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10 Things to Know Before Buying Wedding Invitations

You've heard the expression, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Your wedding invitation sets the tone for the day and ensures the guests are excited to be included in the celebration!

Here are 10 things you should consider before your invitation appointment:

1.  Have a clear vision of your dream wedding and your personal style.  When you envision your day, is it a black-tie gala?  A garden wedding?  A barefoot beach affair?  A backyard pig roast?  Will it take place during the daytime or evening?  Will it be close to home or a destination wedding?  Write down a list of adjectives that best describe how you'd like the day to look and feel.

2.  Would you like to include a theme or meaningful symbol?  Will your wedding take place in the mountains or by a lake?  Do you share a love of sailing? Would you like to include a monogram? There are many ideas that can be incorporated into your invitation.

3.  Will you be following a particular color palette?  Perhaps you'd like to incorporate the color of the bridesmaids' dresses, the reception decor or the time of year...feel free to bring swatches!

4.  Determine the number of invitations you'll need.  Keep in mind that this is not the same as the number of guests.  Rather, it is the number of households, taking into consideration couples and families.  For example, if you're inviting 200 people and most are married, you'll probably need closer to 125 invitations.

And while we're on the subject:  plan to order extras!  Guest lists have a sneaky way of growing (often at the last minute), and the cost of ordering more with the initial order is significantly less than ordering a small number at a later date. 

5.  Consider the various printing methods.  We can help you understand each of the types of printing, including letterpress, engraving, thermography, embossing and flat printing.  Before your appointment, take note of any preferences you may have, and let us know if you like a particular style.  It's also helpful to bring in pages from magazines or samples of invitations you like.

6.  Decide what other cards or stationery pieces you'll need to include.  Would you like to have a reply card with an envelope, or a postcard?  Will you need cards for the reception, schedule, accommodations, directions or web site?  Do you like pocketfolds, ribbons, envelope liners and so forth?  Single or double envelopes?  You'll want to see a variety of samples to help you decide what you like best.

7.  Have a general idea of your budget.  However, we also suggest that you remain open to learning about the different styles and what the various printing methods cost. We've learned that bridal web sites and magazines can create unreasonable price expectations by showing luxurious suites of high-end invitations, but then advising you to allow an unreasonably low percentage of your budget for invitations.  We can work with you to create an invitation that you love but is also within your financial comfort zone.

8.  Decide who will be issuing the invitation.  Is it a traditional situation in which the bride's parents issue the invitation, or are the groom's parents equally involved and contributing financially?  Perhaps you and your fiancee are doing so yourselves?  In this day and age, there are many circumstances that require not-so-traditional wording.  If any of the parents are divorced, remarried or deceased, we can help you figure out how to properly word things so as to avoid embarrassment or hard feelings.  This will also help to determine whose address will appear on the reply envelope and as the return address on the invitation envelope.

9.  Decide how you would like the invitations to be addressed.  Will you or your family or friends be hand-addressing the envelopes?  Will you hire a calligrapher? Will you have the addresses printed on the envelopes?  Again, it's always a good idea to consider ordering extra envelopes to cover any errors in addressing.

10.  Make your decision!  Remember that this should be a fun process, not a stressful one.  Just be sure to give yourself time to look at a number of options before making your purchase.  Trust your instincts...there's usually one invitation that you come back to again and again.  This is usually "the one!" Ask yourself whether it reflects the spirit of your wedding day...whether it suits your personality and style...and whether it will excite your guests when it arrives.  If it fits these criteria, you'll know you've made the right choice!


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