Of all the things you budget for while wedding planning, the cost of paper can feel like the biggest mystery. Unless you regularly interface with your local stationery store and printing press, it can be confusing to understand the different options you have and how much it costs in order to get the look you want. So we asked Kristen Armstrong, COO of Cheree Berry Paper to give us a brief run down of the different printing methods and how much budget you should really set aside for your wedding invitations.
"The biggest factor that goes into the cost of an invitation suite is the way it's printed, says Armstrong. "The cost of the paper itself — while there is going to be some variance — isn't going to make a huge difference when you're talking about 100 to 200 invitations."
"The most budget-friendly option is digital printing," says Armstrong. "This involves setting up a file on the computer and hitting print. Because everything is done digitally without the need to manually mix ink, it's a good choice for anyone who is printing invitations where there are many colors." An invitation suite with all four cards, digitally printed, will probably run you anywhere from $500-$1000 for a set of 100.
Offset Printing and Thermography
"Offset (flat) printing has a similar feel to digital printing, but the inks are mixed and then the design is transferred to your invitation through a press," explains Armstrong. "You get a higher quality print and can get very specific with the exact shade of color."
Thermography is similar to flat printing except that a powder is added to the ink so you get a raised texture on the paper. "A suite of 100 invitation suites created using offset printing or thermography usually starts at $1,000," says Armstrong.
Expect to spend about $1,600 on the low end for 100 letterpressed invitation suites, says Armstrong. "The higher cost is due to the amount of supplies and manual labor to create custom presses for each design and color. On top of the base price, each additional color will add an additional 25% to your costs."
"The most extravagant form of printing is engraving, which gives a formal, embossed look," says Armstrong. "It's a very labor intensive process and the same suite of 100 invitations will start at around $2,000 if you choose engraving."