April 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
Yes, I am one of *those* girls – the ones that stay up working all night so that they can catch the online stream of the Royal Wedding at 3am. You bet.
And it was delightful – how beautiful was Kate Middleton (or should I say the Duchess of Cambridge) in her much-anticipated wedding gown? Prince William and Price Harry in their gorgeous and intricate military uniforms. The beautiful carriages. The HATS! Say what you will, but I love a royal wedding.
I’ve talked about the royal wedding a couple of times on The Invitation Blog already – a sneak peek into what I would do if I were creating the invitations, as well as a royal-inspired silk-boxed invitation suite I designed.
So now that the wedding is over, isn’t it time to move on? Well…yes and no.
The fact is that this particular wedding will influence wedding trends for years to come, but the question is, how?
One answer is that I think the wedding struck a perfect balance between being simple and opulent – definitely elegant, but not extravagant or over-the-top. This sort of luxe simplicty is something I blogged about as an invitation trend for 2011, and I think the royal wedding was a good reflection of exactly that feeling – quality and high-style, but not overdone.
While the royal wedding invitations themselves did leave something to be desired, I think you will still see their influence popping up – I expect to see the return of some of the more traditional invitation staples, things like gilt-edging, embossing, and engraving, as well as more “royal” inspired looks, with crests taking the place of standard monograms, and lots of purple, dark blue and gold.
The luxe simplicity sensibility will also gain momentum, with more brides choosing more traditional invitations layouts but luxurious papers and printing methods (like lettepress and engraving). You’ll see less embellishment of invitations (crystals, ribbons, buckles) and more focus on the papers themselves to tell the story.
I do think that the royal wedding will bring back into style the traditional, formal wedding. These days, wedding blogs are still chock full of weddings in fields, with vintage typewriters, bunting and hay bales. Why I don’t think that the rustic/vintage.DIY wedding is necessarily going out of style anytime soon, I think that there *will* be a movement back to more formal events, which I find really exciting. While I still love seeing creative, modern, outside-the-box weddings, there is something to be said for a beautiful, old-fashioned affair – think Grace Kelly.
April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
So, I usually try to showcase some of Hip Ink‘s more unique or interesting work on the Invitation Blog, but today I wanted to actually show something that (at least for me) is a bit more traditional…ish.
Renee is my father’s best friend’s daughter (did ya get that one?) and I was thrilled when she called me to ask if I would create her wedding invitations for her March 19th wedding to her fiancé Ryan.
The challenge was to create something that was both modern and traditional, incorporating their colour scheme of hot pink, light pink and black and the image of entwined hearts. Sounds pretty easy, I’m sure, but for me this is one of those challenging projects – to take something that has been done (hearts) and do something fresh, or to take a colour scheme which doesn’t always scream wedding, and make it elegant but still fun.
When I spoke with Renee, those were the two words she used to describe their big day – she wanted the invitations to reflect the elegance and formality of the wedding, while still conveying the sense that it was going to be a big time party. Renee and Ryan are both young and vibrant, so something too traditional would have been out of the question.
So, what was the final result? A true-to-scheme colour combo, a traditional layout with modern fonts, and a somewhat unexpected version of “entwined hearts” that gave everything a bit of a whimsical touch.
While I didn’t have a chance to attend Renee and Ryan’s wedding, by all accounts it was exactly what they had envisioned – a beautiful and elegant rockin’ party!
April 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
That said, I thought it’s about time that I asked you (yes, you!) what your questions are about invitations, what trends/printing processes etc. you want to know more about, what DIY tips you’re dying to know or even questions about Hip Ink.
I talk/write a lot (A LOT) about wedding invitations, but do you have questions about baby announcements, birthday party invites or christmas cards? I’ll take those too!
If I don’t know the answer (and it actually does happen sometimes, shocking, I know) I’ll find someone who does and let them dazzle you with their knowledge.
No questions, just suggestions? That’s cool too. Let me know what you’d like to see on The Invitation Blog!
