Day 19: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Luxe Simplicity

December 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hey 2011/2012 brides! Yes, you…that’s right. Looking for info on the hottest wedding stationery trends for 2011? We’ve got ’em right here this week on our 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December series.

Today, we’re going to talk about an overall trend in the wedding universe this coming year, and that’s going to be the idea of “luxe simplicity”. Yes, rustic and vintage are still going to be strong (we’ll talk about those later in the week as well), but for those brides who are looking for glamour and sophistication, the look is going to be simple and pared down with luxury touches, not over-the-top blinged-out extravaganzas. Think Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, not Zsa Zsa Gabor😉

In invitations, this translates to a cleaner, more modern aesthetic, with an emphasis on high quality materials (like today’s photo, an ultra-simple but luxurious letterpress suite from Elum Designs).

That means you’ll likely see the following:

  • Increased use of gorgeous heavy-weight cotton and bamboo papers versus traditional tree-based varieties (an eco-friendlier option as well!)
  • Even further emergence of letterpress and calligraphy as printing methods
  • Less use of items like pocket and jacket folders with trending towards things like silk boxes and folios
  • Less use of embellishments like ribbons and rhinestones on invitations themselves

A more simplistic approach allows for brides to stretch their invitation budget farther, by concentrating on quality versus quantity. For example, a $10 invitation suite could consist of a pocketfold with multiple backing layers and inserts, ribbon closure with a tag and lined envelopes; however, the same $10 could also be used for a single panel letterpressed invitation on rich cotton paper, addressed by hand with beautiful calligraphy.

At Hip Ink, we’ve seen the trend towards more simple invitation styles and designs starting already with our own clients, and it’s a refreshing change, and a challenge we’re looking forward to. Because, as with all simple things, there is a caveat – the details become extremely important. Design (layout and especially typography) become a huge part of the equation with this style – calling for more white space, impeccable font selection and a great eye for when it’s “just enough”.

This is where the DIY brides out there may want to consider professional help (um, the services of graphic designer I mean, not a psychiatrist). Consider taking your budget and putting it towards a simple but flawlessly executed design, rather than enduring the DIY process – for your own sanity, so you don’t have to consider professional help of a different variety!

Day 18: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Colour

December 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

We’ve made it to week three of our 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December series and it’s time for Trend Watch 2011 – what’s going to be hot (or continue to be hot) in 2011 when it comes to wedding invitations and stationery.

Let’s start somewhere that I personally love – COLOUR!

First, to the left is the newly announced Pantone colour of the year, Honeysuckle. While I’m not necessarily a pink kind of girl, this is my kinda pink. Lurrrrve it! Guaranteed to see lots of it in wedding this year, especially those with gorgeous vintage/rustic chic colour palettes.

What other colours will be hot for 2011?

The best resource around is My Personal Artist owner and designer Michelle Mospens, and you can see her predictions for spring/summer and fall/winter on her fantastic blog.

Looks like spring and summer and going to bright and vibrant with a tropical feel (makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside!) and fall/winter will continue the prominence of muted colours.

My predictions?

I think that this year’s most popular netural, Grey, will continue to be a force in 2011 – this time, paired with slightly less shocking brights (not necessarily the lemon yellows and bright oranges of this year), and instead with more muted tones, like honeysuckle, peach and aqua.

Metallics are very hot this year and I think you’ll see lots of platinum, silver, copper, bronze and gold as accents for all kinds of wedding items.

There will be a definite shift back towards pastel-type tones for our rustic/vintage gals, but there will still be some mod princesses out there going for rich pops of bright colour and whites.

As for Hip Ink, we’re going to be doing all of the above! I LOVE colour, and I can’t decide on my faves for this year – so hopefully I’ll get to explore them all with our awesome clients:)

What do you think? What’s your fave colour for 2011?

Day 17: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Odds and Ends (Printing Methods & Envelopes)

December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Whew! We’re officially more than halfway through our 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December series already! Guess time flies when you’re having fun!

Today at Hip Ink, we’re wrapping up our week looking at Invitation Anatomy with a catch-all post on odds and ends that didn’t quite fit in on the other days. I know there was a serious pun somewhere with “anatomy” and “odds and ends” etc., but for our more delicate readers, I decided to just let it go😉

So, let’s talk printing methods, envelopes and mailing, shall we?

First up: printing. You’ve probably heard or read lots of printing terms being thrown about when it comes to invitations – digital, offset, engraving, thermography, letterpress…just to mention a few. Have no idea what any of those are? You aren’t alone.

