I am asked all of the time, Why are Custom Invitations More Expensive? I have been asked this question so much lately by inquiring brides, and fellow industry vendors, I decided to update a blog I wrote in 2010 on the topic! My hope is to answer any questions out there, as well share with you why we should value hard work and talent!
READY-MADE VS CUSTOM: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Ready Made invitations are printed in the thousands as Templates. The Main design is printed in BULK in the thousands, stored and then distributed around the country to different invitation vendors, who put them in a book. And then brides go in, search through the books and choose the invitation they like. When that order is placed, a smaller less expensive printer, usually digital or laser, is used to print your name and personal information on the DESIGN TEMPLATE. So that the cost is less, they aren't having to set up and order supplies everytime an order comes in. They did this initially in the beginning and printed in BULK.
Custom Designed Invitations are more expensive because you are printing something unique and different in smaller numbers. They usually also include embellishments such as ribbon, crystals, brooches, etc. Which adds hand labor to the process. The above invitations have Lace Accents, ribbon, crystals, etc and no machine can do accents such as these. I always try and educate my brides that it makes more sense to purchase a package if you want something custom. Then we can make use of all the supply minimums we've had to order. (Keep reading for further explanation of minimums and labor)
Why should I choose custom instead of trying to DIY them? I get asked this question all time, not just by brides but by many industry vendors as well. My answer is simple, and I say this in the nicest way possible: YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE AND WON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING :) Because you don't do this on a daily basis, or have multiple projects like this under your belt, the quality of your final product will suffer. Our team has over 8 years of event industry experience, and over 20 years of design and printing experience. We have developed systems and methods over the years to produce our designs and creations — giving you an amazing quality.
Lot's of Brides, vendors and even friends have told me, they thought they would "Save Money" by doing their own stationery projects for their wedding. In the end, they ended up spending MORE MONEY AND TIME because they have never done this before, and end up with a lot of waste, mistakes and overspending on supplies. What does this mean? Here's an example, you and your bridesmaids gather around a table, for gossip and DIY. Well unfortunately, this means you will end up with 100 pieces, that all look different. Some of them may even have glue mistakes, crooked embellishments, and lopsided bows.
When you seek out a professional you are ensuring your stationery will be beautiful and of high production value. Because we have so much experience we have developed systems and procedures over the years to ensure that when we have to glue a total of 4,000 crystals — the very first crystal glued has the same look and placement as the very last crystal we glue. We also have quality control procedures in place to ensure that every guest receives the very best of our creations! As professionals completing multiple weddings a year, my staff and I have tested and used many different products over the years (i.e. glue, paper, ink, etc). Taking Glue as an example: Not all glue is created equally! :) We know what glue is best and won't bleed through to the other side of the paper, or what glue is the strongest or is easiest to clean up if a mistake as made.
Another reason to choose a trusted professional is relationships. Over the years relationships are built with the various vendors we work with. Because of this, you will probably get better pricing on supplies going through a professional than purchasing them yourself. For example, If there is more than one wedding on the books using Linen Paper, then paper for both wedding projects can be ordered at the same time - this sometimes can help save cost. Or if you have more than one wedding using the same paper, you might be able to print them together on a larger sheet- therefore saving money on set up fees. Your stationer can negotiate with the paper and printing vendor and get a better pricing than you could as an a la carte customer.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against DIY, but if you are looking for high quality stationery and reception creations that will WOW your guests, chances are you won't get that when you try to do it yourself. I know Pinterest and Etsy make it seem so easy, but take it from a professional you get what you pay for — creating custom designs that WOW takes talent, experience and a practiced steady hand.