Wedding Invitation Chat With the Owners of Haute Papier
If you want your wedding guests to treasure their invitation for as long after the event as they treasure the memories, Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller might be your new best friends. They'll chat Thursday at 11.

Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.

Published June 10, 2008
If you want your wedding guests to treasure their invitation for as long after the event as they treasure the memories, Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller might be your new best friends. They own Haute Papier (1300 35th St., NW, Suite 1; 202-337-1623), a couture stationery studio in Georgetown. Couples can custom-design invitations from the Couture collection or go with a design from the ready-to-write Le Catalogue collection. Sarah and Erin are coming by The Washingtonian Thursday at 11 AM to answer your invitation questions.

Born and raised on a dairy and vegetable farm in upstate New York, Sarah earned her degree in political science from American University. In 2006 when she got a request from a fellow Junior League of Washington member in search of custom invitations for her wedding, she launched the company. The following year she brought on Erin, a fellow AU alum, to expand the business. Outside the world of invitations, Erin is a certified kayak instructor and Sarah publishes the District Domestic, a gourmet-food blog. Between them, they’ve completed four Marine Corps marathons.

From including starfish in the envelope for a beach-themed wedding to packing the invitation in a box of rose petals, Haute Papier helps couples welcome each guest personally. Submit your questions now, and Sarah and Erin will be here to answer them on Thursday at 11.

Washington, DC
Can you tell me the etiquette on thank you cards after the wedding? What's the latest you can send them?

This is a good one! 

There three basic rules for sending thank yous for wedding gifts.  First, the note must be handwritten on a thank you card and sent through the US Postal Service.  Second, you should mention the gift and how you plan to use it.  Finally, it must be prompt.

Well, what's considered prompt, you might ask?

Sarah sticks to one month at the absolute longest!

Erin says you can't use the gift until you've sent the thank you!

You might feel overwhelmed by the number of notes to send, well, you've just picked up a partner in life - we recommend passing some off to him (or her!).

 

 

Arlington, VA
I want to do an original save the date card - I get that magnets are cool and handy and all but I am kind of sick of them! ANy ideas?

We agree!  We've seen one too many magnets also!

We've put together all sorts of interesting save-the-dates for couples.  One of our favorite ideas is "publishing" a magazine all about your wedding.

From a story on how you met to restaurant reviews in the town the wedding will take place.  Bottom line - it gets your guests excited to share in the festivities.  

DC
The last wedding I was invited to had these beautiful handmade wedding invites. I'm not at all artistic but I'd like to do something like that. Do you have tips for how to get started?

Before you take on the project of creating your invitations yourself, it's important to assess how comfortable you feel designing, cutting and gluing.  You should also keep in mind that the time commitment can be huge!

We do this daily as all of our invitations are handmade and a set of 100 invitations can take 3 full-timers anywhere from 30 hours to weeks!  

If you are set on do-it-yourself invitations, start flipping through some magazines to get an idea of what you like.  Then visit your local paper store to get an idea of costs and finally, assess if you really have time for the project!

If you are looking for one-of-a-kind, handmade invitations and don't have the energy for the project, give us a call!
Fairfax
Is it okay to use evite for save the date?

We never recommend evites for the save-the-date, here's why...

We feel the save-the-date and invitations set the tone for your wedding.  Though your best friend from college might not mind having the invite come to their Outlook inbox, your Great Aunt Jane might not be so impressed.  

The save-the-date especially is a great way to get your guests excited for the special event.  As we mentioned above, some of the most unique and fun pieces we've done are save-the-dates.  

Your wedding is an incredibly personal event; we encourage all of our clients to make their wedding paperie a reflection of their style. 

Really?
"packing the invitation in a box of rose petals"? how did you do that?

This bride came to us looking for a romantic, yet gardeny invitation set.  We put our heads together and came up with a beautiful ensemble using boxes sent like gifts to each guest and a top secret recipe for preserving color in rose petals!

You can see a picture of it under Couture on our website. 

