May 11, 2021
We live in a world of instant gratification and overnight shipping. When I tell clients that their order will take 5-6 months to complete they often ask why. Lately, I’ve been having more and more clients come to me needing their invitations in two weeks or less. While I can work with that timeline (for a rush fee!) my typical bride reaches out 18 months in advance. Believe it or not, at the time of writing this post, I am almost fully booked for 2022. So, why does it take so long? Let’s explore the ins and outs of custom stationery and timelines.
Over the last few months, I’ve had quite a few brides reach out to me that had a tight timeline and wanted to order wedding invitations from me. I was able to accommodate their timeline with a rush fee, but felt so bad having to impose one. If only they’d have reached out sooner!
I’m unsure if paper goods are overlooked or if couples don’t realize how long it takes a stationer to design and produce stationery, so I thought I’d take some time to educate couples on the process. I have a post already available that tells you when to order invitations based upon your wedding month, but I don’t go into detail why.
You can order your wedding invitations from many popular websites and receive them in about two weeks, which includes shipping time. Most of these sites have rush options and upgrade printing and shipping allowing you to even receive them in about a week. So why do my invitations take “so long”?
The Wedding Invitation Ordering Process
After a couple initially reaches out to me, I schedule a consultation. I always recommend a date and time based upon your wedding date. During our consultation, I’ll gather all the information I need — your vision and design aesthetic, your likes and dislikes, and ask to see your Pinterest board. We’ll review your preferred color scheme, what your bridesmaids and groomsmen are wearing, what flowers you’ll be using, and what other vendors you’ve booked. I coordinate with your wedding planner and florist, photographer and cake decorator to make sure we’re all on the same page. After our one hour consultation, I put together an estimate for your paper goods and email it over. I normally hear back from clients right away but sometimes it can take a few days to hear back. Often, brides need to consult with their parents or fiancé regarding price – and that’s a-okay. I’m always thrilled when clients are ready to book right away!
During the consultation, you’ll choose your paper and envelope selection. We have so many colors to choose from, and all of them are guaranteed to be in stock. We will also select your preferred in-hand date — guaranteed to be delivered to you on this date as long as we stay on track with the timeline.
Once I receive a retainer and a signed contract, the design process begins.
The Wedding Invitation Design Process
Hooray – you’re a #blushbride! I work exclusively through Dubsado so you’ll receive your invoicing and questionnaires through this online system.
After you’ve paid your retainer and signed our contract, I’ll ask for your wording through an online questionnaire. Don’t worry: I don’t throw you to the wolves. I walk you through the entire process every step of the way. If you’ve selected a semi-custom design, I often have proofs ready within 3 business days. For custom designs, it takes about a week. If you’ve opted for a custom wedding map, the watercolor and proofing process can take as long as six weeks.
During the proofing process, I put together a look book. It’s my favorite part of the design process! You want to see everything side by side as well as individually. It’s one thing to talk about and envision dusty blue envelopes and hot pink letterpress, but until you see it, you don’t know if you love it together. That’s why I present you with mock ups throughout the entire proofing stage.
I hate to toot my own horn but toot-toot: 95% of the time, I nail the custom design the first round of proofs. It’s very rare that I need to make major changes to the design other than some minor tweaks here and there. That’s because I truly listen to your vision and bring it to life. This is genuinely my passion and favorite part of my job.
At this point in time, it’s likely been about four or five weeks since we had our consultation. We’re in great shape and have plenty of time for revisions, if necessary. With every round of revisions, it adds a few days to the turnaround time. Your estimate timeline accommodates a generous six weeks for the design stage.
The Production Process
Once you give the green light on the digital proofs, it’s time to set up the files for the printer! I work with one dedicated production partner – truly the best in the business!
It’s time for me to set up and format the files. Depending on the print method you’ve chosen, this is a quick and easy process for me or a longer and more complicated process. Once the files are off to print, I communicate with my printer throughout the printing process so I’m kept aware of the status of your job.
Before we go into full production, though, we will digitally print a hard copy proof for you to review. You and I will both receive a hard copy proofs. I ask that you review the proofs and get back to me within three business days. If everything looks perfect, we’ll move into full production.
Invitation suites that are being digitally printed have a much quicker turn around time than other methods of printing, like letterpress or foil.
At this point, it’s been about six or eight weeks since we began the design process — and we’ve been staying on track beautifully! Because I work with one dedicated printed and we keep everything in stock, I don’t need to worry about ordering envelopes, paper, or other materials. Whew!
The Wedding Invitation Assembly Process
I have a dedicated team that handles all the assembly for me. Most of my couples opt for upgrades – envelope address printing, liners, or belly bands – and all of this requires set up and assembly. Once the invitations have been printed, the assembly process begins.
Depending upon the quantity and the type of upgrades, the assembly process can take anywhere from 1-3 hours. This is where the suite really comes to life! Tying ribbons is truly an art form and by far, takes the longest!
One Of a Kind Wedding Invitations
When you’re getting something one of a kind, you can expect it to take a little longer… but I promise, it’s worth the wait. Wondering what my #blushbrides have to say? Take a peek and see for yourself!
It’s never too early to get a quote, so get in touch here if you’re interested in working together!