You're getting married and are planning the wedding of your dreams. Now all you need is the dream invites to let all your nearest and dearest just where and when the celebrations will be.
Chances are you've never been married before so you don't really know how much your wedding invitations should cost. So you throw a figure in into the spreadsheet and worry about it later. When later rolls around you're a little shocked at the prices coming back. After all, these are JUST pieces of paper right? Wrong!!
Read on to find out how to set your invite budget...
Here at Danger & Moon we LOVE celebrations and especially weddings. The only thing that makes us happier than celebrating is assisting clients with solutions. Throw us a problem and we'll work SUPER hard to find the answer (sorry, we can't fix mother-in-laws). So hearing potential clients and even friends say "we just underestimated how much our invites would cost and how much work is involved" led us to switch to assisting mode. Below you'll find our 5 top tips for setting a realistic wedding invitation budget
CONSIDER ALL YOUR STATIONERY, NOT JUST THE INVITE
Having all of your wedding stationery come from the one studio equals continuity and consistency in design. In short - visual impact! In addition to the main invite do you need Save the Dates, RSVP's, Menu's, Programs, Signage, Table Numbers, Thank You Cards etc. Write down a list of ALL the stationery you think you will need. It's a good idea to go in with the big list first, then work backwards from what you can reconcile and what you can cut. For example, we're seeing a big trend toward paperless RSVP's. Couples set up a free hotmail or gmail email address for the sole purpose of the guest responses. This saves on paper and stamps. Has a guest replied? It's as easy as an inbox search.
ADVISE CORRECT NUMBERS
How many guests are coming to your wedding?? Now how many of those are couples, families or singles?? Every single person does not need their own invite, some will be addressed to couples etc. When working out your invite numbers remeber to count this reconciled number! It's the most common issue we see in advising numbers. Don't forget, you WILL need to count individuals for items like place-settings or menu's. For example 120 guests may be only 70 invitations, but will still be 120 programs... got it?!
PRICE PER HEAD
When dealing with wedding vendors, most costs you will get are "per head". So it helps to think of your invites this way too. Using the above guide of numbers, consider how much your ENTIRE stationery suite will cost for each guest or couple. For example, you are having 120 guests and your invitation quote is $900 for invitations, rsvp's, registry card, envelope printing, programs, menu's, table settings. Your total stationery cost is $7.50 per guest.
Check EXACTLY what is included in your stationery quote. Are you getting a digital file and need to print yourself? Or will a huge parcel of paper be delivered to your doorstep forcing you and your fiance to enlist the help of a small army plus the entire bridal party to help assemble every individual invite for posting? Other sneaky extra costs include personalisation of invites, addressing envelopes, even increasing your paper weight. Understand what you are getting for your money, and what you are prepared to do yourself (trust us, assembling invites ALWAYS seems like a good idea at the time but when you're not using your kitchen bench for a week you may reconsider).
SPECIALTY PRINT PROCESSES
Chances are, you've already stalked Pinterest and Instagram for ideas to find your dream invites. You've found gold foil with letterpress on kraft paper with white ink. And the world will implode if you don't have ALL of these things. These specialty print processes are on-trend this season and look hot. They will also cost you extra.
Most of these processes use an old method of stamp printing where metal plates are created to literally stamp ink onto paper. It's old-school and the result is stunning. It also takes a lot of time to custom create one plate that is then printed onto a heavy weight card. This costs money.
White ink is another surprise cost to many. This also requires plate or screen printing. Digital printers have CMYK ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), not white! So this means if you've chosen a black, kraft (brown paper) or other dark based card stock with white writing you'll need white ink.
There are cheaper alternatives and clever workarounds to each of these processes so don't ditch the idea! Just be informed and researched.
AN EXTRA TIP... TIME
Most people "know" a graphic designer that they may ask a favour of (a friend, friend of a friend, your cats' uncle's neighbour). Consider how many hours it takes to design an entire stationery suite. Your invitation cost is not just paper and materials, but time. Would you say to a builder "hey I've got an idea for a house, I'll buy all the bricks and materials - you just pop over and build it for me after work, for free?" Hopefully not!
If you are after a completely new design, you will need a custom or bespoke design and that will take a designer time. An alternative budget option is to look into a template design. Many online stores and designers have ranges of ready made designs where they simply input your details to the existing template. This is cost effective however more often than not, inflexible (i.e. changes to designs can't be made unless an additional fee is paid).
Once you've researched ideas and understand the construction of your invitation cost, look for a studio who can execute the style you are after. Finding a designer whose handwriting and aesthetic matches the look you dream of for your invitations is just as important as the cost. Otherwise it could be like putting a square peg in a round hole! As with any quote, we recommend approaching at least 3 designers or studios to obtain a cost before proceeding. Ask questions about what value you are getting for your money. And once you signed up with someone, don't forget to let the other studio's know they were unsuccessful before you ride off into the stationery sunset.
Party on Party Peeps xx