Written with love, by The Bride List Vendor Laurie Louis
Eight weeks before your wedding and your friends and family are opening a beautifully addressed envelope or box that holds the memorable invitation that announces your wedding. As the first glimpse to what a wonderful day your wedding will be, you want to make sure that this invitation not only represents you and your spouse but it creates a future memory that everyone wants to be a part of. Not only are they running to their calendars to put the day on hold but they are looking up hotel reservations and flight information so they can make sure they are there to attend your special day.
Although wedding invitations are not typically at the top of your “to do” list, there are a few things that you need to have answered before meeting with your stationer:
1. What is your personal taste and style?
When you think about your wedding party and the guests sitting in the pews, are they in cocktail dresses and black tie, church dresses and suits, sundresses and khakis or something in-between? Is the event during the day or night? Is it in your hometown or a destination? Are you getting married in a church, a venue or the beach? Think about these questions along with different adjectives that describe your perfect wedding so that your stationer can help to create your wedding suite.
2. Define your color palette.
What color(s) are your bridesmaids’ dresses? What colors are in your flowers? What season is your wedding? Also think about what colors look better in print. Dark and bright colors make statements, light colors tend to blend and fade. If you have specific colors that you would like to include in your invitations or day of paper, try to find samples or swatches that you can take with you to your appointment.
3. Do you want your wedding to have a theme or symbol?
Do you and your spouse love wine? Do you love the beach or to sail? Are you a fan of the rustic or industrial look? Are you having a destination wedding and want to use a palm tree or seashell? Do you want to have your stationer create a logo or monogram that you can use throughout your invitations, day of paper, favors and accessories?
4. How many invitations with you need?
The number of guests that you invite does not equal the number of invitations. For example, if you are inviting 200 people and everyone on the list is a couple or a guest plus one, your number of invitations is closer to 100 instead of 200. Guest lists tend to increase the closer you to get your wedding though, so it’s always good to order 10 to 15% more invitations than needed...and you want one as a keepsake for yourself too! Keep in mind that the cost of your wedding suite is primarily based on the custom design, layout and initial set up of the printing, not the quantity of the invitations, so having to order another small quantity of extra invitations is far more costly than order extras to begin with. Also, some stationers have minimums when ordering invitations or charge a design fee for small orders on top of the printing costs, so always ask about these charges.
5. What different pieces do you need for your invitation suite?
Along with the wedding invitation (generally 5x7 or 5x5) and an RSVP card or post card, you may want to think about information card for out-of-town guests, a rehearsal dinner invitation or a separate reception card. Also think about your day of wedding paper needs and whether or not your stationer can create those as well -- your menu cards, favors, programs, etc. Although it is not necessary, it always works better to use the same person to create your wedding suite and day of wedding paper if possible. That way you know that the fonts match and the general theme is cohesive.
6. What is your budget?
This probably should have been #1 on the list but I started with the fun stuff first. There are several different types of printing for invitations and they range from cost effective to very costly and not all stationers can print in all mediums. Custom designs tend to be more expensive than on-line stationery companies. Some create designs specifically for the couple and some have templates that can be altered and colors changed. Most on-line stationery companies have set templates and only offer certain color palettes.
If you are more of a DIY bride, some stationers will charge a design fee to create a suite for you (generally charged by the hour) and then provide you with PDF files that you can take to a local printer or print at home.
7. Decide on the wording of the invitation.
Do you want formal writing or more casual? In the traditional past, the bride’s parents have issued the wedding invitation. More and more couples are now including the couples of both the parents or just the couple themselves. Your stationer can help you with wording or there are different sources online that you can reference for help in getting started.
8. How do you want your envelopes addressed?
Do you want your envelopes to be formal or fun? Do you want to have a party and have your bridal party help you address them? Do you want a calligrapher to hand address them or to do you want them computer addressed? There are also lots of fun labels or borders around your invitations to jazz up the front of the invitation. Just remember that there is almost always an additional cost for the stationer to computer address them or have a calligrapher hand address them. Similar to ordering extra invitations, it is always good to order extra envelopes for misspellings, etc.
Now that you have read all these points, try not to be overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and break them down one by one. Any stationer that you work with should be glad to help educate you and help you to make an informed decision.