How to Budget for Wedding Invitations
When you finally sit down to start deciding what you are truly looking for in an invitation, you are going to be faced with multiple decisions to make, all of which will affect your cost.
Things that will fluctuate your invitation price are:
Paper Weight & Quality
Size of Invitation
Number of Inserts
Envelope Quality / Quantity / Color
Paper Weight & Quality
One of the first and main decisions you will make when deciding on a wedding invitation is the quality of the paper. For my invitations, I provide three different paper options: Basic, Specialty, and Premium. A very basic invitation paper is matte, white 80 lb card stock. Anything thinner than 80 lb, in my opinion, is way too flimsy for a formal invitation.
A specialty card stock will bring you a thicker paper quality, typically 95 – 110 lb, that has multiple textures and colors to choose from. Common papers include: Kraft Brown, Linen, Pearl (Metallic), Recycled, Speckletone, & Gloss. These papers will add on an average of .15 - .50 cents more per invitation.
On the top of the paper chain is the Premium quality. Premium paper is 130 lb and makes for a very durable and sturdy invitation. You will not need to worry about this stock getting ruined in the mail, compared to some of the thinner options that may crease or bend while being sorted at the post office. The premium stock also comes in your common paper textures: Linen, Pearl, Recycled, Felt, Gloss, & Cotton. Premium stock will tack on an average of .35 - .60 more per invitation
The majority of invitations are designed using a 5x7 layout. This size allows you to fit both a design and the majority of your wedding information on the front. Also, if you are having a pretty simple wedding, you may be able to fit everything on the front. If you are having your wedding ceremony and reception all at one location and you are okay with having just typography on your invitation, you may be able cut cost by using a 4x6 layout. This can be done but it's not very common. Price wise, the larger the invitation, the more expensive it will cost to print.
Do you love those square invitations?!? Well…they do make for a unique design but they will cost you additional postage : (
Number of Inserts
Once you have picked out a paper and a size, you will need to decide how much information you need to put on your invitations and how many inserts it will require. Your basic information, which includes: names, date, time, and typically your ceremony location, and is listed on the front of your main invitation. Depending on the design you choose, you may be able to fit the reception and dinner information on the front as well.
If you are not able to fit everything on the front, you now will need to decide between printing on the back of your main invitation or including an additional insert. This is commonly known as the “details” or “reception” insert. Other inserts that are commonly seen in wedding invitations include: Accommodations, Directions, Registry, Attire, etc. Each additional insert can range from .30 – $1.00, depending on their size, paper, and amount of sides printed. If you decide against the additional inserts, printing on the back of your invitation usually is about half the price of adding an insert.
When it comes to having your guests reply to your wedding, you do have a couple options to choose from. Your most economical method is having your guests respond online, either directly to a wedding website or even to an email. This option is normally free with wedding websites.
Your least expensive paper option is to have an RSVP postcard made to match your invitation. A postcard has some great benefits. You don’t need to write out or print labels for your return address, you can use postcard postage stamps instead of regular postage, and you do not need to buy an additional envelope.
The most formal and most common option is a paper RSVP with an RSVP envelope. Cost can fluctuate on this style based on two sizes, RSVP or A2. You can decide if you want one sided or double-sided printing, and the type of envelope you choose.
Like choosing your paper, envelopes come in different grades. You have your basic thin text stocks, which are very reasonable, but are on the thin side and sometimes even see-through. They are usually only available with a square flap and in your basic colors of White, Cream, and Kraft Brown. I have found these envelopes for as little as .10 per envelope.
Premium grade envelopes come in a thicker stock, are available with the euro flap (long triangle flap) and in multiple colors and textures. Premium envelopes are frequently .10 - .50 more than your basic square flap envelope. If you are looking to really top off your invitation design, a matching pop of color with an envelope is the perfect way!
You also will need to decide if you are going to include an inner and outer envelope or if you are only going to use one. Inner and outer envelopes are very formal and allow you to write just the family name and address on the outer envelope and list each guest by name, and if they are allowed a guest, on the inner envelope. This lets you skip writing out each guests name with the address on the outer envelope, which keeps your address from getting cramped and hard to read. An inner and outer envelope also works the best for invitations with envelope liners. If you are going to spend the money to add a liner, you most likely don't want your guests ripping it in half before they even see it!
Envelope printing is a modern method to both save you time and keep your invitations sharp and clean! It does come at a cost…boo! Envelope printing can be one of the pricier add-ons, especially if you are using premium colored envelopes. Printing can run anywhere from .35 – $1.25 more per envelope and fluctuates depending on if you are printing just your guest address or your guest address and return address. Also, you will be charged additional if you choose to put the return address on the front flap.
There are a few other options that are available. One less expensive method to printing envelopes is using companies that specialize in guest address printing. One that I often recommend is Minted. You are able to order plain white, premium square flap envelopes with guest address printing for .30 each, which includes the envelope. But note, if you add return address printing or choose a specialty envelope, their prices increase by .35 - $1.00 more per envelope.
If you are really handy with your printer at home, you do have the option to print directly on to your envelopes. If you have never used your printer to print envelopes, most companies provide a tutorial if you go directly to their website and search envelope printing. Just keep in mind that you are most likely going to screw up on one or two envelopes, so have a few extra on hand. A good trick to start with is cut down a few pieces of paper the same size as your envelopes and use those as your tester sheets to get the printing layout and spacing correct. Another way to use your own printer would be to purchase labels and print your guest list out that way. Again, you can find tutorials on how to get your addresses to line up properly online.
Lastly, return addresses can be made into rubber stamps, self-inking stamps, or embossers. This allows you to simply stamp your return address on the front flap of your main invite, on you RSVP envelope, and on thank you notes! I have custom designed these to match the same fonts from the wedding invitation so it pulls everything together! Custom stamps run around $15 - $50.
I know we have already covered a lot of different options but your last decision on wedding invitations is if you want any additional add-ons. Add-ons are exactly that, you can add them on if you want or you can completely choose to skip them. Add-ons include: Ribbon, Backings, Pockets, Envelope Liners, Vellum, Wax Seal, Tissue and so much more. These items really enhance the design aspect of invitations. Are you looking to have a show stopper invitation or something simple? Add-ons can be as low as .10 more per invite if you are just picking one small item but if you are adding on multiple items, you may end up with and extra $3.00 - $5.00 per invite.
The most expensive add-ons that I have run across have been pockets, especially laser cut pockets. Pockets are not only made of premium paper, they also require custom cutting and assembly. Do they look beautiful? Absolutely!
Postage is one thing that a lot of brides forget about. Your typical 5x7 invitation, with an RSVP and envelope will require a regular stamp. If you have an envelope with your RSVP, that will require another regular stamp for your guests to be able to return the card. If you decide to use a postcard RSVP instead of an envelope, you will only need postcard postage. Chances of your postage going up on the main invitation envelope would happen when you have square invites, have multiple inserts and envelopes, or you have a bow or bulge that cause the envelope to not make it through the mail sorter.
Overall, I tell my customers to start by making a budget they would like to stay within and then write down your absolute must haves. Then go down the list a la cart style and build an invite that works for your style and your budget. If you are set on having a backing and an envelope liner, then cut out the envelope printing and the RSVP envelopes. This list is a tool to help you build an invitation that you are going to love but keep your costs in check.
You Don’t Have a Budget!
Make yourself the most beautiful, over the top wedding invitation that money can buy! Go ahead and add all the bells and whistles! Remember, this may be a once in a life time opportunity.
*Please Note: All pricing in this post was based off of L.designs & local Wisconsin vendor’s pricing. Pricing may vary in other areas.
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