By Amber Erickson Gabbey
Wedding invitations, although often considered just another task to take care of, are really very important to the success of your wedding. Marsha VanArk, owner and lead wedding planner at Distinctly Yours Wedding & Event Planning in Stevens Point, says invitations are the information-givers but are also much more than that. They tell the time, date, location, directions, and all the key elements that guest need to know. And guests want to know these details so that they can adequately prepare. Invites are really more about the guests than we think, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be unique, personalized, and exactly what you’ve been dreaming about.
To make sure you get the best invitations for your wedding, consider working with an expert on custom invitations, save-the-dates, RSVPs, thank yous, programs, table cards, and all other paper products. One big benefit to working with a designer is that every invitation is custom designed just for you—no templates and no one else with your same invites.
We talked with three local wedding invitation designers about how to get the invites of your dreams and why it pays to go local and custom with your invites. Here’s what Juliann Ford from Mint For Hue, Andra Christianson from Andra Delores Designs, and Lindsay McNierney from Writefully Simple had to say:
Q: Why are invitations so important?
Juliann: Invitations are the first impression guests get of the wedding. You get dresses, flowers, decor, etc., but guests don’t see that until the day of. Invitations create an impression long before the actual wedding day. They set the tone and feeling. The invitations tell guests what they can expect.
Andra: The invitations are the initial thing people see. They are important because they not only tell the details, but they set the tone.
Lindsay: Invitations set the tone and give guests insight on what to expect—whether it’s formal, laid-back, rustic, destination, etc. It gives them the info they’ll need. Invites are often thought of as a throw-away, but in reality they are one of the most important pieces of your wedding.
Q: Can you explain the process of custom invitations?
J: The first step is talking with clients about their vision of the day—the dress, themes, venue, colors, etc., and how formal or casual the event will be. I give them a questionnaire and everything is covered in it, even the variations in wording. The questionnaire gives them all the options up front, and they get to pick so there’s no guesswork. The design is based off of the questionnaire answers and examples from a source such as a Pinterest board. Often clients aren’t sure what they want so there’s always some tweaks to layouts, colors, and fonts between the first draft and final version. From initial inquiry to printed, the turnaround is about 3 to 5 weeks.
A: The first step is to set up a consultation. This gives us an opportunity to discuss what is needed in person. We talk about what they want, what they need, the feel, inspirations, and go from there. We also go over services I offer. After they book, we go through more specific details and inspiration and start the design process. It’s an open process. I send a mock-up and am open to any changes because I want them to love every part of the invitation. The goal is to design something they love.
L: The first step is a consultation. If you are doing save-the-dates, the initial consultation could be around 6 to 8 months before the wedding, so this could be a year-long relationship. It generally takes 2 – 4 months from initial consultation to getting your completed, printed invitations, depending on complexity. Because the relationship can be so long, it’s important to find a designer you like and trust.
Q: Many weddings these days have their own brand of sorts. How do invites fit into the brand?
J: In a perfect world, everything should be branded and include the same theme, feeling, and tone. The whole package of wedding stationery should have the same theme, be cohesive, and everything should blend well.
A: Most people do the whole branding experience so everything matches. It becomes their own brand for the wedding. Everything matches. Mix-and-match is ok, but people seem to like the idea of creating their own brand and having everything coordinate. No matter what you choose, I recommend working with one vendor to keep everything organized.
L: Most couples will get the with the whole package of wedding stationery, so that everything flows seamlessly from the first piece of stationery for their event to the last. By doing so, couples create their own brand by having everything cohesive between the colors, theme, and feeling for their event and stationery.
Q: Why does it pay off to get your invitations from a dedicated designer?
J: With custom invites, nobody will have the same invitations. With templates, you have to stick to the layout and wording, which can feel like settling. With your wedding, you don’t want to compromise exactly what you want. Plus, clients can be as involved as they want in the process, and getting custom invitations is affordable. I see no other way to do invites.
A: Brides want everything to be what they envision. They want their day and all details of it to be unique and special. Pre-packaged invites aren’t unique and special to you. Many people see it as this is our wedding and it’s something special so it’s worth it. They love the process of creating exactly what they want.
L: When you work with a dedicated designer you receive custom stationery. This means that no one else will have that design; it is created for each couple and event. This allows them to bring in personal details and making it their own.
Q: Finally, what advice do you have for brides thinking about invites?
J: The biggest thing is invites tend to be really overwhelming, with all the choices like envelope liners, RSVPs, info cards, colors, stamps, etc., not to mention figuring out what information to include and wording. Leave it to an expert—whether me or someone else. The last thing you want to deal with is an invitation problem when they should be getting sent out. At the 4-month mark, you have bigger things to worry about. Also don’t DIY your invitations. By the time you get all the materials and supplies together and plan out the design, then realize they aren’t working out how you had envisioned, you have to scramble to do something else. Everything seems so much easier than it actually is. Plus DIY-ing invitations isn’t necessarily cheaper or easier than getting custom invites.
A: Come to the process with an open mind and heart. Trust the expertise of your designer. Most were trained and are experienced in design and know what to do. Even if you have ideas of what you love, be willing to create something exceptional.
L: Use Pinterest boards and photos as inspiration and to help clearly define what you want. When you work with a designer be open minded and listen to what they suggest; trust them and their experience.
Photo Courtesy of Writefully Simple