From The Studio: New Hip Ink Couture Business Cards and More!

January 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

[Yes, it’s true – Workshop Wednesday is more of a Workshop Thursday today!]

I promised a while back I would show some of the new Hip Ink Couture branding collateral (a fancy marketing/advertising word for “stuff”) and a bit more about the process, and last week I promised to show our new business cards as well as the promo packages and stationery giveaways from the WedLuxe wedding show.

So without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff 😉

First, because I can’t contain my excitement, our brand new business cards (which I already have to reorder, so I guess that means they were popular!) – designed by yours truly and printed by the extremely talented Alexandra from Dolce Press in Batavia, New York.

I wanted something that was luxurious, made a statement but was still modern and hip, and Alexandra delivered exactly what I asked for – a 3″x3″ square duplexed (two sheets adhered together) card, with the logo foil stamped on a charcoal grey stock for the front, and the back letterpress printed in charcoal grey with a beautiful blind pressed pattern.

As a custom designer, I feel like my business card is my resume, my mini-portfolio, so it’s important that they reflect who I am and what I do. I am seriously over-the-moon in LOOOOOVE with these cards. They are exactly what I pictured and have lots of potential clients talking!

Just because, we need a close-up of that blind pattern, right? Great shot of the metallic look of the foil too!

Let’s rewind a little though…

It’s been a challenge trying to rework the current Hip Ink brand into two different flavours – Hip Ink Paper Co., our umbrella brand, which consists of our still-upcoming invitations lines and hopefully more stationery items down the road, and Hip Ink Couture, our luxury custom-designed invitations. I wanted Hip Ink Couture to still reflect the modern, hip sensibility of the original Hip Ink brand, but it needed to be more than that – more upscale, more elegant, more sophisticated.

Aside: Strange as it may sound, I see Hip Ink Paper Co, and Hip Ink Couture as twin sisters – Paper Co. is a nerdy cool designer chick with a whole lot of personality and a little bit of sass and Couture is the fashionable and trendy design diva with a flair for the dramatic. If they were shoes, Paper Co. would be a pair of Steve Madden’s and Couture would be a pair of Laboutins.

It started with the logo:  I wanted to incorporate part of the original Hip Ink logo, but add something that gave it an air of elegance and luxury, something that specifically was the opposite of the Hip Ink wordmark, to reflect what I do for my clients all the time – bring together sometimes opposite elements and inspirations and make it work.

Hand calligraphy was the first thing that came to mind, and I quickly sketched out what I was looking for (by the way, if anyone is wondering, this is part of what I did on my “corporate retreat”) and I was set. It literally came together in 5 minutes (with 5 months of thought behind it!), and I knew that I wanted the talented Moya Minns to create the custom calligraphy that would be entwined with our original wordmark to make up the new logo. And Moya worked her magic to create exactly what I had pictured in my head!

But…brand building is so much more than a logo. It’s about feelings, colours, images, a voice – so much more. To nail down the visuals, I needed to create a “brand board” of sorts, that would be my guide to creating new visuals for Hip Ink Couture. Here’s a peek at part of the board I put together:

How does the brand board come into play when it comes to designing new collateral? Think of it as the roadmap – you might know where you want to go, but the brand board (and other branding exercises) help you get there.

For example, I wanted to create a hand-out package for the WedLuxe wedding show we participated in, to give to interested couples and vendors, that included a business card and some additional info. With 11 stationers participating in the show, it needed to stand out.

To figure out where to start, I went to my brand and target customer descriptions:  The target Hip Ink Couture customer is looking for one-of-a-kind custom invitations that tell their story through great design, inventive materials and packaging and luxurious quality. As a brand, Couture is cool, clean and sleek – elegant and luxurious, but never over-the-top.

My answer was right there – I need to show and tell what we do, to tell our story in an innovative and luxurious way, and the vehicle was a hybrid between a promo package and an invitation design that would be typical Hip Ink.

It started with 5.5″x7.5″ boxes covered in grey velour (really cool tactile quality) which were foil stamped with our new logo.

Nestled inside, wrapped in silver tissue was a sample invitation of sorts (letterpress printed in a peacock blue ink and blink impression for our logo and details, on a super-thick 100% cotton Crane Lettra stock), that summed up exactly what we do.

Underneath, a scalloped pocket card containing a personal note from me (signed individually), as well as an insert with information about The Invitation Blog and a business card.

