Clean, Classic Invitations: Because Sometimes Trend Free is the Way to Be

courtesy of etsy.com via Kraft & White

courtesy of etsy.com via Kraft & White

I recently received the sweetest video Save-the-Date from my cousin (wad up, Zac!) and his future wifey (holler for a dollar, Chelsea!), which I absolutely la-Louvred it!  Not only did Z+C take time to create a video that was sentimental, sweet and humorous, but it also took all of their potential guests on a journey :)  It began with Zac, my amazeballs cousin who happens to be an EMT for the Indianapolis Fire Department, riding on the IFD truck on his way to propose, followed by their request for all of us to “Save the Date” and concluded with a random selection of lol-worthy “bloopers.”  Seriously, so so cute!

courtesy of facebook via Chelsea Witt

My cousin, Zac and Chelsea during their engagement session downtown Indy. (courtesy of facebook via Chelsea Witt)

^^^^^Like I said, so SO CUTE!^^^^^

And according to Mindy Weiss, one of the today’s most prominent and well to do wedding planners of America’s royalty, this is exactly what a future Mr. and Mrs. should do.  Weiss recently offered some advice to InStyle, stating, “If you are going to do a gimmick, do it in the save-the-date or website,” but alas, according to Weiss, this is where the gimmick train should end.

Because when it comes to the actual invitation, she suggests couples keep it clean and classic.  According to In Style, a couple’s invitation should be a classic beauty that [brides and grooms] will want to keep, frame and enjoy for all the years, cheers, anniversaries and new homes in the future.

It’s important to note, however, clean and simple does NOT {have to} mean boring!  I fear some brides may take this advice to extreme’s and think in order to create something clean and timeless, it has to be white on white and not stray to anything extraordinary, nor away from the ordinary.

To those brides, I would even more simply say, “Don’t be silly, silly!”  You can still incorporate some sense of whimsy and charm into your wedding day invitations, while adhering to the “classic” look.

For example, I’ve seen where brides and grooms will add a touch of lace or a pop of topography, maybe even a crisp element of design.  You could also consider creating an original monogram, crest or even a unique name play etc. and still provided something that will be frame-worthy and appealing through the years.

Try googling “clean” or “simple” or “classic wedding invitations” and take a gander at the images.  You’ll see, simple by no means has to be plain :)

*And for a full selection of DIY Invites, Inspiration & Ideas be sure to check us out and see where your creativity can take you!

Wedding Invitation Trend: Foil Stamped & Fabulous

courtesy of elizabethannedesigns.com

courtesy of elizabethannedesigns.com

Metallics.  Both classy and flashy, bold golds and sterling silvers are two trendy accessories a bride can count on to never go out of style.  From jewelry and shoes to clothing and headpieces, details dressed in metallic bling take on level of fabulous that simply goes unmatched by most accessorizing counterparts.

And when this stylish sass is added to wedding invitations, brides and grooms the world over are learning just how ahhh(to the)mazing their opening statement can be!  For cereal, I just received one of these metal-stamped musings in the mail this past week, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was WOW’ed when the initial reveal took place.  The foil stamped invites had just the right amount of three dimensional shimmer and truly created an ooh-la-la factor without a lot of fuss.  *Fridge-worthy for sure!

In fact, it was the simplicity of the design itself that caught me by surprise the most.  The actual invitation used to set the background for the foiling was nothing spectacular or out of the norm… just plain, crisp white 80# cardstock.  And yet, the entire look was utterly fab!

It doesn’t take much to give a lot of drama when it comes to metallic-infused invites; so, brides and grooms can go with a very simple, very basic invite – which, plus side news flash! means they start off significantly cheaper than overly ornate versions! – and still get an expensive look with both sophisticated and inviting features.  Not only that, but the metallic look doesn’t have to stop with the typical brassy-colors generally associated with precious metals… you can pretty much foil stamp whatever color your little bride-to-be heart desires!  Yay!

