Despite how technology strives to weave a society in an age of ‘paperless communication,’ some vital social customs still doesn’t feel right without using solid printed material. This is especially true when it comes to event advertisements like wedding invitations.
Prior to the discovery of the printing press, illustrious couples invite large numbers of people by paying town criers to announce their wedding feast. Centuries later, literacy became accessible to the common people that passing ornate notes eventually became a frequent style of formal correspondence. The Victorian Era emphasizes the value of etiquette and propriety into the common practice we recognize today.
Prince Harry of Wales and the American actress Meghan Markle spent more than $350,000 just to invite all 4,040 guests on May 19, 2018. That’s nearly 300 times the highest average cost to print wedding invitations!
Knowing the number of confirmed guests is so crucial that you can effectively prevent excesses in the budget for catering and decorations (in relation to the number of round tables). Apart from maintaining a respectable look, the printed cards must ensure a clear two-way correspondence.
The average cost of wedding invitations is estimated to be around $716, but this figure is set to the limits of 100 prospective guests. Here is the budget checklist comprising that amount, based on the demonstration of the blog called Woman Getting Married:
- Invitations with envelopes: $234
- Custom save-the-dates: $150
- RSVP’s with envelopes: $147
- Total postage cost: $132
- Total ground shipping: $14
- Total taxes: $36
The previous cost projection simply reflects a more default setting that does not entail detailed planning. Finding out smarter ways of spending means understanding the following cost factors:
1. Number of Guests
As with any other wedding expenses, your budget for stationeries is firmly set by the number of guests you intend to invite. Interestingly, the more pieces you buy, the lower the pricing scale depreciates per item. Here is how an Illinois-based retailer called The Noted Design prices its basic package (invitation card, mailing envelope, info card/save-the-date, RSVP card, RSVP envelope):
- 75 guests = $417
- 100 guests = $431
- 150 guests = $559
- 200 guests = $687
- 250 guests = $815
The most prevalent frequency of absences among wedding guests is roughly 10% to 20% – as projected by the wedding site The Knot. If your budget for food, drink, and keepsakes is fixed for 100 guests, you can get the most out of your overall wedding expenses if you distribute invites to 120 guests. Unconsumed guest slots are valued deficits.
In addition to the marginal increase of visitors, you should organize your list by dividing them into two groups – the priority (A-list) and the contingency (B-list). The A-list is comprised of your parents (of course), relatives, close friends and guests of honor while the B-list is simply composed of people whom you don’t necessarily share a close connection. If you intend to have 100 guests, every name must be an A-list individual. Considering the possible decline by some of them, you can fill the lost slots with your select B-list persons.
Instead of visiting printing studios and stationery stores, you can spend less than $500 for 100 guests if you buy from online retailers. You can even save a lot more with do-it-yourself (DIY) method, but the vast room for customization will entail meticulous and time-consuming effort.
2. Paper Size and Specs
One of the most overlooked factors that affect price concerns the size of your card. The US Postal Service charges a penalty of $0.21 per item for papers that are categorized as odd-shaped. The rate for first-class stamps also varies according to the weight of the package, with higher costs incurred for heavier courier parcels.
Keep your invitation sizes down to A7 (5×7 inches). This is the surcharge-free dimensions according to the US Postal Service standards. It is also important to avoid square-shaped envelopes as well as items with non-standard closures (e.g. clasps and strings).
Choose a card that is not too rigid. The US Postal Service defines a standard material as something that easily bends without getting ruined. It seems the extra effort required in handling the parcel comes with a nominal fee.
One of the key advantages of opting for the DIY source is that it gives you a lot of room for modifying every aspect of your wedding invites. When choosing the type of paper, vellum is among the most recommendable varieties. It is a thick lightweight material that has a very smooth texture and ornate translucent look.
3. Calligraphy Quality
Speaking of pricing, certain companies also classify packages according to the type of inscription you prefer. How printing stores charge for wedding invitation design may depend on the method being used to print the letters onto the cards. These are the five types of wedding invitation printing techniques according to Wedding Wire:
- Engraving ($$$): creating raised letters using an inked plate and metal plate.
- Letterpress ($$): creating hollowed letters onto the thick paper using a metal plate.
- Thermography ($$): creating raised letters by applying heat on special powder.
- Foil Stamping ($): creating flat and shiny letters by pressing metallic foil on paper.
- Digital Printing ($): creating flat letters on paper via a computer printer.
Avoid the expensive techniques that produce raised and hollowed letters. Oftentimes, this printing style requires thicker, heavier, and more rigid types of paper. They are not only pricey to produce; they also incur additional penalty fees since they tend to weigh more than an ounce.
Instead of making invitation cards and RSVP cards separately (as featured by most printing packages) choose a card that functions as both. One of the best suppliers with inexpensive wedding invitation prices is an international online retailer called Minted. They feature multiple varieties of foldable “all-in-one” A7 cards for as low as $1.75 each.
For a cheaper alternative, you can use postcards as save-the-date cards in order to salvage $15 to $30 worth of discount. Websites like Zazzle and Magnet Street allows you to create templates using preferable [if not your own unique] design while retaining the standard dimensions required by the US Postal Service.