Today’s guest post is by the fabulous Jackie from Sweet Little Thrills, an adorable design and life blog. When you’ve finally decided that it’s time to get wedding invitations, the process can be confusing as heck and scary, and Jackie has some great tips about invitations to make sure the process goes smoothly!

wedding invitation design letterpress by girl metro

1)  Start early

Most people greatly underestimate the time needed to browse, order, receive, address, and mail wedding invitations.

Sending your invites out approximately 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding is customary, so you’ll need to give yourself time to search, order, and assemble the invitations before mailing.

Start looking at least 4 months before your wedding to ensure you have ample time to get those little gems out on time.

2) Search within your budget.

There is nothing worse than falling in love with an invitation suite (or boots, purse, or house for that matter) that you simply cannot afford.

You will either: a) woefully settle on invites that you don’t love, b) start imagining strange ways of collecting extra money to spend on your invites, c) expand your budget again, or d) cry bitter tears until you have your fiancé select something else (a bit dramatic, I admit, but it happens).

3) Browse by color, theme, or style to match your wedding.

Your guests gain their first clues about your wedding from your invitations. Coordinating a color palette or theme pulls together the individual aspects of your wedding.

Wedding invitation websites, such as WeddingInviteLove, allow you to browse by several search fields so you can easily narrow down your choices.

If you’re working with a custom designer, show them photos or examples of other wedding choices you’ve already made. They will be able to tailor their designs to your preferences.

4) Order samples.

A fairly simple task to prevent These Don’t Look Like They Did Online Syndrome is to request samples of a few designs that you like. Samples usually cost a few bucks, but that money is well spent to avoid a rush-order invitation replacement fiasco.

Once you have the samples in hand, you can rest assured you know what you’re getting.

5) Decide on other stationery.

The standard invitation suite includes: the invitation, response card, reception card, accommodations card, and directions card. Decide which of these you’ll need first. If you aren’t having any out-of-town guests, you may decide to do without the accommodations card. Make the choices that are right for you and your wedding.

Many invitation designers also coordinate table numbers, escort cards, and thank you cards to match your invitation, so it may be worthwhile to browse the options when selecting your invites.

6) Determine how many you’ll need.

The easiest way to get an accurate number is to create an Excel spreadsheet. List each household, rather than each person, that you need to send an invitation to. The number of rows in your spreadsheet equals the number of invitations you’ll need.

The next step is to add roughly 15-20% to that number. It sounds a bit high, but trust me. Between the late guest list additions, handwriting mishaps, invites that get lost in the mail, and any you’d like leftover as keepsakes, you’ll be happy you ordered extra at the beginning.

7) Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Reread and proofread the invitation text with your crazy hat on. This is one time that you REALLY don’t want any errors. A sneaky way to catch spelling errors is to read it backwards.

Give it to your mom, bridesmaid, fiancé, or someone else you trust to proofread as well. The more eyes the better.

Make sure commas are in their rightful place, all names are spelled correctly, and please, oh please, make sure the date and year are right.

8) Place your order and breathe.

You’ve made a selection, proofread the text over and over, so the only step left is to place the official order! Pour yourself a glass of wine and take a deep breath. One step down.

You might second-guess yourself on your choice, and you wouldn’t be the only bride to do so, but the truth is: your gut reaction is the one you should trust.

Thank you Jackie! Check out her awesome blog, Sweet Little Thrills, for more awesome posts!

Photo Credit: Girl Metro, Inc. on WeddingInviteLove

Today’s post is a guest post by Danielle at Six Modern Paper Goods with a topic near and dear to my heart — how to pick the right paper when printing your own invitations!

Printable wedding invitations have become a great option for couples that are looking to keep a trim wedding budget. Companies like A Printable Press, e.m. papers, and my own company, Six Modern Paper Goods offer boatloads of fun and modern stationery options that you would never see in a standard invitation binder. Now its easy for any couple to select and customize a design that suits their personalities and their event. Depending on how much work you want to take on, you can print them at home, at an online printshop like VistaPrint, or in a local print shop. Print-your-own invites can be especially economical for large invite lists, since you generally pay once for the design and then you can print as many pieces as you like.

If you are going the DIY invitation route, it probably means you are on a budget of some sort, but putting a little extra investment into paper can make a big difference. If you don’t work with paper often, it can be difficult to decide on the best stock for your chosen invitation design. This is a guide to selecting the best paper for your printable project!

A few general guidelines:

  • Use at least 80lb stock. 110lb is better. Once you get over 160lb, you may have trouble feeding it through your printer. You can see a chart comparing different paper weights here.
  • Keep in mind that if you have too many pages of thick stock, you may end up paying more for postage. You can get the cards weighed at the post office.
  • Be aware of your whiteness level — do you want it to be warm and ecru-ey, or crisp and cool?
  • Make sure you can get envelopes in the size and colour you like before you print.

A Paper Comparison:
The following is an unscientific comparison of several papers that I use in my shop. Prices below don’t include shipping or taxes, which if like me, you are in Canada and are ordering from the US, can be a big factor.

COTTON PAPER
(In Photo – 110lb. Crane Lettra in Fluorescent White)

This 100% cotton stock has a lovely heft and feel in the hands. It is durable and takes ink well. Most bank notes (aka dolla billz) are actually made out of 100% cotton paper, so as you can see it adds a certain touch! Crane Lettra is designed for letterpress, but if your printer can accommodate it’s thickness it takes inkjet ink well. This paper will make any invitation design look great, but large coloured areas may not print evenly.

Price per sheet

  • Around 60 cents

Disadvantages

  • Questionable environmental record on cotton.
  • Absorbent surface can suck up more printer ink.
  • Doesn’t accept laser printing well.
  • May have difficulty printing large flat areas of colour.

Advantages

  • Feels lovely in the hands.
  • Strong and durable.
  • Tree free!.

KRAFT CARDSTOCK
(In Photo – .022″ thick Kraft Chipboard from CutCardStock.com)

With a warm neutral colour and enough texture to keep it visually interesting, this Kraft stock is a great choice for a natural or rustic wedding.

Price per sheet

  • Around 15 cents.

Disadvantages

  • This particular stock is very thick and may not feed through all printers, but more average stock weights (110lb) are also available.
  • Darker paper colour requires darker inks for proper contrast, restricts design choices.

Advantages

  • Up to 100% recycled!
  • Great texture and presence.

PLAIN CARDSTOCK
(In Photo – 110 lb. Cover Stock from Staples)

This smooth white paper is an inexpensive and practical choice. It takes large areas of colour well, and is neutral enough to go with any invitation design.

Price per sheet

  • Around 6 cents.

Disadvantages

  • Pure white paper has no recycled content.

Advantages

  • A lower cost alternative.
  • Versatile smooth surface.
  • Economical use of ink.

So there is no short answer — the best paper for you will depend on your project. If you are going to have large areas of colour, you’ll want a smoother paper like the standard cover stock. If you want to make the invitations feel a little more special, perhaps splurge on cotton stock, and be sure to choose a design with less ink coverage. A coloured or kraft paper can make a big impression, but you have to be sure to co-ordinate your design with the paper colour, and be sure to test it out on your printer first!

If you have more questions about choosing paper, or printing your own wedding invitations, feel free to shoot me a note at [email protected]!

Thank you Danielle! Go check out Six Modern Paper Good’s profile on WeddingInviteLove, or go directly to their website.