“Oh no–I need to order three more wedding invitations, and I need them overnighted! They were supposed to be mailed out yesterday!”
“At least ten invitations got lost in the mail. Help! I need extras ASAP!”
One wedding planning task clients tend to overlook is knowing how many wedding invitations to order.
The above snippets are from emails I’ve seen from panicked brides, weeks away from the big day, who were short just a few invitations. You want to avoid this scenario, right? (And I’m guessing, you’d also like to avoid paying overnight shipping plus rush printing fees plus the high cost of ordering a small print run.)
Mistakes happen to the best of us–I get it! But knowing how many wedding invitations you need is one scenario you can avoid with proper planning.
While you don't want too many invitations (saving every little bit of money helps, right?), you also want to make sure you have enough with a handful to spare.
Whether you're early in the wedding planning process or one step away from hiring your stationer, today's post is perfect for you.
So, how many invitations do you really need? Keep on reading! I have a very simple formula below to help you determine how many wedding invitations to order.
Count by Number of Households
To get an estimate of how many wedding invitations to order, count by households–not by the number of guests.
You don't need one wedding invitation for every guest invited. Many brides (myself included!) order invitations based on head count and end up with way too many extra "keepsakes". In a nutshell, if you invite a total of 200 guests to your wedding, you don’t actually need 200 invitations. You’ll may only need half of that.
Order 10-20 Extra Invitations
Once you have the number of households counted, add at least 10 extras to your total. You may even want to add 20 extras–just in case.
While ordering the exact amount of wedding invitations might save you money, it is costly to order reprints at a later date.
It is more expensive (per piece) to print small quantities of stationery. Many stationers may have a minimum order quantity, too. While 10 extras may seem unnecessary, they come in handy for several reasons.
Keep a Few for Keepsakes
Wedding invitations are one of the few tangible keepsakes you can keep for many years to come, just like your wedding dress, your vows, your garter. They are a part of a love story that you will want to celebrate forever. I recommend keeping at least 2-3 copies for yourself. Your mom might also want her own keepsake!
Pass Along 1-2 Copies to your Photographer
Give at least one invitation to your photographer to photograph at your wedding. This deserves a post all on its own, but your wedding invitations truly complete your love story so be sure to add it to your shot list. Invitations are the first impression everyone will have on your big day, and it really makes your wedding official. It doesn’t matter if you only spent $10 on your invitations or $5K–it’s a celebration of where you are in life and part of what makes you both unique.
Have a few extra copies for emergencies
Invitations may get lost in the mail. Your mom might add more people to the guest list. These are both common situations I’ve seen many times over the last five years. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later if you come prepared for unexpected emergencies!
Order Extra Envelopes if…
If you are hiring a calligrapher to address your invitations or plan to DIY, order at least 20% extra envelopes in case of mess-ups. For example, if you are ordering 100 invitations and plan to have a calligrapher address your envelopes, order at least 20 extra envelopes.
If your stationer will be printing addresses on your envelopes or if you are using envelope labels, you may not need to order any extra envelopes.
Find Out Exactly How Many Invitations to Order
No guest list? No problem! Maybe it’s early in the wedding planning process, but you would love to get a general estimate of how many wedding invitations to order.
Or maybe you have your guest list finalized, but you aren’t sure who gets an invitation. Quickly figure out who (and who doesn’t) need their own invitation.
Plus, learn how to make a guest list that everyone is happy with from your future mother-in-law to your Aunt Sue. (The key is balance!)
Ready to dive in? Download the worksheet to finalize your guest list and learn exactly how many invitations to order–no matter where you are with planning.