What you need to know about wedding stationery
Invitations, place cards, and seating charts oh my! Wedding stationery is something that just about every wedding will need in one form or another. Not only do you need to think about invitations for communicating the details of your wedding to your guests, but there’s all the day of elements that are often forgotten to the last minute.
But choosing stationery is no easy matter. With services like Minted available as well as custom stationers now available to couples, there are many options to choose from.
This week I had the privilege of interviewing Anika Loewen, an amazing local Edmonton wedding stationer to chat about the what you really need to know about choosing wedding stationery.
Corina – Hello, everybody and welcome. My name’s Corina Waldie. And I am the owner and creative director of Your Personal Fairy Tale, and the host of Wedding Wise, an educational YouTube channel devoted to educating couples who are planning their weddings. So, as I mentioned last week, one of my major goals with launching this channel was to invite some of the amazing creative partners that I get the privilege to work with when I produce weddings for my clients. So together that we can go in-depth into a topic related to planning your wedding. And this week, we’re going to deep dive into a topic that you’re almost guaranteed to experience at some point during your wedding planning journey. And that is your wedding stationery. So today, I’d like to introduce my good friend, Anika Loewen, a local Edmonton wedding stationer, and the owner of Wedding Design by Anika. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today, Anika.
Anika – Thank you.
C – Before we start digging deep into what our viewers want and need to know about purchasing stationery, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
A – Absolutely. So I am a certified graphic designer. And I started off just printing in local print shops. And I love doing it. One day about six years ago, my friend came up to me and said, “Hey, you do prints. “Do you want to do my wedding stationery?” I said, “You know, okay sure.” And I love doing it. It opened up and
C – Well, that’s wonderful. I think it totally relates to that, is that I do just falling into something.
A – Right.
C – And that’s that. And all of a sudden you sort of like fall in love with it–
A – Exactly.
C– So to speak, to be cheesy. But then it’s like you just never can go back to it. To the
A – Oh yeah, for sure.
C – Absolutely. So for our couples, what are the sort of different kind of stationery elements that they should be considering for their weddings?
A – For sure, so, we generally tend to look
C – Absolutely. And you know, one of the things about day-of stationery, and I think the invitations in general, is, it’s a great way to add some more pizzazz and personality to your wedding in ways that is so much more flexible than just going to Staples and buying a template kit and printing them off.
A – That’s right. Absolutely,
C – Exactly. And I can tell you from the wedding design and planning point of view it’s that it’s a great way to add in some wonderful textural and design elements into an overall design. And
A – Absolutely. And if there’s something
C – Of course. So, you know, it’s sort of in the same vein then. Talking about why would somebody want to do custom stationery over using like a more mainstream option, like, Minted
A – Okay, absolutely. So once again, like, the uniqueness portion of things. My ideal
C – Absolutely
A – Right? Minted, although it’s
C– Of course, absolutely. You know, especially invitations, I think they’re sort of that first chance for you to really make an impression on your guests, as well. They’ll know about who you are but one of the things I know I’ve encouraged my clients to do in the past is to consider the fact that it’s a great way to communicate so much about your wedding. You know things like for example, even something as simple as the formality of it. You know it’s sort of a little bit of an etiquette faux pas to write white tie, black tie, formal attire only, people do it but you know, it’s so much more easily communicated if you just reflect that in the stationery.
A- That’s right.
C – Right? And unfortunately, when you send something like a vista print style invitation that is going in, it is, you know, you want this formal wedding, it doesn’t convey the same thing as opening up a custom stationery piece. So within the world of custom stationery that you know, there’s also so much more than a standard flat leg, squares, rectangles, that sorts of things, what kind of customized things can people do to make it their own?
A – Oh this is a topic that I absolutely love. So there are so many ways that we can personalize, so even if it is just a regular square
So this is an item that is very-very popular with people who want a really different shape than just a square. And so I’ve done invitations for corporate events especially that they have this really unique die cut, and then so the paper’s folded in special ways once it’s been die-cut, and so that’s a huge way that couples can really take their invitation out of the box and give their guest the experience when they actually open it up.
