There was a time — hundreds of years ago — when a town crier would announce the upcoming nuptials of a couple, inviting everyone who could hear. Invitations were too expensive, and in the 1400s and 1500s, most people couldn’t read.
Much has changed today.
The wedding invitation has developed into an elaborate, thought-out purchase for brides-to-be because it sets the tone and theme of the wedding. As expected, the more elaborate an invitation is, the more expensive it will be. Add in the cost of mailing your invites and you might be surprised how much this line item in your wedding budget can cost.
The Average Cost of Wedding Invitations
The average cost of your wedding invitations ranges from $400 to $600, depending on how you print your invites, what types of accents it includes, and how many people are attending your wedding. With a single stamp costing 55-cents, for example, there’s going to be a difference in total cost between a 175-person wedding and a 100-person wedding.
This is just the average cost of wedding invitations. The overall price can increase to thousands of dollars if you’re opting to use the highest quality of printing methods and heavier materials that require additional postage.
On the other hand, more and more couples are eliminating that cost altogether by making their invites digital and forgoing printing and postage costs.
If you’re not sure what type of wedding invitation is right for you, our guide can help you to determine not only how much wedding invitations cost, but will give you a better understanding of your invitation options. If you do decide on a traditional paper invite, our money-saving hacks can help you cut costs without sacrificing style.
Why Are Wedding Invitations Expensive?
When you’re planning your wedding, wedding invitations typically aren’t the first budget line item you consider when creating your plan. That can make the cost of your invitations rather jarring at first.
So, why are wedding invitations so expensive? Let us explain:
The main reason there’s a huge price range for wedding invitations is the vast array of materials and paper types available. It is that wide selection that can make picking out paper material for your wedding invitations so difficult.
Best Budget Paper Type: Matte
If you want to keep things affordable, without sacrificing esthetically, a clean matte-finish paper is just the ticket. The advantages of matte over glossy? It doesn’t show fingerprints and also feels a little sturdier making it a cost-effective alternative to heavier cardstock.
Top Luxury Paper Type: Cotton Fiber
If you’re looking for an elegant paper type for your wedding invitation, go with cotton fiber. It’s typically the most expensive option because it looks and feels expensive, but also because you can customize it with a letterpress — a popular option amongst brides.
Best Green Paper Type: Recycled Paper
For those conscious about the environment, purchase recycled paper for your invitations. Most recycled paper is reasonably priced.
Best Combo Paper Type: Parchment and Vellum
While it’s expensive, many couples send out wedding invitations that are printed on parchment paper and then layered with the see-through paper type, vellum. The layering gives your invitations a more sophisticated look. Of course, the downside is that buying two sets of paper types is much more pricey than just one.
Another major factor in your wedding invitation cost is the design. Are you going with a template that you found online for your design? Or are you going to hire someone to custom design your invitations?
Most couples opt for a template through a site that offers wedding invitation services. Luckily, many sites today make it easy to customize existing designs to your liking so that it fits with the theme of your wedding.
If you’re willing to spend extra money on your wedding invitations, you can go to sites like Etsy or Fiverr to search for and commission an artist. Who knows, you may get lucky and find a great deal!
Your next expense is the actual printing of your wedding invitations. Like the type of paper you choose, you have plenty of options.
The majority of couples go the route of digitally printing their invites because it’s the most cost-effective method. The advancement of printers and online design software makes this option a no-brainer because invites come out looking very professional.
Similar to digital printing, offset printing, which is also known as flat printing, enables the design to be transferred to your invite through a press. This results in a higher-quality print and allows you to narrow down very specific colors and hues.
The main reason, however, for offset printing is that you can choose practically any paper type for your invitation. Most digital printing services will limit you to matte, glossy or some kind of heavier cardstock.
Offset printing isn’t too expensive, but expect to pay more than traditional digital printing.
For couples who want their invitations to really shine, consider letterpress printing. You can, of course, expect to spend a considerable amount of money when compared to other printing options.
There’s plenty of manual labor that goes into letterpress printing. It creates a texture on the invite that allows you to feel where the letters were physically pressed into the paper.
For couples who want letterpress invitations, save on costs by sticking to one color. Additional colors can increase the overall cost by 25% per color.
For the most luxurious of weddings, consider engraving your invitations for an extremely formal and embossed look. Engraved wedding invitations cost the most out of the bunch due to the labor-intensive process. You can expect to pay in the thousands of dollars, depending on how many you need.
What is engraving? Your invitation details are raised on the front and indented on the back to achieve this unique look and texture. Some couples take it a step further and engrave their details on a wooden or metal invitation card to stand out even more.
Wedding Invitation Extras
From invitation accents to insert cards, there are plenty of extras to include with your wedding invitations.
