Wedding invitations can run the spectrum from simple in style and economical in price to elaborately over the top and very expensive. Professionals can help with any phase of the process from customizing invite templates to designing one-of-a-kind invitations. Most pros can take care of printing or provide a template to allow customers to print invitations themselves. Some wedding invitation specialists can address invites and RSVP envelopes and even mail them on customers’ behalf. Special invitation features include ribbons, cutouts, letterpress, metallic foil, special ink, embossing and much more. Design and invitation professionals can help with save-the-date cards, RSVPs, informational inserts, maps, thank you notes, place cards, programs and other printed materials.
Wedding invitations can cost as little as $1 per invite, or they can be as expensive as you want to go, says Cathy Zuniga of Paperie & Company in Frisco, Texas. Zuniga worked with one celebrity who requested that her letterpress invitations be sent in a mailable silk box, surrounded on the inside by floating pearls. The cost of each invite was over $10,000. This, of course, is an extreme example, but it shows how price depends on the materials and level of customization.
Number of invitations
The more invitations needed, the higher the total cost. Remember that invitations are sent to each family not to each individual. A good guideline is to halve the number of guests to calculate how many invites to order, says Zuniga of Paperie & Company. For example, couples expecting 300 people, should order 150 invitations. Here are some examples of invitation costs.
50 die-cut, themed invitations: $600
The client ordered 50 invites for 100 guests.
Metallic gold card with flat print and a die-cut masquerade ball design.
Price per invite: $6
125 deckled-edge wedding suites: $725
The client ordered 125 invites for 200 guests.
Suites include invitations, RSVP cards and an informational insert.
Price per suite: $5.80
The printing style directly affects the cost of wedding invitations. The more labor-intensive the style of printing is and the more expensive the printing materials, the higher the project cost. Here is an overview of the most common printing styles for wedding invitations ordered from Paperie & Company:
Offset or flat print. The least expensive type of printing is called offset or flat print and can be done digitally. This type of printing offers flexibility in terms of design patterns and colors, but it is a flat print on cardstock with no raised texture.
Thermography and foil. The next price level up is a type of printing called "thermography," which is raised print that mimics engraving. This printing style looks good but graphic design and color options are limited because of how the ink is heat transferred on the paper. Foil printing costs about the same as thermography.
Engraving. This type of printing enables the use of raised patterns and more colors. The price, however, goes up significantly.
Letterpress. The most expensive type of printing is letterpress because of how labor-intensive the process is. Letterpress is beautiful, says Zuniga of Paperie & Company, and allows great graphic designs, patterns and colors.
Wedding invitations are usually more than just the invite. Some couples include an RSVP card and envelope, directions or hotel information. Zuniga at Paperie & Company likes to get an idea of a couple’s budget upfront so they don’t fall in love with an invitation suite before knowing the cost. Invitation and print professionals can guide clients through print styles and ink and color selections to create a particular look at an affordable price.
For a simple aesthetic or to save on printing and design costs, some couples opt for all-in-one wedding invitations. Paperie & Company charges $1.89 for these cards, which feature a flat print style and contain all the necessary wedding information on one card. Certain elements are usually not changeable with all-in-one invites, such as the pattern and color of the invite, but clients can customize the the font and wording. Most print companies can meet a range of client visions by offering several template designs.
Some couples want unique designs for their wedding invitations and will work with a graphic designer or printing professional to custom design them. Many designers charge an hourly rate for design work that falls outside of standard wedding invitation templates. Nicole Engstrom of Little Mac Design of Lakeville, Minnesota, for example, charges $45 per hour. Here’s a sample project:
- 25 wedding invites, including custom design, communications, print and delivery: $500
- Beyond the initial consultation, Little Mac Design charges for email communications, texts and phone calls associated with graphic design and wedding invitation creation. The hourly rate also includes the time required to submit and prepare invitations for print.