Lessons Learned: Invitations


Let’s start with the first lesson I learned.  Microsoft Word was not created with Invitation Design in mind, to use this program you need to get a wee bit creative.  I created the lines/images/shapes, would add text boxes in to format the wording, saved it as a word doc, saved it as a PDF, if needed I would then crop the PDF to the correct size, and/or I would draw a thin box around the image that was “supposed” to be the right size.

Make sure if you choose to print full bleed that you a) leave some extra space on the edge of your design, b) that you actually know what full bleed means (I kind of guessed, I still am kind of guessing to be honest ;), and c) that you know the printers sizing specifications.

After you have designed your suite pay a few dollars to have a sample made.  It WILL.SAVE.YOU.TIME.MONEY.AND.HEADACHES… Can you tell that I might not have done this?  There are many things I would have caught had I done this, like…

Let’s start with the arrows, see how there is not proper spacing between the pieces, so they look a little jacked? Or maybe we should looking into the “circle” a bit more… the color that is in the interior part of the heading is just off enough to notice, because of how I had sized everything and printed (full bleed) the boxes aren’t the same size even though they started off the same size.  Oh, and do you notice how the brackets don’t curve in at the top of the documents?  Yeah, that was another full bleed issue.

Had I done my homework and printed a sample set I might not have had a 2 month delay between ordering pieces so the invitation suite could be completed (long story and not my favorite experience).  That alone ended up making my invitations a month late (thank goodness for cushion time).  My invitation pieces might have lined up a bit more like how they were supposed to:

Here is a good one: KNOW YOUR EXACT INVITE LIST BEFORE YOU ORDER INVITES and order 10% more.  We were a little wishy washy before we ordered and when push came to shove we needed about 10 more invitations… those 10 invitations cost almost as much as the set of 100…Just sayin’.

Another little gem, there might be some overages but don’t count on them.  We ended up with drastically different overages.  Some had 30 extras, some had 5.  I had zero expectation there would be extras…

Triple check the proofs that are e-mailed (or pop up on the screen).  I had a “lovely” exchange with a customer service supervisor because when I finally had the right info to order the rest of my invitation suite I kept everything the same as the original order (that included rounded corners), she sent back a proof with square corners… yes, the RSVP’s arrived with square corners, my corner rounder doesn’t make the same corner as the printers so they had to reprint them.  But that wasn’t until after I was scolded for not triple checking their work…

Chat with a local printer, I wish I had.  For our invitation suite I decided to go with CatPrint because they have custom sizes that would fit into the pocket folds we made… That was one of my least favorite decisions, their printing was not necessarily speedy, their customer service was lack luster (aka I got yelled at for their error), and while I like the end result I am not in love.  I couldn’t touch the paper to feel what it would feel like.  The customer service manager that was so good at scolding won’t accidentally bump into me on the street, to her I was a voice on the phone that pestered her, nothing more, nothing less.  The shipping times can really add to the timeline… and I can go on.  I know there have been many a bee that had wonderful experiences with CatPrint (heck that is how I learned about the company), sad to say I did not have one of those experiences…

For the quick and dirty list here it goes:

  1.  Maybe use a design program other than word
  2. Order samples
  3. Know what full bleed means, and know if it’s the best decision for you
  4. Have an exact, unchanging guest list
  5. Chat with a local printer/print shop
  6. There “might” be overages but don’t count on them

Did you learn any good tidbits from your invitation process?


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