Five Things to Remember when Budgeting for Wedding Invitations

You are getting married! Congratulations! There are quite a few things to take care of right from the beginning, and chances are you have a budget to keep in mind when you are planning everything. When it comes to planning for your paper design, what do you need to think about, and what matters or are your needs for your wedding?  I haven’t really seen that many posts for brides to really, truly help you to determine how to create a budget for your wedding without telling you what your number should be. This is a pretty lengthy post, but I also knew that it would be good to include all in one so that you had something to bookmark and come back to.  So, save this image below to your Pinterest board so that you have something to refer to when planning your budget for paper.

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I have seen so many websites give you average costs that you can plan your budget around, but let’s be honest.  Those websites group the brides together as an average, which puts the bride who pays $0 because she does an emailed invitation with the bride who pays for each invitation to be hand delivered as a singing telegram.  (and yes - that last example was a bit out there, but it was exaggerated on purpose). This also groups the people who mail 25 invitations with the people who mails 500 invitations.  Do you see where I am going with this? I wanted to write a post that you would be able to apply to your individual wedding needs instead of seeing what everyone else is doing. When it comes to your budget for everything for your wedding, think about your needs versus wants, and think about what matters most to you and your fiance for your wedding.

I hope that you will think of this post as a guide, that will be beneficial to you when you're planning the budget to potentially spend on your wedding paper. 

Five Things to Keep into Consideration when Planning your Wedding Paper Budget

1.  What do you want to have?

Are you in need of Invitations only? Or do you want to have Save the Dates? AND Invitations? AND Day-Of Items like Ceremony Programs, Gift Tags, and Menus? AND Thank You Cards?

When it comes to your wedding, think overall about all of the paper items that you want to have for your wedding.  There is a big difference budget-wise for the bride who only needs wedding invitations and the bride who wants to incorporate everything paper-wise into her day.  If you want to have Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations, Table Numbers, Ceremony Programs, and Thank You Cards with Envelopes for writing to your guests after the wedding, the amount you will need to budget will be substantially more than if you are only in need of Invitations.

Five Budgeting Tips for Wedding Paper from Grace and Serendipity

2.  Include the Cost of Stamps

For mailing purposes, if you are planning on mailing both Save the Dates AND Wedding Invitations, your budget will need to be higher than you think simply due to the cost of stamps. This is something I have found often gets forgotten, but it can add a substantial amount from the beginning.  I am going to compare the three: USPS, Custom, and Vintage.

USPS Stamps

If you are mailing anything in an envelope, it is currently .49 to mail something that is one ounce or less. This is normally the case for Save the Dates, using USPS Stamps.

For Wedding Invitations, you normally need to mail (a) the invitation, and also include (b) a stamp on the response envelope for your guests to be able to mail the response card back to you. (and yes, you absolutely need to supply a stamp on the envelope for your guests in addition to addressing the response envelope for them so that all they need to do is drop it back in the mail to you).

it is usually .70 to mail a Wedding Invitation due to the extra inserts included (including the invitation, details card, response card, response envelope, and liner) plus the cost of the stamp for the response card, which is also .49.

This means that for each Save the Date and Invitation you mail, for the stamps alone, it costs $1.68.  If you are mailing 125 of each, it will cost $210 for the USPS Stamps alone.

Custom Stamps  

If I am working with a bride and groom for either Bespoke or Curated Invitation Design, I do not add an additional design cost on to order custom stamps, but currently a custom stamp from Zazzle that has a .70 Two Ounce Weight is $1.44 per stamp, plus an additional $8.95 on average for shipping.

This means that if you are ordering Custom Stamps only for your Invitation for the mailing stamp, when you add in the Save the Date and response envelope stamp, if you are mailing 125 of each, it will cost $311.50. If you want to include Custom Stamps for your Invitation, Save the Date, and Response Envelopes, if you are mailing 125 of each, it will cost $477.50.

