Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, but if you want to celebrate in style, you’re going to have to be smart about planning your budget. The average wedding cost in Australia is a whopping $53,168, but the average income is only $82,436 per year. That’s a large chunk of your annual earnings!
When you need to consider the big-ticket things like the reception and the honeymoon, the cost of a traditional wedding starts to skyrocket. However, many smaller items go unnoticed, and the total cost of all the ‘little things’ can add up! If you want to save money on your wedding, you might need to get a little bit crafty with some of the smaller wedding expenses like wedding invitations.
It’s only natural that you want to have an amazing invitation for your wedding. It’s a special day, and the invitation will let your guests know just how special it is. Invitations can get quite expensive though, with the average Australian couple shelling out around $800 just for invitations.
The pressure to have a fancy wedding – and the cost of holding one – can put a lot of stress on couples, especially when you still have to deal with daily expenses like rent and groceries. A budget wedding can still be an unforgettable event; it’s just about knowing where to save.
If you can save on your invitations, it can make a large difference to your overall budget. Here, we offer some ideas for lovely invitations that won’t break the bank.
Who knew that paper cost so much? But it’s not just the paper – there are envelopes, second envelopes, response cards, response card envelopes, tissue paper, and postage, for starters. Money also goes into the design of the invitations as well as the actual printing of the message.
But does it have to be that way? Just like saving money on wedding venue ideas, invitations are an easy area for a couple to save quite a bit of money in preparation for their marriage. Here are 16 ways to save money (up to an average of $650) on wedding invitations.
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Ways to Save Money on Wedding Invitations
Make Your Own
This is probably the most obvious way to save money on invitations, but it’s often overlooked. So many couples are worried that if they make their own invites that they will look sloppy and unprofessional. They also do not want to go through the hassle of making them when they already have so many other things on their plate. However, with more couples looking to save money on their wedding, there is an increasing number of easy make-your-own-invitation kits coming on the market. If you need some inspiration, Michael’s has some beautiful invite samples you can use.
Enlist a Crafty Friend
If you still feel uncomfortable creating your own invitations, ask for help from a crafty, creative friend (or aunt!). Some people love to do projects that allow them to express themselves creatively, and will probably own a lot of the necessary tools – saving you even more money.
Use Your Own Cardstock
Many stationary and invitation stores sell you both the paper and the printing separately. Therefore, you are not bound to buy the cardstock at their store. To save money on the actual paper that the invitation will be printed on, buy cheap cardstock at a discount store, and bring it with you to the printers. Or you can go with the nicer quality cardstock bought from the printer and use your own cardstock for the response cards and other miscellaneous cards included with the invite.
Skip Engraving and Embossing
Engraving is the oldest form of printing and the priciest. Although it looks beautiful and formal, you can go with thermography instead, an alternative that costs less but looks similar to engraving. Embossed accents are another added cost, so skip that as well.
Formal wedding invitations are very complicated with multiple envelopes and sheets of tissue paper. Even though traditional wedding invitations typically include many layers and formalities, many couples are eschewing tradition in favour of more eco-friendly designs (i.e. less paper waste). Save money by only including the essentials in your invitation.
Use a Standard Envelope
When you try to get fancy with your envelope, it ends up costing you. Although square envelopes are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the post office charges extra to mail that size. Also, go for non-lined envelopes since the weight of the lining can increase the price. Remember, envelopes are just packaging and will be torn into very quickly once received.
My first instinct when shopping for anything is to search the Internet. But to save money on wedding invitations especially, it is a good idea to shop around, both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. There are some places that you typically do not think of when looking for wedding invites that are worth checking out, like Costco and other warehouse retailers. Wedding invitations are usually bought in bulk, anyway!
Also, check out printing sites like Vistaprint or Invitation Consultants as they usually have some good deals and promotions for wedding invitations and save-the-dates.
Wedding Invitations Start at $0.61 each.
Not sure how you want your wedding stationery to look? Check out our list of 28 Wedding Invitation Ideas to help you choose.
Start Looking Early to Score a Deal
On a wedding planning timeline, you are supposed to pick out your wedding invitations about four months before the big day. I say to start looking for deals on invitations as soon as you have your wedding details nailed down. You can order them early even if you do not send them out until two months before your wedding. Make sure to sign up for group buying and daily deals sites, such as Groupon, and check them daily.
Send a Photo Invitation
Just like Christmas cards and baby announcements, wedding invitations can be sent in photo form. Not only is it fairly inexpensive on sites like Shutterfly, but it also gives invited guests a nice keepsake of the bride and groom.
Not only will you save money on the invitation, but you will also save money on the postage when you send a postcard invitation. Or if you don’t want your entire invitation to be a postcard, make the reply cards postcards. I recently received a wedding invitation that included a postcard reply card that tore off from the actual invitation. Very creative!
Send an Email
In an age of digital media and social networking, it has become perfectly acceptable to send an invitation by email. You could send an email invitation that includes pictures, accommodation information, and even a video of the bride and groom. This is a great idea for a frugal but creative couple.
Make an Email Response
If you want to send out a traditional invitation by mail, you can cut costs by making a response through email, instead of including a response card to be mailed back to you, including an email address for your guests to send their RSVP. This will allow you to get everyone’s email addresses as well. I used this method, and it worked well. Alternatively, you can set up a password-protected web form on your wedding website that people can go to and send in their responses.
Send Online Invitations
If you like the idea of sending an email invitation, but feel that you lack the creativity to make your own electronic invitation, create online invites through sites like Evite instead. Their invitations are easy to create and makes it easy for guests to respond. Best of all, this service is free! If you’re looking for more features, another paid you can check out is Cocodot.
