What’s the Best Way to Print Wedding Stationery?
This guide will help you decide whether to print your Love & Lavender stationery at home or use an online printing company. Wedding stationery is used as the primary stationery type for this article, after all L&L is a wedding blog at heart.
That doesn’t mean you can’t substitute birthdays, retirement parties, or other types of events. Go ahead and use this guide for whatever type of event you need to print stationery. Our PDF printable stationery has been used for all kinds of creative events – even a book launch!
When it comes to printing your wedding stationery, you have three options: print at home, utilize a local printer, or online printing services. Practically speaking, DIY wedding stationery is a big undertaking involving time and money, and using printing services may seem like the better and more cost-efficient option. Creative types will love the unique stationery that DIY printing affords. With home printing, you can control and manage every single detail of the process, from resources to cost, whenever you print. For the rest of the time strapped brides out there planning their wedding, using an online print company could be the right solution.
I am quite familiar with both the print at home and online printing options, so that is where I will provide a cost comparison and analysis in order to get you thinking about your stationery printing decision.
What’s your Wedding Stationery Budget?
In its annual Real Weddings Study that surveyed nearly 13,000 US brides and grooms married in 2013, TheKnot.com notes that the national average spent on wedding invitations was $443. With median wedding costs running about $18,000 USD in that same time period, that amounts to approximately 2.5% of the overall wedding budget.
The first thing you should do is set a stationery budget. Some people really go all out and buy a lavish wedding stationery suite, while others are content with less costly invites and RSVP cards. Do you want a super elegant art deco design with gold foil? Or are you content with a fun and whimsical design that you can get for free and then print at home or online. If you are reading this article, chances are you stumbled across our wedding printables section and are opting for a lower budget wedding stationery set – great!
You don’t have to know an exact amount, but definitely decide on a suitable budget range for your stationery and try to stick within it.
Statistics aside, it really depends on how much you want to spend on wedding stationery as a couple. You can spend as little as the cost of a postage stamp – perhaps you both love cereal and you turn cereal box cutouts into postcard wedding invites. Or you could spend thousands of dollars on embossed and stamped wedding stationery. The amount you spend is entirely up to you/your partner and the tone that you want to set for your wedding.
Cost of Printing at Home
Creating wedding stationery involves an outlay of cash for must-have items like paper, ink cartridges, or glam accessories. The overall cost of these items will depend on the look you hope to achieve for your wedding stationery and how many you will print.
1. Card Stock Paper
One variable expense to consider when starting a DIY wedding stationery project is what type of paper to purchase. I say paper, but in reality you will likely choose card stock to print your wedding invitations and other stationery for your big day. Regular paper is too flimsy, whereas card stock paper serves as a nice solid base to show off your design and impress your guests.
There are a variety of card stock types for you to choose from: canvas, cotton, linen, or even glitter. Each has a different weight and texture to make your stationery look and feel different. My suggestion is to buy a few sample pieces of each type of card stock (at a low price) in order to print test pages on your home printer first. That way you will know exactly what type of card stock you want for your wedding stationery. In fact, Paper and More sells different sample packs of paper types and weights at a very reasonable cost.
The color of card stock is another decision you will need to make. Ultimately the final choice will depend on the color scheme for your wedding along with the colors of any stationery graphics. An easy choice is a cream white or slightly colored paper so that it will not contrast too heavily with any graphics or text.
The following table outlines typical costs and what you can expect to pay based on prices I researched at Paper And More (as of March, 2015).
(all example sheet sizes below 8.5 x 11)
|White Canvas Card Stock||100||$19.99|
|Natural White Cotton Card Stock||100||$32.99|
|Solid Bright White Card Stock (Heavy)||100||$15.99|
|Classic White Solid Card Stock (Premium Heavy)||100||$19.99|
|Solid Tiffany Blue Card Stock (Premium Heavy)||100||$19.99|
As you can see from above, prices are reasonable and range from $15.99 per 100 sheets for solid bright white heavy card stock, up to $32.99 per 100 sheets for natural white cotton card stock. Of course, there are other sizes, colors, and types for you to choose. Again, a sample pack might be just what you need to help you make your final decision!
