Brides imagine their storybook weddings, complete with a beautiful dress, a memorable event location and a handsome groom. What most of them don’t fantasize about is purchasing their wedding invitation–instead, they figure that they’ll go into a store or get online one day and find something and order it. Many make the mistake of thinking, “It’s just stationery. How hard can it be?”
Unfortunately, if you take this attitude, the final result will not live up to your expectations. Just as you wouldn’t wait until the weekend before your wedding to purchase your dress, you can’t leave the purchase of your wedding invitations until the last moment. Below are some tips to help you through the purchase process of your wedding invitations.
- Make sure you do your research. Before you schedule your invitation appointment or begin your purchase online, look through bridal magazines and online invitation stores to get a feel of what’s trendy at the moment. Do you like classic, modern, pockets, ribbon, bright colors, die cut shapes letterpress? As you start looking you will start to see that you are drawn to a certain style of invitation.
- Know what you do and don’t want. If you hate ribbon or script font, keep that at the forefront of your mind when beginning the selection process. Don’t waste time on anything that includes an element you dislike. If you have no clue about what types of stationery you like, use this pre-purchase time to figure out how your wedding theme and colors can be used within your stationery suite.
- Decide if you want to go the DIY route or the professionally printed route. If you know for a fact that you want letterpress invitations, don’t waste time researching cardstock prices and pocketfold options. Instead, use your time wisely and spend it investigating different types of letterpress invites. The same goes for DIY brides — there’s no need to take up a wedding consultant’s time if you have always wanted to whip up your own unique wedding invites. Just keep in mind that DIY invitations can take time and a bit of experience with paper, printing, and cutting.
- Remember your timeline. No matter if you order online or through local stationery vendor, remember that you must send out your wedding invitation suite no later than six weeks before your wedding (ideally, you’ll want to mail them out around eight weeks, especially if your event is around a holiday or you have a lot of guests that are traveling). Give your invitations plenty of time to come from the stationery vendor or online vendor — glitches in the system do happen, and you don’t want to be that bride who doesn’t have her invites because of poor timing.
If you’re purchasing professionally printed stationery, I recommend making an appointment. That way, you will ensure that a knowledgeable stationery consultant will be there to speak with you (and not the new person who’s still in training) and he or she will be prepared to spend time with you. This first consultation should occur three or four months before your wedding to give you time to make a decision and to give the store time to place your order.
Don’t rush the appointment. You’ll want to set aside at least an hour to talk through pricing options with your consultant, as well as look through the many options the store will offer. Give yourself time to think over what you’re seeing. If you feel overwhelmed, make another appointment, preferably with the same consultant. Keep the appointments close together so that your reactions to the stationery pieces are fresh in your mind.
When you’re ready to purchase, always pay for the proof. Most stationery consultants are extremely meticulous when it comes to writing down and entering the information, but they are human, and mistakes can be made. The proof comes from the stationery company, not the store you purchased from, and usually costs around ten dollars per item. It is a small price to pay for the assurance that your invites will be perfect.
Limit the number of people you bring to the appointment. Too many opinions create confusion. I recommend bringing (at most) two people with you, as any more people creates a crowded, frustrated environment.