What a Stationery Designer Really Does (That You Might Not Know About)

February 12, 2021

This blog post was co-written with Kitchener-Waterloo wedding planner extraordinaire Chrissy Kumornik of CK & Co. Events.

The wedding stationery designer is a bit of an elusive creature — especially when they make things look so darn easy! We wanted to outline the different roles that a stationery designer takes on during a typical wedding contract.

Invitation Design

Invitation on handmade paper
photo by Ariana Del Mundo Photography

Of course — this is the role that is the most visible on social media and on a designer’s portfolio. But with many stationery designers, there are two main design avenues that you can choose from, so it’s important to ask your stationery designer about the following options:

Custom Invitation Design

A “from-scratch” design that is uniquely yours. Looking for a custom venue sketch of your reception venue? Have a unique concept or theme for your day? Or maybe you and your partner have an amazing story of how the two of you met, and you’d like to incorporate this into the design of your suite. With a fully custom design, the opportunities are truly endless. The design process is also more in-depth. At Cody Calligraphy, a custom design package includes a custom mood board, colour palette, design sketches, followed by a realistic mockup of your suite with 3 rounds of design revisions to get your design absolutely perfect.

Semi-Custom Invitation Design

The “Alex” Suite from my Semi-Custom Invitation Collection

You love beautiful stationery, maybe have a colour palette in mind, and know what you like / don’t like when you see it, but you might not have a specific design vision. When you choose one of the designs from a Semi-Custom Invitation Collection, you still have lots of opportunity to customize: envelope colours, paper types, printing methods (usually digital, letterpress, or foil) and so much more! You get an artisanal piece of wedding stationery without the custom price tag, and this option also works well for couples with shorter timelines.

Addressing & Assembly

Photo by Ariana Del Mundo Photography

Those tedious little details that can actually add up to a lot of time and headache if you do it yourself! Stuffing envelopes, handwriting or printing guest & return addresses, assembling suites, tying ribbon or string, and stamping wax seals. This is also where we can have a lot of fun with the presentation and how your guests receive your beautiful invitations. There’s nothing better than receiving a beautifully personalized piece of mail. And let’s be honest, writing out envelope guest & return addresses for 100 envelopes (in a straight line!) is no fun unless you’re a trained calligrapher.

Postage Curation & Design

The design of your stationery doesn’t have to stop at postage! Some stationery designers will offer vintage stamp curation services and can even design a custom stamp for you through Canada Post.

Wedding Website Design

Some stationery designers can also set up and design wedding websites! Cody offers this service to set up an RSVP site for her clients using a service called WithJoy, writing custom code to incorporate design elements from their invitation suites.

Day-of Stationery Design

All the little details on the day: place cards & dinner menus, ceremony programs, seating charts & welcome signs, vow books.. the list goes on and on! These details can easily be added on to your invitation order or shortly before your wedding if needed.

The Hidden Value of Hiring a Stationery Designer

Dusty blue envelope with white address calligraphy

When you book a stationery designer, you also get a printing, paper & post office expert wrapped up in one! Your designer can teach you about the differences between flat printing and letterpress and which paper types work best for each. If postage budget is a concern, they can coach you on choices to keep your suites within standard lettermail rates. Stationery designers work with the post office every day and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to those sweet post office tips and tricks, like having your postage hand-cancelled.

Your designer can also help you navigate tricky Covid update wording, and
Cody has an entire blog post dedicated to Covid wording & etiquette tips.

Just like in the wedding planning process, having this expert at your disposal is invaluable. There will always be “cheap” or “DIY” options out there, but both a planner and stationery designer knows exactly how to maximize quality within the constraints of whatever your budget may be.

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