Order 10% More Than You Think You Will Need
At first, it may not seem as though this is cost-saving, but you will end up needing extra invitations. You may remember that you forgot to invite someone important. Or perhaps an invitation gets lost in the mail, and you have to resend one. It is easier and more cost-effective to order extras with your original order rather than later on.
Remember to Proofread
And proofread, and proofread, and proofread. And then have a few friends proofread. You do not want to send out invitations with incorrect information and have to have them reprinted and resent!
Design Your Own Invitation
When I was planning my wedding, I found an invitation design I really liked online. The price was pretty steep, and I knew it was way over my budget. So I took the concept of the design and created my own wedding invitation design. I took my idea to a stationary store (along with my own cardstock), and they were able to turn it into a wedding invitation unique to me. I saved money by creating a similar design to a much more expensive one.
Tips for Selecting Wedding Invitations
Before deciding on wedding invitations, there are a few things you should do first:
- Know your guest list: Before you even look at wedding invitations, your first step is to figure out how many people you’re inviting. This is because most online companies offer bulk pricing: The more invitations you buy, the cheaper each wedding invitation will be.
- Price compare: There are so many places to buy wedding invitations these days, from handmade sellers on Etsy all the way to mass-produced invitations at big box stores. Price compare everywhere and stay open-minded — because you never know where you’ll find that perfect piece of paper.
- Read reviews: I saw many invitations that looked great in the photos but were rated poorly in the reviews, either because the seller wasn’t prompt when problems arose or the paper quality just wasn’t the best.
- Get a sample: This, above anything, is the most important tip I can give you. Although we’re featuring affordable wedding invitations from top-rated and trusted companies below, you don’t want to order 200 invitations only to find out that you don’t like the colour up close, you can’t read the type, or you misspelled your own name (oh, I bet it’s happened a time or two)! So, order a sample and make sure you like how it looks and feels when it comes in.
To get more idea about your wedding invitations, check out our post on What is a traditional wedding invitation?
How Much Do Wedding Invitations Cost?
The average cost of wedding invitations sits between $400 and $650 for most couples. This pricing can change drastically based on several different factors. Amount of guests, wedding theme or design, and materials sourcing are the major things that add up to give you your final price tag. We’ll break down the costs for you below so you can figure out exactly what your dream wedding invites will look like.
Wedding Invite Costs To Consider
From minimally styled wedding cardstock to a photo-filled tri-fold, your wedding invitations should be as unique as you are. Factors like paper type, design elements, envelopes, and invite additions to decide exactly how your cards will look and feel. Here’s how to make sense of that all:
Most people don’t realise how many varieties of paper exist for wedding invitations. From colour-popping invites for your spring wedding to a classic glassine overlay- we’ve got you covered.
- Cotton Fiber: With this paper come the ability to customise with a letterpress. For that reason, cotton fibre is on the expensive side at $29 for 100 sheets.
- Felt Cardstock: This is a thicker style of paper and costs a bit more than standard card material at $22 for 100 sheets.
- Matte: This choice is both affordable in price looks clean and crisp. It’s a common paper standard for online brands.
- Glossy: It’s similar in type to matte but with more shine. Glossy paper is also a common choice for its affordable price.
- Parchment: This standard is the most affordable option at $15 and can easily be layered with vellum.
- Vellum: This see-through material is great for layering and is usually priced at $17 for 100 sheets.
- Glassine: This is a very similar option to Vellum paper in both look and price, but with a more waxy look.
- Handmade paper: It’s green, and it’s trending, and at $20 per 100 sheets, it won’t break the bank.
- Recycled Paper: This is a very similar option to the handmade paper. Its popularity comes from the use of recycled materials and plants.
- Linen: This paper is an affordable option for couples who don’t want to sacrifice quality for cost. It’s typically priced at $17 for 100 sheets.
This is what makes your cards feel like you. These design elements will tell your guests whether your wedding will be simple and elegant or a party for the decades.
- Photography: Do you have a favourite engagement shot that you can’t wait to share with your guests? Thanks to digital technology, printing photos on wedding invitations are now affordable. It’s also a great way to show off the happy couple!
- Engraved Design: Engraving designs or lettering into your invitations will add to your overall price tag. That said, it’s a great choice for couples with a roomy budget or for anyone who wants to make their invitations pop.
- Foil Stamped: Foil stamping lets your invitations shine the way they’re meant to. Foil stamps come in many different colours and add definition to your cards. Even better, they usually only add a minimal amount of cost.
- Letter Pressed: Using a letterpress will run up the cost of your overall design choices, but it’s a beautiful way to give your invitations a classic look.
- Glitter: Adding glitter to your invitations makes them sparkle. Glitter will generally add around 10 per cent to your overall card cost.
- Calligraphy: Some couples hire a calligrapher to custom design the lettering for their invites. This often comes in the form of an overall package with a much higher price. Some packages run in the thousands. Hiring a calligrapher to add a custom element to your cards will generally add $100-$300 to your budget.
- Colour: Colour is a fun way to add flair to your wedding invites. It’s also able to show key parts of your theme to your guests right in the beginning. Depending on what pallet you use, colours can be free or add hundreds to your overall cost.
Once you have an invitation completely put together (with all the embellishments and inserts), stick it in an envelope, and go to the post office to have your postmaster weigh it. Remember that the shape of the envelope will also impact the cost. Hoping for hand cancelling to avoid any potential ripping or damage? Mention that to your postal worker while you’re calculating postage in case there are extra accommodations that need to be made (such as printing “Hand Cancel, Please” on each envelope).
The key to creating a wow wedding is to focus on the little details and how they fit with the vibe of your celebration, starting with your wedding invitations. Adding a few simple touches in order to customise and personalise your wedding invites will wow your guests and get them set for the celebration to come. The best wedding invites are those that that stand out and often it’s the simple little elements that make the difference. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to break the bank.