A Wedding Planner’s Wedding #4: Save The Date
In the fourth instalment of my blog series as an experienced wedding planner planning my own wedding, I’m looking at something that is essential for any wedding organiser to consider early on – wedding stationery including ‘save the date’ options and invitations!
In the midst of all the excitement of being your own wedding planner don’t forget to let your guests know when your big day is going to be, as far in advance as you can!
People lead very busy lives and family summer holidays often get booked up over a year in advance. If you’re acting as your own wedding organiser and expecting guests to travel to join you, they do need as much notice of when you’re planning your big day as possible. They need to plan to book time off work and leave enough holiday days in their work allocation to really make the most of your celebrations.
‘Save the Date’
‘Save the date’ communications should be top of your to-do list as wedding organiser. They are perfect way of sending out a quick place marker for your guests’ calendars as you start the wedding planning process. Lots of people send emails for save the date notices nowadays but we all know how nice it is to receive something in the post so printed options are definitely something to consider. As you know from my previous blog, we decided to have a two year engagement so were able to give guests at least an idea of the month we were planning to get married in, if not the full date. This was very much appreciated by everyone as we had chosen a date that landed right in the kids’ summer holidays.
At home I have a fireplace on which is the dedicated spot on which all invitations and special cards get pride of place and I enjoy watching the forever changing mantle. With this in mind I didn’t want our card to have to sit on someone else’s revolving invitation spot for over year collecting dust and in that time most likely to get damaged, moved and forgotten. So I opted for something else.
The fridge-magnet-that-looks-like-a-plane-ticket was born!
There are so many great alternative ideas for you as your own wedding organiser that I strongly suggest doing a bit of research for something that feels really you.
A beginner’s guide to stationery
If you are a wedding organiser who wants to stick to something more traditional, here’s a quick beginner’s guide to stationery and printing processes:
There are seven main forms of printing on paper.
Letterpress – Centuries old, the letterpress process offers an imprinted or de-bossed impression on the card. Particularly suited to thick and soft cotton like papers, to highlight the technique.
Foil Blocking – A heat transfer process – hot foil stamping produces stunning results, especially when metallic or unusual foils are pressed into the card stock to create a striking look with a gentle impression.
Digital Print – Vibrant and smooth to the touch, a flat printed and most versatile process for quick colour printing which is inexpensive and perfect for short runs.
Lithography – The traditional high quality offset process of flat printing works well in combination with most other printing processes. Pantone colours can be used for accurate spot colour matching . Process colours can be used for long full colour printing runs.
Thermography -Sometimes referred to as imitation engraving, thermography is a practical alternative that lacks engraving’s distinctive “bruise” on the back of the card. A resin powder is applied to wet ink and then heat fused to create raised text that has a slight sheen.
Engraving – Also known as ‘copperplate’ or ‘die stamping’, engraving is synonymous with high-end printing. This skilled and world renowned process, produces raised text using a copper die that leaves a gentle “bruise” on the back of the card, giving it a distinctive look.
Embossing & Debossing – Simply by creating a three dimensional impression on the sheet with the use of a die and the absence of ink, blind embossing creates a visual and tactile appearance that is particularly effective with bold outlined artwork. A de-bossing effect can also be achieved
Paper thickness is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). Options for your paper weight include:
80gsm Regular printing paper (the cheapest brands)
200gsm – Cereal Box Card
235gsm – Greeting Card
350gsm – Business Cards
540gsm – Perfect for Menu Cards – thick enough to emboss
600gsm – Moo Luxe cards – uncreasable
Stationery Designers vs Printers
You probably understand the different job roles of stationery designers and printers but did you know that you can go directly to some printers and that they have their own in-house designers? This could save you some money.
Most if not all stationers out-source the printing which a) slows down the process requiring you to give a lot more lead time b) involves additional costs for postage and delivery will bump up the prices for you as a wedding planner.
I love printing machines and have a great relationship with our printers who let me see them working in action.
I shudder when reading some timelines set out in other suggested wedding organiser ‘wedding timelines’ Some still say invitations to be sent out six to eight weeks before the wedding and three months if it’s a destination wedding. Are you crazy?!
My personal diary is usually booked for three months in advance and holidays are booked twelve months before travelling with the aim of getting flights soon after they become available. For all you that are taking on the role of wedding organiser I would recommend six months if most of your guests are all in the same country and a year if you are having a destination wedding.
I am pleased to see even my finishing school in Switzerland have revised the wedding planner timelines in their curriculum!
Included with your invitations
The invitation ‘pack’ you put together as a wedding planner should include as much detail as your guests could possibly need otherwise you may find yourself fielding endless phone calls and emails in the very busy weeks leading up to your day. Some things to consider including:
* Detailed map and travel plans, including parking, flight details and alternative routes.
* List of recommended accommodation in the area
* Suggested local attractions if guests want to extend their stay a bit before or after your wedding
* Arrangements for children, hotel babysitters, any specific children’s events etc.
* Your (polite) requests for wedding gifts and donations
* A request for their dietary requirements and any allergies you need to know about
* Any specific clothing suggestions – if for example you have a black-tie evening event or if getting to the church involves them perhaps walking over a muddy field!
Destination wedding details
If you’re acting as a wedding planner for a destination wedding there is a lot more detail required and it’s for this reason that I personally decided to opt-out of the classic invitation and have everything on a password protected website.
On this we have included information such as :
*Sunset, Sunrise times
Everything in fact for our guests to feel really comfortable (and excited) about travelling to join us on our special day.
(For practical and creative ideas for weddings to remember get in touch. My team and I have years of experience as wedding organisers!).