Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Ways of Invitations

As with everything weddingy, how you do your invitations is completely up to you. I wouldn't recommend not having them at all (though at a certain level of small and informal that might work), but whether you go with paper or electronic stationery the level of cost, detail, and general feel are completely at your whim.

Invitations are one of the first parts of your wedding to go public, so to speak - people hear you're engaged and vaguely know there's a wedding coming up, but the first time guests get a feel for what's in store is when they get an envelope in the post (or, indeed, an email in their inbox). I don't think having great invitations will make or break your day, and it's up to you what you think is reasonable to spend on them (though they probably will cost more than you think!) - but putting some careful thought into how they look will help guests understand what you want your special day to be, and hopefully get them in the right frame of mind.

Here are some of the options:

Electronic Invitations (Evites)
These are by far the cheapest option, because you don't need to purchase any kind of paper good, or pay for stamps. You can design them yourself if you have that skill, then just save as a jpg and send. Or use a site like eWedding or Paperless Wedding NZ, where you can sign up for a wedding website (wedsite, oh the trendy slang that exists in weddingland!), use the site to manage your guest list and send invitations directly from it. This type of site often has some in-built templates you can use, so super easy for you. Or you could commission someone (a pro designer or a friend who is handy with design tools) to come up with something for you. Or even set up a website which is the invitation and just send out a hyperlink.

Print Your Own
One of the most awesome things the internet has given to weddings is the ability to download invitations designed by someone else and print them yourself at home. This saves heaps on having them designed especially for you, and saves on printing too if you have a decent printer at home. There are various sites you can get these invitations from - generally you can purchase the whole suite (i.e. any stationery you could imagine wanting) for a fairly low cost. Sites like iDIY offer a large range of invitations - usually you just type in/upload the details (sometimes you can even customise fonts and the like), and the design is sorted. Etsy also has lots of sellers who produce these, with some amazing designs.

Design Your Own
The true Kiwi DIY option is to do everything yourself - though be aware that this a) very time-consuming and b) not necessarily any cheaper than the other options. It pays to do your research thoroughly before taking this on, and if you don't have experience in papercraft perhaps ask advice from someone who does (like my ever helpful Mum!). This is what we did, and it did take heaps of time - but we had lots of fun with it. We actually took a DIY letterpress option to make it extra difficult for ourselves - perhaps I'll write about that sometime. We bought paper, pocketfolds and envelopes from Cards & Pockets, who are perfect for the fussy among us as you can purchase samples before you take the plunge to make sure all your colours mesh precisely (just be aware the paper size is not quite A4 - still will work in a home printer but you'll need to set up your document accordingly. This is likely to be the case for any paper purchased from the US). If you want to go somewhere to check out your options, The Drawing Room and Gordon Harris both have a good range of invitation accoutrements, and ideas folders to inspire you.

Pay a Professional
There are some amazing designers out there, and I do swoon more than a little over the incredible work they come up with. Ruby and Willow are amazing - but there are many other awesome designers at different price points. There are sellers on TradeMe who will make your invitations for you as well - or ask your local printing company if they have a designer. The real pro here is that all you have to do is work out the general look you want and they do the work for you, simply presenting you with a perfect pile of stationery to write names on and send out.

So what are your tips for invitations? Which path did you/will you take - or are you undecided?

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