Today we’re welcoming back Erika Firm, President and Creative Director of the award-winning stationery, invitation and design company, Delphine, AND our go-to wedding expert. She’s sharing some great wedding planning tips to get you started after you’re engaged; including what to focus on first, when to order your wedding stationery, using Pinterest to your benefit, and staying organized.
A lot of couples get engaged over the holidays. What advice would you give them as they start the planning process?
Before you start planning, spend a few weeks just enjoying your engagement! Use this time to discuss (preferably with a glass of champagne in hand) what your top priorities are: the guest list? the location? a specific, meaningful date? You should decide on what’s really important to both of you before getting caught up in details like what color the bridesmaids’ dresses should be. Also, decide on the overall formality – do you want something casual, super-formal, or somewhere in between?
Having a budget and a rough estimate of number of guests are the first things you need to decide on before you start the nitty-gritty planning process – you’ll need that information in order to book the perfect venue. Once you have a venue booked, you’ll have a few important details to base the rest of your planning around: date, time and max number of guests. Guest lists have a sneaky way of growing, so knowing your max number of guests for the venue will make it a lot easier for you to say “no” to adding another person to the guest list.
With the exposure that Pinterest brings, it’s easy for brides to get overwhelmed by all the ideas and options — do you have any advice on how to stay focused and find the right style for your wedding?
I love Pinterest! It’s a great tool, but can get overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. As you’re just starting out, have one general “Weddings I Like” Pinterest board for all your wedding pins – don’t try to separate them – and just go crazy pinning everything you like. After a few weeks, you’ll start to see a few trends – lots of elegant art deco details, or lots of pictures of twinkly lights in a barn, or loads of bright, colorful flowers. This will help you narrow down what color palette and style you like best. Before making a final decision, keep in mind the venue, season, time of day, and overall formality of your wedding to figure out which of the trends you’re seeing in your pins will work best for your wedding.
Once you decide on the style for your wedding, create a separate board just for your wedding, and call it “Our Wedding.” Pin a picture that encapsulates the overall look and feel of your wedding, and use that as the board cover. Next, pin three to five colors that will serve as your color palette. Then, re-pin ideas that match your new vision from your original wedding board to your new board and type notes under the picture if there’s something specific that you want to share about the photo. You should now have an “Our Wedding” Pinterest board that is a clear representation of your vision. Now, when you see a new idea that matches your wedding style, you can pin it directly to the “Our Wedding” board, and when you see an idea you like but isn’t perfect for your wedding, you can pin it to your old “Weddings I Like” board. Once a week, go through your “Our Wedding Board,” make notes, and delete or move pins to be sure it’s on track. Remember: any notes you make are public, so mind your manners. If you keep up on your Pinterest boards, they are amazing tools for sharing ideas with friends, family, and wedding vendors. I love working with clients who have good Pinterest boards, and always create my own board for custom projects.
What’s the right timing to order and send out save the dates and wedding invitations?
Save the dates can be mailed to guests as early as a year ahead of the wedding date, and as late as three months before your wedding. The earlier the better if: you are planning a destination wedding, most of your guests will need to travel to the wedding, or your date falls on a holiday weekend.
Invitations should be mailed six to 10 weeks before your wedding. Closer to six weeks is fine if you’ve sent a save the date; closer to 10 weeks is best if you haven’t sent save the dates. (See our helpful guide below to figure out when you should send yours!)
Order your wedding stationery four to six weeks before you intend to put the cards in the mail. This will give you plenty of time for reviewing proofs, making changes, print production, assembly, addressing, stamping and sealing.
Just remember: everyone who gets a save the date also gets an invitation, so keep your guest list up to date!
Any last tips? Are there things that brides often forget about?
Hire a wedding planner. Really! A good wedding planner will keep you on track, help you focus your ideas, keep you (and your family) sane, and save you time and money.
Second, order thank you notes when you order your invitations. As RSVPs come in, address an envelope for that guest. After the wedding you can spend time writing thoughtful notes to your loved ones, not tracking down addresses.
Third, and most important, focus on what your wedding day really is — a celebration of true love. It’s not a contest or an editorial feature. Instead of following trends, follow your heart. Do this and your wedding will be fabulous, because it will be personal.
Thank you for these great tips, Erika!
If you’d like to see more invitations and other wedding stationery products, make sure to check out Delphine’s website.
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