What to ask your Stationer

Monday, October 7, 2013





Presentation really matters when it comes to your wedding invitation, as this is the first impression your guests are going to get of your wedding.  Invitations should give an insight as to the style of your wedding be it formal and grand or small and intimate.  Another important thing to remember is getting your invites out on time.  Find out about turnaround schedules well in advance and ask to see a sample of your what the finished product will look like before you give the go ahead.  Don’t forget to keep an invitation so that after the wedding you can have it framed, or put in your wedding book.  A money saving tip for brides on a budget, is buying your invites in bulk and then simply getting your stationer to print on them, as opposed to paying for the invitations and then printing.

Some Printing Styles
  •  Engraving: This is a technique that uses a metal plate with die-cut letters, it creates raised letters on the front of a piece of paper and small indentations on the back.  This method takes longer than others and is usually the most expensive.
  • Thermorgraphy: This is less expensive than engraving but offers a similar look and feel. It creates letters with a heating process that combines ink and powder. The letters are raised on the front of the paper, however the back is smooth.
  • Offset: This technique uses an inked rubber cylinder to print the paper. The look is less formal than engraving or themorpgraphy, and the process is less expensive.
  • Embossing: This technique sees letters raised 'blind' meaning the letters and or symbols are the same colour as the paper yet they stand out.
  • Calligraphy: Which literally means beautiful writing, serves to make an invite just that. Even if the paper is a plain piece of cream card. The writing style can vary from ornate to fanciful or elegant. This style is an I Do Weddings favourite.

  • May I see sample books with different invites you have done including different paper styles and printing styles?
It is important for you to see samples of what your stationer can do as this is a clear indication of how good their work will be. Also a variety of samples will mean you have choices to pick from rather than being limited.  You may find that even if you had an idea in mind it can be enhanced or altered when you see the differing types of invites available to you.

  • Can you incorporate other creative ideas into my invites such as photographs or perhaps a unique invitation styles?
You may want to deviate from the norm and pick something different for your invites or perhaps you have a theme in mind that you want to be reflected in your invitation. For instance, you may want to have an invite that looks like a passport if you're having a destination wedding, or caricature images of yourself and your partner, a scroll, a message in a bottle or photography incorporated in the invite. So it's worth asking your stationer whether they can bring your vision to life or perhaps sketch something in line with your vision.

  • Have any other brides recently used this same invitation with the same colour combination?
You don't want your invites to be the exact replica of someone you may know who has recently gotten married so you may want to ask.

  • Will you be able to compose the wording for our invite and can you show me different invites with different wording styles?
Most reputable stationers should be able to do this for you and have a template of words where your names and information such as venue and date can be inserted. You should be able to see formal wording and informal wording. Depending on the type of wedding you are going for be it a grand wedding or a beach wedding you should be able to select whats most appropriate.

  • How soon before our wedding do we need to place and order and how long will it take the invites to be ready once the order is placed?
It's best to ask this as you want to place your order well in advance to avoid disappointments. You don't want your invites arriving a week before your wedding so it's best to check and confirm timelines with your stationer.

  • Do you address envelopes and do you have a calligrapher that can address them by hand? 
You may want everything taken care of so that you don't have the extra responsibility of addressing envelopes especially if your wedding is small and you are sure of everyone who will be in attendance. If this is the case then you can provide your stationer with a list of names to write out for you and even if there are extras you can hand write those later.

  • Will you give us extra envelopes in case of addressing mistakes?
If you are addressing the envelopes yourself it is likely that a few mistakes will be made be it spelling errors or getting a couples title wrong. It's worth asking for extra envelopes and if your stationer doesn't offer this then ask what the additional cost is for more envelopes.

  • How much would it cost to order extra invitations?
After you have sent out your invites you may find you have more guests you need to invite so ask what the extra cost of this would be and bear it in mind.

  • Do you also print wedding programs, menus and souvenirs?
It's practical, less time consuming and convenient to get your invites, menu cards, wedding programs and possibly souveniers done in the same place. That way they also look uniform avoiding a clash in quality and taste between two different stationers/ printers. Plus it's one less vendor that you would have to visit.  With wedding souvenirs it may be a bit more tricky depending on the kind of material you want to print on. Ensure that you see samples of the exact thing you want to print on or request a mock printing one one item so you are sure they are capable. Alternatively, you can get them to print on nice stickers which can then be placed on the souvenirs. 

Below is some inspiration for anyone who is thinking about wedding invites. As always a vendor spotlight will follow this post with a Nigerian based vendor  that we like and recommend so that you can have a vendor to talk to about your invitations.


















If you are getting married in a rustic setting in a country famous for its wine and your wedding is small and intimate you can send out bottles of wine with your invite in a carved wooden box as a memento to your guest. Its shows attention to detail and its a great gift to people who have travelled for your wedding.


If you've opted for a beach side wedding and you want the theme to resonate you may like the idea of a message in a bottle. It's romantic and telling of the setting. 







The above invite is from one of our favourite wedding invitations it mixes lace, satin and bling beautifully we've kept it as a keep sake.


I've said what to me is the best invite for last. The above pic story and preceding pictures do not do this wedding invitation justice. It can only be described as a piece of art. It simple had to be kept. It was for a wedding that took place at the exquisite  Fontana courtyard in Portofino, Italy.  This invite elegantly portrays the destination wedding without being cliche. It mimics the setting, tells a story and gives guests a beautiful insight as to what is yet to come. I will attempt to explain each portion in detail.


Above is one of the invite inserts. It is the invite for the traditional engagement ceremony and has the couples initials in a monogram cut out in a beautiful font. It is simple and does not detract from the wedding invite as the engagement took place in Lagos.


The main invite mimics the courtyard setting with a wrought iron gate hand carved to include the couples initials. The attention to detail paid is evident right down to the pillars and beautiful white lilies in the garden.


The invite opens up to reveal all the details for the wedding.



 Above and below you can see guest are treated to different events on different days. Venetian shutters are in keeping with the Italian theme and they open up to tell guests what will be happening on each day.

As I said these pictures simply do not do this invite justice. It is intricate, elegant, exquisite and to me a piece of art. Many thanks to the Mr. Alabi for allowing me to showcase his invitation.