Today’s post is by the fabulously wonderful Sarah from Hip Ink, one of my first WeddingInviteLove friends to meet in person. She runs The Invitation Blog, a hilarious and informative blog about invitations, etiquette, and advice, and I’m so happy she donated a post to us today!

Have you ever had that feeling? You know the one. The one you get after looking at page after page (after page…) of wedding invitation albums, every invite looking more and more alike; each nondescript floral, pearlized dove and stuffy old typeface making you feel like you’ll never find an invitation that “fits”.

Listen to that feeling — it’s wise. That feeling is telling you that those plain-jane, boring, traditional wedding invitations just aren’t your bag, baby. You want something fresh, unique, beautiful and…well…you. And *you* ain’t gonna find it in that invitation album my friends.

Where you *will* find it is on WeddingInviteLove, where you can choose from literally hundreds of custom invitation designers who are ready and willing to take your inspirations, ideas and personalities and make them shine on paper. We’re all about the details — just like you!

I’m guessing when you dreamt of your big day, you probably didn’t dream of having an event just like everyone else’s right? Ever shown up at a party in the same outfit as someone else? Ouch. You want your wedding day to be unique, to reflect you as a couple, to be once in a lifetime, just for you. So why invite your family and friends to share that with you by sending them an invite you picked up in bulk at Wedding-Save-O-Rama?

Why else should you consider a custom invitation designer?

The Event

Have an out-of-the-ordinary event? A destination wedding, a wedding weekend, a full-on three-day blow-out? Different cultures, different languages, different ceremonies and customs? An amazing theme? A spectacular location? All great reasons to hire someone who can create an invitation that will communicate everything you need to your guests, and do it with impeccable style.

The Low-Down

Officially lost when it comes to etiquette? Mailing times? Who to send what, where and when, how and why? Confusing I know – but relax, and take a deep breath, because you have an expert on the job. A custom invitation designer is a fantastic resource and can help take the stress out of the process for you with all the timely tips and advice you need.

The Relationship

You can bet that the level of attention and service you’ll get from a custom designer is something that those big invitation companies could never even dream of offering. We’re here to get to know you, to care about what matters to you, to give you an experience that helps to relieve your stress, instead of adding to it. Think [Insert Name of Giant Invitation Retailer] can do that? Didn’t think so.

The Details

You care about the details — even the ones you probably shouldn’t care so much about. It’s a one-time thing, and you want it to be perfect. So do we. You want to create an invitation inspired by your grandmother’s family crest — we’re there. You need to match the exact colour of those beautiful orchids in your bouquet — we can do it. You want to re-imagine your matching tattoos as a monogram — we’ve got this. And we’re passionate about making it right.

So yes, hiring a designer is the perfect way to avoid “that feeling” and to ensure that your invitation is the perfect reflection of the reason you crazy kids are doing this thing anyway — your totally one-of-a-kind love.

Thank you Sarah! Check out Hip Ink on WeddingInviteLove, or head straight to the Hip Ink’s website to order a custom invitation directly from Sarah!

Photo credit: Faye & Co. on WeddingInviteLove.

Letterpress printing is such a beautiful way to finish off your wedding invitations, but working with a printer the first time can be confusing! Kseniya from Thomas-Printers Invitations has some great advice about working with letterpress printers.

No event really starts until the invitations are sent out. And even though I’m biased, as a letterpress printer, I think paper invitations — especially letterpress-printed ones — are absolutely the best way to welcome your guests to celebrate with you. So, let’s say that you’ve decided that your wedding invitations must be letterpress-printed. Excellent — the printers of America thank you! How do you go about working with a printer who can make your all your papery dreams come true?

Letterpress printers are easy to find, these days (Ladies of Letterpress has more that 1000 members alone!), so that part will be easy. The whole process will be easy, actually, if you follow these helpful hints.