There is one thing, however.  While I can’t deny the DIY nature that most wedding invitations create, I also can’t help but foresee the trouble a do-it-yourself’er may encounter when it comes to foil stamping on their own.  There are several sites – not to mention YouTube videos – dedicated to delivering brides how-to info on foil stamping from home… I can’t really see how this is feasible unless you have an extra $500-$1000 just lying around.  Legit, the pressing machine is nothing short of a pretty penny!

And who wants to spend their money on a foil press machine when there’s a dress and accessories to buy!??  Pfffffttttttttt!

But as far as the trend goes, it’s nothing short of hot! Hot! HOT!  And while buying a foil press machine for your home may not be on your Top 10 wedding needs list, it’s still something that’s totally doable for the professionals and looks absolutely incredible when complete!

AND! even if you’re a bride a dead set on doing your invitations, don’t want to buy a foil press machine but still want the look it creates, try stamping instead!  Custom stampers and metallic looking ink pads are incredibly inexpensive and can still give you that same look for waaayyyy less!

Check out below for some foil stamped inspiration OR go to our simply chic invitations and get started stamping today!

photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right) ohsobeautifulpaper.com, kandievans.com, bellafigura.com, invitationsbyajalon.com, ohsobeautifulpaper.com, cecinewyork.com, swisscottagedesigns.com, invitationsbyajalon.com, orlandomagazine.com, digbyrose.com and invitationcrush.com

photos courtesy of (top to bottom, left to right) ohsobeautifulpaper.com, kandievans.com, bellafigura.com, invitationsbyajalon.com, ohsobeautifulpaper.com, cecinewyork.com, swisscottagedesigns.com, invitationsbyajalon.com, orlandomagazine.com, digbyrose.com and invitationcrush.com

Wedding Trend Alert: Comic Book Inspired Invites

designed by Tony Fleecs, courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Zap!  Boom!  Whoosh!  Bamf! POW!

That’s right.  As geek chic becomes more and more popular, so do all the nerd-tastic trends it represents!  And brides and grooms everywhere are learning just how fun incorporating these once less desired details into their big day can be!

As a lifetime-achieving, self-proclaimed nerdy bird, I’ve got to admit, I love this… especially when it comes to the comic book themed invitations.  My brothers and I were raised on comic books and continue to little-kid-at-Christmas excited every time the latest Marvel or DC dream is released to the silver screen!

But I’m not naive enough to think that everyone will delight in this trend as much as me.  In fact, I’m sure the more traditional and classic-minded folks out there might even turn up their noses to it… but even the most cynical comic book critics have to admit… they are one of a kind at the very least!  And when done appropriately, turn out pretty amaZING!

Check out below and see what I mean

Designed by Tony Fleecs for Heidi Atocicco and Chris Ryder’s wedding, this 5 page invitation was nothing short of a page turner :)

courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Hello Kitty meets Archie Comics for this couple’s ‘happily ever after’ invite :)

courtesy of canvasandcanopy.com

Get super literal with a comic book cover invite, captioned with all the big day details and custom illustrated just for you :)

courtesy of emmalinebride.com (left) and stormwolfstudios.com

Take it even a step further by filling your invitation with graphically inspired inserts and super fun details :)

courtesy of nandlnotes.com

Or simply pop in thought bubbles with your favorite photo and BAMF! you’ll have a one of a kind invite like Jay and Anna :)

courtesy of minted.com

No matter how they do it or choose to showcase it, there’s no denying these original invites stand out and leave audiences (err, guests) hoping for the *To Be Continued…

Pretty Postage: How to Save Money on your Wedding Invitations

photo courtesy of stylemepretty.com

According to the Bridal Association of America, the average couple spends a whopping $659 on their wedding invitations and that doesn’t even include the cost of postage!  So, as more and more couples start cutting the fat from their wedding budgets, invites seem to be taking up an unnecessarily large piece of the monetary pie.  And unless you’re willing to take a risk on an empty reception hall, invitations are absolutely essential.  Sure, e-vites are informational, but they lack a sense of formality and tradition.  So, how do you get what you want without paying a pretty penny?  Here’s some advice :)

Paper – Here, you will need to think a little out of the box. Stationary retailers are expensive for the same reason any retailer is more costly: markup.  But if you stick with office suppliers, wholesalers, or any paper-carrying company that offers bulk sizes, you can purchase printable card stock for mere cents.  Always remember that the more folds and detailing on each invite, the more costly the total will be; so stick with basic, flat cards to avoid the extra fees.

