Experts: The Lady of Note

Invitations are just paper, right? Wrong. Local stationer Arlene Cronk explains why the right design makes all the difference.

What requests get your eyes rolling?

I try not to jump out of my seat when a couple tell me they want to do an RSVP postcard instead of one with an envelope. I tell them that if someone wants to send their regrets, they may also want to send a check. They usually go with the envelope.

What makes a high-end invite worth more money?

It could be the printing method: Engraving and letterpress are more expensive. The quality of the paper, the ink color, a custom envelope, design time — those all affect price. So do embellishments like silk, ribbon, or crystals, because of the cost of materials and the labor involved.

When is it worth it to splurge?

The invite is the first thing people see. If you’re having a high-end wedding, you want to set the right tone.

If clients are torn between invitations, how do you break the tie?

Sometimes the bride will ask her groom, “Which do you prefer?” And I jump in and ask how important the invites are to each of them on a scale of 1 to 10. If he thinks they’re a 1 and she thinks they’re a 10, it’s clear who should have more say in the decision.

Any tips for filling up the room without over-inviting?

Some couples have an A list and a B list of invitees, meaning if they get regrets, they’ll send out more invitations. If you go that route, don’t make the RSVP date too early, or else the person invited late will know it. Date the RSVP card four weeks in advance of the wedding so you’ll have more leeway.

Ever worry about competition from Web-based DIY services?

There are clear advantages to working with a professional: They know the etiquette, and they know the printers. Sure, people may go online to do housewarming invites, but weddings? I don’t lose sleep over it.

Invitations & Company, 617-227-2127,