Vintage Stamps

Oh friends.  I love the look of vintage stamps, and know that so many of you do too.  However, vintage stamps need to be highly considered as an art form, used for envelopes that you want guests to not only ooooooh over, but also blend with the style of a wedding you are having.  On average, a vintage stamp costs 3-5x more than the face value of the stamp.  In addition,  vintage stamps are generally not adhesive on the back, so they will each need to be licked and placed. In addition, you need to count up the amount for each, as they can vary from .01 to .30.  This means that you may have as many as 6 or more stamps on the envelope.  For our purposes here, let’s say that for the mailing envelope only, you have two .04 stamps, two .10 stamps, a .30 stamp, and a .12 stamp, which equals .70.  Multiply that by 5 and that brings you to $3.50 per invitation for stamps alone.  Add in the stamps for the response envelope and Save the Date, and you are looking at spending $4.48 per envelope in stamps alone.  If you are mailing 125 of each, it will cost at least $560. So, there is a tremendous difference in cost if you have USPS stamps, Custom, or Vintage Stamps - for this example here, they ranged from $210 to $560+ for 125 Save the Dates and Invitations.

Five Budgeting Tips for Wedding Paper from Grace and Serendipity

3.  Do you need to include a Details Card?

A lot of times, a big question asked is if you need to have an additional details card.  It depends.  If you are having your ceremony and reception at the same location, you may not need to include an accommodations card as the address for both can be included on the invitation itself.  However, if you a lot of your guests will be coming from out of town and you need to include accommodations or would like to also include an address for your website, a Details card is absolutely necessary.  That card alone, if you are doing flat printing, is normally at least $1.25 to $3.00, depending on the quantity you need. For our purposes, if you have 125 Invitations, Details cards with flat printing average about $2.25, depending on the amount of design included if it is for a Bespoke Invitation Design. This one card alone can add at least $285 to your wedding collection cost.

4.  How do you want to have it assembled?

There are many different ways to tie a suite together so that when your guests open the envelope, all of the cards stay together as one piece.  It can possibly be wrapped with a paper belly band, string, or silk ribbon.  Belly bands are printed flat, and require scoring and sealing around of the back of the invitation.  String needs to be wrapped around the suite individually and then tied in a knot or a bow.  Same thing with silk ribbon, each piece needs to be cut, anti-fray spray needs to be applied to the ends, and it needs to be tied into a bow or a knot.  Silk ribbon is one of the more expensive options. You also have to take assembly time into consideration if you are having your designer do this for you.  It can be a very time consuming process, especially if using silk ribbon.  If you want to have any of these items, for a set of 125 invitations, it can add anywhere from $200 to $500 for this addition alone.

Five Budgeting Tips for Wedding Paper from Grace and Serendipity

5.  Flat Printing, Letterpress, or Foil?

This is one of the most requested items from my brides I work with.  However, the methods for each of these are different, which affects pricing as well.

With Flat Printing, your collection is ordered digitally, printed on a professional printer, then cut down to size and ready to go.  You can incorporate as many colors as you’d like for flat printing because they are printed from a printer, and the cost of additional colors of ink doesn’t add in cost.

However, if you want to have an invitation designed in letterpress or foil, it has to be looked at differently design-wise from the beginning.  For letterpress printing, each color that is printed will require a different plate to be created, so if you want to have an invitation with three colors, three plates will need to be made.  Then, each one will be manually run through a letterpress printing machine, once per color.  So if you have three colors, each card will be “pressed” three times.  In addition, if you have flat printing combined with letterpress (like the image below), it takes additional runs through a printer as well.

For Foil, the process begins the same as letterpress, but hot foil is stamped on each of the cards where the lettering or design is included.  If you are going to be incorporating colors in addition to the foil, those need to be printed or pressed into the card first, and the foil completed after that.

Pricing for flat, letterpress, and foil printing varies greatly depending on the quantity that you order, however letterpress and foil printing, on average, is at least 2-3 times the cost of flat printing.

Five Budgeting Tips for Wedding Paper from Grace and Serendipity

Overall, for your wedding, when thinking about your paper needs, think about what is most important.  If you have to choose your top three most important details for your wedding paper, go through this list.

1.  What all do you want to have included for your wedding paper? Then, from that list, what do you need?

2.  How many Save the Dates and Invitations do you need to mail, so that you can determine stamps?

3.  Do you need or want to include a Details Card?

4.  How do you want it to be assembled?

5.  Do you want them completed with flat printing, letterpress, or foil?

These are all things to take into consideration when planning your budget for paper. I would highly suggest not to look at what averages are on websites, but rather look at what you need, your quantities, and put things together either by working directly with an invitation designer (shameless plug: see my portfolio here ;) ) or pricing things together on your own to see what things cost with your specific needs.

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Do you have additional questions when it comes to planning paper for your wedding? If so, leave a comment below. I’d be more than happy to help you in this area!

All invitation images shown designed by Grace and Serendipity, photographed by Aislinn Kate