Good quality, heavy stock, soft or hard to touch, paper I love! I love journals, notepads and notebooks that have lines spaced to my liking, and real calendars you actually write in like not too-long-ago-old-fashioned times! I love cute gift stores with high quality pens and other things I truly do not need. When it comes to event or wedding invitations, I almost always prefer letter press. However there are exceptions to this rule! If a client is involved with creating a custom design, sometimes with this level of personalization, flat printing can be just as effective, if letterpress is not in the budget. Furthermore, some fine details, like a true to life map, cannot be letter pressed with so much detail.
If I am helping a client with an invitation and they are not working directly with a designer, I tend to take that template and make it more perfect for the overall wedding or event design at hand. I break them apart and put them back together again. Invitation companies just love me - ha! It is hard to have an imagination when looking at templates if you do not do this as often. You can change out paper type, shape, thickness, colors, fonts, positioning of a detail, add a design detail, get creative with the envelope, it's flap and liner - a favorite of mine! Choose an out of the box custom calligraphy font for addressing. The sky is the limit when you have enlisted a pair of talented hands!
THE BIGGER PICTURE...
Your save-the-date is the first piece of information your guests will receive about your event. Certainly if you are planning a work-related event this crosses into branding. If you are speaking of a wedding save the date, some people will perceive this as the first message you are sending about your wedding day, so make it a message you want to send. That being said, you should march to the beat of your own drummer and make choices that are not driven by peer pressure. For some, I would say save your money for the formal invitation. Keep the save the date as simple as possible. Furthermore, at the time you order your save the date, your wedding day décor may not be set in stone.
Think ahead when creating or choosing your invitation. This design will coincide with all other printed materials, which coincide with your overall wedding day or event day design. From printed menus, to wedding programs, to personalized labels on welcome bags or gifts. Some also order thank you cards at the time they order their invitations.
DISCLAIMER - I am by no means an invitation guru relative to an invitation designer, especially those that own their own company. These folks are predominantly cool, geeky, wonderful people, both grammatically and creatively inclined! I, on the other hand, are a paper snot, invitation obsessed planner and designer, inclined towards dyslexia, therefore poor grammar. This is why you always have multiple people proof your stationery before you go to print! Do not just trust your designer, do not just trust yourself - send your proofs on to a few people! I got off topic.....
Truth be told, I really just had to take the time to emphasize how EXCITED I am for the National Stationery Show! Last year was the first time I attended. I love picking up on trends and also meeting so many talented designers with different materials, textures, crazy wonderful out-of-the-box stationery ideas that leave me so inspired in the days after! Yes, I love the goodies as well.
Happy paper hunting!