Planning your wedding is an exciting and joyful journey, most of the time. Until it begins to drive you mad. Why? So. Many. Decisions. Big ones. Small ones. Difficult ones. And downright hilarious ones that make you want to tear your hair out.
"How do I accommodate all the vegans, vegetarians, people with food allergies, the Paleo and Atkins fans, the no dairy/gluten/sugar crowd and the downright fussy types?" (Good luck trying to figure this one out, my friend).
This is enough to challenge even the most decisive person. And what about those of us who have a really hard time with decisions? It may look funny from the outside but it's not an easy situation to find yourself in and can cause a lot of stress.
Today I want to make things a little bit easier for you. I can't help you with all those fussy eaters (although I prefer to be called a selective eater), but I know a thing or two about wedding stationery. You see, the first decision you'll face is which type of invitation you should choose.
There are 3 main types to choose from for your invitation suite: the fully bespoke (or custom) design, the template design, and the DIY design.
While I might be a bit biased towards the bespoke design (who would have thought, eh?) I truly believe they're all great options but only one of them will be right for you and your situation. And in about six minutes from now, you'll know exactly which one that is.
The Bespoke (Custom) Design
There are not many aspects of your wedding with the potential of being truly one-of-a-kind. Think about it... there are only so many beautiful venues, so many talented bands and wedding vendors, so many delicious foods to choose from. Trends come and go, the really good ones stay around for a while but are also heavily overused. After a while, it feels like you've seen it all before.
If personalisation is important to you, then you'll want to think about investing in a fully bespoke invitation suite. Its beauty lies in a unique design that tells your story and is a true reflection of your vision for your big day.
Yes, other couples might also opt for a floral design, but it'll never look exactly the same. It has never been used before. And won't be used again. It's your design.
Another huge advantage of choosing a bespoke design is that you'll have a professional by your side. Now that might not sound very exciting to you at first but think about it for a moment...
You can have the most amazing design in the world, but if you know nothing about print and paper, Your invitation can end up looking cheap and horrible.
(Warning. Nerd talk is about to start.)
We creative folk get crazy excited about paper and colour swatches for a reason. But if these things don't play an important role in your everyday life or work, you likely don't know and understand the power they can yield over your invitation design.
Paper, for example, is the most intriguing detail for me when I design a wedding invitation suite. Choosing the right paper can easily make or break any print project.
The same can be said for colours or fonts.
(Phew, you've made it. Nerd talk is over.)
A wedding stationery designer is an invaluable source of knowledge and can make sure your invitation suite will look exactly as you intended it to.
In addition a professional can also answer your questions about invitation wording or correct envelope addressing.
There's one distinct disadvantage about the bespoke design: the cost. It's the most expensive option. For good reasons, but still... it is an investment. And that's why it's so important that you take the time and find the right designer for you. Because if you find the one, this will not only be a worthwhile investment but also an amazing experience you'll remember for a long time.
(Interested in finding the one? You're in luck, my curious friend. I've written a two-part blog post about this topic. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. Or you can just hire me. I'm good. People have said so.)
It might sound a bit counter-intuitive but a designer can actually help with your budget. If you've always dreamed of letterpress and gold foil, a wedding stationery designer can offer advise on how to make this happen or suggest alternatives that better suit your budget. It's difficult to make these kinds of decisions if you don't know much about the myriad of print and paper choices. Yes, the sky can be the limit and you can easily spend a few thousand dollars on just the printing alone, but there are also a lot of affordable high-quality options available.
The Template Design
If money is your main deciding factor, you might want to look into a template design which is definitely a smaller financial investment than the bespoke option.
You choose an already existing design, that you can customise with your words, colours and sometimes, even your favourite font. This immediately brings up the next distinct advantage of the template design... the short(er) turn around time.
Because the invitation doesn't need to be designed from scratch, you'll be spending less time getting your stationery pieces approved and printed.
Unfortunately these days everyone, from a passionate hobbyist to a seasoned professional can offer template designs. I say unfortunately because the sheer overwhelming amount of available designs can become a huge stress factor.
And herein lies one other problem with template designs... the really good ones (a very personal choice by the way) have already drawn the attention of many other couples and will keep on doing so.
There's a lovely floral template design making the rounds on Pinterest. I really like the design, it's very charming but I've already seen three versions of this template: one for a wedding, one for a bridal shower and the last one for a 70th birthday celebration.
While they all look very pretty, they also all look the same.
I don't know about you, but I always wonder how special your wedding invitation really is when it has already been used a hundred times before.
The DIY Design
If you have a real passion for all things DIY and are a little crafter at heart then you'll likely have a really great time and enjoy this experience immensely.
My friends Franzi and Ralf DIY'ed their wedding invitation and loved it. They were really looking forward to it and felt it can't get more personal. And they're right. Who else knows you as well as you do yourself?
You don't have to worry about finding the right words to explain your vision and your ideas to a stranger.
But my friends also said that if they had to choose again, they'd get professional help. They experienced some issues with their printer and while they still like their invitation very much, they also acknowledge that they weren't able to get the design quite right.
My friends Andrew and Jade also DIY'ed their wedding invitation. Despite the big advantage of Andrew being a fantastic graphic designer, they say they completely underestimated how long it would take to assemble everything.
They said they'd do it again, preferably with a smaller guest list and only because Andrew knows exactly how to create a beautiful design on a budget.
For a non-designer, this can quickly become a challenge and a big time commitment to figure out. It can look very easy from the outside, but the devil lies in the details.
And what about assembling your various stationery pieces? This was the biggest issue both my friends faced, experienced or not. Did you know I've tried four different types of glue before discovering the best solution when I assembled Jen & Dave's invitation suite? Tiny decisions can have a big impact.
I know that was a lot of information to take in. But before I wrap this up, I have one last piece of advise for you.
Your final decision will mainly revolve around two precious commodities and their value to you. Your time and your budget. They're both important, but only one can be your priority. Just remember there's no right or wrong answer with this. It's about what works best for you.
Hiring a professional might be a bigger investment but it'll free up much needed time for you to focus on other important issues.
If you have a short engagement period or time just ran away from you a template design is a great option and if you'd always dreamed of Juliet Roses for your bouquet, you'll probably have no other choice than to DIY your invitation.
(The Juliet Rose is one of the most expensive flowers in the world. It took a breeder 15 years to develop and is known as the £3 Million Rose).
Did you like this blog post? If the answer is "Yes. This was amazing advise." it would mean the world to me if you'd share it with a friend who will find it as helpful as you did.
I will be writing about the different invitation types in more detail over the coming weeks and months. You can follow me on Bloglovin for fast and easy access to all the new posts.
Which type of invitation do you think is the right one for you? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading my friend.