December 21, 2021
It can be hard to come prepared to your wedding stationery consultation when you don’t know what you want to spend! Being unprepared often results in sticker shock. If you don’t know what your budget is, but want all the things, you’ll be surprised that your quote is so high! Thanks to Pinterest, it’s easy to want letterpress, foil, wax seals and vellum wraps for our wedding stationery. It’s my job to help you understand what each of these things are, and what their cost is.
Your stationery budget should be around 7 – 11% of your total budget. That means if your wedding budget is $44,105 (the national average according to Brides 2018 poll), you can plan on spending between $3,000 – $4800. This includes your save the date, invitation suite, and wedding day stationery.
Here are the top 6 things you should do before your wedding stationery consultation that will help you be more informed, narrow down your selection, and be more equipped for an in-person or over-the-phone wedding consultation.
Step 1: Know Who You’re Inviting
There are several factors that go into pricing your wedding invitations, and the biggest driving factor is quantity. Knowing your guest list ahead of time is crucial to the invitation process! It’s impossible to give you an accurate quote if you don’t know how many invitations you need. You don’t need to be in the address collection stage yet, but you do need to have a rough idea of who you’re inviting. Your guest list will impact the venue you choose, your caterer, your florist, and every other vendor you come into contact with — so make your guest list your number one priority!
PRO TIP: Did you know that when it comes to invitations, you only need to send one invitation per household? I can’t tell you how many clients come to me and tell me their guest count instead of number of households. While it is true that persons over the age of 18 in a household should get their own invitation, you wouldn’t send a separate invitation to a married couple. The general rule of thumb is “half of your guest list” is the number of invitations you need!
Step 2: Figure out what you need from your invites.
Consider the information that you need to share with your guests, and make a list from there. This is your chance to communicate clearly with your guests and you’ll want to get it right. During a consultation, I always ask the following questions:
- will your guests be RSVPing online or by mail? will they be choosing meal selections?
- will you be sharing hotel accommodations with your guests? how many hotels will they be selecting from?
- do you need a directions card, or a map?
- what other events will be taking place — a rehearsal dinner? morning after brunch? who is invited?
Knowing this information in advance – or at least having it on your radar! – can help you determine the number of enclosure cards you need and what information you need to convey to your guests.
Step 3: Figure out what enclosures (if any) that you need.
This goes hand in hand with step number two, but also comes down to personal preference. If your wedding invitation has a lot of insert cards, you may consider a belly band or a ribbon wrap to hold it all together. Or, you may consider an oversize card that features your reception information and hotel accommodations on one card instead of two separate cards. When you’re working with a custom stationer, these are both viable options that you wouldn’t normally have from a big box store.
Step 4: Figure out what your must have items are.
Determine what you must have items are and what your nice to have items are for your invitation suite. For example, you might place emphasis over the design of the invitation while another bride might place emphasis over the printing technique. Your wish list might include wax seals, foil stamping, and a watercolor map. This way, when you come to your consultation, you can be prepared and tell your stationer, “My must-haves include a custom, one-of-a-kind design and I am willing to splurge on printing, but I’m willing to compromise on upgrades like envelope liners and wax seals if they don’t fit within our budget.”
Step 5: Come up with a rough budget.
A lot of brides aren’t sure what stationery costs, and that’s fine. It’s my job to educate! Having a general idea of what you’re willing to spend, though, is practical. Stationers can make suggestions based on your preferred budget and help you decide what you’re able to get for the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Sometimes we’re able to work magic with numbers, but asking us for a 100 3-piece suite in letterpress for $500 simply isn’t going to happen — so be realistic with your budget, and do your research.
Step 6: Gather inspiration pictures
I always, always, always ask my clients for inspiration photos and scroll through their Pinterest boards. I don’t necessarily want to see wedding invitations, but their wedding inspiration as a whole. It shows me the vibe they’re looking for and the aesthetic that they’re going for when it comes to design. It helps me determine their personal style and see what their preferences are.
I hope this guide helps you in the process of getting prepped to start shopping for wedding invitations. If you have any questions about what you need to get started, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be delighted to chat with you!