Wedding invitations provide more than the date and time of your big day; they give your guests a glimpse into the tone and theme of your event. Many couples go the extra mile when it comes to designing the most important stationary of their lives, seeking design professionals to add the special touches they’re looking for. Invitations by Design knows how to help clients just like these. Owner Tara Vanderheyden gave us an in-depth look at the services and expertise her company offers.
How did you arrive at designing wedding invitations? Tell me a little about your background.
I have always enjoyed art and design. I studied design at Illinois Institute of Art. Because I enjoyed design I would always help friends and family members with stationary and invitations. I have always loved designing invitations and other pieces for celebrations. This hobby became a company nearly three years ago, the same year I was married, my sister, and sister-in-law were also married. That year wedding planning and wedding stationary took up all my free time, I was always helping and designing. That year turned my hobby into a business!
How do you usually work with couples who want to order online?
Since all of our invitations are custom designed, most of our clients work with us at our office. Those clients who want to work with us online and over the phone still get to work one-on-one with a designer. We discuss in detail their ideas. We decide on colors and invitation type. Our designers work to design a few custom invitation options that are sent to the client as PDF images for review. After a few minor tweaks on the invitation of their choosing, the next step is a custom sample. The client is able to see a sample of their invitation with their names and wedding details. This really helps them know they are getting the right invitation.
How do you capture the personality of a couple in their invites?
Each invitation is designed around the couples theme or personality. In our first meeting we discuss what they are looking for and put these details into the design process. The couple and their event become the inspiration for the design. The final invitation design expresses the feel of the event.
Walk me through the design approval process with your customers before you print their invitations.
1. Pick colors, invitation type and collect the wedding day details.
2. Create a custom quote for the invitation designed.
3. Create a custom sample.
4. Update any details, design inserts, update sample.
5. Review final sample and get approval.
6. Order supplies, print, and hand assemble order.
7. If addressing services are ordered print all clients envelopes, stuff, seal and stamp envelopes
8. Mail invitations or deliver to client.
We offer many shapes sizes and colors. We have over 80 invitation shapes and sizes to choose from and can create custom designs as well. Our paper colors offer a rainbow of choices including matte, metallic, textured and patterned papers. All of our papers are made with components of recycled products and are made without chlorine. We also offer three stocks made of 100% post-consumer fiber and 11 tree-free stocks made from either cotton or bamboo fibers.
Do you offer package deals to couples who buy all their wedding stationary from you (response cards, place settings, etc.)?
We offer savings to our clients for ordering larger quantities or multiple pieces. We design packages for each client with savings specific to their order. Our clients can order 58 invitations and get savings for that exact amount without having to order unneeded extra invitations. Where we save on our supplies we share that with our clients.
How has your business changed since its opening?
Well, starting as an idea, much has changed in the past three years . . . we grew up! We have expanded or designs and products that we offer:
§ Custom wedding invitations (limitless options)
§ Addressing and mailing services
§ Welcome letters and baskets
We added employees (a talented designer, Ashley and a wonderful production manager, Courtney; thanks girls, I couldn’t have done it without you!). In addition:
§ We won the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Award in 2009 and 2010
§ We were featured in the Winter 2009-10 issue of Chicago Social Brides with an editorial piece about Chicago themed weddings (showing a save-the-date and some table numbers)
§ We were featured in 2010 Chicago Style Weddings “Designers Challenge” in a two page spread
§ Our work was seen on WGN’s midday news, June 22, 2010
§ This year we opened our first office (no more meetings in coffee shops)
Why should couples consider you over the competition?
Invitations by Design is the best way to get custom invitations. We only offer custom invitations so each client is able to find the perfect invitation for their event. We also take the stress out of invitations. Our designers will help with wording, paper choices, and of course, the perfect design. To make things even easier, we offer addressing services (to print, stuff, stamp and seal all your envelopes). We also offer favors, welcome baskets, place cards, programs and more to help with every detail in one stop. We take the design and tie it into every printed piece. Every step of the way, we are here to help.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I am lucky to have a job that lets me be creative and is always changing. Owning a business is not an easy task but it allows me to express my creativity every day! I get to work with brides to bring their vision to life. What a great way to spend my day!
Please enjoy the following creations by Invitations by Design.