FAQ's for Wedding Invitations

This information was published on (11/4/18) and any changes to pricing or published postage rates are not the responsibility of the author.

Table of contents

1. What do wedding invitations cost?

2. What is the difference in the various print methods?

3. How can I "touch and feel" the paper if I am out of town?

4. What does wedding invitation postage cost?

5. How long does it take to produce wedding invitations?

6. What are calligraphy options and what does it cost?

7. What if I need to order more wedding invitations?

8. Why do I need extra envelopes?

9. Do my invitations come with tissue?

10. Is assembly included in the cost of my invitations?

11. Why would I choose engraving over thermography or vice versa?

12. Any additional suggestions when ordering foil printing?

13. Long Distance Client Processes

 

1. What do wedding invitations cost?

We often chuckle when asked this question because it's like asking a car dealer what a black car costs! But we know for most brides they are just trying to get a handle on what they should allow for this part of their wedding budget and over the years we have honed in on a tier of options that can help brides understand the range of options.

When you fill out our questionnaire, we ask you to indicate if you would like to spend $2-$4 per invitation set, $5-$9 per invitation set, or $10 and up per invitation set. Those categories represent good benchmarks in our custom design options. A $2 to $4 set would probably include thermography or flat printing on a nice card, and a basic reply card for quantity of 100. You might have to do some leg work like hand-write your return address to stay at the bottom of this price tier. A $5-$9 per invitation set would probably represent an engraved or thermography invitation from a brand you recognize like Crane or William Arthur, and depending on your quantity, the reply set may also be able to be included for that budget. A $10 and up invitation would open doors to more of our artisan letterpress printing processes like high-end letterpress and foil manufacturers, and premium treatments like envelope liners, edge treatments, and thicker card stocks. An invitation that is under $2 per set would likely be a flat printed option that can still be very classy, with a single envelope and would not include a reply card set.

2. What is the difference in the various print methods?

Most of our custom projects are printed in one of the following methods:

Digital or Flat Print

Digital or flat printing produces a smooth image on the paper that has no raised feel or impression. It can be beneficial from a cost standpoint in smaller print runs, or can present the ability to print multiple colors (like a photograph) in a single printing pass for cost efficency. Digital printing can be executed on many paper types including one and two ply options, but certain specialty papers are not compatible with digital printing. Another benefit of most digital printing is the quicker turn around time.

Thermography

Thermography printing was invented to replicate the raised feel often associated with engraving, but the newer procedure eliminates the cost of a copper engraving plate. In thermography, a card is printed with a special flat ink, then dusted with a resin that is heat sealed to the ink surface, providing the raised impression. While thermography resembles engraving, some shortcomings of this process are that the inks are not opaque (and therefore can not be printed on dark papers) and there can be some color variation in the inks.

Engraving or Blind Embossing

Engraving is a printing method where a copper plate is "engraved" and carved with the image to be printed. The plate is inked and placed on top of the paper, and pressure is applied from beneath the paper to push it up into the plate. This provides a raised feel to the printing and also the hallmark "bruising" that customers may see on the reverse side of an engraved image. While engraving can be a little more costly than thermography, the benefits of engraving are that the inks are opaque and more consistent color on a variety of light and dark papers, and especially the metallic inks are a brighter, truer metallic color with engraving. Most companies return the copper engraving plate to their customer for keepsake purposes and possible reprinting. Blind embossing (raised print with no color) is a process very similar to engraving that results in a raised image, but the plate is not inked and therefore the image has no color. Some companies return blind embossing plates for future use and some do not.

Letterpress or Foil

Letterpress is an age-old printing process, much like engraving, that has remerged in popularity in recent years. Almost like the reverse process of engraving, with letterpress printing a plate is created that has a protruding image and the plate is pressed into the paper from above, leaving a depressed image into the paper. Because the visual depth of the impressed image is desirable, letterpress papers are often very plush, soft, and thick to show off that impression. Letterpress printing and papers have an artisan feel which is one reason customers often fall in love with this option. While some companies may offer letterpress printing on smooth finish or thin papers, most customers are disappointed with these results as they can not see the deep letterpress impression they expect. Foil printing is very closely related to letterpress printing, the procedure is similar but a foil sheet of material is inserted when printing, however the quality and colors can vary greatly from vendor to vendor.

