Designing a wedding invitation for a couple about to embark upon marriage can be a rewarding job. Where some graphic design efforts might not allow for an abundance of freedom – such as designing a firm’s marketing materials – focusing your attention on a custom wedding invitation for a couple’s nuptials can be a great way for you to show off your creativity and make things easier for an already-stressed-out pair. A design that plays upon a photo of a couple’s engagement rings, for instance, can be made fresh and exciting in a way that store-bought invitations cannot. The world, as the saying goes, is your oyster.
As a graphic designer, you likely have a favorite software program for your projects, whether it’s InDesign, Illustrator, or even something useful (but less design-friendly) like Publisher. Whichever method you use, know what your time constraints are. Your clients might want their invitations to include special touches that look beautiful, like calligraphy or a hand-tied bow, which will also take more time to produce. Ideally, you will meet with the engaged couple no less than four months before the big day to allow time for the design process, including initial client/designer meetings and the final sign-off before design begins.
Knowing what is popular among the soon-to-be married, such as letterpress printing, is one of the more important factors of the design process. The well-prepared client will also want to know:
- What your portfolio looks like. If you don’t have any experience designing wedding invitations but know it’s something you can do, have some samples prepared so that the couple knows what sort of work you’re capable of producing. This is where knowing what’s popular will also come in hand, such as trendy fonts or themes.
- How much you charge for your designs. Include in this estimate the number of drafts you will supply for the client and if the cost includes printing or the assembly of the invitations
(e.g., inserting photos or RSVP cards or tying bows). Don’t forget to mention additional services you might offer, such as creating a webpage where guests can RSVP, find the wedding registry, or print out directions to the ceremony.
- What types of paper you use. This is especially important for endeavors like letterpress or an invitation with a die-cut design, such as a card front that is cut to reveal, in part, a photo of the couple holding hands. Doing so allows for a traditional shot of a couple’s engagement rings but provides a fresh approach to how the photography is used.
In our do-it-yourself (DIY) world, it is especially important for a graphic designer to stay apprised of design styles and who your competitors are, including Vistaprint or Etsy. Attract business by advertising DIY-comparable (or lower!) prices on your designs and the chance to work on a design one-on-one. Clients will be more likely to choose your services instead of ordering from a catalog if you are able to serve as a guide through the design process. While this doesn’t mean hand-holding, keep in mind that the engaged couple might be more anxious than a client with a standard design job. Establish a good rapport at the beginning of the design relationship to avoid confusion down the line and help make the big day as happy as possible.