#SMPWedding101 - Custom vs. Semi-Custom Invitation Suites
March 18, 2016
Choosing my wedding invites was oh so fun - and oh so overwhelming. The amount of options is mindblowing - and a bit confusing. So you could say we're pretty happy to have Karla from Written Word Calligraphy here to explain the factors to consider when choosing semi-custom or custom invites. She recently launched a line of semi-custom invitations (can we say gorgeoussss!?) and with years of experience, she knows the 101 on what to keep in mind when making this decision.

First, let's define...

  • Semi-custom invitation suites retain the general look and feel of the design, but couples have the chance to choose the colors, paper, type of printing, font and calligraphy styles, and determine the content of the wedding.

  • Custom invitations… well the sky's the limit! Invitations can range from different mediums outside from paper, and the design is unique to your wedding.

Factors to Consider:

1. Style

Define your wedding’s style. Would you like to have a modern feel, or a natural, organic look; is calligraphy your thing, or is it typography and clean text? Each invitation designer has their own style, and they tend to lean towards a certain look for their semi-custom invitation collection. Depending on the look and feel that you are going for, you will be able to select your invitation designer, and see if their semi-custom collection could be a good fit for you. Our suites, for example, play with a lot of neutral tones, with touches of metallic, and organic elegant calligraphy. If you’re looking for a floral watercolor invitation suite or bright colors, then these semi-custom suites wouldn't be a good fit. But, we have designed our semi-custom suites in such a way that they have the potential to fit into a variety of wedding styles, and with the unique touch of our calligraphy will make each invitation stand out. Some parts of our semi-custom suites are completely custom, such as our map cards - each wedding will definitely have a different map!

2. Timing

Fully custom invitations can take anywhere from two to six months, from design to production to assemblies. Depending on the design, the process can take quite long with presenting new designs and revisions. How far are you from your wedding date? Semi-custom invitations have a shorter timeline because the design process is shorter. Typically, once the content for the invitation is confirmed, it takes about a week to develop the design proof, and once approved, the printing could take three to four weeks, plus one to two weeks for calligraphy addressing and assembly. The entire process could be done in four to six weeks total.

3. Budget

Custom invitations are absolutely beautiful. We’ve had the absolute pleasure of creating some incredibly unique pieces - from embroidered linen folio invitations, to wood engraved wine boxes for Save the dates, to metal etched menus, to linen seating charts, and more! On paper, it really gives you the flexibility to choose all kinds of options, the way you want them to be! But some of these options may come at a bigger price tag than you can afford. Custom invitations, if they’re printed with the same materials exactly as your semi-custom invitations, can go from 30-50% higher in price, or even more. But it’s almost important to note that semi-custom invitations can still be range from $1,000-$3,000 or even more, depending on the options that are selected.

At the end of day, it's considering all these factors and your personal preference when deciding to go with custom or semi-custom. For some couples, having their invitation absolutely unique to them really matters, they want them to be unlike any other. The most important thing is that the invitations you end up selecting will be a beautiful reflection of your love as a couple and of the wedding to come.
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