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How To

Ordering your invitations might seem like a daunting task, but Lion in the Sun of Park Slope is here to guide you throughout the process with expert advice and personalized creative solutions that can fit your budget. In this section we offer a guide to help you through the process of selecting your invitations, writing your text, and choosing the printing method, as well as addressing the envelopes and getting those invitations in the mail.

Before you order

You can start looking as soon as you confirm your date and venue, but invitations should be ordered around 4 or 5 months before your event takes place. Keep in mind that some printers can take up to 4 to 5 weeks to deliver printed invitations. For instance, letterpress printing and engraving can take slightly longer than thermography or off-set printing styles, depending on the company. We’ll help you figure out all the timing particulars.

Also, you’ll need to determine your invitation budget. There is no standard budget amount when it comes to choosing your invites and — like flowers, food and favors — the prices range vastly. The best thing to do is browse our selection of albums so that you can see just what your budget allows. We represent printers who can work within any budget to make sure you get what you need!

Placing your order

Wording: You’ll need to decide whether you would like traditional or contemporary wording – or maybe something in between. Our staff is well-versed in etiquette and can help you navigate tricky wording situations. Be sure to confirm all names, titles, and details that will appear on the invitation.

Components: Decide what components and accessories you will need to include in your invitations. Most invitations include a response card and corresponding return envelope so guests can get back to you quickly. Figure out when you will need you responses returned and what information you require from your guests. Does your caterer need to know entrée choices in advance? You can ask your guests for that information on the reply card. All components can be totally, completely customized when it comes to wording. You may also need separate reception cards, directions cards, maps, or thank you notes. Since invitation ensembles are sold a la carte, you can easily pick and choose only the items you need.

Count: Be sure to count invitations — not invited guests! Remember, many guests are invited as couples or as a family. If you have 150 total invited guests, you may only need 100 invitations. Add approximately 10 to 15 extras for last minute guest-list additions. Extra envelopes can always be ordered at a minimal charge. Count carefully! If you have to reprint additional invitations after the order is completed, the printing company will treat it as a new order and it can be very costly. It is always safer (and much less expensive in the long run) to have a few left over!

Deposit: A half-down deposit is required on all printing orders at the time of your order. Your final balance will include sales tax and the direct shipping charge from the company to the store. Payment in full is required upon pickup. If an order is canceled at any time, the client is responsible for any applicable proofing, cancellation, or printing fees that the printing company passes on to Lion in the Sun.

Proofs: Every printing company offers the option to see a proof of your invitations before they go to press. Though they often come with a small fee (usually $15 or so) it is absolutely necessary to purchase proofs. They are your insurance against any errors on your invitation and your chance to preview the text, font, layout and design. You can make changes to your proofs if you need to, but once you approve the final proof it goes to print as-is. Proofs are emailed to you in PDF form. Some companies provide color proofs; others provide black and white. The Lion in the Sun staff is available for consultation if you have questions about your proofs.

Printing: There are several different printing methods that you’ll run across when looking through the Lion in the Sun library of invitation albums. The print methods vary in price, look, and texture and we can help you decide which is best for your needs. The most popular print methods are as follows:

Engraving
Engraving is a traditional and timeless way to print your invitations. Letters are engraved or etched into a copper plate which is rolled with ink and then wiped, leaving the ink only within etched lines. The hand-fed paper is then pressed into the plate, picking up the ink, and leaving a raised letter or design that has a slight indentation on the back. The result is a beautifully sharp and rich impression. Engraving is a great way to print if you are using dark papers or if your invitation has designs or motifs with delicate lines.

Letterpress
One of the oldest printing methods in the world, letterpress has made resurgence and is a tremendously popular look right now. It is best recognized for the soft, lush paper that usually accompanies this printing method. Letterpress is the opposite of engraving – instead of a raised print, the text and design are actually pressed into the paper using an inked polymer stamp-like printing plate. The thicker the paper, the deeper the impression. Letterpress printing works for many designs and is a wonderful way to add texture to your design.

Thermography
Thermography is a modern alternative for attaining the raised printed effect of engraving. This is achieved with a heat process which causes powdered ink to expand, resulting in a raised letter with a beautiful sheen.

Flat Printing
Flat or off-set printing is a photo process resulting in a modern, sleek look. For those looking for a more matte or contemporary feel, flat-printing may be the alternative you are looking for. It also works well for reproducing photograph half-tones, sketches and maps.