The days of homemade wedding invitations are over. Wedding couples have figured out that you can't beat the crisp details and fine papers of professional invitations for their big day. The look and feel of a wedding invitation are the first introduction to your wedding style, and today's couples want that first impression to be perfect -- and expensive-looking, even when invitations are bought on a budget.
As you start looking for your wedding invitations, keep the following top trends for 2015 in mind to help you navigate the vast world of invitation styles you'll find online and in invitation sample books or to help you work with a custom wedding invitation designer to create a style that's all your own:
--Pocket invitations are a top trend for 2015 weddings, with the opened invitation revealing slots containing pretty insert cards. When you have pockets for your reception card -- and especially for your response card -- your guests can easily find the information they're looking for, and those cards are kept organized and safer for their returning of their RSVP card to you. Plus, the color contrast of an insert card against the pocket designs adds depth and color pairings that impress.
--Gatefold invitations. If you prefer not to have insert cards, all of your information will be printed on the front of your invitation, and with gatefold invitations that close at the middle of the card, you get extra room to print details on the insides of those gates.
--Postcards. Not just for save-the-dates, postcard-style invitations revel in their simple elegance, providing the basics of your wedding date, time and place, with the URL of your personal wedding website included for guests to visit for added information. An idea with this style of invitation is to feature a photo of the two of you on the front of the postcard, something that old-world etiquette rules would never entertain but has become a large and acceptable trend today.
--Mary Tipper, president of Elegant Wedding Invites, says of the top invitation color trends, as well as top wedding colors overall: "Blue is a classic color for wedding planning, and we'll see more navy, royal and powder blue in the year 2015. We (also) saw the outbreak of blush and peach in 2014, which will be continuously popular in 2015, with more shades of pink and red added, like sangria and burgundy." Burgundy will be especially big in 2015, given that wedding color trendsetter Pantone named a rich berry/brick color, marsala, as its color of the year. Berry shades will be immensely popular.
--Other top colors include neutrals, such as champagne and brown, Tiffany blue and English garden shades, such as lavender, sage green, pink and ivory, to call to the trend in vintage-inspired weddings.
--Lace is a top motif for wedding invitations in 2015, both as a design printed on the card itself and as an actual lace overlay or ribbon wrap. With vintage and rustic elegant weddings being a top trend today, lace is the perfect accompaniment to convey a romantic feeling in your invitations.
--Vintage florals. Think garden roses and rosebuds, gardenias -- any flowers you'd find in an English garden, printed romantically on the invitation as a floral burst at the bottom corner or as a border of tiny blooms and greenery.
--Laser-cut designs. Intricate cutouts created by laser add texture and color contrast to invitations in an array of designs, from lace to flourishes to an architectural motif -- for example, the illustration of a lattice on your gatefold invitation cover.
--Other top invitation motifs include birds, leaves, nautical anchors and seashells. And many couples are using ampersands to convey the sense that they are joining their lives together.
--Chalkboard designs. Printed to look like chalkboard writing, this style carries over from 2014 wedding invitation trends.
--Pretty fonts. Basic italics aren't good enough anymore. Now the trend is for artistic lettering, and that may be a custom design for your wedding.
--Again, lace overlays and ribbon ties.
--Sparkle. Adding a bit of glitter to an invitation provides a dash of fashion style and excitement for the festivities to come. Sparkle may be on the tie, or "belt," to the invitation package, or it may come courtesy of shimmery metallic paper.
--Rustic wedding invitations are tied with twine for that outdoorsy feel.
These wedding invitation trends also come into play for engagement party and bridal shower invitations, and it's a trend to maintain your wedding invitation design in your printed items for the wedding day, such as your place cards, menu cards and any signs you'll display as wedding decor. Your invitation choice, then, directs the look and feel for your wedding, so invest plenty of time in exploring your options and choosing the design that works best for you.
Sharon Naylor is the author of "The Bride's Guide to Freebies" and three dozen additional wedding books.