Articles

Great Advice for Wedding Planning

Unforgettable Invitations

by Margie Monin Dombrowski

trendsetting ways to make a first impression

Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse everyone gets of your wedding – so finding just the right design, paper, font, envelopes and embellishments is imperative. Today’s bride has more options than ever for her invitations to reflect her personality and wedding theme, and there are no limits to her creative choices. These are just a few hot trends du jour for announcing your big day in style.

it’s all about presentation

“Couples are looking for a way to stand out and be unique,” says Nina Calloway, weddings expert and guide for weddings.about.com. “Invitations are a way to get guests excited about the event beforehand and to set the tone for the event.” One popular way to do so, she says, is to send a boxed invitation instead of mailing it in an envelope, as tradition dictates. “It makes the invitation more like a present, adding drama and excitement to the event,” she says, and it protects the embellishments. Calloway shares that couples could fill the box with shells, silk rose petals or candy pieces to tie in with the wedding theme or location.

Invitation choices mirror current trends in weddings themselves, as they have shifted to the unconventional and slightly more casual. “Weddings in general have gotten a lot less traditional and a lot more personal and creative, and so have invitations,” says Henny Vallee, co-founder, managing editor/creative director for Utterly Engaged, based in Anaheim, California. “It’s not uncommon these days to receive an invitation on a wooden plaque, or a folded poster invitation, or other unique formats. Brides are certainly more adventurous today than ever.”

Although wedding invitations are more fun and less formal now, couples aren’t skimping on the details. In fact, they’re more important than ever. “I have seen a trend for a more casual invitation versus a very formal one, however, that does not mean inexpensive,” says Beka Rendell of Styled Creative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “They are still using thicker cardstocks, letterpress, etc.; just the fonts and the overall design are less formal. Couples are incorporating whimsy, which tells the guests what to expect at the wedding. Each wedding is very different, so I would recommend that couples choose the right one that showcase their personalities and gives the guests a sneak peek at what the wedding will be like.” For example, if the wedding will be held at a lavender barn, Rendell suggests adding a sprig of dried lavender to the invitation for a special touch.

choosing your words carefully

The trend toward less formality also extends to the actual language on wedding invitations, and these days there are more ways to spread the word of your nuptials than in years past. You can phrase your invitation any way you like—traditional, lighthearted, cutesy or funny. However, it depends on the spirit of your wedding and who is hosting the event. Nowadays, many couples are paying for their wedding themselves, so that could factor in. Additionally, if your families are blended, you have to consider who will be included on the invitation.

“Instead of writing ‘Mr. and Mrs. Jones request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter,’” says Calloway, you can say something like, “‘Together with their families, Jane Jones and John Doe invite you to celebrate with them as they joyfully exchange vows.’” This simpler approach won’t upset or offend anyone if there are too many people to mention. 

invitation inspiration

Selecting design elements that represent something very personal to you and your groom is the key to an unforgettable invitation. Don’t know where to begin? It’s easier than you think. “Every bride should start with her and her fiancé’s story. How did they fall in love? Where did they meet? Why did they choose their venue? Starting from there can spark so many unique and creative ideas,” says Lucia Dinh Pador, co-founder, chief creative officer and director for Utterly Engaged. “One of the most memorable invitations we’ve seen is the paper invitation that was designed in a way that turned into a record player,” for a couple of musicians.

“The bride should really think about what is unique or creative about her wedding, and then figure out how to translate that into her invitations,” adds Calloway. Designing your own standout invitation can involve hiring an artist to create a custom design (how about an artist’s rendering of the church or reception facility?) or be as simple as including a custom liner for the envelope with a color or pattern to match your theme or a picture of the couple. Or, change up the text on the RSVP card with something humorous rather than the typical “accepts” and “regrets” options. “Whatever you do,” she says, “make sure it reflects your personality and the tone of your wedding.” 

before you buy

When you’re ready to shop around for your perfectly personalized wedding invitations, these tips will simplify the seemingly overwhelming process for you:

Money:
Know your budget beforehand so you know exactly what options you can realistically afford (with so many gorgeous possibilities these days, invitations can cost as much as twenty dollars each). If a family member is paying for the invitations, keep them involved in the decision making because it could prove to be a sensitive issue. 

Ideas:
Be prepared with at least an idea of your theme, color scheme and wording. “Even if it is a picture of a dress you love, it will help the designer better understand your style and can help direct an invitation that fits your personality,” says Rendell.  

Research:
Choose an invitation company you can trust. “Look at their portfolio to make sure you like their previous work and style, check their reviews or testimonials, or ask other brides for their recommendations,” says Vallee. “Make sure you do your homework and find out if the company offers the type of printing you want, letterpress, flat (offset) printing or digital printing (most economical).”  

Questions:
Ask if there are minimum orders and/or print runs, if the company offers printed samplesand if the company will be able to complete your order in time for you to mail them six to eight weeks before the wedding.

Advice
Be sure to see a printed sample before placing your order, says Calloway. And current trends aside, “A wedding invitation should be printed on heavy, quality paper, no matter how formal [or informal] the event is.” 

