Throughout this series, I’ve been giving tips on planning for your wedding invitations. From when to start planning, to helping you decide on whether custom wedding stationery is right for you, to explaining the pieces of an invitation suite.
Today we’re diving into budgeting for your wedding invitations and day-of pieces. There are a lot of deciding factors that go into determining what’s the right budget for your invitations ranging from the size of your guest list, the number of pieces you’d like to include, and any special finishing touches. The range also varies depending on if you’re choosing a template or investing in custom wedding invitations. Because of this, your wedding invitations could cost anywhere between $400–5,000.
I’m here to help demystify some of those questions you may have about budgeting.
First, it should be prefaced that there are a lot of deciding factors when it comes to how much wedding invitations and day-of pieces cost. This post should serve only as a suggestion and starting point to help determine your budget.
For example: If you choose to invest in custom stationery, there is a low price, an average price, and a luxury price, which I’ll explain in a moment.
Let’s start explaining.
The number one deciding factor is where you choose to get your wedding invitations. If you’ve read the Breaking Down the Differences In Wedding Invitation Types post, I already shared a little insight into price ranges.
Choosing a template website is going to be on the lower end of the investment scale. Many of these websites offer flat (digital) invitation printing and foil or letterpress options. Because of the nature of their businesses, they also are able to offer discount codes.
By investing in an independent stationery artist, you can expect to budget more because you’re investing in the value of the product. Whether you choose to do a semi-custom invitation suite or fully custom, you can know that the money you invest with them goes into a quality product and personalized experience.
Custom wedding invitations will always have a design fee factored into their pricing. This may be on as a separate line item or factored into their price-per-unit. Design fees will vary depending on the value a designer puts on their work and includes design time and project management time.
How Many Pieces
Now that you know The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation Suite you know which pieces are important to you. The number of pieces you include in your invitation suite directly impacts how much the cost per suite is.
A single invitation with an unaddressed envelope is going to cost less than a three-piece invitation suite with addressed envelopes. More material and labor is involved in getting these pieces designed and printed. For example, a single invitation with an envelope can cost anywhere from $0.75–$3.00 apiece. Additional insert cards and addressed envelopes will add on to that cost.
Printing Methods, Paper, and Finishing Details
The most economical printing method is known as flat or digital printing. This goes through a commercial inkjet or laser printer, which is a relatively hands-off process. It uses digital files to produce the end result. You can achieve beautiful results with digital printing, especially if you have a design that has a range of colors involved, such as watercolor or illustrations.
Other common ways of printing include:
Letterpress printing is a more traditional method of printing wedding invitations. This process involves a different printing plate for each color used, mixing inks, and a more labor-intensive process. There is an art to letterpress printing and not every provider has the capability to print this way. For invitations that are limited in design elements and text-based, letterpress creates a beautiful tactile finished product.
Foil printing can be achieved either through a traditional plate printing process or through digital foil. Foil printing involves metal “dies” for the foiled portions and is achieved through a heat and pressure transfer process. Digital foil is not “true” foiling but is a more cost-effective method of achieving a foiled look without the investment. Digital foil doesn’t require plates to be made but does not have the same embossed feel as true foil stamping. It does, however, help achieve the foiled look without the investment.
Foil embossed printing adds beautiful shimmer to your invitations and help to highlight key details. Like your names!
There are additional types of printing that could also affect your pricing, but these are some of the more common ones couples are looking for.
Paper stock also helps in determining price. Many providers will have house stocks to choose from that are factored into their pricing structure. Stocks outside of those standard papers usually will cost a bit more and they include: double-thick stocks, colored stocks, or specialty stocks such as metallic/shimmer stocks and handmade paper.
Additional finishing details you choose to include in your wedding invitations will also play a role in your budget. There’s so much creative freedom when it comes to finishing touches for your invitation suite that to list them all here would be endless.
Some of the more common choices are: wax seals, ribbons, custom or vintage postage, and pocket cards. Each of those come with their own pricing structures. It is possible to source some of these materials yourself, but to ensure a cohesive look, I recommend working with your designer.
Okay, so what should we budget?
For a standard three-piece wedding invitation suite for 150 guests with envelope addressing, here are the averages that I would recommend for your budget:
- Template Website: $450–$900
- Semi-Custom Suite from a Designer: $900–$1,700
- Custom Invitation Suite: $1,200–$5,000+
Note: These numbers are only averages and are not definitive of every stationer out there. It depends on your wedding location and your wedding market. The $1,200 budget you have in the Midwest may not stretch as far as your budget along the coast.
If you’re considering custom invitation design, it’s important to have a conversation with your stationer to help get a realistic idea of what your budget should be for the things that you’re wanting in your wedding invitations. We will help you navigate the waters of how to include the pieces or printing methods that are important to you within your budget and will also be honest with you if your budget needs to be adjusted to account for those finishes.
Want to chat more about your wedding stationery? Book an introductory call with me here.