The Secret of Letterpress Invitation Pricing

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Recently, I was working with a couple on a quote for a three-color wedding invitation design that included custom-illustrated iconography of the couple’s venue and flowers*. As I always do, I checked competitors prices for comparable invitations. I found what looked like a great price on a big-box printer website…. But there was a catch. 

Even though I picked a picture of a 3-color letterpress design, the price that showed up was for one-color digital! For letterpress there is $365 up-charge! In fact, there was an up-charge for everything! Yes I want 3 colors like the picture (add $265), but I’d really like to choose which ones, oh wait, that’s not allowed. Yes I want printed envelopes (Add $65). Yes I want RSVP cards (Add $315)! With all the add-ons it was actually about $200 more than my custom-designed suite. What started out looking like a bargain, ended up being super-expensive. Sneaky!

Then I thought, there have to be a lot of couples out there who are trying to figure all this out and their heads must be swimming! If I find this frustrating, how tough must it be for people encountering this for the first time for something as important as a wedding? So, I want to make the case to you that working with a boutique invitation designer like me can be budget friendly, and will be a more positive experience. Here goes!

Reason #1: My pricing is all inclusive and clear

Bottom line, the price I quote you is the price. It won’t go up unless you order more invitations or choose to add pieces to the suite of designs. Your quote will include everything you need to get your guests to your wedding. And I don’t charge extra for return address printing, because I think it should just be a given that the address is printed on your envelopes.

Reason #2: I can include your ideas

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You want to include your dog as a host? Sure, I can do that. With an illustration of your dog too? Sure! You want your brother to do the design and just have me print it? Sure, why not? I can be flexible and work with you. You don’t have to page through designs that may or may not be what you’re looking for, figure out confusing order entry systems, or hope that what you ordered is going to look like what you think it will when it comes (did you forget to click “yes” for the letterpress upgrade? ugh).

Reason #3: I can work with your budget

Another thing I can help with that a big, impersonal website can’t, is your budget. If you tell me how much you can spend, I will figure out what is the absolute best thing I can do for you. Maybe it’s three color, full premium everything, or maybe it’s a one color invitation with a postcard RSVP. Whatever it is, we can figure it out. I can be creative with the solution to your budget situation, in a way a nameless, faceless website just can’t.

Reason #4: I will treat your wedding invitation as an heirloom piece of art

My wedding invitation

My Framed and Painted Wedding Invitation

I personally handle every wedding invitation suite that comes from Blue Canary. It’s a labor of love every time for me, not a printing factory. When I got married (a long time ago!), a friend had an artist turn my invitation into a piece of art. I still have it, and I still love it. But, I’ve learned some things since then (okay, a LOT of things), most importantly that your invitation should be a piece of art when I give it to you. That’s what I do now for all the couples I work with.

For me it’s not about cranking out as many invitations in a day or an hour or a week as possible. It’s about real life UX (user experience) not Point of Sale web navigation and per unit production. It’s about creating something that will make an engaged couple happy, that they will be proud to send to their friends and relatives, and that represents them uniquely. I hope the choice is clear.

*This design has been altered in all kinds of ways for this post since the wedding hasn’t happened yet, and to protect the privacy of the couple.