Save the Dates, Invites & RSVPs – Oh My!

North Carolina Wedding Invitations, Calligraphy and Paper

Imagine going to your mailbox, sorting through your mail and finding an envelope with beautiful handwritten calligraphy. Forget the bills and junk mail – this is a letter you actually want to open. Once you do, you see a lovingly crafted wedding invitation and think, “If the invites are this good, I can’t wait to go to the wedding!” This effect is why so many couples now opt for all things handwritten and sincere when it comes to their North Carolina wedding invitations!

Everyone wants their loved ones to be excited for the big day. There’s something special about receiving an invitation in the mail. Even better? When that invitation was custom made just for you and your wedding. 

Cost – Many stationery designers have a base cost of $2,000-$3,000, but paper options, engraving and details like wax seals, response sets and more can raise costs as high as $6,000.

For 100 fully custom invitation suites (classic suites include an invitation, envelope, envelope liner, RSVP card, matching envelope and details card) expect to pay between $1,000-$4,000. Semi-custom invitation suites start at $500 for 100 and can go up to $2,000. Fully custom day-of items cost about $1,500-$3,000 for a wedding of the same size (about 175 guests), or $500-$1,500 for semi-custom items. 

Remember, invites are per household and not per person. When you order invitations via a mainstream designer, you will not receive guidance on wording or etiquette. Book a full-service stationer eight to 14 months in advance if you want a fully custom design. Otherwise, aim to book your stationer at least eight months in advance in order to send save the dates one year to six months in advance. Send invitations eight to 10 weeks in advance. 

North Carolina Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations and save-the-date cards are the first glimpse your guests will get of the celebrations. Make them count! No matter what vibe you’re going for – formal or casual, rustic or sophisticated, trendy or totally unique – calligraphy will make your invitations stand out. There are many different calligraphy styles, so you can pick and choose based on your wedding style.

Elevate invitations with wax seals or other customizable elements. Ask your stationer about additional costs associated with monograms, crests, venue illustrations and day-of signage.

You can also personalize the paper, color palette and texture of your invites. Calligraphers and stationers can even help you with your wedding invitation wording, and some will create custom artwork to add even more of a personal touch! There are several different pieces of an invitation suite: the inner and outer envelopes, the RSVP card, the invitation itself and directions, an itinerary and accommodations card if applicable.

Your stationer will be able to help you blend all these elements into a gorgeous, coordinated whole. Maximize your investment and create cohesion in your event design with artwork on both your invitations and day-of pieces. Budget in gifts for your partner, wedding party, parents, vendors, welcome bags for your guests and wedding favors for all.

North Carolina Stationer Ashley Triggiano

Ashley Triggiano creates custom invitations, venue illustrations, couple portraits, favors and more that combine details from her client’s love story and wedding journey into one beautiful, cohesive design that meets their price point.

Does your venue have a gorgeous front door? Ashley can replicate the experience of opening that door as guests open your illustrated invitation. Entertain your wedding guests with Ashley’s live painting services at cocktail hour or during the reception. Your friends and family will marvel at her talent, and you will also receive a stunning keepsake to take home and hang on your wall.

Ashley can help you incorporate custom artwork into your wedding day in endless, personalized ways. She creates venue paintings, couple portraits, watercolor maps for save the dates, invitations, gifts and more. Think a signature drink sign with a painting of your pup sounds cute? She’s got you covered. Truly, whatever you envision, Ashley will create it for you. Ashley can paint the beauty of your day as it unfolds. Your wedding guests will be speechless as they watch your live wedding painting come to life.

Q & A with Ashley Triggiano

Q: What are the latest wedding stationery trends?

A: I’m seeing a lot of requests for handmade paper, which definitely comes at a higher price point. A more budget-friendly but beautiful alternative is traditional cotton paper that’s been hand torn for those romantic, deckled edges.

Q: What advice can you give to couples who want custom stationery but have a tight budget?

A: Often clients are interested in custom invitations but might not have room for it in their budget. It’s for that very reason that I’ve created an entire line of semi-custom suites based on past work I’ve done for custom clients. Couples are able to customize the existing designs with their colors and style, and choose print methods and paper that fits their budget, all while getting the custom look and avoiding “cookie-cutter” designs.

Q: What advice do you give couples who know nothing about wedding invites, paper, art etc.?

A: Long before I was a stationer, I was a bride who was totally overwhelmed by the wedding stationery world! My advice is to put together a vision board of what you love in wedding paper, and then step away from it for a few days. Look at all of your wedding plans, colors, venue, theme – and then go back through your board and separate what you “like” from what is “you”. We often find ourselves gravitating to so many beautiful styles of work, but we need to give ourselves permission to love and appreciate a certain style, but also say “it’s beautiful, but this isn’t me.”

Q: What’s your favorite wedding paper/art element? 

