When it comes to stationery, there is often two types of people; those who want all the trimmings but don’t have an awareness of the cost, and those who are put off by the cost before enquiring and opt to DIY.
This post aims to manage expectations and dissolve any misconceptions to help you to get the most out of your budget.
Firstly, I’d like to dispel any preconceptions you might have about the cost of wedding stationery. Yes, it can be expensive. Yes, you can spend a ludicrous amount of money on a stationery suite. But you definitely don’t have to.
It is possible for wedding stationery to be purse-friendly and still make an impact, it’s just about managing expectations and knowing how to add a touch of luxury without increasing the cost.
Let’s start with the very basics. The very first decision you’ll likely make about your stationery suite..
This is simple.
Standard sizes (i.e. A6, A5, A4…) and square edges are the most cost effective.
Anytime a customised cut, whether that’s an angled edge or an arch for example, is introduced to a suite the cost will increase.
Should you opt for a round save the date and then introduce an arch trim to your invitation, it will be priced as two customised cuts although it’s a service within the same suite. It’s only when the cut requested is the same and applied to two or more items of stationery of equal size that it is only one additional cost.
Whew. Please let me know if that doesn’t make sense.
The reason non-standard sizing is an additional cost is down to the specialist equipment required. Whether it’s a laser cutter, die-cutting machine or scored by hand, there will be additional costs and time associated with this service.
Print prices will always be costed per sheet. Therefore, if you can get creative with your design by incorporating multiple elements on to one sheet of paper, you’re on to a purse-friendly winner!
Whilst commissioning a designer like myself for a bespoke stationery suite is the dream (for both you and me – I love bringing your ideas to life!), I’m afraid to say it can be considered expensive since it will add a minimum of £300 on to your final price.
Of course, this cost covers…
So it’s definitely a fair premium.
However, I can also completely understand that when budgets are stretched it is a premium that can be difficult to swallow. This is why I have spent time building a collection of customisable stationery suites to be able to offer a less-expensive solution while still offering individuality to the couples that work with me.
In a bid to cut costs for brides and grooms-to-be, I have invested in a professional heavy-duty monochrome printer. This means that for wedding stationery suites that intend on keeping their text monochrome (i.e. black) on plain coloured cardstock prices are reduced.
However, digital printing is the next affordable option should you wish to introduce colours to your text and/or background.
With digital printing, the number of colours you introduce is limitless. However, I suggest keeping in mind that for a heavily coloured background; a watercolour paper effect for example, may need to be printed on both sides. This is completely your choice, but will incur a small additional fee.
As mentioned before, print prices will always be costed per sheet. Therefore, if you can get creative with your design by incorporating multiple elements on to one sheet of paper, you really are on to a purse-friendly winner!
Regular office printer paper is typically 80gsm. Wedding stationery suites are usually printed on paper (more commonly refrences as cardstock) of over 250gsm. Because in the stationery world, the heavier the better.
Cardstock of 250gsm or more is a luxe touch. This paper weight means business. It’s tactile and delicate to touch, but doesn’t bend or flex disproportionately in your hand.
I would never recommend anything less than 250gsm unless it’s vellum (the slightly opaque paper), otherwise you risk your stationery feeling like a flyer (these are usually printed on 135 or 150gsm).
As for texture, cardstock will already have a tactility to it. Almost leaving a powdery sensation on your fingertips. However, there are a wide variety of paper textures available to you including silkweave and stucco, and for digitally printed invitations, I recommend tintoretto gesso. It’s a hammered texture that is strangely satisfying to touch.
Of course, additional time and resource has been applied to create these textures therefore they will incur an additional cost.
Who doesn’t love this light reflecting, metallic gem of a finishing touch. Especially when it comes in all the colours of the rainbow (+ more!). But I’m afraid to say that this is a specialist process which is why it tends to be quite pricey.
Vellum is the translucent paper that is all the rage right now. And I’m pleased to share that it is not terribly expensive! Yes, there is an additional cost to vellum than regular cardstock but it’s small incomparison to how big of an impact this stuff can have.
Opt for black ink instead of white. White ink, whilst it looks the part, either uses a similar process to foiling or is a very expensive ink to purchase. So either way, it’s a pricey addition.
Anything that requires something be done by hand, like calligraphy, is going to cost you. If you’re yet to notice, anything that requires additional time and resource will incur additional costs. And calligraphy is a specialist skill that requires a lot of time and patience.
Also, what you’ll find is a lot of the time designers outsource handmade elements to other specialist designers like those specialising in calligraphy or illustration (I’m proud to share my illustration is done in-house!) therefore the costs incurred will be dependent on what they charge.
As mentioned in points (1.) and (3.) printing costs are often per sheet. So, anytime you introduce an additional element to your wedding stationery suite, that’s another cost.
My wedding stationery collections have been purposely put together to include a ‘Save The Date’, Invite, RSVP card and an additional card for extra details at a minimum. But should you require an additional piece of stationery, for example an ‘Order of Events’ that’s an entirely new piece of paper, additional ink and design time required.
However, don’t be put off by this point! I’m simply wanting to manage expectations before you reach out to your chosen designer for a quote. Of course, most designers will work with you to try and limit costs where possible and will often offer alternative design/creative solutions to help make sure all the info you need to share is contained within your suite.
This is probably my favourite part. Adding the trimmings and embellishments. This is the point where a stationery suite truly becomes your own!
Incredibly on trend right now are ribbons, ripped edges, and wax seals. But I’ve also seen eyelets, tassels and envelope liners used here too.
These of course all vary in price, for example a customised stamp and wax to create the ultimate personalised wax seal will be considerable more expensive than 3m of ribbon. So be sure to request a quote for the items you hope to include in your suite, but don’t be disheartened if its out of your budget. Speak with your designer, I’m sure they can offer an alternative.