Wednesday, June 1, 2011

wedding wednesday - your perfect invitations - series post 1 of 5 - organization and time management


Welcome to a new five-part series I’ve developed just for you called, “Your Perfect Invitations”.  Every Wednesday from June 1st to June 29th I will post a new blog full of special tips, tricks, advice and other goodies all based on helping you pick out the perfect paper goods for your wedding.  And if you stick around for the end, there might just be a special treat for you, my lovely readers, so be sure to keep coming back each week to see what I have up my sleeve!  Now, let’s get on to the good stuff!

Paper goods seem to be the last thing people think about when planning their wedding, but it is actually a very important part of the event!  Your invitations set the tone for your big day and will be your guests first glimpse at your big day; some might even decline to attend based solely on the invitation they receive!  My advice: Do your homework!  With a little knowledge, you can pick out paper goods that are perfect for you and your fiancé’s personality, style and theme.  I promise it will be time well spent and your guests will be excited at the wonderful wedding they plan to attend!

This week I want to cover two very important topics you’ll want to review before setting out in the search of your perfect invitations: organization and time.  The invitation process is actually really easy so long as you have your little duckies in a row before setting out on your search.  To get started, you’ll want to organize all your information (names, addresses) and paper good needs (invitations, RSVPs, accommodation cards, map cards, programs, table cards, etc) into one spot for easy review.  I highly recommend plugging your names and address into Excel or a similar computer program so you can easily update the information, make notes and also keep track of who has RSVP’d or not.  It’s also easy to share the file should a family member, friend or your invitation designer need it (most of us can print the address information right on your envelopes, which is a big time saver!).  In addition to a good address list, you’ll want to decide what paper goods you need.  The basic needs are usually and invitation and response card but there is so much more!  Here’s a list of the top paper good items for weddings:
Save the Dates - Announce your wedding date prior to sending the invitation, so your guests can be sure to plan to attend your big day!
Accommodation Cards – Perfect for the destination wedding or if you plan on having many people come in from out of town.  Accommodation Cards give hotel information should you guest want/need to stay the night.
Reception Card – Having your reception at a different location and time than the ceremony?  Your reception cards will give all these pertinent details.
Map Cards – Is your venue hard to find?  These little gems are a perfect way to give directions (and even a real map!) so your guests cane navigate to your wedding in a timely manner.
Programs – Allow your guests the opportunity to get to know your wedding party while they enjoy the ceremony.
Seating Chart, Table Cards, Name Cards, Menus – Plan on having a seating arrangement for the dinner portion of your wedding?  So many cute ideas are available.
Favors – There are a variety of wedding favors you can do for your guests.  From boxes filled with candy, to tea towels, to personalized Cozies, the options are endless!
Thank You Cards – Be sure to thank your guests for attending your big day!  (we’ll cover thank you cards in a later part of the series)
Having an idea of the items you need makes it much easier as you search for designs and designers you like.  Now that you’re all organized, it’s time to shop!  Be sure to check out my online store and keep in mind I love to do custom designs and personalization of stock designs!  Happy you = Happy me :)  

Now that you're shopping around, you'll want to keep in mind the time frame for placing an order.  I’ve compiled a little breakdown the time frame you’ll want to allow for the entire invitation process:

1-2 Weeks – Shop Around!
There are so many options out there for invitations and while I would love and prefer everyone to choose GreenerMe for their invitations and other paper goods, I do realize it’s not a realistic expectation.  Just like working with any other designer, we all have our own personalities and style and by shopping around a bit you’ll be able to find a designer that can truly envision the ideas and goals you have in mind.  Kind of like finding true love, in a way!  Once you find it, you’ll know and not only will your paper goods will look amazing and perfect, but you’ll also want to rave about the designer to all your friends and family.  This mutual relationship is something the bride and designer both wish to achieve with every client!  So I encourage you to shop around and see what everyone has to offer before making a final decision.  Whether it’s a matter of days or weeks once you find what you’ve been looking for it’ll be a great feeling for everyone involved.

1-4 Weeks – Design Time!
If you’re picking out a stock design and have minimal edits to make, the design time will be much shorter.  For custom work or programs or if you’re just really picky, the design process can take much longer.  This is where knowing what you want and being prepared comes in to play, so make sure to do your homework!!  It’ll not only make the process easier on you, but also on the designer.

4-6 Weeks – Printing /Assembly!
Here’s where it gets exciting and kind of makes you anxious with excitement!  When it’s time to go to print, you’ll have given consent that all the paper good products you and the designer have worked on final and no further changes need to be made.  The order will then be sent to print (GreenerMe prints their invitations in house so I can have full control and make sure everything is perfect for you) and the designer will get to work on producing and assembling your order!  Quantity and detail of the order are both factors in how long it takes to produce an order, but you and your designer will work out those details back in the design process.  Us as designers want to make sure your paper goods are delivered perfectly and on time!

Additional Note:  If you plan on having programs, menus, table cards, etc. at your event, I normally like to spread out the design/print process over time.  For example, we’ll do the high priority items first, like the invitations and response cards and then start work on the programs and other components.  That way you can have your invitations in hand quicker, since they usually have a smaller time frame to get mailed out, and the programs and other components can be in design phase, as you can receive those items closer to your wedding date.  I find that breaking everything out is much less of a headache for both parties!

4-6 Weeks Before Wedding Date – Mail the invitations!  
This is the traditional time frame in which you’ll want to get your invitations mailed out.  I always recommend mailing the invitations out closer to six weeks if you’re inviting a lot of folks from out of town, or if you’re having a destination wedding.  You want your guests to have plenty of time to make travel arrangements as needed.  And if you’re planning on having Save the Dates made, those should go out 4-6 months in advance.  Always remember the more accommodating you can be to your guests, the better chance you’ll have of them attending your big day!!

If we do the math, it takes roughly 9-18 weeks to get the invitations picked out, designed and printed- and if you’re doing Save the Dates it’s going to take you a smidge longer, so be sure to plan for that!

To sum of up this article, step one of achieving Your Perfect Invitations is to 1. Do you homework and get organized and 2. Keep your time frame in mind.  You might have a lot of time or a little time to create Your Perfect Invitations, but with the right help you can make anything happen!

Feel free to check out my shop by clicking the link at the top of this page.  And of course if I can assist you in any way, let me know by leaving a comment on this post, or by emailing me at .  I look forward to hearing your thoughts, opinions, questions and rants in regards to this post! :)

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