Most Common Pitfalls in Ordering Wedding Invitations and How to Avoid Them
Okay, back to business after last week’s personal post (check it out if you want to meet this corny dad-joke lover on a more personal level). As a designer, I get asked the same questions every single day, get the same Pinterest inspiration photos at least once a month, and most frustratingly, I see brides make the same mistakes over and over again on every order. So if you are starting out in the stationery or wedding planning process, take a look at our list of the most common pitfalls or mistakes brides and grooms make when ordering stationery and invitations! Along with these wedding invitation mistakes, we have provided some helpful tips about how to avoid them. Keep on reading if you want to create your wedding invitations with extreme confidence!
Not Ordering Enough Extra
One regret that I know many couples have is not ordering enough extra invitations, and extras are almost never included in your order free of charge. It can be very costly and time-intensive to recreate a small quantity of an order after the fact, and sometimes is simply impossible to due to the designer’s schedule, printing plates, and many other factors. My best advice is to consider your guest count and add a minimum of 7 extras: 3 for guests you decide to add at the last minute or in case anything gets spilled on/marked/lost, 1 for each spouse’s parents, 1 for you two to have as a keepsake, and 1 to bring to the photographer fully stuffed on the day of the wedding. This way you are sure to get great pictures of your invitations in with your wedding photos!
Pro Tip: Send the photographer their own copy (with a nice, clean envelope inside) so they can photograph in their studio beforehand or after the wedding and aren’t rushed on wedding day!
If you are planning to do a “B round” of invitees after your replies start coming in, then you’ll need to add an extra quantity for those as well, so keep that in mind! In the long run, it is always better to have a few left over than to not have enough and have to rush a small quantity reprint.
Not Taking Photos of Them
On the subject of sending invitations to photographers, you just gotta do it. A lot of people forget to do so, but the invitation is really the map to your wedding and the first impression your guests see of your day, so leaving it out of the photo album is something you will definitely regret. When you get your invites, simply take one of your extra sets and set it aside with your other wedding day items (I know you already have a collection in some side closet!).
The number one most common mistake I see from my clients is misspelling things on their invitations. Whether it is on the invitations themselves or the guest address list, the majority of expensive reprints and timeline delays are due to misspellings and grammatical errors. True story, I had one client reprint due to a misspelling of her fiance’s name and then a second reprint due to a misspelling of her own name after that. I re-calligraph and re-print at least one or two address envelopes on almost every single order due to name misspellings or data entry errors—I’d be willing to bet anyone out there some free invitations that I won’t have a perfect order this entire year!
Most designers and printers have in their contracts that typos are the client’s responsibility, as well as having a box or signature line to sign off on all proofs before printing. The best way to avoid this is simply to check, recheck, and recheck again. Print out your proofs and have at least 2 fresh sets of eyes look them over slowly for you. Then read the lines backward to help you catch mistakes! Keep in mind that just because something was on one proof does not mean it necessarily made it to the next proof. We all make mistakes, but ultimately it is the client’s responsibility to proofread carefully, as we designers don’t always know the right way to spell your guests’ names, venue locations, etc.!
Not Allowing Enough Time
Many of my couples contact me with about a month to go before they’d like their invitations to be in the mail. For a custom design, this is simply not going to be enough time. You’ll need a few days to set up a consult, at least a week for a preliminary design, and then even if the designer gets it 100% correct on the first try, you still need to allow time for printing, shipping, and any other additions (gold foil, letterpress, ribbon ties, wax seals, envelope liners, etc.) to be assembled by your designer. Working under the stress of a rush job can put all of my open orders at risk for more mistakes or lower quality designs, so many stationery designers will charge significant percentages for rush orders or not take them at all. The ideal time to contact your designer is about 3-4 months from when you want your invitations to be in the mail, although you can definitely secure a spot on their schedule earlier than that if you’d like!
Caring Too Much About the Traditions
This is a mistake people make in all aspects of wedding planning, so I’m not surprised when I see it happen on invitations. Luckily, folks seem to be caring a little less than in the past, but I often talk to couples who are making decisions on their invitations because their mom told them to, or because they feel like you’re “supposed” to do something. Your designer will always be more than happy to guide you in the “traditional” or “Emily Post” way to go about your invitations, but at Design by Laney, we are almost always hoping you’ll respond with a “Ehhh, screw it! Let’s do something fun!” What matters to you as far as traditions go is up to you and your fiancé, no one else! We absolutely love using unique wording, foregoing the “norm”, and coming up with special invitations that are distinctly yours.
I unfortunately see these mistakes being made every day, and it truly breaks my heart when people make mistakes when they pour so much of their heart into their wedding invitations. Hopefully after reading this post, your invitation ordering process will be a breeze and we can work to spread the word so no one else makes these common errors! With your help, one day we can save the world from wedding invitation mistakes 😉