When it comes to choosing wedding invitations, the options are seemingly endless. As brides choose paper, colors, printing methods, and accents, the price can start to really add up. The average cost of wedding invitations is $5,000 to $8,000 for a set of 100 invitations, according to Katherine Hollensteiner, senior project manager of Cheree Berry Paper. But that's just an average, of course. "I've seen brides pay much more and much less," she says, adding that brides should set aside four to six percent of their overall budget for wedding invitations.
Unless you regularly interact with your local stationery store and printing press, it can be confusing to understand all of the options and how they'll affect your wedding invitation budget. Read on for a rundown of the different options.
Wedding Invitation Printing Methods
"The biggest factor that goes into the wedding invitation prices is the way the invitation is printed," says Kristen Armstrong, COO of Cheree Berry Paper. "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." Here are the four ways wedding invitations are printed and how they affect the price.
Meet the Expert
Kristen Armstrong is the COO of Cheree Berry Paper, an award-winning graphic design firm.
1. Digital Printing
"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 $700 to $1,200 for a set of 100.
2. 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 powder is added to the ink so you get a raised texture on the paper. "A suite of 100 invitations created using offset printing or thermography usually starts at $1,200," says Armstrong.
3. Letterpress Printing
Expect to spend about $1,600 on the low end for 100 letter-pressed invitation suites, advises Armstrong. "The higher cost is due to the amount of supplies and manual labor to create custom presses for each design and color," she says. "On top of the base price, each additional color will add an additional 25 percent 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 $2,200 if you choose engraving."
Wedding Invitation Accents
On top of printing, accents factor into the average cost of wedding invitations. Here are some popular wedding invitation add-ons and how much they'll run.
1. Foil Stamping
It's common for wedding invitations to come with foil accents. For example, the bride and groom's names might appear in copper, gold, rose-gold, or silver-foil stamping.
"Usually foil stamping is done as an embellishment," says Armstrong. "The bride and groom might want their names in gold foil, for example. Recently, however, brides have been wanting full foil stamp sets. It's definitely a trend we've seen grow recently. As a full set, it does get pretty expensive because a plate has to be created. For a full foil stamp on a set of 100 invitations, anticipate an additional cost of $1,800 for a set of 100. If you choose just to do gold foil accents, the cost would be closer to $400 per 100 invitations."
2. Blind Debossing and Embossing
Blind debossing and embossing are done using the same process as letterpress but without ink. When you blind deboss, you create a depression in the paper, and with embossing you create a raised text. Monograms, family crests, or other small accents are often debossed or embossed. These accents will cost $300 to $400 per 100 wedding invitations.
The edge of the invitation can actually be painted onto paper in a thick stock. "As the guest pulls it out of the envelope, they will notice that subtle detail," says Hollensteiner. Edging costs $150 per 100 wedding invitations.
4. Bevel Cut
A bevel cut is when the edge of the wedding invitation is cut at a 45-degree angle and then painted, making the edge more visible from the front than an invitation that is only edged. This is usually just done on the main wedding invitation. For 100 wedding invitations, this will cost around $400.
5. Wax Seals
The traditional way to create wax seals is to pour liquid wax on the envelope and stamp it to create a design. Now, however, you can use raised stickers with permanent adhesives that look really authentic and save a lot of time. Adding wax seals will cost $200 to $300 extra per 100 wedding invitations.
6. Insert Cards
The most common wedding invitation insert is a reception card, which is often used when the reception is at a different location than the wedding. A welcome party or brunch preceding the wedding also commonly goes on an insert card. "We suggest that insert cards are printed in the same way the invitations were," says Hollensteiner. A set of 100 insert cards can range between $150 and $500 depending on the printing method.
7. Envelope Liners
"Nine out of 10 of our invitations include a paper envelope liner, whether it's a solid color or a pattern," says Hollensteiner. The price per 100 wedding invitations is around $250 to $400 for envelope liners, with solid colors on the lower end of the range and patterns on the higher end.