When I walked into Lyn’s shop for wedding invitations and stationery at the wedding centre Gindurra Park Sommersby on the Central Coast, it was very easy to see how it could be so confusing trying to organise your invitations. The choices are staggering.
Lyn assured me it’s not really the case and that’s why I wanted to speak to her about exactly what’s involved in ordering, choosing and styling your wedding invitations. The interesting thing about Something Fabulous is they not only look after Central Coast brides but with an incredibly organised website, they look after weddings from Sydney, Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and beyond – all round the country in fact.
If you’d rather listen to the conversation I had with Lyn, you can do that here.
Taking the Confusion from Wedding Invitations
Andrew: Alright I’m here with Lyn from Something Fabulous up at Somersby and Lyn does invitations for weddings. And I just want get a bit of idea on what’s involved in ordering invitations, how girls should go about it, maybe you want to give a little bit of introduction first? And let us know exactly where you are? And a little bit about you and the business.
Lyn: Yeah, not a problem. Something Fabulous is at the Gindurra Park Wedding and Event Centre, we’re in unit 12. We’re with The Party Hire Company. What we offer girls is the opportunity to come in and design their own invitations and stationery. Either as a DIY option, which they can take away all the papers and cards and do it themselves. The benefit of coming to us is that we can help them actually put it together. And it can be very overwhelming, there’s a huge amount of things and papers and trims to choose from. So we can sort of help them narrow down their choices. If they’re not confident with their printing and cutting of their invitations, we can just do that for them. So all they need to do then is go away and assemble the invitations themselves, or of course we can do the lot just ready for posting. So it really depends on how much they want to be involved in the process. If they love to do scrapbooking or craft, it’s a perfect option because they can have the fun bit of putting it all together and they don’t have stress of making sure they get a professional finish. So we offer our services online, we send out invitations all over Australia, and we have a showroom. So that’s our point of difference, you can actually come in, sit down, no pressure, have a look at different displays and options.
Andrew: I know this is the first time I’ve been in your showroom, and I walked in today, I was like wow! There’s a lot of stuff in here, how do the girls even start? So I guess when girls do come and see you, do they normally have only a bit of a concept or an idea, or their theme, the colours? What do they need to have in their head before they start looking for invitations?
Lyn:It always helps to have some sort of ideas. So if they’ve decided on a theme to their wedding, then that narrows down the choices a great deal. If they’ve got a colour chosen that they want to reflect in their wedding invitations, their bridesmaids dresses or you know, flowers at the wedding, that also helps narrow down the choices. So what is overwhelming can become very easy once they have those few things in place. It’s always a good idea to also think about the shape of the invitation that you like, spend time looking at magazines, on the internet, make a little bit of a file for yourself, I suppose, to narrow down the choices. That then helps us show our customers the different options that fit in to their criteria and then make a perfect invitation for their wedding.
Andrew: Okay. Say, I’ve come getting married and I come in, my theme is green. And I want to have square invitations, and I’m going to have a hundred guests, so is that enough information to get started or do you need more?
Lyn: No, that’s perfect. You’re the perfect customer. If you can tell us the shape you want, the colour you want, we can then put together some ideas for you in the showroom. And we have enough samples here and swatches to show you, to help you pinpoint something that you’ll enjoy. All of our designs can be made into any colour or design. The paper companies offer all the papers in different colours, the ribbon companies offer them in all different colours. So you might see something in the showroom that’s pink, but it can be adapted to green. If that’s the colour that you’ve got.
Andrew: So if you something that you love, you can make it fit their wedding?
Andrew: Okay, that’s pretty easy then. I know that one of the hardest things and I see this on the wedding forums, is the wording for invitations. Do you have ideas for that? Or do the girls need to have that already in place?
Lyn:No, we’ve got lots of ideas. We have our own blog for this at somethingfabulous.com.au where they can go and look at different wording options. We’ve got folders in the showroom that they can look at. Obviously, we can also help them verbally and talk to them about family issues they may have or how to word different things. As you can imagine, we’ve been doing this for quite a long time, so we have lots of different ideas, we can be as flowery with languages as the girl would like, or we can be fairly simple and just straight to the point. So we’re very happy to help, you can come in to the showroom or you can call.
