Peter Loves Jane - Stationery

Take Note // 5 Things to Know About Wedding Invitations


The final part in this Take Note series on Custom Wedding Invitation Design is to help couples come to the table with realistic expectations.  I’ve covered what to know about a designers process and what you are actually paying for in custom work.  Today, it’s all about the real-life (and slightly boring, but need to know) details.

1. Have a rough idea of a how much you want to spend.
But…be open to being educated on the actual costs associated with design and printing.  While the wedding budget worksheets that so many magazines make available are helpful in getting started, they also do a disservice in the minuscule amount allotted for stationery.  If your overall budget is $10,000, most budget worksheets allow 10% ($1,000) for invitations and day of paper items.  In order to make this budget happen, you’d  1) have to have a very small guest list, 2) choose from a designers pre-designed invitations and 3) likely use digital flat printing with few, if any, fancy embellishments.

Along with knowing how much you want (or have) to spend it is important to let your stationer know how high on the scale of importance your invitations rank to you.  For most designers, we are very passionate about the importance of your invitation.  It is the very first impression your guests will have and it sets the tone for your entire celebration.  Knowing how much – or how little – importance your invitations have to you will help your designer make printing and paper suggestions that fit you.  It is possible to have a beautiful invitation suite that excites your guests even when the invitations only rank 4 out of 10 on your number scale.

2. Have a pretty good idea of how many suites you’ll be needing.
It’s very difficult to give an accurate cost estimate when a couple has no idea how many guests they will be inviting.  It’s that simple.

3. Understand, or ask your designer to explain, the various print methods.
This is important because it has a tremendous affect on the end cost.  (I’ll be writing about the various print methods and associated costs next week.)  For example, cutting back on the number of invitations printed will not change the price much on letter pressed items, since the bulk of the cost is in setting up the plate, which is required even if you are printing only one item.

4. Have an idea of any extras you may want.
It’s important for both you and your designer to know what extras you would like in your suite.  By extras I mean things like: pocket fold enclosures, belly bands, wax seals, envelope liners, envelope addressing, etc.  There are so many options available when it comes to wedding invitations that it can be overwhelming for the couple.  If you have done a little research and have some thoughts about what you might like, it helps the designer guide you to stick within your budget while still getting the most for your money.

(Sidenote: By giving your designer a budget and the extras you would like, they will be able to help the two things work together in your best interest.  A good designer will not automatically hit your budget ceiling if the extras you are wanting don’t come to that much.  You shouldn’t treat your budget as something that your designer will exhaust given the chance.  It should be treated as a tool that helps guide the design process.)

5. Understand timelines, deposits and contracts.  And PROOF READ!
It’s important to understand that a designer will not start custom work without a non-refundable deposit.  Because of this, it’s necessary to explore the designers work and make sure you like their style.  Once you’ve paid their deposit, your designer begins sketching and working on your suite.  If you change your mind, decide to do your invitations yourself, or call off the wedding, your designer has still spent time working on your project and should be compensated for the time they have spent working for you.  This is why the deposits are non-refundable.

Design takes time.  It’s helpful for all parties if it’s understood that good design may not happen overnight.  Sometimes it does, but more often it takes a good couple of weeks to work through sketches.  Ask your designer what their preferred method of communication is.  Everyone is different.  If your designer prefers email and you prefer phone calls, make sure to clearly let them know so that you both have appropriate expectations.

Lastly, I cannot overstate the importance of proof reading!  Every designer puts this responsibility on the shoulders of their clients.  We do our best to go letter by letter and make sure each name, date and time is accurate.  However, you are much more familiar with the names and details than we are so triple check every word before giving your final approval.  It helps to have a couple of outsiders who haven’t seen the invitation to take a look at it, too.  Often small typo’s are caught by an eye that hasn’t been looking at it for weeks.  The brain will often self-correct, so even when a simple word is spelled wrong, the brain fixes it so the eye misses it.

I hope this series has been helpful to you as you delve into the world of custom invitation design.  Let me know if I missed anything in the comments.  A good discussion helps everyone out!

