When it comes to wedding stationery, there are nearly endless options for color, design, and specialty items — all available to craft the perfect invitation suite for your special day. One of the first choices you’ll have to make in your invitation journey is about wedding type: custom or semi-custom.
As stationers, we get a lot of questions about the differences between custom vs. semi-custom wedding invitations. Both types of invitations provide couples and their guests with beautiful, well-designed stationery, but how do you know which ones are the right fit for your celebration?
We break down these two popular choices for wedding invitations and answer some of the most-asked questions about semi-custom and custom invitations:
Custom Wedding Invitations
Custom wedding invitations are absolutely unique to your wedding. Every detail — from the RSVP card to the envelope lining to the specific shade of lilac — are curated for your special day. Whether you and your partner want something traditional or completely unexpected, choosing custom wedding invitations gives you a one-of-a-kind memento to cherish forever.
How custom is custom?
Custom wedding invitations combine written details and stunning visuals to craft the story of your wedding. At Volk, we love taking custom invitations to the next level with hand-drawn illustrations, hyper-personalized details cards, and luxury details that wrap up an invitation perfectly (like silk ribbon and calligraphy addressing).
All custom invitation consultations should begin with: tell us a bit about your big day. Your custom invitations should reflect your unique love story!
By getting to know you and learning more about you as a couple, designers can make your invitations come to life with intimate touches. It could be blind embossed flowers from your first date, stylistic references to your favorite movie poster, or foil-printed drawings of your pup.
Do I need to know exactly what I want to order custom wedding invitations?
Not at all. But if you do, that’s amazing too.
Whether you and your partner have a notebook full of ideas or you have a blank slate, a designer can help you create your dream.
If you have an exact vision, going custom will match your dream details with the skills and experience of a professional stationer. So you can get exactly what you’re picturing in your mind. If you don’t know what you want, a good designer will listen to your overall vision, hear your story, and ideate stationery that encapsulates the essence of your celebration.
How long does it take to design and deliver custom wedding invitations?
As a rule of thumb, the custom wedding invitation process typically takes about 5-6 months — no longer than other wedding arrangements such as venues, dresses, suits, or catering. From a stationer’s perspective, more time is better.
While it’s a good idea to give your designers plenty of time to work on your invitations to account for any redesigns or additions, custom invitations can be rush-ordered up to 3 months before your wedding.
Will we see a mockup or sample of our custom wedding invitations?
As with any customized product, it’s essential that you see your vision come to life before receiving the final result. A practiced stationer will send you a digital mockup before printing, as well as any paper samples you request.
At Volk, we send you and your partner a digital sample so that you can review all of the visual components and the size specifications. Before you arrive at the final mockup, your designers will work with you through multiple drafts to make sure your invitations are exactly the way you envisioned them.
How much can we expect to pay for custom invitations?
Because all custom wedding invitations are original, the price point for every custom wedding invitation suite will be different. The paper you choose, how many ink colors you print with, and design details all impact your cost. While some couples might want a full letterpress invitation suite and additional touches like blind embossing or belly bands, other couples might select simpler designs and risograph printing.
The beauty of going custom is that you can adjust your wedding suite to match your budget. Volk’s custom full suites start at (approximately) $5,000, with save the dates and main invitation cards starting at $1,500.
Read more about price points and budgeting tips here.
How can we be involved in the design process?
Whether you love chatting about the details of typefaces or would prefer to let an expert stationer take the reins, your involvement in the custom design process is totally up to you and your partner.
Most stationers will provide several opportunities for you to be involved throughout the process.
At Volk, our designers will first ask you to complete our Custom Wedding Form, which gives us an outline of what you’re looking for. Then, we’ll set up a time to chat directly with you and your partner or your wedding planner so we can learn about your big day.
Then, we start the design process. We’ll send you a mood board and our recommendations for paper and materials, potential directions, and then mockups — asking for your feedback throughout.
Semi-Custom Wedding Invitations
With semi-custom designs, you get the best of both worlds — the convenience of pre-designed templates with the flexibility to add your own personal touches.
What exactly are semi-custom invitations and what makes them different from fully custom options?
Semi-custom wedding invitation suites are curated design template packages with fonts, layouts, colors and materials hand-selected by stationers. They’re a budget-friendly way to get high-end designs on quality materials by professional stationers.