C – Absolutely. And what are some other unique ways that you can, you know, do things to your invitations. Like, for example, there’s plenty of interesting things that to give your invitations a more luxurious feel, you know, like letter press, and foiling, and acrylic, and some things that are really super popular right now because people are wanting to create that experience, are
A – Absolutely. So we definitely do all of the above, I like to say, if we can print on it, we wanna print on it. Because we love experimenting with new materials and I think that’s the reason why print is so much fun, it’s,
So that can go up depending on how big of a foiling plate you need. So before they even this even touches paper, it’s $200 plus. So I like to educate my couples on that. To make sure that they understand the reasoning behind the fact that why this technique is a lot more luxurious and more expensive. And one of the reasons why places online, like Minted, can actually charge less for foiling is because the pieces that are foiled are never your names.
C – They’re never those custom elements, like you know, monograms, or your names, or those sort of things.
A – Right.
Because this can be used over and over again with a small setup fee, on different elements, that you’re, or different parts of your invitation suites or your day of stationery. And so I actually recommend doing a monogram or a little tiny detail that can just be used over and over and over again. Because it just adds that little pop of
C – And getting to use it over and over again.
So you know, we touched a little bit on save the dates and invitations and that sort of thing. But that’s something that just about every couple has to do generally going to send.
A – For sure. One of the things that they really need to know before coming to me is their timelines. Timelines are incredibly important with stationery and timelines
So they’ll literally send a save the date out as soon as they
C – Exactly.
A – Right?
C – Yeah, well, you know, the average engagement for 14 months according to the statistics, I’ve seen, you know, as few as a few months, I’ve seen as long as two plus years, you know, when I got married, almost eight years ago now, we had a two-year engagement, so that we can have the wedding that we wanted, you know, and so those are a great way to notify your guests, you know, that my wedding’s coming up, you know.
I think especially in the world of destination weddings, which in and of themselves are rising in popularity because there is so much more
A– Absolutely, and in today’s age, like, there are some companies that require their employees to give at least a, you know, have all of their vacations dealt for a year, so some people need to know as far in advance as possible and also, with, you know, flights, for destination wedding, it’s not a cheap gig for couples to ask for their guests, so you know, people do need to save up for those type of weddings, as well. So giving people notice is great, so then the invitations, people say, like, “How far in advance do we need to have the invitations out?” And I generally like to say, like, having them out a minimum of four months prior, like, in the mail four months prior, which means, we need to start them earlier. And having an idea of what you want, too, like, if you don’t know that’s fine, we’ve got lots of samples that we can pull out to showpiece and whatnot, but we recommend having all of the invitations out at least four months prior, and then giving yourself at least a month between where you have an RSVP cutoff and your actual day, so in that time, you can communicate with your caterers.
C – Yes, absolutely.
A – What is needed, you can round up your Uncle Bob who decided, “I didn’t wanna send my RSVP card in, “or I’ve lost it”, and then also you can give that information of RSVPs to us as the stationers, so we can work on your day of stationary, like your seating chart, because those things do take time. So timelines are super-super important and having an idea of
C – Yeah, you know, and I can tell you from the planning perspective too, you know, some of these vendors they’re asking for final numbers up to 30 days in advance.
A – That’s right.
C – You know, and it’s not that they, you know, they need to order supplies, they need to prepare for your wedding, they need to make sure all of their ducks are in a row so you know it’s very important that when you’re considering these things that you’re definitely making sure that you meet yourself at all times so that we can make sure that we’re delivering what we’ve promised you.
You know, the other thing within that you mentioned that you have sort of
A – Oh sure. So normally when they approach our website, we do have a pre-consultation form that we get them to fill out, and this basically walks through important things like first of all, when is your day, you know, and what time is it, where is your venue, so those important pieces of information, and also gives them an opportunity to say, “This is what we found online “that we kind of like, this is kind of the style direction.” So that way then I can know approximately what to recommend. It also talks about how many invitations are needed. Many couples think that if they have 200 guests they need 200 invitations, that is gross overkill.
We always recommend taking your total number cutting it in half and adding about 10 to 15% on top of that for keepsakes and whatnot. So once they book with us, I send out a little booklet for them to give them a little bit of an idea of what kind of pieces are needed for stationery and it breaks down called stationery 101 almost, and then when they come in to visit with me, we take that stationery 101 book and we have a matching work booklet that we literally work through and they take a look at paper samples, and different printing methods, so that way then we can actually narrow down what they want, and then once that happens, and we have a good idea of what they’re looking for, then I create an estimate based on everything that we discussed, and my software, basically, allows them to choose which parts of that that they want and then once the order is placed, then we go and start producing it.