3. How can I "touch and feel" the paper if I am out of town?

Even if we are working long distance with a customer, our first preference is to meet with you in person. If you are within driving distance to our Jackson, Mississippi studio that is wonderful, or we do satellite appointments in various areas. At an appointment we can walk you through the different types of paper and printing methods in person. However, for our long-distance customers, our procedure is to do an initial consultation with the client to get a feel for their inspiration and also their budget expectations. At that point we will prepare some options for you and send photographs of our recommendations. At that point, if you are ready to move forward, we will obtain a deposit toward your project to get your proof started (with your wording, etc) and we will "check out" samples to you that will help make your decision at a rate of $100 per sample request that will be deducted from your final balance when the sample is returned. Our samples are very valuable to us as we often only have one of each creation and it’s extremely expensive to replace them if they are misplaced or not returned.

4. What does wedding invitation postage cost?

Most wedding invitations with double envelopes will be over one ounce and therefore need postage based on a 2 ounce rate. As of 11/4/18 this is .71, and there are many pretty two ounce stamp options. If your invitation is standard size and falls under one ounce, it can mail for a one ounce (currently .50) stamp but this is rare. Square invitations are non-machinable and incur an additional charge. Adding a wax seal to your invitation incurs an additional charge. And any envelope with a height over 6 1/8” inches is a large envelope and has higher postage. We are happy to help you estimate the amount of postage your project will require, but we defer to your local post office for you to confirm the information we provide and we can not be responsible for changing postage information.

5. How long does it take to produce wedding invitations?

We have select wedding invitations can be produced in one week, or some more elaborate projects can take up to 8 weeks in production. However, most projects take about 4-5 weeks in production, depending on your selections and print method. If you are in a time-sensitive situation, please don’t hesitate to ask for guidance related to production time.

6. What are calligraphy options and what does it cost?

Just like wedding invitations, there is a wide range of options for hand addressing, computer addressing, and calligraphy. Currently, we refer to select artists who will address your invitations in pretty handwriting for as low as $2 each (pending quote confirmation from the selected artist – they negotiate their own terms). This will typically just be pretty handwriting with a monoline pen. Calligraphy with a nib and ink has a broad range anywhere from $3 per set of outer/inner to $5 and up. Similarly, we will refer you to some independent contractors that we have worked with before and you may contact them to confirm pricing and availability. Our current calligrapher list can be located here: bit.ly/calligrapherlist

While we always love hand calligraphy, there may be instances where a tight timeline or ease of production may warrant computer addressing. The pricing varies slightly from vendor to vendor for computer addressing, but when envelopes are printed at Fresh Ink we charge $2.50 per outer/inner envelope set plus a $25 setup fee. You will provide your list to us in our excel template. Additions and edits are billed separately, and if you are interested in this we can provide additional helpful details.

7. What if I need to order more wedding invitations?

We always encourage customers to cushion your numbers a little bit when ordering your invitations as surprise additions often arise. It’s exponentially more expensive to re-order more invitations later than it is to add a few more at the time you are ordering them. If you do find yourself in a position to need more later, we will be happy to help you navigate the available options, but is often a sad day as those options are usually very costly.

8. Why do I need extra envelopes?

Whether your invitations are being addressed by a calligrapher or by a computer, errors and mis-feeds will inevitably occur, and extra envelopes are required for this purpose. Additionally, if you have an invitation returned due to an incorrect address or another postal error, you can just replace the envelope and re-send the invitation if you have extra envelopes.

9. Do my invitations come with tissue?

Tissue is a lovely tradition that many (especially southern) mothers ask about. Currently, only a few of our vendors like William Arthur and Crane still provide tissue. A carryover from days when inks were not colorfast, and smudging was feared, tissue was used to lay over the printed surface to ensure the printing did not smudge. Present day inks are colorfast and permanent and tissue is not required and most companies no longer send it. Some letterpress companies send a similar product called glassine to prevent rubbing of colorful items together in a project upon request. All that to say, if your mother or grandmother is going to lose sleep over there being no tissue in your wedding invitations, please let us know so that we can make recommendations accordingly.

10. Is assembly included in the cost of my invitations?

Assembly is quoted on a case by case basis. Always assume that you are completing any assembly associated with your project unless it is specifically outlined in the price of your quote.