You can also add options like ‘corner cutting/rounding’ for $5 for the first pack and $2 for each additional pack.
Plan ahead and take the cheap/slow shipping option. That way your total cost including tax and shipping should be from $25 – $40.
2. Ink Cartridges
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that most brides own a modern inkjet printer and not a laser printer. The shear number of inkjet printer brands and SKUs on the market would make it impossible to compare every single one. In addition, there seems to be a vast number of both online and brick & mortar stores that sell branded ink replacement cartridges as well as comparable ink cartridges.
I did a quick search on my particular brand of printer using some well known online ink cartridge companies. I have bought many ink cartridges over the years, and in general I find that it costs about $35 – $50 for a full package of color and black ink cartridges. Again, there are too many printers and brands to comment on every single one. My experience is that a reasonable amount to spend on ink is approximately that amount.
You will need to buy ink for your printer, especially if you are printing 100+ full color DIY invitations, thank you cards, RSVP cards, and possibly menu cards. You will waist time if you have to stop your stationery assembly line because you ran out of ink for your printer halfway through the print job.
Although I haven’t personally used any of the online ink sellers below, a leading review website lists 4Inkjets.com as their Gold Award Winner for best online discount ink cartridge store. In addition, the other two stores rank high among factors such as product selection, service, shipping, and payment options. Please do your own research in regards to the companies below, I simply list them for your convenience from the research I did:
|4Inkjets.com – Gold Winner, Rated 10/10|
|InkCartridges.com – Rated 9.83/10|
|Abcink.com – Rated 9.23/10|
Total cost including tax and shipping from $35 – $60.
3. Paper Cutter
An indispensable tool in your DIY wedding stationery project arsenal is a paper cutter. If you already own one, great. If not then ask friends and relatives, chances are someone has one that you can borrow. If all else fails, you can always buy a quality paper cutter at a descent price, like this one called the SureCut for $17.99. I have used a smaller version of the SureCut for my own wedding DIY projects. Watching the video at the bottom of the page on how to use the portable paper trimmer makes the craft-aholic in me salivate!
Total Cost: Free to $17.99
4. Glamorize & Accessorize your Wedding Stationery
I assume that if you have read this far, you are highly considering a DIY stationery project. Of course, the most fun part is to get out your glitter, gold sparkles, and glue gun to glam up your stationery!!
You don’t have to spend much money to make your invites, RSVP or thank you cards special. The possibilities are endless.
Be careful how much you spend on sparkles, hot glue sticks, sequins, stickers, and all the other wonderful accessories that can make your wedding stationery truly unique. Set a budget for your accessories and (try to) stick with it! I know it can be tempting to go overboard and dazzle your wedding guest audience with your creative flair. Just make sure you realize that most people will likely NOT save these wonderful creations, and sadly 90% will end up in the recycling bin.
Total Cost: Free to $50+
As you can see from above, you can get away with making 100 DIY print at home wedding invitations alone for a cost of about $60 – $100 excluding postage ($50) & envelopes ($30+). When you include the cost of those two additional items in your final calculations you are looking at a total cost of about $130 – $170.
Cost of Online Printing Services
We have worked hard to optimize Love & Lavender’s PDF printables to play nicely with two leading online printing services: Vistaprint.com and Overnight Prints. Each printable on L&L has been tested to ensure the print quality is high when uploading to either Vistaprint or Overnight Prints.
Both online print companies are well established and have many happy past customers – myself included! I have used Vistaprint in the past for business cards and printing stationery, and I highly recommend them if you want to print your stationery online. I am still doing some testing with Overnight Prints, and I will do a follow up article and provide a link here in the near future.
There are other printing companies out there, but these are the two that I recommend you take a further look.
1. Vistaprint Overview for L&L Printables
Website and Customer Service
I have to say that I find Vistaprint’s website very effective and easy to navigate. It is intuitive and not cluttered, with lots of white space. Also, it’s nice to know that help is close by if I ever have a problem. A ‘help is here’ button with toll-free telephone number is displayed prominently at the top banner of their website. Clicking it gives you options for contacting Vistaprint by phone, email, or live chat during certain hours of operation. You can even solve problems quickly yourself through their extensive online help center, which has answers to many common questions.
