10 Questions You Should Ask Your Stationery Designer

Stationery seems pretty straightforward, right? But between save-the-dates and escort cards, paper choices and printing styles, it can get complicated. Here are the questions you should ask at your first meeting.
by Rachel Torgerson
Wedding invitation suite with intrique calligraphy
photo by Jen Fariello Photography

It may not seem like it, but your stationery designer does more than just print your invitations. Not only will their work set the tone for your wedding, but they'll also likely design your entire paper suite for the wedding, from save-the-dates to escort cards. So after you narrow down your list of potential designers, here are the questions you should you ask them.

1. Do you sell custom designs or invitation lines, and if so, which ones do you carry and how many are available?

Why you want to know: Your stationer could be a graphic designer who free-forms invitation designs, or she could be selling suites from multiple designers.

2. Do you specialize in a specific style or theme (for example, traditional or watercolor)?

Why you want to know: Invitations set the stage for the overall look of your wedding, so you'll want to make sure your stationer can provide you with the style you're going for.

3. Are there books I can browse through?

Why you want to know: Paging through books of invitation suites will help narrow your focus on a particular style and understand if your stationery designer's style and yours match. It'll also give you some ideas of what you might like if you're a paper novice.

4. Are other personalized items available? If so, can I see examples and a price list?

Why you want to know: If you want a cohesive look throughout your paper goods (think: save-the-dates, favor tags, escort cards, table names) and signage, it's a good idea to ask up front which items the stationer can provide.

5. How are invitations priced? Is there any benefit to purchasing other wedding paper (menus, escort cards) at the same time?

Why you want to know: Sometimes stationery designers will offer special discounts to couples who order their invitations in a suite of goods. If you haven't decided on your place cards or save-the-dates yet, it may be a good idea to think about including them in your paper package.

6. How much customization is possible?

Why you want to know: In some cases, designers love to freestyle their work based on a customer's taste; in others, they work with set designs and customize colors and words. If you have a particular customization in mind, ask up front (and get a price estimate).

7. What about calligraphy—do you work with anyone? Can you recommend someone?

Why you want to know: More often than not, stationers have built up relationships with calligraphers in the area. If you want your envelopes addressed by a professional, it's good to check with your stationer for recommendations.

8. Am I allowed to customize my invitation wording?

Why you want to know: Oftentimes, wedding invitations are worded similarly to reflect the rules of etiquette. If you're hoping to use customized wording in your invites, confirm that everything will be written exactly as you directed and not changed to reflect what the stationer believes is proper.

9. How long after I place my order will my invitations be delivered?

Why you want to know: This one's a no-brainer. When signing your contract, double-check the time frame so you're sure the invitations and other goods will be delivered to guests of the wedding with enough time for the RSVP process.

10. Once I've placed my order, will I be able to see a proof (what the invitation will look like) before the invitations are printed? What happens if there's an error in the order?

Why you want to know: Unfortunately, typos and other mistakes can happen. So confirm that you can see a proof of your order before all of your invites are printed to avoid any extra costs. Then, verify what happens in case of an error (whether it's your error or the printer's mistake).

Still searching for your stationery designer? Find one in your area here

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