Thursday, March 6, 2008

Invitation keepsakes start with great invitations, Part I: Get Started

(One in an occasional series of tips for creating great invitations)

We are nearing the beginning of prime wedding season - May, June, July, and August - so it's time to think about wedding invitations. The most popular months for weddings to take place are, in this order:

* June
* August
* May
* July
* September
* October
* December
* November/April (tie)
* February
* March
* January

For some people, choosing the right invitation is a piece of cake – they scout online, find a dealer, look through a book or two, and make their selections. However, many people are overwhelmed when it comes to selecting, wording, and designing their invitations. I learned this first-hand during the years I spent selling invitations. For samples of my invitation design work, see the invitations framed as bar/bat keepsakes for Zoe, Dylan, Bethany, Ethan and Sarah, as well as the invitation for the small wedding collage.

Here is one of my favorite designs: a simple, elegant wedding invitation, which is distinguished by the elegant font as well as the very modern "debossed" paper. The paper gives you the look of layers without the weight or expense. For a closer look, visit

Fortunately, I found that there are some guiding principles that you can rely on to create invitations that make you happy and make a great impression on your guests. These are the invitations that people will compliment you on not only because they look great but also because they reflect who you are as well as the spirit of your event.

I’m happy to share what I have learned with you. You may think these tips go into ridiculous detail, which they do, but that is because the process of creating great invitations often involves choices where the details really matter.

It’s like building a house – if you’re starting from scratch, you are amazed at the level of detail involved – who knew that there were so many types of kitchen faucets, anyway? But you have to make those choices, so you might as well be informed before you get started.

And here is your first tip: Start Early

To make this process as stress-free as possible, start early – six months or more before your event. Some of my clients were only about three months away from their event…it can be done, but it’s not recommended. The important thing is to select the invitation itself. Deciding on the details, including the particular wording, font, color, and number to order, can be done later.

The most critical step in the whole invitation process is your approval of the proof. You have to allow time for mistakes to be made – they happen for lots of reasons, even with the best of companies. These days, invitation companies can turn an order around in days (after proof approval). Some companies let you see proofs online; some others will have to fax or email the proofs to you, which takes longer. So it is important to build in a “cushion” of time to reduce the stress on you (and on the dealer). So if you're planning a June wedding, I hope you are well along into the invitation ordering process.

Similarly, it is important to begin developing your guest list, with up-to-date addresses, as early as possible. This will help to ensure that you make the right decision about the number of invitations you need when you actually place your order.

Ready to get started? Take a look at the selection available through eInvite.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon, with tips on selecting and ordering your invitations.

(Can't wait? Email me: for the complete Purple Raincoat Guide to Creating Great Invitations.)

Once you've created that great invitation, be sure you preserve it with a Purple Raincoat collage. It's a great gift, so when someone asks, "what can we get for the bride and groom that is unique," you've got the answer. Just send them to the Purple Raincoat website and we will create something beautiful for you.

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