January 23, 2018
The following is a guest blog post in a series of posts by Jenn Heller from Jenn Heller Design Co. Check back each week to learn more!!
Wedding Stationery 101: Getting Started
by Jenn Heller
A recurring theme I hear from my custom stationery clients is that they are overwhelmed by wedding stationery. There are so many possibilities out there that it can be difficult to even know where to begin.
To help you on your search, I am putting together a Stationery 101 series with my friend Emily of Emily Alyssa Photography to help organize your ideas and explore your options – you’ll be checking off “send invitations” from your list in no time!
Today’s topic is about getting started. You might think that this means an in-depth discussion of paper types and printing methods, but let’s step back from that and first determine the most important things: what do you want and need from your stationery?
Setting Your Priorities
Before you start looking at dozens of designs on websites or get lost in an Instagram loop, you’re going to want to answer a few questions for yourself first. These are all questions I ask my clients at (or before) our first meeting:
- How many invitations do you need? I always ask this question at consults and more often than not get a headcount as a response – these two numbers are not the same! Make sure you determine the number of parties receiving a single envelope, not the number of guests, and don’t forget to order several extra for keepsakes.
- What information do you need to convey in your suite? Are your wedding events happening at more than one location, or over multiple days? Are your guests mostly from out of town, and need information about hotel locations and travel? This will help you determine the number of cards you really need to include in your suite.
- What’s the tone of your wedding? Your stationery is often the first thing your guests see about your wedding. Setting the right tone with your save the date or invitation is a key way to make your guests comfortable on your wedding day! If your invitation is an opulent formal black and white invitation but your wedding is a relaxed backyard barbeque (or vice versa!), your guests are going to be confused.
Important note: When I ask my clients about tone, I do not mean I need their wedding to have a “theme” – I ask them instead to think of a few adjectives they would want their guests to use to describe the wedding day. It’s OK if these words don’t directly relate to aesthetic either! These mood words are something to keep in the back of your mind as you make decisions and weight options.
With the answers to these questions in mind, you can start to look at actual invitation examples to get a sense of what you’re drawn to. A Pinterest board you can share, or a file of images with notes is a good place to store your ideas, but do try and be specific about what exactly you liked about an image (especially if you plan on sharing this file with a designer down the road!)
Once you’ve started gathering this information, you can also begin to realistically assess your budget so that it aligns with your priorities, before you get caught up in the debate of cardstock vs. cotton paper and luxe foil vs. digital printing.
And while we’re talking about budgeting…
- Stamps are (almost) never included in a quote by a custom stationer or any online retailer. Those prices are set by the post office based on weight, thickness, and rigidity, so make sure you are aware stamps will cost extra!
- Do you also need rehearsal dinner invitations? Day-of stationery like programs and menus? Thank you notes? A map for your wedding welcome bag? You don’t have to order everything right away, but these are add-ons to consider up front so your timeline and budget stay on track.
Once you have a ballpark idea of what you are looking for in a suite, and how many you need, a good thing to understand next is a little about paper types and printing methods, and their relative costs. Stay tuned for our next Stationery 101 installment for your primer on papers and printing methods!
Bonus: Of all the elements in your wedding, stationery can feel the most bound by traditions and etiquette that feels archaic or confusing. On my blog today I’ll be talking about some do’s and don’ts of wedding stationery etiquette – head over to check it out!