Design – This is the part where a couple’s home-made creativity can really shine.  Make sure you have a printer that’s up for the task with plenty of ink.  It may sound intimidating, but a multitude of design templates and programs have popped up recently to provide DIY brides more personalized options when printing at home.  For those of you who still find templates too daunting, there are still many options.  If you’re lacking a design guru friend willing to work for free, consult the web for a vast array of pre-made design templates and make sure the design you choose goes with your wedding theme and colors.

DIY –These details will provide that budget-friendly, je ne sais quoi you’ve been looking for. And by doing-it-yourself, you save the inherent overhead you’d be paying for someone else to do it.  The following invitation extras can run the gamut from basic to extravagant, but here are a few ideas that are popular today:

  • Ribbons:  The most enduring of trends, a classic ribbon tied around the card that complements the themes and hues of the invitations adds a feeling of elegance.  Many brides also punch out two holes near the top, thread the ribbon through, and tie a beautiful bow for a chic touch.

photo courtesy of handmadebymeda.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of taylorjilldesigns.com

  • Stamps:  Getting a personalized or monogrammed stamp is an effective and affordable tool when it comes to the paper products of your wedding.  Embellish your invites and RSVP cards and then seal the deal when you adorn the envelope with your customized wedding design.  And get really fancy by creating a melted wax seal and closing your envelopes shut with with a look that’s truly vintage!

photo courtesy of marilynskeepsakes.com

photo courtesy of elizabethannedesigns.com

  • Flowers:  If you want your invites to really look fancy without the frivolous cost, add some fresh blooms. Keep in mind that extra weight equals extra postage costs, so keep the flowers minimal.  Try tying a single sprig of baby’s breath into bow on the invitation. For a flatter finish, adorn the invites with pressed flowers; simply use a spray adhesive and press.

photo courtesy of make-your-own-invitations.com

photo courtesy of weddings.thefuntimesguide.com

Postage – Mailing costs often seem trivial, but can really add up if you’re not cautious, especially for guest list that seem to scroll on for days!  As mentioned above, keeping the weight of each invitation to an absolute minimum will save you a pretty penny; every extra ounce per envelope will cost you.  With that in mind, send your RSVPs as postcards.  This avoids the extra weight of an excess envelope, and costs less anyway.  Also, avoid square-shaped envelopes or ones that don’t fit within the traditional requirements – they’ll increase postage fees by 50%.

So as long as you plan ahead and avoid excess costs, keep your eyes peeled for great bargains, and put your mind to a little DIY, you’re wedding invitations will look like a million bucks without the hefty price tag.

Greet Your Guests with Gusto: Custom Illustrated Invitations

photo courtesy of momentaldesigns.com

After receiving my girlfriend’s wedding invitation (waddd up, Tay!) a couple days ago, I couldn’t help but be inspired by her custom finished, attention-to-detail-and-design creations.  Featuring an architectural Chicago skyline, these well illustrated invites were almost as beautiful as the bride to be… wait a tic, not poss :) 

Now, y’all know me well enough (and if you don’t, how sad for you!  haha!); so, you know that there’s nothing I la-LOUVRE more than when a bride and groom customize their big day celebration with hints of their own unique personalities.  Hence, why I’m currently going Lady GaGa over custom illustrated invitations!

They truly are an INCREDS way to catch and capture the attention of all your intended attendees before the big “I do’s” and also provide an ideal means for the DIY diva bride to really shine.  From graphic designs and structured layouts to vintage comics and modern day masterpieces, there is simply no limit to what your invitations can be! 

