Custom Invitations-How does the process work?

When El's Cards launched our first website in 1999, all of our invitations were painted by hand and all designs offered were custom.  Now, we have almost 100 invitation styles available for purchase on our website. This allows so many more couples the opportunity to enjoy our semi-custom invitations at a competitive price point. 

We do still offer the custom invitation option to our clients though, if they are unable to find exactly what they are looking for in our wide array of invitations!  We have a brief overview of the custom invitation on this page, but here you can see the process in a little more detail.

The first step is to see if there are existing designs on our website that could potentially work for you.  Browse around and take a look. We have literally thousands of designs that could be potential wedding invitation artwork. Often people find a couple of existing designs that they would like to have combined for their invitation.  Take Jennie and Cliff for example. There were several florals that interested the bride at our initial meeting. She told me she wanted soft pink flowers and I had a number of things to show her. 

And if you aren't local to our Greenland, NH home studio, don't worry!  We work with couples all over the country and often complete the entire process over email. Right now we are working with couples in South Carolina, Illinois, New Jersey, California, and Texas....not to mention all our great local New England couples!

My next step is to set up three different invitations for you to see.  This bride had requested to have navy blue incorporated in some way, as that was one of the wedding colors.  This bride had also wanted some greenery and to have the design at the top of the invitation.

custom wedding invitation

After the initial presentation of the invitation to this couple, there were some design elements that she decided were more appropriate than the greenery we originally discussed.  So I painted some gold and rustic branches and included those in some new designs.

After we decide on the final invitation design, I will create all the other pieces to be harmonious with the chosen artwork.  Often this includes artwork on the envelope, and many clients opt for me to hand address the guest envelopes in calligraphy and have Bob assemble them and mail them out for you.  In the next part of the process, I will send along the full suite for you to see how everything looks together, as shown below.

custom wedding suite

This couple was also ordering a custom map, so you can see the pencil sketch from step 2 of that creation process in their full suite proof.  You can learn more about our custom maps here.  If you wish to order a map, you do not need to order a custom invitation. You many select an invitation from our wide array of suites available! 

This couple selected the Elscript font for their invitation. That is our most classic and traditional font.  When ordering a custom invitation, I will always show you a few different font styles, unless you have expressed a preference in our initial meeting about your font selection.

The font styles we used are exclusive to El's Cards. They were each created from my own calligraphy and can then be used to create your very own wedding invitation.  All of the designs used are from my own original watercolor artwork. None of our designs or fonts are offered by anyone else (in the world!). So you can rest assured that your invitation will be something unique and special from start to finish.

complete custom invitation suite

As on the suite above, you can see the fun option of adding icons for your food choices.  There are so many ways to make your invitation your own!  If you don't have the budget for a fully custom suite, you can often mix and match our existing designs on current cards to create something special just for you. You could use different artwork on the envelope or substitute another reply card for the one in the existing suite.

We like to be transparent and fair with our pricing.   Will a custom design be a higher price point than one of our offered collections? Absolutely.  Will you have something that is uniquely "you" after the design process is completed?  Definitely! I will stay at it until you have exactly what you want!

General pricing is as follows:
**$400 for initial 3 designs, then $100 per hour for rest of the suite completion.  We estimate between 2-5 hours as the average, depending upon how many pieces you need- and how many revisions you request.
**100 4-piece suites after design is created start at $595.  A 4-piece suite includes invitation/envelope with return on the flap and reply card/your address on the front of that envelope.  The minimum print order for a custom invitation is 75.
Please note: Due to copyright laws and the need to protect our work, we do not permit our designs to be printed outside of the El's Cards studio, and will never give permission for this to be done.  Thank you for understanding.

Many couples like to add some extra pieces as part of the invitation suite too.  There are so many fun ways to make it your own!  Here are some possible extras which our clients often add to their suite:
-envelope liners @ $1.95 each
-hand calligraphy @$3.95 each or digital calligraphy in one of our fonts @ $2.50
-assembly service @ .75 each suite
-enclosure card @ $1.65 each (can be used for reception, welcome party, or other events)
-custom stamps (as shown below)
-schedule of events cards start at $2.50 apiece-these are a fun addition with illustrations ( as in the custom suite shown below). Often people will have these printed on the back of a custom map.  Sometimes our couples have the icon on the schedule of events coordinate with the reply card if they need to have a final count of attendees at each event.

custom wedding suite

And if we don't have a design on hand that appeals to you, I am happy to paint something special just for your invitation. Here are a few current invitation design projects I am working on for our 2018 couples. It's so much fun for me to put paintbrush to paper and create exactly the right design for you!

custom artwork

Whatever approach you decide to take for your invitations, the most important thing is that the invitation represents the tone of your wedding and the two of you as a couple.  We are taking on a few more custom projects this year, so if a custom watercolor invitation appeals to you, please do reach out!  We would love to have a conversation and get you on the calendar!