How Much Should I Budget for Wedding Invitations?
It's is a common question,
with a fairly complicated answer.
How amazing would it be if there was one magical answer I could give all couples? I would love that - truly I would. Unfortunately there isn't just one answer, because there are just so many variables involved. Every single project is different (which makes you all unique!), therefore costs vary greatly between them.
In this post I'll provide you with ballparks of what our clients generally spend on invitations, to help you know how much to budget and what to expect before you book an appointment.
So what factors go into pricing? Here is what we look into when coming up with your investment cost for your stationery:
- Number of Pieces
- Paper & Printing
- Semi-Custom vs. Custom Design
- Turnaround Time
- How are Costs Calculated?
The amount of invitations and save-the-dates you order is based on the number of households, not the number of individual people you are inviting. Typically a couple living together receives one invitation, not two.
Good things to know:
- In most cases there is a minimum order amount of 25-30 invitation suites.
- The average couple orders roughly 65% of their total number of guests (i.e. if you have 100 guests on your list, you will likely need around 60-70 invitations).
- We always recommend ordering extra invitations for scenarios such as lost mail, photographer samples, family keepsakes, etc. This isn't a sale tactic, I promise. Sometimes the cost to order 10 more invitations is around $50-100. The cost if you don't order enough, run out, and have to order more? $500-800.
Number of Pieces
You can have any number of pieces, with items such as:
- Outer Envelope
- RSVP card
- RSVP Envelope
- Details/Accommodations Card
- Inner Envelope
- Envelope Liner
- Embellishments (we'll get to those further down)
The average couple has 5 pieces (outer envelope, main invitation, rsvp card, rsvp envelope, and one other embellishment or insert).
Paper & Printing
The type of paper and printing technique can make a big difference on the investment level of your invitations. Here are a few of the processes we use:
LETTERPRESS: Letterpress is relief printing technique. A physical impression of the design is made and the high quality, thick cotton paper is inserted and printed one at a time. This is an old school, gorgeous process for invitations. It's one of our favorite printing options. Limited on 1-2 colors.
$$$$ / 3-5 week print turnaround
ENGRAVING: Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface. This is a traditional, beautiful option. Limited to 1-2 colors.
$$$$ / 3-5 week print turnaround
THERMOGRAPHY: Also known as raised ink or faux engraving. This method uses colorless resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink. Limited to 1-2 colors.
$$$ / 2-4 week print turnaround
FLAT PRINT: Flat printing is a great option for bold, bright or multicolor designs. This is also ideal for someone with a smaller budget or faster turnaround timeline.
$$ / 1-3 week print turnaround
PRO TIP: "Flat Print" is not your average home printer or vistaprint grade printing. We use high end papers and the best professional print shops for our printing.
There are many ways to enhance your invitations. Here are a few of our favorites, but know that the options are endless!
- Foil Detail - shiny foil stamping can be added to all print techniques.
- Belly Bands - Printed on regular stock or translucent vellum, belly bands wrap around the invitation suite, giving it a polished finished look.
- Vellum Wrap - printed or blank, vellum wraps are a semi-translucent sheets that can the full height of the invitation or in a smaller belly band.
- Wax Seals - available in hand stamps or pre-made stickers, wax seals in traditional and modern colors are a fun way to dress up an invitation!
- Ribbon - satin and silk ribbons add a soft and elegant touch.
- Dried Flowers - add a sprig of something under a wax seal or tied beneath a ribbon.
- Tissue Overlays - Used traditionally with engraving and hand calligraphed invitations, tissue overlays are a popular option for traditional engraved invitations.
PRO TIP: All of our embellishments can be DIY by you or assembled by us, depending on your level of craftiness.
Semi-Custom vs. Custom Design
You may choose to go with a semi-custom design (where you find a suite you love but make minor changes to text, fonts, and color) or a custom design (starting from scratch with a designer and going through multiple rounds of edits to get to the perfect, custom made piece). Here are some of the pros and cons:
|Turnaround time (design + printing)||2-4 weeks||6-10 weeks|
|Number of edit rounds||1||3-4|
|Custom design fee||$0||starts at $500|
|Ability to make design changes||Limited||Full|
Give yourself time to find the invitations of your dreams. The way you choose to design (semi vs full) and what print technique and embellishments all go into how much time you should prep for your invitations to be created.
- Fastest option: Semi-Custom with Flat Print (2-3 weeks)
- Lengthiest option: Full Custom with Engraved or Letterpress (8-10 weeks)
How are Costs Calculated?
Wedding invitation suites are more than just the paper on which they're printed.
In additional to material costs (paper, ink, ribbon, vellum, wax seals, etc), there is a significant amount of time that goes into consultations, design, edits, printing, and coordination. Unlike when you purchase a pre-designed box of greeting cards in a shop, invitations requires a great deal of time and attention to make sure everything comes out perfectly.