So, whether you choose to save some moolah and create your own or really splurge and leave the printing power to a professional, custom illustrated invitations truly are an amazing accent to really get your guests excited!  Here are some of my favorites for your viewing (and mayhaps inspiring) pleasure :)

Inspired by… A Touch of Vintage

Vintage Illustrated Invitations courtesy of Google Images + weddingbee.com

Inspired by… The Powerful Peacock

Peacock Illustrated Invitations courtesy of momentaldesigns.com - love them!

Inspired by… Celebrity Caricature Creations

Caricature Illustrated Invitations courtesy of the divas of lehrandblack.com

Inspired by… Modern Day Mapping

Map Illustrated Invitations courtesy of mustardandsage.wordpress.com + weddingistas.com

Inspired by… A Pop of Pop Art

Pop Art Illustrated Invitations courtesy of elizabethannedesigns.com + w-weddinginvitations.com

Inspired by… Comic Book Culture

Comic Illustrated Invitations courtesy of elseachelsea.typepad.com + theindigobunting.blogspot.com

Inspired by… A Return to Retro

Custom Retro Illustrated Invitations courtesy of elseachelsea.typepad.com + theindigobunting.blogspot.com

And be sure to check out our full line of Wedding Invitations & Stationery for the perfect, easy to use canvas to create your one of a kind, inviting masterpieces.

Save the Date Videos: Let Your Wedding Day be a Box Office Smash

“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”  Sunset Boulevard

Yesterday, a girlfriend at work (whaaaduup, Nat!) asked me if I saw the Early Show on CBS that featured a couple’s Save the Date video… I was like, “Whhhhaaaaa?  A video??  For their save the date?  That’s incredible!”

Incredible, I came to realize, was the understatement of the century.  After perusing through a few YouTube videos last night, I became a woman possessed.  Save the Date videos have been around for awhile, and over the course of time, they’ve become - among other things - a force to be reckoned with.  So, reckon, I shall.

When I featured the blog post about the Mister & Me’s Save the Date Magnets, I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with myself and our pre-invitation mailers.  Armed with my Adobe Photoshop skills, I created something original in design and unique to us, and while I’m still proud of our little save the dates, I’d be lying if I said they weren’t dwarfed by the awesomeness of these videos.

Just like every couple is different, so were the videos they directed.  Dead sere, I saw everything!  Some couples treated it like a  movie trailer to a big ticket event; while others stuck with the more traditional video / picture montage approach.  In the end, however, it didn’t matter if they were telling story, being romantic or simply downright ridiculous, because with the conclusion of each video came the knowledge to Save the Date!  Below are some of the standout examples: ENJOY!

Poking fun at Bridal Stereotypes: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djcHDVrJjFk]

Takin’ the CUTENESS to a whole new level!: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLNsKpmaBiA]

Bringing the Humor with Beyoncé (P.S. That’s the groom on the left) : [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRnHbrCDxmM]

Movie Trailer Madness: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-8pbSdX7nc]

Traditional Montage: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKA5go_IW-g]

EPIC (aka forgot-what-I-was-watching) Movie : [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqs-b4Gjqqg]

Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing Writing Writing: A Bride’s Epic Battle to Address

<i>What I reverted after HOURS of addressing.</i>

What I reverted to after HOURS of addressing.

Alright, people, today I offer you my most poignant piece of advice to date… listen VERY carefully or you just may risk losing your mind (perhaps even a hand) to bridal warfare… FOR-EV-VER! 

