After planning every heartfelt detail to your perfect wedding day, it’s time to consider signs for your wedding day. Well-placed signage is the key to guide your guests through the journey of enjoying your event! Today on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!, Danielle Holleran shares her experience as the owner of Details and Swirls to help you consider when and where to use signs to guide your guests. Danielle explains trends she is seeing in wedding signage and the difference between purchasing signage online versus hiring an all-inclusive vendor. If you are trying to figure out if there are any details of wedding planning that you are forgetting especially as it relates to wedding signage, today’s episode is for you!
I’m the owner of Details and Swirls. I have two different parts of my business. The first is that I create custom signage for local clients and deliver their products to their events in Rhode Island. Then, I also have a website where I have customers from all over the country who I ship pieces to for their celebrations.
Alright, so if someone is thinking about custom signage for their wedding… where do they even start? What do they need for their wedding day?
Let me run you through the basics of what I see frequently and the different types of signage I offer. First and foremost, I think welcome signs are definitely the most popular item for custom signs. They’ll include the date, the location, and their names at the very least.
Another popular signage option is a seating chart, which is kind of a whole other area in itself. But if someone is going the route of a seating chart, rather than escort cards, it’s definitely an option for a custom design. This could be a wooden, acrylic, or mirrored sign – and that’s something we assist with. After that, you can think about the little details like table numbers, card and gift signs, or guest book signs. Those are probably my next group of popular items – especially the guest book if the couple is doing something a bit more unique requiring more instructions. I’ve also done signature drinks or options for receptions!
When thinking of where to use custom signage, I tell my clients to think about different areas at their wedding. If you’re planning a table for something, do you need a sign to explain what it is? Or how to complete something – like finding your table? If someone isn’t sure what they might need, I’ll always offer options of things I’ve done in the past – that usually gets their wheels turning and they realize places they could use their signs!
Love that! Being able to see where other couples have used signs can be super helpful in picking out where to use them at your own wedding day.
Oh, definitely. That covers the most popular areas, but there’s always the fun signs, too! These are things like quotes or something that highlights what’s important to you as a couple. I’ve done some really unique and funky signs that are different quotes and memos that are special to my couples – but really don’t help with the flow of the event. But, they’re meaningful to my couples so that’s what matters! Using signage can truly bring your personality to your event.
How do couples determine the material of the signs they want?
While there are really so many options and decisions to make when it comes to custom signs, there’s typically three main categories that they fall into. We’ve got acrylic signs, wooden signs, and mirrored signs. Honestly, I would just look at them online and see which vibe you like best. You don’t have to use just one type of material for all of your signs either. I’ve definitely mixed and matched for clients before. But, when you’re starting to plan, just see what types of signage you gravitate towards as you pick inspiration. This will help you decide who to reach out to and what kind of options you’re looking for.
Can you tell us about your process for your hand-written signs?
Absolutely! So, what I do is pretty unique. Out there, there’s tons of options for couples – on Etsy, on websites, and so on. A lot of people use Cricuts or softwares for their signs, which is perfectly fine. But, I personally hand write all of mine. My signs are all hand-lettered from start to finish, which means they’re totally customizable. It’s literally a blank canvas for my couples. I can do really anything and I’m not restricted by fonts or sizes or whatever, which creates a really fun experience because my clients have total control over their pieces – which I find they really enjoy.
That’s amazing! Okay, so when people see these beautiful signs, they don’t always think about the installation situation. Can you tell us a little about that?
Definitely. This was something I learned early on in my business, too, because I honestly thought the same thing: you just put the sign up and you’re done. But there’s a lot more involved. Locally, I offer wedding rentals which include a full-service delivery and breakdown. With signs on my website, I can’t do that because they ship all over! But, if you’re listening to this episode and you’re having a sign shipped to you (from me or not!), here’s a few things to think about when it comes to sign setup and installation.
So most of the pieces I set up for my deliveries are mirrors. And, they’re heavy! I used to think that if you just put them on a stand, you’ll be good to go. But that’s not the case. The pieces definitely need to be installed safely and securely at venues. You need ground anchors for the easels and zip ties to tie the mirrors to the stands – because one stray elbow could cause your sign to fall quickly! When it comes to acrylic pieces, make sure you have a clear fishing line to secure the sign to the easel. Acrylic signs are light as a feather and the corners are sharp – so seriously, a gust of wind and that thing is gone and going to hurt someone. I also always bring along a cloth to wipe down the sign too so it’s clean!
Thank you for sharing that! It’s the same with florals too – there’s definitely more to setup than meets the eye. How about for people who aren’t local or are buying signs online? Should they work with an event coordinator or someone to help set them up properly?
