The Value of Your Stationery

April 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm 2 comments

With more and more brides becoming DIY-ers to save money, it seems that the first things they try to do themselves are planning/coordination and designing their own stationery. It’s understandable why most brides do this: you’ve planned parties before, plus there are resources galore to help you out, you have Micosoft Word, you’ve seen other invitations… so how hard can it really be, right?

I can assure you that my wedding wouldn’t have gone nearly as smoothly as it did without the help of my amazing planner. In fact, the first thing I recommend to every friend or bride-to-be who asks for suggestions on planning is, “Hire a great wedding planner.”

These next few topics communicate the importance of hiring a quality stationer and discuss why a stationer will charge a certain fee.

Reasons to Hire a Quality Designer:
. Now we’ve all heard the old adage from our childhood saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” No come on, how many of you have actually lived up to this? I know I tend to be drawn to wines based on their labels, perfume based on its bottle shape, stores based on their window displays, and various products solely based on their packaging. I know I’m not alone in this. For this reason remember that, “The first impression is the most important.”

When it comes to your wedding, your invitation suite is the very first visual that your guests will have for your day. It will set the tone for your event, and if you hire a quality designer, your invitations will emphasize those special details that will set your wedding apart from any other. Your invitations really help to generate excitement for your big day.

INVITATIONS ARE A LASTING MEMORY. When all is said and done, after the cake was cut and all the guests have gone home, what is it that you are left with from your wedding? You will only have your dress (if you choose to keep it and get it cleaned), your photography and videography and finally, your printed goods. Most people don’t think about the last one, but at my rehearsal, my grandparents brought my mom and dad’s wedding invitation to share. This was amazing! They started talking about the events that led up to the time before the ceremony, what has happened at the location since that day, etc. It was incredible to hear them reminisce about the memories created by seeing their invitation again!

Today’s invitations, save-the-dates, programs, menus, etc can leave an even bigger impression. They highlight the colors of your event, the formality, that little graphic detail you wanted to bring into every piece of your day, they create such a wonderful mood and feeling by using creative typography and layouts.

ETIQUETTE. Do you know how to word your invitation if you’re being married in a church versus a park? How do you determine who is listed first on the invitation? How do you address an invitation to an unmarried couple living together with children? How do you word the invitation if you want it to be adults only? Is it appropriate to include registry information in the mailed invitation? A good stationer can answer all of these questions for you.

Talking Money:
YOUR BUDGET. Recently, I have had several brides approach me wanting one of my unique styles of invitations for their event. After I spent the time to create several price options for them, they turn around and admit that they had only budgeted $2.00 for each invitation! Friends, this is very upsetting to hear, not just because of the above mentioned topics but because an impersonal, mass-produced Hallmark card typically costs $3.50 each. A budget of $2 an invitation tells me that a bride is more serious about wishing grandma happy birthday than she is about welcoming people to one of the most important events in her life!

OK, maybe that’s a little crude, but most wedding invitations START at a MINIMUM of $3.00 each. These invitations are typically 2 individual cards designed to look pretty and communicate the events of your day and the envelope they will be sent in. A pocketfold invitation will START around $5.00 each and just go up from there.

WHERE THE COST COMES FROM. These topics outline the reasons for a stationer’s prices. The first three are pretty obvious, but the last couple are things to think of when considering a stationer:
1) TIME. If you did happen to try to create your own invitation, you know that they are very time-consuming. If you choose to have a custom design, the designer will probably spend around 5-10 hours on your design including corresponding with you, meeting with you, choosing papers, choosing type, laying out the type, finding or creating the desired graphics, going through revisions, etc.

2) NUMBER OF ELEMENTS. Just as your guest list directly affects your budget and vice versa, the number of pieces included in your invitation will directly affect its price as well. A basic invitation is the announcement and the RSVP card. Now invitations may also include at least one or more enclosures such as a directions card, accommodations card, transportation/parking information and other wedding events (rehearsal dinner, next day brunch). Each piece adds cost to the overall price of the invitation.

3) TYPE OF MEDIA. Thankfully it’s still considered tacky to send an electronic wedding announcement, but the online RSVP has become more and more common; although, brides still want a card drawing attention to their wedding website for details. When it comes to printing, there are several factors that will change the cost of the invitation, mainly the type of paper and the type of printing.

  • PAPER: the finish (matte, glossy, shiny, textured, etc) and the weight/thickness of the paper will affect its cost
  • PRINTING: Basic printing is called digital or color copy depending on where you go. If you want something foil stamped, hand written, embossed, letterpressed or even offset, it will increase the printing fees for that invitation.

4) THIS IS OUR CAREER/LIVING. A designer with a degree in graphic design from an accredited school will charge a base fee of $50-$200+ per hour for freelance design work. WHY? We are specialized for one. We’ve studied why certain typefaces look better together, why certain object size ratios work, how a type layout will compliment the surrounding images, why certain colors look better next to each other, etc. ALSO the government fees and general cost of living; we have self-employment taxes, gas charges, bills, federal and state fees, etc.

5) PLAGIARISM & COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. This is a topic not many people want to discuss, but it’s a concern of ours. We work very hard to create unique layouts and designs for our clients. These form our style of design. If a designer’s style is copied by someone else, then they lose their own personal style and design identity. This is a very sticky subject that designers take to heart. Check out this link to understand the differences between “being inspired by” a project and copying that project.

A special thank you to Jessica Bishop for her input.

Entry filed under: Business, graphic design.

A little favor please! WOW! Time really can fly by when you’re having fun!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mary Natalie Hester  |  April 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    what a great topic Amy!! Invites are such an important part of your wedding planning. Brides need to remember that every little thing in their wedding matters.. even the invitations! MaryNatalie

  • 2. Em Humphries  |  May 5, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    God love you, Amy. GREAT post 😉


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