Is that the sound of wedding bells or merely the ding of a cash register? The truth that few of us like to admit is that planning your dream day can be far from cheap, especially if you let your budget run away from you. From caterers to decorations and flowers to your dress, everything has a pretty little price tag. And, before you whip out your checkbook, you need to know how much each part of the celebration will cost.
Of course, one of your first purchases is likely to be stationary, so you can let your guests know when the big event is happening. Wedding invitations will be the first purchase that those attending your wedding will get to see. There’s a whole lot to think about here, such as what design style suits your wedding and how much information you should include. But first, let’s talk about the cost. Here, we'll take a look at how much wedding invitations tend to cost and, importantly, how you can save yourself some cash.
Average Cost of Wedding Invitations
Your wedding invitations set the tone for the entire event—they are the first thing that your guests see and will often give hints at the style and theme of the event. Of course, they are also likely to be your first real expense. Couples spend an average of $590 on sending out wedding invitations ahead of getting married, according to Statista. However, as one expert notes, how much they end up costing you can vary dramatically.
“The cost of wedding invitations can significantly range depending on whether you are going with semi-custom, where an existing design is selected and only minor customizations to text or materials are being made, or if you are going fully custom where the artwork and all elements of the stationery are custom-designed,” says Kelley Nudo, Client Manager at Momental Designs.
Meet the Expert
Kelley Nudo is a Managing Assistant at Momental Designs, which creates unique and custom watercolor wedding invitations.
“Semi-custom invitations can be as little as a few dollars each, while fully custom invitations are usually priced based on the specific selections being made, and oftentimes there are additional fees involved for the work of the artists or graphic designers,” continues Nudo. “There is no general standard when it comes to invitation pricing, but overall stationery is usually about 10% of the overall wedding budget.”
7 Tips to Save Money on Wedding Invitations
Are your purse strings tight? If you’re looking for ways to cut back on the overall cost of your wedding, starting with your invitations is a savvy move. Since this type of stationery can differ in style, quality, and customization, there are plenty of ways to make yours more affordable. Here are seven tips to save on them.
Build a Wedding Website
Hoping to save some space? You might want to opt for a digital alternative. “By building a wedding website, you can easily direct your guests to the site to find out more information about the wedding plans and activities, instead of having to list everything within the invitation suite,” says Nudo. “Using the website as a catch-all for information is helpful in reducing the amount of information you need to print, and in turn reducing the number of cards needed to be printed, saving you money. Having fewer cards enclosed with the invite will also help keep the postage weight down, so you won't be paying additional postage rates for heavy envelopes.”
Have Guests RSVP Online
Aside from the wedding invitations, many couples include an RSVP card and envelope. Try forgoing this tradition in favor of a free alternative. “Ditching the traditional mail-back RSVP card is a great way to make responding easy and convenient for your guests, but it is also a way you can save yourself from having to buy a first-class stamp for every RSVP envelope,” says Nudo.
Use the Same Company for Everything
“When you are searching for a stationer, it can oftentimes be more economical to use the same company for all your stationery needs,” says Nudo. “So, ask if they are able to design and produce all of the stationery items that you need, including the save-the-dates, invites, and day-of stationery. Many stationers reward clients who order multiple pieces with their company by extending discounts, package deals, or waiving service fees. Having to piecemeal your stationery items by using multiple companies can not only be more to juggle logistically but can end up costing more in the end.”
Prioritize Your Needs Over Your Wants
Looking for wedding invitations with all the bells and whistles? That’s going to cost you a pretty penny. Scale things back. “Many invitation prices are predicated on the design elements selected, for example, a digitally printed invitation is usually less than a foil-stamped invite, and not all invitations have to be embellished with ribbons, paper wraps, and tags,” says Nudo. “Decide what design elements are a must and make a wish list to share with your stationer.”
Avoid Paying for Calligraphy
"While calligraphy is a beautiful art form, not everyone has it in the budget to hire someone to meticulously hand-calligraph their envelopes to prepare the invitations for mailing,” explains Nudo. “Check with your stationer to see if they offer a more affordable addressing service. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with ordering a few extra envelopes and giving it a go yourself, and hand-addressing your envelopes to save some money.”
Order Extra Invites
While it may seem counterintuitive, getting a large batch of wedding invitations could save you money in the long run. “If you need more invites after you have already received your order, it might be more costly to place a second order, plus you will be paying for shipping again, “says Nudo. Avoid that issue by bulking up on your original order. “It is always a wise idea to order extra invites in case you have any issues with envelopes being delivered or you have any last-minute additions to your guest list. Having a few extra invites on hand is super helpful. Some companies have order minimums, so you might end up having to pay significantly more for just a small number of invites.”
Book Your Stationer Early
The early bird catches the worm, or so the old saying goes. Once you start planning your wedding, it’s essential to get on top of this job swiftly. “Booking your stationer early might not save you money upfront, but it definitely can help you avoid any potential rush situations down the road,” says Nudo. “Some vendors fill up fast, so it is smart to get on the books as soon as you can, so you can secure your spot and not be subject to expedite fees for design work, production, or shipping.”