Hip Ink for the Holidays: 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December

November 30, 2010 § 4 Comments

The holiday season is quickly approaching and in wedding world that means one thing: engagements! Yes, December is by far the most popular month to pop the question, and in honour of that most merry and bright of months, we’ve got a special treat for all you newly engaged gals out there.

Beginning tomorrow, December 1st, we will be blogging every day, bringing you everything you need to know about wedding invitations and stationery.

Wednesday through Friday we’ve got some fun posts to get you warmed up, and Saturday we get down to it in earnest with weekly themes.

Week 1 (Dec 4-10) we’ve got an invitation buying guide, a primer on the who, what, where, when, why and how of wedding invitations. Yes, that’s only six things and there are seven days in a week – I’ll figure something out!

Week 2 (Dec 11-17) we talk specifics on the various components of an invitation, why you do (or don’t) need them, as well as discussing some of the most popular stationery accessories for your big day and beyond.

Week 3 (Dec 18-24) we’re on invitation trend watch, talking the latest in stationery trends for 2011 including themes, colours, printing methods and more.

Week 4 (Dec 25-31) is dedicated to our DIY brides who are home over the holidays looking for great ideas, tips and resources. We’ve got ’em ladies!

I’m thrilled to be bringing you 30 days worth of daily invitation info and inspiration, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride (jingle bells optional).

31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December:
Day 1: Why *not* to let your future Mother-in-Law choose your invitations!
Day 2: History and Evolution of the Wedding Invitation
Day 3: All about Hip Ink – We’re Tellin’ It (Like It Is!)
Day 4: Who Are You? Finding Your Personal (Invitation) Style
Day 5: What Type of Invitations Are Right for You? Traditional vs Custom vs DIY
Day 6: Where Should I Buy My Wedding Invitations? Choosing a Stationer
Day 7: When Do I Start Thinking Stationery? A Wedding Invitation Timeline

Day 8: Why Are Wedding Invitations So [bleeping] Expensive?

Day 9: How Many Wedding Invitations Should I Order?

Day 10: What *You* Need to Know About Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Day 11: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – The Invitation Card
Day 12: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – The RSVP Card
Day 13: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Insert Cards (Reception, Directions and Maps, oh my!)
Day 14: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Wedding Ceremony Programs
Day 15: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Reception Stationery Essentials
Day 16: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – Thank You Cards

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

Day 18: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Colour

Day 19: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Luxe Simplicity

Day 20: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Letterpress
Day 21: Wedding Invitations Trends 2011 – Calligraphy

Day 22: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Rustic/Vintage

Day 23: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Mix and Match
Day 24: Wedding Invitation Trends 2011 – Personalization

Day 25: DIY Invitations – The *real* cost of DIY invitations (re-post)

Day 26: DIY Invitations – Where Do I Start?

Day 27: DIY Invitations – Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Day 28: DIY Invitations – Design Tips and Resources
Day 29: DIY Invitations – Do-it-Yourself Calligraphy
Day 30: DIY Invitations – Hip Ink’s Top 10 Tips
Day 31: DIY Invitations – Wrap-up and Workshops

We’re Ready to Mix Mingle Marry!, are you?

November 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

First, let me wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends south of the border (south of the Canadian border that is!).

In honour (spelled correctly) of the turkey, football and parades going on, we wouldn’t want to post anything too juicy and controversial, lest anyone miss out. So today’s blog post is about a really exciting local (read: GTA, Greater Toronto Area) event that Hip Ink is proud to be participating in.

We are thrilled to announce that Hip Ink will be one of the featured vendors at Mix Mingle Marry! on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel!

Mix Mingle Marry! isn’t your typical bridal show, it’s Toronto’s first boutique bridal showcase, featuring the most innovative visionaries in the wedding biz showcasing their wares for brides + grooms + friends seeking only the freshest ideas for their big day. Created by the awesome Jessica Reid from Jessica Laine Celebrations, Mix Mingle Marry! is the place to be for hip brides and grooms. Row upon row of booths? Nope. Glazed-looking vendors shoving their brochures at you? Nope. Ugly convention centre carpeting? Definitely not!

