The wedding invitations you choose not only provide your guests with crucial info about your once-in-a-lifetime event, but also give them an enticing taste of what's to come. To get the scoop on invite issues from wording to timing to design trends, we talked to three stationery experts well versed in paper and propriety.
From left: "Justified" by A Papier; "Pumpkin Passion" by Seasons of Love by Dawn; "Autumn" by Olio Style; "Red Silk Flower" by Alia Designs; "'Shell' We?" by Destination Romance by Dawn; "Paradise Found" by Destination Romance by Dawn
After 10 years of working in New York City's wedding and fashion industries, Marcus launched the Bonnie Marcus Collection of custom invitation designs, now found in more than 1,000 retail stores worldwide, including Bloomingdale's. The company has served celebrity clients such as Halle Berry, Ashanti and Christina Aguilera, and donates a portion of its proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Bravo is proprietor and principal designer of A Papier, a Los Angeles-based custom-invitation studio whose clients include Jennifer Aniston, Forest Whitaker and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. The company's invites have been featured in numerous magazines, including People and InStyle, and were named "Best Invitations" by Los Angeles magazine.
As business manager of personalized stationery for Crane & Co., the classic stationery company that began making paper in 1770, Hajdas is involved with all aspects of the business, including design and product development. Still a family-owned business, the company has been making the paper for U.S. currency since 1879 and counts Paul Revere as the first of its thousands of notable clients.
Q. There are so many stationers out there these days. How can a couple narrow down the search?
Do your research! Check out wedding magazines, websites, books and TV shows. When you find what you like, stop into a stationery store to see the invitations firsthand; a design may look "perfect" in a photo, but looks can be deceiving. The invites need to look just as good in person.
For custom invitations, consider the overall look and feel -- do they suit your sensibility? Then consider the range of options and pricing -- does it meet your needs and comfort level? Interview the stationer, making sure your personalities are a good match. Custom invites take time and interaction; pair with someone who listens to your desires, communicates clearly and delivers the style you're asking for.
Visit as many stationers as you can to determine where you're going to get the best service and most personal attention. Your stationer should be able to walk you through the entire process, balancing the desire to share his wisdom and experience with the unique style of your wedding. Your stationer should also carry several different styles of wedding stationery so you can choose from the greatest range of design options.
Q . How do destination-wedding invitations differ from those for hometown weddings?
Destination weddings tend to have a theme that carries through all the elements of the wedding, including the invitations, which are usually more colorful and fun than traditional wedding invites. Some destination-wedding invitations may be less formal (and therefore less expensive) than those for a formal wedding.
Destination-wedding invitations need to convey more information: how to reach the destination, where to stay, when to book flights and hotels, what there is to do and see, and so on. Also, they should go out sooner than hometown-wedding invites.
Generally, invitations to destination weddings reflect the location of the event. For example, stationery for a seaside wedding could be designed with a nautical theme. Also, destination-wedding invites usually feature more information, such as maps, directions, accommodation and travel info, and a schedule of events.
Q. Where should a bride turn if she has questions about wording?
There are some unbelievable resources online. On most wedding websites, a bride just needs to type in her situation (parents paying for the wedding, etc.), and the appropriate wording pops up. Also, top invitation sites like finestationery.com have excellent wedding specialists on staff to help with wording.
Time-honored resources such as Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette by Peggy Post provide the standard traditional language; however, if you want something unique and different, try searching popular sites on the Internet or looking through examples at the stationer's shop.
Your stationer should be well versed in all matters of etiquette and wording to fit each individual situation; however, family dynamics are becoming ever more complicated these days, so we recommend Crane's The Wedding Blue Book on crane.com, recently updated to give brides the most current guidelines on all their stationery questions.