How much does an invitation cost?
This is a question that stationers receive with almost every new inquiry. When it comes to custom work, your guess can be as good as ours! You may as well ask a realtor “how much does a a house cost?” It depends on what you want as a couple.
Before you start to think that we don’t know our stuff, let’s dive deeper into what we mean by that.
Custom stationery will always be broken up into two parts: Design and Production
Design is exactly that: the total estimated time the project will take to design, proof, make edits, and set up for final print or digital display.
The production side refers to anything related to the cost of the creation of the physical product. This could be a printed piece, a cut ribbon or even an online digital product such as a wedding website, or an e-invite.
At this point you may be saying, “That’s great to know and all, but what are the numbers?”
Unfortunately, until we know what you want, it’s almost impossible to pin down. Some couples want a super simple invitation with an RSVP card and envelope for both. Some couples NEED to have that foiled or laser-cut look. Others won’t sign on the bottom line without the custom wax seal that they can call their own (and use it to stamp on everything, because… well … melty wax of AWESOME!).
Basically put, an “invitation” means different things to different people. And chances are, that’s why you want custom stationery in the first place!
So, here are a few guidelines on approximate spends.
Believe it or not, it DOES take some time to put together quotes, meet with amazing couples like you, and then come up with crazy ideas that will knock your socks off.
It’s safe to say that each piece of stationery will require a minimum of 1-3 hours put into the design, proofing, edits and final print setup.
Since our process begins with the invitation, we can create 2-3 concepts for you to approve before we move on to the other items. This way we get the most important design items set, and can do a cohesive carry-through. So, the bulk of the design will be spent on the invitation itself.
Items that require variable printing (ie individualized for each person, like seating charts, place cards, envelopes etc.) could take more time, since each item needs to be proofed as a set, and there are more chances for multiple edits. For these, it’s best to allow 3-5 hours.
Our process is to estimate the time we think we will need, and then adjust the final invoice to reflect the actual hours represented on the proofs. Other stationers may do it differently, so talk to yours about what they charge per hour and how they do their final invoicing.
There is also a trend that seems to be going around that includes only purchasing one designed and printed invitation just for a keepsake and photos. Our friend Kasey at Revelry And Heart has a really good post about how this is an idea that you want to avoid. You can view her words of wisdom here.
So, how can you get the most for your pennies?
• Come prepared to your consultation with text, or ask us if you need help!
• Be concise with any edits. More proofs = more design time required.
• We are now providing Excel templates directly on your estimate for items like place cards, envelopes and other items with variable text. Follow the guidelines on the templates and only submit the FINAL version of the file. If we have to go and fix the file to make it work in our system, or have to go through to provide mass edits for 150 individualized menus, it will end up costing us time, and you moolah!
• Choose to assemble it yourself! We charge an assembling fee that includes such supplies as glue or tape required, and the time it takes for us to put them together for you.
Ok, remember how we said that the ideal invitation or stationery package is different for each couple that comes in? We really mean it!
Pricing for the printing and production of each item depends on what we like to call “the printing trifecta”. Quantity, Materials and Print Methods all play an integral part in the total cost.
Because each of the above requires more break down, and the fact that there are 3 more Wednesdays left in October, we will be looking at how each of those affect pricing in their own unique way!