Friday, March 15, 2013

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Tips from the Pro
The Net Worth of Invitations

By Jackie Szymanski, owner of All Things Paper

You have the groom, the venue, the date is set and the only thing missing is the wedding invitation. The hunt now begins. In an attempt to save money, you head for “the net” where you can sit at your convenience and peruse a large variety of stationery. You look at all the sites, play with fonts and colors but nothing seems to be working. Why is this happening when it should be so simple to “log on” and create perfection? The answer is in the process of ordering on “the net.”

Problem #1 – Most web companies offer designs that are “stock items.” Stock items are graphics, fonts and layouts with limited variation. For example, if you saw an invitation that showcased a red rose and you wanted the rose in yellow, you will have to purchase the invite with the red rose. Color change is usually not allowed as this is the graphic they have “in stock.” The same thing applies to fonts. You have limited font choices and colors.  Most companies will not use a font or color of your choice if it isn’t on their stock list.

Layouts also carry the same restrictions. Several layouts will be presented but there is little variation on these as well. By using stock graphics, font, layouts and colors the person who is doing the “designing” doesn’t have to do much thinking and can produce your invitation quickly and efficiently, which is why net companies can produce your invitation in 5-6 business days. They are literally “filling in the blanks.”

Problem #2 – Paper is a big issue when it comes to buying on “the net.” In order to sell invitations at a lower price, the net companies must cut costs somewhere, and paper is a good place to start. One quality of a good invitation is the stock on which it is printed. Quality paper should be sturdy, the color should go all the way through, it should not fade and it should have a rich feel to it. The paper I have seen from some companies is very light weight and almost resembles a slightly heavier computer paper—definitely not an elegant statement!

Problem #3 – Do you know from whom you are ordering? The net is not regulated. Anyone can create an invitation company and claim they are a business. Because there is no face-to-face contact, you have no idea with whom you are dealing. I have seen some sites where there is no phone number and an e-mail address is the only form of communication.

Problem #4 – If there is a problem, who is going to help you solve it? Most “net” companies have employees who may or may not be acquainted with your order nor are they necessarily designers, therefore, how can they provide quality customer service that is design related?

Problem #5 – Where is the advice on etiquette? When I work with brides there are usually many questions regarding wording for unique family situations. Most online companies will not take the time to advise you on these very important issues. You are left to stumble through their site and hope you find the answer to your questions. Help in this area is usually minimal.

Because your wedding is judged by the invitation, serious thought should be given to its creation. Based on this one piece of paper, three decisions will be made by your guests – the women will decide whether to buy a new dress, the guest will decide what type of gift (and if it is monetary, how much to gift) and the last, and perhaps most important decision will be, “do I even want to attend.”

Furthermore, your invitation is the only aspect of your wedding that is held by your guests for 6-8 weeks. They show it to friends and talk to other guests about the upcoming event. It becomes a show piece for the celebration. When the wedding has ended, there are only three mementos you will keep: Your dress, your photos and the invitation.
So when it comes to ordering, consider the “net worth” of what you are buying.
Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. 

All Things Paper has been in business since 1998 with a 1,600 square foot design studio. Their goal is to provide customers with a wide variety of quality custom invitations from the thousands of papers at their disposable. Hours are by appointment only.

All Things Paper
1161 Tower Road
Schaumburg, Illinois 60173
(847) 882.8142

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