PDF File Upload
Uploading your PDF printable and navigating the checkout process in Vistaprint is straight forward. As an example, I used a design from our printable section to show you Vistaprint’s easy checkout process along with their pricing options. I uploaded my 5×7 wedding invitation design and then selected full color, one-sided, matte finish card stock paper.
The three step checkout process is a breeze. Step one is where you complete your order by selecting the quantity, paper quality, and envelope options.
Pricing for 100 Full-color Wedding Invitations (5×7)
Paper Stock Options
There are several upgrade options along the way including premium paper type or double sided stationery where you can easily add your own text/images. Its up to you if you want the upgrades at an additional cost.
Your order includes a matching quantity of standard white envelopes for free! Otherwise you can choose personalized matching envelopes for an additional fee. Finally, you can choose matching envelope seals – a nice touch to add real panache to your stationery.
Step two is the “recommended for you” section where they try to upsell other items. Personally, I would click right on through to step three. After all, who needs a large car door magnet with a picture of their wedding invitation – that would look pretty silly! Who knows, maybe you want a wraparound mug so that every morning when you have your cup of coffee you can remember your big day.
Step three is the checkout screen where you can add a promo code (Vistaprint almost always has one for you to get a discount), and proceed to shipping and payment options.
As you can see from the delivery options below, total cost for delivery depends on your order total.
2. Overnight Prints Overview for L&L Printables
Website and Customer Service
Overnight Prints website is equally as effective and easy to navigate. The approval and order process is contained to one screen with less options than Vistaprint, but sometimes less is more!
Overnight Prints also has a toll-free telephone number displayed at the top of their website along with a ‘help‘ page. Clicking the help page brings up a well thought out FAQ section. You can find answers to common questions around pricing, shipping, and ordering.
PDF File Upload
Uploading your PDF printable in Overnight Prints is fast and simple. I uploaded a sample 5×7 wedding invitation from our printable section and selected full color, one-sided, satin matte finish, 15pt card stock paper.
After uploading the PDF printable file you are taken to an approval screen. The approval screen includes options to add envelopes, add rounded corners, choose your paper stock and coating options. I selected the quantity of 100 5 x 7 with white envelopes for $43.95. Simple and clean website design all on one page – excellent!
Pricing for 100 Full-color Wedding Invitations (5×7)
Finally, click to the shopping cart checkout process and proceed through a normal online payment transaction.
I like the calender widget displayed on their shipping options that shows when I can expect my order and what price I will pay. Don’t wait until the last minute, plan ahead in order to save a bit of money on shipping.
The overall cost for 100 wedding invitations (including white envelopes) delivered to my door are nearly identical:
Overnight Prints $50.70 and Vistaprint $52
Both Vistaprint and Overnight Prints offer good value for money. Each online printer has their nuances in terms of functionality, shipping, and additional options. Simply upload your PDF file and follow along through each step of the process.
The final product won’t be as customized and unique when compared to a DIY stationery project, but in the end you will save time and probably some money depending on the options you choose.
Plus, you can always add a few ribbons, bows, or sashes to your printed stationery when they arrive. Maybe that is the best of both worlds in balancing your time/money and getting wedding stationery you will enjoy.
We started out this article asking, “What’s the best way to print your wedding stationery?” As you can see from above, the costs of either printing at home or using an online printer depend on what you hope to achieve.
DIY enthusiasts and those who want a homespun craft feel for their wedding day should try and print their stationery at home. Printing at home does offer the ability to customize and DIY at your own pace. You will spend more time and possibly money than if you go the online printing route, but the end product will look, feel, and impress exactly how you envision.
Online Printing allows you to forget the fuss of printing hundreds of stationery on your printer — and getting your hands full of printer ink! Leave the printing, cutting, and uniform quality to the experts.
Your Say: Let us know how you will print your stationery in the comments below