Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

The first quarter of 2010 will determine wedding invitation trends for the year.   In fact, I suspect that wedding invitation designs have pretty much been defined long before the “Will you marry me?” question was asked this holiday season.  I have it on very good authority that this is so:  Google.

Google Trends tracks the number of web daily searches for a particular term (in this case “wedding invitations”) over the course of a year.  As the chart above demonstrates, searches for “wedding invitations” peak toward the end of the year and early January and then begin to tail-off rather significantly after the first quarter.  The chart above also compares the search term “online wedding invitations” (shown in red) to “wedding invitations” (shown in blue).   As suggested by the chart, prospective bridal couples do not feel the need to distinguish between wedding invitations sold online and those that are offered exclusively through storefront stationers.

The New York Times (December 29, 2009) reports that bridal magazine ad pages are down significantly in December, 2009.   Quoting sources the Nielsen Company and Mediaweek, bridal magazine ads for December, 2009 were down 8.4% in Brides magazine, 25.5% in Bridal Guide and 23.9% in Martha Stewart Weddings.   While ad pages are booked far in advance and certainly reflect the rather depressed economy, the battlefield for wedding invitations has shifted to the Internet and the public is indeed poorer as a result.    As I have written on numerous occasions, low image resolutions, limited customization options and the inability of the online client to compare different papers and printing processes greatly diminishes a company’s ability to distinguish their brand.

It is interesting to note, that of the top 10 companies listed on the first page of Google for the search term “wedding invitations,” only one is a credible printing company:  Crane & Co.  Not surprisingly, Wedding Paper Divas, remains in the top position.    It does so because it has the most aggressive and intelligent application of paid search and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies of any company in the business.   In a revealing New York Times article, Tiny Prints (a sister company of Wedding Paper Divas), describes how it competes for holiday greeting cards and photo cards by paying up to $50 to acquire a client.   I would suspect that they will pay that and possibly more to acquire a client willing to purchase a wedding invitation online.

While Wedding Paper Divas has certainly upgraded its line in recent years with companies such as William Arthur merchandizing their line through them, one wonders whether this business model is sustainable.    In fact, William Arthur now sells directly online and other companies such as Minted offer a wider range of quality invitations from craftspeople who do not generally market their equisite designs online.

For those seeking quality wedding invitations coupled with superior customer service, I strongly recommend that you visit a stationer in your neighborhood.    Most of these stores carry a far wider range of wedding invitation samples than any online dealer.  Customization options are limitless and you can actually feel the paper samples and see how ink colors change depending on the printing process.  In 2010, do yourself a favor and see why choosing your invitation in person makes all the difference in the world.

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