Why are wedding invitations so expensive?

Costly Choices

A $5,000 quote for wedding invites may make you mad enough to toss your tiara, but it's important to remember that a lot more goes into these cards than the "Happy Birthday" notes found at your local drugstore.

To begin with, you have more options related to the cost and quality of your invites, with many materials and paper grades from which to choose. Here's a quick overview of the basics.

  • Heavy card stock: This is the material of choice for wedding invitation do-it-yourselfers, and it's available at every commercial printer. It's one of the most common and inexpensive choices -- think of it as paper-plus.
  • Linen: Linen invitations are both soft and fine, though their high quality comes at a steep price. Linen is typically one of the most expensive options, so it's reserved for formal weddings.
  • Parchment: People have been issuing important announcements on parchment for thousands of years. However, since it's made from animal hides, many couples choose to leave this material to their ancestors and go with a more contemporary, animal-friendly option.
  • Vellum: Vellum is an extremely lightweight, almost translucent material that's used primarily for overlays to give invitations a frosted look. Text can be printed on vellum, though an underlying heavy card stock should still be used for support.
  • Cotton: Cotton wedding invitations are beautiful, durable and pricy. Printed art, text and images on cotton will still look great years from now, and you can go with this option for both formal and casual ceremonies.