Picking out your wedding invitations is one of the most important decisions you will make during your wedding planning process. Not only will they make one of the first impressions your guests have about your wedding, they will relay a lot of important information, and they will be one of your treasured keepsakes for years to come. So you are not alone if you have some apprehension about buying this critical part of your wedding online. Up until about 10 years ago, the only option you had was to go to your local wedding stationery shop and look through massive books of invitations. When you found the one you liked, you had to provide your wedding details, including your names, wedding date, wedding venue, and the RSVP date to the person helping you at the shop which was then sent to the wedding invitation designer. Then you had to wait for the invitations to be sent to the shop and you had to hope all the information you provided was correctly printed on the invitations. This was a lengthy and cumbersome process and in this day of online shopping is kind-of outdated. The one positive thing about the old way of doing things was that you got to actually handle the invitation and see the quality first hand as well as compare with other invitations, side-by-side. Well, not to fear, there is a way to get all the benefits of shopping online, and there are many, and also be able to handle and inspect the invitation before you make the big purchase. Here’s five things to think about before you click the “Purchase Now” buttons on your big wedding invitation order.
1. Selecting the Style:
There are many things that go into wedding invitation style selection. The biggest thing is the wedding theme. The type of wedding you will be having will have the biggest impact on the style of invitation your choose. An obvious one would be if you are having a beach wedding you will want a beach themed wedding invitation by picking one with imagery including ocean blues, sand dollars, palm trees, etc. But, there are wedding invitations in almost every style to match your tastes for more informal weddings to traditional wedding invitations. Think about what you want your reception to be like, or your wedding color pallet when choosing your wedding invitations. Selection is one of the biggest advantages of shopping online. You can search through literally thousands of invitations from multiple wedding invitation designers and search for specific style points that you are looking for very quickly.
2. Finding a Reputable Online Invitation Retailer:
The internet can be a scary place. You’re not really sure who you’re getting involved with and you may have doubts about the level of customer service you will receive. Here are some tips to help you avoid a wedding invitation disaster! Check the “Terms of Service” on the company’s website. The link to the “Terms of Service” typically is found in the website’s footer. In the “Terms of Service” you will find details about the company’s policies for making changes to your invitations if there is an error and the all important refund policy. You want to make sure that if your order comes in with an error that you are not stuck.
Another important requirement is the ability to actually talk to someone on the phone. Look for a customer service phone number on the company’s website. Call the number and ask any questions you might have and make sure you are comfortable with the response you get and get a feeling for how easy it was to actually get a real person on the phone. You don’t want to be dealing with voice mails when you have an issue that needs to be taken care of fast!
Finally, and I think most importantly, search the web for independent reviews about this wedding invitation company. There are numerous wedding blogs and wedding forums out there where you can typically find people talking about their experience with the most popular wedding invitation designers.
3. Actually handle the invitations
The major weakness of shopping online is the inability to actually handle the product. In the case of invitations, the feel of them is a major piece of the puzzle. You want to know how thick the paper is and what is its quality. Most of the top online wedding invitation vendors offer samples of their products for a small fee. You typically can find out details of how to get samples in their “Terms of Service” or in their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the website. I encourage you to order several samples to make sure you are comfortable and happy with them before you place the big order. It’s also a good way to test out the companies speed and responsiveness too!
4. Customization of your Wedding Invitations
Here’s another one of the big advantages of shopping for wedding invitations online. The major and most popular wedding invitation designers offer some level of online proofing. You can customize your invitation online by entering the required information and then you can actually see what it will look like on your invitation. Some vendors will take the information you enter and then have one of their experts manually typeset your information into their printer while one vendor in particular, eInvite.com, uses a patented process called Checkmate ™ technology to electronically pass your information to the printer system. Additionally, some companies will send you a hard-copy proof of your invitation before going to the presses, if you request it.
The most important part of customization is to check, double check, and triple check that the information on the invitation is perfect! Don’t do all the checking yourself, have a fresh set of eyes look at it also. Have your fiancé, your bridesmaids, and others check all the details including name spelling, dates, venue name and address, and RSVP date.
5. It’s time to “Pull the Trigger!”
By this point you’ve done your homework by following the four points above. Now, you need to figure out how many invitations to order before you place it. Make sure your order more than you think you will need. Typically up to 25 more. This is so you have some for keepsakes and in case you have late additions to your guest list. It is typically cheaper to add invitations to an existing order than placing an entirely new order.
Following this list should keep you out of trouble. Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any lessons you learned the hard way.
Also, I’d like to point out, in your search for a reputable wedding invitation vendor you can start by looking through our stationery shop. We are affiliated with some of the top online wedding invitation designers with outstanding customer service. Check them out!