I had a lovely email the other day from a bride to be who we had helped by offering a make your own option on our invitations. The photos she emailed me looked amazing and it got me thinking about how to source smart and get the most for you money if you are on a budget, but still have your heart set on personalised designer touches.
When Jen first contacted us she didn't just ask me how much our invitations were, she told me what her budget was and that small bit of information was the key that helped Jen to get the perfect handmade personalised invitation she wanted without breaking the budget.
So how can sharing your budget help I hear you cry? If you look at small made to order producers, you will find that in general they have the flexibility to help you. The very nature of being a designer means we are full of bright ideas about different materials, shapes and sizes or ways of doing things that can help you keep in budget.
Tips for sourcing smart:
1. Give yourself plenty of time to plan, concentrating on securing your venue swiftly means you can send invitations early, avoiding the need for Save the Dates.
2. Decide what is most important to you and allocate the budget accordingly. Invest in the key pieces from a quality supplier and look at picking up the minor pieces from the high street or see what you or your friends can make yourself. Just like investing in a really good pair of designer jeans and wearing them with a T Shirt from Gap.
3. Ask your suppliers what is and more importantly what isn't included in the price. This works both ways, there may be things in the costing you can do without.
4. When comparing different suppliers prices, make sure you are comparing like for like, what are you not getting for the lower price, are you happy with that?
5. Make sure you have budgeted for every item no matter how small. Afterthoughts can be an expensive oversight.
6. Be realistic about how much you can do yourself, and seek out your creative friends to lighten the load and avoid last minute panic buys.
7. When you have found the designer you like, look at what else they can do, the more you buy from one place the better the deal you get. If you have something specific in mind that is not on show then ask, they may be working on a new range or have something on the back burner that suits. I have a peacock design and a lovely rose filled tea cup on the back burner that I have been looking for the right moment to use, designers always have things squirrelled away so ask!
In Jen's case, being a bit creative she loved the idea of assembling the cards herself. We supplied her with the cut paper design, inlay card and blank inserts which saved on printing & labour costs, and Jen got to add her personal touch hand writing the inserts & finishing the invitations off with satin ribbon she had chosen. By doing this she was able to stretch to some lovely RSVP cards, choosing not to include an envelope and putting the difference saved towards a make your own version of our lovely Tree of Hearts table plan.