We're trying to do our wedding on the cheap but still have it be unique and cool. So, we decided that our theme needs to start with the invitations! We hired a local tattoo artist to draw up [Editor's note: DRAW, not design!] a 50's-60's rock concert poster for us that we plan on printing off at Kinko's and mailing as our invite. The problem is, he just told me it's going to cost $500 in order for him to draw up the original! So, I'm thinking $500 for the original + ($.48 X 150) for printing + small manila envelopes for mailing + postage + home printed response cards = me being taken to the cleaners on my “cheap & cool” invites? Or, is it worth it for the cool factor and the fact that we will forever have original artwork to remember our wedding by? I have to laugh that our invites could cost us more than our rock-club reception space! -Becky
Ah yes. How well I know the progression from “cheap and cool” to “handcrafted and awesome” to “hey wait a minute — this would have cost less if I'd gotten invites at Target!” Awesome offbeat custom wedding stuff has a sneaky way of costing more than mass produced mainstream stuff. A custom dress made in China is going to cost you less than a custom dress made around the corner.
Ultimately, I can't really tell you what's “worth it” for your wedding. But I will say that I see spending money on your offbeat wedding to be a great exercise in prioritizing your splurges. Is original artwork commemorating your wedding worth spending money on? If art is important to you — then fuck yeah it is! I'm reminded the conversation I had a while back with an artist friend. Artwork honoring your wedding is an amazing heirloom, one that's infinitely more compelling than silver candlesticks. For some people that means commissioning a gorgeous Ketubahs, for others it means having a local tattoo artist draw up an original rock concert poster. If visual art is important to you, I'm gonna say investing the money in a poster you can hang in your home for years … I say go for it.
That said, I think it's important to think about priorities — for some people, it's not worth it to spend money on the invite because they want to invest in the photography. Or the food. Or the perfect venue. Only you can know your priorities. Whatever your one priority is, go for it.
UPDATE WITH A CLARIFICATION:
From the comments, it's clear that there's some confusion between custom illustration vs. graphic design. They're very, very different things. Becky says the tattoo artist is going to DRAW their invitation, which means it's a custom illustration — not just a photoshop job. Not that graphic design can't be art, but it's not the same thing.