We Regret That We Must Decline Your Invitation to Royally Shaft Us

I do not begrudge the invitation its role in the wedding process. I am not in league with those who claim “It’s just going to get thrown away, so what’s the big deal?” Yes, it represents a bit of ephemera, but it’s one of the first things guests will see, setting the tone for your wedding. [Editor’s note: I know that roughly five of the people receiving it will actually care about that when they get it and approximately half that number will care at the event eight weeks later, but this is one of those things that brides convince themselves is important. I can’t let on that I’m not in line on this or they’ll realize my chip fell out.] As such, it is important to make sure the invitation is elegant.

What it is also important to remember is that it is illogical to pay $1,400 for 100 small pieces of paper. That’s what one major Georgetown stationer planned to charge me for custom letterpress invitations, featuring a vintage typewriter font for the text and my artist father’s pen-and-ink drawing of an antique typewriter for an embellishment on the top of the panel. “American dollars?” I thought when the estimate opened on my monitor and I squinted at the grand total box. That sent me to the Advil bottle and to Plan B, which meant the non-custom letterpress invites from the same retailer. Those would feature no typewriter illustration, but they had a cool font and looked and felt quite luxurious. Moving my finger over the row and down the appropriate pricing column it landed on $750. Close, but no cigar. Because that still didn’t take into account at least $300 for envelope calligraphy and $100 for postage.

To be clear: the retailer wasn’t on the fringe with its pricing structure. Bridal magazines typically feature invites that cost up to $3,500 for 100. And anyone in the publishing industry will tell you that the increases in ink and paper costs have been so severe in recent years that you’d think you’ve been getting a real deal at the gas pump by comparison. (Incidentally, that’s why newspapers are weighing in at about one-tenth of an ounce these days and they are staffed solely by three reporters in their 20s, an intern in his teens and a monkey in a diaper.) This just isn’t one of those areas that I want to authorize the spending of a lot of cash on because I believe there are perfectly viable alternatives.

Now, remember when I mentioned my artist father? That was what we in the business call foreshadowing. My father recently indicated that the printer who handles all of his art printing business also does invitations. This past weekend, he brought me two ginormous books of samples (when you know people you don’t have to shlep down to the shop like some sort of normie.) Tucked among the 4,278 pages of her samples was a perfectly lovely invitation. Clean, modern font. Light creme color. Heavyweight card stock. Thermography–not letterpress–but still quite elegant. All in all, perfect.

And the price? A lady doesn’t typically discuss matters of finance BUT THESE INVITATIONS ONLY COST 270 FREAKING CLAMS! It was unreal. On top of that, she gave my father a discount because of the business he’s given her over the years. Grand price: $220. The tax alone on the original set of custom invites would have been half that.

Lesson learned: look beyond the major retailers and see if the little guy can do it just as well for less money. Or, to summarize: I have just p’wned one corner of the wedding industry.


15 Responses to “We Regret That We Must Decline Your Invitation to Royally Shaft Us”

  1. J. Says:

    I totally did that for my wedding last year, too! I took a sample invitation that I loved from a major stationary company – took it to a girl I knew that worked at a print shop, and viola! Saved myself $800. Fab.u.lous. 🙂

  2. I-66 Says:

    Did you really just put an apostrophe in pwned?

  3. Phil Says:

    Weddings are a complete ripoff.

    I would’ve accepted half the cost of our wedding in cash and gone to Vegas.

  4. K Says:

    I do so love a good bargain! I’m totally going to my fav graphic designer for invitation assistance, should my time ever come. He’s got connections out the wazoo.

  5. erin*carly Says:

    hooray for clever solutions!

    when it’s my turn (which, thanks to the United States Navy, won’t be for well over another year and a half), i’m having my graphic designer mother design and print my invitations.

    total price? ink and paper, and a lot of love.

  6. Roosh Says:

    I thought it was going to be a red herring


  7. Blog Novice Says:

    So let me get this straight. This wedding bird lady posts this entry at 5:36 a.m. Then, the first few posts are, uh, posted at 7:04 a.m., 7:07 a.m., 8:34 a.m. and 8:35 a.m. When I pictured blogger folk, I always had this image of blanket-clad people sitting in front of a computer in the wee hours of the night. Which means you guys are either staying up WAY late, or you’re all early risers. Which is it?

    And sorry to go off on a tangent that is not invitation-related or aimed in proper tangential directions – like, say, the Onion – but for those of us in the aforementioned news-paper industry, this is just another example of the many things we don’t understand about your Internets.

  8. SingLikeSassy Says:

    I had to face some hard truths over paper when I got married last year, too. Turns out I’m a cheap chick and while I *did* care what the paper felt and looked like and all, I was not able to spend crazy money for 55 invitations. That’s crazy talk.

    I came up with a workable solution, though. I bought a cheaper off the shelf invite that I then pimped with some stuff from PaperSource. Everyone loved it. OK, the five people who gave a doodie loved it.

    Plus nobody remembers the invite, the remember the food, drink and dance. Maybe MAYBE your dress. And your drunken aunt that flashes everybody, they remember her.

  9. Johanna Says:

    This sounds like a job for Print Shop 1.0! Remember all those super cool pixel-y borders and fonts you could choose from? You’d have to get a Bubble Jet to really capture the full old-school effect, of course…

  10. Anon Says:

    So, to reward him for the good invitation deed, you’re going to post a link to his print shop so that you send him many referrals, right? I think I’m with you — I care about the invitations (far more than music, flowers, theme, etc.), but I’m not forgetting that they’re little pieces of paper. No one can get the great deal you did, but if he’s reasonably priced and trustworthy, plus willing to work with your ideas, I’d be happy to give him my business!

  11. Bridal Bird Says:

    Good idea Anon! Yes, it’s Friendship Creative Printers in Millersville, MD. Number is 410.987.2000. Her name is Glory. Don’t tell her I sent you though because this blog is anonymous. 😉

  12. Anon Says:

    Thanks! I’ll giver her a call when we’re at that stage and I’ll stay mum about the referral.

  13. papercupp Says:

    You may have this covered, but couldn’t you use your fathers art on a thank-you note? Seems that printer may be able to hook you up with something lovely with his pen on it?!?! Good luck, it seems with this one that you really got a great deal!

  14. barred owl Says:

    Blog Novice – it’s all about time zones and people at work in offices.

  15. www.yellowpages.com Says:


    We Regret That We Must Decline Your Invitation to Royally Shaft Us | Bridal Bird

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