Read on for unique wedding invitation ideas that will make your big day stand out.
By: Kelly Aiglon
While we live in a digital world, wedding invites haven’t followed suit. Couples are sticking with tradition — sending good, old-fashioned paper to get the word out.
Invites are keepsakes. And with a little extra creative flair, they can inspire the invitee to not only put them on their fridge, but hold onto them in memory books for years to come. Here are some inspiring ideas for out-of-the-box invites from Laura Manteuffel, the owner of Chicago invitation design studio Elizabeth Grace.
USE ARTFUL TECHNIQUES
You have options beyond digital printing. Among the fine printing techniques out there is engraving. This formal style is achieved using an image etched on a metal plate; it gives the look of raised type on the front of the invite and indentation on the back. Another option is letterpress, for which the text is etched on a plate in reverse and coated with ink. The end result is alluring indented letters on the front. Many invitation studios also offer hand painting, for which every piece is painted, not scanned in, and reprinted. “You can really feel the textures,” says Manteuffel. “It’s sort of the difference between seeing a beautiful painting online and actually standing in front of it.”
BE A FONT FANATIC
Hand calligraphy is a classic option and, quite literally, gives invitations a personal touch. It’s commonly done on envelopes yet can also be considered for invitations and RSVP cards. “There are also so many beautiful typefaces available,” says Manteuffel. “People joke that I collect fonts the way most women collect shoes.” To get a feel for the type of fonts you’re drawn to, visit sites like fontshop.com and linotype.com. Use search terms like “bold,” “romantic” and “modern,” depending on your vibe.
CREATE MAGIC WITH COLOR
The Pantone Color of the Year (currently Classic Blue) is always trendy. But, Manteuffel warns, it’s the quickest way for a couple’s wedding to look like all the others. She instead suggests considering how an ink color will look on the type of material you’re painting or printing it on. “Hot fuchsia pink looks amazing on dupioni silk but can look cheap on paper stock. But bringing that color in for edge painting, a little engraved element or a silk ribbon can be magical.”
Did you know there are “plant-able” invites made from seeds that you put in the ground and grow into flowers or vegetables? The verdict is out as to whether they really work, but the idea of sustainability is becoming universally more appealing. “Fine social papers are pretty responsibly made, for the most part,” says Manteuffel. “Sometimes, a small paper mill provides jobs to a whole small town, for generations. Many stocks are FSC certified. And bamboo is great for letterpress papers.”
DON’T FORGET THE ENVELOPE
Technology has provided us endless options for special invitation shapes but they still have to fit in an envelope. “Using a stock envelope is a huge savings when there are budget concerns,” says Manteuffel. But when you want your invite to catch the eye as soon as it’s pulled from the mailbox, she recommends “royalty size,” which are larger, typically around 6x9 inches.
The invitation is usually the first impression a wedding makes on a guest. But, at the end of the day, it’s not about pleasing who receives it, it’s about expressing the love of the couple sending it.
Ready, set—plan! Oh, and make sure you plan to perfection. Geez. Thanks Google. Ok, now take a deep breath. And then reach out to the experts at Chicago Loft Venues to chat about how to prepare for your wedding venue search—and how to make the most out of your budget. Because one couple’s fancy fondue station may be money better spent elsewhere for the next, say on a craft coffee cart or a big balloon installation. Whatever your version of “perfect” is—we got you.
For more info on bespoke invites and beyond, make an appointment at Elizabeth Grace in Lincoln Park, located at 2438 N. Clark St. 773.477.9830. elizabethgrace.com