One way we saved a ton of money on our wedding was designing and printing many of the paper materials ourselves. The prices of a lot of designer paper and custom color printing left our heads spinning. We were extremely blessed with a gift certificate to A Milestone Paper Company where, with help from Sarah, designed beautiful invitations. So when it came to needing ceremony programs, guest book postcards, historical information and other smaller projects requiring paper, we wanted to match the quality and style of the invitations. Here's how we were able to design and print anything we wanted for about 65 cents per sheet:
Specialty paper can get expensive fast. We originally wanted to use blue paper for our ceremony programs but the "right" color blue was nowhere to be found at multiple stores in the standard paper section and the cost of getting specialty paper for everything didn't seem like a great idea. We ended up using ivory card stock that can be purchased at Staples, Office Max, FedEx, or any other paper retail for $15 per ream (300 pages). Ivory worked out really well because it was easy to read and we could print any color on it. If you can't find your wedding colors in the standard paper colors, consider a white or cream paper and use your wedding colors in the text, graphics, and border - you'll save money without sacrificing your color!
We did our printing at FedEx/Kinko's for 60 cents per color page and 15 cents per black and white page. If your project needs to be really detailed or high quality I recommend having it printed at Kinko's or a specialty print shop. If you're about to print something that won't be seen up close or held in someone's hand, use your home printer. It will be cheaper and no one will be close enough to tell the difference in the quality.
Also, if your design is less than a full page, find the best way to squish as many on a page as you can. My original template for our wedding programs only fit 3 on a page. By turning two up-side-down we were able to fit 4 on a page and save 25%!
The quality of the graphic you're printing is just as important as the quality of the printer or paper. A bad graphic will always look bad when it's printed. You can have a professional design your images but don't expect it to be cheap!If you don't have a friend who will help for free, look for someone new to the design industry. It's hard to get started without a portfolio of work so you can often get someone who will work for cheap/free in order to built up their portfolio. Another option is to do the design yourself. If you have experience in print design, you're all set! There are open source programs like inkscape that let you do professional level design for free.
There you have it, our secrets to saving money on paper, printing, and design. Have fun printing, whether you're making your own DIY wedding invitations, printing thank-you's (like us!) or looking for an inexpensive way to print some original art!
Like this idea? Check out our other DIY Wedding posts