The packages were a big hit with the brides and grooms (as well as planners and other vendors) at the show, and I’ve already had a few clients tell me that they decided to contact us just based on these packages – while it was definitely a big investment, I’m hoping that it made a big impression!

And last, but certainly not least, were the adorable note card sets that we put together for the gifting lounge at the WedLuxe Show. In last week’s post on the show you can see the packages themselves in the photo (3 notecards with 3 matching platinum envelopes, wrapped with peacock blue velvet ribbon), but I wanted to show you some closeups I took.

The beautiful and whimsical calligraphy is by the fabulous Laura Lavender on Vancouver Island.

So…more to come over the next few months as we continue to transition Hip Ink Paper Co. and Hip Ink Couture – hope you’ll stop in and check it out!



Invitation Advisor: Weddings Pros – Will Work For Free?

January 24, 2012 § 4 Comments


Okay, so today is a big day for The Invitation Blog – this is our 200th post! Not sure when I started I thought I’d be hitting 200 posts in 18 months, but here we are – and we also just surpassed 50,000 views last weekend (although we’re up around 53,300 already) and have had over 6200 views during the month of January so far (that’s on track to almost double our busiest month previously). Oh, and we even smashed our one day view record on Jan 18th, with 462 views – the crazy part being that I didn’t even post anything that day! Yay for wedding season 🙂

The numbers themselves though are really meaningless – what is amazing is that everyone has been and continues to be so supportive of The Invitation Blog and the idea of a putting some straight-up truth out there about weddings, stationery and the like. Thank you!

And so, that brings me to today’s post…

Every now and then, a fellow stationer or wedding pro will say, “you really need to write a blog about this”. And usually they are right, about whatever it is they are talking about. And usually it’s something that is an issue that comes up with clients due to lack of knowledge or understanding. And usually it causes friction. And this is one of those things.

Aside: My high school English teacher just expired after reading the above.

Straight up, so there is no misunderstanding: I do NOT work for free. Never. I may work for payment in something other than cash every now and then (ie. trade, advertising etc. – something of tangible value, not just “exposure”), but never for nothing.

And yet, as clear as I am with potential and current clients about that (as are, I’m sure, most vendors), it still comes up every now and then. And based on what some of my colleagues have to say, quite frequently for them as well. Clients who feel it’s okay to ask us to do work for them for free, for whatever reason.

There’s a few different flavours of this phenomenon as well: some of the requests can be fairly innocuous while some can be just brazenly ridiculous, sometimes just based on lack of knowledge or thought and sometimes based on people being willing to take advantage of anyone just to save a few dollars.

Luckily, I would say that mostly it’s the former, in both cases.

Commonly what may happen is something like this:

A client comes in to chat about a custom project – we look at my past work, we chat about colours, papers, look at samples etc. and put together an idea that appeals to them. I then send off a quote that clearly states our policy – we require a $250 design deposit to begin work on a project. That’s actually generous compared to many in the industry – in most cases it’s 50% of your total order. I do what feels right to me – something that protects me (ie. I get paid for the design work I do) and the client (they don’t stand to lose more than $250 if we can’t come up with a design they like – which has never happened, at least so far).

Then, I may receive an email from the client that says something like, “Can you put together a proof for us so we can see what it’s going to look like? We just can’t visualize it and want to make sure we like it before we go ahead.”

In a word…NO. I’m not being a hard-ass, but that’s how custom anything works – that’s why it’s custom. Because it’s just for you, created from scratch. I get the idea of a client being a little apprehensive, but that’s life – whenever you hire a wedding vendor you are taking a risk to some degree. If you had a designer making a custom gown for you, would you ask them “can you just make me a dress so I can see what it’ll be like before I decide if I want to pay you?”. Obviously not. Again, I would hope that usually this is just a result of a couple not realizing that what they are basically asking is “can you do some work for free on the off chance I’ll be happy with it and hire you”.

There’s a (dirty) word for that in the design industry – spec work. Even AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) thinks it’s uncool (you can read more on their stance here:

It always stings a little to hear that too – after all, it comes down to a trust issue. After spending 60-90 minutes with a couple talking to them, getting to know them, showing them my portfolio of past work, giving them ideas of what I would do for them…it kinda sucks to hear them tell me that basically they don’t trust me with $250, that they aren’t sure I can come up with something that will be “good enough”. Ouch.

