Friday, July 10, 2009


Deciding on a custom invitation can be an exciting... and daunting decision. You have decided that pre-designed invitations don't describe your story or your style, but now the pressure is on to first find a designer that can do that for you and then communicate enough to said designer to allow her to represent you as a couple and your upcoming wedding. A good designer can do a lot with color, fonts and layout, but she can not read your mind or know your history without a depth of input from you. Armed with this knowledge a "pretty" design becomes a great design that tells your story.

I offer as an example the cd favor above. Kristin and Darren wanted to give music as their favor and they chose songs that meant something to them as a couple. In talking to them about the cd insert and sleeve I found that they not only had a number of great songs that described them, but a long list of inside jokes between them. I had them send me that list and I put together a typographical illustration with the central theme of "Introducing the Garretts". These were set on the plate of each place setting at the reception. They not only were gifts to guests but they were a great conversation starter with people asking each other if they knew what "System 9" meant, etc. Not only that but the insert is a framable piece, their first piece of art for their home.

Custom invitation designs begin with a simple conversation about you as a couple, the type of wedding you envision and styles you are attracted to. This conversation is an essential part of finding the perfect expression of your individual wedding. Though it is not a very romantic notion, it is helpful to remember that wedding stationery, like business stationery, is more successful when there is a single, unifying theme and look to it. That is what a designer is there to help with. You can make this process more effective by considering the following:

1. Tell me everything! How did you meet? What do you like doing together? Is there a specific motif or symbol you would like to include on the invitations? This could be anything from the lace on your dress to your location to a private joke you have between you. What kind of feeling do you want to convey with your invitations? Are you a formal or casual couple? Will it be a formal or casual wedding? Why did you choose your wedding location? What are the colors you are using? What flowers will you have in your bouquet? Your maids' bouquet? What do you want to avoid with your invitations? Do you have an interesting story about how you met? how you were proposed to? how you live as a couple?

2. What components do you want? Will it just be an invitation and reply card? Will you include a map/directions card, accommodations card, reception card? What about save-the-dates, programs, thank-yous? Will you need place cards, menus or packaging for your favors?

3. How many invitation sets do you need? Always order at least 25 more than you need. Keep in mind that it is better to have extra than to have to go back on press, which is expensive and time consuming. Also people close you often request a second copy for scrapbooks and/or framing.

4. Carefully consider the wording of each piece. Will it be formal or casual? Traditional or modern? Are there menu items to be included on the reply card? We will also need the addresses to be included: both the return address on the invitation and the mailing address on the reply if they are different.

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