• HELPFUL HINTS: Your guide to invitations

    Posted on February 26, 2013 by in Helpful Hints

    The Paisley Suite

    Since my Helpful Hints:  Guide to Programs blog entry has been such a huge success I thought I should post some more guides!  It took me a bit to decide what my next topic should be, and then yesterday it hit me when working with a client on her save the date card!  She was interested in custom design services for her wedding invitations and requested more information.

    When I work with local clients the first part of the consultation is walking them through the options before we start designing their perfect invitation – it’s not as easy to do this with clients that are afar, so I’m hoping this blog entry will help fill that gap in the process!  It can also help others to just be more knowledgeable about options so they can give some thought to what they want before meeting with myself or any other designer!

    When to start the invitation process…

    The generic answer is 4-6 months before the wedding – here I’ll break it down to be more specific.

    • Couture:  Definitely start at about 6 months prior to the wedding.  There can be a alot of back and forth to get your design perfect. For Couture pieces it can sometimes take 2 months to get your hand-crafted pieces in before they even start assembly, so allow ample time to avoid rush fees.
    • Custom: It’s best to start the process in the 4 month range as there can be a lot of back and forth to get the design just perfect!
    • Non-Custom/No Assembly Required:  Ordering from a sample album, an online website, etc – you should be fine with 3 months prior to your wedding date.

    Helpful Hint: Spring and Fall Weddings:  These are the most popular times to get married and lots of brides will be looking for invitations 4 months prior to the wedding day!  Be smart and order early!  Tackle this project a month early and you’ll have your designers undivided attention and quicker turn around times!

    What to include in an invitation & how to include it…

    The Main Components:

    • Invitation to the Ceremony:  This is obviously the most important piece of the invitation – the actual invitation to the main event!  This is the main component that the rest of the invitation will be built around.  The invitation should include who (hosts and honoree(s), what (Wedding, Bat Mitzvah, etc) when the wedding will take place (Date and Time), and where (venue name and address)
    • Reception Information: If your reception is at the same place as the ceremony you can simply handle this by adding the wording “reception to follow” at the bottom of the invitation.  If your reception is at an alternate location you can place this information on an enclosure card.  If you are trying to save some money and you have the space this information can be placed at the bottom of the wedding invitation – it’s not as traditional to go this route by it is an option.when and where on this card.
    • Reply Card:  Traditionally, back in the more proper days, invitations did not come with reply cards.  Instead, reply information was provided in the bottom left corner of the wedding invitation.  Then guests would pull out their personalized stationery and calligraphers pen and draft their proper response to the hosts of the party.  But in today’s society, unless you include a stamped reply card it’s unlikely you’ll receive a proper reply.  The reply card can be included as an enclosure card and should include the reply by date, a space to write their names, a place to indicate whether they accept or decline your invitation and if necessary a place to indicate their meal preference or dietary restrictions if you need a count prior to the event.  If you need head counts for any other events of the wedding (brunch, rehearsal dinner, etc.) this can also be included on the reply card.  If you are having a destination wedding you can also collect guests travel itineraries to ensure a proper welcome!

    Additional Components:

    There is a lot of other information you can provide your guests to make sure they have all of the details necessary for your wedding.  All brides share this information differently, some include it on one enclosure card called “details” others put each piece on a separate card and stack them in a pocket invitation, others put all of the information on a wedding website and just provide the link to all of the details.

    • Hotel Accommodations: If you’ve blocked a set of rooms at a local hotel or two or three, providing this information to your guests is a nice courtesy.  Be sure to include the name(s) that the block is under, the hotel name and address, phone number, website, book by date, and if you want the room rate.
    • Directions:  This is one of the items that if you are looking for somewhere to save money then directions should be the first to go.  With GPS devices and directions easy to pull up on websites like mapquest and google maps most guests will get door-to-directions and not even use yours.  If you’ve followed GPS to your location and it makes you do something crazy (like drive on the boardwalk – yes that’s happen to me) to get to your direction then definitely include directions!
    • Parking:  If you have valet parking at your reception site it’s nice to provide this information on your reception card.  If you are getting married and there isn’t a obvious parking lot outside of the venue then definitely include more information for parking.  Let guests know if they are going to need quarters to feed a meter, cash for a parking lot, where the parking lots are, or where there is street parking.
    • Weekend Itinerary/Other Events:  Some choose to celebrate for an entire weekend or week around their wedding!  If you are hosting any other events be sure to share this information with your guests prior to their arrival!  Do not include anything on the invitation that not everyone is welcome to attend.

