With the mad rush of spring weddings in full bloom, we receive a lot of last minute customers who come our way for invitations and such for late summer/early fall weddings. Typically we ask for a 6-8 week design time and 3 week print time (6 week print time for letterpressing). So with that in mind I thought I would share some tips on what can actually cut down the timeline a little bit.
*Have a clear concept/vision of your day and present that clearly to the designer: It might be hard to believe, but we do have customers who aren't sure of the design direction that they want to utilize. "My theme is pink" is about as vague as it can get, but it happens. For these customers, the design process is maxed out to find the perfect invitation. The clearer the idea you can present to the designer, the more on target the design options will be and the less design time necessary. If you are stuck for inspiration and/or are muddled in your vision, why not check out some inspirational sites such as Snippet & Ink or Style Me Pretty? Collect all of the images that you can that best represent your wedding style and send them to your designer.
*Prepare your wording ahead of time: While you are deciding on your concept, prepare all of the wording for all of your elements. It will save a lot of design time to have the correct wording up front. Certain wording styles dictate some aspects of the design so its best to work with the wording you intend to use. If you aren't sure about which wording style works best for you, theknot.com has some traditional and not-so-traditional examples.
*Know your stationer's design limitations: Some stationers don't have the ability to work with complex artwork and they may have a specialty that suits them better. While it is the job of your custom stationer to create what you want, your particular stationer may have a particular style that they work in and trying to force them to create a style that is not really their style may delay the design process.
*Know the policies that your stationer has in place: Be sure that you are familiar with all of the policies that your stationer has in place. This includes cancellation policies or rush services, once work on your designs has been started. Every stationer is different so its important to work with one who utilizes policies that you agree with.
*Respond quickly when providing feedback on designs: When a stationer provides you with a design option(s), the quicker you can respond and make suggested changes, the quicker the designer can implement the changes and the sooner your final design can be reached. The more specific you can be about the changes, less revisions will be necessary to reach the final design.
While this certainly isn't a complete list of things to consider when planning for custom invitations, it should give you a good baseline to work with. The more information you can feed to your stationer in the beginning, the less time it will take to reach the perfect design for you.