Definitely, I think that it’s really important to have them setup right. I feel like everything on a wedding day comes down to organization and being kind ahead of the game. So when it comes to signage, I think it’s important to kind of determine a contact person who’s going to be handling your signage. Chances are, if you’re the bride or whoever is responsible for booking and getting all these things together, you’re not going to be the one to set things up on the actual wedding day. So, I would just talk to your venue or event coordinator. A lot of times, they’re very willing to help set up these pieces if they know ahead of time. If you have a wedding planner, of course, this would be something to talk to them about. Pass along those tips to them!
Can you share a little bit about pricing for custom wedding signage?
Yes! So, I feel like pricing is one of the areas that isn’t really clearly discussed in the signage world… especially with Pinterest and all of the inspiration you can find these days. I don’t think people understand pricing because it can vary so much. For instance, the lowest item I offer on my website is $40 and that’s a custom acrylic or wood sign. You’d probably find similar pricing on Etsy for your smaller signs – like for your gift table or card table. If you’re looking to book an actual service like I offer for rentals, the main package is around $1,000 and that includes a welcome sign, seating chart, side small table numbers, card box, and the full-service delivery and breakdown. In that case, you’re getting the full-service vendor who’s going to be part of your journey and design custom pieces.
Pricing for signage really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want something really custom and that can be put up for you, your pricing will be higher. If you want something you can grab and go, have a family member setup then go the route of an online shop.
Perfect. For seating charts… those must be pretty involved and be something you do close to the wedding. How do you handle those?
Seating charts are definitely the trickiest area when it comes to signage. But, I want to talk about this in two different ways. If it’s something I’m shipping out to a client, there’s not a lot of wiggle room because we have to account for how much time it will take to ship. In those situations, I have a hard deadline of when I need the final list because I can’t make changes past a certain date. But, for my local clients, I’m the one physically bringing the pieces to a wedding. So, I can accommodate changes a lot closer to the event. I honestly wait until the last minute possible to start the seating chart because there’s always last minute changes! It really helps take some of the stress off of my couples and I always remind them that it happens with almost every wedding, too.
I think those deadlines are something to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide if you’re going to work with a local designer or buy offline. Ask about the deadlines and make sure you know what timelines you’ll need to be working with for your final designs.
Have you ever seen any unique ways that people plan their seating charts that might be helpful?
I haven’t actually seen anything really out of the box! Most clients do it in Excel for me. But, I will say there’s a few ways to actually do your seating chart. You can have it set up alphabetically so everyone is seated by last name. Or you can do it by your own choice. It’s just something to think about as you start to list out all the guests for your designer.
What trends are you seeing right now in your industry?
I think that mirrors have definitely been a steady trend in the industry for a while now. But, I will say that unique signage and larger installations are also really trending right now – whether it’s signs on a boxwood wall or signage on big backdrops. I think that’s interesting because they’re tricker to execute from a client’s perspective. It’s much harder to just order those online and set them up, so you’d have to find someone local to do them. I’m also seeing a lot of unique shapes like arches and rounded pieces that are trending, too.
Before we wrap up, can you tell our listeners a little bit about the other components of your business?
Like I mentioned, I have a full online website where I sell a whole assortment of items. I sell wedding signs, which I’ve mentioned my acrylic wedding signs, welcome signs, seating, signs, things like that, as well as wooden wedding signs. And I also sell wooden custom signs. These aren’t just wedding signs but they’re all sorts of options. Everything can be customized and they’re awesome for wedding gifts! A large portion of my business is these custom wooden signs which is super fun, because I get a little glimpse into my customers. I get to learn their favorite quotes, movies, signs, and so much more. It’s a lot of fun.
That’s awesome and a great idea for wedding gifts! Can you explain a little bit about how you work your custom orders?
Since my orders are custom and handwritten, I open orders through the 15th of every month. Then the second half of the month, I work on the orders and ship them out. Once the next month starts, the process starts again. This is the same for my acrylic wedding signs and custom wooden signs, too.
What are some key points that couples should be asking their signage company when they’re inquiring to make sure that they are working with a professional company to be sure that their wedding day is a perfect event?
Ask them what types of customization options are available for their signage. Some designers will offer you full creative control over your signs whereas others won’t and you’ll have to use their specific layouts and designs.
Find out about their setup and delivery process and fees. If you’re paying an additional fee, you should know what’s included or not.
Finally, ask about the timeline of changes for your pieces – specifically your seating chart. How close to the wedding can you make changes and are there fees involved?
What We Discussed
What types of signs to use for your wedding day (5:06)
How to decide on the materials for your signs (10:04)
What is sign installation like? (13:09)
Who should help setup your signs? (17:53)
Tips for seating charts (22:46)
Custom signage trends (29:58)
Wrap-Up Question: What to ask sign designers (33:53)
Links Mentioned in the Episode
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