Planning a wedding is taking one exciting step after another and continues on into your marriage. Part of the process is finding vendors who suit your vision, style, and desires. It can be easy to get hung up on the first vendors you contact, because you're excited and anxious to book everything.
I'm going to give you a little hint, ultimately doing your research, planning, and organizing your vendors is going to give you the results you want. Even if it takes more time to book them. You still want to be timely, but you also want to hire vendors who will execute your day beautifully. I highly recommend hiring a full-service wedding planner, like Yellow Rose Co., who works with you to hire vendors.
However, it's not in every bride's budget to hire a full-service wedding planner, or maybe a planner at all. That is simply okay! As a bride, you have every right to ask your vendors exactly what services they are and how they can help you.
As a stationery designer, my job is to ensure your wedding invitations are beautifully made and arrive on time to be sent to your guests. I can also arrive to your location to set-up the day of paper goods, or ship them weeks before for someone else. The point is, no matter the budget of your wedding, it is important to hire reputable and trustworthy vendors. I've included a list of questions to ask the stationery designers you are scoping out for your big day.
What type of paper do you use?
As a bride, it is your right to know what type of paper you will be investing your invitations to be printed on. Many stationery designers offer house options, luxury options, and recycled options. Paper may not seem like a big deal, but in the world of stationery it matters quite a bit. If a bride is asking for an elegant feel, I would suggest Cotton Savoy paper, but if a bride would like something green-friendly, I would offer up our 100% recycled paper. Ask your stationery designer if you can see swatches of different papers they use, and don't hesitate to make clear what you want.
What is your process like?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask vendors. With this question you get to peek into what their creativity process is like as well as understanding their expectations. Smooth communication with this question is key. Ask how they receive inspiration for your designs, if they hand paint each invitation or if they're designed digitally. By getting all the nitty gritty details you will have honest expectations of the invitations you will receive, and your vendor can let you know about their style.
How long will it take?
Custom invitations are individual works of art and take time to put together. Essentially a designer is carving out a portion of each day to work on your paper goods. It is important to know what their turn around time is, how long it takes to print, and when you will receive the invitations. Researching and exploring your options early on in your engagement can pair you up with a vendor who is willing to provide customized, quality work.
How many edits and proofs will I receive?
Edits are made to the invitation after it has been designed and may include wording, color changes, etc. Proofs are the individual design, typically different from one another. Most stationery designers offer limited proofs with unlimited edits. This means you pick a design from the proofs available and are able to tweak and move the design elements until they are to your liking. Additional proofs may cost extra - just ask your stationery designer to see what is included in the packages you are considering.
What is my roll/what will you need from me?
I encourage brides to trust their vendors, but to also give them enough inspiration and information about your wedding day that they are starting from scratch. Don't be afraid to tell your designer the exact colors and flowers you would like to see, in fact that is highly encouraged. Just be careful to not hinder your designers style or ask them to copy something you have seen on Pinterest.
If something happens to the wedding, can I cancel my order?
Brides, make sure you understand the fine details of contracting with your vendors. Most stationery designers require a deposit and will collect the other half of the deposit when printing occurs. Since printing the invitations is a hefty portion of your fees, many designers will not refund. Many times you will be able to cancel your order before printing without much monetary loss.
Will there ever be additional fees?
Understand when your designer may have to charge you more. If you need expedited shipping, would like gold foil, or additional invitations there is a good chance there will be an additional fee. It's all about understanding the process of your designer, what they offer, and matching it to your vision.
I would like specific wording, is that okay?
Today's invitation wording invites a lot of personality to take place. Ask about your designer's style when it comes to wording and etiquette to see if they are a good match for you.
Will you send an itemized invoice?
It's important to know the different places you are investing money in a wedding invitation suite. Knowing what the price is for each item you've requested helps you budget your wedding. It also allows you to tack on those envelope liners you've been eyeing up when you see your total is less than what you've budgeted for ;)
Enjoy this process, let your voice be heard, and make sure to read the fine print of what each wedding vendor's services include. Do those three things, and you will be golden!