Here is a brief rundown of the various methods that could be used to print your wedding invitations:

Calligraphy: Literally means “beautiful writing”, but today it’s used to mean wording created by hand, not by machinery. Once the only method of producing written invitations, it is rapidly gaining popularity again.

Engraving: Text is carved backward into a metal plate, which is then inked and wiped. Paper is pressed against the plate so that the ink in the carved lines adheres to the paper. The finished invitation text has a slightly raised appearance. This is considered the most traditional printing method.

Letterpress: a reversed, raised surface (containing type and/or graphics) is inked and then pressed against paper, resulting in a deep inked impression. This is the oldest method of machine printing, but has enjoyed a revival in the past few years.

Thermography: Powdered ink is heat bonded to the paper, in this printing method meant to imitate the look of engraving. It produces raised, shiny text. Still very popular for large-scale invitation production.

Offset: Text is flat on the surface, similar to almost any printed item you pick up. The most common printing method available today for most products, and most common for lower-cost invitations.

Digital: Similar in method to your printer at home, can be ink or toner based.

Embossing: Paper is pressed into the cavities in a metal die leaving three-dimensional text/graphics on the paper. Can be used with ink, or without (known as blind embossing, which leaves only the raised impression)

Foil Stamping: Colored foil is heat-stamped into the paper. Foils usually have a metallic finish in either matte or high gloss.

Many of you will choose only one of these methods, although they can be combined to economize or for effect.

We’ll talk more about the two hottest methods these days – calligraphy and letterpress – in next weeks “Trend Watch” posts.

And finally, we get to what your invitation comes in (usually)…envelopes.

Traditionally, both an outer and inner envelope were used for invitations – leftover from the time that rich families would send a messenger on horseback to hand-deliver invitations, and they would probably not arrive in pristine condition without the extra protection.

These days, unless you are having your invites hand-delivered by horseback (which be kinda cool, you have to admit!), you don’t *need* to have an outer envelope, although some couples still choose to do so for various reasons. It could be that you like the traditional look of the the double envelope, or that you have embellishments on your invitation that you want to protect from the postal service’s delicate handling (horseback would probably be a gentler option). Many people use pocket folders, jacket folders or sleeves as part of their invitation, which are in essence like an inner envelope as well.

Your next decision is lined or unlined? An envelope liner (in traditional invitations this is almost always pearlized white or cream) adds a sophisticated touch. If you are not using an inner envelope, a liner helps to ensure that there is no “see-through” on the front of the envelope, and does protect your invitation a bit more than a standard, unlined envelope. Liners are once again gaining popularity as a way to add a punch of colour or graphics, as part of the overall invitation suite design.

Speaking of design, also gaining popularity is having your envelopes printed with a matching graphic to complement your invitation design – very fun, and definitely distinguishes your invitation from the rest of your guests’ mail pile!

We’ll leave discussing the addressing of your envelopes to a future post, because the soapbox may come out for that one, and I think we’ve probably used it enough this week!

It’s been a slice talking invitation anatomy with y’all, but I’m pumped to be bringing you our Wedding Stationery Trend Watch for 2011 starting tomorrow.

Check it out:)

Day 16: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Thank You Cards

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ahhh yes, that most beloved of all wedding stationery, the Thank You card.

Okay, fine. Let’s all admit it. No one out there is excited by the prospect of writing thank you cards – while we all know it’s necessary, it isn’t really that fun. But, as your  hand is cramping for the seventeenth time, try to think of the smile that will surely cross your guests’ faces when they open that card and read your heartfelt hand-written message. Yes, you read that correctly….HEARTFELT AND HANDWRITTEN.

Break out the soapbox 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December fans, ’cause today mama is back on the “tellin’ it like it is” bandwagon! Yee-haw!

First, let’s get the basics out of the way…

Thank You cards come in many flavours, but the most common by far are small (think standard notecard size) folded cards, which may or may not include a photo of the bride and groom. Photo cards were all the rage for many years, had somewhat fallen out of favour for a while, but I think they are back with a vengeance these days! That said, nothing beats a classic, crisp and simple Thank You note, that lets your message do the talking. Feeling a bit more creative? You certainly aren’t limited to a card – want to send out a DVD with a short recap of your wedding, a CD featuring all the best tunes from your reception or a photobooth picture of you with each of your guests! Fantastic – just don’t forget to personalize.