    Invitation Types…

    The Panel Invitation

    Jacquelyn Suite

    The panel is the probably the most traditional of all wedding invitations!  It’s a single card, normally printed on a heavy weight cardstock.

    • The pros: Generally the most cost efficient, light-weight for affordable postage.
    • The cons:  Does not hold a lot of additional information in a neat and organized matter – additional information goes on enclosure cards that float around the envelope.
    • Helpful hints:  If you have a lot of enclosure cards add a belly band to hold it all together (see upgrades & embellishment sections to learn around belly bands)
    • Money Saving Tips:  Have extra information?  Skip the enclosure cards and print the information on the backside of the invitation!

    Layered Invitation

    Karen & David Invitation

    The layered invitation is much like the panel invitation!  Essentially, it is a panel mounted on another piece of heavy weight card stock. It has a slightly more elegant feel to it over a panel.

    • The pros:  Cost efficient and very classy, light-weight for affordable postage.
    • The cons:  Does not hold a lot of additional information in a neat and organized matter – additional information goes on enclosure cards that float around the envelope.
    • Options:  Add more layers for a classier and sophisticated look!
    • Helpful hints:  If you have a lot of enclosure cards add a belly band (picture shown with belly band)  to hold it all together (see upgrades & embellishment sections to learn around belly bands)
    • Money Saving Tips:  Have extra information?  Skip the enclosure cards and print the information on the backside of the invitation!

    Gate Fold Invitation

    The Grunge Swirl Suite

    The gatefold invitation is much like the layered invitation!  It’s a panel mounted onto heavy weight card stock with the added embellishment of cardstock covering the invitation so that it has to be opened to reveal the information.

    • The pros:  Cost efficient and very classy, light-weight for affordable postage.
    • The cons:  Does not hold a lot of additional information in a neat and organized matter – additional information goes on enclosure cards that float around the envelope.
    • Helpful hints:  If you have a lot of enclosure cards add a belly band (picture shown with belly band)  to hold it all together (see upgrades & embellishment sections to learn around belly bands)

    Booklet Invitation

    The Laurel Suite

    The booklet invitation is a Kreative specialty, we created this invitation in 2010 when we started our business and it was a huge success that drove us to doing this full time – it is one of our best sellers!  In the past three years we’ve seen other imitate this design.   The booklet keeps all of your information organized in a neat and tidy package!  The top layer is generally the couples custom monogram, the following pages include the invitation, the other event details (reception, hotel, directions), and reply.  Most are set up with RSVP Postcards, but we also offer rsvp envelope options.

    • The pros:  Holds a lot information (4-6 layer booklets available), keeps everything neat & organized.
    • The cons:  There are not many cons to this invitation!

    Pocket Invitation

    The Kanan Suite

    When I got married 7 years ago pockets were just making their way into the market – they were few and far between and there weren’t many options.  Fast forward a few years and there now tons of pocket styles and colors – the options are endless!

    • The pros:  Keeps a lot of information organized
    • The cons:  Price:  Pockets tend to be more expensive and are heavier so they tend to cost more to mail.
    • Options:  Add more layers for a classier and sophisticated look!

    Boxed Invitations

    More information coming soon on boxed invitations…

    Embellishments & Upgrades

    Add that extra special touch to your invitation with a variety of embellishments and upgrades!

    The Amanda-Lauren Suite

    Rhinestones

     

    The Rose-Marie Suite

    Embossing

    Raised graphic detail

    Image 2

    Lined Inner Envelopes

     

    CityScape

    Belly Band

    Ribbon & Seal

    More to come soon!

