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Stationary boutiques in New Orleans 

The case for going local with wedding invitations

With an abundance of Internet options offering wedding invitation suites, engaged couples can overlook local stationery shops — often because they mistakenly think they'll save money by ordering online. That's not necessarily the case. There are plenty of advantages to using local stationery shops with years of experience and wisdom in helping couples select the perfect final product.

 Shopping locally means knowing exactly what you're going to get.

 "There are two things you should always buy in person: paper and fabric," says Margaret Jones of Scriptura, which has locations Uptown and in Metairie.

 Melissa Cousans Mortillaro of Gem Printing Company in Metairie agrees.

 "Ordering face-to-face and dealing directly with the printer is key," she says. "When buying paper products, you want to be able to see and feel what you are ordering. Computers and photo filters can be deceiving; what you see may not always be what you get.

 "Buying local is always best, for many reasons. Obviously, shopping locally helps with growth and expansion of local economies, but also, we are truly a tradition in the city. We often hear from our brides that their grandmothers, and sometimes great-grandmother, bought their wedding stationery at Gem Printing. It really fills us with pride that we are able to provide this service for so many generations of New Orleans' brides."

 Staff members at local shops also offer highly personalized attention. 

  Betty Hunley of Betty Hunley Designs says it always has been her mission to create and fulfill a bride's "dream invitation that will set the tone for her wedding." After 34 years in business, Hunley prides herself on customer service, etiquette advice and having a staff of talented designers.

 Jones says she accommodates all sizes of budgets.

 "We spend a great deal of time working with brides to create beautiful wedding suites within their budgets, and we always try to leave room to include thank-you notes," she says. "We truly enjoy sitting down with our clients and crafting the perfect paper trousseau to capture the spirit of their event."

 Brides can lower invitation costs by choosing digital or thermography printing instead of letterpress and engraving.

 "We offer an array of papers and processes to satisfy all budgets," Mortillaro says. "You can easily achieve [a] classic and elegant look on a lighter budget."

 Jones advises choosing lighter paper weights to keep the price down, adding that sticking to a single color of ink also reduces the expense. She also notes that brides who want to cut down on postage costs can opt to include a reply card that directs guests to the couple's personal website, where they can RSVP without mailing a response card.

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