I have been asked these questions so many times over the years, so here is a quick guide to 10 things you really should think about once your venue is booked, before you seek out a supplier or confirm your wedding stationery booking. Some of them may be questions specific to your supplier, in which case don’t forget to ask them before you go ahead and book!
You will be asked this question a lot as you visit wedding fayres and make enquiries with suppliers, but it’s not just about when you get married.
For a wedding stationer, they will need to know when you want to send your invites. You may be a little hazy on this, it’s not as simple as ‘4-6 months before the wedding’, if you have a wedding in the school holidays, or mid-week for example.
Have a think about when you would feel comfortable requesting your RSVPs back by. If you can trust your guests to reply quickly, great!
But if you think it may take a while then allow extra time and work backwards from there. Often for a summer wedding I would be preparing invites to go out in January, but they might have been booked in for as much as 18 months by then, so don’t take too long to decide if you have found someone you really want to work with.
Here is another helpful blog post about just how long it can take to make up elegant, handcrafted wedding invitations like the ones available in my portfolio.
2. Invitation Styles & Colours
Do you know what kind of style of invitation you want? Have you seen a design somewhere that made you ‘ooh’?
Does it reflect anything else about your day, such as the kind of venue, any theme you want to follow, or do you just LOVE it?
There is no right answer here but they are things to consider if you really want to wow your guests with the storytelling of your big day from the beginning. It is worth considering if you will need your chosen colours to be incorporated in some way too.
There are many ways this can be done but it will depend on how your chosen supplier works.
3. Your guest list – Daytime and Evening guests
Have you started on your guest list already?
Usually you will have some idea before booking your venue, but this can often change along the way, for lots of reasons.
Remember as you begin to sketch this out that it can be helpful to have some flexibility, and be aware that not every person on your first list will necessarily be able to make it to your big day.
If you are having a separate evening ‘do’ you can always bump up any chosen guests if those ‘decline’ messages do make an appearance. This can all help with number 4 too…
4. How many?
When working out how many invites you need, to get a more tailored quote, remember one vital thing: If you have 100 guests, you don’t need 100 invites.
Usually it works out around 2/3rds of that number as a rough guide (one per household). Also, it’s worth remembering, for the evening guests, to make a separate headcount in the same way, rather than the final number of guests (you already invited the daytime guests so no need to send them anything more!)
And however much of a sales tactic this sounds like (it really isn’t), always allow a little room in your budget for spare invitations. Whether you think you will need them or not, it really is a good idea to add a few on just in case.
You can leave the name part blank and then just fill them in yourself as you go, it would be a disaster if you needed them on a quick turnaround (more often than not) after all the trouble you went to for the perfect invites, only to find out your supplier can’t fit them in due to other weddings.
5. Quality, Samples & Proofs
Make sure you are looking for a quality supplier, who uses quality materials – you should be able to request to samples of their work quite easily.
Find one who will set your mind at ease during the process. One who will provide you with a sample that helps you feel like they understand what you want, and one who always signs off the proofs to make sure everything is correct before they are printed.
Do you want your invites to be completely personalised, including having your guest names printed?
If its important to you, as it gives your invites the truly ‘finished’ look, put it on your list, sure to check if this is available as an option – and find out whether it costs any more money.
Talking of printing, are you looking for someone who prints everything in house, or has pre printed ‘fill the blank’ invites?
If they do the printing themselves you will find it to be a much more personalised service, it will give them the control they need over producing your invites and not having to rely on anyone else to get it right for you.
7. HOW much?
When it comes to requesting a quote for your wedding stationery, keep your budget in mind. Remember too, that the figures won’t just have been plucked out of the air, every wedding supplier spends time carefully calculating their quote based on your requirements.
Give serious consideration before responding, especially if they have already made it onto your shortlist of ‘must have’ suppliers. There are usually options to help you spread your payments too and if you are being quoted for all your stationery you may not need to pay for everything all at once anyway.
Just as with any other enquiry, receiving the quote does not guarantee availability if you haven’t paid any kind of deposit – always remember to check how long the quote is valid for as well.
8. Matching daytime and venue stationery
It’s a lovely idea to consider having the rest of your stationery on the day to coordinate with your invites, so remember to ask if this is available too. Not every design is always able to be used within a venue setting or on a seating plan so if this is important to you, think carefully.
If you are getting married in a church, you might want your Orders of Service to match the rest of your stationery, especially as this is often one element of your big day the guests might want to keep as a souvenir!
Also, just a cautionary tale from me, please wait until you have your RSVPs before you begin planning out your seating arrangements. It can be helpful to picture who will sit where when you are doing your invites, I know, but this can often feel like a waste of time when you find out family member Y won’t be coming anyway and family member Z can quite happily sit with your best mates girlfriend.
So just wait a while, if you can.
If you are ordering through a website, its quite likely that your order will be posted out, but if you are meeting with the supplier in order to build up a good working relationship, it is worth asking how you will receive your invites.
Do they deliver them to you, or will you need to collect them? Also, how do the invites come? Are they ready to send out or do you need to put the additional cards together with the pocketfolds?
It may sound like a minor detail but its good to know what to expect for your money.
I often get asked if I am the one who sends out the invites to the guests too. This is a premium service not currently available but its always worth checking with your own supplier if it isn’t clear who does what.
And last but definitely not least…
10. Wow factor!
So you’ve been looking at ideas, and sourced quotes and maybe even ordered a few samples.
But which one gives you that eek, it’s real kind of feeling?
Which one can you picture sending to your guests to really wow them and get them all excited about your special day?
Is there one that does that more than the others? Or did you only have one to begin with?
The feeling is so important, because you will remember that excitement in years to come and when that happens seeing your invites as you look back on your wedding day will give you goosebumps all over again.
I hope you have found this list helpful. I am only ever at the end of an email if you have more questions you need answering. Of course you could always book a tea room appointment for a more personal touch.
While you’re here, why not pop your details on the mailing list for more helpful hints & tips, and that all-important wedding stationery checklist! Just follow the link here. TTFN, Jacqui xx