Award-Winning Stationary Designer in Columbus, Ohio
So no matter if they are looking for something trendy and new, fashionable and timeless, or unique and edgy - we can do it!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Jason Fletcher, owner and operator of Avant-Garde Impressions in Columbus, Ohio. We design and supply custom invitations, stationery and gifts for weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Showers, Holidays and any other celebrated special moments in people's lives. We have been in business now for nine years, and have been on The Best of the Knot list as well as Wedding Wire's Couple's Choice awards for over 6 consecutive years now due to our high ratings from customers that have used us. We offer custom designing for those that have their own ideas, or they can even bring in their own artwork for those that excel in graphic design and only need a printer to perfect their vision onto paper. We also have a very large assortment of catalog options for those looking for the more traditional types of invitations that have been popular for decades as well. So no matter if they are looking for something trendy and new, fashionable and timeless, or unique and edgy - we can do it!
Most of our clients come from very happy referrals, however, we do still go out to trade shows and wedding expos occasionally to reach some that haven't heard of us yet.
How did you start?
We have been in business for nine years, and focus on a budget to moderate range pricing for the general public. When I started this business we had noticed that almost every brick and mortar stationery shop only carried high-end options, and typically only catered to the people who could afford those prices that came with it. We do offer some of the higher end options as well for those looking for it, but our focus is being sure to also offer a much larger assortment in the more affordable ranges to be able to help any person's needs - on any budget. This has propelled us to where we are now with such a large collection of samples, ideas and options, as well as such a multitude of clients that have been so happy with our service.
Most of our clients come from very happy referrals, however, we do still go out to trade shows and wedding expos occasionally to reach some that haven't heard of us yet. We truly enjoy how happy our clients are when they let us know of all of the calls and emails they receive letting us know the feedback they have gotten from their guests on their stationary. It gives them such a sense of pride in making the right decision that set the tone for their wedding or event, but also stayed well within their budget.
What are some wedding invitation RSVP wording ideas?
Wedding invitations should always be straight to the point and not overly wordy. The details are important, but you don't want your guests to miss something because they have started to skim. And too lengthy can also take away from the formality of the invitation and seem overly pretentious. The response for invitations is still traditionally a mail-back card and is very important to get your guest count as well as any other pertinent information collected that you may need. This is where you can make it clear of who is invited if you are stuck with space constraints or a very tight guest list, collect their meal options, dietary restrictions, or even a suggested song request for those looking for a more informal and intimate experience
Simple and elegant is always a timeless choice for wedding invitations.
What are some of the best designed wedding invitation cards?
Simple and elegant is always a timeless choice for wedding invitations. Custom designing is the biggest trend now, with the arrival of so many affordable options to get something very unique to your style and ideas. However, we always recommend to think about later on your 25th anniversary: meaning is this look something you think is a fad now that later you would think to yourself "what were we thinking?", or will it be something you can look back on and remember it as being a beautiful piece of your wedding plans that have stood the test of time and would be admired then as well as now?
Less is always more, and subtlety is more valuable than too much bling, too many rhinestones, and multiple designs that don't seem to have a cohesive feel when placed all together. Sometimes we can all be guilty of getting excited and wanting to add more and more to the look, but keeping it classy and beautiful by reigning in the ideas to one or two particular elements can really make the difference when you look back on your choices. You can still choose the custom designing option to be unique and different. However, just because you can now add anything - doesn't mean you should add everything.
What are the typical services/packages offered? How much should the couples expect to pay for these services?
Invitations are a hard thing to offer package, as every single person has such different needs, budgets, styles, and ideas. Most people need an invitation, RSVP set and most likely a "more information" card. So with that in mind, think about the entire set when pricing invitations out. Most companies only quote the main invitation to make the cost look lower than it is and then sticker shock you later once you add in all of the pieces. Since we typically focus on more moderate pricing, we use the greeting card pricing strategy to our clients when describing price comparisons: When you are purchasing a greeting card from the local grocery store, think of the pricing to expect when you are there. This should be the same thought process for an average sized wedding as well.
A standard 3 piece set of wedding invitations should fall in line with the pricing of those single greeting cards if you are looking for something affordable. For example, budget wedding invitations would be about $1.50 - $3.50 per set, the average elegant but not too over the top styles should run you about $3.50 - $6.50 per set and the more elegant styles would be above that. Be sure to compare and shop around. Invitations are harder to compare since there are so many print options, paper stocks and layouts you want to be sure to compare more apples to apples comparisons: flat cards to flat cards, pocket styles to pocket styles, thermography to thermography and so-on. A simple flat card style should be less than a fancy laser-cut pocket so when comparing keep that in mind that if you are looking for something more spectacular, be sure to compare the same type of styles from company to company while pricing.
For example, budget wedding invitations would be about $1.50 - $3.50 per set, the average elegant but not too over the top styles should run you about $3.50 - $6.50 per set and the more elegant styles would be above that.
How much of a deposit is required?
This is different from company to company and can vary drastically. Here at Avant-Garde Impressions, it is typically just 1/2 down when placing an order, and the other 1/2 when picking up the order. If we are doing a custom design that includes a complete setup of artwork, we require a $25 deposit (that is non-refundable for the designing and setup time), but that will go toward the price of the invitations if you go with that design. If you were to change your mind and want something completely different, we would just charge another $25 design fee. We typically recommend looking at samples and even just getting some ideas of what you like first to be sure that doesn't happen though. Most people do not need to do that design fee, as we do help you to narrow down your style and look before deciding you are ready to start the design process. Deciding what it is that you actually want is sometimes the hardest thing to pick.
Here at Avant-Garde Impressions, it is typically just 1/2 down when placing an order, and the other 1/2 when picking up the order. If we are doing a custom design that includes a complete setup of artwork, we require a $25 deposit (that is non-refundable for the designing and setup time), but that will go toward the price of the invitations if you go with that design. If you were to change your mind and want something completely different, we would just charge another $25 design fee.
What is your policy on cancellation or refund?
If we haven't made anything yet or ordered paper and supplies, we can offer cancellations and refunds (Minus the design fee if applicable for our time). However, since these are custom made products that we deal with typically the deposit would usually be non-refundable if we have been given the green light for production before a cancellation.
That just is to help cover our purchases of any needed paper, printing and labor that may have already been put in. Although every situation is different, these are handled on a situation by situation basis. It is very rare in this type of business that something has gotten that far before the need to cancel has even come up as an option.
How long before the wedding date can any changes be requested?
Changes in something that is custom printed can really be made anytime up until the approval for print is made. So that really depends on what the item is, and if it has been printed yet as to what the deadlines would be. After something has been approved to print, it would be too late and a reprint/re-order would be the only viable option.
If you could ask one thing of the grooms and brides that would make your job at their wedding easier, what would it be?
We ask all of our couples to be prepared a bit before their initial meeting. Deciding what they like can be a daunting task for some.
We ask all of our couples to be prepared a bit before their initial meeting. Deciding what they like can be a daunting task for some. Especially since there are both of them to consider for the style and taste. Choosing a style and look is easy for some, but very overwhelming for some. So even just a small amount of time researching before coming in is the most beneficial thing you can do. Simple websites like Pinterest or even Google searching is sufficient. Look at some ideas and styles and narrow down a few that really catch your eye. That gives us an idea of where to start and what kind of styles you are actually interested in. When brides come into the office and are starting out blind, it can be a bit overwhelming to them to present thousands of options. However, even just 20 minutes of prep time can save them a lot of headache and frustration.