Making A Statement

By Ven Griva

December 21, 2007 5 min read


Traditional or trendy, invitations set the tone

By Ven Griva

Copley News Service

Because it is the first glimpse your guests will have regarding your upcoming nuptials, the style, wording and feel of your wedding invitation is an important first step toward the perfect celebration.

According to Carol Smith of Invitation Factory in San Diego, there are two ways to go with wedding invitations. The first is traditional, a white or ecru paper invitation printed in black ink, telling who, what, where and when, following the form set for by etiquette mavens such as Emily Post.

"There is nothing wrong with a traditional invitation," Smith said, "especially if you are having a traditional wedding. It tells people that your wedding is formal. Your guests will know what to wear and what to expect."

But that's the point of all wedding invitations - making a statement about your celebration, Smith said. The moment your guests get your invitation you want them to get excited about attending your celebration and having a great time with you and your new spouse - and all your friends, family, and loved ones, she said.

If you are having a themed wedding, then your wedding invitations should be the first presentation of that theme to your guests, Smith said.

"Brides today usually pick a theme and color or colors for their wedding," Smith said. "Then we try to work those into the invitation. Whether it is a dressy event, formal wedding or a casual party, your invitation should tell your guests what to expect."

Some of the more unusual invitations Smith has put together have been for couples getting married on their motorcycles, or with their pets. Consequently, the invitations were in the shape of a motorcycle, or dog.

People often like to send embellishments or favors in their boxed invitations.

"Because we are in San Diego, many of our customers have beach weddings," Smith said. "We can put little sea shells, starfish or sand dollars in their invitations to advance their theme."

Smith said it often takes more than one visit to her studio for couples to decide on their invitation. To streamline the process she offers the following tips:

- Have a budget. Personalized invitations can cost from $4 to $80, or more.

- Know the date of the wedding.

- Know your wedding color scheme.

- Know the location of the wedding.

- Have in mind your theme.

- Have in mind any embellishments or favors you might wish to include in the invitations.

- Bring sample invitations from magazines or weddings you've attended that you fancy.

Once these things are decided, a package is put together that includes thank-you notes, guest book and party favors designed to match your theme.

Popular today are invitations with pockets to hold response cards, menu cards, programs and RSVP cards. Also, if you are planning a destination wedding, you can include information about travel and hotel accommodations in the pockets.

Another popular addition to the traditional wedding invitation is a save-the date card. These separate notices are sent out in advance of your wedding invitations to let the special people in your lives know when you have scheduled your important date, Smith said. Then the real planning begins.

"I would never advise anyone to plan a wedding without a professional planner," she said.

According to event designer Kathy Wright of Kathy Wright & Co. current trends in wedding invitations include bling.

"Brides today are very influenced by things that sparkle," Wright said. "Crystals are popular. They are being included in invitations.

Also in vogue, Wright said, are different textures of papers. Today's colors include chocolate and ivory brown.

"We're seeing a lot of layering with many different papers," Wright said. "Vellums are in style."

When you open the box the invitation arrives in, Wright said, you see many different pieces of paper, often in different colors. They include suggestions for lodging, other events in the wedding week, such as invitations to the rehearsal dinner, and bachelor or bachelorette party.

"If the groom is having a golf outing that week, for example, the invitation is included in the box," Wright said.

One other trend Wright is seeing is a return to old-fashioned values.

"During the '60s and '70s brides and grooms got away from the traditional way of addressing their invitations," Wright said. "Because of feminism, they got away from the notion of the parents giving away the bride.

"Instead they looked at the wedding as a party they threw for themselves. Today, it's the parents who are doing the inviting. Things have returned to the traditional way of doing it."

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