Designing Your Wedding Invitations - The Basics
When designing your wedding invitations it’s a good idea to keep a few things top of mind. If you do, you’re likely to spend less money, waste less time and get a lot more enjoyment out of the process.
So what should you keep top of mind?
Your wedding theme and colours.
These will be paramount in the design. Your invitations should be a prelude to the event and give your guests guidance as to how to dress for the occasion. Formal weddings should have structured style invitations, using formal wording. A more casual wedding should have a more casual design and can use less formal wording.
Your wedding budget.
Disregard this advice at your peril. Whilst you don’t need to spend huge amounts on your invitations, there are some things that just can’t be done cheaply. Enlist the help of a professional to advise you on costs for certain printing methods and embellishments. They can be a big help to keep you on budget.
Your skill set and available equipment.
Do you have the necessary skills to do a good job yourself and, even if you do, do you have access to the right equipment? Should you be hiring a professional? What about an in-between option, where the pros do the design, layout, printing and cutting and you just do the assembly? Choose the option that best suits your skills and the equipment you have available. Buying equipment just to make your invitations is highly unlikely to save you money!
How far away is the wedding date? Do you have time between work and other commitments, to make the invitations yourself? Can you enlist unpaid help from others? Are there other options that will save you time?
Will you be happy with something that’s not quite perfect for your wedding day? It might seem strange that this is here, but it’s important and ties in with the budget and skill set points above. In other words, how fussy are you? Proper professionals guarantee the quality of their work, whereas many small operators won't. Beware the price that seems too good to be true. More and more invitation makers are reselling services out of China, India or other Asian countries where the labour is cheap. They don't offer any guarantees on the invitations and they are often made from poor quality materials and slapped together with little care, since the workers' wage is dependent upon output quantity, not quality. Check for independent feedback and ratings, like on Facebook or Google Plus or awards like the ABIA (Australian Bridal Industry Academy), where the brides votes, not an industry body.
What’s the next step?
How about browsing? Have a good look on the internet, through magazines, bridal expos and at anything you’ve received and kept aside. Try to pick out elements that you like about certain invitations. Some have ribbon, some lace, some pearls and others rhinestones. Some are flat, some fold, some have fancy papers and others are made using fabric. Some have pictorial elements printed, some just plain text. The list is endless, so if you can narrow down the things you like about an invitation, it will help when deciding what to incorporate into yours. Check prices during this process so you have an idea of the differences in costs and what elements add significantly to the price and which ones don't. Many suppliers charge fees for altering designs, yet there are others that do not.
Get some samples.
Many invitation suppliers will sell you samples at the unit price. They won’t have your details printed on them, but you’ll be able to see if you really like the invitation, the quality of the printing and construction and the real colours. If you’re intending the make them yourself, you’ll be able to see how they’re put together by a professional, although the techniques used and quality of construction does vary greatly among invitation makers.
Make a choice.
At some point you have to stop browsing and start making decisions. Deciding between handmade or just printed wedding invitations could be a major turning point. Choosing a supplier you feel you can trust to do a good job might also be a major step. Any decent invitation maker will have a phone number that you can call, so why not have a chat with the ones you're considering. It may become obvious which one you should use once you speak with them.
Ask about colours.
Most wedding invitations that you’ll see will be displayed in a certain colour, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done in other colours. Find out if the elements that make the invitation are available in other colours. For a Gothic wedding you may like black lace, but all the lace invitations seem to feature white or ivory, so ask the question.
Play around with things.
Meet with an invitation designer or go to a DIY shop and grab the bits and pieces you like and try putting them together into a design you like. Don’t worry about the printing too much at this stage. This is about getting the card and embellishments together into a package that you think looks good and is in sync with your wedding theme and colours.
Printed design elements.
Photos and other pictorial elements should only be used where appropriate. If you’ve chosen a handmade design, the printed elements should be kept simple. Add a monogram, drawn graphic or faded background picture if required. Just keep in mind that with handmade invitations, it’s usually the paper and embellishments that are the stars, so you shouldn’t try to outshine them with the printed bits. Fonts, layout and wording are important. Formal events should have formal wording and fonts. Casual affairs can have something more light and fun.
Who will make the invitations?
Labour takes time and time costs money. If you are having the invitations made professionally, expect to pay more for handmade ones. The more elements that are combined to produce the invitations, the more labour it will take and the more it will cost. If you don’t want to spend the money and don’t have the time or skills yourself, you may need to reconsider your design. Remember that point about your attitude above? Don’t get frustrated when a professional wants to charge for their product and service and it’s outside of your budget. It’s not their fault you’ve chosen something above your budget or ability to make yourself.
If you managed to check off all the above items, it’s time to get your invitations made. If you’ve decided to DIY, make sure you have all the equipment handy. Above all, relax and have fun!
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