This topic has already come up a few times this week, so it was perfectly fitting that one of our fabulous partners, Amy Morelli of The 2U Collection, has published a post to answer your questions on custom vs. ready-made wedding invitations. A paper product extraordinaire, Amy has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, as well as a keen eye for the creative and unexpected.
All photography by Liga Photography, LLC.
We took advantage of the minimum order restrictions by using the same supplies over this brides full event. The above photo is her Wedding Package and the below package is her Bridal Shower Package. As you can see we utilized the same supplies, while giving each piece it's own unique feel- and creating a cohesive look across all of her wedding related events.
So I am asked all of the time, Why are Custom Invitations More Expensive? Why go with a Custom Invitation over a Ready Made Invitation? I decided to write a blog to address these questions.
Why choose a Custom Invitation over a Ready Made Invitation? I have found that the brides that seek me out for Custom Stationery do it because they want to add a personal yet unique flare to their wedding. I do my best to get to know my bride and groom and develop stationery for their event that reflects who they are as a couple, in addition to adding to the overall atmosphere and decor of their wedding.
This was the beginning, supplies started coming in and the studio became a mess. Glass Vases, and Candles everywhere.
Is a Custom Invitation for You? Do you want to set the tone for your wedding from the moment your guest receive their first communication from you? Do you want something unique and different that your guests have never seen before? Do you want your guests to feel your personal touch and love for them throughout the process of your event, from Save the Date, to Thank You Cards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a Custom Designed Invitation is for you.
What will a Custom Invitation Cost? Is a Custom Designed Invitation Right for my Budget? The Standard Rule is to spend 4% of your wedding budget on Stationery. This will help you figure out if a Custom Designed Invitation is right for you. Custom Designed Invitations usually start around $1,500 for approximately 100 invitations, and can go all the way to 10,000 for a full wedding package. Pricing is really dependent on embellishments and types of materials used. An invitation with no flare will be more modestly priced than an invitation that has silk fabric, a crystal brooch, etc.
My trusty & talented assistant Heather starting the process of Candle Escort Cards!
Why are Custom Invitations more expensive than Ready-Made invitations? This question really has no short answer. Printing in general is an expensive process unless you are printing in bulk. In that industry bulk is 1,000 or more. The more you print the smaller the cost PER PIECE is. When you are only printing 100 of something- you have to pay the same cost to set up that printing press- whether you print 1 or 10,000. Not to mention there are order minimums on paper, crystals, ribbon, envelopes, etc. Even if you need only 50 invitations you still have to buy supplies in the MINIMUMS they come in, and you still have to pay for the Printing Press Set Up. For example you may only need 50 sheets of paper, but they only sell it in Reams of 250. As I mentioned earlier, The cost per goes down when you are printing in large numbers like 1,000 or more. But most weddings don't have a guest list that large. So you are having to divide the Cost of Set Up and Supplies over your small number, making the price point per MUCH higher. And each design is set up on it's own. So if you have a menu and an invitation you are paying for set up of both of those because the artwork and printing plates are different.
When we get a piece almost to completion, then it goes through quality check (above picture) and then is boxed, counted and prepared for delivery.
Ready Made invitations are printed in the thousands as templates. The main design is printed in BULK in the thousands, stored and then distributed around the country to different INVITATION VENDORS, who put them in a book. Then brides go in, search through the books and choose the invitation they like. When that order is placed, a smaller, less expensive printer is used to print your name and personal information on the DESIGN TEMPLATE. The cost is less since they aren't having to set up and order supplies everytime an order comes in. They did this initially once in the beginning and printed in BULK.
After a few all nighters, the Product is ready to go! On to the venue for staging. That is me (top pic) alphabetizing escort candles. And (below) the wonderful Jessy Rivers from E-events with my assistant Heather, lighting and arranging! The guests will arrive at any minute!
To Recap: Custom Designed Invitations are more expensive because you are printing something unique and different in smaller numbers. They usually also include embellishments such as ribbon, crystals, brooches, etc. which adds hand labor to the process. The above invitations have lace accents, and no machine can work lace accents. I always try and tell my brides that it makes more sense to purchase a package if you are going to have something custom. Then you get to take advantage of the supplies. If the paper only comes in reams of 100 or 250, if you print your invites, thank yous, menus, etc. then you are making use of the supplies you HAVE to buy due to minimums.
All finished! It all looked beautiful and the guests were WOW'd from the moment they got their mail to the end of the wedding 6 weeks later. As you can see, if you
custom design invitations in your budget they are well worth it.