Part showcase, part celebration and all fun, Mix, Mingle Marry! caters to the discerning brides and grooms-to-be who want to infuse their wedding with elements of personality, meaningful details and memorable moments to reflect who they really are. Brides and grooms who want good food, good music, effortless decor that still makes a statement, unique activities and details to make their guests feel special and amazing photos [and video!] to remember it by.

Vendors are being challenged to come up with creative displays, new and exciting ways of allowing couples to sample their products and services, and being afforded the opportunity of getting out from behind the table and actually talking to *you*. We’ll be there with bells on (ok, maybe not bells, but probably a peacock fascinator, ’cause that’s the way we roll) showcasing some brand new samples and ready to chat with brides and grooms about how Hip Ink can bring their fresh, modern invitation dreams to life.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets (the first and only fair-trade ticketing company!) and capacity is limited, so get your tickets early!

What’s included with your ticket?

-one drink ‘on the house’
-gourmet hors d’oeuvres
-access to the GTA’s most amazing wedding vendors, their portfolios, services, samples, consultations, prizes, knowledge, creativity, show specials and insight
-environmentally-friendly swag bag to fill with all your goodies
-fashion show and sponsor seminar spotlights
-one heck of an awesome bash!

Hope to see you there…




Invitation Blog PSA: Stationery vs Stationary

November 23, 2010 § 4 Comments

from The Color Connoisseur

Okay, so today’s regularly scheduled Hip Ink blog post (on some scintillating invitation topic, of course) has been pushed to Thursday to accommodate something I just *have* to blog about, right now.

Pet peeve: using “stationary” when you mean “stationery”. And yes, I have actually seen with my own eyes instances of people who sell stationery, call it stationary. You know that sound of nails on a chalkboard? Or the feeling you get when you chew a piece of aluminum foil? That’s how I feel when I see my beloved stationery referred to as stationary.

I have to get up on my uppity interwebs soapbox right now and clear this up.


1. writing paper.
2. writing materials, as pens, pencils, paper, and envelopes


1. standing still; not moving.
2. having a fixed position; not movable.
3. established in one place; not itinerant or migratory.
4. remaining in the same condition or state; not changing

Please, choose wisely or risk looking rather foolish – and yes, I am so totally looking at you, fellow stationers.

In fact, this little mix-up of homophones (that’s a word pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning) is how we came up with the Hip Ink tagline “stationery, evolved“. We wanted to convey that Hip Ink offers something fresh and different, forward-thinking, constantly changing…stationery, but not stationary.

So, while I admit to taking advantage of the fact that stationery and stationary sound the same, I *do* make sure to note that I sell paper goods and not immovable objects.

Stepping down of the soapbox now and thinking a little workout might ease my tension from merely discussing this topic. Now, where did I hide that stationery bike…;)

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding Invitation: As Imagined by Hip Ink

November 18, 2010 § 3 Comments

What is Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding invitation going to look like?

As soon as I heard the news, ideas started flying around in my head…what would I do if Hip Ink were designing William and Kate’s invitations? Well, other than totally freak out?

I’d get to work. First, the most traditional and formal of royal colours – deep purples and gold, with brocade to boot. An obvious choice, but gorgeous just the same, and a colourful departure from traditional super-formal invitations (which are almost always simply black engraved text on cream, of course!). The invite – definitely calligraphy, definitely letterpress on a gorgeous cotton paper. Perfectly elegant, modern yet timeless. Tied on, a gorgeous peacock feather to bring the colours together and add a true royal touch (peacocks are a symbol of nobility). Then some bling – a fantastic purple silk invitation box with a gorgeous rhinestone and pearl buckle, a rich and beautiful first impression.

