The Power of the Custom Wedding Invitation

If you're getting married this up coming year or the year after you've probably been on line looking a few or too many wedding invitations. Maybe they are all starting to look alike? Or you have found so many different style you don't even know what to do next? Maybe its best to take a few steps back and perhaps think about getting something fresh, unique, beautiful and very you! Remember mass produced wedding books won't cut... this is your only big day so you have to make sure your invitations are more then memorable! So what this comes down to is putting some thought to your wedding stationery and I can assure you will end up with a superb end product that is truly you. I'm listing a step by step guide below that will help your thought process in creating the perfect wedding invite:

Step 1: Think About Your Vision Take some time and dream up what you'd like your wedding invitations to look like: colours, style, print medium. What will best visually represent you as a couple. Ideally you should have a general idea before speaking with a professional.

Step 2: Set A Design Plan Decide how far you'll want to take your customization with colours, patterns, and layers of paper. More complicated projects may demand a more skillful team of professionals. Do you want a combination of specialty printing methods? Maybe you want a personalized invitation but don't have a specific idea. Your best bet is to consult a professional who will guide you through the process.

Step 3: Do Your Research It's important to find the person who will listen and carry out your ideas. Personalities and styles differ, so make sure you find the right match. Maybe start with referrals from friends, your wedding planner, or other wedding pros. There are many options, so check all your resources from independent designers to custom studios. Visit stationery websites... maybe contact them via telephone prior to meeting to get an idea of how knowledgeable they are and to see if they can design and produce what you are envisioning.

Step 4: Gather Notes Start compiling a file of invites you like: hand-drawn sketches, past invitations you've received, and magazine clippings that motivate your creativity. In addition, professional stationers often have portfolios filled with hundreds of examples that can serve as further inspiration for your own personalized look.

Step 5: Interview Designers Examine the designer's work and share your ideas. In the end it's important to connect with the person who will be creating this piece of work for you. Do you find that he or she is listening intently to what you have to say? Most important, based on what you are hearing and seeing, is the style compatible with your own? Have you seen any past work that you love? If you're not fond of most of their examples, don't be afraid to keep shopping around and don't forget to discuss logistics: Be realistic when it comes to what you can and cannot afford. Don't rush the process. Finding someone who really understands your vision is worth the extra effort.

Step 6: Choose a Colour Palette Your wedding colours are the strand that runs through all the elements of your day. Decide how you will incorporate these hues into your paper products: Will you use a coloured font, a coloured pattern, or coloured paper? A mix of the three? Can't settle on one colour? Then select two. Pick a pair that will be complementary, but don't settle on pale pink if fuchsia has always been your favourite. Most important, examine how each colour looks on the paper stock. Don't assume that aquamarine font will look the same on white as it does on cream.

Step 7: Decide on a Motif Do you want a monogram or another symbol woven throughout the day's festivities? If so, consider adding these themes to your wedding stationery. For example, an invite to a tropical wedding might include seashells and coral. Take a look through your designer's books and tag past work that you think might mimic your own style.

Step 8: Select the Size and Shape Believe it or not, the envelope drives the size of the invitation, so your design needs to fall within your chosen envelope formats (square, rectangular, skinny rectangular). And the envelope shape sets the tone for your wedding style (an unusual size signifies an untraditional wedding). Keep in mind that over size envelopes and final packages that are over weight will cost more in terms of postage.

Step 9: Set Deadlines Know the time frame you are working with before you begin. Set a realistic deadline that starts with your intended mailing date, plus the time needed for assembly. Ask about the turnaround time and charge for proofs. Once the job is approved, how long will it take to print?

Step 10: Discuss the Printing Process Before you seal the deal, ask about the entire team. Who does the printing? Will your designer do a final check when your job is being printed to ensure everything is exactly as you approved? Will you see a final proof? Is it the right paper quality for your design? Keep in mind that a fabulous design can fall flat on the wrong paper. Who assembles the invitations? Does the designer do this for free or does a fee apply? How many revisions can you make? Know from the start about design fees and proof charges. Get a written contract that includes an estimate and timeline. You should also expect to make a deposit to start the project. A comprehensive design plan will eliminate too many changes that may accumulate. Most designers allow for one to two rounds of edits -- extra costs can be substantial. Be organized from the beginning and you will minimize errors and unexpected charges.

Step 11: Finalize the details Taking the customization route can be truly rewarding -- just remember to take it one step at a time, because even the font can set a certain tone. Don't force something that you don't love at first glance in hopes that it will grow on you. Think of the big picture and realize that each element plays a role that can be carried through your entire celebration.