It is most often the case with a letterpress printing project that the lion’s share of the work goes into setting everything up. Working with the client to get clean files, cutting paper, mixing ink and making the press ready all take up a great deal of time.

The actual printing of the work, that is the feeding of paper into the press, usually goes relatively quickly.

So it always strikes me as a bit odd, especially with wedding invitation work, that people will go around and around trying to decide if they want 150 invitations or 165. I understand that, as brides and grooms, they are not aware of the arc of the processes involved in the printing their wedding invitation sets. And I also know that many companies that print invitations increase the costs to their clients by a surprising amount for every 10 or 20 additional invitations ordered.

As far as I am concerned, here at the Nomadic Press, the difference, in terms of time, between the printing of 150 and 200 invitations is minimal. A little extra cost for more paper to be sure, but beyond that, most of the work has already been done.

So I have always thought it wise to order 20 percent more than the guest list suggests are needed. After all, one never knows what friend of your mother’s aunt may suddenly be deemed an important guest of honor or how many invitations are to fall prey to a spilled apple martini during the invitation mailing party hosted by your future sister in law.

And one never knows what other uses those extra invitations may be put to.

As instanced by the story behind the song “Save the Last Dance for Me” recorded by The Drifters in 1960. Ben King’s absolutely beautiful lead vocals on that song were made possible because of a stack of extra wedding invitations printed for the author of that song, Jerome Felder, AKA Doc Pomus.

Because of a childhood bout of polio, Doc Pomus used crutches to get around and was, therefore, unable to dance with his bride, Willi Burke, at the reception following their wedding. Not wanting her to miss out on the dancing, he encouraged her to go ahead out on the floor and to dance with others in celebration of the event.

Years later, Doc Pomus was doing some songwriting on the backs of some sheets of paper that just happened to be close to hand. Those sheets: a stack of leftover wedding invitations from his own wedding. Which reminded him of the dance and inspired him to write “Save the Last Dance for Me.”

Go ahead, take a couple minutes to listen to the song (click here) and then order a few extra invitations. They may come in handy, one way or another.