We provide couples with several semi-custom wedding invitation suites to choose from. At Volk, you can also shop for individual items within the suites so you can curate your dream invitation suite.
Instead of starting from the ground up, these semi-custom invitations give you and your partner polished, final designs with plenty of options to customize your information. Unlike custom invitations, semi-custom invites have standard shapes, sizes, and materials. You’ll still have a chance to approve a mockup and receive samples!
How much do semi-custom invitations cost?
Semi-custom invites provide a budget-conscious way to get a professionally designed, small-batch product. Even amongst semi-custom suites, costs vary widely based on the design and materials used.
Volk’s semi-custom invitation suites are all priced by quantity. Each item (invitations, RSVP cards, save the dates, and details cards) can be purchased separately or as a bundle. Stand-alone invitations start at $500 and full invitation suites start at $1,635, so you can mix and match to fit your budget.
For complete pricing breakdowns, our semi-customs page gives a full menu of pricing and ordering options.
How do we make semi-custom invites our own?
Once you’ve selected a semi-custom wedding invitation design that you love, it’s important that it speaks to your style and personality as a couple.
At Volk, one of our favorite ways to personalize semi-custom invitations is to select a color scheme that blends seamlessly with your wedding palette. From the cool earth tones in this ochre RSVP card in the Andie suite to the dusky spice of these invitations from the Berlin suite, there are choices for every season and aesthetic.
Maybe you think a velvet ribbon would contrast beautifully with the Andie invites or a floral wax seal would add that perfect touch to the Blume suite. If you’re interested in ways to make a semi-custom suite your own, reach out to our designers about available add-ons.
How do we order invites and add our details?
As paper lovers, we always recommend you order samples before committing to a designer. It’s invaluable to see the quality of work up close and personal. Once you’re happy with your samples, just select your design and input your details. After stationers review and get your approval of a mockup, your invitations will print.
Before you order your semi-custom invitations, make sure you have all of your dates, times, locations, response deadlines, and other details in hand. Don’t worry — Volk’s semi-custom order forms walk you through each section of the invitation suite step-by-step.
How long do semi-custom invitations take to print?
It ultimately depends on the design studio you choose. At Volk, all of our semi-custom wedding invitations use techniques like letterpress, blind embossing, and risograph printing. Because of this, our semi-customs take about 6 to 8 weeks to print.
Can we make substitutions?
While some features of semi-custom invites, like layout and design, are set, other aspects like color and wording have some flexibility.
At Volk, we’ve styled a range of colors, spanning from bold blacks to baby blues in the Andie, Blume, and Berlin suites. Each invitation package falls into a color family, so you will have a variety of complimentary shades to choose from in every piece of stationery.
When it comes to the written details, as stationers, we understand that invitation wording is one of the most important and personal touches for couples. Volk’s semi-custom wedding invitations give you the option to select pre-written phrases or to write out other wording preferences, which will be reviewed by our designers.
Volk’s designers will always send you a digital mockup to approve before printing begins!
Deciding Between Custom and Semi-Custom Wedding Invitations
Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the best invitation type for your wedding journey. Here are a few final things to consider when making your decision:
- Time: While rush orders are possible, it’s important to be mindful of your wedding planning timeline before you order invitations. We advise at least 3-5 months for custom orders and at least 10 weeks for semi-custom orders. If you’re crunched for time, go semi-custom!
- Your Budget: Generally speaking, semi-custom invitations will usually be lower priced than custom wedding invitations. However, if you want one-of-a-kind main invitation cards and nothing else, custom is still quite affordable! The best thing you can do for your budget is to speak with designers before making a choice. Your stationer can let you know what your price range will buy.
- Your Preferences: The biggest factor of all. If you absolutely love inside jokes or symbolic imagery or just want to create invitations like no other, it’s probably best to look at custom invites. If you want to leave it to the design professionals, type in your info, and press order, you are most likely a semi-custom couple. Your wedding invitations are a memento of the most important day of your life — follow your heart!
No matter which route you pick, the most important thing is to choose invitations that you and your partner love. It’s beyond exciting to announce your wedding to your loved ones and your invites should reflect the joy and happiness that you feel.