It happens outside of custom design too though – it could be clients asking for free proofs (“we just want to see it with our names first”), additional items that weren’t originally included in an order (ie. custom illustrations, maps, additional inserts etc.), even things like rush orders or reprints at no cost (due to delays or mistakes that the client themselves are responsible for).

And let me be clear: the examples below may be stationery related, but this happens to all sorts of wedding vendors as well. While I think maybe it’s an issue that is most prevalent with invitations, I know that those same couples would have no issue asking another vendor to do the same for them.

The one that makes me scratch my head the most is the “please donate XXX for our wedding in exchange for free publicity”. I’ve gotten a few of those emails in my time and it makes me laugh uproariously. It usually starts out with a story about why or how the couple can’t pay for the wedding of their dreams, and then asks us to donate invitations completely for free and in return we’ll get amazing publicity because all the wedding guests will see it. Ummmm…you’re joking right?

I can absolutely understand wanting things you can’t afford (trust me), but when did that become my issue as a vendor? You’re asking me to work for free (worse than that, as paper, printing etc. are still things I have to pay for), so that you can have the wedding of your dreams? I get it, the big bad wedding industry is at fault for telling couples they need to have this or that…blah blah. That doesn’t fly on this blog – I have never suggested that couples spend outside of their means (the mantra here is “make sure your invitations match your event”), and I never would, so let’s have a little respect and common decency, shall we? I have bills to pay and kids to feed too!

Aside: It’s not just those with no budget asking – it’s people with huge budgets too. It would probably sicken people to know how many of the goods and services that made up Kim Kardashian’s wedding were “donated” in exchange for publicity. Hope those vendors thought it was worth it. Let’s just say that next time KK wants to get married, she better not be knocking on my door asking for something for free 😉

Do I think there are legitimately couples out there who deserve to have weddings that they can’t afford.? Yes, I do. So too do many other vendors – that’s why organizations like Wish Upon A Wedding exist – and I fully support their mission and the couples they help. If you feel you are a couple who could use assistance, based on extenuating circumstances, I’d urge you to contact your local WUAW chapter, or one of the other similar organizations out there.

So what’s the takeaway advice today?

Consider what you’re asking of your wedding vendors, *before* you ask them. Are you asking them to work for free? Would *you* work for free? If your boss came in at 5pm and told you that he decided you should work all day tomorrow for no pay, would you be happy?

Asking a vendor to go above and beyond is one thing, but just consider what it really means for them, and make sure you ask appropriately, respectfully and accept the answer with dignity. You’re much more likely to get the same in return.

Workshop Wednesday: WedLuxe Wedding Show Wrap-Up

January 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

I love me some alliteration, don’t you!?!

Before I get into today’s post, I just wanted to acknowledge that over the weekend The Invitation Blog hit what I think is a big milestone for a little niche blog – 50,000 views! Thanks to all of you who continue to read, support, and put-up with my crazy antics! 😉

So, yes, normally we’re showcasing one of our invites on Wednesday, but today I thought I’d post a little wrap up of the WedLuxe Wedding Show that we participated in last Sunday (January 8th, 2012).

If you’re not familiar with WedLuxe magazine, it’s Canada’s premier luxury wedding magazine, showcasing THE most amazing eye-candy from real weddings to amazing editorial shoots, and featuring some of Canada’s most creative and talented vendors. I was thrilled to be asked to join WedLuxe’s Glitterati and to participate in this year’s inaugural WedLuxe Wedding Show at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto.

Of course, being me, in my haste to get everything together for the show, I forgot one important bit – my camera. So, alas, no full pictures of my booth (which is a bummer, I won’t lie), but I can tell you it was modern and streamlined, white, black and chrome with a little bling behind our invites, and a gorgeous floral arrangement from Shannon at Curly Girl Flowers.

Luckily, Shannon’s fab photog snapped a photo of the arrangement and you can see some of our booth in the background (and upfront our brand new Hip Ink Couture business cards, which you’ll find out more about next Wednesday!):

image via Curly Girl Flowers Blog

The Wedluxe show really was a show like none other I’ve ever experienced – especially the amazing lounges put together for the show attendees. There was the “Love in Spades” Tea Room directly across from our booth, the Sterling Groom’s Lounge (the Man Cave as I called it) and the Beauty Boutique where brides-to-be could receive free manicures, make-up applications, free beauty products and free stationery! The the vendor set-ups were absolutely amazing. The cakes, the flowers, the invitations (we were one of 11 stationery companies exhibiting – that’s a lot of invites!), the accessories and headpieces, and the stunning tablescapes – it was a feast for the senses. And over 2000 people experienced it all in just 8 hours!

