Updated: Mar 10
Hey Friends! Today's blog post is hopefully going to help my new brides reading this. I teamed up with the ever so talented Cortni of Blonde and Brindle Design Co to write this guest post. I worked with her last may on designing this beautiful invitation suite for a wedding styled shoot. She is writing this guest post to answer some common questions new brides may have about hiring an invitation designer, how long the process is and much more. Keeping reading to learn more about Cortni and her years worth of knowledge about wedding invitations. All the images in this blog post is featuring an invitation suite she designed and styled. We hope this helps any of the new brides reading this to decide on if hiring a professional invitation designer is right for you. Thank you for stopping by and reading!!!
BLONDE AND BRINDLE DESIGN CO
Who are you + why did you become an invitation designer?
I’m Cortni, the owner of Blonde & Brindle Design Co. I’m the blonde behind the designs and Bell is my brindled, four legged, fur ball; together, we’re Blonde & Brindle Design Co.
Growing up I always had a bent for creativity—and knowing that someday I would be raising a family, I wanted a college degree that would afford me the opportunity of being able to work from home when that time came. Graphic design seemed to check all the boxes—I could work in a creative industry and it would be a career that could easily be done remotely. I didn’t fully know at the time that it would mean running my own stationery business!
Like many other stationers in this industry, my journey started with the creation of my own wedding invitations, back in 2012. With a fresh degree in Graphic Design, it was a given that I would create my own invitations. The years following, I designed sporadically for family and friends. It wasn’t until 2015 that I made Blonde & Brindle official—all while working full time. In 2017, I quit my full-time job, had my first baby, and continued to grow Blonde & Brindle. Now, seven years later, my hope—and ultimate goal of working from home and raising a family has come to fruition and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What is your process like?
My ordering process has been fine tuned to eliminate overwhelm and uncertainty that can often emerge during this portion of wedding planning due to a highly saturated market. My mission is to make this the easiest and most enjoyable aspect of wedding planning. I not only work with my couples to best optimize their budget, I curate color palettes, make suggestions based on their wedding aesthetic, and will even source new colors and materials to ensure the papers are the perfect representation of their wedding on paper.
It all starts with a discovery form and optional consultation. Some couples know exactly what they want and don’t need any assistance and some get paper paralysis and don’t really know what they want, and that’s okay! I offer as much assistance as needed.
Once the discovery form is received, I send along a personalized quote and design mockup based on the selections made, inspiration provided, and/or what we discuss in the consultation. The booking is secured by payment of a 50% retainer and signed agreement.
To ensure a seamless design process, I supply a customized timeline that outlines important dates; spreadsheets for addresses; and content forms to collect all necessary details. Over the span of a few weeks, we work through proofs and revisions to make minor adjustments to text, colors, and overall layout.
Upon approval of the proofs, the balance is due and production begins! Once I receive the printed pieces and materials from my trusted vendors, I quality control each piece and assemble, if premium assembly is included. Once the final invitation has been inspected for superior quality, everything will be packaged for shipping or brought directly to the Post Office to be mailed on my client’s behalf for a hands-off, stress-free, experience!
What is included in a typical wedding invitation suite?
A typical wedding invitation suite will include the main invitation and mailing envelope, the reply card and response envelope and one or two insert cards. Whether or not insert cards are necessary depends on the wedding. The three most common uses for insert cards are:
Accommodations—If a lot of guests are coming in from out of town and need to make hotel arrangements, often times there is an insert letting guests know where there has been a block of rooms reserved for discounted rates.
Reception Information—If the ceremony and reception are at the same location, perfect, we put a line on the invitation that says ‘reception to follow.’ If the reception is being held at a different location, a separate insert card should be used for those details.
Wedding Website—A wedding website insert is a great catch all for the miscellaneous details or to take place of multiple insert cards by directing guests to the website for all wedding related information.
