I've been trying to come up with the most witty, amazing opening line to this post for what feels like forever... and I got nothing. Paul suggested "Greetings, earthlings." He said that's always a good start. Usually, I'd call him a nerd (I bet it's from some sci-fi show or book), but I'm desperate so here we go...
Greetings, newly engaged earthlings! I've left you with a load of information last week on where to start your search for the right wedding stationery designer. (You didn't read it yet? Well, you've missed the greatest blog post ever. Luckily you can head over here, read it, be amazed and then come back to read part 2.)
Once you've narrowed down your search to 2 - 3 candidates it can feel a bit scary to make a final decision. Your stationery suite is such a personal and emotional project after all. So today I want to share some advise with you to make this part easier.
In my experience, the following criteria will help you make a thoughtful decision you can fully stand behind: portfolio + testimonials, cost, communication, availability, and likeability.
Let's break it down a bit further...
1. Portfolio + Testimonials
It's essential that you take a close look at a designer's portfolio of previous work, whether that's on their website or across their social media platforms.
Does their work speak to you? Do you truly love it? Not just like it, but LOVE it. That's an important distinction to make in this case... we're talking about a one-of-a-kind event after all.
The amount of work shown shouldn't be the main point when making your choice. Everyone has to start out at some time and as long as the quality of the work is impeccable, I think even a new designer deserves a chance to be on your list of candidates.
While you're looking at a designer's previous work, also check out testimonials. If you can't find a single testimonial from previous happy clients or the designer is unwilling to provide you with some, he or she should immediately drop off your list. Always ask for testimonials!
Since we're talking happy clients, did you know that my couples were (and still are) crazy happy with their invitation suites? True story. This is what Jen & Dave had to say about our time together:
"Thank you so much Katha for our wonderful wedding stationery. We loved the design you created, your guidance through the design process, and the colour and quality were perfect. All the pieces looked fantastic and we were very happy with them. We would highly recommend you as you provided a fantastic service throughout."
You can find more happy clients over here.
There's no way to make this sound pretty... your wedding comes with a considerable price tag attached. So understandably cost will definitely play a big and important part in all of your decisions, but I urge you to not make it the main deciding factor.
I believe that great quality comes at a price. "You get what you pay for" is a powerful statement because it's true. Now, your stationery suite shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg. If you have to take out a second mortgage to be able to pay for it, you've definitely gone too far.
Speak early about what you can afford to spend. Many people don't like to talk about money or feel awkward when doing so (looking at bank statements is certainly not one of my favourite past times either), but you need to figure out what you can afford and communicate that to your designer so he or she knows what's possible and can make recommendations on various things such as the size of your invitation suite or the right print technique for your budget etc.
(Pssst... I'm currently planning a post on how to afford a fully bespoke stationery suite that doesn't break the bank. You can follow me on Bloglovin for easy and fast access once it's published.)
This is probably the most important factor to keep in mind when making your decision. Once you've narrowed down your choice to 2 or 3 candidates, it's time to get in touch with them. And the way they communicate with you will tell you nearly everything you need to know about this person.
Firstly, check online. Do they regularly communicate with their audience on social media? Do they answer questions? Reply to comments?
Now, social media shouldn't be your only point of reference, though... there is only so much you can say with a limited amount of characters. And online comments can also be easily misinterpreted. Next up, email...
When you've established contact (and I always encourage you to use email, direct messages on social media platforms can so easily be missed or overlooked), how long did it take to get an answer? Unless it's the weekend or a public holiday, I think it's fair to expect a reply within 48 hours.
What's the overall tone of the emails you're exchanging? Friendly? Perfect. Do you feel rushed or being sold to? That's not ok. You're making a considerable investment in a very personal project and you deserve to figure out if the designer is a great match.
Many designers, myself included do offer a free call to give you the chance to ask whatever questions you have on your mind. But don't hold it against a designer if they only communicate via email. Everyone has different preferences that fit their business and personality best. If someone prefers to stick with email only, that's fine. As long as they take the time to listen to you and answer your questions.
(I should probably point out that it would be highly unusual to design a fully bespoke wedding invitation suite via email only. You're probably more likely to come across this form of communication when you opt for a template or semi-bespoke design.)
In the end, you'll probably have to listen to your gut (very professional, right?). Do you feel heard and taken care of? Yes? Then you likely found yourself a winner.
No matter how much your heart is set on a stationery designer, if both your timelines don't overlap, it won't work out. Many of the very best designers are actually booked out anywhere from 6 - 12 months in advance, so I urge you to start looking as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Creating a stationery suite takes time and many couples forget that it's not just the design process they need to take into account, but also have to allow enough time for printing or other tasks such as envelope addressing.
My biggest advise is to start as early as possible. Leaving a task as important as finding the right stationery designer until the last minute could easily lead to disappointment and more stress for you.
It feels rather odd and I admit, maybe even a bit unprofessional, but I truly believe likeability is a valid and important factor in deciding who you're going to choose.
Creating a stationery suite, especially a fully bespoke stationery suite, takes time and you and your designer are going to work together very closely. Imagine exactly this. Imagine sharing personal information with this person. Imagine talking to this person over the course of a few weeks... what does it feel like? Are you looking forward to this or are your insides twisting? (Only your dentist should make your insides twist, certainly not your stationery designer. If that's the case you really need to be looking for someone else.)
That was a lot of information and advise to take in, wasn't it?
I'm convinced that finding the right wedding stationery designer can make a world of difference for you. Less stress, more joy. So take your time, don't let anyone rush you. It's a big decision that deserves thought and attention.
Now the next step is to get in touch with me. You can book your free 20 minutes Skype session right here. Wait, what? You thought I was talking about someone else. You're so sweet...
Let's see... you can check my portfolio here and my testimonials here. Cost? I offer 2 packages you can choose from and the print cost will depend on your budget. But I promise we'll make it work. I reply within 48 hours, I'm currently available for work and I'm likeable (as long as I had my morning coffee and there's chocolate in the house). Paul and Kavik will vouch for that and hopefully not just because they're my family.
All joking aside, I'd be honoured to work with you on your stationery suite. But my main concern will always be you and if you feel we're not the perfect match, then I urge you to keep on looking.
Did you like this blog post? If the answer is "Yes. The past seven and a half minutes were eye-opening." it would mean the world to me if you'd share it with a friend who will find it as helpful as you did.
What are your thoughts on finding a wedding stationery designer? Have you started your search yet? Is there anything I can help you with? Leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer your questions.
Thank you for reading, earthling.