The show-stopper was literally the first thing you saw – the amazing flower entrance arch, made up of 1500 hanging ribbons with roses on the end (and yes, while we were setting up our booth, they were hanging those roses one-by-one by hand). So breathtaking in person, and I got to walk under about 20 times (lucky me!):

Photo by Verve Photo Co. via Wedluxe

We were able to participate in the show not just with our booth, but also through a collaboration with event planner Malvina Chevolleau from Fabulous Occasions as well as our stationery giveaway in the WedLuxe Beauty Boutique!

It was a pleasure to collaborate with Malvina on her WedLuxe tablescape, which was a gorgeous modern design with a cool grey, white and yellow colour scheme. We provided an invitation for display as well as screenprinted acrylic menus, oversize place cards (the ladies’ were embellished with handmade paper peonies), a table number printed on vellum which was wrapped around one of the centerpiece vases, and adorable clear packages with sequin “confetti”. I’ll even let you on a secret – the colour scheme and the printed items were actually based around Malvina’s new Fabulous Occasions logo and branding, and the tablescape created lots of buzz – especially our see-through menus, printed in white on clear acrylic, with a pop of bright yellow.

Here’s a photo from the show of the tablescape:

Photo by Verve Photo Co. via Wedluxe

And a closeup showing a bit more of our stationery designed especially for the show:

Photo by Tyler James Photography via Toronto Wedding Society

When we were asked to provide a stationery giveaway for the Wedluxe Beauty Boutique about 1000 ideas ran through my head, but I settled on something I knew every couple needs lots of  – versatile cards that can be used for thank yous, personal notes, etc. I asked talented calligrapher Laura Lavender to create some beautiful lettering (which said “From The Bride and Groom”) which we had letterpress printed in grey on a heavy cotton cardstock. We packaged them up with silver envelopes and tied them with an amazing peacock blue velvet ribbon and one of our brand new business cards. Hopefully the brides who were able to score a set put them to good use!

Here’s a photo where you can see our cards amongst the swag (top left):

Photo via

We had a great time at the show, showing off our custom designs including silk box and silk folio invites and some of our most popular custom designs. We had amazing feedback from both brides and other vendors (and we had great neighbours – Alex from Life Images Photography and Konstadin from Cakes by Konstadin, and at the end of the day I was totally exhausted but so happy!

After the show, it was so fun to catch up with all the blogs that featured our work (both from our own booth and our collaboration with Fabulous Occasions).

Here’s a list of some of the blogs that featured us in their WedLuxe coverage (thanks all!):

The Wedding Blog by Devoted to You Wedding Planners

Wedding Obsession

Belle Amour

Holly Matrimony Weddings


Gush Weddings and Events

Katia Trudeau

For some amazing photos from the event, check out the WedLuxe blog, which featured eight posts of amazing photos!

And last but not least, so you can’t say I never post any photos of myself, here’s one taken by the amazing Corina of Corina V. Photography when she visited the show:

See ya next year WedLuxe Wedding Show – we’ll definitely be back!

PS – Be sure to check back next week on Wednesday when I’ll have a recap of our show promo pieces – our new business cards, our stationery giveaway and our promo packages. Guaranteed eye candy!

Invitation Advisor: DIYP – Do It Yourself Plagiarsm

January 17, 2012 § 3 Comments

by FatesDarkHand via

Where do you draw the line between being inspired and flat-out stealing? Is there one when it comes to something that’s for “personal use”? What about when you publicize your derivative work and claim it as your own?

As an invitation designer, I’m constantly thinking in these terms when it comes to my industry, my colleagues etc. As the world gets smaller thanks to the internet etc., it gets more and more difficult to find unique inspiration, to come up with a design that hasn’t been done or seen a million times, and one that isn’t too derivative of someone else’s work (whether intentionally or not).

20 years ago, any designs I may have created as a custom designer would have probably seemed very unique to most couples who saw them (they would all be local of course, and all they would have for comparison would be the local stores carrying album invitations). These days, one of my potential clients can jump on the internet anytime and have access to literally thousands of designs from hundreds of designers all around the world. Yes, my job has gotten a lot tougher, even in the almost 6 years since I started Hip Ink.

