Kate Sugars started her Adelaide based design studio, Bluebelle, over 6 years ago after helping a friend with her wedding invitations.
From there Kate’s love of weddings and events grew and she eventually quit her 9-5 design job in the pursuit of happiness as a self employed entrepreneur.
Bluebelle Studio creates quality invitations, wedding stationery, paper goods, signs and laser cut items.
Kate offers custom design services to bring her clients’ vision to life with letterpress, white ink laser cut, foiling, engraving and printed wood modern production processes.
If anyone knows how to save your sanity when it comes to wedding invitations and all they involve, it’s Kate.
Thanks for your spot-on advice!
1. Work out your guest list and how many invitations you need first.
Invitations can vary in price depending on your choice of card stock, print processes and any extra embellishments and details you might like. But the biggest factor that affects your wedding invitation quote is the quantity!
Many stationery designers, like myself, need a rough quantity to even begin the quoting process and more often than not, the pricing is on a sliding scale, meaning the more you need, the cheaper it is per piece (some production and administrative costs are a set price which are then divided by the amount of invitations you are ordering).
if you want 100 x foiled invitations, which requires a metal foil plate at $X, the foil plate cost is divided by 100 (per unit price).
So if you only need 50 invitations, the foil plate still costs the same, but the foil cost per unit is doubled and the overall cost per unit will be more.
You don’t want to be ordering a lot more than necessary either, so working out which guests can share an invitation helps cut down costs (usually 1 per household is standard).
If you don’t calculate your guest list right to begin with, leaving yourself short, then it can be quite expensive to do another print run of an extra 10-20 extra invitations, as the job would then need to be set up for print again.
Which brings me to my next point...
2. Order spare invitations!
I always suggest to my clients to order between 5-10 spare invitations depending on your overall guest count (if you have more than 150 guests, then I would consider ordering more spare invitations).
You never know when you might have forgotten to include cousin James on the guest list or perhaps you’ve had a few unexpected ‘No’s and there’s a guest on the ‘maybe’ list that you couldn’t quite fit in initially, but would love to invite!
There’s also times when the parents really want to invite John and Jane Doe and the guest list keeps increasing beyond the amount of invitations you thought you needed.
I would be very rich if I received a dollar every time I had a client emailing me asking if I had 5 more spare invitations from the initial print run.
3. Don’t leave ordering your invitations to the last minute.
This one is pretty simple.
Make sure to allow roughly 6 months between your wedding date and getting your invitations sorted.
The standard time frame for sending out wedding invitations is around the 2-3 month mark.
If you suddenly realise that you’ve only 4 months left until your wedding day but you want a custom design wedding invitation with letterpress and/or foil printing (these processes can take 4-6 weeks) then you will run into what are known as ‘rush fees’; basically a surcharge to push your order ahead of the standard production timeline.
So be sure to allow ample time to avoid this unnecessary spending and potential wedding budget blowout.
4. Consider what’s most important to you and the look you want to achieve.
I always tell my wedding clients to spend money on what they value!
Sometimes it’s on the food and wine or perhaps the florals and details like wedding stationery. This focus can also help to save you some money.
You may not be so fussed on the invitations but want a killer welcome sign that you can hang in your house after the big day as a keepsake. So naturally when ordering the invitations, you may want to opt for more economical options like digital printing (instead of letterpress and foiling) and choosing a premade design rather than having something custom designed uniquely for you.
Also, consider what pieces you may need for your stationery suite.
If you want to let your guests know about your wedding registry preferences (e.g. if you’re having a wishing well) and don’t have a lot of venue information that you need to communicate, you may not need a separate insert for it. Maybe you could just pop 1-2 lines on the bottom of the invitation and eliminate the need for that card.
Perhaps traditional RSVPs are not your thing?
You could opt to add a mobile phone number, wedding website or email address on the bottom of the invitation instead.
This is also useful if you reallllllly want something like gold foiling for your invitation but don’t have the budget for it. Use the money you were going to spend on that extra card and put it towards getting the look of your dream invitations!
5. Posting invitations cost what now?!
Snail mail can be a joy to receive, but these days the cost just keeps going up!
Make sure to consider this when ordering invitations.
You may really love a square invitation design but typically they are 14cm-15cm in size which automatically puts it in the ‘large letter’ post category.
Times that cost by 150 invitations and BAM your postage just went from $150 up to $300 (not to mention if you are pre-stamping the RSVP return envelopes).
Same situation goes for the weight and thickness of your wedding stationery.
That big, fluffy bow tying up your wedding invitation suite may look like a dream but you may need to consider hand-delivering them or double your postage costs again.
Sometimes it can be worth weighing up the petrol costs of going for a nice, long drive on a weekend to personally deliver your invitations - you could find that it’s less expensive!
6. Proof, proof and proof again!
When going through the proofing process (checking for accuracy and quality prior to giving the green light to print) of ordering your invitations either online overseas or through a local small business (we prefer the latter) make sure to get several people to check the proof before approving for print!
You, your fiancé, your mum, your cousin, get as many eyes to look over that baby as possible!
Please note; this is NOT to get their opinion on the creative (except for your fiancé, of course - the design should be something YOU love, not anyone else) but rather to check all the names, dates, times, addresses, spelling and job specifications are correct!
If you approve the design for production and after you receive the final product realise there’s an error, then you are 100% liable for the full cost of reprinting!
And that’s just not fun. Not only will you need to wait for them to be reprinted but that’s extra money that you didn’t need to spend.
What are your must dos for wedding invitation design and ordering?
Let us know in the comments.