So – feel free to leave your questions as a comment, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be answering some of the questions in an upcoming post, and if you’re lucky, you may get a whole post dedicated to the topic you suggested.
Wedding professionals, I’d love to hear your thoughts too – what do *your* clients ask you most about wedding invitations? What are the complaints that you hear from them? Misconceptions? I’d love to hear all about it.
In the meantime, I’m busily gathering my own ideas for future blog posts….
Let’s see…my vision for Bella and Edward’s wedding invitation in Twilight: Breaking Dawn, my inspiration board for Justin Bieber’s 18th Birthday party, my guide to sending your wedding invitations via facebook…and…
April 22, 2011 § 5 Comments
A while back I wrote a post focusing on wedding blogs, and some of my issues with the current state of affairs when it comes to the wedding blogging world.
One of the things I talked about was advertising: button ads, sponsored posts, preferred vendor lists etc. I think there is a conflict of interest that can easily happen, and I think not enough wedding blogs are out there being up-front about exactly what’s going on (and to those that are, you can take pride in the fact that you are out there being transparent about what you do, and that is always a good thing).
So what about The Invitation Blog? I thought I should turn things on myself and let you in on why I do what I do (or don’t do what I don’t do).
I originally started The Invitation Blog for the same reason every other wedding professional out there probably does – to showcase my work. Is that a bad thing? No, I certainly don’t think it is. It’s much easier than trying to keep my website up-to-date with new photos every week, and it allows me to give some information regarding the inspiration behind the work, which is always interesting.
But I realized after a while that while it was great for me…who else was it going to benefit? Well, sadly, the answer was “pretty much no one”. Sure, potential clients could see some of my up-to-date work, it was out there in the internet-world to inspire others, but what was it really doing?
So I decided to add a weekly post that would be aimed at couples to help them navigate the sometimes tricky world of wedding invitations and stationery – whether it was explaining different print methods, listing the part of a traditional invitations, or tackling invitation etiquette. Now, The Invitation Blog had a greater purpose.
Then I started to see how many of my colleagues in the stationery business where reading as well, and I began to post every now and then on industry issues, and post about the issues that stationers want couples to know.
And then I realized that I knew so many great wedding pros – not just in the stationery business – who I could share with our readers, and so Vendor Love on alternating Fridays came about.
It’s been 9 months here of growth and change at The Invitation Blog and the sky is the limit.
Or is it?
I’ve had to think about exactly what I will and will not do with The Invitation Blog going forward, and I wanted to share that with you, so everyone knows what’s up:
The Invitation Blog will stay about invitations and stationery, period.
While I may post non-wedding related information, invitations and stationery from time to time, I will not be posting about general wedding-related issues on an on-going basis. May there be a one-off post here or there – sure. But it’s not called The Wedding Blog for a reason. There are so many great wedding blogs out there already – this one, is about invitations, and it’s going to stay that way.
The Invitation Blog will be a place where dissenting opinions are welcome.
Obviously, I love
hearing the sound of my own voice giving my opinion on various matters, and that’s probably even part of the reason y’all keep reading. That said, I feel that it’s important to protect the rights of others to do the same. Disagree with what I have to say? Great – leave your comments. Differing opinions lead to discussion and dialogue, and both are important and positive. Although comments on The Invitation Blog are moderated to protect from spam, no valid comment will be censored unless it contains only personal attacks or profanity.
The Invitation Blog will NEVER have banners, button ads etc. EVER.
This is really important to me for a number of reasons. I’ve been approached about advertising a couple of times, and the answer is and will always be no. My personal feeling, for THIS blog, is that advertising simply takes away from what The Invitation Blog is designed to do. I’m here to educate, to inspire, to show off Hip Ink’s work and to show off the work of some of my favourite vendors. I would never want someone to question the reasons behind my posts and more than that I do not want to have to “answer” to advertisers when it comes to my online “voice”, the topics I cover, or my opinions and the things I say. I’m going to stay sassy.
The Invitation Blog will not have sponsored posts, preferred vendor lists or any other “hidden” advertising either.