I could probably write blog post after blog post about my views on where to draw the line when it comes to plagiarism in the design world (but to be honest, even I’m a bit of a fence sitter about exactly where that line is), but today I wanted to talk about something very specific that even I will admit is a grey area: DIY (Do It Yourself) couples and derivative invitation design.

Here’s what I am sure is a very common scenario:

Dick and Jane are looking for invitations, and come across a design they love. The only problem – it costs twice what they have budgeted. No worries, they think, we can do it ourselves for half the cost. And so they set about to copy the design they saw, so they can fit it into their budget. They buy similar papers, copy the design (but change the pertinent info, of course), put everything together and send them out to their guests (then wait for the compliments to roll in).

Is it plagiarism? Absolutely. But how bad is it, really?

The facts are pretty clear – designers are having DIY couples copying their work for their own use. It’s not really a question of whether it IS or ISN’T plagiarism (it totally is), but more a question of morality, of right and wrong. Is it right, is it okay for a couple to do this and feel that it’s “not hurting anyone” – after all, they weren’t going to buy the invitations anyway because they were out of budget? Is it okay for it to be similar, but not a copy? Is it okay for them to use the exact same wording, fonts, layouts, paper and material? Is it right for them to pay for a sample and then reverse-engineer it to be as close as possible to the original (happens all the time, believe it or not)?

It’s the moral line that’s tough to draw clearly. From a couple’s point of view, they are simply “borrowing” the design for personal use – they aren’t making money off it, they aren’t producing it in huge quantities, so it isn’t “costing” the designer anything. I really believe that most of the general public would feel this way about copying a design – probably wouldn’t think twice. After all, many of the current generation of couples getting married are the same ones who likely don’t feel that downloading music or moves illegally is a big deal either.

But from a designer’s point of view, there is so much that goes into an invitation design – hours of working with layouts, graphics, choosing the perfect fonts, sourcing exactly the right papers etc. To have someone profit off your hard work is upsetting, for sure – I’m sure no one would argue that. But as much as we’re told we should be “flattered” by someone imitating our designs for their own use, it’s very hard to feel that way when you see it as someone taking advantage of your hard work…especially in a case where they’ve done so because they can’t be bothered to pay you what it’s worth.

Admittedly, it’s not really a black and white issue, and for once (and maybe the only time on this blog!) I’m not even going to get up on my soapbox, because I realize that there are valid arguments on both sides of the issue, and even I’m not sure exactly where I stand. I know how I feel emotionally (it never feels good to feel like you’ve been taken advantage of), but logically, well, it’s a bit more difficult.

Here’s a new twist on this issue though, that hadn’t really even occurred to me until it happened to a colleague:

With the huge popularity of wedding blogs now, and the explosion of press of “real weddings” along with the trend towards DIY, there are many examples out there of DIY invitations – documented on blogs, in magazines etc. And the credit is always the same, “invitations and stationery by the bride” or “by the couple”, or sometimes attributed to a friend etc.

But what if that design is a complete copy of a design that’s already out there? That exact situation happened recently to a designer I know, and it was very difficult for her to see what was basically her hard work go not only uncredited (that’s a blog post for another time, believe me), but be attributed to the bride.

Yes, I get it – the bride *made* the invitations. But she didn’t design them, it wasn’t her concept, it was a paint-by-numbers replica of someone else’s work.

Is it cool to not only copy something, but then take credit for it publicly? No, in my world it definitely isn’t. In my opinion, that’s crossing the line.

The question is: whose job is it to ensure that it doesn’t happen? The bride (who doesn’t feel like she’s done anything wrong, I’m sure)? The blogger (who probably doesn’t need the extra workload, but at the same time should be responsible for making sure things are credited correctly)? The designer (who is now spending time looking for people ripping them off instead of working on exciting new designs)?

What’s the right thing to do? Credit the couple for their work in putting everything together, but credit where the inspiration came from as well? Is that even feasible? Does it create a slippery slope effect where suddenly everyone will be clamoring for credit on DIY weddings where their project/work/idea/design was the inspiration?

I know for a fact that in other disciplines in the wedding world – things like florals, cakes etc. – there is a much more lax sense of what is considered stealing someone else’s idea (ie. there is a lot of copying going on any many vendors don’t even see an issue with it).