Andrew: Okay. And then what about, say, font. You know there’s some really traditional looking fonts, there’s some modern looking fonts so can the girls go through and just look at samples or can they come to you with the font that they like or have? That they want to run with?
Lyn: They can. We’ve got, as you can imagine, hundreds of fonts here on our computers. I’m a bit of a font fiend so I tend to buy fonts. And if I see something I like, I will buy it to have as part of our samples. We do have girls that do find the font that we don’t have. We can either try and match it or of course, we can purchase it. And if they’re willing to purchase the font, they’re usually about $30, we can purchase that font or they can e-mail it to me from their own computer. If they’ve got it on their own computer.
Andrew: So you can install it?
Lyn: I install it and then I can use it.
Andrew: Okay, fantastic. And then imagine you do the whole package, you do the envelopes, the actual invitation, I can see place settings around the room as well. Is that the extent?
Lyn: Absolutely. Usually when a lady will come to us, or a couple come to us for their invitations, we do their invitations and then as their receptions are coming up we do their matching place cards, menus, ceremony booklets, table numbers, any tags for their bomboniere. Any of those types of things. We also do a lot of matching bomboniere that goes in with our invitation themes. So we can print personalised labels that might go on a box that’s the same colour as their invitation, put the same feather on the top and the same diamonte. So that the theme is carried through right from the beginning when the invitation goes out, the theme is carried all the way through their wedding. And when you think of it, the invitation is the first example that the guests see of your wedding. It’s the first introduction to your wedding. So that theme really should start from then.
Andrew: So, and then, with those invitations, I get asked occasionally, what’s the general time that they should be sent out before the wedding do you think?
Lyn: Okay. Normally, it’s a couple of months. So 2 months – 8 weeks before the wedding the invitation should be going out. If you’ve got a destination wedding, that you are planning, they can go out 3 months in advance, or you do the ‘Save the Date’ card, when you’ve sent your date and you know that you might be having your wedding in Bali or that you’ve got a lot of people coming in from overseas. So you would send out a ‘Save the Date’ card immediately just saying that the wedding will be happening, where it will be happening and any accommodation details or details that your guests may need to book themselves to be able to come. And then on the bottom of the ‘Save the Date’, it says ‘Invitation to follow.’ And then 8 weeks, 3 months to 8 weeks before the wedding, they would then receive their invitation. But they already know that the wedding is happening. But that generally for a local girl it would be 8 weeks.
Andrew: Sure, let’s say we aim to be sending invitations out 8 weeks before, how much before then should do the girls have to come to see you about having their invitations done. How much lead time is there?
Lyn: I think you’d at least need 2 months before that. So I think 4 months before your wedding, you should be looking at your invitations, at least. If you’re going to be making your own invitations, I’d like to see you give yourself even longer because you’re not rushing it. You can’t gradually do your invitations step-by-step, think about it, get proofs done for yourself, and make sure that you’re making the most of the paper that you’re buying and you’re not rushed and frazzled. The same with, if you’re assembling them yourself, give yourself that little bit of extra time. The minute you know your wedding details and you know your guest list, you might as well just get started with your invitations. Nobody’s in a hurry and no one’s rushing.
Andrew: Would definitely help though if you knew colours, and a bit of idea of your theme?
Andrew: So once you get that sorted, rough guest list.
Lyn: And most couples know that. You know, they’re planning their weddings 12 months, 18 months in advance. Most people have decided they’re going to have a vintage wedding. Or they’re going to have a beach-themed wedding or a traditional. You know, that sort of, will follow on.
Andrew: Yeah, sure. Okay. And I know that you mentioned before you can do do-it-yourself, or you have like a full service, so do the girls, do they normally decide that once they come see you or they know already, they’re a bit crafty, they’re going to want do everything. So how does that work?
Lyn: Most people know, when they come in. They don’t know that we can offer that service to them, which is great that I’m having this opportunity. Most people think that we would just do it fully for them. But we’re very happy to help girls make their own invitations, or couples make their own invitations. It saves some cash.
Andrew: And coming here, I can imagine, would be much better than coming to a stationery shop and just scratching your head because you can show them exactly what the invitations are going to look like. And they can still do that themselves.
