Jenna Kast Studio Guest Blog: Budgeting for Wedding Invitations

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Photo: Emily Megan Photography

You spend months planning your wedding down to the last detail, but there’s only one piece of it that your guests will see before the wedding day; your invitations. Pinterest overflows with photos of beautiful invitation sets, making ideas easy to come by; but what about your budget?

Invitations are a must-have regardless of your budget. Not only can they be gorgeous and set your guests’ expectations for your wedding day, they must also be practical and deliver important information your guests will use to plan their weekend and travels.

If you Google “wedding invitation budget,” you’ll get all sorts of opinions on what your budget should be. Some sources say “X% of your total wedding budget,” while others give a starting (and oddly specific) cost. But how can either of these be right?

Regardless of what the budget is for your wedding, the biggest factor is how much you personally value the contribution your invitations make to your wedding. You could have a large budget, but feel that invitations aren’t as important to you. Therefore what you spend may be less than what “experts” say. Or you may have a small budget but want to make a good impression with your invitations, and therefore allocate more of your budget for that purpose.

There is no magical answer to how much wedding invitations “should” cost.

And whether you spend thousands on invitations, or DIY them, there’s no shame in doing them exactly the way you want to.

With all that said, let’s get down to brass tacks. What should you expect to spend for various types of invitations? Today there are a lot of options. You can design and print them yourself, you can purchase a pre-made design from sites like Etsy or Minted Weddings, or you could work with an invitation designer on a custom or semi-custom suite.

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Photo: Breeanna Kay Photography

Let’s start at the beginning

A standard “suite” is one complete invitation set that your guest will receive. This set should include five pieces: An invitation card, an invitation envelope, an RSVP card, an RSVP envelope, and a details card. Your invitation card contains all the important information about the ceremony, the RSVP card allows your guests to send their response, and the details card provides additional information about the reception and things like parking, directions, your wedding website and more.

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Photo: Breeanna Kay Photography

Breaking it down

It sometimes helps to think of the “price per suite” rather than the large lump number. So let’s discuss per-suite prices, and what you could expect to get at each price point. Remember, the suite includes the five items we discussed above.

  • $1-2 per suite ($100-200 for 100 invitations): A good option at this price point is to find a pre-designed suite that you can print yourself. Etsy sellers offer digital downloads that you can use as a template to personalize and then print from your own computer. Or you could source some nice paper and try your own hand at designing the text!
  • $3-$4 per suite ($300-400 for 100 invitations): In this price price range you’ll find a variety of customizable options that can still be professionally printed. Some stationery designers, and websites like Minted Weddings, have a variety of pre-designed suites available. You just input your information, and they’re printed for you and delivered to your door for assembly.
  • $5-$7 per suite ($500-700 for 100 invitations): At this price point you can start getting into custom-designed suites or semi-custom suites created just for you by a stationery designer! Not only are these suites unique creations just for you, but they can also feature custom lettering and/or watercolor art.
  • 8-$10 per suite ($800-1000 for 100 invitations): In this price range you can start expanding upon your suite. You can add things like folded pockets to keep everything together, or additional information cards with elements like a map.
  • $11-15 per suite ($1100-1500 for 100 invitations): If you’re into embellishments like wax stamps and ribbon, this price level allows you to get creative! You can also get creative with the materials and art, like having a custom monogram or crest to adorn your stationery, or modern acrylic invitations!
  • $16+ per suite ($1600+ for 100 invitations): It may sound crazy, but there really is no ceiling to wedding invitation pricing. Handmade papers, personalized invitations, and a variety of high-end fittings and trimmings allow for complete customization - as much as your budget allows.

The thing I find so fun about wedding invitations is that there’s no budget that can’t be accomodated. There truly is something for everyone! If custom invitations are important to you, you can work with a stationery designer to create something unique for as little as $5 a suite. Or if you’re looking for something simple and you’re able to invest the time, there are a lot of great options to DIY.

Bonus Idea: If you are taking on the task of designing your own invitations, or have a designer in your family who is willing to help you, you can commission an artist to create custom calligraphy, watercolor art, a crest, a map or a variety of other custom elements that you or your designer can use! This is called “spot calligraphy” or “spot watercolor,” and is a great way to add custom elements to a suite you already have or love.

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Photo: KLEM Studios

Action Steps

So where do you start? Hopefully the guide above was helpful, and gives you an idea of options at your price point. Scheduling a meeting with a stationery designer and explaining your vision and budget is a great way to see how to make your wants and your needs come together into something that won’t break the bank.

And most importantly of all, have fun! Wedding planning and budgeting can be stressful, but the people you work with are there to make your life easier, and make your vision come to life. And they’ll never make you spend more than you’re comfortable with. Enjoy the experience!