ask the experts:the wedding invitation
A Bhive events interview
Are you feeling a little clueless about ordering your invitations? Where do you start? Who do you trust? We love answering brides questions and helping guide them through the process. It can be daunting! With years of experience, we loved sharing our knowledge with BHive Events in hopes of helping all of you. Watch the video above or hit the highlights below. Feel free to asks us any questions you have in the comment section below.
Things you should ask you invitation designer:
- Do you sell custom designs or invitation lines, and if so, which ones do you carry and how many are available?
Why it’s important: Your stationer could be a graphic designer who free-forms invitation designs, or she could be selling suites from multiple designers. We sell both options to fit the needs every bride.
- Do you specialize in a specific style or theme (for example, traditional or watercolor)?
Why it’s important: Invitations set the stage for the overall look of your wedding, so you’ll want to make sure your stationer can provide you with the style you’re going for. At The Ink Cafe, we love to brand a wedding and we love to do based on each bride’s needs. Our styles are custom made to fit any style or theme. We also carry four different lines to fit any style a bride prefers.
- Are there books I can browse through?
Why it’s important: Paging through books of invitation suites will help narrow your focus on a particular style and understand if your stationery designer’s style and your taste match. It will also give you some ideas of what you might like. As designers, this is like creating a vision board that helps you define your brand. It also gives you a chance to ask questions about paper and printing. Your designer is the expert so they should be able to answer all or your stationery questions from thickness of paper to the difference between letterpress, emboss, thermographic and digital printing. We love walking through our books with brides because we can explain parts of an invitation that they may have never considered.
- Do they have other stationery items available?
Why it’s important: If you want a cohesive look throughout your paper goods (think: save-the-dates, favor tags, escort cards, table names) and signage, it’s a good idea to ask up front which items the stationer can provide. Not only does this create a beautiful brand for your big day, but if you ask upfront, you may get a discounted price for buying your complete set through one business. We often come across many frantic brides in the summer and fall who are needing last minute programs, menus, place cards and signage. They didn’t realize by purchasing on-line invitations that they were not going to be able to find matching day of paper goods. We do our best to match our day of event stationery with their invitations, but to be honest…they would have gotten their entire invitation suite at much better price if they had just gone through us for the entire process. Sometimes, trying to go cheap at first ends up costing just as much in the end. I hate to see it happen, but it does way too often!
- How are invitations priced? Is there any benefit to purchasing other wedding paper (menus, escort cards) at the same time?
Why it’s important: Okay… I want on a rant above. But I will reiterate… Sometimes stationery designers will offer special discounts to couples who order their invitations in a suite of goods. If you haven’t decided on your place cards or save-the-dates yet, it may be a good idea to think about including them in your paper package. I also like being very upfront about my pricing with my brides. No one likes surprises and I always try to put myself in our bride’s positions.
- How much customization is possible?
Why it’s important: In some cases, true customization cannot happen. When you work with Wedding Divas, Minted or Envelopments (all great, but…) you really can’t customize certain verbiage or designs. Keep that in mind.
- What about calligraphy—do you work with anyone? Can you recommend someone?
Why it’s important: Many times, stationers have built up relationships with calligraphers in the area. If you want your envelopes addressed by a professional, it’s good to check with your stationer for recommendations. We love teaching calligraphy classes at a local shop we love called Poppy’s. It will help you learn all the ins-outs of calligraphy and maybe even inspire you to be a calligrapher. For our clients, we use The Artist’s Hand for all of their calligraphy needs. After we print the invitations, we provide The Artist’s Hand with the addresses and envelopes. We then pick-them up, assemble the rest of the invitation and deliver the invitations with postage to the bride. All that she needs to do is drop them off at the post office from that point. How stress-free is that?!
- Am I allowed to customize my invitation wording?
Why it’s important: Oftentimes, wedding invitations are worded similarly to reflect the rules of etiquette. If you’re hoping to use customized wording in your invites, confirm that everything will be written exactly as you directed and not changed to reflect what the stationer believes is proper. We love explaining rules of etiquette and why they are in place, but at the end of the day we believe that the bride should get exactly what she desires.
- How long after I place my order will my invitations be delivered?
Why it’s important: This one’s a no-brainer. When signing your contract, double-check the time frame so you’re sure the invitations and other goods will be delivered to guests of the wedding with enough time for the RSVP process. We always send out a questionnaire requesting a bride’s timeline. This is important on our end to assure that all materials are in stock three weeks prior to going to print.
- Once I’ve placed my order, will I be able to see a proof (what the invitation will look like) before the invitations are printed? What happens if there’s an error in the order?
Why you want to know: Unfortunately, typos and other mistakes can happen. So confirm that you can see a proof of your order before all of your invites are printed to avoid any extra costs. Then, verify what happens in case of an error (whether it’s your error or the printer’s mistake). We always send out a final proof for the bride to approve. We want to make sure that everything is perfect. If an error occurs, be sure that the invitations can be redone very quickly. We often get brides in tears because they waited 6-8 prior to sending an invitation and they noticed an error from an invitation that they ordered from an on-line company. Those invitations typically take three weeks to be re-done by the distributer. We can have a three day turn around time because we do all of our own printing and cutting. That helps eliminate all of the fear and anxiety of not getting them out in time for guests to RSVP. Also, make sure that if it is a designer’s fault, they make it right. We always do, but I am amazed how many stationery designers do not.
I hope this helps all of you lovely brides struggling with the perfect invite. If you have more questions…. feel free to ask in our comment section.