This is one of those issues where I have a lot more questions than answers, so I’d love to hear your take – designers, wedding vendors, bloggers, brides and grooms – leave your opinions in the comments!



Press: Our Bora Bora Boarding Pass featuring in Toronto Life Weddings 2012

January 11, 2012 § 2 Comments


A few weeks ago, as part of our Top 10 favourite Hip Ink invitations of the year, I posted about these boarding pass invitations – but I didn’t want to give *too* much away, as I knew that there was the possibility they may be published.

Well, I’m happy to say that our design was selected for a full page feature in Toronto Life’s 2012 Wedding edition (available now!) and they did an amazing job with the in-house photography!

Here’s a scan of the gorgeous photo:

Photo by Christopher Stevenson

I also wanted to post a couple more photos (taken by Corina V.) as well…

Here is a shot of the full suite:

The invitation suite included personalized boarding passes for each guest, a passport-style RSVP, luggage tags as well as a postcard inviting guests to a reception back in Ontario. The inspiration was a combination of retro 60s and vintage 40s travel inspiration, with an update modern execution.

We did a matching Save The Date as well, which featured the date in a bold stencil (which always reminds me of vintage shipping crates) and the addition of the striped twine added a sweet element the overall design.

A project close to my heart, as Tahiti is pretty much my favourite place in the world, and I am absolutely *dying* to go back. This one let me live vicariously…

Re-post: When Do I Start Thinking Stationery? A Wedding Invitation Timeline

January 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

Okay…needed a bit of time off there to recover from our 32 Days of Blogging Hath December (the series formerly known as 31 Days of Blogging Hath December: The Redux), but we’re back at it this week!

It’s “Engagement Season”, and I’m guessing there are a number of you out there who are just starting the wedding planning process (at least our blog stats would suggest that’s the case, as they have been through the roof the past few weeks!) – so, think of this as a Hip Ink/The Invitation Blog public service announcement.

Today is a mash-up of our best advice on one of our most-asked questions at Hip InkHow long before my wedding do I need to start thinking about buying my wedding invitations?

The answer is probably a bit more complex than you may have initially expected, but allow me to make it easy for you:

Yes, everyone loves a visual, right?

But I can actually simplify it even further – if you read nothing more of this post, read the statement below and move on with the knowledge that you will not be scrambling for invitations:

Order your invitations 6 months before your wedding.

If you follow the advice above, you can’t go wrong.

Okay, let me be slightly more specific. Work backwards from your wedding date – you’ll want to send your invitations out 6-8 weeks in advance, 12 weeks if your wedding is during the summer or over a holiday weekend, and even earlier if you are having a destination wedding or many of your guests need to travel. For those who are not great without a calculator (guilty as charged) that means you need to add the turnaround times below to the estimates above. Determine your mailing date and work from there.

Ordering traditional invitations from a large stationery company or online vendor etc.? 6-8 weeks before your mailing date minimum, 10-12 weeks is optimal. Custom Designs? 4-6 months is preferred, but the sooner the better – in most cases, designers’ schedules can fill up quickly, so you’ll need to make sure your selected vendor can fit you in. DIY? This will vary greatly depending on how complicated your design is, how much time you have and how much help you can get. My rule of thumb is to take the amount of time you think you’ll need and then *TRIPLE* it. You heard correctly. Trust me when I tell you (from experience) it will take much longer than you expect, there will be bumps in the road, and mistakes happen when you don’t have the time to fix them.

Is it possible to get invitations completed within a few weeks if you are in a super-rush? The answer is yes, it’s possible. Will you be happy with selection, the results or the price? To be honest, probably not. Your best bet if you are totally stuck for time is to try a local printer (who can hopefully turn your project around quickly) or purchase printable invitations (from a stationery store, or big box craft store). There are some online retailers who also offer RUSH printing and delivery, so it is worth doing some research. Remember ye olde triangle of value: there’s fast, cheap, and good. You can generally only get two of those things at once. You will likely have to settle for a very limited selection, a lower-quality invitation and/or a big rush fee.

So, how do you avoid realizing 8 weeks before your wedding that you haven’t thought about invitations (and yes, it happens, and I’ve had a few brides call me in a panic to prove it)?

