One of the things that I love most about exhibiting at bridal expos is the opportunity to actually meet newly engaged couples starting out on their wedding planning journey.
I mentioned in my wrap up of the Vintage Bride Expo (you can read that here), that there were two very prominent questions that so many couples asked. The first being “Where on earth do we start?!” (Or some variation of that – honestly, swear jar ladies!)
So, where do you start?
1. Know your theme or the style you want for your big day.
When choosing your design, think about the overall theme, feel or look you want to have for your day. If you are having a rustic themed wedding in a gorgeous barn, make sure your guests receive something along that theme. If your wedding is on the beach in Bali, don’t send a super formal invite – casual it up and opt for something beautiful, relaxed and stylish. You will want to carry this ‘theme/feeling’ throughout your wedding, and that includes your stationery. Your guests take so much information from your invite – it gives them clues about what to expect, how formal your wedding will be, and for the ladies, whether they should avoid wearing a certain colour so they don’t look like part of the bridal party!)
2. Create a mood board with Pinterest, Instagram and Google image searches.
Spend some time looking for images of designs that you like and pin them to your mood board, or keep them handy in your phone. There may be elements of designs that you like - maybe it’s the luxurious big bow, the laser cut design, the colour combination, the layout, the fonts. Don’t just look for invitations that are already in your chosen colour scheme. If you do, you’ll be missing out getting THE perfect wedding invitation. A great designer will happily mock up your favourite design for you in your chosen colour scheme. So, don’t disregard those pretty ivory invites just because they aren’t already in navy. Keeping images of designs you like will ensure you and your stationery designer are on the same page. It is way more helpful than you can imagine!
3. Work out what you like, and what you don’t like.
This may seem like the hardest part, but it’s not once you break it down. If I showed you five different invitations I bet, you would be able to point out all the parts of them that you didn’t like. This is a good thing! Knowing what you DON’T like, leads to figuring out what you DO like. Don’t ever worry about offending a stationery designer by telling them the aspects of their work that you don’t like. Your taste and preference is all that matters. Knowing what you don’t like, means we know what not to show you or include in a design, which leads to a more positive experience designing your stationery – for both you and me.
4. Be realistic about budget.
Ok this is a little bit of Pinterest’s and Instagram’s fault. Those pretty pictures can be very misleading! It can be really upsetting when you realise that the invite of your dreams is out of your budget. When looking at designs take note of pricing – what’s included and what’s not. We all wish we could have the 2 carat princess cut diamond on a zirconia budget, but it’s not realistic. Set yourself up to succeed by being realistic and understanding the costs of the designs you like. Pockets with lots of insert cards, laser cut pouches and specialty printing like foil stamping and letterpress can dramatically increase the price of a design. And before you scream at me that sometimes it’s hard to know how much a design costs because businesses don’t advertise their prices – I understand. Trust me, I thought long and hard about this before I put my pricing on my website. It’s very risky for a stationery provider to advertise their price, because we’ve all been burned by clients who have sent a picture of one of our design to a competitor to have them undercut us by 5c. It sucks, but I truly believe in the goodness and honesty of my clients, and I think it reflects in my trust to advertise pricing. Here’s a BIG TIP: When you do request a quote, keep an eye out for hidden costs – like set up costs, or charging for printing guest names or addressing envelopes (or even providing an envelope!!). Suddenly that $5 invite gets very expensive when you add on the extras.
And most importantly….
5. Keep an open mind and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
(This should be your mantra for your entire wedding). It doesn’t matter that your colleague’s sister’s friend had a pocket invitation that came wrapped in a box with a bottle of French champagne – this is YOUR big day. (Although, personally I quite like the idea of a free bottle of champagne). When you look back at your pictures in 20 years, you won’t cringe or feel regretful if you’ve done what you wanted. Everyone has different tastes and oh my gosh, everyone has an opinion.
It’s only your taste and opinion that matters.
Still got more questions about where to start? Comment below and I would love to answer them for you!
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