Newly engaged couples, brides- and grooms-to-be, take note! 2012 is only a few months away, and if you’re planning a spring or summer wedding, now is the time to get a head start on your invitations. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the options, you don’t have the time to mess with DIY invitations, or you simply want unique invitations that are completely custom-designed for your wedding, this is for you!
Custom Invitation Design: A Step-by-Step Guide
I. So you’re interested in custom-designed invitations for your wedding. Here are a few things to consider:
- Budget: How much are you willing (or able) to spend in order to have the invitations you want? Your budget should factor in both design and printing costs.
- Level of simplicity vs. extravagance: Are you looking for something classic and understated, or fancy and over-the-top? The sky is the limit here, and generally, the fancier the invitation, the more expensive it is to design and print. It all depends on what you want, versus what you’re willing to pay to get it.
- Size and quantity: Would you prefer an all-in-one invitation (one printed piece that incorporates all the information and an RSVP card), or an ensemble of separate pieces (such as a ceremony announcement, reception information card, a map/instruction card, and and RSVP card)? Do you want a small, dainty invitation, or a large one? How many invitations will you need?
- Theme: What are the colors and style of your wedding? Think about how that style can carry through in your invitations. For example, if your bridesmaids will be wearing red, and the decor at your reception will include red, you’ll probably want your invitations to incorporate red as well.
- Personality: What makes the two of you unique? Is there a story you’d like to tell through your invitation? An explanation of how you met, or what events or circumstances led to your engagement?
- Desired effect: Imagine your friends and relatives opening your invitations. What kind of reaction do you hope they’ll have? Do you want them to see why you’re such a great match for each other? Or show them all the reasons they should fly cross-country to attend your destination wedding? Think about the message you want to get across.
- Matching items: Will you need save-the-date cards, or matching ceremony programs, keepsake cards, or place cards for your reception? The more accompanying items you’ll need, the bigger your budget will need to be (or you’ll need to scale back on your invitations to make room in your budget).
II. You know what you want, and you’re ready to get the ball rolling. What comes next:
- First, you’ll want to request a design quote. Be sure to mention your desired budget, style, size, quantity, and so forth.
- I’ll send your quote via email, along with a request for more information such as your preferred paper type and how many invitations you’ll need. I’ll use that information to get a rough estimate of printing costs.
- Once we have agreed on the budget (design fee + printing costs) and deliverables (the custom design and printed invitations), I will draw up a formal contract to be signed. As part of the contract, you will be expected to pay 50% of the design fee up front.
- Taking into account all of the information you provide (as per the questions in the first section above), I will create a rough draft/mock up of your invitation. At this point, you’ll be able to see what the invitation will look like in terms of size, shape, color, and basic design. You’ll have the opportunity to look at paper samples and make a final decision of what paper your invitations will printed on.
- Armed with your paper choice and definitive information about size, shape, and quantity, I will obtain an official printing quote. If the amount is different than we anticipate, you’ll still have the option to change your paper choice or adjust quantity or other options to lower (or raise) the cost.
- Once we’ve finalized the details of printing and agreed on the cost, I will proceed with the invitation design.
- When the design is complete, you will be able to request revisions (up to three rounds), until the invitation design is to your liking.
- When all revisions have been made and you’ve given your permission to proceed with printing, I will submit the design to my print provider. At that time, the remaining 50% of the design fee will be due. When the invitations are ready, I can meet you to pick them up or arrange for them to be delivered to you (printing costs will be billed to you separately at that time).
III. Enjoy! You’ll have your very own one-of-a-kind wedding invitations, fitted to your individual personalities and matched to the theme and feel of your wedding. All that’s left to do is mail them!
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!