They say it takes over 200 hours to plan a wedding. When it came to my wedding some say I was lucky, I won a radio competition and was whisked away to get married on a plane heading for Fiji, but that didnt mean that I stopped planning. I knew what I wanted, even if it was on an extremely tight time frame! And lets be honest, even if you haven’t been planning your wedding since you were 5 years old, we are strong independent ladies that know what we want for our big day!
When I talk to people about what I do I hear the same question A LOT… “oohh have you worked with many Bridezillas?” and to this I have the same response, I LOVE Bridezillas! They know what they want and they are not afraid to tell me what that is! And in my job that makes life so much easier.
So what is it that I do? I am a Graphic Designer that has a passion for wedding stationery. Wedding stationery will be the first thing your guests receive from you to tell them you are getting married and could very likely be the last… from Save the date cards to thank you cards, seating plans to table name cards and flat card invites to pocketfuls… I do it all! Your theme, your style, your personalities… so I know a little about wedding stationery!
So what are my frequently asked questions when it comes to wedding stationery;
Honestly no, but it can’t hurt right… there is nothing worse than sending out your invites only to find out that there is another wedding that weekend or everyone is heading off to the 7’s and no-one can come. Sending a Save the Date card is just that, a notification to save the date. If you are getting married on a budget your can always send an electronic Save the Date and avoid the printing and postage costs. My top tip, the more notice you can give the better, especially if you have guests travelling to be at your wedding and they will need to book accommodation.
Again, dont leave it to the last minute – I always suggest 6-9 months ahead of time for the Save the Date cards and 3-4 month ahead of time for the invites, with RSVPs about 1-1.5 months from the wedding date that way you can chase up the last few and give numbers to the caterer on time. When in doubt… send it out, you can never give you guests enough notice.
Wedding invitations take longer than you might think, so the more notice you can give the designer the better. As a rule of thumb I would work with 2 months, but the time you give them the information, get it designed, check it, make alterations, get it proofed and ultimately printed 2 months will fly by!
I tend to work on the policy of half the number of guests and add 15… so for 100 guests I would suggest about 65 invites, but you are always best to check your guests list as you may have more families or singles and need to adjust that number, most designers will be able to get additional invitations printed should you require more last minute ones.
5. Why should I get a designer to do my invites when “Aunty Sarah” can do them for me for nothing?
We all know how expensive weddings can be, but more importantly how stressful they can be… I get asked alot “why should I use a designer for my wedding stationery when my sister/auntie/cousin etc can do it for nothing” – and this is my honest answer; I suggest a professional designer for the following reasons; they are a professional, they have no emotional attachment to your wedding and will design exactly what you ask for not what they think looks best, they will use a commerical printer to print your wedding stationery, they will deliver ontime, they have been through this before and know what to look for… what can go wrong.
6. Using a Designer is too expensive?
Most of the time the money that you will spend on creating your own invitations and wedding stationery will be the same or less if you go with a professional designer… what you dont take into account is the hours upon hours that you will have to spend glueing and cutting and sticking and folding and printing and cutting and glueing…. you have enough to plan without spending days on end creating wedding stationery and they have done it all before so they will have a system.
7. What wedding stationery is available?
Anything is possible when working with a professional, I have been asked to do everything including; Save the Date cards, Save the Date luggage tags, flat card invites, pocketfold invites, postcard invites, seating plans, table name cards, menu cards, table numbers, fingerprint trees, wishing well signs, ceremony programmes, favour swing tags, posters for the walls with key quotes, thank-you cards and wedding websites. If you have something in mind check with the designer and they will tell you if it is possible.
8. Pre-designed vs individually designed stationery?
There are a number of online stores that sell pre-designed wedding stationery, you give them the wedding information and they change the text, this is a good option if you are working to a budget but want a professionally designed invitation, just remember if you want to start making significant changes to the template most of the time they will charge you for the work.
9. How much should I spend on my stationery?
Experts say you should look to spend about 5% of your total wedding budget on wedding stationery, so if you are spending $25,000 on the wedding all up then the cost of the wedding stationery and favours should be approximately $1250, if your wedding budget is $10,000 then you should be looking at approximately $500. It is important to make sure the invitations you purchase fit in with your budget. You don’t have to be extravagant to find quality invitations. Go with your priorities. Let the designer know what your budget is and how many people you are inviting and they should be able to come back to you with some options to choose from.
10. Final Tips and hints with your wedding stationery:
- Square stationery will usually cost you more in postage.
- Always get someone else to proof read the stationery, the more you look at it the less chance you have of spotting the mistakes.
- Always ask for a proof before you go to print.
- Ask if there are package discounts for a number of items, ie, save the date cards, invites and thankyou cards.
- It is ok to have a child free wedding, if you are having trouble finding the right words ask your designer as they have probably had to include similar wording before and can probably give you some options.
- Shop around, ask a couple of designers for quotes, but more importantly ask to see some previous work to make sure that they have a style that you like.
- The internet and Pinterest can be a great starting point for wedding invites… take a look and find things that you like, that will help speed things up with the design, even if it is the font from one design, the colour from the other and the style from another… they can make it work for you.
- Know how approximately how many invites you require and whether you need envelopes before you ask for quotes, also have a good idea on colours or themes, this will help the designer provide you with a more accurate quote.
- Have a good idea the wording you want to use… i.e., formal or more casual, do you want Robert and Sarah Jones and Rodney and Carol Smith invite you to the marriage of their Son William and Daughter Jane or William and Jane and their families invite you to celebrate their marriage… or something inbetween.
And last but not least… Your wedding stationery is the first thing your guests will see and acts as a little teaser of what to expect from your wedding day, whether you are spending $10 or a million dollars always remember that this day is about you both and your stationery should be to. Send what makes you happy, even if it is a postit note with a day and time on it.
This blog post was written by Amber McArthur from Cre8tive, a graphic design business that specialises in wedding stationery.