4 Ways to Make Custom Invitations Work for You

We hear it all the time, “I wanted to do custom invitations, but I didn’t know where to start!” It’s true. Creating custom invitations and stationery can be a daunting task for any bride that finds themselves in the throws of planning one of the biggest events of their life! But it certainly doesn’t have to be a headache. In fact, it should be one of the most fun, rewarding parts of your event. After all, it’s an amazing feeling to tell your guests that you had a hand in creating all the stationery pieces for your wedding day! To help narrow the scope a bit, we’ve come up with a simple list of tasks to help make your custom stationery process a total breeze:

1. Define your vision

So many times we speak with brides for the first time, and they have no idea where they want to start. “I like purples and greens, but I kind of want bohemian. I really love a princess look, but shabby chic is so in right now!” Truly, the most crucial step in the whole process is defining the vision for your wedding day. It doesn’t have to be narrowed down to two colors and a flower (back when one of us got married in 2008, that was pretty much your theme!). Nowadays we’re working with brides that have the most unique visions. Peacocks, floral boho, Kate Spade-inspired, you name it! It’s all about defining the vision for your day and how you see yourself walking down the aisle.

Create a vision board on Pinterest. Throw in ideas you like and see what sticks. Vision boards benefit your stationer immensely because it helps to pull in all of your elements to form a cohesive design. A great stationer will give you a few rounds of edits on the final design, so don’t be afraid to ask for a little more lace and a little less script.

2. Finalize the details

You don’t have to know all of the details as soon as you say “Yes!” but knowing what you want when you sit down with your stationer is going to make the process go much smoother! Here’s a short checklist to assist your stationer in knowing all the details for your day:

o Will you be sending a save the date?

o Will guests be invited to the rehearsal dinner?

o Do you plan to have a full wedding weekend of activities?

o Will you be reserving a block of hotel rooms for guests?

o Do you plan to a have a separate guest list for the ceremony and reception?

o Will you have multiple receptions in different cities/states?

o How do you want guests to RSVP?

o Will you need day-of stationery (including programs, menus, place cards, seating charts, etc.)?

o What is your budget for stationery? (more on this in a minute!)

These are just a few of the details to consider ahead of meeting with your stationer. We have done some really unique things with brides that are hosting two different receptions or inviting

family to a destination wedding, and knowing all of those intricate details ahead of time can really make the process more enjoyable.

3. Set realistic deadlines

We always cringe a little bit when we get an email from a bride that says, “I’m getting married next month, and I’d like to meet to talk about invitations.” Yikes! It’s so important, not only for your stationer but for YOU, to keep realistic deadlines in mind. If you haven’t already taken a look at our helpful timeline for the best times to mail your save the dates and invitations, definitely go check that out.

Think in advance. Not only do you want to allow your guests plenty of notice to plan for your big day, but you want to allow your stationer plenty of time to get your design just right. This is a process that can take up to three rounds of edits, and you don’t want to settle for a design just because you ran out of time. Additionally, the print and assembly process doesn’t happen overnight! Depending on the size of your wedding suite, it can take up to two weeks for print and full assembly before an invitation is ready to mail. Always plan ahead, and you’ll be so happy with your finished product in the end.

4. Budget accordingly

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, is to budget accordingly for your stationery. One of the most difficult things that we have to tell a bride is that we can’t do a multi-piece, 200+ guest, letterpress wedding suite on a $200 budget. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic. BUT! And this is a big but! A great stationer, and a dedicated stationer, is someone that will work to fit your budget. No, we can’t always do it exactly as you may have envisioned, but we can still create a beautiful, custom piece to fit your need.

Have you gone to an online wedding budget calculator, punched in your overall wedding budget, and it spits out how you should divvy up those funds among all your vendors and needs? This much for catering, that much for room rental, this much for photography and so on and so on. We have often found that those calculators will drastically under budget for your stationery needs. Before taking those numbers as the gospel, meet with a stationer you love and find out what they can do (in relation to what you want) to get some realistic price figures. That’s the best way to prepare your budget so that you’re not surprised when you sit down to start invitations.

Overall, the custom invitation and stationery process is among our most favorite thing to do in this industry. So many times we talk with brides that say they were ready to settle for a “click and ship” option when they stumbled upon us. Don’t settle for something that you could get in the mail from someone else. This is YOUR wedding day. Make it your own, and be proud that you did!