This isn't a post where I name names or bash companies. Indeed, this is a post where I talk about the benefits of shopping locally and not just on Saturdays. Also I do name one name, but that's because we collaborated on this post, together, and I have nothing but good things to say about her company. And she's got some great things for you to consider when choosing a stationer.
Julie, with Champagne Press, is no novice when it comes to envelopes and inserts, gold foiling and custom designs. And her design work is really cute but terribly personalized, which I like because I am a cute but personable wedding planner. Recently I endeavored to create some anniversary cards for my previous clients (who I miss a ton and wish they were still current clients). And the process was slick. Which reminded me of another experience I had, with a big box company whose owners I will likely never meet.
Those big chain guys, well when you reach out to them it's really the 1-800 number or customer service person. And if you don't need any help, nothing is getting customized, then that might be fine. But with a local artist you get direct access to a designer, like the designer who will be working on your design. I don't mean you have to necessarily live in the same state as your designer, I just mean that it's an added bonus when you can put a face and a voice to the person who is designing your invites, printing your paper, and packaging it all before sending it to you with lots of love.
And once you get your proofs online. Well, you'll have to trust the color coded pixels on the screen or pay something like $5 for a proof to be shipped to your house. Tick tock. Your stationery and other wedding paper items are a tangible product, so unless you have a real good eye for online items you'll want to see the products in person, or at the very least you'll want to have a working relationship with someone you trust, who can confidently make color choices for you, because they know you, they know your wedding, and they know stationery.
Insert horror story here. I have had clients who feel so stressed and panicky, because how can you know if the navy on the screen is the navy you're using as an accent color throughout your wedding decor. Is this a bright navy, a dark navy, or a true blue? And although a completely objective third party outsider may look at us like 'you're nuts, why does it all matter?' IT DOES MATTER!
Okay, maybe not to the extent of all caps, but you want your wedding to be you, and therefore you do care about the thickness of the meal cards, the placement of your monogram on the programs, the shade of navy, and a little thing I like to call quality.
While an online company may offer what appears to be a good discount, there might be a compromise in the quality or individuality. It just is different when you are designing for a couple who you meet, for a bride whose mom you are going to hug, and when you see those people hold the paper, feel the print... it is a bit inspiring.
Julie has got some great advice so here are her TOP SIX TIPS FOR WEDDING STATIONERY:
- Then you can tweak and adjust as time goes on and the big day approaches. Count households vs. heads and start your guest list early. The exact number isn't crucial when reaching out to work with a stationer but it's good to have an idea of approximately how many households you'll be mailing to and your stationery budget. Gathering addresses can take time. Feel free to start your guest list early and update throughout your engagement if friends move. Then track don't forget to track RSVPs as they come in, along with the meal they opt for and the gifts they give you (gift tracking video tutorial).
- Determine a look and feel for your wedding. Write down some great words (like airy, rustic, romantic, intimate) that you want to use to describe your wedding day. That way your decor feels cohesive... read: enhanced guest experience (more oohs and aaahs).
- Save on shipping by going with a local designer, you can pick up your goods in person or save on shipping because it costs less to ship shorter distances.
- Get etiquette advice on RSVPs, Thank You cards etc. when you chat with your paper designer. They'll know the dos and donts that are still trending, and the things that you can forget and forgo.
- On a tight budget? Opt for one large menu or program, instead of individuals. Still want each guest to get their own, opt for smaller sizes or thinner paper.
- Customize everything. Even if there is a design, that you saw on Pinterest, that you love and want exactly as is, better make it your own. Swap out colors, add elements that represent you as a couple, change fonts. Plagiarism isn't a friendly way to start your wedding, and copy cats are hard to avoid, allow yourself to get inspired and then #youdoyou.
Want to learn/hear more about custom printed designs for your wedding? Check out Julie and Champagne Press and their new STOREFRONT!! in Stillwater (look out Minneapolis Stationery scene!) and ask away!
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