Invitations are the first element of your wedding that your guests will see. Because of this, they set the tone for your wedding. And you'll undoubtedly want them to be very, very special.
If you've priced invitations, however, you may have been (unhappily) surprised at some of the costs you've seen, particularly when you factor in envelopes, postage, RSVP cards and any "little extras". Let's take a look at wedding invitation costs so there are no surprises -- and so that you make the best choices.
You will also want to decide whether you want to use a professional printer or create your own invitations from a template, using creative ideas of your very own.
Professional Invitation Printers
Let's take a look at using a professional printer first. If this is the route you've chosen, visit at least three vendors to compare before making a final decision. You may be surprised how widely varied package prices are.
The paper stock is the primary factor a printer uses to determine the cost. Materials such as silk or cotton will cost much more than lightweight card stock, for example (see Choices for Wedding Stationery).
Different methods of printing also will influence the price; for instance, raised lettering and engraving are more expensive than offset printing.
Keep all of this in mind before being wooed by your printer with beautiful card stocks and added features such as die-cut or embossed (raised) areas, cording, ribbon, colored ink or textured paper. They could bring the final cost to a number that brings you over budget if you're not careful.
You'll also want to ask for an estimate including envelopes and RSVP cards before making your purchase. One of the best methods for comparing apples to apples is to have them estimate the cost per invitation. Just like buying food by the pound, it will help you see exactly how much you're spending.
If you're not happy with your final price (usually a minimum of $475-600 per 150 invitations as of the date of this printing), ask what you can do to bring costs down. Your printer may be willing to work with you by showing you less expensive, but still lovely, alternatives.
Doing it Yourself
Your other option is "DIY", the route more and more couples are taking. One reason, naturally, is that they are more economical, but another is that the quality and options for DIY invitations have increased in recent years into virtually limitless choices.
DIY invitations average less than $3 each to make depending upon the quality of the materials you use. They're almost always a less expensive alternative to professional printers because time, labor and machinery are obviously not included; you only pay for your actual materials.
As with professional printing above, make sure you factor in envelopes, RSVP cards and additions such as vellum (see Paper Choices
) when estimating what your final cost will be. However, because you will be saving on the labor costs printers charge, you may have more "wiggle room" economically so that you can afford that gorgeous all-cotton paper or multiple colored printer inks you've been coveting.
Make sure you print out samples before putting your "good" paper into the printer. Holding an actual invitation in your hand, opening it and looking at it in real time gives you a better idea of the final product than looking at it on a computer screen. Do you like the size of the invitation? How about the font style? Should any areas be in bold? Are images running off the page? Create as many trial runs as you need before printing off your final invitations. You'll be glad you did..and thrilled with the results.
As an example: one of our subscribers made her own invitations for $0.15 apiece and paid less than $100 total. She later went shopping with a friend for wedding invitations and saw a very similar invitation being sold by a retailer for $4 each. Imagine how delighted she was to know that she had similar (and gorgeous!) invitations -- and extra money in her pocket to boot! If you have the time, it really pays to make them yourself and save big on wedding invitation costs.