Today’s blog is all about ordering invitations. We live in a digital world, and in many ways, it has made our lives much easier. With the click of a few buttons, you can plan an event, communicate to hundreds of guests, and receive RSVPs, all to make a perfect wedding day. However, (and this is a hill I will die on) absolutely nothing compares to the supreme anticipation that is built by receiving a paper wedding invitation in the mail.
There is something ceremonial and awe-inducing to holding a perfectly-hued, stamped envelope in your hands, knowing it has traveled untold miles to make it to you at that moment. After gingerly lifting the flap to view what awaits inside, you slide out luxuriously-textured paper in many parts and pieces, each with a specific purpose of sharing the details of your scrupulously-planned wedding day. AH! It’s simply magical! In a world where we receive digital invitations to every other type of event, a paper invitation suite gently whispers to the recipient, “This is special and significant, and we don’t want you to miss it.” A beautiful invitation is an experience in itself. Opening it is the first event you create for your wedding guest.
I obviously feel strongly about wedding invitations, since they’re my first love! 🙂 A little backstory on how AM+Co started: I started playing with calligraphy in my downtime when I worked as a receptionist at H&R Block. At the time I was in college for graphic design. My sister asked me to design her wedding invitations, and then shortly after, my friend asked me to design hers (we won’t talk about how I forgot to include the time on her invitation, and we didn’t realize it until after they had been sent!) Wedding invitations were my first venture as a young creative entrepreneur, and they still remain a centerpiece of our creative studio’s offerings! And thankfully, we’ve never forgotten a time since. 😉
If you are planning a wedding (or dreaming about planning one), I would like to give you an inside look at our invitation ordering process. Generally, brides start thinking about invitations when they begin planning. Our production process from start to finish takes 8-10 weeks, however, we book up quickly, so once you’re engaged and begin planning, it’s a good idea to reach out and get the process started so we can get you on our production calendar. It’s never too early!
The way to begin the invitation process with us is to fill out our contact form. When we receive it, we respond with our Custom Invitations Questionnaire. The questionnaire is a bit like a style quiz and allows us to see your style and collect the information we need for a consultation call. Since our work is so visual, the questionnaire shows examples of the different options we offer. This enables you to familiarize yourself with the options we offer so that when we talk in person, we are all on the same page.
You’ll also want to have an of the number of invitations you will need because that affects pricing. The general rule is to order one invitation per household, couple, or family (not one per person). We also advise ordering an additional 5-10 extra per 100 ordered to have handy as people send in their declines. That way you can send to the people on your secondary list without starting the entire production process over again, which takes 6-8 weeks.
After you fill out the questionnaire, we schedule a 30-minute consultation call to talk about everything from paper to printing styles. This is the fun part, where we get to meet and hear about your love story, your wedding dreams, and your style. We also want to look at your Pinterest boards and mood boards and see your colors and floral inspo.
I always encourage brides to do their research ahead of time so they have a clear sense going in of what they want and don’t want. We also ask you to bring a few inspiration photos from our website and our Instagram. Familiarizing yourself with the AM+Co aesthetic will set our meeting up for success because, at the end of the day, we can only provide our style, not someone else’s.
After your phone call, you will receive a custom quote and design proposal. Our quotes are itemized and our design proposals include photos to help you visualize the end goal. Once you look over the quote, we will send you a contract outlining your project and a link to place a 50% non-refundable deposit. This reserves your date, and time in our production schedule or our delivery schedule for day-of items. The remaining 50% is due 2 weeks before any items are delivered, or shipped. Completion of our proposal, contract, and payment of 50% of your invoice make you an official client of AM+Co!
It is recommended to send Save the Dates 6-8 months before your wedding date. If you’re having your wedding locally, we advise that you send your invitations 6-8 weeks before your wedding date. If you’re having a destination wedding, we recommend sending your invitations 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding date.
Production time is an additional 6-8 weeks on our end, so it is wise to plan well in advance so that you have cushion time for unexpected delays and can get your invitations to your guests without rush. As I mentioned earlier, it’s NEVER too early.
It helps to have a budget range in mind when we meet so that we can guide your selections. Our minimum invitation order is $1,500, but we find that brides typically spend $2,500-$3,500 on their wedding invitation suites, depending on the number of pieces, quantities, print style, and add ons. If you love our aesthetic but that range is out of your budget, consider our semi-custom invitation suites! These five suites have an array of customizable colors and options that will give you the iconic AM+Co look without the custom price tag. They are absolutely gorgeous, and some of the work I’m most proud of!
