Wedding Invitations – Budget, Quantity, Timeline

Your wedding invitation sets the scene for your entire event.  For most guests, it’s the first indication of your big day, and it should give off a clear portrayal of the formality of your wedding, be it casual, formal or black tie.  I had an appointment this morning with a great customer and we discussed a variety of wedding questions and issues that come up with a lot of brides, and I felt compelled to share.

First question – Just how much money should I be spending on my wedding invitation?

Answer: About 5 percent of your wedding budget – which includes your invitations, response cards, reception cards, programs and directions cards.  It may seem like a small percentage, however with most weddings today topping about $20,000.00 or more, spending $1,000.00 on your wedding invitations can seem quite appropriate.  However, if your wedding budget is on the smaller scale, say about $8,000, spending $400.00 on wedding invitations may seem a bit unrealistic.  In other words, you have to do what is right for you.  If you have a low-budget wedding, but appreciate higher end invitations and want to rearrange your budget to accommodate your expensive invitations – go for it.  Just make sure you don’t send an over-the-top high-end formal invitation to a barbecue themed wedding.  Nobody wants to be wearing black tie to a casual wedding, or jeans to a black-tie affair.  Choose a wedding invitation budget before you start browsing and let your invitation consultant know the budget you’d like to stick to before you start looking.

Second question – How many invitations do I need to purchase?

Answer: About 10 percent more than you think you’ll need.  Let’s face it, invitations can be expensive.  If you need exactly 70 invitations and order that specific amount, I can guarantee you that you’ll figure out that you forgot Aunt Sue or need to resend 10 invitations that have been returned to you for an incorrect address…thus needing more invitations.  The cost to pay for an increase from one quantity to the next during your invitation ordering process is much less than what the cost will be if you reorder 10 more invitations after you’ve received the initial order.  If you think you need 70 invitations, go ahead and order 80-90 just to be safe.  This way you’ll have extras for momentos, as well as extra invitations to send to new guests if you have a lot of guests decline on their RSVP.  Also remember that you only need to send one invitation per household, not one invitation per person.  Before you purchase your wedding invitations, make an excel spreadsheet of each household to which you’ll be sending an invitation – you may be surprise on how many invitations you will need.  Nobody wants to be short invitations, or over by 25 either!

Third question – When should I order and mail my wedding invitations to my guests?

Answer: For a local wedding, your wedding invitations should be mailed approximately 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding date.  This will mean that you’ll want to order your invitations approximately one month prior to when you want to send them out.  Remember to allow yourself time to stuff, seal and address your invitations, too, which will take time.  If you’re having a calligrapher address your envelopes for you, keep in mind that she may need a week or two to complete them for you, depending on how many guests you have.  Also keep in mind that the more high-end your invitations are, the longer they will take to be processed and shipped.  Printing processes like thermography, engraving or letterpress printing take much longer than a digitally printed or flat printed invitation.  If your wedding is out of town or a destination wedding, sending your wedding invitations 3-6 months prior to your event is appropriate, and we also strongly suggest sending out a detailed save the date card prior to your wedding invitation.

Thinking of more questions to ask?  Feel free to send them our way because there’s always an answer!  And if we don’t know it, we’ll find out who does!

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