Wedding stationery, like your Save the Date and Invitation, will be the first thing your guests receive in anticipation of your big day and they will help set the tone for your event. In the past, brides would have very few choices and most invitations were on the same cream stock with the same wording as every other couple getting married that year. Luckily, today’s wedding couple is able to let their personality shine through with a wide range of printing styles at every price point but, it can be difficult to determine where to even start the process.
This week, I’m going to walk you through all of your options, from where to purchase, printing methods, paper types, postage tips, stationery trends and I’m even going to share my RSVP tracker.
First up, is where to purchase. There are 3 main places to order your wedding stationery – Custom Design Studio, Retail Shop and Online Retailer.
Custom Design Studio
Working one-on-one with a graphic designer will be the most costly option but you will have a one-of-a-kind invite that perfectly coordinates with all of the other design elements of your wedding day. They will pair different fonts together seamlessly, use custom calligraphy or watercolor from commissioned artists and handle the intricate assembly.
The process will typically begin with your event designer reaching out to the design studio for a quote request. You will need to provide the wedding date, printing method preferred, invite count (not to be confused with guest count) and which pieces you will need (Invite, rsvp, reception card, etc). This begins the correspondence and will allow the designer to estimate the pricing. At this time, it would also be beneficial to let them know if you will also need day of pieces, like menus, programs, escort cards, etc, so they can also include pricing for this as well.
Once you agree on which printing methods and pieces, you will be asked to provide a deposit, which is typically 50% of the total amount estimated due. Over the course of designing, you may increase the qty or change a printing method, which could alter the final amount due. Some clients like to meet with the designer in person to really get their vision (or their mother’s vision, ha!) across but a link to your Pinterest board should be more than enough for an experienced designer. After providing your design direction and wedding day inspiration, the designer will then provide a proof for your approval. You must be sure to go over every single word of the proof, because once you provide your signed approval any miss-spelled names or incorrect dates are on your shoulders. You will need to pay for any re-printing plus rush fees if necessary.
After the pieces are printed, counted and assembled, you will be asked to pay the remaining balance before the stationery is shipped out. The entire process from initial contact to printing and assembly will take at the very least 4 -6 weeks so be sure to get started as early as possible.
Retail shops such as Paper Source, Papyrus and local stationery shops are a great alternative to custom design studios for couples with a mid-range budget. You aren’t going to receive custom designs but there are so many styles that are semi-customizable. You will be able to go into a retail location and look through the albums of different design styles. Then once you find a style that suits your design direction, you can change the ink colors and often times, you are also able to change the font styles.
It is best to call ahead and schedule an appointment with a consultant to ensure you have someone guiding you through the process. The retail shop consultant will be able to provide information on timing, pricing and assembly instructions.
The fastest growing sector of the wedding stationery industry is the online retail options. Websites such as Minted.com and Weddingpaperdivas.com allow you to create low-cost wedding day stationery in the comfort of your own home. There will be less selection design wise, than the other options but you can choose from multiple color choices and often have the option to create a custom color scheme to perfectly match your wedding day design. One drawback of ordering online is that you won’t have guidance from the designer or consultant to help direct you on quantity. You are able to order a sample pack though and it will include the different paper weights and printing methods, so you can see how your finished product will turn out. Another good thing about using minted.com is that they now offer digital printing of your recipient’s name and address on the envelope.