Again, something that is really important to me. The posts I write come from the heart and I will never accept money or any other consideration for writing them. The opinions, good or bad, are mine. If I talk about a product, it’s because I like it. If I talk about a vendor, it’s because we have a connection and I admire their work and talent. That will not change.
I’m not sharing this to judge or bash the blogs that may do the things I’m talking about – every blogger, business owner, has to make their own decisions about what works for them and what they are willing to do – but more than anything just to let you know where I’m coming from and where we’re going.
April 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
Okay so…apparently I need to have more sleep as I completely forgot to schedule a post for this week’s Workshop Wednesday, and worse still didn’t realize ’till Friday.
Tsk tsk Sarah…
But, to make it up to you, I’m going to show you one of my favourites. Okay, you’re right…they are all my favourites. You can’t blame me for that though, they are like children, you love them all ;)
This one is a lovely boxed invite in a sunny yellow and cool aqua combination (with a touch of charcoal grey as well), featuring a typography based invitation that includes both ceremony, reception and rsvp info all-in-one, as well as a beautiful, bright yellow orchid.
Going without an Reception and/or RSVP card and sticking to a single invite card can be a good way to work other things into your budget, especially if you are having a small wedding – you know your family and friends best, and whether RSVP by phone/email would work for them from a functional point of view.
In this case, removing the reception and rsvp cards allowed for something special – lining the top and bottom of the box lids with contrasting patterned papers – something a little unexpected and whimsical to add pizazz to the very clean and modern invitation card.
I love this colour combo – okay, technically speaking I pretty much love anything with grey and blue – but I particularly think this could be a great combination for a destination wedding on the beach!
Oh, and the freeze-dried orchid – my favourite touch. The orchid is completely dry and will not in anyway affect the invitation itself, but it is perfectly three-dimensional and life-like and is a great way to use that extra space that a mailer box provides.
Up next week – a challenging colour scheme with a very traditional image request. How did we make it work?
April 19, 2011 § 8 Comments
It’s celebration time today as this is officially The Invitation Blog’s 100th post. It’s been 9 months of hard work, wondering if I was talking to myself, stressing over just how “honest” to be and being so thrilled at the feedback from engaged couples as well as stationery industry peeps. Now, around 16,500 views later, I’m a super-proud mama!
So, for post number 100, I wanted to talk about something important and meaningful, I was looking for something that defines what The Invitation Blog is all about; and, right on schedule this week, I got my answer.
I’ve heard it before, and I’ll hear again, but this past week I seemed to hear it everywhere – online forums, twitter, from potential clients – and it really gets me fired up (and not in a good way). It makes me honestly want to punch something. Anything. Even though I know it’s not personal, considering what I’ve dedicated my career to, it might as well be a knife in my heart.
“Why would I spend so much money on invitations when they are just going to end up in the garbage?”
You know the sounds of nails screeching on a chalkboard. Or that feeling you get when you chew on aluminum foil? That’s the feeling I get when I hear that statement.
Y’all know me by now, right? You know I could write a book on this subject. On how wrong I think this statement is. But, for today, I’m going to keep my rebuttal simple, so here it is:
Wedding are by nature about consumption. At least 90% of the money you will spend on your wedding will go to things that are about “experience” rather than permanency. When your wedding day is over, nothing remains but your photographs and video – oh, and probably your invitation.
Think about the big budget items when it comes to weddings…what’s the biggest? Food and beverage. And I apologize in advance to those delicate souls reading this blog, but…we all know where its final destination is. And yet I somehow doubt that a venue manager has ever heard “why would I spend so much on food and drinks when it just ends up in the toilet?”. Why? Because food and beverage is about the experience your guests have, the enjoyment (albeit fleeting) that they will get from consuming it. Can they keep it? Nope. Even if it is the most spectacular meal of their life, there is nothing that remains.
What about decor? Flowers? What’s the value – all it does is just sit there. Why would you spend money on that. It doesn’t even *do* anything. But you do spend money on it, because it is all about the experience. Transportation, entertainment, even your wedding day attire – same thing. You are basically left with nothing.
