Wedding Planning and Budget Basics

Wedding Stationery Tips From an Industry Insider

What’s the best way to find the perfect wedding stationery? Talk to a pro. Here, the secrets to choosing the right invitation suite for your big day.

By Sarah Stebbins
Rehearsal dinner invitationCrane & Co.1 of 3

Selecting the right stationery is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make in preparation for your nuptials. The invitation not only sets the tone for your wedding, but also serves as a lifelong keepsake. Rachel Ivey, vice president of product and creative development at Crane & Co, gives us the inside scoop on choosing an invitation suite that reflects both your style and budget.

What are your thoughts on working with a stationer versus ordering invitations online?
I do not personally purchase invitations online because I’m so particular about the details. I like to have all the options laid out in front of me, so I can see and feel the various paper weights, finishes, and printing styles. Stationery is a form of self-expression, so it seems only natural that the experience of choosing it be personal and tactile. There are also benefits to working with a stationer, who can help guide the design, suggest wording, and find ways to cut costs. That said, you will probably save more money online. The invitations on our website are priced the same as in stores, but there are fewer options for customization, which can add to the bottom-line. I think the question ultimately comes down to: What type of bride are you? If you are lower maintenance and don’t want to make as many decisions, the web is a great place to go. Another nice thing about designing online: You get to see a proof at the end of the process. When you go to a store, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week to receive a proof via e-mail—that turnaround time is something we’d like to improve on.

What are the most popular printing techniques?
Sixty percent of our brides go for thermography, a raised print that gives you the look of engraving for about a third of the cost. Engraving is what we’re known for and about 30 percent of brides choose it. Anyone familiar with engraved type can recognize it immediately: The process of creating the raised letters leaves indentations, known as “bruising,” you can feel on the back of the paper. There’s a vibrancy and fineness to engraved print you can’t get with other techniques. About eight percent of brides select letterpress printing, a handcrafted method that involves pressing ink into paper. Letterpress can be up to 20 percent cheaper than engraving and has a less formal feel. The least expensive option is digital printing, also known as offset printing or lithography, and it accounts for about two percent of our sales. The type is smooth to the touch and has a casual effect.

 
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Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.