Your wedding invitation is the first hint guests will get about the celebration to come. Will it be formal? Relaxed? Bright and colorful? Cool and classic? The options are just as endless as your choices for design and décor! One thing that might surprise you, however, is the cost. Who knew designing and printing could be so expensive? But sticking to a strict budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice all those beautiful details and special touches that will make your invitation suite unique. To help you find those creative ways to dress up your invites without breaking the bank, we went straight to the experts: Some of our favorite stationery designers! Here are some of their top tips.
If you want to get a little bit creative without designing the entire suite from scratch, take a look at a designer's semi-custom suites. "The suites [above] are pre-designed, but clients can customize the wording and choose the colors they like best, as well as dress up this particular suite with an illustration of their venue" says Laura Prpich, owner of Tuktu Paper Co. "I also offer print-ready artwork, which clients can purchase from me and then print themselves." The latter option can save you up to 90% of what it would cost to place a fully custom order, depending on the paper and printing style you choose.
Photo: [CJH Photography](http://www.cjh-photography.com/), Courtesy of [Darling + Pearl](http://www.darlingandpearl.com/)
"Envelope liners are a great way to create a statement," says Lauren Reed, owner, designer, and letterpress printer at Darling + Pearl. "It's always fun to mix in an unexpected but cohesive color or pattern into the suite, as well as add fabulous texture and a polished, finished feeling." You can hire a professional to add the liners for you, but if you're DIY-inclined, it's a great task to take on yourselves. "DIY envelope liners are one of my favorite (easy!) projects," says Shayna Norwood, founder of Steel Petal Press. "Along with a few tips from a pro, all you need is paper, scissors, your envelopes, and glue!"
Norwood is also a fan of using ribbon to tie everything together — literally. "You can get ribbon that matches the colors of your invitation relatively inexpensively, and if you're assembling and stuffing the invitations yourself, it's an easy way to add some extra class at a low cost." Simply stack the inserts (with your invitation on top), cut a piece of ribbon that's long enough to wrap all the way around, plus an inch or two, and overlap the ends in back. Use double-sided tape to stick the ribbon together, and you're good to go! Want to dress it up even further? "Stick-on wax seals come in a huge variety of colors, are affordable, and make a big impact," Prpich suggests. Choose seals with your monogram or a coordinating emblem, like an anchor or a fleur de lis.
Photo: [Alicia Lucia Photography](http://www.alicialucia.com/), Courtesy of [Darling + Pearl](http://www.darlingandpearl.com/)
Mixed Printing Methods
Even if a letterpress invitation is your absolute dream, you don't have to use the same method for the rest of the inserts in your suite. "You can have letterpress printing on cotton stock for the main invitation, then use flat printing and full color for the RSVP card or information insert," says Reed. She recommends a matte satin finish for a little contrast without too much shine. "Don't try to match the color perfectly, though. Opt for complementary hues, or use colorful imagery in combination with a more subdued invitation." Adds Prpich, "Digital printing is your least expensive option, but you won't lose the beauty of a great design."
Photo: Courtesy of [Darling + Pearl](http://www.darlingandpearl.com/)
"Whether you're using the same printing method throughout or are combining multiple printing methods, you can add some extra excitement by printing the enclosure pieces on a different colored stock," says Reed. Think an off-white invitation paired with dark gray RSVP cards, or soft blush combined with navy. You can also use contrasting envelope colors for an extra pop of personality.
"Skip the RSVP card and instead print the email address where guests should send their RSVPs directly on the invitation," says Prpich. "This saves money on paper, envelopes, and postage." You could also add an RSVP page to your wedding website, and direct guests to log in — which will allow you to create fields where they can choose their meal or let you know if they're coming to the welcome party.