I was married in June of 2017 and despite my knowledge of the wedding industry, I was unaware of all of the costs that go into planning a wedding. Not to mention I had a vision in my mind of what I wanted, but quickly found out I couldn't afford it. There's nothing that can suck the fun out of wedding planning more than not having a big enough budget for your dream wedding. Now, I can't speak on behalf of my fellow wedding vendors, but I can give you some insight into the costs of wedding stationery so that you can approach it without being struck with sticker shock. (read: Words of Advice from Brides to Brides for my bff Amber & I's non-stationery related wedding planning advice)
I realize that this is probably your first time sourcing calligraphy or wedding stationery. Trying to figure out what wedding stationery should cost is a mystery to most brides because of the amount of details that go into it. Everything ranges in price from the printing process you use, to the quality of materials, to the experience of the designer.
The main aspect to take into account when budgeting for your wedding stationery is the guest list. The more invitations, programs, menus, and place cards that you need, the more you need to budget. We suggest budgeting a minimum of $8 for every household that you invite and $5 - $12 for each individual guest that RSVP's.
HERE'S AN EXAMPLE:
You are inviting 200 guests but there are only 100 households. In this case you would only need 100 invitations. Here's how to calculate the cost of your invitations...
100 x $10 = $1,000
This includes your invitation, response card, detail card, outer envelope & response envelope. This is also based on digital printing and our standard paper. Please note that the quantity changes production costs, therefore higher quantities cost less per unit than if you were only needing 50 invitation suites.
Don't forget to budget for postage! You will need at least two stamps, one for the outer envelope and one for the RSVP. Forever stamps currently cost $.50 so budget $1 per invite!
It's a few weeks before your wedding and you've received your RSVP's back and 150 guests are planning on attending your wedding. Let’s say you need “the works” for wedding day paper, including programs, menus, escort cards, table numbers, and favor tags. Here's how to do the math...
150 x $12 = $1,800
*Please note that this is all based on estimations and can vary based on client's needs.
HOW TO SAVE:
Now, don't let these numbers scare you. If you're on a tight budget, trust me, I know how that is! I'm willing to work with you to get the look that you're going for within your budget. Here are a few tips to save money when shopping for wedding stationery:
Choose a semi-custom option to save on design time, but keeping the aesthetic you're going for. Many designers nowadays (including myself) have a semi-custom shop for the more budget conscious brides. (read: When You Should Go With Semi-Custom Wedding Paper Goods)
Opt for a more simple design and then up the ante by including a piece in handmade paper or letterpress printing, or add a custom embosser, seal, stamp, or ribbon to accent your design. This can be a cost effective way to impress your guests without blowing your budget!
Skip the additional accommodations, map, & directions card. Instead include your wedding website on your save the date and detail card to encourage your guests to go there to find hotel options & additional information. You can save approximately $2 per invite by doing this! (read: Wedding Websites for a checklist & guide)
Wanting the handmade paper look, but can't afford an entire handmade paper suite? Try pairing a handmade paper invitation card with standard cotton paper to create the look for less! (read: A Guide to Handmade Paper)
Try to stick to standard sizes. Square invitations may look cool but the postal service is not fond of them! Avoid extra postal costs by using standard sizes.
Don't wait too long. Many designers charge a rush fee if you're late to the game. Plan ahead by booking your designer ahead of time! We recommend choosing your designer 4-6 months prior to your wedding day. See this blog post for additional timeline information.
It's important for you to know what to budget before meeting with your stationer, so I hope I've shed some light on the mystery of budgeting for wedding stationery!