Okay, okay, that’s an exaggeration, but writer’s cramp is no laughing matter.  I suggest any of you preparing to tackle your invites, thank you’s, etc. to tread carefully AND respectfully…  for this is not a world that you should enter into lightly.  Take for instance the tale of this poor bride-to-be, and of course by this poor bride-to-be, I mean this (points to self) bride, me:

Dear Diary,

Well, it started off well enough.  After receiving my wedding invitations weeks in advance (thank you, Aunt Madonna!), I figured I had pleeeenty of time to polish them off before dropping them by Ye Old Postal Service (Mistake # 1… of many).  However, just like everything else under the watchful eye of Father Time, “pleeeenty of time” turned into a single week… a single week turned into a couple of days… and a couple of days turned into the last few, schizophrenic hours before deadline.  Thus, my dear friend, is where I found myself last night.  Journey with me, won’t you… into a world that can only be described as the most dizzying night of aswirly twirly Mr. & Mrs. / ampersand combos in the history of mankind. 

It’s a couple hours in, and already I feel the please-let there-be-something-out-there-to-distract-me ADHD kick in.  After channeling my inner go-getter, however, I almost instantly become a methodical machine, fashioned by shorts bursts of frenzy and slow, Yoga’esque breathing.  Unfortunately, the breathing was patterned around the mantra “Inhale – you can do this, Mary (and) Exhale – you are such an idiot for waiting!”  A little less than encouraging, eh? 

Cut to six hours later… The Yoga’esque breathing is long gone and has been replaced by pierced lips and clenched teeth.  I only have myself to blame, but instead of doing the “grown up” thing and admitting defeat, I chose the classier road and began to blame everyone else.  I took on the child like persona of an eight year old girl, filled with dramatic pouts and empty threats.  Not only have I irritated everyone around me, but I’m dealing with the unmistakable misfortune of a numbing booty and a neck lingering on the verge of broken.  Awesome.

Then, after what felt like days of recalling my finest, cursive penmanship – which by the end of the night resembled something closer to heinously flailing chicken scratch -, thee old, trusty right hand began to crumple under the pressure.  Yep.  It was almost physically impossible to keep going… The brat in me considered writing left-handed, but the bride in me prevailed, and I finally finished.  Then through watery, bloodshot eyes, behind a fury of frizzy curls, underneath a pile of do-over envelopes, a question emerged from the crowd – and by crowd, I mean my Mister,”Why did you wait until tonight to do them all?”  (grrrrrrr)

… Anyone?  Buehler?

Let me answer that for you, my dear man-to-be… because I’m an idiot, (hehe, just kidding… kind of ) but you don’t have to be!  For all my lovely brides-to-be out there, please listen and head this advice: if you are lucky enough and find yourselves in a situation where you have things given to early (ie. your wedding invitation envelopes), don’t get “soooo busy” to the point where you put ANYTHING off until the last minute.  Better you do a few things here and there, than everything all at once.

Trust me and my poor, poor crippled hand.

If I Had A Million Dollars: I’d Buy These (Celebrities Are Sooo Lucky!)

Britney-Spears-Bride I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Barenaked Ladies, but I’m a huge fan.  And since they relented to expose the following creations in their early 90′s hit – If I Had $1000000 -, I thought I’d take it upon myself to do the honors, while paying homage to them.  Obviously written as a satirical song, If I Had $1000000 featured ridiculous lyrics on what they would buy if they were rich.  Everything from houses and cars to llamas and pre-wrapped sausages – haha. 

While searching for the latest and greatest in celebrity wedding gossip – basically my favorite extra curricular activity – I came across an article from the Washington Post shining light on a new Hollywood trend.  In order to keep their wedding details top secret, celebrities are sometimes forced to have their reps call people – more than likely on untapped, impenetrable phone lines – and provide them with all the appropriate wedding details.  Done to hopefully prevent any “leaks” to the press, this new age wave has left many guests feeling empty handed… literally. Gwen-Stefani-Bride

The wedding invitation is more than likely the first detail provided for a couple’s wedding showcase debut; so, if celebrities are famous for creating trends, how can they keep their invitations hot when they’re using cold calls?  The answer, my dear brides-to-be, is simply this: give invitations on the wedding day… duh!  (Please note, the previous “duh” was totally superficial.)

