des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Sweet Beginnings: Stationery

Sweet Beginnings

Last week Danielle, from Iron Leaf Press, helped us understand the many wonderful ways that our invitations and paper suite can be printed, over here. Holy moly, did you know there were so many options? The differences are subtle, but certainly different and offer you various levels of detail to suit your personality and that of your wedding.

After taking that all in and thinking through what you want in your wedding stationery, I have asked Danielle back to share some tips for stationery timeline and custom designed paper goods.


What inspiration is most helpful from a design standpoint for you?

With wedding invites, we love to hear about the couple and what they are incorporating into their wedding. One invite that was designed and printed in our studio included a lace pattern on the invite. The lace pattern came from the bride’s dress, that was also worn by her mother 30-some years ago. Another couple came to us and talked about their love of the written word (they are both English teachers), so we created an invite that looked like a book. The details are something we love to incorporate to make their stationery unique to the couple.

When should brides first contact their stationer? What is a standard timeline for custom stationery and ordering?

Sooner rather than later! Four to six months from the big day is your best bet for wedding invitations. If you would like save the dates, contact your stationer 10-12 months before the wedding date. Even if you are further out than these dates, don’t hesitate to contact your stationer if you are ready to begin the process. We love early birds!
10-12 Months | Contact your stationer about your save the dates and discuss your wedding day, thoughts on the paper goods, and your budget for your save the dates.

9 Months | Sign off on the proof and get the save the dates ordered. During this time, the stationer will produce the save the dates.

6-8 Months | Save the Dates are ready and can be mailed. Six to eight months before your wedding is when save the dates are typically sent. If you are doing a destination wedding, shoot for 12 months out to allow your guests a bit of extra time to plan their vacation schedules.


4-6 Months | Contact your stationer and discuss your wedding day, thoughts on the paper goods, and your budget for your invitations. Also think about other paper goods you may need for your wedding (placecards, programs, day of signage, seating chart).

3-4 Months | The stationer will provide you with a proof and work together to finalize the look and details of the invites.

3 Months | Sign off on the proof and get the invites ordered. During this time, the stationer will produce the invites

2 Months | Invites are ready and can be mailed. Six to eight weeks before your wedding is typically when invites are sent. Begin finalizing programs, placecards, and day of paper goods.

1 Month | Sign off on proofs for your programs, placecards, and day of paper goods. During this time, your stationer will produce these pieces.


What things should brides consider when deciding between custom or pre-designed options?

The feel of their wedding day. The save the date and/or wedding invite is typically the first thing your guests will see in regards to your wedding. Does the invite exemplify the look you are going for? Does it show your personality? Not all pre-made designs will fit the bill.
Although the word “custom” often equates to more expensive in most people’s minds, I would really encourage couples to look into custom designed invites. Custom design/printing is typically not as expensive as many think. We work with our couples to ensure they get the best invite suite for their budget.

Any other considerations when deciding what route to go for stationery?

I would consider the expertise of the vendor you are working with. Wedding stationery is available from many different sources, but working with a professional can help you through the details of the wedding invite process. Professionals have tools, experience, and suppliers that can help save you both time and money.

Tips for types of collateral (program, favors, thank you’s, saves, etc)? Common things people miss, details that brides might not think of?

One that is often overlooked is day of signage. Signs directing your guest where to go, guest book sign, bar menu, etc. Tying in those pieces to the overall look of your invites can really put the final touch on the overall feel, from the day they receive your invite, to the actual day of the wedding.

Another fun area to tie in the look of your invites is through guest welcome bags. These really make your guests feel welcomed and it is a fun area to show your personality. We’ve designed and printed on boxes and bags for guest welcome gifts, as well as welcome cards, information cards, and small tags to package up goodies.

Next week, to wrap up this three part series on paper, because we all know I love it, we will chat more about the most popular printing option right now — Letterpress! It truly is a beautiful option and can be such an heirloom bespoke way to go. Until next time, happy planning Loves!

xoxo, Jenn

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