Stationery Design Process
You’re engaged, you’ve picked out your location, the date, and probably even your photographer, florals, and food. Which means it’s time to get your invitations rolling!
But what does the process even look like?
That’s what I’m here for today, to give you a little peek into my process and what it would look like to work with me on your stationery!
1. Client inquiry (Time: 3-9 months before mail date)
I have a pretty thorough inquiry form through my website (here for custom or here for semi-custom) where I gather all the information I need to put together a proposal. Here you tell me all the items you need, quantity, paper selection, design preferences, and budget. If you’re looking for something a little outside of the ordinary or want specialty materials, I’ll generally have to ask some clarifying questions, but I can often put together a proposal based solely on your response to that form.
What to know when you inquire:
How many invitations you need (approximately).
Which pieces you need included in the invitation. Not sure sure which you need? I gave some insight here last week.
What your budget is.
When you need them.
After I receive your inquiry, I let you know that I’m excited to chat with you about your wedding stationery and that I’ll get back to you with a proposal or any additional questions within 5 business days. My response time is often slower with proposals because they take some time to put together, so once a week I block out time to put together all the needed proposals.
Something I love about the program I use for proposals is that I can attach an invoice and contract to it, so that if you are ready to accept the proposal, you’ll be directed straight to signing the contract and paying the first 50% of the invoice. This means you don’t have to say “okay yep let’s book” and then have to wait for me to send the contract and invoice and then I don’t have to wait for them to be signed and paid. It all happens instantly because it’s right there, eliminating steps and wait time for both parties!
3. Project Set-up
You’re booked in once I’ve received the first payment and signed contract. I then create a timeline of our process together and add it to my calendar and to your Client Portal, which is basically the “website” of our project where you can find the contract, invoice, proofs, spreadsheet links, emails, and the timeline. That way be both know what needs to happen between now and the completion of the stationery.
Lastly, and most importantly, I send you a “Wording + Details” questionnaire where I capture all the wording needed for each piece, the design elements you want included, inspiration photos, and colour preferences. This is the launching point for the design process!
Not sure about wording? That’s fine! Here’s what I need:
Locations, times, dates.
How formal is the wedding?
4. First Proofs! (Time: 3 months before mail date)
The first proofs aren’t usually full design proofs because there are a few preliminary details to have sorted out first, like confirmation of wording and making choices about the layout and any design elements. I put together a few sketches of what I’m thinking and you let me know whether or not I’m on the right track! I like to finalize the layout before going in and doing any final calligraphy or artwork because it saves everyone a little bit of time.
At this time, I also provide material selections (like envelopes, wax seals, etc.) and once you’ve chosen which colours and materials you want, I get them ordered.
5. Proofing Continues (Time: 1-3 months before mail date)
After sorting out all the wording, materials, and layout in the first (and sometimes second) proofs, I get to work on the final calligraphy and any design elements like illustrations. We go back and forth with proofs until we land on the final design!
With semi-custom suites, I include 2 proofs in this process, and in custom suites I include 4 proofs (but I’m not too firm on that one!). Although I’m open to more proofs, we typically have the final design by the second or third proof.
Tips for the proofing process:
Respond to proofs ASAP. Without a response, the process can’t continue which means your mail date might be delayed.
You hired the designer you did for a reason! You like their work, so trust them and the suggestions they make.
6. Printing! (Time: 2 weeks before mail date)
As soon as we’ve landed on the final design, I send you a final sub-contract confirming that it’s good to go for printing and confirming the quantity you want since this typically changes slightly from the initial invoice.
Then they are off to print! I used to do the printing and cutting myself but began out-sourcing it this year to a local printer. I expect a typical turnaround of 1 week, but it’s often less!
Things to remember about printing:
Colours will appear differently on the printed invitation than they did on your screen. Unfortunately we have no way of guaranteeing that our screens are outputting the same colours or that the colour will print exactly as we expect onto the paper. It’ll be similar, but not always exact!
Double and triple check all spelling and details. After you’ve approved of the printing, if re-printing is needed due to errors, you’ll be responsible for paying for a full new set.
Order a few extra “just in case” and make sure to get a set for both your photographer and videographer to document!
7. Addressing + Assembly
If required, I do the addressing of the envelopes after the pieces have been sent off to print. I typically recommend to my clients that I do their return address printing on the envelopes and their RSVP address printing at the very least. You don’t want to write the same address over and over and over yourself and I can print them easily! Whether or not I do the addressing is up to my clients and their budget: I offer both printedaddressing and calligraphy addressing.
I don’t typically do assembly these days, but I absolutely offer it if my clients want a completely hands off approach! I can even stamp and mail them off for you.
If you’re local to my area (Winnipeg) you can pick up your invitations as soon as they are done! If you aren’t, we’ll mail them, no problem!