Martha Stewart Living

Tip of the Day #54: Expert Wedding Invitation Advice from Rifle Paper Co.

Tip of the Day #54: Expert Wedding Invitation Advice from Rifle Paper Co. I recently discovered that a former high school classmate of mine is the mastermind behind boutique stationery brand Rifle Paper Co.  Rifle Paper Co.'s whimsical designs featuring hand-painted illustrations have become an instant hit with brides and stationery aficianados alike.  Rifle Paper Co. has been featured in many publications including Martha Stewart Living, O The Oprah Magazine, Southern Living, InStyle, Lucky, and Real Simple Weddings.

Brittany Stephens, Wedding Project Manager at Rifle Paper Co., shares her expert advice for wedding invitations.

There are a plethora of options for ordering wedding invitations.  What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks to ordering invitations online versus working with a designer in person to create an invitation? While we love to meet with clients face to face, the majority of our brides live in other states or internationally. We do the majority of our communication through e-mail and over the phone, which gives us the benefit of being accessible to everyone no matter where they are located. We also strive to make the ordering and design process as personal as possible. I work hand-in-hand with our wedding clients and our designers to make sure all of their ideas are coming to life in the way they were envisioning. I am also personally available to discuss any questions they may have during the process, whether it be design ideas, etiquette or help with invitation wording.

Do you believe that a wedding invitation suite should match a wedding's decor and overall feeling/theme?  Why or why not? Since the wedding invitation or save the date is the first glimpse of the wedding that guests will receive, I do believe they should correspond with the rest of the wedding’s décor and theme. It gives guests a little guess as to what more they can be expecting on the big day!

What are some of your tips on etiquette for wording and verbiage on invitations? The most frequently asked question I get from brides on this is, “How should our parents’ names read?” While we see many brides taking the traditional route of including both sets of parents’ names on the invitation, we also have many who start their invitations with “Together with their parents” or “Together with their families”. Typically, this wording is used for a couple with divorced parents, multiple families members contributing to the wedding, or if the couple is hosting the event themselves and still want to include their family. My suggestion before writing your invitation wording is to speak with who is helping to host the event to see how they would like to be mentioned.

What should a full invitation suite include? Most suites include a main invitation, rsvp card and an information card that can be used for directions, accommodations, and any additional information their guests may need to know. We see a variety of different combinations depending on what specific needs the couple has, so we make sure that each piece is individually priced. That way, we can custom tailor a quote that make sense for them!

 When setting a budget for wedding invitations, what are the important factors to consider? The cost for an invitation set is going to depend on a hand full of variables that include the type of design chosen, quantity, printing techniques and what pieces are needed in the set. When planning a wedding it is also good to consider which elements are the most important to the bride and groom. Getting quotes from the larger vendors (invitations, caterer, florist, venue, etc.) first, will help give a better idea on how to budget effectively.

When is it appropriate to send out wedding invitations?  What about thank you notes? Wedding invitations are typically sent six to eight weeks in advance of the wedding date. Save the dates are suggested, especially if it is a destination wedding where guests will need to make prior travel and accommodation arrangements months in advance. Thank you notes should be sent within two weeks of receiving the gift, but no later than three months after.

Sites like offer digital versions of invitations.  What is your take on a digital invitation versus a print invitation? Printed invitations are a special way for the couple and guests to receive a special memento of the big day! Nothing is better than receiving a beautiful invitation in the mail and to be able to hold it in your hands. It is also a better reminder for guests since they have something physical to remind them about the event, rather than an e-mail being lost in an inbox.

One of the best tips I have received about invitations as a wedding planner is to physically bring invitation samples to the post office to make sure the postage matches the weight of the invitation suite.  What is your best tip or trick of the trade for invitations? If one our clients ever have a question regarding postage, we can always provide them with the weight of a single set. Postage costs can be readily found on local post office’s websites once the weight of the set has been determined. However, most invitation sets will have a standard US postage cost of 45 cents.

What is the standard protocol for invitation quantities in an order?  Is there a magic formula? I always remind brides that typically one invitation is going to be sent per household/couple. I have noticed that many brides overestimate how many invitation sets they will be needing when they calculate this number based on the amount of guests. This is a huge budget saver if you find out this number before getting a quote.

Does size matter?  What about paper quality and printing type? Our standard invitations are 5”x7” and are printed on an 110lb. cover stock in a natural white. Another popular paper type we use is called wove paper, which has more of a matte finish and feel. We use archival printing techniques for the majority of our invitation sets; however, brides do have the option of upgrading their sets to have letterpress or screen printing, which we outsource to one of our trusted local vendors.

Brittany shared a few Rifle Paper Co. wedding invitation suite samples.  Too beautiful!