So you’re engaged and you have the date and venue already selected. Now what? It’s time to order your wedding invitations, of course! Typically, this is the first time you’ll be ordering invitations so this can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. There are so many rules regarding etiquette, timing, and design choices, not to mention guidelines regarding printing techniques, costs, and invitations set the stage for the overall look of your wedding! It can be daunting, I know.
Here are the 10 questions you should ask at your first meeting with your wedding stationery designer:
1. When do I need to order my invitations?
I recommend booking your invitation designer as soon as you secure your venue and wedding date. It may seem really early, but the first thing you need to send out is your save-the-date, which must go out 6-8 months before your wedding date. With custom printing, you also need to factor in the time it takes to special order and print the cards. Book your appointment right away.
2. How long does the process take?
Have an idea of your desired mail date and be sure to backtrack from there on for timing. Ask about how long their process takes. Keep in mind that a lot of time needs to be set aside for design, production, and printing which typically takes 2-3 months (however, each company is different). Also, remember that your invitations should be in the mail 6-8 weeks before your wedding. So it’s best to start and order early so you can enjoy the creative process and avoid rush fees.
3. What is your starting price point?
Most brides don’t have any idea what invitations cost. Most people know how much a pair of shoes costs, how much a wedding dress goes for, and so on, but invitation pricing is not common knowledge. That’s OK, as stationery designers realize that this is typically the first time you’re ordering invitations in your life. With that in mind, be realistic about your comfort level in terms of spending and what you are ready to allocate to the stationery budget. Understanding the starting pricing will ensure that you are not shopping beyond or below what your budget is.
Also, keep in mind that going the DIY route may not necessarily be the most cost-effective route to go. The hubby and I quickly discovered this ourselves when shopping around for our stationery. We thought for sure going online would be our best option but when it came down to it our local card shop was a better deal. Not only was it a cheaper option but it was comforting to know that if we needed any last minute changes they were a quick call or drive away.
4. How are invitations priced? is there any benefit to purchasing other wedding paper (menus, escort cards) at the same time?
If you want a cohesive look throughout your paper goods and signage it is a good idea to ask up front which items the designer can provide. Sometimes stationery designers will offer special discounts to couples who order their invitations and other paper items such as save-the-dates, place cards, etc. If you haven’t decided on your place cards or save-the-dates yet, it may be a good idea to think about including them in your paper package.
5. Are there books I can browse through?
Flipping through books of the designer’s previous work will help narrow your focus on a particular style and understand if your stationery designer’s style and your taste match. It will also help you to see what you like and if the designer specializes in a specific style or theme.
Photo Credit: Lupin Design Studio
6. How much customization is possible?
In some cases, designers love to freestyle their work based on a customer’s taste; in others, they work with set designs and customize colors and words. If you have a particular customization in mind, ask up front (and get a price estimate).
7. Will you help me with my wording?
Your designer is there to provide examples and guide you as to what’s proper etiquette-wise. That said, your designer is not a mind reader. Only you know the exact details of your event, how your parents’ names are spelled, and the times and dates that need to be communicated to your guests. So don’t forget to submit clear, well-written, detailed content for the company to work with. And remember, each proof is an opportunity to edit and check for typos. It’s essential that you check the text and not just the design!
8. Can I see samples beforehand? Once I’ve placed my order, will I be given paper, ink and design proofs so I can see what my design will look like?
If you want to see a sample of the quality before you place your order, a good company will be happy to send you a few designs at random so you can understand what they look like.
Once you’ve chosen to proceed, make sure that you get to see samples of paper stocks, inks, and proofs – all these details need to be approved and signed off on during the design ordering process. It’s important to touch and feel everything so you can confirm that it’s just the way you like it. You don’t want any surprises as colors may look one way online but completely different when printed.
Photo Credit: Lupin Design Studio
9. What happens if there’s an error in the order?
Unfortunately, typos and other mistakes can happen. So confirm that you can see a proof of your order before all of your invites are printed to avoid any extra costs. Then, verify what happens in case there is an error (whether it’s your error or the printer’s mistake).
10. How long after I place my order will my invitations be delivered?
This one’s a no-brainer. When signing your contract, double-check the time frame so you’re sure the invitations and other goods will be delivered to guests of the wedding with enough time for the RSVP process.
Just like any other wedding vendor, I suggest finding a stationery designer you like and trust. Make sure your paper goods are a reflection of YOUR personality and never be afraid to ask a lot of questions. There are a lot of rules and considerations when designing and ordering your invitations but make sure you stay true to your style and mind your budget, and you will end up with paper goods that you will love and that will excite your guests.
What other tips do you think should be added to this list? I’d love to hear your ideas! Leave your comment below.
DON’T FORGET IT: PIN IT!