Is custom stationery right for you?

Today on the blog we are talking all about figuring out if custom stationery is the right move for you. If you have been here before we have established that for a lot of couples stationery is super confusing. So labels like custom, semi-custom and pre-made can really throw you for a loop if you don’t know what they are.

So that’s why today I am going to lay out the facts about each style of stationery and let you know everything you need to make the right decision for yourself. Within each category I will cover the three main things that tend to make or break couple’s decisions on stationery: investment, customization, and timing.

Let’s start with the most common option first…

Pre-made designs

Pre-made designs are the bulk of the stationery market.

Online market places like zazzle are filled with invitations that are designed and ready to purchase online. Click. Buy. Done.

Don’t forget to make sure you like everything and have forty million people proofread your digital proofs because any mistakes can be costly. (This goes for all stationery but especially when ordering from a larger company and an actual person isn’t working with you!)


Pre-made stationery designs are the speedy delivery service of the stationery world. Most suppliers will have your order printed and shipped within just a few days! Which means,if you need to mail your invitations in 2 weeks or less then pre-made designs are the way to go!

Can I customize pre-made invitations?

With pre-made invites, what you see is what you get! So, if you don’t like the colors or wording…don’t buy it! Unless you see color options within the stationery listing there is no way for you to change them. Pre-made designs are personalized (put your names, dates, and locations) but can’t be customized. So if you really want to make sure that all the colors, fonts and wordings are just right you will want to skip ahead to semi-custom stationery. 

How affordable are pre-made designs?

Hands down, pre-made designs are the most cost effective stationery option. Stationery gets more pricey the more time you spend with your designer, but since these guys are pre-made there is no designer time. This makes them extremely affordable with options as little as $1 per card!

Semi-custom invitations

If you want invitations that won’t break the bank, won’t derail your timeline and don’t sacrifice your personality then semi-custom designs are the way to go.

Semi-Custom Wedding Invitation for an LGBTQ Wedding with two brides designed by Beauty Bright Design in Lincoln, NE
Lined with Lace Wedding Invitation for Same-Sex Couple

How quickly do semi-custom invitations ship?

Although semi-custom designs take longer than their pre-made siblings, most stationers ship their semi-custom designs in as little as 4-6 weeks. I took that a bit further and created my semi-custom invitation shop so that my designs ship in as little as 2 weeks! Which to be honest is like warp speed in stationery terms.

How much can I really customize with semi-custom invitations?

With semi-custom stationery, get the convenience of catalog shopping but with the option to make it your own. Changing colors and fonts (and depending on the designer even the wording) isn’t a problem. Semi-custom designs also mean you get to work with a designer and have an avenue to ask questions! But if you are looking for a design that is unique and a custom fit for your big day then skip ahead to custom stationery.

How affordable are semi-custom invitations?

Semi-custom stationery sits right in the middle of the affordability scale. But the fact that you get a stationery adviser with your stationery you may find that it is totally worth it. Specific pricing varies from vendor to vendor, but designs usually start around $6 per invitation (FYI: you typically send one suite per household).

We (designers) each do semi-custom a bit differently so, before ordering your stationery from one of our online stationery boutiques, read our policies. Be safe and ask questions before saying your semi-custom stationery “I Do’s!”

custom stationery

If you don’t want stationery that’s blah and generic, but want invitations that are as unique and special as you and your partner are for each other then custom stationery is a must! Not to mention custom stationery opens the doors to some AMAZING options (I’ll get into that a bit more in the customization section).

Custom Wedding Stationery Assembled Wedding Invitation Suite with Watercolor Orchids and Lace designed by Beauty Bright Design in Lincoln, NE

How long does the custom design process take?

Custom stationery is a process but it’s totally worth it! Typically you start working with your designer 8+ months out from your wedding. This may seem long, but your designer does all the work for you.

Here is a list of some the things I take off my client’s hands to give them peace of mind:

  • coordinate with vendors to make sure the colors and vibe are just right
  • handle all the revisions, tweaking, printing, and pressing
  • address every envelope and assemble #allthethings
  • curate postage and mail the suite
  • hand off suite to your photographer for a keepsake photo

The more fancy schmancy you make your invitations the longer the process takes. Luxury invitations like letterpress and foil printing are gorgeous but can add 4-6 additional weeks to your stationery timeline depending on the season and your designer’s availability. To make sure you have an ample amount of time with your designer, I suggest reaching out at least 8 months in advance. A good rule of thumb is to book your designer when you book your venue and photographer.

How customizable is custom stationery?

With custom stationery, the sky is the limit and you will definitely blow your guests away! From beloved pet, adding a custom map for your destination wedding, or having custom upholstered invitation boxes that perfectly match your wedding vision one thing is for sure – your design will be an awesome reflection of you, your partner and your love.

Just like snowflakes, no two designers are alike! I highly suggest you go stalk some designers’ websites and Instagrams and see which designers you think will align with your stationery vision.

Once you narrow down your dream designers to one (or three) reach out and schedule a quick chat to see if you are a perfect fit for one another. The custom stationery process requires a lot of trust and honesty (from both parties), so making sure your a good fit ahead of time will prevent heartache at the end. (When I say good fit I mean Cinderella trying on the glass slipper and marrying the prince kind of fit!)

What is the investment for custom stationery?

There’s just no sugar coating it, Custom Stationery is the most expensive stationery option, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be affordable.

For instance, my custom design services start at $2995 for 100 suites! That means you get a fully customized, totally you design less than $25 per suite. And it includes all this:

  • Invitations (double sided with room for extra pizazz)
  • RSVP Cards (double sided with room for DJ requests, date night suggestions and more)
  • Enclosure Cards to tell your guests #allthethings
  • Invitation and RSVP Envelopes
  • Matching Invitation and RSVP Envelope Liners (read: extra places to make it totally you)
  • Curated postage and I even mail them for you!

Not to mention one-on-one time with me, where I walk you through every step of the process with video calls and a thorough revision process. 

So was custom stationery right for you?

Comment below and tell me which stationery design option was the best fit for your big day!

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