Booking season is going strong, and I am so excited meeting all the newly engaged couples! Custom invitations are a great way to get people excited for your wedding! I love providing these for my couples. Curious about what the process of custom invitations looks like? Look no further, you are getting the scoop here!
First Step: Get your Quote or Set up a Coffee Date
If you don’t know exactly what you want for your invitations just yet, I have made it super easy for you to get an idea of what you might be spending! Typically, couples spend about 10% of their total wedding budget on their invitations. My couples will usually spend anything from $500 to $1200 on their custom invitations. In my contact form you can specify how many invitations you need, printing methods, paper choices, and select any add-ons that you would like pricing information on. Within 24-48 business hours, you receive a quote back from me. This quote contains estimations of what you might be spending on your custom invitations.
Once you have an idea of the price, or already have a good idea of what you want for your invitations, you can set up a coffee date to meet with me. I will walk you through all you need to know about your invitations. Different paper choices, add-ons, I will have plenty of examples with me, so you can feel the texture of the paper, see wax seals up close, and feel the calligraphy ink sitting on top of the envelopes. Usually my brides will already have a Pinterest board ready with ideas of what they want. I LOVE meeting with future clients and hearing about their lives and wedding plans, not just about their invitation wishes. While sharing information relevant to you, I walk you through the entire custom invitations process over a cup of joe.
Proposal and Booking
Once we have narrowed down exactly what you want your custom invitations to look like, and what add-ons you would like (such as envelope calligraphy or wax seals), I send over the final proposal and invoice. You can pay the invoice by card, or, if you feel more comfortable paying through Etsy, I can set up a custom listing for you (extra fee does apply). I require a 30% downpayment on all orders over $150. To secure booking, the deposit needs to be paid.
Custom Invitations: First Draft
As soon as the booking is confirmed, I will start work on the initial draft. Depending on how much we have narrowed down the design, I will provide you with 2-3 designs. You tell me which one you like the best, or maybe you like the layout of the first, but the font choice of the second, the color of the third: all these details I will take with me in the second draft. I also ask my clients to pay attention to the tone of the text. Does it reflect the overall vibe of the wedding/event, are there people that need to be mentioned (such as parents contributing to the wedding), is the time and date correct?
Second Draft and Final Draft
The second draft flows from the first, and you get one design with the changes made after the first draft. This is usually almost exactly the design that will be printed. I ask my clients to pay really close attention to the wording and spelling. I am, by nature, a bit of a grammar nazi, but sometimes even I will slip up. It is ultimately the responsibility of the client to verify everything is as it should be!
The third draft is essentially a final proof. As soon as this is approved, the design goes to the printer’s! At this time the rest of the balance is also due.
This whole process of proofing and drafting can cost some time. This is because I put a lot of thought and effort into the design process for my custom invitations. Not to mention any additional elements that need to be designed such as RSVP cards or Directions maps. It sometimes will take up to 4 weeks, going back and forth between me and the client. This is why I recommend starting this process about 4 months before the wedding, so that there is enough time to go back and forth on the design. Traditionally, you send out wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding. Four months will leave enough room for the design process, for supplies to get in, printing done, any calligraphy work that may need to be put on the envelopes or invitations, and for the invitations to be sent out on time.
Production and Delivery
Depending on the printing method, I send out the design for printing. In the case of handmade paper, I will print at home myself, since most commercial printers won’t take handmade paper. Note: foil, letterpress and acrylic printing take longer than digital printing (sometimes 4 weeks versus 2).
By this time the supplies to put together the suites will be coming in, if applicable. Think of ribbons, wax seal supplies, envelopes, belly bands, postage stamps, etcetera.
Once the printing has come back, I write calligraphy on the invitations, add wax seals, and put together the suites (if requested). After that, I send all the components off to the client! If the client is local, I will usually meet up with them and show them how to put together the suite, and to ensure everything is as they wanted it.
And That Is It!
That is my entire process! As I already mentioned, ideally you want to start your custom invitations about 4 months before the wedding. This gives enough time to go through the design process and send off your invitations on time. To learn more about invitation design, please click here.