Below is a little inspiration board of my thoughts on the perfect 2011 Royal Wedding invite – with help from Envelopments, Emily Ley Paper, Handbag-Asia.com and Bella Figura.

Prince William and Kate Middleton Wedding Invitation




The Invitation Advisor: What Can I Expect At My First Invitation Consultation?

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Back this week with another installment of Hip Ink‘s “Invitation Advisor” series. Today, we look at what you should expect from your first meeting with a custom wedding invitation designer.

Hopefully you’ve used the tips in last week’s blog on choosing a custom invitation designer to narrow down your choices. Undoubtedly, the most important thing you can do is to meet with them face-to-face. Checking out websites, emailing, looking at reviews or testimonials – all of these are important; but, when you feel you’ve found the right designer, book an appointment with them right away to meet with them and see if you’ve indeed found your match. Vendor websites and online reviews can unfortunately be misleading sometimes, and your best bet is to actually sit down with the designer and see if they really are the right fit for you and your special event.

Obviously, if you’ve chosen a designer who is not local, a face-to-face meeting is not an option. Ask the designer if they use Skype or other video conferencing services. While telephone chats and email are great, nothing beats the opportunity to see the person you are working with!

Of course, I can only speak from my own experience with my clients, but most designers will conduct their consultations similarly. Generally speaking, you should expect at the very least to discuss your event details and vision, have a chance to view the designer’s work and find out about their process, and discuss your needs (both for your invitations and day-of wedding stationery), budget and how the designer can bring both together to produce an invitation that is uniquely you.

At Hip Ink, our process begins with a online client questionnaire, which not only gives us all your event details, but provides us with insight into your personal style, vision of your event, and desires for your invitation suite.

Our consultations go something like this:

We’ll begin with a very quick intro and some questions for you.
We want to know all about your event, your history as a couple, your style, your like and dislikes etc. Getting to know you is essential to being able to design an invitation suite that captures your personality as well as hints at the event to come. I encourage clients to bring me any “inspiration” items they may have – a scrapbook of things they like, items they may have already purchased, an object that they are basing their theme around etc. I love to know the wedding details – what does your dress look like, tell me about your venue, what about the flowers etc. The more information you can give me, the better I can represent you on paper.

I usually ask the big question next – what does your dream invitation look like?
Don’t panic, most couples don’t really know. But it gets them thinking! And then it is on to the main event – looking at samples of our previous work and getting an idea of kinds of things you love, you like and the things that make your nose crinkle like you just smelled something unpleasant. Yes, I noticed. Never be afraid to tell a designer that you don’t like something – you may feel uncomfortable doing so but we don’t take it personally. Know what you don’t like is almost as important as knowing what you do like.

Usually a discussion of budget will follow.
For those couples that do not have a set budget for stationery, we may only discuss budget in broad strokes; for others, we may discuss exactly how to fit what they want into their budget in a way that makes them most comfortable.

Next, we talk process.
I walk through every step of our design and production process to let clients know what to expect – how long can it take, how many proofs can you expect, how do you request edits and changes…the list goes on. We want to make sure that our clients are aware of exactly how our custom design process works, so they know what they are getting into. Any designer you are thinking of working with should do the same.

Finally, its my turn to give you my pitch.
No, not the sales pitch, silly – my design pitch. Here’s where I take all the information you’ve provided and let you know how I can use the papers and specialty materials we have access to, along with a solid design plan, to create an invitation that will not only be an ambassador for your event but a reflection of you as a couple. This is our time to discuss the little details that will make your invitation one-of-a-kind.

My advice for your first consultation with a custom invitation designer: let them get to know you, immerse them in the details of your event, be honest about your likes and dislikes and ask lots of questions!

If you have a question for The Invitation Advisor, email us! We would be happy to feature your question in an upcoming post.

The Invitation Advisor: How do I choose a custom invitation designer?

