Planning for Wedding Paper Goods
Wedding planning takes some serious work these days! You've got invitations, catering, venue booking, music and bridal party decisions, and the list goes on. There are tons of businesses centered completely around the wedding industry, and rightly so - sometimes it's time to call in the professional!
Your invitations should be sent out at least 6-8 weeks before your wedding, so that means that you should be contacting a designer 4-6 weeks before that! Invitation design can take weeks, or months depending on the scope of work and scheduling, so a lot of the time reaching out to your favorite designer a week before you need to mail them will result in disappointment. I want you to have the invitations you've always dreamed of, so make sure you book with your designer in advance!
Often times we only think about the actual invitations that go out but there is much more to think about when budgeting: Plan for design costs of your invitation, RSVP, additional info card, etc. That cost typically doesn't include printing, paper, envelopes, stamps, addressing, shipping. The cost can quickly add up, and I know that can be overwhelming, but a lot of times it actually ends up being cheaper to pay a designer to do it all for you. A lot of designers have wholesale accounts at paper and envelope shops, or have found the best and most cost-efficient printers. So not only can they get you better prices than you'd be able to get yourself, they'll save you a lot of time that you'd spend researching and trying to figure everything out! The average 100 invite custom suite costs about $500 for the bare minimum, and about $1,000 for a more full package.
Have your guest list ready! That doesn't just mean a list of everyone's names - get updated addresses, make sure all the titles are there and correct (no calligrapher wants to guess if it's a Mr. or a Mrs.), format it exactly how you want it written on the envelope - names on first line, address on the next, double and triple check! You don't know how many times I've seen inconsistencies and errors - but I have to write it exactly how it is in the document. Cause it all comes down on me if I think they spelled something wrong, and I correct it, and it was actually spelled right! It would also totally slow down the workflow to email every time I thought something wasn't right. So get your mom, sister, fiance, maid-of-honor and have them double check everything!
Time-management is my middle name. There are lots of things I'm not very good at, but planning, managing time, and being efficient are not some of them. Working for years in the fast-paced, deadline-driven, budget-constricted corporate world has really shown me what my strengths and weaknesses are. And for me I know, I can get it done! I'm all about streamlining and creating efficient processes to save time and money for everyone involved! This is typically a 3-4 week timeline.
- To get everything started I'll send you a questionnaire to get a feel for specifics. From there you'll receive a detailed quote, then invoice and contract. After all the logistical stuff is handled, you'll receive 2 Google doc files - 1 to input all your invitation wording and another to start entering all your addresses.
- Once all your wording is finalized, I'll create 3 sketch concepts.
- Once a concept has been chosen I'll paint the details, create the lettering, scan it in and start the invitation design.
- I then send the client a shot of the invitation design for feedback.
- We get the design just right, and then I move on to all the other suite collateral: RSVP card, directions, additional information, return address stamp, etc.
- After that I make a full suite image of everything put together so they can get a feel for how it all looks as a collection, and to help decide on envelope colors.
- At this point we've nailed down the whole look and feel of the suite, so I order the paper and envelopes. If time allows and the Bride would like to see it, I'll have paper and envelope samples sent to her before purchasing everything.
- I wait for the paper and envelopes to arrive, and take the files to the printer to have one copy of the suite printed. I assemble it all, address the envelope exactly how it would be for the real deal and send it to the Bride for approval. If the deadline is tight this in person approval step can be skipped but only at the request of the Bride. It definitely saves time, but sometimes things look different on screen than they do in real life.
- Once that's approved we move on to printing! I have a wonderful local print shop who does amazing work, and cuts everything perfectly down to size for me so I pick it up and it's ready!
- Now we move on to the time consuming part - addressing envelopes. This usually takes 10 days for every 100 envelopes that need addressing.
- Almost done, just time to double check all the names and addresses!
- Everything's good! We package it up and ship it out!
A lot of the time a client has also purchased day-of details: signage, place cards, escort cards, menus, programs, guest books, etc. We can't work on those right away because the guest list hasn't been finalized, but 1 month before the wedding is when I'll loop back around to get everything else done! I always try to make sure the details are in the Bride's (or event planner's) hands at least a week before the wedding. She doesn't need anymore stress put on her plate!