Ordering wedding invitations is an important part of your wedding planning. In fact, you should begin thinking about the style of invitations you want as soon as you begin setting a date and choosing locations. Below you’ll find some guidelines and ideas that will help you effectively order your wedding invitations and choose an appropriate stationer.
Before we get into the specifics of how to choose a stationer, there are some basic guidelines you need to know about ordering your invitations. For starters, you need to know when to place your order. Although stationers require different amounts of time to complete an order, you should give yourself at least six months to have your invitations printed, assembled, and mailed. You need to keep this in mind so you can have your guest list finalized by that time.
Another important question is how many invitations to order. You should order one invitation for every couple, every attendant, the officiant, every unattached guest, each known date of the unattached guests, and any person over the age of 18 who lives with their parents. Additionally, you may want to order one as a keepsake for yourselves.
Besides the specific number of invitations you require, you should order extras. Usually 20 to 25 extra invitations is a good guideline. These extras can come in handy if you make mistakes addressing the envelopes or if you need to add additional people to the guest list.
Finally, you need to know what else to order with your invitations. The only requirement is to order the response cards. Thank you cards and announcements should also be ordered at the same time if possible, but because these will be sent out later you can wait.
If your reception is being held at a different location than the ceremony, then you will also need to order reception cards at the same time you order your invitations. Maps or instructions should also be ordered at this time if they are going to be included in your invitations.
Incidentally, if you have opted to make your own invitations, you should still begin purchasing or ordering your supplies about six months before the wedding date. You’ll need plenty of time to start putting your invitations together. Additionally, you should order extra supplies, especially extra paper, since you’ll want to do a few test runs of your invitations and since you can also make mistakes.
Before the Internet, couples had only one option when it came to ordering their wedding invitations: their local commercial printers. Today, couples aren’t limited to working with printers in their neighborhood because they can find many high-quality stationery providers online as well.
There are some pros and cons to both traditional and online stationers. You’ll need to weigh these considerations carefully, then decide which vendors would be the best choice for your needs.
Traditional Stationery Vendor Pros
Face to Face Interaction – One advantage of using a local stationery vendor is that you can get to know a specific person you are working with. If you go into the shop, you can deal directly with a salesperson. This makes some people feel more confident about their purchase.
Ability to See Samples – When you use a local vendor, you can see samples of different papers and styles in person. Pictures can be misleading, so this is definitely an advantage.
Traditional Stationery Vendor Cons
Limited Selection – No matter how big of a selection your local stationer promises, his or her selection is still going to be very limited. To find what you want, you may have to shop around a lot. You may also end up having to settle for something less.
Very Traditional Selection – Generally, another weakness of local stationers’ selections is that they stick to what sells and that is usually very traditional papers and styles. If you want to be truly creative with your invitations, you might be very disappointed with your local options.
Online Stationery Vendor Pros
Wide Selection – Most online vendors provide a large array of wedding invitation possibilities. It is not unusual to be able to choose from dozens of paper colors, multiple paper types, an assortment of ink colors and font choices, and more. You can usually find traditional and contemporary choices at the same sites, too.
More Unique Choices – Because online stationery vendors have a larger audience, they can afford to offer more unique options than your local printers. These unique choices might be the style of the invitation, the paper you use, or the designs on the invitation. The bottom line is that you’ll be more likely to find something creative online than at a brick and mortar establishment.
More Freedom of Choice – While there are advantages to working with a local vendor face-to-face, some couples also feel pressured to follow that vendor’s advice. If you choose the online option, however, you can take your time, browse through all of the choices, and place an order that reflects exactly what you’re looking for.
Ease of Comparing Prices – Another benefit of using online vendors is that you can compare prices without having to make phone calls or visit vendors in person. Most online sites do display the prices of their invitations so you can easily find out which vendors are most affordable. Plus, you’ll know that every customer is paying the same price for the same product – this may not always be the case with traditional stationers.
Online Stationery Vendor Cons
Customer Service Limitations – Although most online vendors do have excellent customer service available by phone and email, you won’t be able to drive to the shop and go in to talk face to face with your salesperson.
No Samples to See in Person – Because you’ll be ordering off the Internet, you won’t be able to look at a three-dimensional sample of your invitations as you could at a traditional vendor’s shop. However, many online vendors will send you free samples to look at upon request.
The important thing to remember when you’re choosing either an online or a traditional vendor is that you should feel comfortable with the company you’re working with. If all things are equal as far as selection and price goes, trust your gut to lead you to the right stationer