  1. First off, there are many kinds of letterpress printers: which kind do you need? There are those who mostly print others’ work, those who print and sell their own designs and do some custom printing, and those who do no custom printing at all. Thomas-Printers, my company, mainly prints other folk’s designs from digital files. If you or a designer has prepared a file for you,you’ll need to find a printer who is accustomed to printing custom work. Find a printer whose work you like, and ask them if they take custom orders and how long their turnaround is.
  2. Once you’ve found a group of potential printers, it’s time to request quotes. The more specific you can be about the quantity, size, and number of ink colors per-piece, the more precise the quote will be. All printers have their own costs associated with production (rent, salaries, costs of materials, and so on), so you can expect some variation in price. Likewise, there are no fixed prices for letterpress printing, but if someone hasn’t been printing for very long and their quote comes in quite low or extremely high, that could be a sign of inexperience.
  3. A brief message about pricing: letterpress is expensive, no doubt about it, but it’s a hand-made product that takes time, skill, and precision. Things that may not appear on the estimate but nevertheless cost the printer time and money are phone consultations, speedy and friendly customer service, organizing other people (die-makers, paper vendors, etc) so that your job has everything it needs when the printer is ready to start production. Additional ink colors, pressruns (if your design has large areas of solid color, and thinner delicate areas, and both in the same color, you may need an additional run), or last-minute changes may add to the final cost.
  4. Every printer has his or her own preferred file type, but usually, if supplying your own art, it will need to be a file created in a vector-based program (Adobe Illustrator or InDesign). Asking your printer about the file types and specs and sending a print-ready file will save time and money!
  5. Only very rarely does the client send paper to us for printing. It’s much easier for me to buy the paper in the larger sheets we need, trim them down to a press-sheet, print them, and then givethem their final trim. It’s great if you know the paper you’d like your invitations printed on, but don’t hesitate to ask your printer for suggestions.
  6. Do allow extra time for production in case your printer needs extra time—she’ll love you for it! And whatever you do,
  7. Don’t leave printing for the last minute.
  8. A final thought: as much as I am in favor of doing things yourself, I have to plead that you don’t DIY your own letterpress wedding invitations, unless you have the help of a skilled professional. We “fix” several jobs every year where the bride or bridegroom had the best intentions of printing their own wedding suite, only to find that the results are less than great.While anyone can learn to print, an important job like this is best left to a pro who can get them printed and done in a speedy manner.
  9. A final final thought: don’t be afraid to ask questions of your printer. We love our customers,and love talking to them and teaching them about the letterpress-printing process.

Kseniya Thomas is the owner of Thomas-Printers and Thomas-Printers Invitations in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

I wrote an article on my personal blog about my email management strategies and how I avoid being overwhelmed by email, using a slew of tactics from canned responses, smart filtering, and multiple inboxes. While it isn’t the most invitation-related article in the world, I think most people let their email get too messy, which can lead to a ton of stress. Hope you like it — check it out over on limedaring.com!

Katie from Invitations by Ajalon has graciously volunteered to explain escort cards today!

There are so many small details that go into planning your dream wedding celebration,

it’s hard to keep track of every stationery item you’ll need throughout that special day. If
there is one thing you should be sure to remember for your wedding reception, it is your
escort cards!

Some brides are at a loss as to what escort cards are, or at least a little confused about the difference between them and place cards. Aren’t they both there to help your guests find their spots? Yes! But they are, in fact, very different things.

Escort cards are used to inform guests of which table they should be looking for in your
reception area. Guest names and table numbers are gracefully displayed on the cards and
minimize confusion and wandering bodies.

There are so many ways to create a fun escort card. I’ve seen them displayed as tented
cards, hanging from twine, as small tags attached to wedding favors and much more. Not
only are they practical, but depending on how creative you get, they’re a real treat for
your guests.

After your guest has used their nifty escort card to find their table, a place card will be
waiting at a specific seat to indicate their space. Together, escort and place cards form
one rockin’ team, keeping your wedding reception flowing smoothly and your stress at an
all-time low!

Thank you Katie! Check out Invitation’s by Ajalon’s profile on WeddingInviteLove, or go directly to their website. Katie also runs a great blog with tons of wedding advice and tips!

Did you hear about our giveaway? We’re giving away over $140 worth of paper goods and stationery this week — head over here to find out more!

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.