11. Why would I choose engraving over thermography or vice versa?

Both printing processes provide a raised print surface. When using a metallic ink, some customers find engraving inks preferable because of the more sparkly metallic properties. However, if cost efficiency is a major concern, thermography will often present a cost savings. If the nostalgia of a bruised printing impression on the back side of your card is important, only engraving will provide this hallmark.

12. Any additional suggestions when ordering foil printing?

Foil printing is a process similar to letterpress where an impression is made onto the card after a thin layer of metallic foil is placed between the surface and the printing plate. There are economic foil vendors that present price-sensitive options, but artisan foil vendors often have much more precise equipment and quality of foil printing, along with more color and foil finish options. In summary, all foil is not created equally, so if you are using the foil print process for your project, we can walk you through the difference of your choice so you can make the best decision from an aesthetic and budget standpoint.

 

13. Course of events for working with long distance brides

  1. Complete inquiry form
  2. Receive 3 quotes based on initial inspiration
  3. Reply with questions and schedule initial consultation if desired
  4. Obtain 2 additional quotes if desired
  5. Obtain project deposit, begin proof, and schedule second consultation if desired
  6. Additional quotes, Guidelines, & Facetime Consultations

Through the wonder of social media, it is now possible for us to connect with clients across the country. There is nothing more flattering than for a client to locate us and entrust us with their project – without even setting foot in our store. Because long distance brides do not have the advantage of popping in the store, we have set up a guideline for meetings to keep the client on the same page with the process. The order of procedures below is pretty standard with long distance clients so you will know how things will progress!

  1. Client completes bridal inquiry form at bit.ly/freshinkform (required). It’s very important to fill this form out to the best of your ability and completely. Providing accurate details from quantity, to budget, to inspiration ensures that we don’t miscalculate your needs requiring reworking quotes and artwork. Either before or after (preferably before) we request that you either read or watch our videos on frequently asked questions about wedding invitations. Because we allow specific amounts of complimentary consultation time, many questions you might ask during your consultation have already been addressed in our frequently asked questions. This will save your valuable consultation time for new discussions rather than repeating information that is already available.
  2. Based on your inquiry form, Fresh Ink will provide 3 initial quotes for you to give you an idea of budget perimeters for your inspiration. We will attempt to provide 2 quotes that are within your requested budget, and a third quote that will offer some upgrades we suggest that you consider if your budget allows.
  3. After receiving these quotes, feel free to reply to the quote with any questions that might be easy to clarify via email. But at this time we also suggest scheduling your first of two complimentary half hour phone consultations to discuss the quotes and adjustments and inspiration.
  4. After this phone consultation, if necessary, we will provide up to 2 additional quotes for you if needed based on your request.
  5. Once you have received these fourth and fifth quotes (if needed) hopefully you will be able to determine if you are interested in working with us on your project. If you are ready for us to proceed with setting up a proof for you, we will obtain a specified deposit that will be deducted from your final balance. We will get your project wording, you can accept the quote you would like to agree upon, and your design will go into the que for a proof. Once the deposit is paid, if necessary, we can schedule your second of two complimentary half hour phone consultations at time or save it for a later date if needed.
  6. After the items above have been completed, if you are not sure if you want to work with us on your project and pay your deposit and you require more quotes, or more phone consultation time, that is billed out in advance. Additional quotes requested beyond the first 5 are pre-paid at a rate of $25 per quote. Phone consultation time prior to deposit payment is pre-paid at a rate of $50 per half hour. If you have already paid your deposit you are not charged for subsequent phone consultation time, and we recommend making an appointment for any subsequent phone consultations.
  7. Other notes and suggestions: We highly recommend that you correspond with your ONE SPECIFIC client coordinator during your process for quotes, consultations, questions, etc. Using the quotient comment feature is a great way to keep all of the correspondence in one place when asking questions. You will receive design proofs from our graphics department and can reply to them with regards to proof approval, but it really helps if questions, quotes, and discussions are handled with your specific coordinator and not with various representatives.
  8. If your project can’t be managed by our standard procedure outlined above, and requires a Facetime consultation, we are happy to accommodate those requests at a rate of $100 per half hour that is pre-paid and non-refundable.