Design Outside of Branding; The Wedding Invitation.

Wedding bells are ringing!
I have so many weddings this year, it’s felt pretty insane. I’ve been recruited (or have volunteered) my services for wedding stationary and invitations. It’s always been one of my favorite outside projects. In honor of my most recently completed set of stationary (I’ve attached them above so you can “ooooh and ahhh,” all over them) I’m going to offer a few “designer’s notes,” on choosing the right design for your occasion.

  1. Find out what you need: Most wedding include a lot of the same kinds of things you’ll find an invitation, an RSVP card, save the dates, programs and thank you cards. Some weddings go a little further. Destination weddings often have additional informational cards for things like “accommodations,” and “itineraries.” Formal weddings also include things like menus, seating cards and so on. All these things can add up quickly to your to-do list and your wallet so as tempting as it may be, try to stick to what is necessary for yourself and your guests on the big day.
  2. Find out how much you need: This seems simple. You’ve got x number of people on your guest list, you need x number of invites. Well… not really. Make sure you keep in mind that you only need 1 invitation per household (be sure to specify which guests on the envelope especially if you aren’t planning on inviting, say… the kiddos to your late night reception) but also, many bride and grooms prefer to use an online RSVP instead of paper, or sometimes they only send paper RSVPs to their more traditional guests. Sometimes even if you need 100 invitations, only 70 people RSVP so you’ll only need 70-80 programs. All of these things make a difference in the amount of work, the price and the amount of planning ahead so make a list of what you need, and how many of each you need.
  3. Decide on a price point: Or at least an approximation. If you are having a slightly larger wedding 60-100 expect a basic wedding invitations suite to ring in at at least $300. It seems like a lot but a good deal of wedding envelopes start at $1.50 going up to as much as $5,00 so unless you are planning on making your own envelopes
    (which I actually did for my own wedding, out of very old copies of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice -and which I really don’t recommend. Took a very long time and made more more than a little crazy.  See them below.)
    know that your paper and printing costs are going to add up so depending on “what you need,” and “how much you need,” you can budget things like your paper and print choices.
  4. Get Inspired: A lot of people use Pinterest or Google to find inspiration for their big day. As you start saving and cataloging these ideas take note of what it is you like. Was it the font that drew you in? Was it the colors? Was there a special way it was worded? Try to pinpoint what it is that you are loving about them and keep them in mind when making or selecting your own.
  5. Keep it Real: Just like the envelopes, there are a ton of custom options that can add up quickly. Specialty papers, specialty printing techniques, laser cut printing, wax seals… while it’s possible to have all or any of these and while you may have these in your dream wedding book, keep it within budget and within reason. Try to align the things that are most important to you and budget accordingly.
  6. Keep your Event in Mind: Having a relaxed picnic themed wedding? Instead of choosing flowing script fonts go for something more organic. Maybe something in a “handwriting,” theme. If you are having a formal event, complete with bowties and cummerbunds, maybe steer away from butcher style brown paper and twine. Your invitations aren’t just a reflection of you and your future spouse but also a “sneak peek,” into the event ahead.
  7. It Takes Two: More often then not, the invitations that arrive at my door take on the characteristics of one of the two in the relationship. Usually whoever is doing the planning or whoever cares most about the stationary makes these decisions and their choice reflects their decision making. It’s important not to drown out your spouse. Maybe they love that you love watercolor flowers, but really don’t want to send out engagement photos as save the dates. Think of them when you choose things like fonts and arrangements. Try to keep everyone in mind. Often, if you have a graphic designer they can look at it from the “outside,” a little better. Maybe you decide to go to a floral envelope but a simple invitation or a scripty, feminine font on a flat colored card stock. These invitations reflect the two of you so get both people involved as much as possible.
  8. Have Fun: I know you’ve been busy wedding planning and I know this seems a lot but have a good time with this. Be sure to shop around. If you are planning on doing some DIY make sure you get a few volunteers for assembly complete with snacks and maybe a glass of wine! (keep your hands clean when touching the paper though!) Everything you get done with early is something you don’t have to worry about later. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask for help -from a professional, from a bridesmaid, from your mother or father… but enjoy it! These invitations are going to be beautiful!

Wishing you only the best on your wedding invitations! If your wedding has already gone by but you still lovingly remember yours we’d love to hear about it or see a photo so feel free to comment below. If you ran into any particular problems we’d love to hear about that as well! Did your printer misspell your name? Did you send your invitations off with the wrong stamp? We’d love to hear about it. In the meantime to our upcoming bride and grooms, best of luck to you!

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