But invitations, and wedding day stationery, that is *something* that remains. Something you can keep, and something your guests can keep, as a reminder of that day. I got married in 2002, but I still have family and friends that kept not only our invitations but also all of the paper goods from our ceremony and reception. I have brides that tell me that their friends and family still have their invitations that Hip Ink created, years later. And to be honest, I have brides come in all the time with envelopes and folders full of invitations – they got them somewhere. So no, wedding invitations don’t all end up in the garbage.
Now, I know some of you are thinking it – that this is me trying to justify the cost of custom invitations, trying to convince everyone that a $10-15 invitation is what you really need, etc. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It’s not about how much you spend on your invitations, but it is about how much you invest in them. When someone tosses out the old “they are going to go in the garbage anyway” argument, it’s a sign that they don’t get it. They don’t understand what an invitation really is, what it means to your guests. It may just be paper, but it is all about the experience for those special people who will receive it. If you could care less what you send them, what kind of message do you think that sends?
Your wedding invitations need to be personal – you *need* to care. Your guests want to know they are valued, that your wedding will be special, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – your guests will judge your event, based on the invite. Does that mean you need to send a $20 custom invitation. Not at all. But you do need to send something personal, something that reflects you, something you will be proud for your guests to receive – not something that you’ve already earmarked as “garbage”.
Why do I take it so personally? Because I have given up so much over the past 5 years to do what I love – to create invitations that are beautiful sneak peeks into couples’ big days. Yes, I get paid – but probably not enough. I miss out on family events, time with my husband and my children, and any kind of real sleep. I get paper cuts, I work when I’m sick, I stay up all night when I have to. I do all of this because I love creating invitations – and I love creating invitations because I love the look on couples’ faces when they see their invite for the first time, their names and wedding date in print, when it becomes so real to them. It’s a magical moment, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
So when someone intimates that what I do basically amounts to creating garbage…I get crabby.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion about how much is the “right” amount to spend on invitations, and I would never say otherwise; but, just because you yourself wouldn’t spend XX amount on something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value to someone else. It may be easier to tell yourself that something is not important if you can’t afford to spend much on it, but that doesn’t make it true. If you have a modest budget will you need to be more creative? Probably. But what you can do, that doesn’t have to cost a thing, is make sure that you are sending out something personal, that shows your guests you care about them and are hosting an event that you are proud to be inviting them to.
So, what’s my final word for those who think invitations aren’t important, because they’ll just “end up in the garbage anyway”?
Not if you do it right.
April 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
Did you miss Vendor Love last Friday? I did too…I was out with another random illness brought home by my loving kids!
But – this one was worth waiting for…
Today we feature Jessica Dreyer from Fleurish Design Studio and her amazing florals!
I met Jessica back in January at Mix Mingle Marry, and I was so amazed by her work – she was walking around at one point showing off one of her stunning bouquets and I joked I needed to get married again so she could do my flowers! Jessica’s florals are gorgeous, whether they are modern, traditional or vintage, colourful or monochromatic, each arrangement is a beautiful mix of colours and textures.
I particularly love that there is often something just a little offbeat about each arrangement – a unique floral I haven’t seen before, a unique combination of texture or colours, a little birch bark or a feather here or there. There is something special about each of Jessica’s creations.
Jessica grew up among flowers, so it only seemed fitting to cultivate her love for fresh flowers & passion for colour into Fleurish Design Studio. Starting at a very young age in her family’s greenhouse and later going to Seneca College in Toronto, Jessica combined technical skills with her own creative flair to find her place in the floral world.
I had such a hard time choosing photos to showcase, but here is just a sampling of Jessica’s work.
April 13, 2011 § 5 Comments
It’s my favourite day of the week again, Workshop Wednesday!
This past Sunday, we were thrilled to be a featured vendor at The Original Wedding Soiree in Mississauga. The show’s theme this year was “20’s Glamour” – black and white, pearls, crystals, feathers, brocade, and all manner of glam accessories.
