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All Your Wedding Stationery Questions Answered By an Expert

Carly Martin is the owner of Clementine Studio, a stationery studio with a focus on custom wedding stationery and specialized illustration. She creates beautiful, magical watercolors and illustrations perfect for the couple looking to stand out! She was a guest on our podcast, Love Stories Radio, where we asked her your stationery-related wedding questions and have compiled quick hits of all her answers below! Listen to her episode to get the full responses and even more great info and inspo!

How far out should I book a stationer if my wedding is in a year and a half? What about if I’m getting married in only six months?

I would say go ahead and reach out early. Let’s say you’re getting married in a year and a half. I know a lot of people want to check things off right away and people are booking things SO far out these days. So reach out to your stationer or venue and gauge their schedules and timelines so you can lock that in. If someone reached out to me a year and a half in advance—it’s obviously way too early to start working together—I can at least take a deposit to hold a spot and then I’ll reach back out when it’s time to start the process. As for six months, be prepared to pay a rush fee to “cut in line” on my calendar since I’ll have to reshuffle some things. The earlier, the better!

What are all the different types of stationery?

So letterpress is probably the most traditional form of stationery. It means handpressed invitations that create that really nice indentation on luxury paper. I think it’s such a fun part of invitations to include because it’s such an old and traditional form of printing, but you can still make it really beautiful and modern. Watercolor can really only be digitally printed because, where letterpress is one color at a time, watercolor is transparent and fluid so it needs to be on a really high-quality printer. My favorite combination is doing letterpress text with watercolor details. It gives that nod to tradition but updates it and adds some color. And then foil is also great. It adds a little bit of elegance without being over the top. I love the look of copper or gold foil on watercolor designs, especially if it’s your names in script, for instance. You don’t need any of it, but they definitely add something. It’s really about the personality of the couple. A lot of times parents get involved and have strong opinions, but you can find a happy medium. See what you like and don’t like on Pinterest and let your stationer know. Ask them if they can send you samples so you can really feel and see what you’d be purchasing.

How much does the average person spend on wedding stationery for 150 guests?

This is completely dependant on who you’re working with—their experience, location, what they offer—it really can range. Always be upfront about your budget. If there’s a hard line, often your stationer can suggest what their lower-cost options are. Printing is expensive and that’s where most of my fees come from, not even my designs. Be prepared to spend around a couple thousand dollars. Digital printing is typically cheaper than letterpress and foil adds at least a couple hundred dollars. There’s other ways to get around it, like if I were to create the design and you then found your own printer or if you only used a crest I created on your wedding website. For 150 invitation suites, that’s definitely over $1,000. Wedding planning is hard and you just have to focus on what is important to you. If that’s stationery, value the person you’re working with, trust them and pay up for it because it will be worth it.

How many proofs should you do on your invites?

Proofing is great, but this goes back to what I said earlier about trusting your people. You went to your vendor for a reason and they are the experts. I definitely make a lot of edits when it comes to copy changes or colors, but the fewer edits the better. It’s really important that you know what your style is and the design that you want. If you’re not 100% sure about it, let your stationer know beforehand. They will ultimately know what’s best so try to trust your gut that you hired the right person. I would suggest making a couple edits and then handing it off and focusing on something else at that point.

Are your wedding invitations/save the date supposed to match your wedding colors/theme?

This is just total personal preference. But I think especially for destination weddings, matching is the way to go because it’ll get people excited about the location. That being said, no, I don’t think it’s a requirement at all. I think you can have fun with it. Send out whatever you want. They can match and if you have day-of stationery that is reminiscent of your save-the-dates will make it cohesive. But if they don’t match, your guests will be in the moment and definitely won’t remember.

I would love to have a custom hand-painted watercolor crest to use throughout our wedding, but how do I even start planning the design with my stationer?

This is my favorite accent of invitation suites right now! They’re so fun and help tie in your stationery to so many different things in your wedding and after your wedding like your thank you cards, stationery or you can even have it printed in your house. Start by finding images you like to show your pro. I’ve found incorporating florals helps create a base and then I love including specific things that are relevant to each couple like their dog. It can even just be a family thing, that’s not obvious to guests. I think it’s such a nice nod to include these little Easter eggs throughout a custom emblem.

How do you politely ask for returns back on your RSVPs?

This is so frustrating! However, I will say, even if it’s a lot of people, you should always reach out personally. Have your parents, friends and some close relatives help reach out and just politely ask if these people are planning on coming. It’s better than just sending out a mass message on Facebook or email and, hopefully, people will be apologetic about it.

What do you think makes an invitation stand out the most while still staying on a budget?

I think really good design ultimately helps an invitation stand out. Whether it’s watercolor or not watercolor, some of my favorite invitations are from a graphic design perspective—like really strong fonts or even just an unexpected layout that’s not just centered text. It doesn’t have to be a crazy expensive design, but it stands out because it’s different. I do think watercolor is great for that because it’s punchy and beautiful. It doesn’t have to come in a beautiful package necessarily, as long as the invitation itself is unique. The actual design or text can be done in so many different ways—just being creative with that would be the most budget way to help you stand out.

What are some of your favorite wedding stationery trends?

I love custom heralds, I think they’re always really fun and unique. My other favorite is envelope liners. I think they’re so underrated because you really don’t see them outside of weddings. They’re such a perfect way to add personality and color and set a tone. For instance, I did a really dark-hued envelope liner for a January city wedding and it just made it feel so luxe when you opened it!

I need help with what to put on the detail/info/reception card! I know I’ll have to put the reception venue, but I also feel like I need to include not to wear white, that kids aren’t invited and to bring cash because we’re having a cash bar.

First things first, please don’t put “do not wear white” on your invitation. I’m sorry you have someone in your family that would do that—that’s appalling!—but, for most people, it goes without saying. If there’s a specific person who would do that, speak to them personally. Putting it on your invitation kind of sets a weird tone. Ultimately, on your wedding day, you probably won’t even notice. The kids thing is always kind of tricky, but it is so common to not include kids and it’s something people can’t take personally. Make sure to address the envelope very specifically, like Mr. and Mrs. Smith as opposed to The Smith Family and don’t apologize for it. If someone decides to ask you for an exception, just be polite about it. There are cute ways to say it like, “We want you to have a parents’ night out!” I don’t think you need to put it on the actual invitation because the envelopes without the kids’ names should be obvious enough. However, if you feel like you need to state it somewhere, I would put it on your wedding website. For the cash bar, yes, that’s something you’ll want to alert people to in advance so they’re not caught off guard. You could add that as a small note underneath the info card—you don’t need to have an explanation so just kind of add it on there. If you have a website, put it there too and then just kind of leave it. You let people know and they can figure it out.

Listen to her episode here:

Follow @clementinestudio on Instagram, visit theclementinestudio.com and check out Clementine Studio on lovestoriestv.com to see her work and learn more about her here or below.