HOW TO PROOFREAD YOUR WEDDING STATIONERY
Today I want to chat with you about the importance of proofreading your wedding stationery before you approve it for print. Strangely enough this pretty vital part of the process is too often glossed over resulting in typos or errors that are not only traumatic for both designer and bride, but costly too.
I think one of the main reasons proofreading is overlooked is that most clients assume proofreading is part of the service. Unfortunately it is not. As a designer, I treat your wording as another visual element; I don’t study the words as text, more like abstract shapes that I need to work into a space. That’s not to say I don’t read your invitation, I do. I will also run a spell check and do my best to correct any obvious errors I find, but ultimately I don’t know that your mother-in-law spells Dianne with a double n, or that your cocktail hour starts at 5:00pm not 6:00pm. You are the only one that knows the details of your wedding so intimately. Therefore, I assume the information you send me is correct and copy and paste it directly from the email or Word .doc you provide. So, you can see why the responsibility of proofreading has to rest completely with you.
Another reason it may be overlooked is that clients aren’t really sure how to proofread their invitation or what to look for. So here are some proofreading tips you can follow to help ensure error-free invitations.
PRINT IT OUT
I am always baffled by the amount of client’s who proof artwork on their smart phone. Please don’t do this. The best way is to print it out and study it at its true size, it will look much different and a physical copy is much easier to proof than an on-screen version. Even better, get me to request a hard copy proof from the printer. This has the added bonus of knowing exactly how your stationery will look and feel and you can check colours, design and paper stock at the same time.
READ IT OUT LOUD
Reading your wording out loud will force you to slow down and focus on how your wording flows. Your ears will pick up grammar errors that your eyes might miss.
READ IT BACKWARDS
Reading your wording out of context will increase your chances of picking up errors. Start with the last sentence and work your way back up to the top, concentrating closely on each individual word.
READ IT LATER
Put the invitation aside and reread/proof it several hours later, or even the next day. I know you’re impatient and excited, but giving your mind time away from it will allow you to take a look with fresh eyes.
HAVE SOMEONE ELSE READ IT
Familiarity breeds complacency. Your brain already knows what your invitation is supposed to say, so it’s not expecting to see errors. Have someone else who is unfamiliar with the details (a co-worker, aneighbour or a friend) read over your stationery suite for you. Their fresh eyes and unbiased mind will pick up on something you didn’t.
PROOFREAD FOR CONSISTENCY
Consistency is key. Make sure date and time formats and use of abbreviations, capitilisation and hyphenations are uniform across all of your invitation elements. Also check the consistency of tone and language. Is it a reflection of the kind of event you’re inviting your guests to attend?
PROOF THE DETAILS
A fax number instead of a phone number, an incorrect street number, a date that doesn’t correspond to the day or forgetting to include the time; these are all errors that are more common than you think. Wrong details leave you embarrassed and your guests confused or worse, lost! Always triple-check every single detail of your day.
PROOF FOR ONE ERROR AT A TIME
If you try to identify too many things at once, you lose focus and your proofreading efforts become less effective. Try concentrating on one type of error at a time. Proof once for spelling, proof again for punctuation, then again for details and so on.
Now, I know you’re busy and excited, and you might feel like you’ve stared at it 500 times and everything is perfect, but go proofread that invitation one more time! It just might save you a lot of heartache (and money).
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