Several years ago, I wrote a post about the cost of letterpress wedding invitations. It remains one of the most popular pieces of content I’ve written to-date. It’s a question people want answers to. And, while the information in that post is some four years old, there’s definitely information worth reading there if you’re interested in the answer.
After having announced that I’m not a printer, that information seems a little irrelevant over here.
To be clear, I still work amongst decades-old printing presses that sing their siren song. I operate them, in fact. When there’s printing to be done, I do it.
But the question that’s at least somewhat more relevant is “How much should I spend on wedding invitations.”
There are all sorts of places that will give you a dollar figure answer to that question. The Knot will tell you the average cost is a whopping $386. I’m sure that number is heavily influenced by big-box stationers. Brides Magazine has an incredibly peculiar article out there saying you should expect to pay $5,000-$8,000. It’s an incredible range that doesn’t even take into consideration true outliers. It’s also incredibly confusing, which is why I think this is the more important question:
What do you value?
As a point of reference, my clients usually spend anywhere from $10,000 – $35,000 or more on their wedding stationery. In addition to invitations, that includes all the awesome things we make for their big day – placecards and menus, welcome packets, etc.
The reason they do this is that they value the experience we help them provide their guests enough to invest that kind of money into an unforgettable inviting experience. Those numbers might represent 2% of their overall budget, but they might also be upwards of 30%.
If you don’t value stationery, I have no interest in convincing you otherwise.
Let me walk that back a bit – I think it’s worth considering that, if you don’t value it, you’re doing it wrong. Wedding invitations that do little more than tell your guests the who, what, where, and when are destined for the trash can. You can do better than that at any budget.
But, if you’re hosting a quarter-million-dollar wedding and don’t care about stationery, there are plenty of big-box retailers that will give you cheap invitations and that’s completely valid. On the flip side, if you care deeply about the mailbox moment your guests have, you might allot a substantial portion of your budget to the most incredible custom experience.
Whatever your budget is, my most important piece of advice is this:
With the number of designers out that that don’t charge what they’re worth there’s no excuse for a generic experience at any budget. Create something that is so uniquely yours that people will know where it came from before they even open it.
And, if you want to make them say “holy sh*t” when they do, contact me. I’ll make you something they’ll remember you by.