Your Guide to Custom Wedding Invitations / LBC Design Co.
By Lindsey Sachs
Are you ready to make a positive first impression for your wedding? If so, it all starts with your wedding stationary.
This is a wedding planning topic that I get giddy about! From a young age, I spent hours on creative arts projects, especially paper arts. I colored my share of coloring contests (even winning a grand prize, a trip for four to Disneyland for my family) and later went to work as a store Supervisor and Merchandise Buyer for Archiver’s - The Photo Memory store where we helped couples design their custom wedding stationary.
Perhaps one of my most favorite aspects of wedding stationary is the tangible aspect of receiving such special mail. By sending wedding invitations, you’re creating a moment for your guests even before they arrive at your wedding.
As you prepare to design your wedding stationary, we caught up with the talented Carina Herman of LBC Design Co. a Denver-based Graphic Designer to touch on key questions many couples have when beginning this process and ideas to get your inspiration flowing.
As a design and stationary expert, Carina is passionate about getting every detail just right for her clients, especially wedding etiquette which is a tricky subject for most couples. Read on as Carina outlines invitation options, helps you understand key stationary components, when to mail your invitations and more.
But first, here are ideas for what can be included in your wedding invitation suite:
- Save the Date Card
- Wedding Invitation
- Information and Accommodations Card
- RSVP Card with Stamped Enclosure Envelope
- Rehearsal Dinner Invitation (for select guests)
- Post Wedding Brunch Invitation (for select guests)
- Wedding Ceremony Program
- Guest Favor Tags
- Table Cards
- Escort Cards
- Wedding Day Signage
What is the difference between custom wedding stationery and pre-designed stationary found onLINE?
LBC Design Co: Custom; quality, color, graphic choices and true personalization with the ability to proof and edit every detail. Since everything is custom designed and materials are especially ordered for you, custom stationery has a longer lead time than ordering online, however if planning ahead, this shouldn't detract you from going the custom route.
A good stationery designer has loads of experience scripting authentic wording of your stationary, especially with tricky family situations, and can recommend which insert cards to use and how many you actually need. Two things I’ve been doing for custom invitations over the past year is incorporating custom fonts or handwritten calligraphy into the design. The artwork is always custom created for the couple. The designs are based on our consultation meeting where we dive into the style and feel the couple wants their wedding to capture, and the inspiration board for the whole wedding (nothing invitation specific).
Online; they usually have a quick turnaround time, and you get to see the design before your order. The color scheme and design options are more limited and may not fit your exact wedding colors. You will also likely spend a lot of time reading to determine the best wording for your wedding style, or trying to figure out how to list your divorced parents or other touchy wording situations. Or consider, a friend of mine who ordered invites online and ordered a reception card* she didn’t need because it was part of the package presented. She spent money on it not realizing it was unnecessary for her wedding.
* You only need a reception card if your ceremony is at a separate location from your reception.
For some couples, they would say creativity isn't in their wheelhouse, so working with a professional designer can help bring their vision to life. How do you work with couples to identify their vision and translate that into their wedding stationery suite?
LBC Design Co: In my experience, couples have a creative vision for their wedding, but they aren't creative in the sense of brainstorming or sketching ideas. Couples have chosen a venue, flowers, a color scheme and a dress based on a combination of their personal style and their wedding style. Many of today’s couples are using Pinterest to curate images in the colors and style of their wedding. I use this as a jumping off point for the invitation discussion and dig deeper into what they like about a certain arrangement or why they selected their venue. Getting to know their personal interests helps too!
What is the recommended timeline for sending invitations for local weddings vs destination weddings?
LBC Design Co: For local weddings, couples should mail their invitations to guests 6-8 weeks before the wedding day. It’s tempting to send them earlier, but the reality is that people set them aside thinking they have “plenty of time,” and often forget to respond.
If you’re hosting a destination wedding you can mail invitations 10-12 weeks in advance of the wedding day to allow guests more time to secure travel and hotel accommodations. Keep in mind that if you moved to a new city like Denver only a few years ago and most of your guests are coming from out of state, it’s considered a destination wedding for the bulk of your guests. In this case, I suggest sending invitations 8-10 weeks before. Same thing if you are getting married in a heavy tourist area during high season as hotels and flights book up earlier for these kinds of destinations.
I still recommend sending a Save the Date 6-12 months before the wedding. Usually, 6 months for a US wedding and up to 12 months if guests need a passport. Be sure to include the information on your wedding website. This gives you a place to share transportation and accommodation details along with a heads up about booking early if necessary.
couples are using wedding websites to keep guests updated with wedding details, sharing photos, and posting links to their wedding registries. What is the best place to list your wedding website on your wedding stationery?
LBC Design Co: Wedding websites are a great place to communicate all kinds of information with your guests. Let them do some of the work for you! I recommend couples include their wedding website address on the Save the Date card and again on one of the invitation insert cards like an information or accommodations card. It’s a lot easier for everyone if you provide links to your recommended hotels on your wedding website. The website is the only place it’s okay to include links to your registry (it should be spread word of mouth by family and friends unless one of your bridesmaids is hosting a bridal shower).
With so much being done online in today's culture, do mailed RSVP cards still have merit?
LBC Design Co: Most couples still use a printed RSVP card with an stamped envelope for guests to mail back to you. It’s the simplest way for guests to let you know if they are attending, and also to confirm their meal choice. I know some couples have tried the online RSVP, but they still run into the same issues (sometimes more) when guests forget to reply. Keep in mind, you still need a card, other than the invitation, to let them know how to RSVP to your wedding and any other events you are hosting for your guests.
There are several clever ideas for wedding insert cards. What is your opinion on insert cards and how they can be used most effectively?
LBC Design Co: Maps are always a fun addition, but (sadly) only really necessary if your venue is outside of cell service range. I find more couples including the rehearsal dinner card and post-wedding brunch invite in with the wedding invitation suite for the guests who are invited. Since out-of-towners and family are often invited to both I suggest creating one 2-sided card for these events.
Aside from the RSVP card, the most common insert is an information and accommodations card. It helps inform guests about wedding details like suggested hotels and your wedding website. Remember, you’re going to be preoccupied getting glammed up on your wedding day, but your guests will want to get out and make the whole day special too. Make it 2-sided and share some of your favorite places or activities around town.
When it comes time to mail your wedding invitations, what tips can you share for addressing the envelopes and also verifying correct postage?
LBC Design Co: I’m not going to lie, I LOVE when couples use handwritten calligraphy for their envelopes. It’s a special touch at the end of the invitation process for you, but it’s the very first impression your guests have of your wedding celebration. More importantly, organize your guest list and their addresses early on. Every name, street name, city, and state should be spelled out (no nicknames or abbreviations). If you’re not absolutely certain, call or email guests to confirm their title, and the name of their guest (if you are inviting their plus one). My couples get a Google document with formal, informal and incorrect address samples. Download your copy here.
I recommend taking a complete set of your invitation suite to the post office to be weighed before you buy postage. Be sure to take EVERY invitation you are sending outside the U.S. with you to the post office to be weighed so you get the postage right. Only buy stamps after you know how much postage you need for each invitation. Don’t forget to add a stamp to the RSVP envelope. I always take a sample of my couples' invitation suite (every insert) to the post office to be weighed and recommend stamps that compliment their invitation. Personalized photo stamps are also a fun, custom addition!
Have more questions for Carina? Contact Carina to discuss. She'd love to hear from you!