Designer Insight, Trends & Stationery Essentials
By: Kristen Castillo
Your wedding stationery may be made of paper but, your save the dates, invitations, programs, menu cards, signage, guest books and of course, thank you notes represent a lot more than just pretty paper. A few pieces or altogether, your stationery sets the tone for the wedding.
Whether your style is sleek and modern, fun and bright or romantic and vintage, you definitely want to make sure the look is well suited to you and your guy.
Jessica Brown, owner of Love Notes Stationery reminds couples how wedding stationery from save the dates to thank you notes make “a lasting impression from beginning to end,” including the wedding’s color scheme, the event’s style and the overall relationship theme.
“Weddings are always very personal occasions so make sure your personality shines through in the save the date and wedding invitation,” says Sandra Chazen of Inviting Invites, noting “colors, materials, fonts, motifs and wording can help to set the tone for your wedding.”
Brynne Fischer of Harken Press agrees, calling save the dates and invitations “a sneak preview” of the wedding.
“Whether you’re having a ballroom black tie affair or a rustic outdoor wedding, your invitations should reflect that,” she says. “Everything should be cohesive and make sense with your overall wedding vision.”
You can find invitation inspiration from many of the colors and themes at your event.
“Think of the overall look,” says Melissa Ward of Whimsique Designer Invitations & Stationery, noting décor colors like those from napkins and charger plates often show up in stationery.
WORKING WITH PROFESSIONALS
While it’s not always easy to find your stationery style, the first thing to do is to find a stationer you like and respect. This is not the time to choose invitations from a book. Instead you want to work with a professional designer who can capture your vision and your style throughout your stationery.
“When shopping for invitations, you want quality, you want variety, you want expert advice and top notch service,” says Chazen, who encourages couples to hire an invitation designer “who is passionate about paper, printing and design.”
Professional designers have an eye for colors, fonts, wording and themes so they know what will work and what won’t. They’ll offer great service, invitation advice and will work with your budget.
“A stationer can help you get the most for your money and suggest creative details you may not have thought of,” says Fischer. “I love adding thoughtful and unexpected details to really make wedding stationery special and unique for each client.”
You may already know what you want your stationery to look like or you may need some help.
“I want to know what you like, as well as what you don’t like,” says Ward who wants brides to show her wedding elements like flowers, linens and other décor.
Brown says she’s seeing “a lot of vintage and shabby chic with a modern twist,” as well as invitations that are “a little more fun and bold,” including “ombre designs with flowers, bridesmaid’s dresses and décor” and also “a lot of bright yellow.”
Lighter tones are trendy too. Pinks and blushes are popular colors, as are golds and creams, which Ward calls “romantic.”
Since weddings are full of fantasy and fun, “Sparkle is always big,” says Ward, explaining many brides want rhinestones or glitter paper.
Graphic patterns are fashionable too, especially on the backs of invitations. Chazen says she’s seeing, “stripes, dots, chevron, vintage floral, paisley, tile, retro, morocco, damask and art deco.”
Feeling whimsy? Many couples are choosing spirited invitation styles, like “bikes, whimsical flowers, hot air balloons, birds, watercolor,” says Chazen. “Anything hand drawn will add a whimsical feel to your invitation.”
Laser cut stationery is trendy too because as Ward explains, “You can get really detailed and intricate.”
For an elegant look, consider foil stamped invitations. “Shiny metallic foil will light up your invitation design,” says Chazen. “Gold, silver and copper metallic are the most popular for wedding invitations.”
One invitation style that’s consistently in vogue? “Most brides still want pocket invitations because they’re organized and clean,” says Ward. “They’re classic.”
Finish your stationery with the perfect postage! “Buying vintage stamps on Ebay or Etsy, especially for a particular theme or vintage-inspired wedding, can be the perfect finishing touch to an invitation suite,” says Fischer. “You can search for stamps that use a certain color in your wedding palette.”
Once you’ve worked with a designer to create your ideal invites, you need to pay careful attention to your etiquette. Do the wrong thing and you’ll definitely send the wrong impression.
Plan to send save the dates about six to eight months before the wedding and the invitations about six to eight weeks before the big day. Be sure all of your guests, including out of towners “have enough time to make hotel and travel accommodations, especially if it’s a destination wedding,” says Fischer.
Invitation wording can be tricky, especially when it comes to signifying who’s paying for the wedding.
“If your parents are helping with the wedding and so are you and your fiancé, then at the top you would put something like ‘together with their families,’” says Brown, noting if you’re hosting the wedding on your own, simply write: “The honor of your presence is requested at the marriage of…”
When the bride’s side is hosting the wedding, Brown suggests writing something like, “Mr. and Mrs. John Weldman request the honor of your presence as their daughter…”
Other wording suggestions? “Spell out your states and drop the zip codes,” says Brown.
One sticky etiquette question has to do with not including children at the wedding.
“It is not proper to indicate on the invitation or any other piece, that children are not welcome,” says Chazen, explaining the “no kids” preference should be shared by word of mouth.
“A reasonable compromise is to add ‘Adult Reception’ or ‘Adult Only Reception’ to your reception card,” Chazen says.
Another etiquette concern is how to mention where you’re registered for gifts. It’s considered rude to list your registry info on your invitations.
“The most proper way to let people know where you are registered is by word of mouth,” says Chazen, noting you can list your registry information on your wedding website.
Most couples create a cohesive set of wedding stationery including save the dates, formal invitations, RSVP cards, programs, menu cards, thank you cards and many other elements like maps, directions and hotel accommodation cards.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have a few more invitations than you actually need. Ward suggests ordering at least five extra invites.
When it comes to programs, you don’t typically need one per guest since many guests don’t pick one up at all and many guests such as couples share one program.
Remember to give your photographer an invitation to shoot. You can keep an original invite for your memories but wedding photos showing your stationery is pretty cool too.