How to shop for wedding invitations

By: Yuki Hayashi

Author: Canadian Living


How to shop for wedding invitations

By: Yuki Hayashi
Wedding invitations are one of the first things couples start shopping for once they're engaged. Invitations share the news of your impending nuptials and help set the tone of the event. A beautiful invitation helps build excitement about your big day and makes guests anticipate how lovely it will be.

Are you getting married soon? Here are 6 things to consider when it comes to shopping for wedding invitations.

Top 3 wedding invitation tips

1. Know your time line
Start shopping as soon as you've set a wedding date. Invitation turnaround times start at two weeks, but typically take longer with boutique invitation makers or for large orders. If you choose a backordered paper stock or add-ons, such as appliqué or ribbon, it could take months of waiting before production can even start.

2. Narrow down the style and format

Start by thinking about your dream, price-isn't-even-an-issue invitation. Would it be traditional, with crisp black text on a heavy cotton parchment? Or artsy, with hand-lettered calligraphy on hand-pressed Japanese paper? Or an eco-friendly option printed in soy ink on biodegradable, seed-impregnated paper meant to be planted in the garden after reading?

Maybe your ideal invitation – particularly if you have a small guest list – isn't even a paper invitation. It might be a pair of flip-flops with a postcard directing guests to the website or Facebook page where you've posted the details of your destination wedding.

Find inspiration in bridal magazines, event invitations you've received in the past, or on the web.

3. Set your
Next, consider your print run and budget. Invitations cost from $1 each (custom postcards without reply cards) up to $30 or more per four-piece invitation set.
Do some cursory research online and through word of mouth to find potential invitation makers fitting your general style and budget. Make appointments to meet with consultants or designers to look at samples, discuss your project and set a realistic budget.

Page 1 of 2 - Have invitations added to your list of wedding anxieties? Learn three more tips for handling RSVPs on page 2.
More top tips for creating wedding invitations
4. Bring your inspiration

Take your dream invitation concept with you when you meet potential invitation vendors. They'll help you determine if it's compatible with your budget. Even if you can't get an exact replica of your dream invitation, the consultant or designer can work with you to create something inspired by it – or an alternative you love even more!

5. Request some samples
Take samples home from vendors and stationary store so you can thoroughly think about your options. Share them with your fiancé and a small, exclusive team of friends or relatives whose taste you trust, but – and this is key – who won't pressure you towards something they love but that's not reflective of your personal style.

6. Consider DIY invitations
If you want a very unique invitation, or are short on money or time, consider DIY invitations. Options include:
Pre-designed, fill-in-the-blanks invitations carried at many stationery shops. (Some high-end print shops carry designer versions of these.) These work best for small weddings – otherwise, count on a cramped writing hand!
Customized online invitations. View samples online, fill in the templates, preview, then wait for your hard copy samples to arrive in the mail. Once you approve a final proof, you can book your full order. Done and done!
Making your own invites from scratch (enlist a creative friend for help if you're all thumbs!). Big box office supply shops and stationery boutiques alike carry invitation cardstock and matching envelopes, and you can find invitation templates online.

You can also source one-of-a-kind cardstock and handmade papers online or in bricks-and-mortar specialty boutiques. (Always request samples before making a bulk order!)

Browse April Paffrath and Laura Mcfadden's The Artful Bride: Wedding Invitations for beautiful budget-friendly project ideas.

Page 2 of 2 - Learn how to start shopping for wedding invitations on page 1.

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How to shop for wedding invitations