One of the first and most important questions I ask people who call my studio is, “What is your budget for invitations and paper goods?” I ask this question because the work I do is custom, and as such, I can recommend invitation styles, papers, and embellishments that work within the client’s budget. I like working with the positive: “This is what we can do with your budget.” I feel like there’s nothing more cruel than getting a bride hooked on an invitation adorned with loads of freshwater pearls, for instance, and then telling her, “Sorry, that’s not going to work out for you,” so I avoid that scenario if at all possible.
When I ask about budget, though, many people don’t know how to respond. They tell me they don’t know what to expect, and ask me to advise them. The quick answer is: you should spend about 5% of your overall wedding budget on invitations and paper goods. But things are often a bit more complex than, so today’s post offers an overview of wedding budgeting, and some tips for getting the most bang for your buck.
Most bridal magazines and websites out there provide a budget planning worksheet of some sort. Some are very specific and outline every possible item or service you could ever have at your wedding. But in the graphic above, I’ve kept things pretty simplified and grouped things into major categories.
I used a $25,000 budget for the example above, and as you can see, if you put 5% of this budget towards wedding invitations, favors, and other paper goods, you have $1,250 to spend on wedding stationery. This includes your invitation ensemble (invitation, envelopes, and all enclosures), thank you cards, wedding programs, menus, escort cards, table numbers and other signage (“Reserved”), and favor tags/packaging.
All of the above is simply a basic, non-personalized guideline, though. Here are a few ways to squeeze everything you love into your wedding budget:
Budgeting Tip #1 Adjust your wedding budget to fit the thing(s) you love most into the plan. Every bride has something they just must have at their wedding, and for all brides, it’s a different “something.” Maybe you can’t live without the designer gown, but could care less about extravagant centerpieces. In that case, transfer some of the money allotted to flowers to your attire. Maybe you feel invitations play an important role in exciting your guests, and you have a very small bridal party to purchase gifts for. In that case, allot a larger percentage of your budget to invitations, and a smaller percentage to gifts.
Budgeting Tip #2 Remember to factor in the cost of taxes and tips. When you receive quotes from vendors, ask if tax is included in that quote, and if not, ask how much tax to expect. Here’s a great article on wedding tipping.
Budgeting Tip #3 You will most likely spend more than you originally plan because small details have a tendency to add up. If you really want to stay within your budget, I suggest leaving a 10% window for “unexpected details” and things you didn’t think of. So if you’re willing to spend an absolute maximum of $25,000 on your wedding, then enter a $22,500 budget into your wedding budget worksheet.