A: My favorite wedding art element would be custom watercolor illustrations and using them everywhere! Really zeroing in on what represents a couples unique love story and finding creative ways to pepper those elements throughout all of their paper; from save the dates, to invitations, day-of goods like koozies, signs, and favors all the way to the thank you cards after the big day!

NC Wedding Invitation Designer – If It’s Paper

This family-owned stationery and gift shop is run by mother-daughter duo Sherrie Stewart and Elizabeth Stewart Belk. Located in Greensboro and Raleigh, each store has gifts, paper, ribbons, stationery and wedding specialists who can help you. Their team will guide you through the many paper options and styles, from modern to bohemian to rustic-chic.

Some couples want the invitation to be center stage while others want their day-of details to shine. If It’s Paper encourages clients to consider all of the elements they may want to include so that they can budget accordingly for each piece.

Q & A with If It’s Paper

Q: What are the latest wedding stationery trends?

A: We are seeing clients customize more special details for the weekend than ever before – cups, napkins, matches, etc. Hand illustrations, custom crests and monograms are popular items we see our clients carry through from save the dates and invitations to cocktail napkins, cups and other accessories.

Q: What’s one wedding paper or art detail that most couples forget about, but you love to include?

A: Some couples initially think that they don’t want to have wedding programs, but we think they are one of the most valuable pieces of the wedding paper trousseau. The wedding program guides your guests through the ceremony and gives information about the wedding party or family that they may not otherwise know. You can read the origins of family names or the connection of members of the wedding party. Knowing the hymns being sung or the verses being read helps guests participate. It is also a good place to include directions to the reception or ask people to silence their cellphones.

Enlove Occasions

“We love seeing more pops of color and personality brought into [stationery] designs,” says Chelsea Enloe of Enlove Occasions. Chelsea started her business after she struggled to find a stationer for her own wedding and was left underwhelmed with the options that online retailers offered. Chelsea worked with a local press to design and create her own invitations, and discovered a passion for the process. Couples who work with Enlove share their love story and wedding plans with Chelsea, who works to create invitation suites and day-of paper products that embody the unique love of each couple. Custom orders always include hand assembly – “which means that we will handle stuffing envelopes, pouring wax seals, attaching envelope liners and more,” Chelsea explains. Enlove also offers digitally printed designs at an affordable price point.

Q: What products, aside from invitation suites, do couples forget to budget for?

A: The most overlooked item is probably stamps. Your invitation suite will have to be mailed, so it’s important to work with a stationer who can help you estimate how much it will cost to send your invites. Beyond stamps, day-of stationery is typically an afterthought. This ranges from seating charts to welcome
signs, escort cards and menus. A perk of working with a custom stationer is that we can remind you of these commonly forgotten elements and carry the design of your invitation suite through each day-of product as well, which creates a cohesive look for your wedding.

Ella Ink

Anna White, the owner and calligrapher behind Ella Ink, draws inspiration from the natural world when creating her artful writing, and often uses stones, shells, marble and fabric for a mix of texture and color. “One of my favorite things is to write on non-paper surfaces,” Anna says.

She provides couples with custom, handwritten calligraphy in a variety of scripts and styles, which can be digitized as a print-ready file for use on invitations, paper signage, vow books, seating charts, menus, gift tags, drink signs – and just about anything else you can think of. “In terms of how couples can incorporate calligraphy into their event, the sky is the limit!” Anna says.

Q&A with Calligrapher Ella Ink

Q: How can couples personalize stationery and paper products without breaking the bank?

Spot calligraphy is a wonderful, affordable way for couples to incorporate the character and elegance of handwritten calligraphy in their events. … For example, couples may have their names or monogram calligraphed and digitized for use on paper products.

Cute Buttons Gift and Paper Boutique

This Raleigh-based shop has been in business for more than 15 years and owner Alison Perry loves to work closely with North Carolina couples to make all their wedding stationery dreams come true. Cute Buttons can provide all elements of your invitation suite, from save-the-dates to your invite itself to special details like place cards, escort cards and menus. From foil-pressed suites to insert cards and belly bands in hundreds of styles and colors, Cute Buttons has something for everyone!

Consider This for North Carolina Wedding Invitations

Remember that the cost of invitations varies based on the number of guests, components included, paper quality and more. There’s lot of choices for color, paper type, ink and typestyles – even the printing processes that are offered. Your stationer will be able to tell you what’s best for your budget. 

You may also want to ask your stationer to design a response card, directions or map to the venue, ceremony programs, reception place cards and menus. Think about what other types of inclusions you want to add to the wedding invitation and RSVP card, such as maps and activity lists for your guests. Wedding weekend paper needs include programs, place cards and menus. Don’t forget to tack on extra dollars for custom design elements. And, if you want to hire a calligrapher to hand-write your invitation addresses or create custom signage for your wedding, book them early. 

Click here to meet more of our recommended North Carolina wedding invitation designers!

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