November 9, 2010 § 2 Comments

Hello stationery world! Today we’re starting a new series on the Hip Ink blog (which you may have noticed now has a fancy schmancy new web address: http://www.theinvitationblog.com) – we like to call it, the “Invitation Advisor”.

Got a question? The Invitation Advisor is here to help – got a query about etiquette, timelines, trends etc.? Contact us and let us know! In the meantime, in between time, we’re going to take the next few weeks and address some of the questions that brides may have about wedding stationery (although most of these answers apply to all sorts of events as well!).

So, let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start) – if you’ve decided that you want custom invitations, how do you choose a designer?

*Much of the information below was taken from the Envelopments Blog, which I highly recommend*

It’s a small world after all – at least these days it is. We’re in the digital age, and today’s brides are using the internet more than ever, not only to do research but also to connect with vendors, make purchases etc. At Hip Ink, as with many other stationers out there, we’re happy to do consultations via Skype and all our design proofing digitally. We’ve worked with brides as far away as Italy! Would you feel more comfortable working with a designer that you can meet with face-to-face, or are you willing to work with someone long-distance? Making a decision on location can have a great impact on some of the other factors below…

Reputation / Testimonials
Check out potential vendors on major wedding sites, or even better, on local sites (like yelp.com etc.). See what other brides are saying about their experience with the vendors you are considering. Ask your friends and family for ideas or if you’ve received an invitation you like, ask the sender who designed it. Don’t be shy – ask vendors you are thinking of working with for testimonials from previous clients!  Referrals can be a useful part of the decision-making process.

Experience / Specialty
If you have a very specific style in mind, try to find a designer who has experience with that type of invitation. For example, if you would like a heavily graphic or typography-based invite, look for someone who has a strong background or education in graphic design. If you are looking for an invitation printed on gorgeous eco-friendly handmade papers, look for a stationer who specializes in “green” invitations. While it’s true that we’d all like to think we can “do it all”, every designer has their own strengths, and you’ll be much more comfortable with the process if you find someone who has a similar style.

Ability to translate your vision and personality in to the design of the invitation
Make sure the designer can translate your vision into the invitations. That’s why you chose a custom invitation in the first place, right?! Sometimes designers have their own “look” or a “go to” design – often that may have to do with the type of clients they work with, or the current trends – but ask them to see some of their more creative work and have them tell you how they captured the vision of that particular event on paper.

Printing / Specialty options
Do you love letterpress? Thermography? Maybe foil stamping on velvet or laser engraved plexiglass? Regardless, make sure your designer can do the print process you want or has the resources to get it done. That’s definitely not a surprise you want later on in the process.

How much are you willing to spend? Custom designers generally have a minimum budget that they can work with (remember that a true custom design is created specifically for you, and the design process can be very time-consuming). Articulate your budget early on with the designer so you can make sure that they can help you meet your goals. If you really like a designer’s work, but they are beyond your budget, ask if they can recommend someone with a similar style who might be a better fit.

Process and Timeline
Check with the designer as to their standard process – timeline, number of design reviews, revisions, etc. Are you in a rush? Tell the designer upfront to make sure they can work within your timeline. Be aware that most designers charge rush fees (and rightly so) – make sure that you begin the process early to avoid additional costs.

Attitude / Chemistry
I feel this is the MOST important criteria, far above anything else mentioned. You’re going to work with this person for one of the most important parts of your wedding. Make sure it’s someone you like talking to and working with, someone who you feel you can trust and someone you just generally get along with. You will find you can be much more open and involved in the process, which will help you to achieve the personalized look that you’re after!

I can say that as a designer, there are some brides that I just instantly have a connection with, and it does actually help me in the design process. Of course, I work equally hard for all of my clients, but if we have good rapport, and you feel like you can talk to me about yourself, your vision for your big day, etc., it is that much easier for me to translate your personality to paper.

Next Tuesday, we’re back with info on what to expect from your initial custom design consultation.

‘Till then,

A DIY Experience (or Disaster): My Own

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

So we’ve talked DIY quite a bit on the blog lately, and I thought I would share a real-life DIY experience with you…my own.

