. Even though many wedding experts encourage couples to choose one type of wedding stationery for all of their paper needs, it doesn’t have to bust your budget.

I suggest ordering your wedding invitations and corresponding stationery together to maintain a consistent look and possibly save some dough. That means, you should order the following three things at the same time.

- Wedding Invitations and Envelopes
- Direction Cards (if you need them)
- Reply Cards and Envelopes (if you are using them)

Many people think you should order your Thank You Cards at this time, as well. You can if you want. I had a specific theme-related idea in mind when I ordered my Thank You Cards, and quite honestly, the ones that “matched” my invites weren’t anything special.

Stationery companies encourage brides to order their programs, menu cards, table cards, escort cards and place cards from the same company they ordered their invitations from for the sake of consistency.

But think about this.

How many wedding invitations do you actually remember? Be honest now … Probably not many. Although you will no doubt agonize over every word, font size and script, your guests won’t really notice.

Sorry …

But you can use this to your advantage. Invitations are mailed 10-12 weeks before the wedding and no one will carry their invitation with them and check you for accuracy.

I suggest creating your own set of wedding day / reception stationery and making these items consistent with each other. Of course, you will want the general feel of the invitation to reflect your wedding day, and you will want consistency in colors and theme, but it is at the actual wedding event where you can show your creativity.

Many sites allow customers to create their own programs and place cards and print them at home. For around $20 a year, you can register with sites like American Greetings and print personalized escort and place cards.

After you have printed your cards, decorate them with theme-related embellishments.

My wedding was in November and my colors and theme reflected a “Fall” atmosphere. I bought a leaf-shaped paper hole-punch from a local craft store and a few pages of scrapbook paper in muted orange and brown. I punched holes in the paper and used the leaves that fell as decorations for my escort cards.

Here is how it worked.

- I printed cards with my guests’ names and table assignments
- Then with a dot of glue, I attached two small paper leaves to the top.

The final result was classy and each card looked as if I’d spent up to $3 on it, rather than the $25 I spent on all 80 cards.

You can get creative ideas by browsing the Internet and reading other websites or by looking through wedding books and magazines at your local bookstore.

Have you made a decision yet about your place cards? Do you plan to order them or make them yourself?

Photos courtesy of Hillary H and

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