The average cost of wedding invitations sits between $400 to $1000 according to recent surveys. The final price depends on the type of invitations and the size of your guest list. From $0.35 – $2.00 per invite (digital printing) to $15 - $20 per invite (Engraving).
That might sound like a lot for stationery, but wedding invitations are an exciting first glimpse of your wedding colors and themes in action. There will almost certainly be creativity flowing as you start to design the rest of your celebration.
And remember: wedding stationery doesn’t end with invitations. You’ll also want to consider setting aside part of your budget for save-the-dates, menus, and ceremony programs.
Tips for Planning Your Wedding Invitations
When to Send
- Save-the-dates typically go out 6 months before the wedding (shoot for 9 months if it’s a destination wedding)
- Wedding invitations should go out 6-8 weeks before the wedding
Chances are good, you won’t be able to slap a forever stamp on the wedding invites and call it a day. Most invitations are either too heavy or not a standard shape. So if you’re enclosing multiple pieces of paper with your invitations, you might need to get stamps for 2-ounce mail. (The standard letter is approximately 1 ounce.) Something to consider if you’re using thicker cardstock!
Wedding Invitation Printing Methods
Your wedding invitation costs will vary based on which printing method you choose. Wedding stationery runs the gamut, from straightforward digital printing to more elaborate techniques that use specialized machines and inks. (Ask your stationery designer to walk you through the differences.)
Offset vs. Digital Printing
Digital printing uses ink and lasers—this is literally the same printing process that you get with a home office printer. Offset printing uses plates to press into the cardstock, making it the flashier, generally more expensive option.
Zola, Vistaprint, The Knot, Minted, Zazzle, and Etsy all offer affordable, digital printing options. They offer hundreds of customizable invitations designed by professionals. You can play around with the different add-ons to see how much the extras—like more luxurious paper and envelope liners—add to the price. These printers may also offer more boutique printing services, like letterpress and foil stamping.
Both offset and digital printers often offer deals like free envelope addressing.
$0.35 – $2.00 per invite
For the most budget-friendly option, look into digital printing. They don’t have to be cookie-cutter: Digital printers often allow you to upload a custom design or a photo.
Some sites, like Vistaprint, provide professional help to review your graphic design before you finalize your invitations.
Embossing and debossing
+/- $1 – $3 per invite
Embossing presses letters into the front of the cardstock while de-bossing presses from the back. This method can be done with or without ink.
Hot stamping or foil stamping
+/- $1 – $3 per invite
For a shiny flourish, the printer heats up a foil design before pressing it into the cardstock. (Foiling and embossing require similar equipment and many printers combine these methods)
+/- $2.50 – $5 per invite
Thermography printing applies heat to resin powder, giving the letters a raised look.
+/- $5 per invite
Letterpress presses into the cardstock, with or without ink. This printing method doesn’t require ink because the printing stands out in relief from the smooth surface of the paper. It’s similar to embossing.
$15 – $20 per invite
Printers that create engraved wedding invitations etch the design into a metal plate before pressing it into the cardstock. Raised letters have a characteristic “bruise” or indentation on the reverse. It’s easily one of the most expensive options and is best suited for creating subtle details.
Wedding Invitation Accents
If you want your invites to pop, include one or more of these accents. You can expect to spend quite a bit more on these additions, but if you have room in your budget, why not? First impressions are everything.
- Calligraphy––done by a professional––elevates the wedding invitation to an artform. This comes with an especially steep price tag––calligraphers typically charge $2 to $5 per envelope.
- Wax seals with your and your partner’s initials help send the message: your wedding invitation is on par with a royal decree.
- Beveled edges add a refined, angled trim to the border. They also serve to create an illusion of depth.
- Envelope liners echo the design you’ve chosen for your invites and RSVP.
What Do I Include in My Invitation Suite?
Invitation suites typically at least include the invitation and the RSVPs.
The invite has information about the wedding date, time, and location. Look at a few examples before you draft your own.
If you’re having a reception and ceremony at the same site, indicate that on the invite. For two different locations, make sure you clearly list both addresses and times. Some invitations have a separate enclosure for the reception address.
Maps: Couples may choose to include a map of the ceremony and reception sites. This is especially a good idea if you’re having the wedding day somewhere with spotty cell phone reception.
Ceremony card: If you’re only inviting certain guests to the ceremony, let guests know they’re invited with a ceremony card.
Accommodation and Transportation: Already have hotels and shuttles booked? Let guests know where and how they can make reservations using your hotel block.
Rain: If you already have a backup plan in case of rain, mention that in an enclosure.
RSVPs should include the card and a stamped, addressed envelope. Many couples opt to include RSVP postcards instead, which shaves a bit off the postage price.
If your invite includes multiple elements, keep it all together with a decorative belly band.
Wedding Invite Checklist
Before you write your invitations, write a draft with all the information you want to include.
- If you want to give your guest the option for a plus one, you can say “John Doe and Guest.” If you don’t want children at your wedding, only list the adult’s names (and indicate elsewhere that the wedding is adults-only). If kids are welcome, include their names on the invite.
- Make sure to leave space on the RSVP card for the guests’ names.
- Number the RSVPs with corresponding numbers on your guest list. That way, if someone forgets to include their name, you’ll still know who sent it.
- If you have a wedding website, make sure to include the URL on your invite.
And finally: Triple-check everything and ask someone to review your work. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes, and typos can get expensive.