Wedding invitations can cost anywhere from basically nothing up to many thousands of dollars. I like to say there’s not really an “upper limit” because if you want me to get shirtless men to deliver every invitation on horseback – I will. But it’ll cost you! The lower limit is probably the cost of some cardstock at a craft store, and the ink cost of using your own printer to print them – I’d estimate around $50 bare minimum for invitations, assuming a lot of DIY time.
So there’s a lot of space between $50 and shirtless men on horseback! How much should wedding invitations cost? The general stats will tell you 4-6%, but everyone prioritizes things differently for their wedding so that could easily go up or down.
It’s hard to give a clear answer to “how much are invitations?” because there are a lot of factors. In fact, there are 7 factors that will influence the cost of wedding invitations. Let’s explore how to get an accurate read on how much you should spend on your wedding invites!
The level of design help you want is, in my opinion, the largest factor in how much your wedding stationery will cost. There are 4 main types of wedding invitation design:
I’ll also mention that with different design levels you will receive different assembly levels too. For instance, for my semi-custom clients, I do not stuff the invitations into the envelopes. If someone books a custom suite with me, then I do full assembly, and some custom designers also mail out their clients’ invitations for them. So if you go with DIY, pre-designed, or semi-custom invitations, you may be on the hook for some assembly of your invitations!
The next factor that will determine your wedding invitation pricing is what pieces you include in the invitation suite. The absolute most basic wedding invitation would be a postcard invitation with an online RSVP. However most invitation suites include at least a wedding invitation, an RSVP card, and two matching envelopes. This is what I call a 4-piece suite in my Collections, and is what most wedding invitation sets come with standard.
From there, you will pay a little more for each additional piece you add to your suite! Most engaged couples I work with add on a details or website card, but there are a lot of different additions you can make:
The cost for these pieces varies – generally to print/produce an extra insert card is only $1-2 apiece. However, if your design is custom, then you’ll also pay for design work that’s involved in these cards. Wedding maps can cost a lot, depending on how many different locations are on them and how complex the artwork is.
I say papers, but “materials” might be the best word for this. Technically, you can make wedding invitations out of a ton of different materials – rock, metal, fabric, leather, acrylic, etc. Acrylic invitations are becoming fairly common! Watch this video on acrylic wedding invites:
Besides acrylic, I feel comfortable saying that any material that’s not paper will likely fall under the “Custom” design pricing. There’s just a lot of logistics, and unusual materials often require luxury print methods, which we’ll get to in a moment.
When it comes to paper, there are different types of paper that will have different price points. Let’s say that unique materials are all in their own realm of pricing. But within the paper realm, here are the most common invitation papers in order of cost-effectiveness. Each dollar sign isn’t a degree (like 10 vs. 100 vs. 1000), it’s just a comparison to show you how the costs of these different invitation papers compare.
Paper weight is important as well! Double-thick paper is a really nice upgrade that isn’t always very costly. For instance, you can upgrade invitations to double-thick paper for around $0.50 apiece as opposed to other upgrades that cost a lot more!
In addition the materials, your print method or print methods will affect the cost of wedding invitations. There are 3 most common wedding invitation print methods (watch this video) VIDEO
With foil or letterpress printing processes, there’s one more thing to take into account: die costs. The die that’s created has to be made for each color of foil or ink, and the invitations have to be run through the press a different time for each color of foil or ink as well.
This means, if you do the RSVP card in foil in addition to the invitation, you pay for 2 dies and 2 press runs. If your invitation has blue ink and black ink, you pay for 2 dies and 2 press runs for that. So the cost can accumulate quickly and you can keep it lower by only using a single foil color, or by only upgrading to foil or letterpress for the invitation card itself.
Lastly, you might see websites like Minted offering foil stamping for less than a custom designer can – are they price gauging your invitations? Not at all! If you create a foil die with more generalized information on it – such as a border or the words “You’re Invited” – then you can re-use that die as many times as you want and the cost will even out to next to nothing over time. However, if you want the foil stamped words to be custom to you – for instance, your names and date – then you can only use that die once and need to pay the full cost. That’s how websites that produce a ton of invites are able to reuse dies and print foil or letterpress invitations at a lower cost.
Wedding invitation embellishments can include a plethora of things, but the most common embellishments I see are:
Many of these are included in your invitation package, but assembly level is determined by how hands-on your designer is! I always assemble everything for custom invitation clients, but do a little less assembly for semi-customs unless requested.
If you’ve got a DIY spirit, this can be an area where you can save some money. As with most of these factors, when it comes to embellishments you’re mostly paying for someone’s time. It only costs me about $0.15 for a paper belly band, but I would charge more for the design if it’s printed, for my ordering time, and the time it takes to attach the belly bands to each invitation. So doing it yourself can lower the cost of your wedding invitations – but be prepared that a lot of these tasks require tools and supplies and are not as simple as they seem!
For instance, wax seals require a melting device (depending on the type of wax), a seal itself, and the knowledge of how to work with wax such that it sticks to the ribbon (or whatever) but doesn’t stick to your wedding invites! There’s a reason people pay for this…plus sometimes I get burned doing it!
Here’s a video on it if you want to try it yourself:
One of my favorite wedding invitation embellishments on a budget is thread. Yep, just regular old thread. It holds all the pieces together, which makes your guests feel like they’re getting a present from you! But it’s also really easy to find and really cheap. For about $7, you can get thread in any color with plenty to tie 100+ invitations. Tie it around (maybe using some of these ties) LINK TO VIDEO ON RIBBON TIES, and voila! A beautiful embellishment that only costs you time.
However, if you don’t want to invest much time into these invitations, then it’s definitely worth paying an expert to do it! Most of my custom clients don’t want to bother learning these tricks, so they are happy to pay my team to help them out.
The final factor to take into account for your invitations is postage! I know a lot of couples often don’t include postage in their initial budget, and if you’re not working with a hands-on designer, you might get a shock at the Post Office!
The minimum cost for postage for invitations will generally be $0.58 apiece (as of the time of writing this article). Most of my wedding invitation suites need postage in the $0.78 to $0.98 range.
You’ll need to add extra postage if your invitations:
Here’s a video about wedding invitation postage to help you get the hang of it (this video was filmed when postage was $0.55, but now it’s gone up a little to $0.58).
In general, what you’re paying for when it comes to wedding invitations is someone’s time. If it takes more time to order supplies, if the printing method is more complex, if they had to learn a special skill to create a certain type of design or print, if they have to assemble the pieces, etc. then you’ll pay a premium for those things. Yes, there are supply costs, but my actual supply costs vary much less than the timing and expertise costs.
So if your goal is to cut costs on wedding invites, here are some of my favorite suggestions!
Hi, I'm Laney!
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I make wedding invitations and I teach artists how to work smarter, make money, and run a business that works for you.