I'm back with the next part of this series - our invitations! This is obviously the area where I have the most knowledge. It's okay if you feel overwhelmed with paper, envelopes, print methods.. That's where I come in - read the tips below and then get in touch with me for a consultation if you need more advice or want to get started on your own invitation suite!
Start with your mood board and budget
Even stationery designers have their budgets, and so even though I would have loved to get letterpress or gold foil, I knew that I needed to find another way to design a beautiful invitation. I used my mood board (I feel like I've been saying this a lot) to determine a general look for my invitation suite, and I used my budget to determine what print method I could use. Luckily, being a stationery designer, my time was really the biggest portion of the "budget". Ask yourself what you can realistically afford!
Settling on a design
There are so many beautiful invitation styles out there. How do you decide what you want? First, your mood board. If you don't have one by now, you should really make one, hint, hint. Then you can either take your mood board to your stationery designer and ask for their advice, or you can start browsing Pinterest (with caution! don't get sucked in) or Instagram for some ideas that might go with your wedding style. You can bring those ideas to your stationery designer too! The more details you have, the more helpful it will be. I chose a very clean and somewhat minimal all-gray design with certain items that were calligraphed then vectorized, and added in a small accent of color with the hand-painted greenery. You can tell how that goes with my whole "minimal modern organic" look!
Choose your pieces
Decide what cards you'll need and if you want the standard card sizes. Your stationery designer can't read your mind so please let them know if you want something different! It may also cost more to send square invitations, etc, so keep that in mind! Extra cards will cost more of course, but can be necessary if you have a lot of information to convey. I did a main invitation card, RSVP card, details card, and a special welcome to Chicago card for the out-of-towners, because navigating Chicago can be a bit crazy if it's your first time! Map cards are also very popular but I chose not to do one.
A lot of people get shocked by how much letterpress and/or foil stamped invitations really cost. It really depends on the quantity, but it can cost 3 or 4 times more than a digitally flat printed invitation! Be prepared for that if you are really set on one of those methods. Digital can be really beautiful as well, and I wanted to design something that would be beautiful as a digital piece because my budget didn't allow for letterpress or foiling. I wanted something very subtle that would mimic the serene quality that letterpress can sometimes have. Your stationery designer should be able to advise you on what methods might be right for you.
Choosing paper and envelopes!
This is the fun part! I love paper. I'm a print designer, so I think it's required that I love paper! If you have no idea about paper, ask your designer! They should be able to advise you on the right thickness, texture (or none), color, etc. for your invitation suite paper. Same goes for envelopes. Just let them know what color and style you are thinking of, and they should be able to choose ones that will go best with your suite. I'm planning on talking about envelope calligraphy in a separate post, but if you do choose your own envelopes, be sure that they are of a good quality, because they will be very difficult for your calligrapher to write on if they are poor quality.
I chose a very simple but beautiful sheet of paper - the Mohawk Superfine Eggshell. It's the same type of paper that Artifact Uprising uses for their prints, and that's what made me choose it! It is gorgeous and ever so slightly textured. For the envelopes, I wanted to tie in our greenery somewhere, so I chose a sage green envelope for the main envelope and calligraphed each one in black ink. For our RSVP envelope, I chose a light gray that coordinated with the light gray text/hand-lettering that was on our invitations. I lettered our names with gray watercolor and then wrote our address in a gold/copper color to tie in some of our main colors for the wedding.
How will you present the suite?
Will you use a pocketfold (great for suites with a lot of cards, can read a bit more "traditional" sometimes) or a belly band? Will your belly band be paper, or a ribbon, or something else? Or will you have something else entirely? Whatever it is, the presentation of your suite is very important. If you have a lot of cards (more than just the invitation and RSVP card) and nothing holding them together, it can appear unorganized or make your guests wonder if they are missing a card.
Belly bands can be very affordable if you make them out of paper - whether you DIY them or have your stationery designer do them! I chose to do a paper belly band in the same color as our RSVP envelopes, and hand-painted our initials with a gold/copper ink on each one. This helped tie in the other colors we were using in our suite and at our wedding.
Stamps aren't just stamps
Even the stamps you use can make an impression! I found these great fern stamps, and they were just the regular price of Forever stamps so I didn't have to spend any more than I normally would, yet it made such a difference and were carefully chosen to coordinate with everything else in the suite. The stamps were clearly not an afterthought, and I always appreciate the fun little detail of a stamp that was carefully chosen.
I didn't touch on envelope calligraphy here - that warrants a whole separate post so stay tuned for more! Still have questions or just too long didn't read? That's totally ok. Just hit the button below to chat with me about your stationery options!