Happy Wednesday! We're right in the middle of Guest Blog Week and today I'm so happy in introduce Kristin to ya'll! She owns Addressed in White and works with brides to create custom invitations. She's also a bomb ass calligrapher and painter! I met Kristin last year through some other local wedding vendors when I was searching for a stationary expert to collab with for my styled shoot. She totally fit the bill, not only as a great artist but she is seriously such a kind person and friend! She did a REALLY amazing job. I mean, she hand painted succulents and literally took my ideas out of my own head and created a beautiful suite for my shoot. I'm talking total wizard status. She's got some serious talent!
I'm Kristin and I am the owner and designer of Addressed in White! I design custom invitations and specialize in wedding stationary and calligraphy. I love to create hand-painted watercolor designs and custom illustrations, but my favorite part of my job is that I get to work with couples one-on-one to get a feel for who they are and what I can design that will reflect their personalities. I have a passion for making you fall in love with your invitations and am happy to be able to show you samples in person! I am so excited to give you all some insight into how to choose the perfect invitations for your best day ever!
What defines stationary?
When we talk about "stationary", that includes the following:
- Save the Date cards/magnets/post cards
- Invitation suite - Invitation, RSVP card, Reception card, Accommodations card, Directions card and matching envelopes
- Day of Items - table numbers, place cards, programs and menus
- Thank You cards
How much will it cost?
I think for a lot of couples, invitations are one of the most underrated essentials to budget for during wedding planning. That isn't to say that it should cost a fortune, but you should take the time to find something that is well-made and uniquely YOU! After all, the invitation you send to your guests is the first impression they're going to get of your big day. Typically, invitations start at $2.50 per suite, which is based on the style, paper, color and embellishments you choose. Don't forget to account for the postage! For pieces with a lot of correspondence cards and embellishments, you're looking at a higher rate. I always include the weight and cost of the postage for my clients so they can factor that into the total cost. It's a small detail but without knowing the correct postage, you risk having invitations being returned to you or never making it to your guests.
What's your color palette and style?
To determine what invitation you're going to choose, first you need to have an idea of the colors or style that fits your wedding. For example, blush and cream will convey a more romantic feel, where as black and silver are more traditional and formal. Kraft paper is great for rustic or barn weddings and metallic gold is better suited for an indoor banquet. Are you having an August wedding with sunflowers? If so, maybe you should add hand-painted watercolor sunflowers to your invitation suite! Are you all about the bling? Silver glitter - EVERYWHERE! No matter what you decide, make sure it's something you both love and don't forget to have fun with it! I like to have one-on-one consultations so you can see and feel the paper and choose exactly what you want. Online stores are best for quick picks, but why get something that everyone else has? You are taking the time to try on gowns, taste cakes and pick out flowers, so why not do the same with your invitations? After all, it's the first glimpse of your wedding that you're showing to your guests!
How many will you need?
I like to suggest that you first organize your guest list to find the number of invitations you're going to need. Remember, the number of guests you're inviting does not equal the number of invitations you need to order. This is why gathering your guest list early is so important. Count the households and not the individual guests. Here's a quick tip! If you create your list in a Google Document or Excel Spreadsheet using the format of "Mr. and Mrs. Vince Brown and Family" in one column, it can add up the number of households for you. That is less work for you to do later on! Also, you can add another column for addresses. This will help you when you need to go address them or if you have to add hand calligraphy to your envelopes.
You should always order a few extra in case of any last minute "Oh no, I forgot Mr. and Mrs. Thomas!" or if you want to hold on to a few for a nice keepsake. Also, sending an invitation to your photographer is always a great way to make sure they can include a photo of it in your collection of wedding photos, just make sure you discuss this with them beforehand.
If you are sending Save the Dates, typically they should go out 6-8 months before the wedding. If you are having a destination wedding or getting married on a holiday, they should go out sooner. The earlier your guests can make arrangements, the better. For invitations, they should be sent out 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding date. This is when your guests will receive all of the important details and will be able to book hotel rooms and make their travel plans. You should request RSVPs to be returned three weeks before the wedding unless your reception hall or caterer needs them sooner.
The great part about custom invitations is you can choose exactly what your card will say. If you don't want to include your middle name, you definitely don't have to. If you want something fun and informal, certainly casual is the way to go. Traditionally, the Bride's parents are listed as hosting the event and the Groom's parents are listed under his name. If everyone is taking part in planning and paying for the wedding, you might choose to say "Together with our families" instead. You can decide the wording based on what's best for you as a couple and your family situation. I provide examples and will help you find the right words along the way.
Addressing your envelopes
You know how we just talked a little about guests lists? Well here is when you really appreciate having everyone's names in an organized format. If you are addressing them yourselves, make sure you have the correct pen or marker that will work best on your envelope. Some of the metallic envelopes will have a shiny coating on them, which can easily smudge pen ink. On the other hand, some of the envelopes are textured and can make the ink bleed. Give yourself a few extra envelopes to use as testers and make sure you have a clean, organized space to allow them to dry. Labels are always an option, but personally I love the look of calligraphy hand-inked on the envelopes. It is super labor intensive and time consuming, but it looks so beautiful! And better yet, people are always impressed when they get them in the mail! If you're one of my clients, I like to provide you with a return address stamp that you can use for your invitations, RSVPs and thank you cards. It makes everything look cohesive and put together.
Stamp and send
Double check that you have the correct postage before you try and mail all of your envelopes. You can take an invitation to the post office and they will weigh it out for you. It's also a good idea to inquire about bulk stamps that are specifically designed for wedding stationary ahead of time. Some post offices might not have 250 of the same white rose stamps on hand.
Hopefully I've given you with a few helpful tips for getting started on the invitation process! My biggest piece of advice is to not stress! Make a list and check off all of the steps as you go. As long as you remember to gather your guest list early, give yourself plenty of time to choose your designs and look at samples, you will be able to send out the perfect wedding stationary that will have your guests counting down the days until your best day ever!