There’s a lot that goes into wedding planning. When you pull back the curtains and look behind the scenes of a wedding, there’s a whole production. From nametags to cake sampling, there’s a plan in place. But there’s one critical moment in between wedding planning and the big “I do,” and that moment is when you send out the wedding invitations.

A wedding invite is more than a flowery card with 2 names and a date. It’s what gets hung up on the fridge, shows off your wedding theme, and officially announces that you’re tying the knot. But just because your invitations are important doesn’t mean they have to cost a fortune. Since wedding invitations are the precursor to your big day, we’re here to help you out with some ideas.

Before we dive into our recommendations, let’s first cover the nuts and bolts of wedding invitations.

How Much Should You Spend on Wedding Invitations?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s your wedding, so you can pick and choose how you want to spend your money. The cost of wedding invitations depends on a few main factors:

  • Number of guests
  • Design of the invitations
  • Company that designs the cards

According to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, the average amount of money couples spend on wedding invitations is $386. That doesn’t mean you should spend $386 on the dot, but this gives you an idea of a typical amount spent. On the flip side, big spenders (couples spending more than $60,000 on the wedding) usually spend about $1,038 on invitations. That’s roughly 1/60 of the budget! Either way, invites are likely going to be one of the cheapest costs associated with your wedding.

Keep in mind, most wedding invitation sites will tell you the price of each card when bought in bulk. Typically, that cost per card goes down when you purchase more cards. You’ll still want to factor in shipping and postage, so leave some wiggle room when you tally up the total.  

What Should the Wedding Invitations Say?

While there are some standard pieces of information to include, invitations aren’t meant to be cookie-cutter⁠—so feel free to get creative. The invitation is a summons to the event, of course, but it’s also a way to add a special touch. A lot of couples have an online profile and registry that covers the details, but the invitation is an important paper trail. That means your invitation should include these details:

  • The invite. The wording is up to you, although most couples follow a somewhat traditional form.
  • Date
  • Time
  • RSVP and spot for “plus one”

When Should You Send the Invitations?

This is a first look at the way you plan your wedding. Is everything planned to a T, or are you a little more relaxed with the itinerary? Some couples like to send out the invitations a few weeks after the engagement⁠—getting it on the calendar as soon as possible! At the same time, a lot of couples opt to send a “save the date” first, followed by an official invitation. That’s entirely up to you and your budget.

With that said, there’s a cutoff date. In order to get a headcount, you should send your invitations out at least six to eight weeks before the big day, which gives your guests plenty of time to think it through and decide if they can make the commitment.

Typically, destination weddings require a notice farther in advance, so the ideal timeline is about three months before your wedding. This allows guests to plan in advance for flights and hotel stays, and it gives them time to figure out if it’s in their budget.

While you’re thinking it over and getting excited for the big day, take a look at some of our favorite wedding invitations. You probably don’t want your invitations to take up a ton of your budget, so this is a list of gravy train invites that are affordable and high quality.

Marble Marriage

If you love a simple design with a touch of flair, the Marble Marriage cards may be on your list. These cards are $2.70 per card in a quantity of 100, and that price includes the foil press on luxe paper.

Crescendo

Named after the font scheme on these cards, the Crescendo set brings your eyes directly to the names of the bride and groom. That’s what it’s all about, right? The rest of the card is simple⁠—no crazy designs or colors. It’s priced at $2.34 per card for 100 guests, so it’s a great option for minimalists who are looking for the most bang for their buck.

Diamante

This wedding invitation is great for a fairytale wedding. The Diamante is embossed with a foil color of your choice, and the body of the invite is enclosed by a dainty diamond and botanical accents. These cards are $2.34 per card in a quantity of 100.

Meadow

Sometimes colors can get too wild, but the Meadow invitation gives you depth and beauty without overwhelming the eye. These cards are designed with a watercolor style, so the background doesn’t take over the message. It’s a built-in piece of artwork for $2.34 per card (in a quantity of 100).

Our Love

Showcase your love with a card that features your favorite photo as a couple. The words are important, and your wedding is all about your love⁠—these cards do a fantastic job of highlighting both! Like many of the other single-sided cards on this list, these are priced at $2.34 each for 100 cards.

Bad Dancing

If your relationship revolves around corny jokes and lots of laughs, you may want to incorporate humor into your wedding invite. Some couples shy away from an unconventional wedding invitation like this, but the design keeps it tactful. If “good food, great music, bad dancing” resonates with you, you can get a pack of 100 for $2.34 per card.

Scripted Ampersand

The name says it all. The focal point is the elegant font and ampersand that tie your two names together. The Scripted Ampersand invitation works well for couples who are keeping things simple. As far as the price goes, you guessed it⁠—these cards are $2.34 each.

Mod Block

If you’re trying to get creative with your color and design, the Mod Block invitations are right up your alley. This design is split into two blocks of color and separated by your first letter initials in the center. Because this card is foil-pressed, it’s a little more expensive, coming out to $2.70 per card in a pack of 100.

Peeking Florals

Some brides are hesitant to send out a floral invitation because it could set the stage for a frilly, feminine wedding. At the same time, flowers are romantic, and it’s totally normal to incorporate floral accents into your wedding theme. If this sounds like you, try out the Peeking Floral design. These invitations are $2.34 when bought in a quantity of 100.

Gilt Agate

If you’re ready to go all out with your wedding, you may want to send out an eye-catching invite. The Gilt Agate is unforgettable⁠—it’s a colorful card with lots of designs. The text is simple and easy to read. These cards are $2.34 each for a pack of 100.

And a few more…

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite affordable styles, but not everyone wants a traditional wedding invite. If that sounds like you, you may want to consider one of these out-of-the-box styles!

All-in-one Wedding Invitations

The all-in-one invitations combine the envelope, invitation, and RSVP form all into one foldable, handheld card. They start at $1.50 per card, and when you factor in all that is included, it comes out to be a really reasonable price. It’s also convenient because it’s less work for you.

Four-panel Invitations

These invites put a spin on the classic single and double-sided cards. They unfold like a birthday card, which gives you extra space for additional details, photos, or words about the wedding. Just like the all-in-one cards, the four-panel invites start at $1.50 per card.

RSVP Postcards

If you’re opting to send out RSVP cards separately, postcards give you an affordable way to do so. With RSVP postcards, you can forego the additional costs for envelopes and postage. These postcards start at $1.18 per card.

Thank-you Postcards

We didn’t forget about the after-party! It’s polite to send a thank-you to your guests for attending your wedding. If you’re ready to be done with the wedding costs, you can send a thank-you the cheap (and cute) way with a postcard similar to the RSVP postcard. These cards have space for a photo and a quick note, and they start at $1.18 per card.

Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun with it! No matter what you choose, your guests will be happy to receive the invite⁠—as both a keepsake and a reminder to mark their calendars for the big day.