But what may seem incredibly ridiculous to the average bride, many celebrity ladies-in-waiting find practically a necessity.  However, when they do choose to have wedding day invitation creations made, many celebutantes enlist the sisterly pairing of Lehr & Black to create their one of a kind look… and after viewing their site, it’s exceedingly obvious why.  These elaborate invites are – in a word – un-be-liev-a-ble! 

Detailed with everything from fresh, wild orchids and Swarovski crystals to silk ribbons and vintage, brocade lace, these ooh la la invites are EXACTLY what I’d purchase If I Had $1000000.  Honestly, I applaud the talents of these LA located sisters with a fury unmatched by any other.  Bravo, Kudos, Aces, Encore and any other obnoxious word used to celebrate genius, Lehr & Black, BRAVO!

Eva-Longoria-Bride Feel free to check out Their Site, which also features several celebrity wedding invitations they’ve created through the years.  Simply enter the site, click on “Weddings” and scroll down the right had tool bar.  Featured celebrity weddings include: Ashlee & Pete Wentz, Eva Longoria & Tony Parker, Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale, Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey (oops) and my personal favorite Britney Spears & Kevin Federline (double oops).  Even though some of the nuptials didn’t last, Lehr & Black styles’ is nothing short of timeless.

And, for all my non-millionaire brides out there, feel free to check out our line of DIY Invitations & Stationery, head on out to JoAnn Fabrics, pick up some supplies and start crafting your own wedding request masterpieces.

Minding Your “P’s and Q’s”: How To Properly Word Wedding Invitations, According To The Host

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a tendency to focus on all the exciting details of planning and leave the more formal, boring ones out to pasture.  Colors, centerpieces, dresses, hair, makeup, etc… you know, all the frilly, fun stuff always seems to be on a bride’s mind, which is why some of the formalities of wedding planning can be overlooked.  How to properly address your invitations, for instance, is probably one of those things.

As my mom and I sat down with my wonderful aunt – who is designing our wedding invitations, there seemed to be 20,394,820,938 questions and only one or two answers.  It kind of went something like this:  How do you want the parent’s listed?  (What?  There’s an option?)  Are all of them hosting?  (Uhh, yes??  No??)  Do you want them above or below your names?  (Does it matter?)  His are divorced, how do you want them represented?  (Well…)  Do they go above or below?  (Huh?)  How many inserts?  (Why?)  Response or RSVP?  (…)  Directions?  Accommodations?  Reception???  (SD@JGK%$*LHKD)

Yep, that’s me alright, but I figure I can’t be the only one who doesn’t know; so, below is a smorgasboard sampling of how to properly word your wedding invitations based on who’s hosting.  There’s strength in numbers, ladies, which is why we have to stick together!

When the Bride’s Parents are hosting the wedding:

1-Brides-Parents

When the Groom’s Parents are hosting the wedding:

2-Grooms-Parents

When both the Bride’s AND Groom’s Parents are hosting the wedding:

3-Both-Parents

When the Bride and Groom are hosting their own wedding:

4-Couple-Hosting

When a divorced or widowed (Unmarried) parent is hosting the wedding:

5-Divorced-Deceased

When a divorced or widowed (Re-married) parent is hosting the wedding:

6-Brides-Remarried

When a close friend or relative is hosting the wedding:

7-Close-Family

In military ceremonies, the rank will determine the placement of names.  *Any title lower than a Sergeant should be omitted.  Only the branch of service should be included under that person’s name:

8-Military-1

*Junior Officers’ titles are placed below their names and are followed by their branch of service:

9-Military-2

*If titles are higher than Lieutenant, they should be placed before their names and the branch of service should be written below:

10-Military-3

Of course, these are merely samples that you can use as a jumping off point.  You should also consider the formality of your wedding.  Depending on if you’re having a formal or casual setting, will also alter the type of language used to address your guests.  Because every invitation is different and at the discretion of each couple, the possibilities are limitless, but sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction, in order to get the ball rolling :)  And feel free to check out our line of DIY Invitations & Stationery or visit TheKnot.com for even more wording suggestions.