If you’re meeting with your wedding stationer soon, and you want to make the most of that time, here are the things you want to have worked out or have given some thought before you go.
1) Your Budget
Before you meet with your stationer, you’ll want to have a clear picture of the budget you have to work with for your wedding invitations. Many independent stationers like Steel Petal Press are willing to work with you to help you create invitations you’ll love and that also fit in your budget. Knowing what your budget is will help guide other decisions, such as which printing method you’ll choose and which invitation items you’ll include in your suite.
At Steel Petal Press, the production cost is based on three things: 1) which invitation items you order, 2) how many of each item you order, and 3) the printing method you choose.
2) Number of Invitations
In order to get an accurate price quote, you’ll need to know approximately how many invitations you need, and in order to get an accurate number of the invitations you need, you’ll want to remember that you don’t need an invitation for every guest. Rather, you need an invitation for every household.
A good rule of thumb is to get invitations for 50% of your guest list + 15%. For example, if your guest list is 200, you’ll need approximately 130 invitations. That said, this approximation may go up or down if you know your guest list contains a lot of single people versus families or vice versa.
It will be helpful to know how much time you have from start to finish to create your wedding stationery. Once you know the time you have available to you, you’ll know the best time to meet with your stationer so you have plenty of time to create and address your invitations without having to pay extra rush fees.
Design & Production Times from Start to Finish
NON-CUSTOM & SEMI-CUSTOM:
1 week proofing
2-3 weeks production
3-8 weeks design
2-3 week production
Save-the-date cards generally need to be sent out 5-8 months in advance. Invitations need to be sent out 2-3 months in advance. You need to consider the design and proofing time PLUS the production time
If you’re planning to send out save the dates six months before your wedding, you’ll need to meet with your stationer seven to seven-and-a-half months before your wedding date. Similarly, a typical deadline for sending out wedding invitations is 2-3 months before your wedding date, so it’s a good idea to meet with your wedding stationer 4.5 months before your wedding date to allow enough time for proofing, printing and production.
Custom design times can vary. If you choose to work with a stationery to custom-create a design from scratch it’s a good idea to allow up to 2 months for this process.
Of course, there’s always the option for a rush order, in case you need your invitations within a short time frame.
4) The Wedding Invitation Items You Need
Before you meet with your stationer, it’s good to have a general sense of which invitation items you want and how that fits in to your budget. Do you want a save the date? Do you love the look of envelope liners? Do you need day-of stationery?
If you’re on a budget, you might parse out the items in two groups: the ones you need and the ones you want. If your ceremony and reception are in different places, you’ll need a reception card. If it’s important to you to have a traditional wedding suite, you’ll want an invitation, RSVP card and reception card. If you’re planning a destination wedding or you have a lot of out-of-town guests, you might need to include an information card with directions and places to stay or visit. Consider any other information you need that may require add-ons.
Knowing which items are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves will help when you’re trying to get a sense of the pricing. Here’s a brief list of items to consider:
5) How Your Stationer Works
Different stationers work in different ways in regards to their pricing, customization and production. At Steel Petal Press, everything is priced out a la carte, so you can pick and choose what you want to include in your suite based on your needs.
Does your stationer do customizable designs? If that’s something you want, you’ll definitely want to know that beforehand. At Steel Petal Press, everything is customizable, even set designs. You can pick and choose design elements from different pieces to combine them into a semi-custom wedding suite. You can also change the colors and fonts to make them more custom. If you see a design on the site that you like, you’re not tied to that. You can incorporate elements from two or more different designs.
6) Custom or Not
For custom wedding invitations, it’s a smart idea to bring a few different ideas of things you want to incorporate into the design. Pinterest is a helpful tool for getting ideas. You can also collect samples of wedding invitations you like, selecting elements from each and making them specific to your vision.
In working with an independent operation like Steel Petal Press, you have the option to work one-on-one with an artist to incorporate very specific design elements. For example, if you have lace on your dress, you might want to incorporate that into the design. If the location of the wedding has a feature you want to highlight, you can have that incorporated into your invitations. For example, past clients have asked to have things like the stained glass from the wedding hall or the depth chart of the lake where their wedding was taking place incorporated into the design of their wedding invitations.
Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to bring in a few different design elements to have incorporated in your invitations. You can also brainstorm a few loose descriptors to describe the style you’re looking for, such as whimsical and romantic or modern and minimal.
Last but not least: colors. You can get as specific or as general as you want here. If you have an idea of very specific colors, you can bring a color swatch to be sure the colors on your wedding stationery will match your flower arrangements, linens or bridesmaids’ dresses.
And there you have it. If you think through these six items before you meet with your wedding stationer, you’ll be in a great jumping-off place for a productive meeting toward creating a wedding invitation suite that you’ll absolutely love.