Lyn: Exactly. And there’s also lots of tips and tricks to help and make it easier. There’s lots of products that are already pre-cut. Scored cards that are already pre-cut for them. So you know, if you go into a stationery shop, or an art shop, you will just see A4 sheets of cards and paper in a plethora of colors and designs. And look at it probably, unless you’re really into it, into papercraft, not quite know where to start. Whereas if you come to us, we can say to you, ‘You can make this invitation. We can make it easy for you. We can give you tips and tricks.’ Candy, who’s our designer, is fabulous at saying cut it this way, do it this way, make it look professional, we can help you make it look professional.
Andrew: Okay. And then you can also do the printing here so they basically pick up the cards with the printing, and then assemble everything at home if they want to.
Lyn: Exactly. With the printing we cut it. So everything is cut to size so your trimmed papers, your ribbons, your printing layers are all cut.
Andrew: It’s really just assembling it at home.
Lyn: Just putting it together and it’s easy because it’s just using double-sided tape. We use a special paper with double-sided tape so there’s no glue, there’s no accidentally sticking your invitation to your leg, do you know what I mean? It’s a fairly simple process.
Andrew: Yeah, right. And you get all the glory then as well!
Lyn: Exactly! You can say ‘I made them myself off my own design!’
Andrew: Fantastic! So I know that pricing is really difficult for invitations, because there’s so many little bits and pieces you can add or subtract and fancy little things you can add on, let’s say we have a hundred guests at our wedding. We’re going send out a pretty basic invitation, I’m going do everything myself. Can you give me an idea roughly what that’s going cost me?
Lyn: Absolutely. Our average sale for a DIY invitation is about $200 with your envelopes. That’s all your papers and card, ready for you to take away and print in card and put together yourself. That’s for 50 invitations. So for a hundred guests, you have about 50 invitations that you need to be sending out. If you’re wanting that invitation cut and printed for you, you’re looking at about $350. If you then wanting that invitation fully-assembled for you to send out, just pop in the envelopes and send them out, about $500 to $550. So they’re the sort of price points. Now obviously that depends on the type of trims that you choose, if you’re wanting diamontes and feathers and pearls and things like that, well they do add cost to the materials component of your invitation. And also if you’re wanting assembly the more elaborate the invitation is that you choose, the more expensive the assembly. But it’s very rare that an invitation would cost more, for a hundred people, than a thousand dollars. That would be the most expensive invitation in a box with all the bells and whistles, all the diamontes, everything. A thousand dollars, that would be the maximum that you’ll be spending.
Andrew: I would imagine that that would be pretty time intensive and a lot of work to put something like that together.
Lyn: Absolutely. That’s the top of the range, the whole thing happening invitation.
Andrew: Fantastic. Lyn, how do people find you? I know you’re up at Somersby, you’ve got a website?
Lyn: We do. We’ve got a website www.somethingfabulous.com.au. It’s actually a shopping cart website, so you can go on there and have a look at all our designs, you can search by theme, you can search by colour, you can search by shape, and you can then see how much a DIY is, printing and cutting is. How much assembly is. So in the privacy of your own home, you can spend hours going through it and figuring out exactly how much each style of invitation will cost you. We send out invitations all over Australia. So we’re very experienced in this business.
Andrew: So if someone is listening to this interview, say in Perth, or sees the blog, they could still log onto your website and purchase invitations from you guys?
Lyn:Absolutely! We can also change colours and styles to suit different peoples weddings. So please, we’ve got customer departments here, so please give us a call. We’ve got a 1-300 number.
Andrew: I was going to ask you if you’re trying to do it cheaper and on your own, how would you go about that? There’s really no reason, I mean you’d be crazy to go anywhere else. Like you’ve got everything here.
Lyn: Exactly. And our DIY prices. I’ve done my espionage and we are actually cheaper than a lot of art shops with the prices what we charge. So all we do is charge for those materials, but you have the added benefit of coming in and seeing our designers and sitting down and making something that is purely for your wedding, that fits your wedding.
Andrew: Great. Okay. If they can’t do it in the website, they can certainly give you guys a call. Have a chat to the designers.
Lyn: Yep, they can do that. Or if they’re local, they can make an appointment and come in the showroom and sit down at the table.
Andrew: Great. So what was that website one last time?
Andrew: Great, thanks Lyn!
Lyn: My pleasure!