$5500 Wedding budget: Invitations

There’s nothing I love more than applying hard numbers and equations to concepts (my dad’s an applied mathematician. What have I become?!). Ok, there are some things I love more. But I do sometimes play with hypothetical wedding budgets for fun. And ever since I wrote the $5500 budget post, I’ve been thinking about what kind of wedding that would actually translate to. Today: what kind of invitations you could afford.

First, some basic principles:

  • $5500 should be the median, meaning half of all weddings would cost more and half would cost less. But Dog knows the wealthier half is already well catered to in finding out what their options are. In fact, even the so-called low budget ideas offered up by magazines and the like are generally too expensive for the 50% below the median. So I’m looking at two hypothetical budgets – the $5500 one, and a $2500 one, chosen for being roughly half the median, and rounded down in a spirit of erring on the conservative side.
  • I’m going to go ahead and unscientifically state that your average kiwi wedding has about 75 guests. To account for variation, I’ll look at three scenarios – an average wedding of 75 guests, a large wedding of 150, and a small wedding of 35.
  • I’m using this much loved wedding budget calculator to assign proportions of the total budget to specific items. Since this is a low budget wedding, I’ve removed the stuff I consider frivolous. Oh, that’s like 20 blog posts right there.
  • Kiwis are international people. We leave NZ a lot. For postage costs, I’m going to work with three scenarios: all local guests, all international guests, and 50/50.
  • I have worked my google-fu to find out that a good estimate of the number of invitations needed is about 60% of the number of guests. Hence I will proceed with this estimate forthwith…

Now brace yourself, there’s a lot of numbers coming at you!

INVITATION BUDGET: $110
75 people (45 invitations)
1. All local.
$27 on stamps, plus $83 on materials or $1.84 per invite
2. All international. $85.5 on stamps, plus $24.5 on materials or 32c per invite
3. 50/50. $56.9 on stamps, plus $56.9 on stamps, plus $53.1 on materials or $1.18 per invite

150 people (90 invitations)
4. All local.
$54 on stamps, plus $56 on materials or 62c per invite
5. All international. $171 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!
6. 50/50. $112.5 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!

35 people (21 invitations)
7. All local.
$12.6 on stamps, plus $97.4 on materials or $4.63 per invite
8. All international. $18.9 on stamps, plus $91.1 on materials or $4.34 per invite
9. 50/50. $26.9 on stamps, plus $89.1 or $4.24 per invite

INVITATION BUDGET: $55
75 people (45 invitations)
10. All local.
$27 on stamps, plus $28 on materials or 62c per invite
11. All international. $85.5 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!
12. 50/50. $56.9 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!

150 people (90 invitations)
13. All local.
$54 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!
14. All international. $171 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!
15. 50/50. $112.5 on stamps…DOES NOT COMPUTE!

35 people (21 invitations)
16. All local.
$12.6 on stamps, plus $42.4 on materials or $2.02 per invite
17. All international. $18.9 on stamps, plus $36.1 on materials or $1.72 per invite
18. 50/50. $26.9 on stamps, plus $28.1 on materials or $1.34 per invite

So the only times where the cost per invitation approaches what your standard inspiration blog promotes are the cases where you’re having a small wedding, and your overall wedding budget is sitting right at the median (cases 7, 8 and 9 above). At 75 wedding guests, it seems we’re at DIY or very pared down options. Even buying a downloadable graphic design to print yourself, at the low end will be around US$70 (excluding paper and ink), and therefore unreachable most the time. I’m not entirely clear on what it costs to DIY an invitation or card, and I’m wondering what the options for cases 1 and 3 would be like.

If the majority of guests are international (I’m telling you, it does happen), even at the median budget level, the amount of available to send invitations for an average size wedding dwindles to untenable, so evites are your only option. If you’re having a big wedding, evites are again the only thing affordable. Unless everyone is local (case 4), and you’re really crafty.

On the lower budget, you’re looking at evites all the way, baby. Unless you’re both crafty and having a small wedding.

So here’s what we’ve learnt:
1. Stuff that is sold to us as standard is actually way unaffordable for most. Surprise surprise. WEDDING BLOGS: STOP SHOWING ME LETTERPRESS.

2. Evites are the way of the future!! And since we figured out in the previous post that email invitations are fine, that’s cool.

3. We need to see a lot more blogging about how to DIY invitations for cheap. Right now I am so into the idea of DIYing cards, and maybe a fountain pen to write in them with.

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6 responses to “$5500 Wedding budget: Invitations

  1. Let’s make a project out of this because I agree. Not enough DIY posts on the web for how to make truly affordable invitations. Want to brainstorm over Skype sometime on Sunday? (aka Monday your time)? Email me if you’re interested. 😀

  2. Pingback: Top Five Websites for the Newly Engaged: Getting Started |

  3. Just had a thought – have you looked on Etsy? I just ran across this one, and if you don’t get all the crap (ie, just stick with the invitation card and point people to a wedding website with all the details), it’s actually fairly affordable: http://www.etsy.com/listing/74970515/paisley-wedding-invitation-suite

  4. Also, these were featured on Broke-Ass Bride today (I’m having dinner with her next week through a “GrubWithUs” thing – crazy!). http://www.storkie.com/c-696-all-wedding-invitations.aspx

  5. Pingback: I Can Haz Cheap Custom Wedding Invitations? |

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