If you have started looking for your wedding invitation, you have no doubt already looked at the pricing and considered an Evite! Its true, wedding invitations can be expensive. In my experience, the average brides spends (at least) $1250 dollars for 100 invitation suites (invitation, response set, reception card, return address).
Most couples decide that, like most components to the wedding, actual invitations are worth the cost. The wedding invitation serves a number of purposes including the obvious…it extends an invitation to guests for the wedding. The invitation is also a direct representation of the event and the hosts. The choice of paper, printing process and design set the tone of the wedding whether it be a chic and trendy rustic barn wedding, a black tie gala, or an afternoon tea. So be sure to budget appropriately early on for your invitations.
The choice of paper, printing process and design, as well as a few other factors, also affect what you will be spending. Here are the biggies broken down.
The heavier the paper stock, the more expensive the invitation. The weight of paper is determined by the paper maker, and is measured in pounds per ream (i.e. a ream of 500 sheets that weighs 80 lbs is considered “80 lb stock”). An 80 lb stock will be less expensive than a 110 lb stock. A 110 lb stock will be less expensive than a 220 lb stock, 300 or 600. Two layers of stock will be more expensive than one. The texture of the paper also influences the price. Stock with a textured feel or a filigree embossing throughout will cost more than a flat, smooth paper.
The best way to determine what weight is best for your wedding invitation and your budget, is to pick up the wedding invitation samples and spend a moment or two to feel the papers.
Currently pocket invitations are trending. Brides tend to love the “organization” of the pocket, all those cards neatly tucked into one little package. But that pocket, unfortunately, comes with a hefty price tag. Adding the pocket to the invitation will drive the price of 100 invitations up by several hundred dollars.
Tip: Heavy invitation stock does NOT go unnoticed by your guests, but perhaps opt for a less expensive, complimentary stock for your response set and reception cards.
The type of printing you elect will also affect the price of the invitation. Most invitation designers offer one or all of the following; digital print, thermography, letterpress, foil stamping, and engraving.
Generally the least expensive (although not always) method of printing is digital printing. It is flat on the paper, and is best on smooth paper. Thermography is raised printing, mimics engraving (especially if offered in a low gloss variation), and is slightly more expensive than digital printing. Letterpress and engraving are exquisite and look expensive…and they are. They can as much as triple the cost of the digital invitation.
The best way to decide? Run your fingers over the various types of print.
Tip: Letterpress is a show-stopper, so if it is within your budget, go for it. But perhaps think about thermography or flat printing for other portions of your invitation.
It goes without saying that the more invitations you order, the higher the price tag. That said, invitations are typically less expensive, per invitation, as you increase the quantity. For example, if 25 invitations is $400, then 50 will be in the $600 range, 75 might be in the $750 range, and so on.
Tip: Be sure to order an extra 25 the first time around. Realizing you need more, and later reordering 25 invitations, will cost you that first $400 all over again!
Reception cards, response sets, directions/accommodations cards
You will need a response set, which will cost slightly less than the invitation, but does add to the total bill. If your ceremony and reception are at the same venue, you have just saved yourself the cost of a reception card. Otherwise, a reception card, also an added expense, is in order. Directions cards can be helpful to the guest, but can also be pricey.
Tip: An easy way to save on directions/accommodations cards is to put the information on your wedding website (go theknot.com and set one up) and print the URL on your Save the Date card.
Extras, often unavoidable, that most couples don’t expect these when going into the invitation process include the following:
Emailed or faxed proofs, although a must, can run $15 to $20 per proof.
The invitations will need to be shipped from the printer to the store (or you), and for that you can count on at least $20 to $30 dollars. Should you elect pre-shipped envelopes, expect to pay about $15 to $75 in extra order split fees and shipping charges.
Overnight shipping might cost an additional $125.
For the procrastinator, rush fees can run $50 to $100 PER DAY plus overnight shipping fees.
You can hire the manufacturer or stationer to assemble (or stuff the envelopes), usually at least $60 per 25 invitations.
If you would like to add a second ink color, the printer will charge a fee for the “second run,” often as much as $60 per second run.
Outer and inner envelopes are typically included with the price of the invitation. Return addressing on the outer envelope, however, is not. Lined inner envelopes are also extra.
Do not forget postage for the response card AND the outer envelope (more for heavier or odd shaped invitations).
Finally, while not mandatory but highly recommended, calligraphy for the outer and inner envelopes can run as much as $4 per envelope set (inner and outer).
Tip: Start the invitation process early so you can avoid rush fees and advance envelope shipping fees, and have time to do any assembly yourself.
The foregoing is a guide, but every stationery store and wedding invitation manufacturer is different, so make sure you ask your wedding invitation consultant questions and get the full picture on price before committing to your invitations.