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trendsetting ways to make a first impression

Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse everyone gets of your wedding – so finding just the right design, paper, font, envelopes and embellishments is imperative. Today’s bride has more options than ever for her invitations to reflect her personality and wedding theme, and there are no limits to her creative choices. These are just a few hot trends du jour for announcing your big day in style.

it’s all about presentation

“Couples are looking for a way to stand out and be unique,” says Nina Calloway, weddings expert and guide for weddings.about.com. “Invitations are a way to get guests excited about the event beforehand and to set the tone for the event.” One popular way to do so, she says, is to send a boxed invitation instead of mailing it in an envelope, as tradition dictates. “It makes the invitation more like a present, adding drama and excitement to the event,” she says, and it protects the embellishments. Calloway shares that couples could fill the box with shells, silk rose petals or candy pieces to tie in with the wedding theme or location.

Invitation choices mirror current trends in weddings themselves, as they have shifted to the unconventional and slightly more casual. “Weddings in general have gotten a lot less traditional and a lot more personal and creative, and so have invitations,” says Henny Vallee, co-founder, managing editor/creative director for Utterly Engaged, based in Anaheim, California. “It’s not uncommon these days to receive an invitation on a wooden plaque, or a folded poster invitation, or other unique formats. Brides are certainly more adventurous today than ever.”

Although wedding invitations are more fun and less formal now, couples aren’t skimping on the details. In fact, they’re more important than ever. “I have seen a trend for a more casual invitation versus a very formal one, however, that does not mean inexpensive,” says Beka Rendell of Styled Creative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “They are still using thicker cardstocks, letterpress, etc.; just the fonts and the overall design are less formal. Couples are incorporating whimsy, which tells the guests what to expect at the wedding. Each wedding is very different, so I would recommend that couples choose the right one that showcase their personalities and gives the guests a sneak peek at what the wedding will be like.” For example, if the wedding will be held at a lavender barn, Rendell suggests adding a sprig of dried lavender to the invitation for a special touch.

choosing your words carefully

The trend toward less formality also extends to the actual language on wedding invitations, and these days there are more ways to spread the word of your nuptials than in years past. You can phrase your invitation any way you like—traditional, lighthearted, cutesy or funny. However, it depends on the spirit of your wedding and who is hosting the event. Nowadays, many couples are paying for their wedding themselves, so that could factor in. Additionally, if your families are blended, you have to consider who will be included on the invitation.

“Instead of writing ‘Mr. and Mrs. Jones request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter,’” says Calloway, you can say something like, “‘Together with their families, Jane Jones and John Doe invite you to celebrate with them as they joyfully exchange vows.’” This simpler approach won’t upset or offend anyone if there are too many people to mention. 

invitation inspiration

Selecting design elements that represent something very personal to you and your groom is the key to an unforgettable invitation. Don’t know where to begin? It’s easier than you think. “Every bride should start with her and her fiancé’s story. How did they fall in love? Where did they meet? Why did they choose their venue? Starting from there can spark so many unique and creative ideas,” says Lucia Dinh Pador, co-founder, chief creative officer and director for Utterly Engaged. “One of the most memorable invitations we’ve seen is the paper invitation that was designed in a way that turned into a record player,” for a couple of musicians.

“The bride should really think about what is unique or creative about her wedding, and then figure out how to translate that into her invitations,” adds Calloway. Designing your own standout invitation can involve hiring an artist to create a custom design (how about an artist’s rendering of the church or reception facility?) or be as simple as including a custom liner for the envelope with a color or pattern to match your theme or a picture of the couple. Or, change up the text on the RSVP card with something humorous rather than the typical “accepts” and “regrets” options. “Whatever you do,” she says, “make sure it reflects your personality and the tone of your wedding.” 

before you buy

When you’re ready to shop around for your perfectly personalized wedding invitations, these tips will simplify the seemingly overwhelming process for you:

Money:
Know your budget beforehand so you know exactly what options you can realistically afford (with so many gorgeous possibilities these days, invitations can cost as much as twenty dollars each). If a family member is paying for the invitations, keep them involved in the decision making because it could prove to be a sensitive issue. 

Ideas:
Be prepared with at least an idea of your theme, color scheme and wording. “Even if it is a picture of a dress you love, it will help the designer better understand your style and can help direct an invitation that fits your personality,” says Rendell.  

Research:
Choose an invitation company you can trust. “Look at their portfolio to make sure you like their previous work and style, check their reviews or testimonials, or ask other brides for their recommendations,” says Vallee. “Make sure you do your homework and find out if the company offers the type of printing you want, letterpress, flat (offset) printing or digital printing (most economical).”  

Questions:
Ask if there are minimum orders and/or print runs, if the company offers printed samplesand if the company will be able to complete your order in time for you to mail them six to eight weeks before the wedding.

Advice
Be sure to see a printed sample before placing your order, says Calloway. And current trends aside, “A wedding invitation should be printed on heavy, quality paper, no matter how formal [or informal] the event is.” 

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