Non-rustic Woodland Wedding Inspiration

Burlap and mason jars aren’t what come to my mind when I think of woodland weddings.  I prefer ferns, pine cones and evergreen backdrops instead.  The illustrated forest animals on the invitation set the stage for a charming, non-rustic forest wedding.

woodlandsBride photography by Simply Jessie via Wedding Chicks |  corsages & bouts via Brides Magazine  |  forest wedding ceremony photography by Michael Waite via Elizabeth Anne Designs   |  woodland wedding invitations by Frances Close via Oh So Beautiful Paper


Earthy, Botanical Wedding Inspiration by Jessica Peterson

Julie Hill, of Layers Cake, is quite the artist.  The 3-tiered cake with an ombre leaf pattern and blooming dogwood branch that she created for this shoot is so pretty.  Equally lovely are the botanical accents in this refined earthy shoot designed by Scenemakers and photographed by Jessica Peterson.

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Design, Decor & Floral: Scenemakers  |  Photographer: Jessica Peterson  |  Catering/Food: Culinary Crafts  |  Invitation Suite and Paper Goods and Chalk Art: Eleanor Kramer, Cobalt & Dash   |  Calligraphy: Ashley MacKay, Colbalt & Dash |  Venue: The Tasting Room  |  Dress & Jewelry: Alta Moda  |  Hair & Makeup: Soula Christopulos  |  Model: Eleanor Kramer  |  China, Place Settings & Glassware: Diamond Rentals  |  Cake: Julie Hill, Layers Cake

Take Note // What to Know Before Hiring a Designer


Last week I talked about what you are actually getting when you hire a professional designer to design your wedding invitations (or any project, really).  This week, I’m going to give a few points to keep in mind when working with a designer so that your expectations equal real life.

The first thing to note is that before you even reach out to a designer that you’d like to work with is to know what it is you want.  Sounds simple,  yes, but you’d be surprised at how often people don’t know this.  You need to be able to discuss what it is you are looking for.  This doesn’t mean that you need to have your idea all planned out (afterall, isn’t that the reason to hire a designer?)  It does mean that you’ll be much more successful (as in: able to make decisions and give feedback) if you know what your end goal is.

The next couple of points seem a little harsh when I list them out, but they are worth noting.  1. Designers have more than one client at a time.   2. We also don’t work 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  It’s most difficult to remember these things when you’ve given your designer a rush job or have had other obstacles yourself.  Even when it’s a rush project, you will want your designer to get some fresh air, sleep and food.  Keep in mind that when you’ve requested a modification that you know/think/they’ve told you takes 20 minutes, but takes them 3 hours to respond with, that it is quite possible that six other clients had a similar request that day, too.

That being said, I feel very confident in saying every designer thinks about your project a lot more than you think they do.  In fact, it’s highly likely that they think about you every single day.  Their best ideas probably come while they are out walking their dog or watering their garden.  Because…they think about you all the time.

And last, but not least, no matter how super stylish and trendsetting you are, trust us.  Listen and trust.  We’ve been doing this for a while and know what is going to work and what isn’t.  You may have a great eye, but getting from point A to point B requires more than knowing when something looks good.  Hire a designer whose aesthetic fits yours, throw ideas out there, share images, talk (a lot) and then get out of their way and let them go to town.

When it’s your turn to give feedback, be specific about what you like and don’t like, offering as much detail as possible.  When left at, “I don’t like the feel of this invitation” we have nowhere to go.  Be specific.  Is it the font, the colors, the style of the graphics?  In contrast, if you say, “I like the individual tribal motifs, but overall the design is too busy for me,” it is much easier to rework the design and come up with something you love.  On the flip side, if you are on the fence about something and your designer tells you to trust them that it will be amazing, then trust them.  It will be amazing.

(I feel it goes without saying, but is worth noting that it’s not okay to bring someone else’s work to your designer and ask them to copy it.  A professional won’t copy someone else’s work.  They can use it as inspiration, sure.  But, if you love a design so much that you just want to copy it, the best thing to do is to find the original designer and ask them to customize it for you.)

In the end, our goals are the same; we both want you to love the design that we create for you.  We also want to be proud of our work.  Like most things in life, if there is trust, communication and respect, everyone wins.


photography by True Atelier, see more of this shoot here.

Designer’s Pick | True North Font

144946Vintage styled signs and logos are quite popular right now.  I love the look myself.  If you are wanting to try your hand at a hand-illustrated project, but lack the skills to do so, then give this font family a looksie.  It comes with 20 different styles: block, bold, inline and graphics, banners and the like.  Plus True North is 50% off until August 9 on My Fonts!