The Disclaimer: It is difficult for me to actually show these to the world now, as I *so* would not call this my best work. I designed these 8 1/2 years ago – before I went to design school, before I knew a thing about assembling invitations, and before I realized less is definitely more. Due to my numerous faux pas when assembling the invitations I saved are either falling apart or completely warped, so I’m forced to show you horrible 2002 pictures as well 😉

It was March of 2002 and I were getting married on December 7th. I knew I need to figure out what we were going to do for invitations, but there was nothing out there I really liked (sounding familiar?). The only invitations that really caught my eye were much more expensive than I thought was necessary, and so I figured I could probably do it myself. After all, I was pretty good at laying out stuff and it seemed like other brides out there were starting to do it on their own as well. I decided to go for it, and purchased a bunch of Envelopments pockets and paper from an online seller.

When it arrived I was thrilled…’till I opened the box. The colour of the pocketfolds was not at all what I had pictured and I had been too cheap to order a sample – mistake #1. Oops. Back they went with a hefty shipping fee and a 30% restocking fee, and I reordered the same pocketfold in navy linen. Problem solved, but definitely at a cost – both in time and money.

I spent hours in Word trying to design the perfect invite (if I only knew then…) and fighting to try and get it to do what I wanted. I got busy with other wedding stuff. Time continued to slip on by. By the time I realized it, it was the beginning of September and I had only a month to complete my invites.  Now, did I mention that our wedding was something akin to “My Big Fat Italian Wedding” and we sent out over 180 invitations. Ya, I didn’t, did I? Let me tell you, DIY for 180 invitations – mistake #2.

I came up with this elaborate (and looking back on it, kinda ridiculous) design that involved snowflake printed clear wrap, vellum, standard paper, etc.  My only option for adhesive seemed to be spray glue – mistake #3. I spent a huge amount of time assembling these invitations, making a mess of pretty much everything, getting cat hair stuck to my invites, everything stuck to my floor, any generally using any and every curse word I could come up with to describe this project. I spent hours and hours printing a myriad of different inserts, wasting tons of paper because of my crappy printer and lack of proofreading, alternately wanting to cry and run away. But, I was stuck with it. Mistakes #4-400 ensued. Having to design completely different invites because we decided to invite work friends and I had no more paper. Having invitations start falling apart before they were even sent because of using spray glue. Having to send envelopes out with spelling mistakes because I hadn’t bothered to order extra. It went on and on…

When it was all over I swore I would NEVER, EVER do it again (and to this day I often say to clients that if I were to have another wedding, I would hire someone else to create my invitations). I had spent somewhere around $1500-2000 on my wedding stationery, and WAY too much time, and I could have easily used that same amount of money to have something fantastic done by an honest-to-goodness stationer. I hadn’t taken into consideration the real cost of DIY.

Why did I have a bad experience? How could someone who makes a living designing and creating invitations have such a dark past? Because, at the time, I was not the right person and it was not the right situation for DIY. I was too frazzled from the rest of our wedding planning and family drama, I didn’t really have the knowledge it took and didn’t know where to find it, I didn’t put enough effort into planning because I was under pressure to just get it done, and if you ask me, I was crazy to think that I could really make 180 invitations with everything else that was going on.

This story is exactly why I encourage brides to find out if DIY is right for them, and take the time to find the resources you need to ensure your success! To that end, Hip Ink will be offering DIY Workshops in the new year, to help brides avoid having the (very stressful) experience that I, and many others, have had.

The story is not all sad. The final product wasn’t horrible – we did get compliments from lots of family and friends and it was, 8 years ago, something most of them had never seen before. But, for me, it will always inspire a little bit of sadness, because I know I could have had much more. Without further ado – my masterpiece from 2002:

Please, practice DIY responsibly. Don’t let this happen to you 😉

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for November, 2010 at The Invitation Blog @ Hip Ink.