As you ladies know, I love DIY anything. I’m that kind of person. I love to make things myself. If you’ve ever wondered why I don’t share DIY’s on our blog about doing your own paper, flowers, or photography just to name a few, it’s because there are certain things I believe you should leave to a pro unless you happen to be an expert at one of those things. This will be a series that covers why you shouldn’t DIY certain aspects of your wedding and what to do when things go very very wrong. First up, Stationery.
Image via Oh So Beautiful Paper
First and foremost let’s talk about the things that affect the price of stationery. I think this is a big reason many of you consider DIYing some aspect of your wedding stationery needs. You’re thinking:
I can just get cardstock at “insert local craft store name” and print my own.
I can find all kinds of fonts for free. I’ve seen so many on Pinterest!
We’ve got a nice printer, it should do the trick!
I have Microsoft Word/Publisher/Adobe Photoshop or some sort of editing software. It’ll be so easy.
First let’s talk about that craft store paper. I know they call it cardstock but the fact is, it isn’t. It’s thicker than copy paper but not the same weight you’ll get from a professional stationery. Paper quality makes a huge difference so don’t skimp here.
Now while we’re on the subject of thick paper, let’s talk about your printer. Will your printer print on thick paper….? Some may and some might not. I know my fancy Epson hates HATES kraft paper and if I want something printed on kraft I’ve got to find a professional to print it for me. Also you have to consider how much of the paper you’ll be covering with ink. Want that white print on black or navy background? You’ll be covering the entire piece of paper with ink. Have you seen the prices on ink cartridges these days! Once you decide that you printing it isn’t a good idea, you may consider taking it over to Kinkos or another 24/7 printer. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE hear me when I say that the printers they use are not for wedding stationery. They are used to print manuals and power point presentations. You won’t get the same quality look that a professional stationery can supply. I’d also like to mention that the ink from your printer and the quick print shop printers are not always water proof. There is nothing worse then getting a soggy runny envelope out of the mail box.
Now let’s talk about fonts. Sure you get a few with your computer and you can download some free ones but do you want to know why the ones that are free are, well, free? Because most of the time they aren’t the full font line! That’s right. Maybe you get the caps, maybe you get both caps and lowercase, many don’t come with numbers and most don’t come with fancy characters like the “&”. Another thing they don’t include is glyphs. What the heck is a glyph? Talk a look a the three font samples below. They are all three the same exact font. The difference is the glyphs used for each first letter of the words and the s on the end.
A glyph is a variation of a letter and some fonts come with many glyphs per letter. This creates that custom calligraphy look. Only certain software will allow you to use those glyphs and it’s important to note that all those fancy fonts you love are probably hundreds of dollars. I’m not kidding. Check out this popular font called PF Champion Script Pro (used in the sample above) $125 for just the basic font. If you want the whole family, so you can control the bold as well, you’re looking at $225. A pro stationery will have all the fonts you love loaded and ready to use. Those font prices are spread out over all of the stationery’s customers so you won’t see the full font price on your invoice.
Now that we’ve covered those let’s move on to design programs and software. First off, anyone who’s ever used Microsoft Word to design anything will tell you how crazy difficult it is to use. It’s a word processing software not a design software. Remember that. Also Publisher isn’t much better. It’s great for the neighborhood newsletter not so great for designing stationery. If you’ve never used Photoshop and think now’s the time to learn, I encourage you to download the free trial. 30 days for free. It’ll take you at least that to simply figure out how to use it. I’m telling you this from experience. Once you figure out what you can and can’t do with it and how layers work, you might have a chance but then you get into resolution and pixels and it can get pretty deep. Just things to keep in mind.
Now let’s talk about sizing. How do you know how big to design each piece? Will you be matting the invite or program? Where can you find a reliable source for envelopes that don’t feel like copy paper? How are you going to cut the straight lines (most chop slicers don’t cut straight and thick paper eats through blades)? What type of adhesive will you be using?
These are just some of the considerations to think about when you consider DIYing your own stationery. Professionals have vetted each of their sources, can provide you with ideas you may never considered, and can come up with some very creative solutions to issues like not inviting children. They know all about today’s etiquette and believe me, they know their stuff. If the reason you’re considering DIYing your own invitations is because you want to help design a one of a kind piece, consider working with a custom stationery designer. They’ll help you work through the design process and make everything I mentioned above, a breeze. It’s what they do!
I hope this has helped you understand why invitation pricing is what it is and why you should consider not DIYing your stationery. I’ll be speaking about flowers next week so if you have any specific questions, post them on our Facebook page!