July 13, 2021
As a New Jersey calligrapher, I frequently enjoy some of the most incredible wedding day designs. From unique seating charts, to beautiful custom place cards, this is definitely a career path that never gets old! Today, I’m going to talk about what happens BEFORE your wedding day. Custom Stationery sets the tone for your wedding day, gives your guests something to look forward to, and often provides a treasured keepsake for family and friends who can’t wait to celebrate your special day with you.
Although we have created some beautiful wedding decor elements and signage (you can browse the portfolio here), for your guests, nothing wows them more than getting a custom wedding invitation (with their name in calligraphy) in the mail. If that’s something that’s important to you, keep reading! If you love details as much as I do, you can also get in touch to inquire about my wedding calligraphy services and custom stationery packages here.
Wondering what’s the difference between working with a custom stationer and ordering custom wedding invitations from minted (and similar online wedding invitation sites)? Typically, sites like that offer semi-custom wedding invitation suites and advertise them as custom. The truth is, if you want fully one-of-a-kind, truly unique to you, invitations, you aren’t going to find that online. Sure, you can fill in the blanks online with a template you love and make it custom to you, but if you love personal details and crave something special (that nobody has received before), custom stationery can be a great investment. Oftentimes, people leave their wedding day thinking their photos are the only thing they have to remember. This is not true: MANY people keep wedding invitations as personal momentos.
When you work with a custom wedding invitation designer, you aren’t going to start with a template. Oftentimes, I talk to my couples in depth about their vision for their wedding day and how we can create the perfect first impression for their wedding guests by bringing in the wedding vibe and the couples individual personalities. For one of my couples recently, they are getting married at Battello (included in my favorite New Jersey wedding venues list) and they wanted to tie in elements of the NYC skyline to their invitation suite. We ended up creating a line drawing of the skyline in their invitation liner and it was truly custom, and made their guests incredibly excited for their wedding to come!
More than just the design, we build the suite so that it has EXACTLY what you need: from RSVP cards, to a details card, to a list of local accommodations for out-of-town guests. We aren’t “fitting your information” into what we think an invitation should include. The other great thing about working with a custom wedding invitation designer is that you can ask for feedback! You might not know proper wedding invitation etiquette (I have a few tips here!) or you might have questions that are hard to Google because they are specific to your unique situation. That’s EXACTLY why working with a professional stationer is so wonderful. We take the guesswork out of the logistics so you get to enjoy the fun details.
A little Write Pretty for Me touch? I always include a keepsake wedding invitation for you, and send one to your photographer to photograph on your wedding day with the rest of your stunning wedding details.
The nice thing about custom wedding invitation suites is that instead of trying to fit your invitation into a pre-packaged 4-6 piece suite, you can take a look at the information you need to include and build from there. For example, most invitation suites include an RSVP card/envelope but last year many couples chose to opt for online RSVP’s so that nothing would be delayed in the mail due to the pandemic and other mail issues. I always recommend including a formal RSVP card (even if you are asking for online RSVP’s), but you may not require a return address envelope.
At minimum, you always want an invitation card with your names, the location, and the time of your ceremony and reception. Your invitation card should just be about you and your wedding and shouldn’t have extra details like a wedding website or RSVP information. Any extra details should be on a details card or have their own piece within the suite.
With a 5 piece wedding invitation suite, you can include a details card which may have more information like accommodation options, your wedding website, activities and attractions nearby, etc. Some couples often include a map if their wedding venue is more remote or they have many out of town guests!
With a 6 piece wedding invitation suite, you can often have a separate accommodation card (separate from the rest of the details) or choose to have a separate reception card – whatever fits your wedding day needs the most!
One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a wedding invitation designer is how many invitations you need for the size of your guest list. Typically invitations aren’t sent per guest, they are sent per household so one couple would receive one invitation AND one family of five would receive one invitation. The only exception to this rule is that technically children over the age of 18 should receive their own wedding invitations, regardless of whether or not they are still living at home.
Custom wedding invitations will be more expensive than semi-custom (but as you can tell – so worth it – at least in my opinion!). My biggest piece of advice when budgeting for custom wedding invitations is to approach the design process with an open mind and be flexible on the details. You might love the look of letterpress but if it falls outside your budget your stationer can recommend other elevated touches to include instead like vellum wraps or wax seals.
Although the sky’s the limit you are likely looking at an investment between $2500-$4500 for 75 wedding invitations when you choose to work with a custom wedding invitation designer. Right now, our invitation design packages start at $2275 for 75 wedding invitations and include the following:
A completely custom design for your wedding invitation card and your RSVP card
Your RSVP card envelope with your return address printed on the back
An outer envelope with guest addressing in calligraphy
Custom envelope liners
From there, we can add unique touches like wax seals, silk ribbon, and more.
I believe if you’ve decided to make the investment in custom wedding stationery, the process should not be rushed. Make sure to allow more time for the design – I typically recommend starting the process 3-4 months before you plan on sending out your invitations. The design process (between the planning and the sketches & revisions) typically takes 3 months and then I like to budget at least four weeks for production time.
On top of that, you might need to reserve your stationer farther in advance. I personally have very limited availability for 2021 and am booking well into 2022. Although you might not be ready to start designing your wedding invitations yet, if you love someone’s style and want to work with them, it’s really never too early to book your spot.
If you are reading this and feeling excited about your OWN wedding invitations, I would love to chat more! You can learn more about my process and working with Write Pretty for Me here, but the best way to connect is to head straight to my contact form so we can set up a call. Space is booking up fast for 2022 and even if you aren’t sure about all of the details yet, it’s worth saving your spot to work with the wedding vendors you really want. If you think that might be me, I am so grateful to be considered!