I'm taking on a pretty difficult task this week: planning a wedding. A few weeks ago I threw an engagement party for lucky reader julieulie and this week the wedding talk continues with my inspirational ideas and helpful tips for her wedding. Julie will have a traditional Jewish wedding in Philadelphia on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in 2008. Following DearSugar's wedding time line, the bride to be should start thinking about invitations at least six months before the date of the wedding. Wedding invitations are incredibly important to setting the tone, feel, and look of your event and when your guests receive a thick beautiful envelope in the mail, they should know that their presence is requested at a very special moment - think of the invite as a keepsake memento. If the wedding is a black tie formal event, it should be reflected in a sleek, elegant invitation with classic lettering. If the wedding is a low key beach party, the invitations can be more playful with seaside motifs. An invitation is about making a grand opening statement, so get artistically creative with your fiance(e) and let your style as a couple shine. Use the colors of your wedding in the paper, font, and detailing and choose a motif or symbol (a flower, your initials, a pattern, etc.) to give each aspect of the invitation a uniform look.
I spoke with my buddy Jake over at Paper Source, a wonderful resource for wedding invitations, and the colors that are hot this year are chocolate brown, bluebell blue, and vibrant red. Currently their best selling motif is a birds and leaf design. Remember that there is more than just an invitation that must be considered. A complete set of wedding invitations include (choose what you want to include inside the envelope with the invite):
- save-the-date cards
- the invitation
- response cards (this is how guests rsvp)
- seating cards
- place cards
- menu cards
- thank you notes
- directions to the location
- hotel information (if it's a destination wedding)
With wedding stationery, the options are limitless from the paper that you choose to the method of printing. The paper can come in many shapes, sizes, and textures with various glosses, finishes, and weights. Generally the heavier the cardstock, the more expensive the paper. The shape of a traditional invitation is a 4 1/2 by 6 1/4 inch flat card although Jake said that this year the A7 (roughly 7 by 5 inches) and A10 (about 4 by 9 inches) are popular.
The most formal and expensive printing method is engraving when the information about the party is etched into metal plates that are then impressed on the paper. Engraved invitations will have small indentations on the back of the paper along with raised type on the front. Engraving makes a powerful statement with a light colored text on a dark background. Letterpress is an old technique where the type is created by impression resulting with indented words that have a handmade feel. Offset lithography is flat printing that you'll find on standard greeting cards and invitations. This is the least expensive printing technique and can create very modern invitations. Thermography is another affordable option that uses a heat based process and a resin powder to create raised lettering that looks similar to engraving.
Now that we've covered the basics it's invitation making time! To see what I've created for Julie in her light blue, black, and white color scheme,
Julie's wants her wedding to be a black tie formal event with a jazzy, sophisticated, classy urban feel to it. The wedding will take place completely indoors in the ballroom of the beautiful Loews Hotel (the building was America's first modern skyscraper!).
To make Julie's card you will need:
- decorative paper
- invitation backing
- ribbon (I used a blue velvet and trimmed satin)
- envelopes (in the same color as the cardstock)
- pretty wrapping paper
- computer and printer
To assemble Julie's card:
- Start by creating a new word document on your computer. Use elegant wording and fonts to convey the information surrounding the marriage. Traditionally the wedding is hosted by the bride's parents so their names head the invitation. At the top I used Julie and her fiance, Scott's initials to establish the relationship between the two. Next I wrote the following (in Edwardian Script ITC bold, size 16):
J & S
Mr. and Mrs. James Barber
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mr. Scott Eric Rotenberg
Sunday June 1, 2008
7 o’clock pm
Dinner and Dancing to follow
- Print a test copy of the invitation to make sure it is correct in size, lettering, and wording.
- Print out on the nice cardstock. Cut down to the size of the invitation backing.
- Tuck the text sheet up into the backing and with the pre-punched holes as your guide trace holes into the text sheet. Punch holes.
- Slide the ribbon through the wholes and tie a pretty bow. (A special thanks to DearSugar for helping me tie the perfect bow)
- Cut the decorative paper of your choice down to size. These two sheets of paper are going to act as doors to the invitation. The important information will be hidden underneath until the doors are lifted.
- Center the cardstock on the invitation and using the ruler establish where you want the two side holes to be. Punch the holes in the black backing and then in the decorative over laying doors.
- With the satin ribbon gently tie each door into place. Voila! Your invitation is complete.
- To line the envelope, roll out the wrapping paper and trace the shape of the open envelope on the back of the paper.
- Cut down to size, cutting 1/4 inch inside the traced lines.
- Slide the backing inside the envelope and with a glue stick, glue to the back inside of the envelope. Fold to crease the paper. Address the envelopes with your best calligraphy, seal with a wax insignia, and stamp with beautiful vintage stamps.
For the reply cards: make small post cards and self address and stamp. Use the same cardstock, font, and sophisticated wording.
Note: Keep the wedding stationery as uniform as possible Use the same cardstock, decorative paper, ribbon, envelopes, initials, and font throughout. My favorite wedding resources are Dauhpine Press, Paper-Source, Cat Seto, and Felix Doolittle.
What did your wedding stationery look like? Do tell us your ideas and inspirations below! Stay tuned all week for more of this fabulous wedding, because there is much more planning to come.