To fit the show’s theme, I decided to whip up a luxurious boxed invite fit for an over-the-top roaring 20’s theme – a little art deco, a little bling, and a lot of fun! It was a big hit with the brides and grooms at the show, and I’m sure it’ll get lots of attention in our showroom as well.
While I love working with my clients on *their* perfect invitation vision, it’s definitely fun every now and then to be able to do my own thing. This project was no exception – I had a blast putting it together, including the accessory menu, table number and place card…and yes, that is a glittery hanging table number you see. Told ya it was over the top!
Here’s the eye candy:
Sometimes it’s so cruel that I’m already married…
Although my best friend, who helped me work the show (along with my hubby!) did pronounce that if he were to get married, these would be his invites of choice.
April 12, 2011 § 5 Comments
Hey y’all, it’s Tuesday and it’s time to talk invitations and wedding stationery once again with The Invitation Advisor.
I wanted to address something that was brought up on twitter today (seem to be getting a lot of blog ideas from twitter lately – and [total plug] if you’d like to follow us, it’s @hip_ink) and it got me thinking. I’ve briefly addressed it in a couple of posts before, but I wanted to take a more in depth look at…
Email and digital wedding invitations – you’re probably hearing about them more and more, maybe you’ve even gotten one. So, are email invites a fresh new way to reach your guests or just a big wedding faux pas?
Oh yes, it’s time to get the soapbox out. I know not everyone will agree with me, and some of you may think I’m a stuck-up you-know-what, but since it’s my blog…you’re all entitled to my opinion. *Your* opinion is totally welcome in the comments section!
I’ll give you three guesses as to my opinion on the matter, and the first two don’t count. Yes, you’re right…my opinion is that email invitations are a big no. Like a “hellz no”. Yes, fine, you can call me a unabashed paper-lover, a cruel paper-nazi, heck, I may be the Godmother of the Paper Mafia; but, believe it or not, being a custom invitation designer is not the only reason I object to email invitations.
Your reaction may be, “Sure Sarah, we know, but why should we listen to someone who would send a paper invitation to her cat’s birthday party, pizza and movie night, or the grand opening of her can of Diet Coke”? Okay, busted. Still, I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m here to make you think about the stationery choices you make and how they are going to impact your big day – especially your guests, who are, or should be, a very important part of your wedding.
So why do I feel email and digital invitations, in the majority of cases, are not appropriate for weddings? To be totally honest, it’s because your guests don’t want to receive an email invitation. Period. You may think your hip, cool friends would think it was awesome, but they probably won’t. Your middle-aged guests definitely won’t. And let’s not even get into how your older guests will feel. Yes, it’s your wedding, so you are allowed to do whatever you want. But like it or not, your guests will have opinions and those opinions and pre-conceived notions about your event will be directly impacted by what they see and hear about it beforehand.
So many blogs will tell you “it’s your wedding, do what YOU want, don’t worry about etiquette and tradition”. I’m here to tell you they are wrong. Do you really not care at all what your guests think? I doubt it. Does your entire wedding need to be centered around pleasing your guests? Of course not. But if you don’t really care about your guests’ experience (which includes the way you invite them), why bother having them there in the first place? Are you guests happy to share your big day with you? Yes. But do they expect things in return for sharing that big day with you? You bet they do.
I’ll repeat my mantra for those who weren’t paying attention in class: your invitation sets the tone for your wedding.
What kind of tone does an email invitation set? Most likely, the wrong one.
I’ve heard a number of reasons behind why email invitations are a great idea, so let’s look at a few of them:
Eco-Friendly, Saves Trees
I hear this one all the time, and to be honest, I think it’s often just an excuse. There are a huge number of eco-friendly options out there – tree-free papers like 100% cotton and bamboo, plantable wildflower-seeded papers, wood invitations etc., not to mention eco-friendly vegetable-based inks etc. Why not choose one of those options instead? I think it’s easier to say that you’re trying to save the environment than to admit you’re trying to…
This is the big one, of course. Why pay the cost of buying wedding invitations and postage when you can send them online for free? Of course. Ever heard of the phrase, “you get what you pay for”. Remember it, because it’s true. There are a number of low-cost invitation options that can be had – yes, even the big-box craft store boxed invites (with 40% off coupon, ‘natch) are a better alternative than sending your invitations via email. Like it or not, most of your guests will assume you are sending an email invitation because you are trying to cut costs, and that probably isn’t the impression you want to leave them with.
