After several years in the wedding stationery industry, I’ve come to realize that there are three main wedding stationery experiences. Each experience comes with its own set of pros and cons, price points and services. I will say up-front, however, that no experience is better or worse than the other. It all depends on what works best for you!
The Templated Experience
The first wedding stationery experience is templated wedding invitations. And they are exactly that—templates.
A lot of the invitation templates you’ll find are digital downloads. Typically, you can use either a design software like InDesign or Illustrator, or maybe even Microsoft Word to customize the design. Some even have their own design system where you can customize it all online!
When you choose the template experience for your wedding invitations, be prepared to not work with a stationer at all. Some are available if you run into any issues customizing your design, but most of them are super hands-off (and they prefer to keep it that way).
This is a very independent design experience where you can expect to choose your design, customize, print, assemble + mail all on your own.
Because the experience is so self-driven with no additional services or guidance included, this is a very cost-effective option for your wedding invitations.
If you have any questions or concerns at all about creating your invitations completely DIY-style, I’d highly recommend going with semi-custom or custom rather than using a template for a more stress-free + guided design experience.
The Semi-Custom Experience
Semi-custom invitations is another wedding stationery experience that allows you to choose a pre-made design and customize it how you like.
This experience is very similar to the templated experience, only you’ll most likely get to work one-on-one with a professional stationer to customize your design. No need to worry about having design software, or having questions that you constantly have to Google—you’ll have a stationer available to help you along the way!
A lot of semi-custom invitation designers will have guidelines for what you can and cannot customize in their designs. Majority of the time you can change the wording, colors and maybe add your own photos. But, the main design (fonts, elements, layout) will remain the same. It’s important to review their guidelines before you choose to work with them or order their design.
Another bonus to the semi-custom experience is that you can typically choose exactly what pieces + cards you want to include in your suite. Sort of like an al-a-cart menu at a restaurant, you can choose if you want an invitation card, details card, rsvp card, and any embellishments in your invitation suite.
This is really awesome for two reasons:
- It allows you to create a suite based on your needs, not just what’s available to you.
- And, it will definitely help your budget!
If you’re considering the semi-custom experience for your wedding invitations, keep in mind that all designers are going to be different. Their style, services, guidelines, add-ons, etc. will all vary. You’ll definitely want to do your research and ask questions before you decide to hire or order from a semi-custom wedding stationer.
The Custom Experience
If you’re looking to work with a professional designer one-on-on, the custom experience is for you! With the custom experience, you’ll be able to create high-end, personalized wedding invitations for your big day.
The custom experience is a very hands-off experience. Your stationery designer will basically do everything for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
All custom stationers are a little different as far as the services they offer, but a lot of us will provide you with:
- A personalized stationery timeline
- A fully customized invitation design
- A guided proofing process
- Design revisions
- One-on-one guidance throughout the entire process
- Done-for-you assembly
- And some of us even provide postage + mailing services.
The most valuable part about the custom experience is the fact that you will have your very own wedding designer. If you ever have any questions or concerns throughout your design process, you’ll never have to Google a thing. Your stationer will be there to help you every step of the way!
Another amazing perk to the custom experience is a lot of custom stationers offer other stationery services such as save the dates and day-of stationery so that all of your stationery coordinates for a cohesive look and feel for your entire wedding.
With all of the incredible services that come with the custom experience, the total investment is going to be higher. But, the stress-free process and the end-product you’ll receive is definitely worth every penny!
Which wedding stationery experience is the best fit for you?
Do you think one of these wedding stationery experiences is a good fit for you? I hope so!!
When you have one picked out, be sure to have these three things in your back pocket. Once you have these, you’ll be set to dive into creating our wedding stationery ASAP!
Also, if you’re not sure how many invitations you’re going to need, check out this journal entry I wrote. It’ll help you get started in just four easy steps.
Photo + Concept: Savanna Sturkie | @savannasturkie
Models: Jesy Lee | @jesy.lee + Indiana Chase Brunner | @indianabrunner
Dress: BoneHaus Bridal Rentals | @bonehausrentals + Alexandra Mearing | @alexmearing
Hair: Jessica Jackson Hair | @jessicajacksonhair
Makeup: Jessica Carnley Makeup | @jessicacarnley
Venue: The Eliza Jane New Orleans | @theelizajanenola
Florals: Molly Fay Flower Farm | @mollyfayflowerfarm
Stationery: East + West Designs | @eastandwestdesigns