How Much Will Your Wedding Invitations Cost in 2018?

The invitations you send to your loved ones will set the tone for what they should expect when the big day arrives and will keep them thinking of you as they prepare for your wedding. It lets them know that they are special to you and they are welcome at this momentous occasion in your life. Given that this is such an important announcement, how much should you expect to pay for your wedding invitations?

According to real time data collected by Decidio within the last 12 months, couples in the United States can expect to pay an average of $283 for their wedding invitations in 2018, which is an average of 0.9% of their total wedding budget. This expense ranks number 14 in terms of wedding expenditures ahead of wedding favors and behind wedding cakes. A complete nationwide breakdown of average wedding costs can be viewed HERE.

2018 City and State Averages

The amount couples will spend on wedding invitations depend on their individual tastes, the amount of guests they are inviting, where they live, and other considerations. Shown below are real average budgets for wedding invitations over the past year. How does your area compare? *NOTE: The amounts appearing below are updated throughout the year.

The Average Cost of Wedding Invitations by State

StatesAverage Cost
District of Columbia$701
New Hampshire$631
New Jersey$785
New Mexico$475
New York$709
North Carolina$530
North Dakota$481
Rhode Island$654
South Carolina$549
South Dakota$454
West Virginia$486

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What is Included?

Before you meet with any invitation provider, you should first figure out what your needs will be according to your budget, available time, and theme/style you want to go with (which will include font style, colors, etc). They should all be ordered around 3 months before your wedding to give ample time to review them and make any changes that are needed. You'll also need that time in the case you hire a calligrapher to address the envelopes, which could take weeks. Once all that is done they should all be mailed eight weeks before the wedding date.

Below you will find a complete listing of what pieces you should include sending to your guests:

  • Invitation: The most important wedding stationery that will display the style and tone of your wedding.

  • Reception card: A card sent with the invitation that tells guests the place, time, and date of the reception celebration.

  • Response card A card that asks guests to indicate how many people will be attending the event. It can also list what menu options will be served at the reception so guests can check what they want to eat. It's important to include the date that the reply card should be returned.

  • Envelopes An envelope and pre stamped reply envelope for RSVP's should be included in the invitation order.

Beyond the invitation cards sent to guests, there are also additional stationery needs that are available that may also be needed for your wedding, such as:

  • Place Card: Written with the names each guest's name to inform them of their table assignment and which chair they will be sitting in. These will be placed at every table setting.

  • Menu Card: Detailing the various courses that will be served during the reception. Drink cards can also be included in this category in case you have signature drinks available.

  • Thank You Card: To express your gratitude to each guest for their attendance. Can also be used to thank guests for their gift.

  • Program: Booklets providing information and details on the wedding, such as the order of the day's events, details on the song selection, names of the bridal party, to give thanks, to explain the symbolism or various parts of the ceremony.

Wedding invitations are unique due to the many different combinations of card stocks, printing methods, and even types of ink used.

  • Paper stock for wedding invitations traditionally are available in ivory, cream, or white, although you can use other paper colors depending on your style.

  • The type of paper you use will have an effect on the final cost. Large or unusual dimensions will cost more, as will heavy paper, handmade paper, and even linen and cotton blends.

  • The type of ink used will usually not affect your final cost one way or the other. The most common types of inks are soy based solvent based, or water-based and pretty much every color can be reproduced.

  • Printing methods to choose from ranked from most to least expensive are: engraving, letterpress, thermography (most popular), and offset lithography (cheapest). Couples can also choose hand calligraphy as an elegant albeit slower option that is best used for smaller guest lists.

Remember that the goal of any invitation you send out should motivate your guests to envision the unique tone of your wedding day just by reading it! Below are the various options you can choose from when you are ready to begin:

  • Custom Stationery and Invitation Stores: Professional print stores or stationery stores will have both traditional and the latest design options in stock and available for you to compare and review. Express your creativity by choosing your color, type of paper, font style, and layout then have a professional use their experience to print out samples of the final look. Every part of the process is custom to your specifications and you'll get to see and feel the paper in your hands and quickly receive proofs before having to place your order. Once your proof has been approved, your wedding invitations would be printed on or off site, and you'll easily have the ability to re-do the order if the store makes any errors during the printing process.

  • Online Retailers: While undeniably elegant, invitation sets can quickly get costly when these items are ordered from a customer stationery store. As such, printing your invitation sets at home using semi-custom templates designed by graphic designers or stationers of your choosing is usually more affordable. You'll be able to preview the invitation online, then can either download the file and print at home or save the hassle and have your local print shop do it instead. While there is some work on your end in choosing your paper and card stock and ensuring the layout matches your theme, this route can save you substantial money when compared to more custom stationery printing options.

