It’s only three months away before my wedding, and time to start thinking about what printed materials I’ll need for the upcoming event. Just about everyone coming to the wedding is computer savvy, so it would be easy to send e-vites. But I prefer printed invitations; I like the feeling of connection – sending something tangible from my hands and knowing that it will be received into another.

Here’s what I call the Three “T”s to consider before I start designing:

THEME
I know how important it is to have some kind of continuous and consistent theme throughout all the materials. Just like a place or product, I had to come up with “branding” for the wedding. There were two guiding thoughts when I sat down and brainstormed: the season (late spring) – and the location – (by the ocean). With those two inspirations, I googled and looked through magazines to find an image that might convey one or both of those two things.

TONE
Other than the image, what kind of “look and feel” do I want for the wedding? Is it formal or casual? For me, it was something in-between.

TYPE
The most important part of the invitation, other than the image, is the typeface. It’s good to use two – one for the script font and one for the information.

And I should mention one more “T”:

TROUBLE – how much trouble will it be to actually print these? Are my images good enough for printing or were they meant for on-screen viewing only? Is there any complicated cutting and folding and other production issues that can make these way out of my budget?

Lastly, but most importantly, be sure to check in with your spouse-to-be and be sure you’re both on the same page. If he or she has another idea for the theme or how formal to make the printed material, that’s something you should negotiate BEFORE you start laying out all the pieces. Brainstorm together and see if you both come up with ideas. Or – go off separately and search online for some images that convey the feeling you want to evoke when your invited guest opens the envelope. Really try to envision that moment and find a dozen images and/or typefaces that match that sentiment. See if there’s any cross-over with your future spouse.

Here’s the list of collateral I knew I had to do:

 

Before:
Save the Date postcard – printed or email
Invitations – full color? one or 2 color? photograph or illustration?
Outside envelope – addressed by hand? laser printed ? labels?
Directions
RSVP – self mailing postcard is cheaper – or a card that needs to be inserted into an envelope (usually an A2)
Return envelope for the rsvp if needed
Postage – Don’t forget those “LOVE” stamps are available at the local post office.

During:
Table tent cards for the sit down meal
Menu or recipe cards to describe ingredients at the buffet table
Wine label – a fun idea if you are buying the booze
Room/door signage – if you have overnight guests at an inn, make door signs!
Sign in book – create a cover with the theme of the wedding

After:
Thank you cards – very important to thank the people who give you loot and came to celebrate.

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