I remember as a newly engaged bride myself a few years ago, that the number of decisions for wedding planning can be overwhelming. From the white dress or champagne dress, indoor wedding or outdoor, pre-designed invitations or custom stationery. Oh and the styles, so many different styles to pick from. I mean the list goes on and on! So, in my best efforts to help guide and educate my brides, I’m so thankful to have Ashley be a part of this and share her expertise!
RSVP Love is an amazing small business that specifically helps bride and grooms select and design the right stationery for their wedding! When I got married in 2014, custom stationery wasn’t very popular that I remember, and sadly I wasn’t educated enough to understand the difference! Looking back, I remember spending too much of my own time designing my programs and invitations in Photoshop! So let’s dig in and learn a little more about the benefits of having custom stationery!
I’m Ashley Kendall and I’m based in Denver, Lancaster County, but work with couples all over the US. I’ve been a stationery designer for the last 12 years. I’m married to my high school sweetheart and have an 8-year-old daughter that I home-school in between designs. I got my start early in college for graphic design, where I knew I loved all things paper! Even before that, I had always created greeting cards and loved to doodle.
During my own search for wedding invitations, I realized nothing existed that I was dreaming of, and I created my own wedding print. The fire was lit, and I soon started creating for friends, then friends of friends. I truly believe in championing marriage, not just a wedding day! I’m a resource to my couples during the design process and a cheerleader for them after they say “I do”!
Couples should approach custom stationery the same way they do with all other vendors. For example, photographers and price compare and find a designer who fits their budget needs and aesthetics. I think because stationery is “just paper”, couples tend to not see the value. They’re turned off by the word custom and assume that means a big price tag. While that may be the case, like any other vendor, you are getting a service and not just a product.
When you hire a custom stationery designer you are getting far more than beautiful invitations! You are getting full service, years of experience, and help to navigate the big task of actually inviting guests to your wedding. All the while ensuring that you, your guests, and vendors get all of the information needed!
While invitations are one of the few wedding vendors that can be fulfilled with a premade product, think about if you would trust Uncle Jimmy who just got a DSLR to be your photographer? Or Aunt Sandy to coordinate your day? Or cousin Susie who just finished a course in baking to create your wedding cake. The expertise and care of a custom stationer to do the work to get your guests excited for your day will be an investment well worth it!
If I am working with couples on save the dates, we are usually meeting 12-18 months or sometimes more, before the wedding. Typically save the dates take about 8 weeks to design, print and mail out. I recommend couples meeting a minimum of 3 months before they’d like the save the dates sent out and a minimum of 6 months before their invitations are sent out. The actual design process is about 2 weeks with another 4 weeks for production.
The sky is the limit when it comes to customization! The budget is that reality that will help me give the best options to each couple. Interestingly, one customization you won’t be seeing any more is custom postage. Recently the USPS pulled the rights for third-party companies to print fully custom postage. If by chance you happen to have previously made postage you are still able to use it!
Photo by Juliana Tomlinson Photography
A lot goes into pricing when it comes to invitations since there are truly soooo many options! Things like laser cuts, custom cutting, and printing methods all impact the cost. Extra items like wax seals, belly bands, or ribbon also add on to the price and depend on their style and customization. I always walk my couples through the postal system and postage costs and expectations as well. A good designer will know the ins and outs of the USPS and how your invitation choices affect your postage costs.
As far as purchasing other wedding prints at the same time, you will likely save on a design fee. For example, my design fee is half of the cost of invitations because a lot of the design work is already done. The peace of mind you get working with the same designer on all of your pieces is priceless, though!
First couples should head over to my website, rsvp-love.com, and fill out the wedding questionnaire. Once they submit their questionnaire, we see if setting up a complimentary consultation (right now via Skype) works for what they are looking for. During that consultation we sift through all of the information they’ve gathered so far, so we don’t miss anything they or their guests will need.
We chat about who they are as a couple, wording that fits their needs, and of course the fun part, all the pretty paper, and options! Once a contract is signed, I create a custom timeline for each couple based on what their needs are. All proofs come as a pdf in my client management system and we keep the communication going there.
I take care of all the assembly, guest addressing. putting postage on and personally delivering them to the post office. I’m able to ship couples their keepsake copy or any extras, so they don’t even have to lift a finger!
I just love creating coordinating pieces for a couple’s wedding day print! It helps to tie everything together and feel cohesive from the invitation that got their guests there that day! The day of print is also another great way to showcase your style and personalities! There are so many unique ways to display guest’s seating, utilizing table print to maximize budgets and needs, and one more way to create a truly personal experience!
Absolutely! All couples get 2 options based on our design consultation. I put the art direction back in their hands to make any changes or adjustments. I want their guests to truly feel like this invitation is coming from them! If we need to change the wording to be more appropriate or use a different font or adjust colors, I fully welcome the couple’s input!
It’s one of the biggest benefits of hiring a custom stationery designer. You get the invitation you really want that fits you as a couple, not just a cookie-cutter design online. Once we’ve narrowed down a design, I create a full view of what all of the pieces will look like together, so couples get a real feel of what they’ll look like. Nothing beats seeing a couple open their invitations, though! It’s like Christmas for me!!
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