Allow me to present some Thank You card tips to make the process a little less painful😉

Tip #1: Remember how your wedding invitation is your guests’ first impression of your event? Well, your Thank You notes are your last, so make it count!

Tip #2: Do yourself a favour and order your Thank You cards at the same time as your other wedding stationery. This will allow you to send out Thank Yous right away to those who may send gifts before the wedding, and will let you get started on writing them as soon as the post-wedding haze has cleared.

Tip #3: Send your Thank You cards within 3 months of your wedding.

Tip #4: Hand addressed envelopes aren’t required, but are a lovely touch. If you order your Thank Yous early, make sure to get some extra envelopes and start addressing *before* the wedding, to save you time later.

Tip #5: HAND WRITE your Thank You Cards (pontificating rant below)

Tip #6: “Thank you for your gift” doesn’t cut it. Let your guests know that you appreciate the gift they gave, say what it is and how you are going to use it. For example, “Dear Uncle Vito, Thank you so much for the toaster oven. Can’t wait to warm our buns every morning!”

Tip #7: If the gift was cash, the above is still true, but don’t mention the amount. Try, “Dear Aunt Millie, Thank you for your generous gift. We are saving for a trip to Japan in the spring and are very excited!”, not “Dear Aunt Millie, thanks for the $10. It’ll come in handy when the triplets arrive.”

Tip #8: Consider sending an additional thank you, or possibly a card personally chosen by you, to guests who traveled a long distance or who helped out in some way at your wedding. They will truly appreciate your gesture.

(See, I didn’t fib – there were no bullets in today’s list!)

Now, here it comes:

It is NOT (read “never”, “nuh-uh”, “don’t even think about it”) cool to send pre-printed Thank You cards. No, not even if you sign your name. No, not even if you write in your guests names too. NO. Have a good reason (according to you)? Doesn’t matter, your guests won’t care. Unless your reason is that you and your new husband both broke your hands in an unfortunate honeymoon zip-lining accident, the answer is still no. I mean, even then they should be healed in 3 months, right?😉

Why? Because it comes off as lazy, ungrateful and tacky. Yes, I totally went there, and I guarantee that any guest of yours that receives a pre-printed Thank You will probably think so too.

The entire point of a Thank You card is that is a personal expression of your gratitude for the specific gift given you by that specific giver. It is *supposed* to take time and effort – that’s the point. It shows that you care, that you are truly grateful, that you appreciate your guest.

If you spent time (and money) to pick a perfect wedding gift (especially in addition to attending the wedding), how would you feel if you received a digitally printed Thank You card saying “Dear So-and-So, Thank You for your kind gift. Love, Mr. and Mrs. Too-Busy-Enjoying-Being-Married-to-Bother-with_You”. Probably not particularly special and maybe even a little miffed. I mean, after all, could Mr. and Mrs. TBEBMTBWY have put any *less* effort into that?

THAT is why you MUST hand write your Thank You cards – because you want your guests to truly feel your gratitude through your words and the intention behind them.

And yes, I made my 5 year-old hand write Thank You cards to his friends after his birthday party, what about it?😉

Day 15: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Reception Stationery Essentials

December 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Okay, so *I* think they are essentials, go figure. Today our 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December series shines the spotlight on menus, table numbers, escort cards, candy table signs, bathroom basket tags and every other little piece of stationery you can imagine needing for your reception.

I shant bore you again with my rant on why you should pay someone else to do this (preferably the person you paid to design your wedding invitations), because I am sure there probably are a few crazy brides out there who *do* want to stay up half the night before their wedding re-printing escort cards or assembling table signs – right? Show of hands? *crickets chirping*

Well then you should find this useful😉

Before the long list of things I’m about to post [that you will most likely look at, head tilted to the side, squinting slightly, thinking to yourself, “self, do I really need all this?”], let’s talk about what good wedding reception stationery does – it continues a thread, expresses the theme of your day, gives cohesion to the look of your event. Peruse just one wedding blog with amazing photos of gorgeous tablescapes with their themed menus, table numbers and place cards and you’ll know exactly what I mean. What if your reception stationery isn’t good (we won’t go there, but we’ve all seen it) – well, the short answer is, it does the opposite. Whatever beautiful venue and decor you’ve chosen, no matter how many fantastic flower arrangements you have, how divine your cake is, if your reception stationery doesn’t measure up, it can easily bring things down.

