Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Custom Designed or Personalized Wedding Invitations: What's the Difference?

If you are a bride to be and are looking for a unique wedding invitation, you have surely come across many fabulous stationery designers by now. Some designers offer custom invitations, some offer personalized invitations, some offer both. But what does that mean? Let me help explain!

There are three main aspects in which a custom invitations and a personalized invitation will differ: design, timeline and pricing.

A custom invitation begins with a blank canvas and is truly a work of art. You and your stationery designer will work together using your visions to create the perfect invitation for you. Your designer may begin by making sketches of your ideas and gathering the pricing for all of the paper and embellishments you envision for your invitation. The end result will be a one of a kind invitation that will be sure to wow your guests. Most stationery designers love their custom orders because it's a great way for them to express themselves as an artist.

A personalized invitation begins with a design that already exists. The design is then fine-tuned with your preferences. Most designers allow you to personalize the wording, paper and ink colors with your preferences. Your guests will be delighted to receive a personalized invitation, as it is also a unique work of art. However, it is a design that has been used previously and will be used again in the future.

Stationery designers will differ with their timelines depending on their printing and assembly methods and production volume. For a custom design, I suggest to my brides that we begin designing at least eight weeks prior to when the need to have their invitations in hand. It may take more or less time, depending on the overall design, quantity and time of year.

A personalized invitation will take less time because the design already exists. However, the design does need to be modified. Again, the timeline will differ from stationer to stationer. I suggest that brides begin the personalized invitation process about five to six weeks prior to their deadline.

Hours upon hours are involved in creating and revising a custom design, therefore, a custom invitation is going to be more expensive than a personalized invitation. If you are a bride on a tight budget, this may not be the path you want to travel. While you can reduce pricing by using a simple invitation style, such as a flat panel invitation instead of a pocket fold with ribbon, embellishments and all of the enclosures, your stationery designer will need to charge for their time.

Personalized invitations are the way to go if you are a bride with a budget, but still want a unique and beautiful invitation. While your stationery designer will still be charging a fee for revising the invitation with your preferences, the time is cut down considerably. I know that many stationers can also adapt their designs according to your budget by adding or eliminating style elements.

Whether you choose a custom or personalized invitation is a matter of preference. By sharing your budget and visions with your stationery designer, she/he should be able to guide you in the right direction!

~Maria Elena Designed By M.E. Stationery

Photo credits: Designed By M.E. Stationery
Note: Top photo is provided courtesy of Steve Burns, Bella Pictures


  1. Thanks for posting the blog about the difference between custom and personalized invitation sets. Check out the luscious verde line, we have created some really unique designs, both custom and personalized. Keep up the great work!



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