Invitation Inspiration: 3 Themes to Consider

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Nicole Farrell and Chris Tsitouris looked to Wedding Paper Divas for their Parisian theme.

Sorry, tastemakers: It's not likely many of your guests will notice your wedding-day shoes or whether or not you went with a statement necklace or an arm full of bracelets. And foodies, though your menu-selection is spot-on, don't expect your guests to appreciate the last-minute edition of a flavorful garnish as much as you do. According to the experts, what everyone will remember-and critique-is how you set the tone with your wedding invitation.

Your big-day invite and save-the-date card provide the first taste of the celebration that's in store. From letting your guests know how formal-or casual-your party will be to providing a quick history of you and your boo, your paper products play an important role. We spoke with local stationers about design trends, unexpected ideas and tips for building a product that reps you.

Inspiration: Shabby Chic

"Not everyone has a theme, so a lot of inspiration comes from the venue for the ceremony or reception," says Sarah Wadas of You're Invited. "This past summer, I did invitations for a couple getting married at Via Vecchia Downtown, where there are tons of paper lanterns. We took that concept and used a paper-lantern motif in the invites." The rustic winery is a candlelit, romantic's dream, so soft hues, elements of vintage lace and old-fashioned fonts would also work well on invitations, save-the-dates and programs. "Not everyone has a theme, so a lot of inspiration comes from the venue for the ceremony or reception," says Sarah Wadas of . "This past summer, I did invitations for a couple getting married at Via Vecchia Downtown, where there are tons of paper lanterns. We took that concept and used a paper-lantern motif in the invites." The rustic winery is a candlelit, romantic's dream, so soft hues, elements of vintage lace and old-fashioned fonts would also work well on invitations, save-the-dates and programs.

The shabby-chic theme continues to be popular in Central Ohio, says Wadas, who started her custom-invitation company in 2005 and says the possibilities for invite design are nearly infinite. For a couple tying the knot in November on a farm, she created an invite with a Mason jar filled with wildflowers and printed on paper resembling burlap.

"Funky, handwritten fonts go along with this vibe, too," adds Wadas, who also crafts programs, seating boards, thank-you cards, menus and cocktail napkins.

Carolyna Pro continues to be a popular type option, says Darci Bonnington of The Paper Vault, though she's ready to try something new for brides. Carolyna Pro continues to be a popular type option, says Darci Bonnington of , though she's ready to try something new for brides.

"The recent [shabby-chic] trends of chevron and that handwritten font are nice, and most brides are still gravitating towards this," says the one-time fashion designer who launched her biz in 2012. "But I'm ready for a change. There's this really natural handwritten font called Jaques and Gilles that's really fun."

Bonnington also creates day-of extras that suit the rustic trend well, including signature drink signs, coasters, table-number signs and maps.

If your shabby-chic vibe is a little more vintage than barn party, Wadas suggests muted colors and intricate scrolls. And if you're shying away from actual lacelike material because of postage costs, she recommends using a belly band with a lace design. "It looks like lace," she says, "and, as a bonus, it holds all the pieces of the invite package together."

Inspiration: Classic Glam

You're a traditionalist-and there's nothing wrong with that. If you're going for a totally classic feel on your big day, your best bet is a simple-but-gorgeous monogram.

"The really formal invites typically feature a really simple design, like a classic border with a monogram and a small amount of damask," Wadas says. "Nothing too overwhelming."

For a wedding at Pinnacle Golf Club, where a grand chandelier is the focal point of the ballroom, Wadas and her bride designed a custom invite featuring an ornate chandelier pattern. "It was more timeless than really out there," she says.

"A lot of our couples want to keep that traditional feel but inject some personality," Bonnington says. "We discuss the options with them so that we're still coming up with a unique and creative design. For us, there's always an element of fun interjected into the final product."

Other classic-cool options include shimmery gold and silver paper, muted watercolor designs, embossed filigree designs and black-and-white bloom prints.

Inspiration: Fun & Festive

If you're one half of a couple that's consistently the life of the party, go for an invitation that does your fun-loving nature justice.

One of Bonnington's recent couples wanted their guests to get a laugh in the mail, so she designed a mad lib RSVP card to fit in with their wedding-invitation package. Another couple chose to print a crossword puzzle on the ceremony program-to keep guests entertained before the bride walked down the aisle-while yet another pair printed getting-to-know-you fun facts on their programs.

Wadas has created two penguin-themed invitations-one for a wedding at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and one for a wedding at the Newport Aquarium-as well as invites adorned with peacock feathers.

Custom maps with directions to the event or a layout of the day's festivities are increasingly popular, Wadas adds, and are a fun use of illustration on a product that's traditionally all about the text.