I guess that depends on the type of email invite you send out, but unless you are literally sending a text-based invite, my bet is you could just as easily buy an invitation online or at a local stationery store in around the same time you could send out a nicely-done email invitation. And what about the time it will take you to compile everyone’s email addresses? And what about your guests that don’t have access to email? What will you do for them? Suddenly this “time-saver” doesn’t seem to be quite so great after all.
Receive RSVPs via email
You don’t need to send an email invitation to receive your RSVPs via email. You can certainly include an email address for those who would like to respond via email on your RSVP cards, and there are services out there that will track your RSVPs online, or even allow your guests to call a phone number to RSVP and collect your guests’ information for you.
Ability to include all the wedding details
This is exactly the reason why wedding websites were invented, and more and more couples are choosing to include their website information on their invitations. Do your guests really need direct links from the invitation? Probably not.
I heard a videographer say once, “What if I told you I could show you a video of your grandparents wedding? Would you be excited to watch it? What if I then told you that you couldn’t, because they didn’t think it was important enough to preserve the memories of their big day?”. I feel like invitations can be similar as well – there are so few tangible things that are mementos of your wedding. Wouldn’t you love to see your grandparents wedding invitation – feel the paper, see the printing, touch their history? Somehow, I don’t think an email invitation would give you the same feeling. What about your own grandparents? They’ve probably been waiting forever to hold your wedding invitation in their hands. An email invite probably won’t cut it for them either.
As always, there are exceptions to the rule. Are there times when an email invite could be acceptable? Probably (just don’t say you heard it from me!)
If you are having an extremely small or very informal event, email invitations could can work – again, you need to match the formality of your invitation to the formality of your wedding. An email invitation will never be considered formal at all, so should only be used for a casual wedding event.
If you are a creative/web genius and can whip up an amazing video/flash/video/awesomesauce digital invite – sure, could be fun. I’ve seen some very creative multi-media invitations out there, but again, I think they are best used as part of an overall invitation package – not on their own.
If you do choose email invitations, do yourself a favour and get help – use an online company to help you create an invite to send to your guests, like Glo, which offers stylish digital invites you can customize. Or, check out Etsy for designers who will personlize a digital invite for you to send to your guests.
My final word(s): Inviting people to an event via email has it’s time in place, just as paper invitations have theirs. Would you find it odd to get a fancy paper invitation to a casual dinner at a friend’s place (okay, if your friend is not a stationer)? It’s just as odd to entertain the idea of inviting guests to an event as important as your wedding via email.
April 6, 2011 § 6 Comments
I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite so excited about Workshops Wednesdays as I am today!
After much pimping of the premise of these invites, a few twitter sneak peeks, and a lot of promising to show them to you and not delivering – here (finally) is a look at one of my fave invitation suites to date:
Yes, had to throw a little eye candy in first – couldn’t resist! ;)
I was approached by event specialists Anna McCusker & Co. (located in Hamilton, Ontario) to create these bridal shower invitations for a fabulous Alice in Wonderland themed bridal shower in shades of fuchsia, turquoise, purple, gold and black. The bride was looking to incorporate quotes from the book on the invites themselves, and had come across this stunning Alice invitation suite from designer Jag Nagra, and wanted something similar, but incorporating a more ornate, vintage and whimsical feel.
Oh and yes, the details have been changed to protect the innocent, but how awesome would it have been if the bride’s name really *was* Alice!?!
UPDATE: Although names and details were changed for the photos above, I can now share the details (and photos) of the big day! Here are some amazing photos of Diana’s Alice in Wonderland bridal shower, taken by the fab Elizabeth Kaye. Gorgeous!
We have so many unique and interesting projects coming up, I’m just bursting to share them with all of you!