How much do wedding invitations cost?
When it came to planning out the stationery for my wedding, I had basically no concept of how much the vision I had in mind would actually cost.
I quickly realized that I had to narrow down what was truly essential to my wedding and what wasn’t. Most brides have little to no idea how much their dream wedding will actually cost to pull off.
And there’s nothing that bursts your bubble quicker than getting your heart set on a certain detail and then realizing you can’t afford it.
While I can’t speak for all the vendors that are necessary for your wedding, I can shed some light on the details and costs that go into your wedding stationery, so you can be prepared (and I'll share with you some ways you can save on wedding stationery).
It’s very likely that this is the first time you’ve had to source and budget for custom calligraphy services. There are so many details that go into your wedding paper goods that it can be hard to wrap your head around how much you should expect to pay for quality stationery.
Remember that the printing method, paper type, and intricacy of the design all affect the price of your invites.
The biggest factor by far that will impact your budget overall is the size of your guest list. The more people you invite, the more place cards, envelopes, menus, etc that you'll need.
A general rule of thumb for stationery is to budget $7 for every household you invite, and $4-$8 for every guest that accepts the RSVP.
Let’s get specific
As an example, let’s say you plan to invite 200 people to your wedding. That typically means you’ll need 110 invitations.
This includes the invitation card, response card, outer envelope and response envelope. This price applies to flat printing (digital) on a high quality card stock.
Side note: don’t leave postage out of your budget. You’ll need at least 2 stamps per invitation, one for the outer envelope, and one for the response envelope inside. Currently, forever stamps ar $.49 each, so budget $.98 per invitation.
After you get back the responses, let’s say 150 people have accepted. How should you budget for day of stationery for the guests who attend? Here’s the breakdown for an average cost per person:
This cost helps you budget for programs, menus, place cards, and thank you notes, all digitally printed on standard card stock.
With all of these costs, understand that this is an estimate based on industry standards. Printing method, paper type, and design intricacy will all impact the cost, and can vary from client to client.
Ways to save on wedding stationery
If you're freaking out inside right now, don’t let these numbers scare you!
If you’re planning a wedding on a tight budget, I totally get it, and I’m here to work with you. There are still several ways you can have beautiful wedding stationery without breaking the bank. Here are a few ways you can save:
Choose a semi-custom suite to save on the time it takes to design. Many wedding calligraphers offer a semi-custom collection with the aesthetics you’re looking for, including myself! Check out semi-custom invitations here.
Opt for a simpler invitation design, and then embellish your suite with a custom embosser, seal, stamp, or ribbon. Pairing an embellishment with a simplified design is often a more affordable way to impress your guests.
Skip the details card. Include your website on your save the date and invitation card, and encourage guests to look online for additional information like accommodations, maps and directions.
Mix in the details you love. If you’re interested in handmade paper (which costs more), pair a handmade paper invitation card with a standard cardstock response card.
Stick with the standard sizes and weights. Most invitations are size A7 (5x7 inches). Square mail items might sound cool, but be prepared to pay for additional postage!Also keep in mind that embellishments like wax seals can make each invitation card weigh more, requiring more postage per invite. A single forever stamp covers up to 1 oz mailing weight, so any invitation weighing more than 1 oz will need an extra stamp for each card (which can really add up!). Choose lighter weight embellishments like silk ribbons or calligraphy envelope addressing.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Most designers charge a rush fee for last minute orders. Plan ahead by booking your designer 4-6 months before your wedding day. Read this wedding stationery timeline to for more timing details.
I hope this post helped to shed some light on the mystery of invitation pricing. As you plan your wedding, hopefully this information will be helpful to you before you book your wedding calligrapher!