Reception stationery doesn’t have to be intricate and expensive – it can be very simple and effective, even if it is a pared-down version of your invitation suite. Again, matchy-matchy is not required! There are three things that can tie designs together – colour, font and graphics. You don’t need all three –  in fact, as the great Meatloaf once sang, “two outta three ain’t bad”. One will actually suffice, to be completely honest. It could be using the same accent colour, choosing the same fonts and layout style, or using a repeating graphic (like a monogram, very hot right now), but that one element can make all the difference.

Wondering about that list? Here it is – the most common items:

  • Place Card – specific to each guest, located at their place setting to indicate their seat at the table. Used when you are assigning guests their specific seats, not just table numbers.
  • Escort Card – per couple, single guest or family, arranged in a group so that they can be picked up and taken to the appropriate table. Used when assigning guests to a specific table, but not a specific seat.
  • Seating Chart – most commonly, a poster-size board, showing guests their table number. Can have many variations and can replace place cards or escort cards.
  • Table Signs – indicate the table number (or name), to facilitate seating guests if there is a seating plan (not necessary for open-seating or cocktail receptions)
  • Menus – detail the reception menu (usually by course, or a list of stations, buffet items etc.), can be used at each individual place setting or 1-2 per table
  • Favour Tags – attached to favours to commemorate the day with bride & groom’s name and date, and will also often have a thank you message
  • Guestbook – traditionally an actual book, but currently can be any of a number of options (wish bowl, wishing tree, scrapbook etc.)

Other items you may require or want to consider:

  • Large Signage – can be useful to direct guests, especially for outdoor weddings or those at casual venues
  • Buffet/Candy Bar Signage – small tent cards to let guests know what’s what
  • Candy Buffet Bags – for your guests to take home their goodies
  • Banners/Penants – can be used for decor or signage purposes
  • Wine Bottle/Water Bottle Labels – just one more way to personalize your day
  • Stickers – can be used for just about anything!

Again, if you are dealing with a custom invitation designer (like Hip Ink, ‘natch), we can customize anything and everything, so feel free to think outside the box!

And now, I solemnly swear that tomorrow’s blog will NOT contain any very long bulleted lists. Seriously.

Don’t believe me? You’ll have to check back and see😉

Day 14: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Wedding Ceremony Programs

December 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Apologies: Due to illness (read: nasty virus brought home by beautiful children from germ-infested playmates), this blog post scheduled to appear Dec. 14, was posted today, Dec. 15. It’s 2-for-1 day on 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December!

So, I know this is The *Invitation* Blog, but wedding stationery is so much more – including “day-of” items, like one of my favourites, ceremony programs!

Before we dive in, let me get something off my chest…yes, I think that your day-of stationery items should be created by the same designer/stationer as your wedding invitations. I said it. Notice I didn’t say “should match your invitation exactly”.

You want to have a cohesive look and feel throughout your event, and that means having programs, menus, escort cards etc. that have a similar look and feel to your wedding invitations, as well as similar quality and design aesthetic. My personal feeling is that there isn’t a need for them to be exactly matchy-matchy with your wedding invitations, but it *is* important to have some common elements to tie the two together visually. Make sure you tell your designer up-front that you want day-of items as well, as you can often get a better price if you order together with your invitations, which definitely helps if you have budget restraints to deal with. This is another area where many brides choose to DIY, but I actually think this is the most challenging due to time constraints – many of the items aren’t finalized until a few weeks before the wedding (program info, guest names for seating chart or escort cards etc.) and the last thing you want to be doing the night before your wedding is assembling programs, right? Yes, that was the voice of experience you heard again, go figure! Are there any DIY mistakes I haven’t made?

Okay…rant over…

Back to ceremony programs – love ’em. I think they are such a lovely part of weddings, a good read while you sit and wait for the ceremony to begin, and they can be the vehicle to showcase so much of the couple’s personality, story etc. Yes, I have such love for ceremony programs that my own was 12 pages long…no joke.

Traditionally, a program (also known as “order of service” for religious ceremonies) was pretty simplistic – a single sheet, or possibly folded card, with a roadmap of the ceremony for guests to follow along. Over the years, that definition has really expanded, and many couples are taking full advantage by providing their guests with very creative, personal and fun programs to accompany their weddings. These days your program may be a hand-held fan (as in the photo above, a Hip Ink creation, of course!), a mini-scrapbook, a photo album – and the content can be just as original.

