Tips For Beautiful AND Budget-Friendly Wedding Invitations

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Zola paper wedding invitation suite in Eastwick Wreath, Eastwick Vine, Eastwick Layer, and Eastwick Frame designs

Fact #1: if you want people to come to your wedding, you have to let them know about it.
Fact #2: wedding expenses add up faster than ants on a forgotten lollipop.  

While we can’t do anything about the inevitability of Fact #1, we can help you figure out ways to make the crushing truth of Fact #2 feel more manageable—specifically when it comes to wedding invitations and save the dates. This is one wedding item you can’t skip entirely, but lucky for you, we have some seriously good news to share (drumroll please): Zola now offers fully customizable, completely gorgeous weddings invitations that won’t eat up a huge portion of your budget. Cue the confetti! Many different Zola wedding invitations laid out with a woman searching the Zola website on her tablet

Yep, you read that write: you can still send your guests invites they’ll be proud to hang on their fridge while saving costs and making your wedding planning simpler and easier. All you need is a Zola invitation suite and a bit of USPS know-how up your sleeve (sounds sexy, right?). Here are some tips for creating affordable Zola wedding invitations and save the dates that let you spread the word in a beautiful, budget-friendly way.

Zola wedding invitation suites in Violin and Napa designs

Two of Zola’s coordinating paper suites in Violin (left) and Napa (right) designs.

Go Partially Custom

When it comes to buying wedding invitations, the most expensive route is to hire a local invitation designer or stationer to create a custom invitation suite—including save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, and other coordinating paper items— from scratch. And while having bespoke invitations made just for you is pretty cool, they will cost you a cool wad of cash. For those without an unlimited budget, Zola’s wedding invitations are the next best thing, since you can put your own stamp on each design (postal puns!). With over 150 invitation suites to choose from (in every style imaginable), you can get a fully personalized invite suite that’s both unique to you and an incredible value. Here are just some of the ways you can customize Zola invitations and save the dates:

  • Choose your own language for your save the date and invitation wording
  • Choose between rounded or square corners
  • Choose between two types of paper finishes
  • Add a gold or silver foil envelope liner
  • Print information on the back
  • Add a photo to the back
  • Add a photo to the front (on certain save the date designs)
  • Choose from a huge variety of color palettes
  • Print a return address on your envelopes (for free!)
  • Print guests’ addresses on your envelopes (free free!)
  • Add RSVP cards and envelopes in coordinating designs
Zola wedding invitation in Heaven Crown design with champagne cork resting nearby

Gold foil: one of Zola’s luxe design options, seen here on the Heaven Crown invitation

With all of these customization options on Zola, you can walk away with a coordinating invitation suite that feels super high-end, totally personal to you, and affordable to boot. More room in your budget for a doughnut wall? We can’t argue with that.

Lose Some Weight

On your wedding invitation, that is—you are fabulous no matter what the scale says. This isn’t rocket science, but the heavier your sealed envelope, the more postage it will require to mail. Thus factors such as paper type and the number of included pieces become important when you’re trying to keep costs down. Thick card stock or hefty embellishments will increase the overall weight—which is why Zola’s invitations are such a godsend. Thanks to high-quality color printing on luxe papers, our invitation suites look incredible all on their own, no extra decoration required. You can even choose between two paper types to achieve the perfect finish: eggshell, for a more traditional and textured feel, or smooth for a modern look with a touch of sheen.

Examples of two types of paper, smooth and eggshell, available for Zola invitations

Zola’s two types of luxe paper: eggshell (left) and smooth (right)

And since each Zola invitation weighs in at the standard postage rate, you can send them off easily with a single stamp. Which might not seem like a big deal, but it’s a huge plus for your wedding budget: it costs an extra $0.21 per ounce to mail an envelope over the 1-ounce postal rate for first-class-mail letters (currently $0.50). It may seem like pennies, but multiply that by an extra few ounces, then by your guest list, and watch the numbers climb.

Zola wedding invitation suite in Napa design, with bouquet of red anemones with black ribbon resting besides it

The Napa Wreath invitation suite

Be Basic

Sure, those oversized cards let you share all kinds of wedding details with space to spare. And that square invitation just screams, “We’re having a cool, modern wedding!” But word to the wise: using odd-shaped cards and envelopes will also mean extra cha-ching at the post box.