I have planned my own wedding and I understand first-hand how the start of your wedding planning adventure can cause decision paralysis. There are endless options and it can be overwhelming to make so many decisions in a relatively short amount of time. Don’t worry, though! That’s what we are here for – to walk you through the decisions, explain options, and help guide you through the invitation-ordering process! My biggest advice to brides at this stage is don’t overthink your invitations! Overthinking and obsessing over the tiniest of details, like ink color, can steal the joy from this process. Trust our guidance, creativity, and expertise so you can have fun as you plan! I promise we won’t steer you wrong.
Every suite starts with the main invitation. The main invitation is where you list your guests’ first place of meeting. So for instance, if your ceremony is at St. Peter’s Church and your reception is at Bella Collina, your main invitation would list St. Peter’s as the location/address. Bella Collina would be listed on the details card.
Your details card is where you share information about the reception location, accommodations, transportation details, and before- and after-parties.
Your RSVP card is where people will respond with how many people are attending, or decline attendance. It also can include meal options. If your guests will RSVP via mail, we also include a small envelope for the RSVP card. However, some people choose to receive their RSVPs online, so their card will include a website address for people to RSVP.
You may want to include a rehearsal dinner insert for select guests to provide information on the rehearsal dinner for those who are invited. We can also incorporate custom venue illustrations, custom envelope liners, and watercolor maps into your suites.
There are limitless options to elevate your invitation experience and set them apart from the rest. Wax seals give a classic, elegant touch. Hand-made tassels provide a formal flourish. Depending on your style, you may choose silk ribbon, gold thread, or velvet bands to bind your suites together in a dreamy package. In the past, we have even created custom acrylic medallions to create a signature look. The possibilities end where our creativity does!
We offer three types of addressing styles. For the calligraphy lover, we offer a fully hand-calligraphed envelope. We also offer a half-and-half option, where the guest’s name is penned in calligraphy and the address is digitally printed. Our final option is full digital, where we print the guest’s name and address on the envelope. (Disclaimer: We are not able to print gold foil for the guest address, only the return addresses).
We offer three paper types. Deckled edge paper has the unfinished, feathery look of handmade paper, without the inconsistencies. Chunky cardstock is a 240-lb weight paper. It has straight edges. Vellum is smooth, delicate, and see-through. We only print gold foil on vellum. Please note that we are not able to print on handmade paper because of quality issues it presents with ink adherence and foil printing issues.
Digital printing is smooth, without raised or indented impressions. The colors are true and vibrant. This is the most affordable printing style.
With letterpress printing, your digital invitation design is transferred to a metal plate, which is then applied to the paper with great pressure, creating a heavily-impressed image. Letterpress printing is considered to be one of the finest forms of printing, perfected over hundreds of years.
Foil printing is similar to letterpress, except the metal plate is lined with foil before it is pressed into the paper. This creates an indented, metallic impression with shine. We can print foil in gold, silver, copper, and iridescent.
After you select your invitation suite elements, print and paper style, and embellishments, I begin to design! This is my favorite part! I will create a proof for you, and you will have the opportunity to review it. My ultimate goal is to make my clients happy, so I rely on your honest feedback. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like my first pass. I’m committed to creating a perfect invitation for you. Our process includes 3 rounds of revisions. After you receive the first proof, you’ll submit your changes and thoughts via our proof form. We prefer to receive revision requests on the form instead of via phone call or email so that we can keep your feedback in one place. At this stage of the process, we are relying on you to respond promptly to the proofs with your feedback so that we can keep the project moving forward according to your timeline.
During the design period, you’ll also work on your guest list (AKA hunting down an address for the uncle you haven’t seen in 15 years). We provide you with a specially-formatted spreadsheet in which to enter your guest names and addresses. This helps us to not make any mistakes in the addressing process.
Don’t be surprised if you see a sneak peek of our project on our instagram! Sharing our work is one of the highlights of our day!
The best kind of mail (well, second only to the invitations your wedding guests will receive from you) is the package that will arrive at your home holding your finished and assembled invitation suites! Once production is complete, we carefully package and ship them to you so you can enjoy a box full of pretty things. Invitations come assembled and ready to be stamped and shipped by you! 🙂
We hope this blog has given you some insight into our process. We would love to work with you on your wedding invitations! Fill out our contact form today and we’ll be in touch with next steps!