So what’s in a program these days? You’re really only limited by your imagination, but here are the basics:

  • names of the bride and groom and the wedding date
  • names of the parents of the bride and parents of the groom
  • names of the bridal party
  • names of the minister/officiant and musicians
  • highlights of the wedding ceremony: readings, songs, procedures etc.

Looking for a bit more than the basics? I was hoping you were – here are some other ideas for common program content:

  • description of the symbolism or origin of special parts of the ceremony (cultural, religious etc.)
  • details on the music/song selection and any special significance to the bride and groom
  • bios of the wedding party (can be tons of fun!)
  • your story: how you met, how he proposed etc.
  • info on your location, if it is significant to you, historical etc.
  • details of the bride’s “old/new/borrow/blue” or other sentimental objects that are involved in the ceremony
  • photos (engagement photos or candid shots/baby photos)
  • quotes on love, marriage etc.
  • your wedding vows, if they are personally written
  • an “in memorium” section, to remember those who can’t be there to share your big day
  • directions to the reception venue (in case anyone forgot theirs!)
  • a thank you message to your guests
  • your new contact information, if one or both of you is moving (brides, this is a good way to work in your new name [or old name] – it’s great to let guests know if you are taking your husband’s name, keeping your maiden name, hyphenating etc.)

How about something a little more zany? Right on:

  • heartfelt/funny anecdotes or quotes from your family and wedding party about you
  • your story written as a movie treatment – who would star in it? what would the trailer be like?
  • your note to your future selves – to be read at your 25th, 50th, 75th anniversary
  • bride and groom trivia (with a prize for the most correct answers)
  • crossword puzzle or word search using your names, wedding date etc.
  • colouring page, if children are attending (tie a few crayons to these special programs)
  • interesting facts about your guests: who has traveled the farthest, been married the longest etc.

Let your personality take the lead, and feel free to add in whatever you think is significant to you and will be interesting and fun for your guests!

Programs do make a much nicer keepsake than stale fruitcake anyday😉

Day 13: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Insert Cards (Reception, Directions and Maps, oh my!)

December 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

We’ve talked Invitation cards, we’ve talked RSVP/Response cards, and today in our 31 Days (0f Blogging) Hath December series, we’re talking Insert cards.

The traditional wedding invitation is generally composed of just two printed pieces – the invitation card and the rsvp card. But hey, we’re not all about tradition, right? These days, most couples choose to include additional insert cards (whether part of a wrap or pocketfold, or just loosely inserted in the envelope) to provide extra information to their invited guests.

Of course, there are endless options for the info you could choose to impart with your invitation (except registry information, or anything for that matter that spells out the kind of gifts you want – no, never, don’t do it, I don’t care if everyone else you know does it, you don’t want to look tacky), but you do need to use some discretion. You don’t necessarily want your guests to be cross-eyed by the time they are done reading all 14 pieces of your wedding invitation, do you?

Here are some of the more commonly used types of insert cards you may choose to use as part of your invitation suite:

Reception Card – traditionally used for formal invitations, rather than printing reception information directly on the invitation card. Good to use if space is at a premium, but usually only if your reception is being held somewhere other than your wedding ceremony.

Map/Directions Card – great if you have out-of-town guests, you can choose to include a map, printed directions or both. I love the look of a map, but if your location(s) is hard to get to (one-way streets, construction etc.), adding directions is helpful for your guests. Gorgeous map above is by Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Accommodations Card – again, perfect if you have out-of-town guests. Many couples will choose to reserve a block of rooms at a hotel (or two), and this is a great way to to help guests find a convenient place to stay.

Itinerary Card – perfect for a destination wedding or a wedding with multiple ceremonies (as some cultures have wedding that span days of ceremonies etc.), you can list all of the important events/times that your guests need to know about.

Generally speaking, insert cards are flat matching cards to your wedding stationery, but you can choose to use folded cards, booklets etc. A great way to personalize your invite!

Are insert cards absolutely necessary? No, not at all. As long as you provide some way for your guests to get the info they need about your big day, you’re good.

One way many couples are choosing to do that is by using a wedding website. They can upload all the information that guests need to know (with no space constraints) in one handy location, and simply list that website URL on their invitation, directing their guests to visit for details. A fairly new idea as well, is to send out a separate card only to guests who have replied that they are attending, which contains all of the pertinent information.

So, we’ve now we’ve covered your invitation, but there’s a whole other side to wedding stationery – “day-of” items, such as programs, escort cards etc. as well as thank you cards. Don’t worry, we’ll be chatting about those for the rest of the week!

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