Wedding Tips: Why Custom Stationery Takes Time

We live in a time where we expect results and we expect them quickly. The instant gratification of the digital age has allowed us to think that everything can be done easy as 1-2-3 with the push of a button. Unfortunately, life doesn't work like that - and neither does the creative process. We don't often write lengthy posts here at Ruby + Swallow, because we love that our blog is all about pretties and pictures and inspiration. But this is a topic that has been on our minds for ages, and we felt it was time to dedicate a blog post to it.

Recently we've had a few enquiries from brides who would like us to custom design their wedding stationery. The great excitement at having a new client slowly dwindles as we see the words, "Can you have them ready for next week?". While we always reply very politely, it's hard to have to turn people down and we don't like doing it. But the reality is that those timelines are not realistic, and we won't produce work in a short time frame that allows for shoddy assembly or leaves so much room for error. When we don't feel we can take on a job due to short timelines, we are always upfront with potential clients; we'd rather lose the work than produce work of the sub-standard variety.

We do understand that the normal person does not understand design and how long it takes, nor how long production takes to finish off any type of stationery. And we are not your run-of-the-mill-add-diamanté-to-everything type of wedding stationery designers. We take great care in making sure that couples get unique invitations that are exactly what they are wanting, as well as tailoring it to suit their budgets. This takes TIME. All our invitations are handcrafted, and again, this takes time. Our own time, in fact! (Someone has to tie all those bows and glue all that lace down).

There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes from the first email enquiry until delivery. And time is money - but we'll get onto that topic at a later stage! Here is the whole process, step by step and the way our timeline works:

Once we have received an enquiry from a potential client, we can generally never quote straight away as there are so many little things that go into this that people don't realise. Clients will generally set up a meeting with us if they'd like to discuss everything in person. If clients are happy to deal with us via email, we send them a briefing sheet. This is where they will need to fill in all the bits and pieces that you would like for your wedding stationery. This will give us a good idea of how much everything is going to cost so we can quote you accordingly.

With the above information, we will put together a cost estimate for you of what you can expect to pay for your stationery. Remember, that if we have to source special types of materials for your invitations, we have to go to our suppliers and find them. We have done our research and know the best places to find special board and embellishments. This takes time and costs money. We also have to keep up to date with the latest prices of all additional materials so we can quote accordingly.

On approval of the quote, we will send you an invoice. Before design and production begins, we require a 50% deposit of your invoice.

From the time of your booking confirmation, Ruby + Swallow will send you a digital presentation of your stationery within two weeks. The design fee allows up to three changes, and will be charged hourly thereafter - although we have never done more than three changes on a set of invitations! Now let us explain something that is close to our hearts; while we charge a flat rate fee for designs, we almost always spend longer than we should on the designs. So while you might look at a fee and think it's a lot, always remember that if we had to charge hourly (and actually charge for the correct amount of hours), this would come to a lot more. With designers, remember that you are not only paying for what you see in front of you, but also for the years of study and practice that has led up to that one design. A design may look 'simple' but it takes a long time to be able to learn to design that way.

Once you have given approval on the final design, we make a mock up of your inviation for you before we proceed to production. This is so that everyone is on the same page with what it looks like.

We require the balance of the invoice to be paid before production begins. This process will take up to two weeks, depending on the amount of assembling that is required after printing. Believe us, dealing with suppliers is not the easiest and they don't all understand why it's important for words not to be chopped off or for an invitation to be off-centre. We have a range of suppliers who we now trust with our work, but each little part in the process takes time. Remember that added embellishments like ribbon, hessian or lace can not only hitch up the price of your invitations but they add extra time in the assembling of your invitations.

Once your stationery is complete, we will contact you to arrange for you to collect. If you are outside Durban, we will arrange for courier to send to you at your cost.

In between all of the above, we will also be attending to a million and one other things that it takes to run a business - not to mention our other clients. We are always looking for ways to make our process quicker and improve our techniques - but one thing we know for sure is that quality is worth waiting for. We hope you agree!

When your wedding is all over, your guests will most probably throw away your invitation. Your flowers will also die, your bouquet will dwindle, your bar tab will have run out and your three-tiers of uneaten wedding cake will be tossed. But a wedding is all about making memories, and beautiful ones at that. A gorgeous set of stationery helps to set the tone for your big day, and your guests will always remember it.

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