11 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Your wedding suite sets the tone for your wedding. It signals to people the formality of the event, what the style of the wedding will be and even reflects the personalities of the couple. It has the potential to create a lot of excitement for your guests. This might sound overwhelming, so we are here to guide you through the process. To get you started, we've put together some helpful tips and we can't wait to see you at your first appointment!
For some of our brides, they can come in for their first appointment and within minutes know exactly what they want. These brides are unicorns. For everyone else, it can be overwhelming and confusing picking out all of the pieces and curating a style for their wedding suite. So the best thing to do is START EARLY! If you are sending out Save-the-Dates, you will want to come in with enough time to send them between six and nine months in advance of your wedding. From there, we can get started picking out your wedding suite, then six to eight weeks before your wedding, you will be putting all those invitations in the mail!
What's your style?
When your think about your big day, what does that look like? Is it black tie, a beach wedding, a casual affair or an intimate ceremony in a small garden? Is it a daytime wedding or will it be in the evening? Write down a few adjectives that will best describe the look and feel you would like to convey. For example, traditional, romantic, minimalist, elegant, fun, casual or tropical. Remember that it's totally fine to mix your styles. Maybe you want a formal wedding on a tropical island. Our job is to help you figure out how to convey that feeling to your guests through your wedding invitation. But just know, if you sit down to look at Pinterest or Instagram or wherever, before your first appointment and you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with options, remember that we are always here to help guide you through the process and help you create a beautiful and memorable wedding suite.
Themes and Symbols
Once you have settled on the style of your wedding, it is time to think about how to incorporate things that reflect the wedding. Are you getting married in the mountains? On a beach? In an English garden? Do you want a custom monogram or duogram? The monogram or duogram can serve as the "logo" for your wedding and can be carried through as many pieces as you'd like. From the wedding invitation and custom stationery all the way to cups, napkins, koozies and fans. Want to learn more ways to use a monogram or duogram? Just ask! (But don't get us started on the fad of "combined monograms"!)
Do you want to carry a particular color or set of colors throughout your wedding suite? If so, bring swatches, samples, photos or even the bridesmaids dress in, if you want so that we can match your exact wishes! If you are struggling with deciding on a color palette, it is helpful to think of what season your wedding is in. Is it late fall? Deep purples, oranges, golds, browns and greens always work for that. Spring? Think soft pinks, sages and lavender. Summer colors can be bright and vibrant! Hot pinks, grass green, a yellow or even navy if you are into sailing! Some Winter colors that are always lovely are silvers, deep greens, and even light blues! But again, we are always here to help you pick the best colors to represent your style and theme for your wedding.
Details, Details, Details
It is important to think about what details you would like for your guests to know. Is your reception at a different location from the ceremony? If it is, you might want a reception card. Direction or map cards are always helpful if you think guests will have trouble getting from point A to point B. If you have a list of specific hotels for people to book through, an accommodation card or wedding website card is great. Will you want a response card and envelope or do you prefer a response postcard? There are other pieces to consider like, inner envelopes, ribbons, belly bands, or envelope liners. And that's just for the wedding suite! Itineraries, programs, welcome bag or box tags/stickers are also popular items that can be customized.
Printing Methods and Paper Stock
While we specialize in letterpress, we also have a variety of other printing methods available. We offer engraving, thermography, foil stamping, embossing, offset and flat printing options. The only printing we do in store is flat printing (which some of our vendors also offer), we work with companies who are the best of the best for all the other methods. To learn more about the different methods, visit our PRINTING METHODS page.
There is also a wide variety of paper stocks out there. Do you prefer a cottony feel or something with a smoother finish? What color paper would you like? The traditional are white, off-white/natural and ecru. But don't let that stop you! We also carry a variety of colored papers, as do some of our invitation vendors! Once you've settled on color, it's time to think about thickness. The standard are single or double thickness, but a few vendors we carry have stock that is even thicker. During your appointment you will be able to touch and feel a variety of samples from in house papers to letterpress or engraving stock.
