Remember the wedding invitations that used to come in the mail when you were a kid? The standard black type on white or cream cardstock?
If you’re planning a wedding, you’ll be happy to know this one-size-fits-all approach to invitation design is a thing of the past.
As much about form as function, today’s wedding invitations are works of art that set the stage for the one-of-a-kind celebration that is yet to come. They’re the kickoff event, in a sense.
When that announcement goes out, couples want to let their loved ones know a little about who they are and what sets them apart as a couple. From the material you choose to the color, font style and graphics, the overall look and feel of your invitation says a lot about you and the wedding you’re planning.
Most designers offer wedding invitation suites, with coordinating Save the Dates, invites, response cards, envelopes, directions and events cards. But even after you’ve selected your suite design, the opportunities for customization are endless — from the size, weight and color of the material you choose to added embellishments, such as envelope liners and bands.
Each choice along the way is a chance to express your creativity and personal style.
Color and style
“Details have really become important,” said Carrie Lane; she and her husband, Eric, own Vermont Wedding Parlor in Stowe’s lower village. “Printing capabilities right now are amazing — color, style, design and the scope of detail.”
Today’s invitations come in every color and “flavor” imaginable, with each designer offering a stylebook filled with hundreds of font color choices and unique type styles.
“There really is something out there for every single person,” Lane said as she pulled out a plantable wedding invitation. Wildflower seeds are sewn into the biodegradable paper for spring planting.
And the sky’s the limit when it comes to graphics. Customized designs that capture the feel of the wedding location or season can help set the mood for the good things to come. One invitation sample in Lane’s studio features formal black-and-white type on one side, and an enticing image of the Mediterranean on the other. Who wouldn’t want to go?
Logos and designs
Monogramming or other customized logo-type designs on invitations are an increasingly popular way to put your personal stamp on wedding details — right from the start. Once you’ve come up with a design you like — whether it’s your initials entwined in a creative way, or a personalized graphic — you can use that symbol to represent you on place cards, wedding favors, welcome bags, and so forth.
But for the ultimate in wedding customization, Lane pulled out a giclee-printed invitation that features a photo of the bride and groom popping open a bottle of champagne in front of the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
Layering and accessorizing
One way to wow your guests is with unique textures and designs they don’t expect to find in an envelope.
Laser-cut designs are growing in popularity, because they provide maximum impact and opportunity for originality. A laser burns intricate shapes into paper or wood products, which can then be layered on top of each another to create a three-dimensional look.
In accessories go, the belt is definitely in. Invitations that are tied up nicely with an elegant bow or fabric cord add a touch of formality and style that won’t go unnoticed. Lane pointed out a lace paper invitation embellished with an elegant silk band and silver ring.
Couples also use fabric inside the invitation to create an element of surprise — a thin layer of fabric in lieu of tissue paper, or a small piece of lace or ribbon for a touch of romance.
With so many people traveling for weddings these days, today’s invitations are more akin to travel packets than simple announcements.
Enter the “pocketfold” design. They’re the “TrapperKeeper” of modern wedding invitations, with interior pockets to hold a response card, travel information, events, map and directions.
If you’d prefer something with fewer moving parts, multi-fold invitations provide space for important event information, but are all in one piece. Lane pointed out one couple’s eight-panel Save-the-Date card with a wedding event and icon on each panel.
Other couples are opting for boxed invitation, which includes room for all the pertinent inserts, along with a small pre-wedding favor neatly packaged in a small gift box and tied with a bow or vellum band. For a Vermont destination wedding, one couple filled their invitation box with dozens of miniature pinecones, Lane said.
With so many options at each step in the design process, there are as many invitation designs as there are brides and grooms. Start dreaming.