While online ordering may seem daunting, it can actually be a fun and easy way to get just the wedding invitations you want, at a great price. Here's how:
Before you go online, think about what kind of wedding you want to have. It's your big day and weddings can cost a lot of money. While you and your fiance want to be gracious hosts, your wedding should ultimately be about what the two of you want, not what you think will impress your friends and families.
If you had to describe your dream wedding to someone, what adjectives would you use? Elegant? Casual? Rustic? Bohemian? Beach or destination? Does a certain color of motif come to mind? Think about what kind of wedding invitations will best express your theme. Don't worry if nothing -- or too many different things -- immediately come to mind. Once you're browsing your invitation options on various storefronts, you'll get a better feel for what you and your fiance like and want to send out.
If you're ready to order wedding invitations, you should have an idea by now of how many guests you want to invite and how many invitations you'll need to order.
Keep in find that many sites -- including Zazzle, where we offer our invitations -- run great sales on wedding stationery. This means that invitations that might otherwise be too pricey are now within your reach. So plan ahead for the best prices.
Some of the things that you'll want to consider when choosing a site from which to order your invitations are:
Reputation: One of the great things about the internet is that you can research your vendors before you buy from them. It's impossible to please everyone, so don't let one or two bad reviews deter you. But if your Googling shows nothing but hating about a particular wedding invitation company, it may be better to choose another one.
Turnaround Time: How quickly do you need your invitations? Wedding Invitations usually go out around 6-8 weeks before the wedding, longer if it's a destination wedding.
Are you sending out save the date cards or magnets? There's not as much of a rush on these, as they usually go out between 4-9 months ahead of the wedding.
Turnaround times are established by the online vendor -- not the individual storeowner -- with the printing companies they use. Will you be able to get your invitations soon enough? Mistakes can happen, so would there be time to reorder if you need to? Be sure to factor in things beyond the vendor's control, like delivery mishaps.
Customer Service: Ideally, things will go flawlessly, but that's not always the case. What if you need to cancel or change your order after placing it? If you require help with your wedding invitation order, is someone available to help you and, more importantly, are they responsive to your needs?
Guarantee and Refunds: Zazzle offers a 100% guarantee on the products they sell. Make sure your vendor does the same. There's nothing worse than having to pay twice for something or having to send out an invitation that doesn't make you and your fiance happy.
Once you know your theme, have a budget in mind, and have selected a vendor, it's time for the fun stuff: finding a store and actually ordering your invitations. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Selection: The store company with 50,000 styles to choose from only has a large selection, not necessarily the best. Quantity doesn't mean that a storeowner has the design you need. We've found that some of the smaller Zazzle shops have the best collections, because care and attention has gone into every aspect of creation and production detail. For instance, our shop, Be There Invitations, has fewer collections of invitations than many other shops. But each of our collections features custom photography you won't find anywhere else. Better yet, we offer our invitations at competitive prices. We know we can't be all things to all people, so we try to be among the best for the discriminating bride-to-be.
Size of collection: Once you've decided on a style of wedding invitation you like, check to see if all the coordinating pieces you want -- like reception cards, RSVP cards, and the like -- are displayed there. Your bridesmaids and family members may want bridal shower and bachelorette party invitations in the same theme as your invitations. Does the store owner include these as well?
Some storeowners don't include items that are less frequently ordered, such as bellybands, "advice for the couple" cards, or "Will you be my bridesmaid?" cards. You may also find an invitation you love, but would really prefer it in another color. Many storeowners are available by e-mail and would be happy to create a new product or modify an existing product for you upon request.
Ease of Use: While two invitations may look similar, one may be much easier to order than another. This is because many storeowners create their own product templates and they don't always do correctly. Did the storeowner make it easy for you to order? Did he or she rename the fields to something intuitive? Can you change the layout of the invitation to add, delete or rearrange information or is everything locked down?
If the template isn't working the way it should, consider e-mailing the storeowner with your concerns. He or she may be unaware of the problem and could easily fix it for you.
It may be tempting to place your entire order at once. Unless you're under a time crunch, just don't do it. Design an invitation in two or three of your favorite designs and order just one of each. Look at the print quality, the layout, and the type of paper. Ask your bridesmaids and family members for their input. Mail an invitation to yourself to see what it looks like after going through the postal service. Are there any upgrades you want to (or should) make?
Once you're happy with your final selection, place your full order, including a few extras. And again, keep in mind the timing. Zazzle and other online vendors occasionally run sales on wedding stationery, allowing you to obtain just the invitations you want at a better price.
Online ordering is a convenient way to get exactly the wedding invitations you want at a reasonable price. On behalf of all of us at Janusian Gallery and Be There Invitations, congratulations on your engagement and best wishes for a happy future.
- Lynne Guimond Sabean
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