Embellishments and upgrades that are optional, but often included:
Traditional inner and outer envelopes
A fastener such as: belly band, ribbon, or twine
Custom Venue illustration
The best thing about the Blonde & Brindle wedding collection is we can go as elaborate or as bare bones as desired. Everything is sold a-la-carte to allow my couples to craft the perfect wedding paper package. There’s no settling for less and there’s no accepting more than what’s needed.
Why do you think a bride should hire a professional wedding invitation designer?
The main and most understandable answer is already in the question—why a bride should hire a professional is because they’re just that: professional. They’re experts at this stuff. While I do believe in the importance of DIY-ing some wedding things, the invitations should not be one of them. Now, I know what you may be thinking: that it seems a bit contradictive to what I stated earlier about how I basically started my business by diy-ing my own invitations, but just hear me out because it wasn’t nearly as easy as it seems.
What happened when I diy-ed my own wedding invitations? That’s a great question! I bought some really pretty linen textured, pearlized paper from some craft stores. I brought my paper and design files to an office supply and print shop for them to print and trim. My design had a very small margin of error for trimming. I was doing a pocket style invitation and each insert card had a design along the side that when all stacked together was a continuous pattern, but when viewed individually they were all unique. Can you guess what happened? They were not cut properly. At all. The design did not line up. At all. I was in tears. I had to drive to 5+ different craft stores across three different cities to scrounge up enough pearlized linen paper to have it all reprinted. Thankfully, the company refunded me and reprinted for free, but they did not trim the second batch. Instead, my mom and I meticulously hand cut all of those cards, one-by-one. It all worked out in the end, but it added so much unnecessary stress.
It all boils down to where you want to place your stress. Do you want to carry the stress of paper shortages, production errors, shipping delays, and supply chain issues or do you want a professional who has the necessary experience, skill, and connections within the industry to carry that stress for you? You see, an office supply store is not equipped to produce fine stationery. But, as a member of the general public at the time, that’s all I had access to. A professional has access to printers that only produce fine stationery—it’s what they do.
And whether it’s realized or not, there are a myriad of details and things to know about creating wedding invitations. It’s not just throwing some pretty flowers and flowing text together. It’s how much postage is needed, what type of paper will yield the best results with certain print methods, proper etiquette, timelines, etc. and is everything a professional invitation design will be able to handle with ease.
When should a bride hire an invitation designer?
I recommend booking a designer as soon as possible. There’s no need to wait until its time to start the design process to book. Often times, by then it’s took late. Designer’s schedules fill up fast so the earlier a spot can be secured, the better! The following date ranges are when I prefer to start the design process with my couples:
Save the dates - 10-12 months prior to the wedding
Wedding Invitations - 6-8 months prior to the wedding (8-10 if custom)
Wedding Day Papers - 2-3 months prior to the wedding
What is a normal turn around time in wedding invitation suites?
Turnaround time greatly depends on numerous factors such as: quantity, paper type, print method, embellishments, assembly, etc. A suite with handmade paper and letterpress printing will take a handful of weeks longer to produce than a suite on standard card stock that’s digitally printed.
Design Process Turnaround:
The design process for a collection design, which is a design that’s already created but is being customized, takes approximately 3 weeks to work through the initial proof and revision rounds. The design process for a custom design, which is a design that is being created 100% from scratch, takes approximately 6-8 weeks to work through the proofs and revisions.
Production turnaround of a suite being digitally printed on standard card stock is about 2 weeks. Upgraded print methods such as foil stamping or letterpress will add 1-2 weeks and handmade paper will add 2-4 weeks.
What other paper goods do designers offer for weddings? (Example: Menu, name cards)
This is another good reason why a bride should hire a professional designer: wedding branding. A professional can provide cohesive pieces from the mailbox to the dance floor. Literally. My couple’s have had their custom monograms made into dance floor decals.
Most designers will offer the basic wedding day pieces such as: welcome signs, seating charts, escort and/or place cards, wedding programs, menus, table numbers, bar signs, etc. Some even offer more specialty items such as stir sticks, welcome bags, koozies, napkins, elaborate escort card displays, etc.
Most often, clients are limited to the questions they don’t ask. Always ask, the answer more often than not will probably be, absolutely, I can do that!