The traditional way to implement a wax seal on your wedding invitation envelope is exactly what you think it sounds like: pour a dab of liquid wax on the envelope, stamp it, and let it dry before sending it out.
Today, you can buy reasonably-priced stickers that resemble wax seals that make things MUCH easier.
Many couples will print the details of their wedding ceremony on their wedding invitations and will reserve a separate insert card for details on the reception. This allows them to have plenty of space for their desired design on the main wedding invitation, without worrying about cluttering it up with more words about the reception.
The cost of insert cards isn’t too bad. The bigger issue is weight. Once your envelope gets too heavy, you’ll need to include additional postage. We recommend taking a sealed invite to your local post office to double check the weight before attempting to mail it out.
Foil stamping is one of the most common embellishments on a wedding invitation, but can be pretty expensive. This foil accent can appear in gold, silver or copper, among other colors.
So, what exactly is foil stamping? It’s a printing process that uses heat, metal, pressure and foil to put a name or some piece of information on your invitation. The result has a nice texture to it and stands out beautifully on your invite.
Foil stamping will likely increase your overall cost by several hundred dollars.
Many couples decide to hire someone to address their wedding invitation envelopes in calligraphy. It’s a beautiful, bespoke element to your wedding invitations that really make it stand out the moment a guest pulls it out of their mailbox.
Unfortunately, this can run you several hundred dollars, depending on the size of your wedding and where you live. A professional calligrapher in a major metropolitan city is going to cost more than the same professional in a smaller town.
Most calligraphers will charge you by the envelope, so it’s probably a worthwhile expense for smaller weddings. When budgeting your wedding, plan on an average cost of $5 per envelope. While a calligrapher may give you a discount for a certain number of guests, at the $5 rate, a 150-person wedding is going to cost you more than $350 (assuming most guests come with a spouse or significant other who didn’t receive a separate invite).
Once the invitations are printed and the envelopes are addressed, there’s only one last thing to do: put a stamp (or two!) on the envelope and place it in the mail.
Unfortunately postage in the United States never goes down — only up. Today, a first-class mail stamp costs 55-cents, up from 50-cents in 2018.
If your wedding invitations are light enough and only one stamp is required, all you need to do is purchase enough stamps for your number of invitations. You can save money by buying a book of 20 stamps, which brings down that cost to about 49-cents per stamp.
But if your wedding invites are heavier, they’re likely going to require more postage. Bring one sealed invitation to your post office to determine how much it costs to send. Instead of two stamps, you may get away with one regular stamp and one postcard stamp, which costs 35-cents.
Timing of Your Wedding Invitations is Critical
All of the costs mentioned above can become even higher if you put off your invitations until the last minute. Remember, you want to send out your wedding invitations no later than six weeks before your big day. It’s preferred to send them out three months ahead of time.
If you put off printing your wedding invitations until the last minute, the price can go up to expedite the process.
What Should I Include in My Wedding Invitation?
If you need some inspiration, you’re in luck. We have several great ideas on how to word your wedding invites.
Wedding Invitations Cost FAQ
Should I use the same printing service as my save the dates?
While not necessary, you may be able to save money if you package your save the dates with wedding invitations. This can be difficult, though, because most couples don’t know exactly what they want on their actual invites while getting ready to send out save the dates. You might get lucky if you ask a printing service for a discount for repeat business to help bring down cost.
How much do wedding invitations and response cards cost on average?
A combined invitation and response card invitation suite can run you several hundred dollars. Expect an average cost of $150 for 100 response cards, and $350 for 100 wedding invitations for normal digital printing. This varies by paper type and printing method.
Do I need wedding stationery?
Some couples opt to print off a wedding stationery that matches their invitations for things like thank you notes. It’s a nice touch, but not necessary by any means. If you do print off a stationery set, you’ll be glad you have something to write your thank yous on after the honeymoon. Expect to spend $150 to $200.
What’s the standard pricing method to determine invitation costs?
Most printing companies will price their wedding invites per 100 wedding invitations.
What’s a better deal for my wedding invitation budget: an online print shop or local print shop?
Online services, at first glance, may be cheaper, but the convenience and ability to communicate with an actual person at a local shop may be preferred. In terms of your budget, you can also negotiate better with a local shop on that cost per 100 wedding invitations.
Can I DIY my wedding invites?
You absolutely can, especially if you want a custom designed look. Brides (or grooms!) who have experience in graphic design, or who have a friend or family member in the industry, may look to go the DIY route to cut down costs and add some of their personality to the card.
Buy Your Wedding Invitations Today
Remember, you’ll want to send out your invites at least three months in advance to give everyone on your guest list an opportunity to plan for attending your wedding. You can also save on costs by not needing a printer to rush your job. So, make sure that timeline is highlighted while wedding planning.