You can and you will! But, it'll be better than a copy of someone else's invitation--it will be your own proof. We have been working with clients over email and online for years and we know how important it is that you see what you're getting before you commit to it. But, we also know that every invitation we do is tailored to each client. A sample invitation is just what it sounds like -- it's a sample of our range, but it doesn't let you see what we can do, specifically, for you. And we're of the philosophy that it's a lot easier to commit to something when you know exactly how it's going to turn out.
So, after we work on your preliminary designs and you choose one to move forward with, we will make you a full proof of that design (invitation, inserts, layering, envelopes...all the components) and mail it to you with all kinds of goodies, like an official price quote, a service contract, a form for revisions and a packet of alternative paper and ribbon swatches, just in case you want to switch something out. We want to give you the same resources that we have here...that way, you know that you've chosen the best option because you've seen all the options available to you.
We prioritize clients based upon their wedding dates. This doesn't necessarily mean that we won't move someone up if they're really insisting on it, but it does mean that you don't need to worry about jockeying for position or staying on top of us to make sure you get your invites within a reasonable amount of time. Your wedding date determines what is "reasonable". Here is a little chart that helps determine that time frame:
|Wedding Date||Waiting List Category||Approximate Design Process Time Frame||Extra Fee?|
|Less than 12 weeks||Rush||3 - 4 weeks*||Yes|
|4 - 9 months||Fast-Track||6 - 10 weeks, products to ship 10 - 12 weeks prior to wedding||No|
|9+ months||General||Design process time frame dependent upon length of waiting lists, but all clients will be scheduled for production so that their products ship 10 - 12 weeks prior to wedding. As time goes by, clients who are moving up General list may qualify to be moved to the Fast-Track list (because they will have less than 9 months to go!)...at this point, the wait times decrease.||No|
|Any||Re-contracted||If clients want to receive their invitations more than 12 weeks ahead of time, they may choose to pay a re-contracting fee to, essentially, insert themselves into the production schedule ahead of clients with weddings that come before their own. Re-contracted clients may choose their own production deadline and, as long as its reasonable for materials vendors and production staff, we will meet the deadline. The fee to recontract is 20% of the services total on the official price quote.|
* This can be faster, if supplies are available
There is a benefit to getting in early, though! This benefit is called "Bumping Up" and this will afford you the possibility of getting your invitations earlier than your contracted completion dates should the production schedule have an opening. Unlike re-contracting that carries a fee, clients can bump up for free! See Production FAQ for more details...
There are benefits to waiting, but if your wedding is within a year, there are more benefits to starting now. First off, the invitation sets the tone for your wedding. Sometimes, it really helps to get started on the invitation early so that you can narrow down your focus a little and decide upon the theme or "look" that you want your wedding to have. You'll find that once you have a vision in place, decisions are a lot easier to make! Secondly, you'll lock in prices depending upon when you start the design process. I have been, periodically, raising my rates for some services. Those rate increases only apply to customers who come in after the increase has been made.
If your wedding is a year or more away, starting the design process now might be a little too soon. Brides with lots of time before their wedding tend to change their minds a few times! I know I did! So, here's a little guide to know when it's time to start your invitation search. If you have the following tasks completed (or near completion), then it's a good time to start!
Things to do before starting the Invitation Design Process:
1. Know your ceremony and reception venues
(you don't have to have all the paperwork in place, but at least have them staked out!)
2. Have your dress picked out
3. Decide upon your color scheme
4. Have an approximation of how many guests will be invited
After I make a proof, I'll send you a link to a photo online. Then, once I hear back from you, I will mail it to you so you can see it up-close, with your own eyes. That way, you know exactly what you're getting. In the mailing with the proof, you will also receive alternative paper swatches, a contract, official price quote and form for revisions.
If I didn’t have enough time, you’d know by now! I would have told you. A BIG part of getting things done on time is collaboration and cooperation. Try to do the following to ensure a smooth process:
- Watch for e-mail, respond quickly, and if I haven’t responded to you in 24 hours, write me again! Chances are, it didn’t get to me.
- If there isn’t a lot of time between the time you get your mailing and when your materials payment is due, either pay via PayPal and fax in your forms or write a check and send it with your forms VIA EXPRESS or PRIORITY MAIL. If you just put a stamp on the envelope and send it off, plan on it taking 7 - 10 days to get here! If you send it Express or Priority, it will take 2 - 3 days. NEVER use first-class mail if time is of the essence. If you’re having me address your envelopes, download the address format form and have it ready to go within 2 or 3 days of going into production. Production will not begin until I have your addresses. If I’m not addressing your
envelopes, don’t worry about this!
- Don’t change your mind in the middle of production. It costs both of us time and money!
Here are some tips:
1. Send feedback quickly.
I block out time for my #1 waiting list spots each day. They receive priority attention during this time. If you wait 3 days to send your feedback, chances are pretty good that I've moved past you and am giving my undivided attention to the next person on the list. This doesn't mean I won't address your feedback, but it does mean I have to set aside someone else on the another list to make room for your revisions (hence the reason some lists don't move some days). Sometimes, I can make room, other times, I can't, so you may have to wait a bit longer than a person who gives immediate feedback.
2. Be specific
I can make changes very quickly if you know what it is you're wanting and you're specific about it. A specific request will get a quick turnaround because it doesn't require any guessing games. I don't have to spend hours comparing fonts or editing graphics. I simply have to do what you request. A specific request will get a specific result. A non-specific request will require extra time and will, ultimately, prevent you from moving ahead. Here are a few examples of specific and non-specific requests:
Specific: “I really like the font Nicole R. used for her text. Can I see that?”
This is super-easy and can be done in about 30 seconds.
Not specific: “I’m not sure about the font. Can I see something swirlier?”
This doesn't really narrow things down for me. There are gazillions of fonts out there! Furthermore, who's to say that I'll pick a font from those gazillions that you will be sure about? You open yourself up to having to ask for more font options if I guess wrong. Help me guess right by finding examples of things you like!
Specific: "I like the style of Nicole D.’s graphic…can we try something similar to that?”
This narrows down the field of graphics and will allow me more access to your style, thus ensuring that you'll get something you like pretty quickly.
Not specific: "Can I see more graphics?"
Again, there are gazillions of graphics out there. I'm going in blind if I don't have someplace to start from!
3. When you get a preliminary design you like and want to move forward with, wait until you get the proof in the mail before you start e-mailing wording and content revisions.
You will get a form in the mail in which you can write down all your revisions and corrections and everything! The focus of the preliminary design stage is finding a graphic/design that will work for your entire invitation and settling on fonts. Color matching, wording (to a certain extent), embellishments, and format are all things that are best left to later stages of the design process. Trying to fix your design to make it look right on your computer screen will only look right on your screen. You need to allow for the vision to become a reality first!