    Printing Methods

    Engraving:  This Old World technique is always classy and will always be in style!  It’s a costly and timely process that starts with engraving a die with your wording that is dipped into ink and then paper is forced into the plate to create raised wording.  (picture to come soon)

    Letterpress: This print method is another high-end print method and it is the exact opposite of engraving.  The die is made raised wording & design and then is dipped into the ink like a stamp and then pressed onto the paper to create an impression.  It too is a costly and timely process. (picture to come soon)

    Thermography:  This print process was created to give the affect of engraving but with a quicker turnaround and with a more affordable price.  The design is first printed using a flat method of print and dusted with a powder while it is still wet.  Then it is heated and the letters rise.  If you have ever embossed something it is much like that.  (picture to come soon)

     

    The Alexis Pocket Invitation

    Offset or Flat Printing: This is a lot like printing at home on a laser printer – but it’s done on a commercial machine that provides better quality.  It is quickly becoming one of the most popular print methods for invitations as it is quick and affordable.

    Where to Buy:

    Obviously, If I had it my way – all clients would head directly to their local custom designers!  But I know that I can’t offer everything – so here is the breakdown of the invitation buying options.

    Helpful Hint:  To find a great stationer contact us (obviously) or may we suggest you check the following websites:

    The Knot (Visit the local vendors section)

    Wedding Wire

    Etsy (Great place to find a custom stationer!)

    Wedding Invite Love

    Online

    There are a shlew of websites out there where you pick the invitation, pick your font and font color, type your wording into the program and viola – a few weeks later your invitations arrive in the mail.

    • Pros:  It’s convenient and can be done in the comfort of your own home, they are generally discounts up to 30% off.  (Please note – that doesn’t mean they are the most affordable invitation – it generally just means that they took a percentage off an overly-inflated cost)
    • Cons:  You cannot see the invitation in person to view quality.  There is no one to help you make sure you are following wording etiquette, that you do not forget important information, and catch any other mistakes – re-printing can be very costly!  No customization.
    • Helpful Hint:  Always order a sample prior to placing your full order

    Online Stationers

    There are a shlew of websites out there where you pick the invitation, pick your font and font color, type your wording into the program and viola – a few weeks later your invitations arrive in the mail.

    • Pros:  It’s convenient and can be done in the comfort of your own home, they are generally discounts up to 30% off.  (Please note – that doesn’t mean they are the most affordable invitation – it generally just means that they took a percentage off an overly-inflated cost)
    • Cons:  There is no one to help you make sure you are following wording etiquette, that you do not forget important information, and catch any other mistakes – re-printing can be very costly!  No customization. Few coordinating stationery options.

    Traditional Stationers

    Visit your local stationery shop and browse their selection of albums to choose your invitation.  These albums typically show very conventional styled wedding invitation.

    • Pros:  You can work with your stationer to to make sure you are following proper etiquette, that you do not forget important information and to help catch any other mistakes.
    • Cons:  Limited to store hours, generally looking at the same invitations that can be ordered online, generally never discounted. Little customization options.  Few coordinating stationery options.
    • Helpful Hint:  Some times it pays to pay a little extra for the personal service.  A local stationer is much more likely to be helpful resolving any problems then an online stationer.

    Custom Designers

    Custom designers have become a very popular option for order invitations as they can create a stationery suite that is as unique as you are!  Designers listen to your ideas and wishes and modify an existing design in their collection or start from scratch to give you exactly what you want!

    • Pros:  Can work with any budget to give you exactly what you want. Not all follow “Store Hours” and can schedule appointments at your convenience.  Lots of options to carry your design into other aspects of your wedding (coordinating stationery, specialty items, etc.)
    • Cons:  Longer turnaround time.
    • Helpful Hint:  Just because it says custom doesn’t mean that it is more expensive then traditional invitations.

    I hope this helpful hints addition has been helpful!  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask!

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