Invitations: those deliciously enticing promises that lure your friends and families to the galas of their dreams. No party is complete without first sending out invitations. Sadly, just visiting the websites of the major print invitation companies is enough to send your wallet into catatonic stages of weeping at the large hole you are about to burn into it. Luckily, you have other options and there is a trick to getting the best possible invitations at a price that won’t haunt your Happily Ever After…and it may not be what you think.
We decided to survey the costs of printing options available on the market today. The results were…dramatic to say the least, with prices skyrocketing to over $13 for a basic, no frills invitation. When the average wedding has 136 guests, that’s $1,768 spent on invitation printing alone, not including any special details.
Invites can get complicated when you start adding on extras like premium stock, printing and finishings postage, calligraphy addressing, vellum overlays, vintage stamps…etc. For the purpose of this study, we just wanted an overview and decided to cut out all the extras and to go with standard printing as a baseline.
For our study we went with the basics, these include (unless otherwise noted):
- Flat cards instead of folded.
- Two sided, full color printing. Nothing letterpress, foil stamp, thermography or emboss.
- Standard weight paper. We went for the least expensive paper option, but this differs from company to company so ultimately we looked at stock in the area of 16pt/17pt or 110lb/120lb and skipped the luxury premium options like recycled, pearlescent and museum board.
- No extra finishes. We also opted out of things like laser cutting and trim options like rounded corners that also increase the price.
We looked at two different types of invitation package options, both with standard printing. We’ll use this as a baseline to get a general idea of things, you can figure in extras like calligraphy and vintage stamps at a later date.
For the purpose of this study, we looked at two different types of invitation package options, both with standard printing.
The first is a Basic Suite option which consists of:
- 5”x7” invitations
- 3”x5” RSVPs
- and envelopes for both
The second option is the Full Suite which is an everything included package that consists of:
- 5×7 invitations
- 3×5 RSVPs
- 3×5 detail cards
- 5×7 covers
- Belly bands
- both Inner and Outer envelopes for the invitation
- and envelopes for the RSVP
We also looked at two quantities of invitations: 25 for more intimate affairs and 100 for larger affairs. We considered both quantities instead of just determining an overall average to get a more accurate look at costs. Why is this? In print, pricing per item gets lower the higher the quantity of items that you have printed. Setting up a print job to run requires time and resources, you pay for this regardless if you order 1 or 100.
Let’s pretend that the costs for a company’s employee to create mechanicals and oversee the printing process is $10. The cost per invitation resources (ink, paper) is $5. If you have one invitation printed for $5, the cost will be $10+($5*1), or $15 each. If you have 100 printed at $5, the cost is now $10+($5*100) or $5.10 each. See how the difference can skew the results
Join us for Part 2, where we look at the options.
Prices include shipping costs. We calculate using the lowest cost shipping option available. Coupons and temporary offers are available for most of these options…making them even cheaper! However for the sake of this study, we decided to use their everyday, pre-markdown prices.