Katherine Ann Rose
Whether you worked on the design for your wedding-related paper goods—including the save-the-date, invitation, ceremony programs, signage, escort cards, and dinner menu—for five days or five weeks, there’s something undeniably exciting about the day they finally arrive in your possession. Sure, looking at the proofs gives you a good idea about what the final design will look like, but there’s nothing quite like holding the tangible pieces in your hands. That’s why unboxing your paper goods and spotting a big, ugly typo you never caught in the proofing process is so upsetting. And while it’s unlikely, especially because the majority of stationers insist on a multi-step proofing process (during which you’ll check and double-check that the information and spelling on each piece of paper is correct), mistakes do occur from time to time. According to Britt Rohr of Swell Press, “It’s the worst case, but it has happened!”
So, what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? First and foremost, don’t fret. Rohr assures us there is always a solution, and she’s sharing her expertise so that you can quickly navigate this hiccup and get a reprint in the works.
Related: Who Is Responsible for Proofreading Your Wedding Invitations?
Notify your stationer and discuss options.
“First, notify the stationer ASAP,” Rohr says. “Timing and cost implications of reprints depend on the scope of the job. If it’s an insert card that’s digitally printed, this would be the best case scenario! If there’s a digital-only error, we can typically ship those out next-day.” Of course, all stationers work on different timelines, so it’s important to contact your vendor as soon as you’re aware of a problem to start discussing fixes.
The cost of a reprint will depend on the printing method.
Depending on what you need fixed and how it was originally printed, Rohr says the cost and timeline could vary significantly. “If the piece with a typo was an ancillary piece (i.e. an RSVP card or a website card), digital printing would be a good option for the reprint. Because I am a letterpress printer at heart, I would never suggest reprinting a main piece, like an invitation, digitally.”
But if you’re very tight on time, a letterpress reprint just might not be an option. Letterpress is a more dynamic process, which typically requires more lead time than digital printing. Rohr says, “For letterpress, plates take a few days to come in and the press schedule is typically planned (grouped by color) about a week in advance. So, any kind of last-minute mistakes or interruptions to the press schedule can be very costly (either to us, or to the client). We always try to be reasonable with reprint pricing—this isn’t a place for us to make a profit, but rather to make sure our client has the best possible outcome on every level, and that at a bare minimum, our costs are covered.”
It may be faster to expedite a reprint if you’re working directly with the printer.
If you’re working with a designer like Rohr, who’s company also handles the printing of their paper goods, you’ll be in a better position to get your adjusted items faster. Rohr says, “If there is an error, we control the timeline of fixing it because we’re not pleading with a printer to expedite anything since it’s (mostly) all done in-house.” If your stationer isn’t the professional who handles the actual printing, getting on the phone as soon as possible is even more important. You two need to discuss changes, and then your stationer needs to contact their printer to discuss the timeline.
Mistakes underscore the importance of sticking to an invitation timeline.
When you have a little extra time on the back end of the design process, it’s easier to fix these kinds of mistakes. Rohr says, “We always try to beat deadlines so there is appropriate time if a fix is needed. For instance, we once had a client who dropped their invitations at a blue mailbox (not in a post office), and they were stolen. In this instance, she had dropped them in the mail about a week earlier than planned, which gave us time to react and reprint everything, and she only missed her deadline by a few days. Earlier is always better. Sometimes clients lag a day or two with approval, or even a week or two with feedback, and those are the times when prompt responses really come in handy.”