There are a few things that are good to know before you start making cards or invitations. All orders will include tailored advice for each piece in your project, but the questions below will give you a basic idea of how to plan ahead.
How much time do you have?
Buying materials, printing, trimming, assembling, addressing, stamping and mailing can take anywhere from 3 days to a couple of weeks (depending on what needs to be done and whether you are doing it all yourself or getting them printed by a local shop). I’d play it safe and factor in one whole month to get everything done and accommodate for any changes or bumps along the way.
How many do you need?
This will determine the quantity of materials you need. For most flat invitations you can print two cards on a regular 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. So if you need 100 invitations, and each invitation has one card, you would need a minimum of 50 sheets of paper.
Will you be using your personal printer, a local print shop or an online printer?
At home, and with a local print shop, you have more control over what the paper looks and feels like.
Can the printer handle the paper chosen for this project?
Talk to the print shop and ask about your options. If printing at home, run a test sheet through your printer that is the thickness and finish you want before committing to buying a large amount. Most printers can handle around 80 – 100 lb cover stock – my personal favorite is a hefty stock at around 140 lb, which you can buy from French Paper. You never know what’s possible until you try!
Are you going to be buying paper locally, online, or using the stocks available from the local print shop/online printer?
If you’re buying paper online, you should factor in a week’s worth of time for it to be delivered. If buying locally, you should also factor in delivery time, as sometimes the amount you need is larger than what they keep in stock (unless you are buying from Hobby Lobby, Michaels or an office supply store). If you are using what your chosen print shop has on hand, you don’t need to factor in any time for the paper to be available.
If printing at home, do you need to cut your cards or invitations to size after printing?
The best option is to take your prints to a local print shop for trimming. Allow at least a couple of days. On the other hand, you may not need to get your cards trimmed if you bought paper that is already the size you need (4×6 or 5×7 usually) and your home printer can handle these smaller sizes.
If printing at home, do you have enough ink?
Ink can be bought locally at an office supply store or online. If buying locally, it can be handy to buy more than you need and return what you didn’t use later. There have been too many times where I’ve had to run to the store in the middle of a job because I needed more ink. Save the receipt and yourself from headaches!
Will the envelopes match the paper, or contrast?
If they need to match, it’s best to buy from the same paper vendor. If contrasting, it doesn’t matter if you buy them from somewhere else, as this may help you find just the right color and style.
Will you be adding any finishing touches – a belly band, ribbon or twine, washi tape?
It’s a good idea to practice what it takes to get one finished invitation in order to know what quantities to buy of the materials you want, as well as the time you’ll need to complete them.
Do you need forever, postcard, custom or vintage stamps?
Forever and postcard stamps are usually easy enough to buy locally in the quantity you need, or you can buy online. Allow about a week to find, order, deliver and apply vintage stamps (my favorite vendor is Champion Stamp Co.). For custom stamps, it can take anywhere from 2-10 business days to receive your order from vendors like Zazzle, PictureItPostage and PhotoStamps.