Wedding Invitation 101: Where to Start

Happy Monday everyone! I’ll be away for a couple of weeks to catch up on some personal things, but I’m leaving you in EXCELLENT hands while I’m away! Ashley from Fine Day Press graciously agreed to fill in for me this week, and we’re kicking things off with the first installment in a series of posts about wedding invitations! It’s a wonderful primer for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the world of wedding invitations and save the dates. Welcome Ashley!! –Nole


Hey there! Ashley Austin from Fine Day Press here. Nole has kindly invited me to guest blog this week, and I’m super-duper excited to be here sharing some fun posts with you all! Today we’re kicking off a weekly series all about wedding invitations called Wedding Invitation 101. Invitations are a big part of what I do over at Fine Day Press, in addition to greeting cards, calendars and other paper goodies. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to streamline the process, and I’m sharing them with you here.


Your wedding invitations are often the first thing your guests will see; it should represent the spirit of the day and set the tone. It’s never too early in the planning process to start envisioning your dream invitations!

Will your wedding be a formal affair or is it more of a barefoot-on-the-beach event? Think about your style as a couple – does gold foil on navy stock suit your style, or will you go for a more romantic vibe with something hand-illustrated?

Maybe you’ve determined your wedding location, chosen your dress, flowers or even selected your color palette… All of these details can inspire your invitation suite.  But even if you haven’t figured those biggies out, you can still start dreaming up your perfect paper pairing.


Collecting inspiration is a great way to kick off the process. This could be as simple as making a folder on your computer to save images as you’re browsing wedding blogs, clipping things out of magazines, or creating a Pinterest board specifically for invitation ideas (my personal favorite!). Below is an inspiration board I’ve created for example:


Clockwise from top center: Bouquet via Southbound Bride; Hairstyle via Refinery29;  Soulmates painted sign Julie Song Ink; Invitation by Fine Day Press; Envelope & liner by Lana’s Shop; Naked cake via Wedding Sparrow; Milk & Cream type via Pinterest

Don’t just collect examples of invitations – think about colors, textures, ribbons, flowers, anything that might inspire you – like a throw pillow that’s the perfect shade of coral or the lace detail on the back of a dress.

Start researching stationery shops (whether brick & mortar or online) to identify a few you might like to work with. Found a stationer you like? Most stationery companies allow you to order a sample, so that you can see the paper and quality in person before committing to a bigger purchase. Local shops will have samples on hand for you to touch and feel.


There are as many ready-made invitation styles out there as there are brides-to-be, and finding an existing design can be a great option. Your selected design can often be customized with your colors and typography choice, among other details.

If you love being part of the creative process, or have a very specific design idea for your suite, a custom design may be for you. Crafting a custom design typically takes longer and may involve an initial meeting, moodboard development (this is where that inspiration you’ve collected comes in handy), and multiple rounds of design development. Budget will come into play here as well, as creating a from-scratch design requires significantly more hands-on time and pricing usually reflects this.


Sending out a Save the Date is a great way to give everyone on your list a heads up on your plans, and set the tone for the invitation to follow. Save the Dates are a great opportunity to do a less formal version of your invitation – for example, a magnet, a balloon or even a temporary tattoo are fun ideas! If you are having a destination wedding in a far-flung locale, a Save the Date is a must, in order to give your guests sufficient time to plan their travels.


A beautiful printed Save the Date from Designer Rolodex member Sable & Gray

Are mailed Save the Dates a must-do? Not necessarily! If you are getting out your invitations super early, you could skip it. Or perhaps your wedding is small enough that word of mouth is sufficient until the invitations are sent. Some folks may prefer to send a digital Save the Date. This can also serve to direct guests to your wedding website. Keep in mind, though, that less digitally-savvy relatives (hi, Grams!) may feel left out with this option.

We’ll cover invitation timing in greater detail in a future installment of this series!