Planning a wedding date gets expensive fast, so it’s important to budget for everything you need. One important cost to consider when choosing wedding invitations is your wedding invitation budget! But how much do wedding invitations cost, really?
The average cost of wedding invitations varies depending on factors like the design, printing style, number of invites, and more. Learn about wedding invitation costs so that you can plan this item in your budget. Read on to learn how to cut costs and stay within your wedding invitation budget for all your save the dates.
The average cost of wedding invitations is about $400 to $600 for most couples, but these prices can range dramatically. Some experts even quote stationary pricing at $5000 to $8000. Individual invitations can cost as little as $2 per invitation, however, so how much you spend is up to you.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend this much on gorgeous wedding invitations. There are plenty of budget friendly options, and the average cost depends largely on the services you use and other factors we’ll discuss below.
Factors That Affect Wedding Invitation Pricing
The type of wedding invitations you choose, from the paper to the printing method to the design itself, will affect how much you pay for your invitations. Consider the following factors and how they affect your overall price when choosing wedding invites.
Invitation Printing Methods
There are several different ways to print wedding invitations, and which one you choose will affect the cost. The digital printing process is the most common and inexpensive way to go, but there are other popular options for affordable wedding invitations. Consider the following printing methods when purchasing invitations to match your wedding theme:
- Digital Printing: This method is the least expensive, as it’s all done digitally – just like printing from your own computer with ink and lasers. This is also one of the best wedding invitation printing methods for invitations with photos or lots of colors, as it’s the cheapest way to print color.
- Offset Printing: Offset printing is a bit more expensive than digital printing, as it uses a plate to press the design of your invitation onto the paper. This offers a higher quality look and feel, and it can create very exact shades for the colors on your invitations.
- Thermography: This printing method is very similar to offset printing and flat printing, and it is roughly the same price but the average cost may be slightly more. Thermography uses a resin powder that creates a raised texture to the ink when heated and pressed.
- Letterpress: Letterpress printing presses designs into the cardstock, with or without ink. It can cost roughly the same as thermography with a simple design, but with more design elements the price can quickly increase or even double. This is because each custom press requires more manual labor.
- Engraving: Engraved wedding invitations are by far the most expensive, but they offer an elegant and formal look. This form of printing is much more labor-intensive, which is why the cost is so inflated, but it makes for gorgeous invitations if you have the budget for it.
Types of Paper
The type of paper you use will also affect the pricing of your invitations. Whether you want a matte finish or a glossy look to your save the dates, there are different paper options available. Consider the following common paper options:
- Parchment: The most common and inexpensive type of paper. You can create gorgeous invitations on parchment paper, whether matte or glossy.
- Linen: Slightly more expensive than parchment, linen invitations are a good balance of quality and cost.
- Cotton Fiber: Cotton fiber is the most expensive fabric commonly used for wedding invitations, but it offers a classically formal look. It also offers the ability to customize with a letterpress, should you choose that method of printing.
- Vellum: Vellum paper is made from calfskin, although there is a vegetable version as well, you’ll have to check with your local print shop or stationery store. It has a unique, slightly transparent, look and texture. It’s often layered with parchment.
- Felt Cardstock: Less expensive than cotton fiber, but more expensive than many other options, felt card stock is a thicker paper for invitations.
- Glassine: Glassine is a glossy paper similar to vellum, but with a waxier finish. It’s similar in price, mid-range compared to other papers.
- Handmade Paper: Handmade paper is an eco-friendly option that is becoming more popular. Its cost is in the middle range, more expensive than parchment but less expensive than felt cardstock or cotton fiber.
- Recycled Paper: Another popular, sustainable option, recycled paper is in the same price range as most handmade papers, if not a little cheaper.
The actual design of your invitations will also impact the overall cost! The simpler the design, the less expensive, and a custom design can really raise the final price tag. The following wedding invitation accents will affect your wedding invitation prices:
- Embossing and Debossing: Embossing and debossing are similar to letterpress printing, in that it creates a depression in the paper. Debossing is when you create a depression in the paper, whereas embossing creates a raised texture. Neither uses ink, creating a unique but distinct look.
- Foil Stamping: Foil accents offer a shiny, metallic look on your wedding invites. The more foil you want added to your invitations, the more the price will increase. Foil stamping is one of the more expensive wedding invitation printing methods.
- Edging: If your choice of paper is thick enough, you can have the edges painted a different color for a unique pop of color. This will, however, cost a bit more.
- Bevel Cut: Similar to edging, the bevel cut is when the edge of your invitation is cut at an angle and then painted to make it stand out even more.
- Photography: If you want a photo (perhaps an engagement photo) featured on your wedding invitation, it may cost more to print for the extra ink and colors.
- Color: The more colors on your invitation, the more it will likely cost. If you want multiple color inks, the best option is digital printing for the price.
- Calligraphy: If you want custom calligraphy on your invitations or wedding invitation envelopes, it will cost a pretty penny. This level of customization requires a lot of manual labor, so prepare to pay extra for these save the dates.
- Wax Seals: One fancy detail on envelopes is a custom wax seal. This will cost extra to create the custom seal and for the wax itself.
- Envelope Liners: Some couples opt for a color or patterned liner within the interior of the envelope. This added detail will also increase the price of your invitation suite.
Your wedding invitation suite doesn’t just include an envelope and an invitation most of the time. Many couples include several insert cards containing wedding details within their larger invitation suite. It’s common to include an RSVP card and envelope to mail in your RSVP. If it’s a destination wedding, then be sure to send out the RSVP cards even earlier. A destination wedding will require much more planning for your guests.
Another common insert is a reception card, where the details of the wedding reception are listed separately from the main invitation. Other events, like pre-wedding or post-wedding events like brunch, often have their own insert cards as well.
Other wedding stationery included with the main invitations include directions, accommodations, menu cards, and any other details guests may need. The more inserts you have printed, the more your overall stationery costs may increase.
How to Save Money on Wedding Invitations
If all this information is stressful, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to save on your wedding invitations! Your invites are typically only around 2-5% of your total wedding budget, but there are still ways to cut down on how much your wedding invitations cost.
Choose a Simple Design
A simple design can still be beautiful and elegant. Cut the frills and avoid accents like foil stamping, edging, or intricate color designs. Invitations don’t have to break the bank to look great – keep it simple and move on to the next task on your wedding checklist!
Cut Down on Card Inserts
Extra inserts like RSVP cards, reception cards, and more can increase the price. If you’re on a tight wedding budget, try to keep all of the information on one card so that there’s less to print.
If you’re worried about guests getting all of the information you need, include your wedding website URL on the invitation! That way, guests can navigate to the website to find all the details they would have found on insert cards, like hotel and transportation information, RSVP details, and more.
Ask for Online RSVPs
Another common insert card is the RSVP card. Save on costs by cutting this out of your invitation suite, and instead ask for online RSVPs. It’s easy to RSVP online, and it saves on paper costs. It’s also more environmentally friendly since it uses less paper!
Keep in mind that some older guests like grandparents may not be comfortable RSVPing online.
Some stationary services will handle your wedding invitations from start to finish. To save on costs, consider DIYing your invitations.
You can use online invitation services to design your invitations and print them, or even print the design at home yourself. Once everything is printed, stuff your own invitations at home to cut costs. Invitations are one of the easiest wedding DIYs, so make them at home to save money. You can still add some fun accents, like wax seals or other details that you can do at home.
If you really want to save on wedding invitation costs, consider opting for paperless digital invitations. This cuts out all the paper and printing costs and shipping costs, so all you have to pay for is the online design, which you could even make yourself!
Weigh the pros and cons of paperless wedding invitations here.
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