It all has to do with whether or not your wedding invitation envelopes are “machinable,” meaning they can pass easily through the USPS’s machine sorter. If they cannot, and a human has to manually enter the address into the system, it costs the USPS ten times more money! Hence, there’s a surcharge. Expect to add an additional $0.20 per ounce per square envelope beyond what it costs to mail it based on weight. Envelopes with clasps, strings, buttons, or other fanciful closures (or, say, those that release butterflies when opened) also require extra postage, as they too are considered “nonmachinable.” Even writing an address parallel to the short edge of the envelope will incur this extra fee, so save your design creativity for elsewhere.

Zola wedding invitation suite in Potter Stripe design

Many coordinating elements of the Potter design suite

Being the wedding company that will do anything for love, Zola has already thought this through for you: our wedding invitations are all standard 5 x 7 letter sizes, so they’ll positively sail through that machine sorter. Still itching to flex your creative muscles? The stylish designs options come in dozens of color palettes and both vertical and horizontal orientations. Some design suites even contain both landscape and portrait variations, such as the Waterfront series:

Save It For Your Website

In keeping with the idea of slimming down your wedding invitations to save on postage costs, ditch the extra printed materials. The fewer number of cards, inserts, and envelopes you include in your total invitation package, the lighter (and cheaper) it will be. While you may love the look of a matching, multi-piece paper suite that contains everything but the kitchen sink—including separate cards for reception details, travel and accommodations, and directions—you’ll have to  kiss your budget-friendly dreams goodbye. Every piece of printed paper jacks up your overall costs in both fabrication and mailing.

Zola paper wedding invitations with engagement photo on the back

Add website information and photos to the back of every Zola invite

Instead, include a link to your wedding website on your invitation and direct guests to find all the helpful info they need online. Zola’s free wedding websites are not only incredible easy to use, but they actually MATCH the designs of our invitations…meaning all of your coordinating, style-savvy dreams can come true while honoring your budget (did we mention they’re free?).

One of the coolest features of Zola is that our products and planning tools are designed to work together and integrate seamlessly. So once you create your wedding website, automatically connect it to your Zola registry to let guests shop for wedding gifts directly from your website. Then, use Zola’s Guest List tool to collect guests’ mailing addresses online, and seamlessly transfer them to your invitation and save the date envelopes when you select free envelope addressing. Print your website on your invitations, and enable guests to RSVP directly on your website (which in turn syncs with your Guest List’s RSVP tracker).

Translation? You just gathered addresses, printed them on your invitation envelopes, and recorded guests’ responses all without picking up a pen, dialing a phone, waiting by the mailbox, or opening a spreadsheet. And almost all of this intuitive, time-saving, wedding planning assistance was free. Mind = blown.

Zola wedding invitation suite in Clemson design

The romantic Clemson Frame invitation suite

So, in summary, look beyond the obvious sticker prices when shopping for beautiful and budget-friendly wedding invitations. There are more subtle ways to keep costs down, such as keeping your invitations lightweight, machinable, and relying on your wedding website to communicate the ancillary event details. And if you’re looking to wow your guests with a beautifully designed, fully customized, coordinated wedding invitation suite—and you’re also looking to save money, time, and stress—hop on over to Zola’s new Invites + Paper products and see how damn stylish and affordable they are for yourself.

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4 Comments

  1. I like that you suggested adding a gold or silver liner to the envelope liner of your wedding invitations to customize them well. My fiance and I are interested in custom wedding invitations, so we’re looking for ways to make them look elegant. We’d love to make sure that our wedding invitations can represent our personalities. Since we both love gold, we’ll be sure to consider what you said.

    • Kate Lynn Nemett says

      So glad you liked the suggestion, Ellen! I hope you find something you love, that reflects both of your personalities, from Zola’s Invites + Paper collection. What other invitation-related topics would you find helpful here?

  2. molly wagner says

    Do you have reccomendations or services for online invitations via email?

    • Kate Lynn Nemett says

      Hi Molly, thanks for your question. If you want to send online invitations through email only, I’d recommend you check out Paperless Post. They have a ton of beautifully-designed digital invites. Zola currently doesn’t offer digital invites, but keep checking back here for new products and services as we develop our Invites + Paper collection further! (Hint: we just released some new paper designs that match our free wedding websites. They’re gorgeous!) Best of luck in your planning!

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