If you find yourself asking, “Why are wedding invitations so expensive?” then you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’m going to talk about what’s on everyone’s mind – the cost of wedding invitations and why they can be expensive. As a stationery designer, I’d like to provide a glimpse into the exciting world of print processes and how they affect the price of these beautiful keepsakes. I’m also going to rank each printing process as to whether I think it’s worth it or not.
Contents & Shortcuts
- Invitation Pricing 101
- General Rules for Invitation Pricing
- Let’s Rank Invitations!
Invitation Pricing 101
When it comes to wedding invitations, there are endless options to choose from, and each one comes with its own unique cost. Whether you opt for traditional letterpress, elegant foil stamping, or modern digital printing, the price of your invitations will vary based on the following factors:
- Print process
- Paper stock
- Number of insert cards required
- Amount of personalisation required
Other factors that may affect the cost of invitations include the level of professional design assistance you require, your timeline, and even the place you reside in. Printing costs differ around the world, so it may be cheaper to order invitations from a designer working overseas. But keep shipping costs and delays in mind, as the cheapest option may not always be the best option.
To summarise wedding invitation pricing – the more complex, luxurious or personalised your invitation is, the higher the cost will be.
General Rules for Invitation Pricing
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – the actual cost of wedding invitations. Depending on your budget and the complexity of your design, you could be looking at anywhere from $2 to over $10 per invitation. And that’s not even including additional details like RSVP cards, envelopes, or custom calligraphy! It’s important to keep in mind that these costs can quickly add up, especially if you have a large guest list. I’ve listed some general rules for when it comes to invitations.
- The thicker the paper, the higher the price
- The more you order, the more cost-effective it becomes
- Paper isn’t cheap – the type of paper that you choose will affect the cost
- Printing also isn’t cheap – apart from the ink, other costs associated with printing include setup, manual labour and quality assurance
- Anything you see on Pinterest will almost always cost more than $5 per invitation
Let’s Rank Invitations!
The table below shows my personal opinion of whether or not I believe certain invitation printing processes are worth the price tag. The average minimum cost listed is based on the standard price of invitations in Australia at the time of writing. Please keep in mind that this may vary in different regions of the world and can also differ between different invitation designers.
|Average minimum cost for 50 invitations (AUD)
|Love it – totally worth it!
|White ink on coloured card; Die-cut shapes
|Go on, treat yourself
|Letterpress, Hot foil stamping
|Perfect balance of aesthetics and cost
|It’s alright but nothing special
|Metallic ink printing
White Ink Printing
If I had to sum up white ink printing in two words, they would be ‘elegance’ and ‘sophistication’. There is something unique about white ink that has the ability to elevate ordinary coloured card into something special. While black ink on coloured card may be more common, white ink is like its rare cousin. Despite costing slightly more than regular black or colour ink, the price difference is negligible in the grand scheme of things. Personally, I place white ink printing in the ‘Love it’ pile because it offers an affordable option for adding a truly impressive element to even the simplest invitation designs. It’s one of those specialty choices that never fails to elicit a ‘wow’ reaction from recipients, creating a lasting impression without breaking the bank.
Honestly, who can resist shaped stationery? Personally, these shapes transport me back to my childhood days and evoke a sense of playfulness. Incorporating die-cut shapes into invitations is a fantastic way to infuse creativity without straining your budget. These whimsical designs not only lend themselves perfectly to casual events but also add a touch of modern elegance when used for table settings. While the cost of die-cutting services may vary, it remains relatively reasonable, especially when printing a substantial quantity (over 100 units).
If you’re looking to make a statement with your wedding invitations, then letterpress is the way to go! Letterpress is the epitome of elegance and sophistication, and it adds a touch of luxury to any invitation. It involves a labour-intensive process where each custom design is made into a relief plate. From there, the plate is manually pressed into each sheet of paper, resulting in a luxurious and tactile feel. It’s a manual process that requires skill and precision, which is why letterpress invitations come with a higher price tag. But trust me, it’s worth every penny! With letterpress, you’ll set the tone for your special day and make a statement that your guests won’t soon forget. So go ahead, indulge in the beauty of letterpress for your wedding invitations – you won’t regret it!
Hot Foil Stamping
The use of foiling on invitations is synonymous with luxury and sophistication. The shimmering metallic foil used in hot foil stamping instantly catches the eye and adds an elegant feel to any invitation. Hot foil stamping is another technique that requires a high level of manual craftsmanship and attention to detail. The process involves heat transferring the foil onto the paper, creating a stunning reflective effect that is both visually appealing and tactile. In my view, there is no substitute for the aesthetics of foiling. So, if it’s something that you really want for your invitations, I would say it’s worth the price tag.
Even though digital printing is often overlooked as being basic or generic, I beg to differ. The process may not use any fancy manual print techniques or finishings but I believe you can create something incredible with just black ink, great fonts and gorgeous textured paper. The best thing about digital printing is that it’s affordable for most people. Sure, the price may fluctuate depending on the paper stock, but it seldom breaks the bank. If you’re looking for an option that is elegant but not over-the-top, I would suggest digital printing on a luxurious paper stock such as cotton, linen or handmade paper.
Metallic Ink Printing
When it comes to metallic ink printing for invitations, it’s important to consider the value it brings. Metallic ink is pretty – but that’s all it is. There’s no special technique involved and it doesn’t give much to rave about. I’m not a hater of metallic ink and I do believe it can enhance designs when used wisely. However, if you have budget constraints and are unsure about upgrading to metallic ink, it may not be worth it. Whilst it does add a touch of shimmer to the design, it certainly doesn’t have the same ‘wow’ factor as hot foil stamping.
In my opinion, while blind embossing can be visually appealing, I don’t believe it justifies the cost for a small batch of wedding invitations. Although it can add a touch of elegance to modern and neutral invitations, the price point may not be worth it for most people. Blind embossing is a printing process that creates a raised design on paper. It involves using custom-made metal plates, known as dies, which are created according to the desired image or text. These dies are typically a two-piece set, with one piece having the design raised surface and the other fitting into it. When the paper is pressed between the two dies, the raised design is imprinted onto the paper, creating a three-dimensional or raised effect. The majority of the costs associated with blind embossing goes into the creation and setup of these dies. Realistically, a budget of at least $1,000 would be needed for 50 complete invitation sets using blind embossing. The cost per card drops significantly if you’re organising a large-scale event and require at least 200 invitations. So, unless you’re hosting a sizable event, blind embossing may not be the most cost-effective option.
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the right invitation printing process for your wedding invitations, it’s important to remember that the level of luxury is entirely up to you. From basic to opulent, there are a wide range of options available, each with its own price tag. Ultimately, the key factor to consider is your budget. While letterpress and blind embossing can enhance the visual appeal of your invitations, it’s crucial to weigh the cost against the desired level of extravagance. By carefully considering your budget, you can create wedding invitations that reflect your personal style and make a lasting impression on your guests, without breaking the bank.