  • Electronic E-vites: For those couples with budgets that do not allow for even the most inexpensive online package, sending invitations electronically via sites like are a free alternative. Your electronic invitation can be customized online to a certain extent, easy to create, and allow couples to monitor guest response rates online. This method is traditionally used for more informal occasions (not weddings), but can be used if no other options are available to a couple.

Key Points to remember:

  • In 2018, the average cost for wedding invitations spent by couples across the US will be $283, which is around 0.9% of their total wedding budget.

  • Pricing for invitations depend on several factors, but directly correlate to how many guests are invited.

  • Couples can choose among several pieces that can be printed depending on their taste and budget. Each piece is multiplied by the amount of guests and brings up the total cost.

  • Factors like the type of card stock, inks, and printing method used can bring the final cost up or down.

  • What type of invitation service you use will affect the bottom line. Professionals have all the styles and offer personalized service but cost more, while online DIY options are also available which cost less but will require much further effort on your part.

  • Remember to factor in postage charges, especially if you are using a non-standard sized envelope. Stamps for guest replies also need to be added to the final costs.

Tips on Saving Money on Your Wedding Invitations

You want to give the best impression possible to your guests, but don't want to break the bank in doing so. Here are some great tips on staying within budget while sending out stylish invitations that your wedding guests will love!

  • Your invitations are usually cheaper if the printing is outsourced. Keep in mind that if it the printing is done in house (not outsourced) then errors can be quickly corrected, so give yourself an extra couple of weeks if you go the outsourced printing route.

  • DIY with online invitation sites like if your budget does not allow even for the most affordable printed options.

  • Pricing is per invitation, especially for the better quality cards or if you also need calligraphy services. Be sure you know how many you will need beforehand to keep costs under control.

  • If your budget is limited, keep in mind that many of the elements that can be printed are optional. See what combinations work best with your available budget.

  • Print less invitations by sending them out to households instead of individual guests whenever possible. Too many invitations are often sent individually to other couples or to members of the same family.

  • Cut costs on paper by having guests RSVP by email instead of through snail mail. Doing this will also allow you to get your guest's email addresses in case they are needed!

  • Online sites may do it cheaper, but the lack of physical interaction usually results in mistakes being made. So be sure they have stellar reviews before hiring.

  • Use less paper by designing your invitation and response card together on a single paper with a perforation between them for guests to detach.

  • Skip engraving and letterpress as your printing method and use thermography instead, which is much cheaper.

  • Colors on your computer screen can be very different from the printed version, so if you're ordering from an online site be sure they MAIL you a sample of your color scheme.

  • Check out options from warehouse retailers like Costco or Sams Club that buy in bulk, resulting in savings for you!

  • Ask for free samples of any custom or pre-made designs you are considering so you know which style best suit your taste.

  • Assemble your own invitations instead of having your stationer do it, as they charge an extra fee for this.

  • Start looking early, which will give you time to score a deal. Stationers will often have big sales after major holidays like Easter and Christmas.

  • Insist on getting a proof and having at least two trusted friends review them for errors before signing off on the order.

  • Many times a discount is available when you order all your stationery items together, so ask for any packages that may be available.

  • Use standard sized envelopes as the post office charges extra for non-standard sizes.

  • Only do business with firms that will re-print everything in the case an error was made on their end. For example, what is printed does not match the proof you've approved.

  • Go to stores like Michaels to see the various do it yourself invitation kits available.

  • Order an extra 10% to 15% or so invitations in case there are late minute guests you wish to invite or to recover from any mistakes made during the assembling or mailing process.

  • Consider sending a photo invitation as a non-traditional alternative. With some creative thinking and beautiful engagement photos of the couple, your guests will love it!

  • Include all the details in your contract including the number of each itemized item that will be included in the purchase, delivery dates, lettering styles and paper stock used, additional services, and cancellation policy.

  • Chances are good that you will lower your costs just by asking for a price break. Stationery stores have a built in profit margin to work with if they want your business. Even if they won't lower their price they can instead include upgrades such as a fancier lettering style, better quality paper, including a picture or graphic on your cards or invitations, assembling the pieces for you, and other add-on services.

  • Add a small number somewhere on the RSVP that matches with a guest name on your own list. That way if a guest neglects to include their name with the RSVP then you know who it belongs to. Although this will not save you money it will save you much uncertainty and frustration!

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