When you are looking for wedding stationery, what are you really looking for? Is it about quality or price? Is what you’re buying exactly what you want or is it the only choice that comes close to what you want?

Handcrafted items are unique. This is as true for clothing as it is for invitations. They may all look the same on display, but if you look closer, you will see the differences in the materials used to make each piece. No two pieces of paper are identical. No press hits paper exactly the same way every time. Every piece is inspected to make sure it’s as close to perfect as it can be before it’s put into production.

Another reason to buy handmade is to get the exact style, size and colors that you want. Mass produced items are only available in certain colors and sizes and styles. Custom stationers create paper products to fit YOU and YOUR wedding. Most will finish and embellish your stationery any way you want it, not expect you to take what’s available in the catalog. Handmade craftspeople take a great amount of pride in their work and strive to do the best job possible, which is why customer satisfaction ranks very high in the handmade community.

Buying handmade may be a little more expensive than getting something that was machine made, but the quality of the finished product is generally better. No corners are cut and the source materials are of a higher quality than those that meet the margins of mass producers. Seeing how something is produced, I think, also helps people appreciate the art behind it.

From a bride who received a sample of à deux‘s work:

At first glance your sample is wonderful and perfect but, the more I look at it, the more I noticed that the ribbon on the front seems a little crooked. The design is beautiful, and therefore worth the more expensive price than others, but I need to KNOW that the finished product will be of the highest quality.

First, nothing goes out the door if it doesn’t meet my enormously high quality standards. Everything I do is HANDMADE and I don’t think — in this age of mass production — that all brides can fully appreciate that. I’m not going to try to sell that bride a handmade product when she might be happier with something produced mechanically, each one exactly identical to the last.

Second, what’s true for yummy chocolate chip cookies is true for custom wedding stationery: Homemade is best. Yes, there will be minuscule imperfections in handmade pieces. I probably agonize over my product more than my brides do. Those tiny variations in quality give me nightmares sometimes. Some find it charming, others don’t understand the nature of handcraft. Like a dress that is hand stitched, you can see the detail and appreciate it or you can reject it as imperfect. I repeat: handmade items do contain flaws. The goal, as always, is perfection but — sadly — people are not robots. Each and every piece is made with love.

I want to hear from you: Do you intentionally buy handmade or do you purchase what you need without much thought to how it was created? Would you rather buy something made by a person or by a machine?

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Photos of à deux invitations by McBoat Photography

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