Follow our handy-dandy timeline below and you’ll be good to go (ooh, I was a poet and I didn’t even know it!):

9-12 months before your wedding

  • Put together your guest list to determine the number of invitations you’ll need
  • Start gathering photos, inspiration items etc. to help clarify your personal style and your vision of your big day (if you haven’t already!)
  • If you are sending out Save The Date cards, start to consider what type of Save The Date you’d like

6-9 months before your wedding

  • Purchase and send out Save The Date Cards, especially if you are having a wedding during the summer, holiday or destination wedding
  • Start looking at invitation options to determine the type and style of invitation you are looking for
  • If you’ve decided on custom-designed invitations, find a designer you’d like to work with and book them
  • Start giving some thought as to the wording of your invitation, what additional inserts you may need (reception cards, accommodation cards, map/directions, itinerary etc.)
  • Determine the day-of stationery you will require (menus, escort cards, programs, thank you cards etc.)

4-6 months before your wedding

  • Finalize your guest list and make sure you have full and correct names and addresses for all guests
  • Determine your invitation style, additional inserts and wording and place your invitation order
  • Don’t forget to proofread!

3-4 months before your wedding

  • Begin addressing your envelopes if you are doing so by hand or sending them out for calligraphy
  • Begin assembling all the parts of your invitations and stuffing them in the envelopes (keep them unsealed, just in case)
  • Order any day-of stationery if you haven’t already

8-12 weeks before your wedding

  • Take one complete invitation to the post office to be weighed and purchase postage
  • Seal your envelopes, apply the postage and take them to the post office to be mailed (ask for them to be hand-canceled if possible)

3-4 weeks before your wedding

  • Keep a running tally of your RSVPs as they come in, make sure you keep track of both yes and no responses
  • Mail any additional invitations for events surrounding your wedding (rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch etc.)

2-3 weeks before your wedding

  • Follow-up with any guests who have not yet replied to ensure you have an accurate headcount for your venue

1-2 days before your wedding

  • Make sure you have all of your day-of stationery together and determine who will take care of the items (ie. who will hand out programs, who will set up escort cards etc.)

1-3 months after your wedding

  • Send out thank you cards to your guests

This timeline doesn’t apply to every situation, of course, but hopefully it will help you plan and stay on track (at least where your wedding invitations are concerned!).



Day 32, 2011: Looking Ahead – Where is Hip Ink Going in 2012?

January 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Okay, so maybe I should have called it “32 Days of Blogging Hath December” this year…and maybe I will, retroactively of course.

There was just so much good stuff to fit in, that I needed an extra day. That said, it’s fitting that it should fall on New Year’s Day, as today’s post is all about what’s in store for Hip Ink (and The Invitation Blog) in 2012.

You’ve probably heard all about our re-brand (although the Hip Ink Paper Co. brand is sticking close to our original look) and I’ve been busy as a bee updating all of our collateral (business cards, forms etc.)

I’m excited to report that we should have a sneak peek at our website up by Monday, January 9th. The new website is a big undertaking which will likely not completed for a little while (things always take longer than you think, right?), but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

The big news for Hip Ink Paper Co. in 2012 is that we’ll be rolling out new invitation lines this year, designed in-house (by yours truly) with a modern edge and featuring multiple paper choices and optional upgrades.

Our brand-new Wedding line, “Hitched by Hip Ink”, will be debuting in full at the end of January, but there will be lots of sneak peeks for you over the coming weeks. We’ll be beginning with wedding invitations, and then adding Save The Dates, Bridal Shower and Engagement Party invites (and more!) over the next few months.

Following that we’ll be launching a Baby line, Social Occasion line and Bar & Bat Mitzvah line as well, all slated for completion before the end of the 2012.

To support these new lines, which of course will still be available locally by visiting the Hip Ink studio, we’ll be launching an Etsy shop (very, very soon!) featuring Hip Ink Paper Co. invitations and other paper goods.

On the back end of things, we’re implementing a whole new process for both Paper Co. and Couture clients, and I’m really excited to get everything integrated to make working with Hip Ink the best experience it can be!

What else? Where, there’s more where that came from, but you’ll just have to wait and see 😉

And what about The Invitation Blog?

TIB will be getting a bit of a makeover as well, along with the new website, and we’ll continue to bring you the best wedding invitation advice and inspiration (and probably some other crazy stuff too!).

As always, if you have comments or suggestions, kicks or kudos, I’d be thrilled to hear from you!

Oh, and one more thing…since I’ve talked so much in this post about sneak peeks, I thought I should probably give you one right now – the new The Invitation Blog logo:

Where Am I?

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