Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Take 5 Tuesdays! The Cost of Custom Invitations

"Why does this cost so much??"

One of the most common questions or concerns I tend to hear about in the wedding industry is why does this cost so much? And while that seems to be asked of every wedding service, I'd like to address the cost of custom stationery and invitations.

When you order a custom invitation, your stationer isn't taking a stock design, dropping in your wording and shipping them off to a printer. Typically, there is an in person meeting if you are close in geography, a flurry of e-mails, rounds of proofs and perhaps a number of phone conversations or in person meetings. This doesn't even take into account the time your designer might spend on creating or altering graphics to suit your particular wants. So before you even get to printing, your designer could be any where from 3-10 hours into your project.

Then there is the cost of paper. Metallics are more than matte papers, and patterned and specialty papers are even more. Just upgrading your paper, adding a specialty item like pocketfold or box, can easily make a couple of dollars difference in your invitations. Specialty items=specialty machines=more labor and cost.

Now, we're at the printing stage. Flat printing is the most economical and your stationer might do most of their printing in house. This means, most of the time, that we're carefully watching and constantly performing quality checks to make sure your invitations are perfectly printed. But certain textured papers can only be either outsourced or printed on a professional ink jet, which can be a little more costly and very time-consuming (for the ink jet method). If you choose thermography and get custom colors, this will cost you more as the inks aren't stocked and must be mixed for your project (again, more time for the printers, and more cost for you). For letterpress invites, not only does the ink have to be mixed, it's a labor intensive and timely process. Each piece is printed one at a time, often in a manual process.

Last stage is assembly. We're perfectionists- and assembling layers and cutting small seals is a timely processes. Depending on how much paper you have, your invitations may take several hours to put together. And don't forget the tools we need to put them together- lots of glue, tape, tape guns and the like.

When all is said and done, your stationer could easily have 20-40 hours into your project (aside from project materials). And that's just for your project- remember that we've also spent time and money advertising so that you could find us as well. We have business bills to pay and like you, like to make some money too. So while initially it may seem like a lot of money, consider the time and materials spent to make your invitations/food/photos and the expertise to get it done. Remember that we're working as hard as we can to make something beautiful that you and your guests will forever appreciate and won't be able to stop talking about.


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