Invitation Maven

Finding a Designer for your Custom Wedding Invitations

So you’ve decided to create a custom wedding invitation? GREAT! You will love the finished product! At least you should. Why do I say that? Because it’s YOUR special day, and you should absolutely LOVE the final design of your invitations. But many couples I speak with confess that they don’t love the invitations they ended up with. I get a variety of answers as to why, but the most common sentiment they share is that their designer simply didn’t listen to them. I’ve had countless couples tell me that their invitation designer didn’t take their needs and design sensibilities into account, and instead produced an invitation the designer liked.

I think that’s a real shame. I tell each and every one of my clients, “my job is to create YOUR perfect invitation,” and I live by that sentiment. It doesn’t matter if what they choose isn’t my favorite color or paper or font. Don’t get me wrong: I really do love all of my designs, and I would never produce something that is unattractive or made with inferior products, but let’s be honest: no two people have the same taste, not even a designer and her clients. But my job as an invitation designer is to create the most beautiful invitation I can based on my clients’ tastes and desires, not mine.

So what should you look for in a designer of custom wedding invitations? 

Knowledge About Invitations

There are many places to look for a designer of custom invitations. Any graphic designer can probably handle the job. But you want to find someone who knows about different papers, different printing techniques and all the different elements that belong in an invitation suite. After all, there isn’t just the invitation. There’s the reception card, envelope, and a variety of inserts that clients may need. And each client may need something different based on their event details such as location and duration, buffet or sit down meal, afternoon or evening event, and other event particulars. There are also general guidelines about how to word invitations so that guests know where to go, what time to be there and how to dress. If the designer doesn’t create many invitation suites, they may forget to include key details.

Pays Attention to Detail

Make sure your designer pays attention to detail. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting your invitations back from the printer and finding an error on them. Designers are human and sometimes make mistakes, but often, many do not stand by their work or offer to correct errors if they’re at fault. This is especially true of online invitation vendors such as Zazzle.

One way to tell if a designer pays attention to detail is to look at her website, samples and marketing materials. Do they have spelling errors? Are her designs missing key pieces of information? How is her ad typeset? Does it follow proper rules of capitalization and grammar? Invitations don’t necessarily have to follow every conventional grammar rule since they are art pieces, not term papers, but a designer’s marketing is a reflection of her talent and should convey the designer’s expertise, accuracy and clarity.

Will Work With Your Budget

Some designers are very inexpensive, and others charge more for their services. There is no hard and fast rule about what custom invitations should cost, but if you have a budget in mind, your designer should be able to work within that budget to design an invitation that doesn’t break the bank. Your designer should also be able to suggest ways to change some of the details without affecting the overall integrity of the design. The most important thing your designer should be able to do is help you prioritize the elements you want in your invitation so that you get exactly what you want at a price you can afford.

Finding a Designer Who’s Right for You

There are many places to find a designer who is right for you. The BEST way is from a personal referral. Ask friends and family where they got their invitations. Another way is by looking on the Internet and on social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram where designers post samples of the work. That’s the quickest way to find people who design things you like. There are other places to look such as wedding blogs, bridal sites and even Craigslist, but I caution you about sites like those because you never know what you’re going to get. If you can’t see designs or if you don’t know the person, you risk wasting time and money on an invitation you may end up not liking.

Weed Out Bad Designers

Speaking of Craigslist, I’d like to demonstrate one way to weed out designers who may not have the best design skills. Take a look at the Craigslist ad for custom invitations below:

Craigslist ad for custom invitations . . . would you hire this designer based on this ad? (click on image for larger view)

Do you notice anything odd about this ad?

I sure do. First of all, none of the sentences in the ad itself are capitalized. This can be a cute font treatment in an invitation, especially when it’s deliberate, but it should never be used in an ad by someone advertising his or her custom design services. It looks like a mistake, and if a designer makes mistakes in his ad or marketing materials, they will likely make mistakes on your invitation.

Second, this company describes itself as “cheap.” Not “affordable” or “reasonably priced,” but “cheap.” Who wants CHEAP invitations? Invitations can be budget friendly, and a good invitation designer can recommend creative ways to keep costs down, but “cheap”? Using the word “cheap” in an ad about a product or service you’re selling implies the product or service is merely mediocre. That doesn’t inspire much trust that the invitations will be high quality or unique.

Third, this company doesn’t just design invitations. They also do website design, install Microsoft Windows on computers, do data recovery, make slideshows and even do “photography shoots for such a cheap price.” It sounds like they don’t do much invitation designing at all. How can they with all the other things they do? If I were looking for a custom invitation designer, I would want to know that’s all they do and that it’s what they specialize in.

So when looking for a custom invitation designer for your next event, be sure they come highly recommended and have positive reviews, that they pay attention to detail and understand what’s required for the job you’re hiring them for, and that they know how to prioritize and balance your needs and desires with your budget.

If you have any questions about how to start the invitation design process, Invitation Maven would be happy to answer your questions.