I find it baffling, actually, the number of choices for wedding invitations! Etsy, websites, local shops, invitation companies online, DIY, templates, hand painted, foiled, letter press, and the list goes on. So, the bottom line is, how do i decide what's for me? As a bride-to-be, you are eventually asked to decide. So, here's my advice, based on experience ONLY. The decision is eventually yours alone!
Questions to ask yourself:
What's my budget?
This may be the most important question to ask yourself during the entire process of wedding planning. Of your total budget for your wedding celebration, what percentage will you assign to each category? DIY invitations and templates are great, if you have a great printer, lots of ink, patience and some creative programs and ability. If you mess them up, it can cost you more than ordering them from a reputable company. Remember, you still may have to address them and pay for postage. Is it worth it to you, and do you truly have a choice?
How much time do I have to dedicate to this category?
If you are attempting a DIY invitation to save money, be realistic about how much time you can devote to them and also ....be REALISTIC about the cost of supplies. In other words, do your research and do a trial run with similar materials to determine ACTUAL time needed, and how the end product will look. In other words, is it something you would truly be proud to send out to your groom's family and extended family/friends. If not, ditch the plan and pay for a real invitation!
How complicated does it need to be?
A destination wedding invitation can be more complicated than a local wedding. There are maps, rehearsal dinners, cocktail parties, morning-after brunches, etc. to consider for all the information that an out-of-town guest might need. One alternative is a Wedding Website which will contain all of the little details to make your guest feel just as welcome as your closest family! If this doesn't appeal to you, or you are not willing or able to produce this or keep up with the online maintenance, be prepared to spend more money to have all the details included in an invitation "suite".
Is there an invitation that reflects my style?
You've searched and searched, and in the end you do not find an invitation that truly reflects your style, taste or theme. NOW WHAT? Now, it's time to explore a "custom" invitation, styled just for you. Be prepared to pay a fee for artistic ability and experience. Also make sure you have plenty of time to review proofs and give feedback to your designer. Read the fine print of your contract, and do not exceed your requests for re-design, or if you do, be prepared to pay for them.
What about an entirely ONLINE wedding invitation?
Ok, I admit it, we live in a new world of online everything! I even get an emailed Mother's Day Card from my son now. Shhhh, I try not to let it bother me! My opinion her may be old-fashioned, I like something that I can hold in my hand. But, I am willing to admit that we live in a very modern, online world. Just add your pictures, music, and tell your story. Then send it to all of your friends and let them know about your wedding celebration. If it's what you love, it screams YOU, and it's what you can afford, then I say, GO FOR IT. I am not going to rain on your virtual parade.
In the end, your invitations set the tone for your wedding celebration, and will be the first glimpse that your guests will have of the style and feeling of the event. Choose carefully, but don't dawdle! A destination wedding invitation should be mailed at least 90 days prior to your event. A local wedding invitation should be mailed at least 60 days in advance. And, if you are planning a destination wedding, please, please, please send out a "Save the Date" for your guests so they can make airline and hotel reservations at the best prices, if needed.
If you are a local bride, don't miss my Sweet Southern Tasting & Wedding Workshop September 13th, 2014. I am designing a custom, hand-painted invitation and other paper elements specifically for this event, and will outline the process completely during the event.
Hope to see you! Click here to register.