C – Wonderful. That sounds like a wonderful process, it sounds actually like a lot of fun doing those–
A – Oh, absolutely.
C – But the other elements that add too, is, you know, we’ve kinda danced around the issue a little bit, but you know, for couples thinking about custom stationery, they’re not sure of their budget yet, you know, I’m not necessarily talking about, like, specialty things, but you can sort of, some of the more typical things for scenery now in terms of trends, like, you know, the decorating of the edges and other sorts of things, whatever that somebody’s budget
A – So we generally start our invitation packages off at $750.
And it can be totally more, which depends on what I like to call the printing trifecta. So you have your quantities, your print method, and then the materials. So printing methods, like the foiling, like the die cutting, the letter press. Those are going to be quite, or a lot more costly just because it’s the nature of the tools required. Laser cutting, UV ink printing, all of that is going to be at a higher price point than just a straight digital print with an envelope. So we do recommend that kind, think at least 750 when they come to see us. The other one is
Especially if you’re asking for
A – That’s right.
C – So you did mention place cards, we’ve talked a little bit about day of stationery, you know, and I saw a whole bunch of terms that are thrown there, escort cards, place cards, seating chart, you know, what are these things, how should somebody use them, in terms of their wedding day, you know, do I need all of them, or need one of them, you know, what are some of the best uses for them?
A – Well technically you don’t need all of them, but it’s all about adding
C – Now you’re getting, you know, a little more bang for your buck.
A – Absolutely.
C – Right? And you know when I see these questions that are floating around sometimes especially in some of the Facebook groups there, like, “Oh do I really need a seating chart?” and those sort of things, and I’m just gonna say this right now, as a planner, you need a seating chart. From a logistics point of view, it is so complicated just have people come in and sit wherever, I think as, when I think about the experience that I want as a guest, I wanna be able to just sorta come in and be like, “Yes, I’m going here, I’m doing my thing.” You know, because ultimately, whether we like it or not, as human beings, we like that familiarity, we like to know, have a process in place.
A – That’s right.
C – You know, you don’t want that chaos on your wedding day, and to have to figure where everybody’s sitting, you know, and especially, if you’re doing, like, a nice table setting, you know, I’ve seen chairs get pulled up to another place so that somebody can sit with their friend because there wasn’t enough seats. Just do the seating chart. I know they’re
A – Yeah and also for caterers, too, like if there’s somebody with serious allergies knowing where those people are and that they’re identified.
C – Yeah, of course. It just makes the whole thing flow a little bit easier.
So yeah, and I think that’s really all, then we’ve touched on most of the things, so is there anything else that you just wanna add that our viewers should know?
A – Just, you know, like, come in to consultation with us, with, like, a really open mind, and don’t be scared to showcase what you really like, and we’d love to work with what you present us and if you don’t know what you want, that’s totally fine too, we’ll figure it out, it’s, and if you don’t have a theme or anything like that, totally fine, we’ll get to that, but come with an open mind and if you don’t understand, ask questions. I love talking about paper, love it. So when I get the opportunity to discuss paper and printing methods, it’s just a wonderful experience for me, so ask questions, if you don’t understand, ask questions. Ask questions, ask questions, until you are comfortable with the process. And if somebody is honestly asking, I absolutely love it, because I would much rather them understand the process than
C – Of course, right? You’re getting the angry phone call, like “
A – Yeah, so yeah.
C – All right, well, thank you so much, I think that we’re gonna wrap it there, so if you’re interested in checking out more of Anika’s design work, and potentially working with her, you can visit her website at www.weddingdesignbyanika.com or you can also check out her Instagram, I know she’s rocking the Instagram lately with lots of examples of her work, and she could be found at @weddingsbyanika.
So thank you everybody for tuning in, I hope, I look forward to seeing you all next week, so we’re actually gonna be moving forward to another wonderful topic next week, which is again something that will affect every single person for the most part, and that’s the wedding photography, so make sure you tune in to learn more about that. All right, and if you haven’t already, please head on over to our Facebook group, Wedding Wise Edmonton, and join in the conversation there, I’m gonna be posting our videos in there as well as other content to keep the conversation going, as well, so thank you so much, and I will see you next week, and have a wonderful day!