Paper is our everything! Ask any one of us what kind of wedding invitation we want, and we will probably all answer somewhere along the lines of double thick paper with letterpress. We might even add in foil stamping. But we understand that not everyone has the budget for the top of the line, be all end all invitation. So it's great to come in with an idea of how much you would like to spend, and we will be more than happy to help accommodate that goal. We do however suggest that you stay open to learning about the different styles and various printing methods. There are a lot of ways to get exactly what you want, whether its full bells and whistles or a demure invitation that was flat printed. Our goal is to create something beautiful with you, no matter the price.
Know your numbers
Determine the number of invitations you would like to send. This is different than the total number of guests you will be inviting, because many of the guests will be one household. This is one of the few times during the planning process where your count will be based on household and not individual. Then remember to always order extras! Guest lists have a sneaky way of creeping up and often at the last minute. No one wants to hear for the next ten years that you forgot to invite your great aunt's husband's sister's cousin by marriage, so just in case you will be in the dog house for not inviting that person, it is always a good idea to have a few extra invitations on hand for those last minute add ons. Don't forget to order enough for you to have a keepsake as well!
A few things fall under this tip
- First, who is issuing the invitation? In a traditional situation, the bride's mother and father issue the invitation, inviting people to be a part of their daughters wedding. But if the grooms parents are equally involved or contributing financially, they might want to be included on the invitation as well. Perhaps you and your fiancee are issuing the invitation. In that case, the wording would be entirely different. In this day and age, there are many circumstances that require not-so-traditional wording. The brides parent's might be divorced, remarried or deceased. Luckily, for whatever the situation, we've got the wording down and we are here to help avoid embarrassment or hard feelings! Should there ever be a question that we haven't yet encountered, we've got Crane's Blue Book of Weddings to turn to. Those guys literally "wrote the book" on etiquette.
- The second point here is knowing the details that need to be filled in on your wedding invitation. After you know who is issuing the invitation, the other information to include is who is getting married? When is it? What time? Where is it? Will there be a reception? If so, where is that reception? (Here you might want a reception card). For a sample of an invitation wording layout, click here.
- The third and final point for invitation wording doesn't even really have anything to do with the invitation itself. These are just things that you also need to come prepared with. Once you've hammered out the details for what your actual invitation is going to say, you need to consider whose address will be used for the outer envelope (what your wedding invitation is mailed in), as well as what address you want on the response envelope/postcard. Typically you want these two addresses to be the same. Another thing to keep in mind is the response card. Do you want a response? There are many reasons you will need one, from keeping track of your guest list and who exactly is coming, to giving a final number to your caterer for the food. A response card is great for all of these reasons. Having them a few weeks in advance of your wedding is always helpful, allowing time for stragglers to get their responses in. Sometimes planners, venues or caterers want the numbers further out. For that you will need to consult with them on the final date you can receive responses and plan accordingly. For any other cards you may need to include in your wedding suite, being prepared with a sample wording is great, but your designer can always help you figure out what needs to be said.
There are several options available for addressing your envelopes. Maybe a family member has great handwriting and they are willing to do it! But if not, some options available to you are using a calligrapher (your designer should be able to recommend someone to you), or you can have the addresses printed on the envelopes. Either way, it is always a good idea to order 15-20% extra envelopes to cover any errors. Many of our companies automatically include 10% extra envelopes, but sometimes calligraphers prefer more.
Remember this should be fun! We know that it might seem stressful to beginners, sometimes we forget because we do it every day! But if you are feeling overwhelmed, just take a deep breath, trust your instincts and relax! We are here for you. Usually there is one invitation or style that you will keep going back to. Even if you are just using it as the inspiration to design your own custom invitation, just remember you are in good hands with your designer and our goal is to make sure you have the wedding suite you have always dreamed of! And just in case you aren't that unicorn that can have it all picked out in a few minutes, and feel like you need to think about everything you have seen, we are always happy to make a second appointment to finalize any details before beginning the proofing process. At Ménage, WE LOVE OUR BRIDES!