Alexandria, Virginia
What's a reasonable budget to project for spending on invitations for 150 guests?

Wedding budgets vary greatly, so everyone's budget for invitations is going to be different. 

It is important when budgeting for your wedding to figure out what is most important to you - that way you can spend more on the areas you care most about!

Surprise, surprise - We both spent a good portion of our budgets on invitations!

With that being said, the average invitation ensemble costs between $10-15 each.

 

 

DC
Do you all offer recycled paper options for weddings? Do you see more and more people doing that as going green becomes more popular?

As for the recycled paper - MOST of the papers we used (and have been using for the last couple of years) are at least 30% post-consumer recycled paper.  

We've gone as far as using soy-based inks while letterpressing on the most recycled of recycled paper - saa paper. 

 

As for it being a trend, yes and no.  It is important as part of our business model to be as environmentally responsible as we can be.  Surprisingly, not that many seem to be concerned about it. 

DC
Invite etiquette question: how do I make it clear on my invitations that small children are not welcome? Is there a polite phrase I could put at the bottom?

You don't!

The proper way to "show" that children are not invited to the wedding is to not include their names on the envelope(s). 

Still you may get a few RSVPs with children's names on them. If this is the case, appoint a relative or your wedding planner to call the guest and politely remind them that the invitation was for the adults only.  One line we always recommend using is that it's an excuse to get a babysitter and have a fun night without the kids!

Another popular option is to provide childcare in a different location throughout the wedding.   

 

Chantilly
What do you charge per invitation?

So to break it down, we provide our clients with two different services Couture and Le Catalogue.

Our pricing for Couture varies greatly as the invitation is designed just for you!  We will never do a Couture design twice!  The pricing is based on the necessary materials (paper, fabric, embellishments, boxes, seashells, rhinestones, type of printing, you get the idea...) and how labor intensive the assembly will be.   We provide a quote after the design consultation meeting.

As for Le Catalogue... there are three different price structures, flat printing, one-color letterpress and two-color letterpress.  We offer 15 designs with all the necessary wedding paperie in each set. 

For an invitation, invitation envelope, RSVP card and response envelope the pricing is as follows:

Flat Printing:$6.00

Letterpress One-Color: $10.00

Letterpress Two-Color: $18.00 

 

We also offer calligraphy services! 

Alexandria, Virginia
How much time do you recommend to create a custom invitation?

We recommend 4-6 months.  That gives everyone involved plenty of time to put together the absolutely perfect invitation set!  With that being said, we've done things in a matter of hours!

Whew!  That was a crazy day at Haute Papier! 

For Sarah
Sarah, if you do a gourmet food blog, is wedding catering next for you? :)

Well that's an idea!  (Sarah shakes her head yes, Erin smacks her!)

 

In all seriousness, at this point we have no plans to launch into the world of catering, but keeping reading at www.TheDistrictDomestic.com

You might find some cute ideas and recipes for that bridal luncheon! 

 

Washington, DC
Do a lot of people create invitations with extras that stick out? Is this a good idea?

We're not sure we understand your question...

If you are talking about bulkiness from ribbons, bows, rhinestones and other embellishments, then yes!  We find that adding these sorts of things really sets your invitation apart.  If you aren't a fan of bulkiness, we can use other textures/fabrics to keep with that dramatic effect.

For these sorts of invitations, we recommend mailing in a box (and offer several different colors and styles) that can be sent right to your guest's mailbox!

DC
What's the weirdest custom invitation request you've ever gotten?

We don't think we've been asked to do anything that's really that weird!

We've certainly designed very unique invitations - two of our favorites were sending full bottles of Veuve Cliquot  via bike courier and creating invitations cut into the design of papel picado.

If weirds what you want, weirds what you get!  We always work off of what the client is looking for as our couture is designed just for you! 

 

 

Thanks so much for all your thoughtful questions - we enjoyed answering them.  If we didn't get to your question please email us at info@hautepapier.com and we would be happy to help!

 

-Sarah & Erin 

 

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Posted at 09:00 AM/ET, 06/10/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Chats