“It’s just a piece of paper.”
“It’ll just get thrown in the trash.”
“Why would I pay that much for a few pieces of paper?”
How many times have we all heard these things? Heck, I used to find myself thinking these things when I first started out - “Wow, that quote is high...do I really think they’ll pay that for invitations?” Well, as my business and countless others have proved, the answer is yes. Very, very yes! But only if you truly understand the value you’re bringing to the table.
At the beginning, many of us find ourselves pricing on exactly what we’re providing - 2 pieces of paper, 2 envelopes and a ribbon. No matter who you ask, 2 pieces of paper, 2 envelopes and ribbon are not worth a couple thousand dollars. But what you have to learn over time is that you’re actually providing a lot more than 2 pieces of paper, 2 envelopes and a ribbon. And once you learn that, it’s your job to help your clients understand what you’re actually providing.
So what exactly are you providing?
If not pieces of paper, what are wedding invitations? Let’s ignore for a minute the thousands of couples who are literally just not using paper for their invitations anymore, and focus on those that still send out invitations that are printed on paper.
In our custom design process, we start with your story. The first question we ask is about how you met, and we continue to gather details so we understand your entire Love Story and what makes you unique as a couple, as well as what’s going to make your wedding feel like you. Even if you’re not going for a fully custom design, our Collection Suites are designed with a particular Love Story in mind, so you can choose one that resonates with you and your boo.
Okay, so your invitations tell a story. What else do they do?
The entire point of wedding invitations is to give your guests a glimpse into what they can expect from your event. It used to be custom for all invitations to be handwritten by the host or hostess, in which case you would explain all the details of the event firsthand. Now that things are a little more mass-produced (wahoo!), we still want to make sure each guest understands what your event will be like.
Most of the couples that say those evil phrases up top also spend a lot of time and money curating every detail for their Big Day. They dismiss invitations and Save the Dates, since they aren’t part of the actual wedding day, but in reality, they are the only information your guests have about the wedding day for the entire planning process. Think about it - you’re off planning this incredibly formal, all-white, modern wedding, and yet all your guests have received is a thin piece of cardstock printed at Kinkos. Some of them may be surprised when they walk into the venue 6 months later and find such a luxurious wedding.
This is why we often refer to invitations and Save the Dates as a map to your wedding. After receiving your Save the Dates and invitations, your guests should understand the overall feel of your wedding, how formal it is, what type of venue you booked, and any other considerations that will help your guests.
Another important piece of your wedding stationery is the custom art. We often create monograms, crests, portraits, venue paintings, and city maps that are specific to you and your fiance. These elements can serve as a keepsake art piece for your guests (such as the back of the Lemon Citrus Invitation that you can see here), and can be part of the wedding in other ways - koozies, napkins, welcome bags, guest book images, etc. We even used the floral artwork from a client’s invitations to make custom reception sneakers once! So, while invitations make the first impression for your wedding, they can also serve to preserve the memory of your special day for years to come.
One thing we stationers love to joke when we hear “It’ll just end up in the trash” is “Well, the food will just end up in the toilet”. But remember last time you went to visit a friend who had all those Save the Dates still hanging on their fridge? The power of reframing how you think of wedding invitations is huge. All of the sudden, those 2 pieces of paper, 2 envelopes and a ribbon become a story, a map, a keepsake, and a piece of art all at once - and all of that together is definitely worth what we stationers need to charge to create it.