I get it...you've never planned a wedding before, so it's hard to know exactly how to go about those big decisions and all the deadlines, hurdles and considerations that go along with them. With stationery, it's no different. Ordering invitations, signage and any other printed material for your day is a completely new world, but let me try and make things a little easier for you with my top tips to avoid common mistakes.
Under or Over-Ordering
A simple mistake to make and something which happens more often than you think, especially with invitations, is under or over ordering. I always check in with my clients at the quoting stage to ask whether the total number of required invites is their total guest number or their total family/couple/single person number.
For example, Jade & Matthew have a guest list of 160 people for their wedding. Within that, they have a total of 41 families, 19 couples and 16 single friends. Therefore, I would recommend ordering 76x invitations, with 15-20% extra as spares and keepsakes, yielding a total of 87-91 total invitations.
Photography: Catherine Coons
The consequences for under-ordering can be expensive once everything has been sent to print, as a print run for a small run of stationery can be expensive. Conversely, over-ordering will not entitle you to a refund as the product is highly personalised and cannot be re-used. Providing you give a correct approximate number at the quoting stage (of course, we all expect some small changes to final print numbers), there shouldn't be any big shocks to you or your stationer during the design/print and delivery stages.
One way to combat the potential for under or over-ordering is to have your stationer include envelope address calligraphy or printing - that way, you will order the exact amount according to your address list, plus the 15-20% spares. Or, ensure you have a spreadsheet of guests prepared prior to booking in your Invitations, with people grouped into families/couples.
Setting an Unrealistic Budget
Everyone has a budget. I completely respect and understand that. But making careful considerations about your budget, and really doing your research with experienced, professional stationers can better prepare you for what you can expect to spend for your wedding stationery.
Photography: Ashley Taylor
If you're looking for a high end finish, prices will reflect that. Even more so if you're looking for really technical, in-depth and by-hand finishes such as letterpress, hot-foil stamping, die-cutting and finer papers at higher weights. The typical spend amongst my clients is between $1,800-$4,000 AUD ($1,200-$2,800 USD) for wedding stationery and on the day items such as menus, orders of ceremony, seating charts and other signage.
A good, high quality print finish is a lot more expensive than you might think, and you also need to consider your stationers design time - it can take 8-12 hours for a designer to go through the process of designing your suite, and a further 3-6 hours to process amendments, refinements and set up all the files for printing. There is a lot of behind the scenes work to; emailing, liaising with print houses and papermills, hand-finishing, personalisation, postage, etc.
Not Ordering In Enough Time
I always recommend booking in your stationery once you have booked your venue...and the sooner the better to be perfectly honest. It takes, on average 4-6 weeks to design a custom suite from scratch, and an additional 2-3 weeks for print and delivery, depending on where you are based in relation to your stationer. Hand-finishing can take anywhere between 1-2 weeks too.
But even if you contact a stationer 10-12 weeks out from the date you want to send your invitations out, this may not guarantee a spot on their schedule. Most stationers book a year out...and so in 2022, we'll be working on 2023 weddings. I am already receiving enquiries for 2024.
Photography: In The Mood For Love
If you see someone who's work you love, don't hold off from contacting them...jump to it and secure your date as early as possible! And ideally, book in some of your day of stationery at least, so you'll know that you are already on their schedule for menus, place cards, and other day of signage.
Not Checking Proofs for Spelling or Information Errors
I cannot stress how important it is for you to check, check and recheck your design proofs to ensure there are no spelling mistakes or communication errors (such as the ceremony time, postal/zip codes, wedding website URLs). Please don't assume that a stationer knows how to spell your wedding venue, or even your name, as there is often more than one way to spell a place name or a persons name.
We also don't know the particulars of your day and so it is really important that you check all proofs that you are sent, as once your order has gone to print there is little we can do. Being super on the ball, and even getting a friend or family member to check, could save you having to pay out for a re-print.
Some more quick fire tips:
Save money and commit more money to your invitation suite by sending an email/text Save The Date!
Opt for a wedding website with an RSVP function rather than a physical RSVP card and return envelopes!
Work in guest name personalisation for your menus, and ditch standalone place-cards!