From The Studio: Classic Floral Navy, Gold and White Bridal Shower Invitations

July 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s Wednesday…and you know what that means!

Today, something you’re probably not used to seeing from me…something that’s not particularly modern, no crazy colour, no wacky typography or layouts – who’d have guessed?

This lovely, fresh bridal shower invitation was created for Kristl, who was having a gorgeous, upscale (and huge!) bridal shower and wanted a classic invite that reflected the floral theme and the very traditional navy and white colour scheme. We decided to add gold to the scheme as an accent, and also used an off-white to add some depth.  The patterned envelope liner and wrap mailing label added some modern flair.

The same colour scheme was repeated in Kristl & Michael’s wedding invitations (more opulent, more flair, more drama, more everything and I love it), which we’ll be showcasing soon as well. Can’t wait for y’all to see all the very different styles we have coming up!

The Invitation Advisor: Wedding Websites As Part Of Your Invitation Suite!?!

July 26, 2011 § 3 Comments

THE most awesome wedsite I’ve seen in a good long while –

Guess who’s back after a week-long break from blogging? Yep – that was a very good guess 😉

Things are humming along here at Hip Ink, with lots of new and exciting “stuff” in the works. Over the next few weeks we’ll be announcing some exciting changes and I’m thrilled to be able to *finally* share them with you!

But, I digress…today it’s all about the Invitation Advisor, and so let’s get to the advice, shall we?

So, I’m sure by now you’re used to hearing about all the various parts of a wedding invitation suite – RSVPs, receptions cards, accommodation cards, oh my – but today we’re going to talk about something that you may have overlooked, and that something is a wedding website.

I know you’re wondering what your wedding website has to do with your invitations and how exactly you would treat it as part of your invitation suite? The answer is that it has *everything* to do with your wedding invitations – in fact, done properly, the two work hand in hand to provide your guests with all the information they need, without overwhelming them with tons of paper and informal details.

These days, especially with the increase in destination and weekend weddings, couples have often have a huge amount of information to communicate to their guests in advance of their big day – everything from detailed directions and accommodation info, to weekend itineraries and menu details (for guests with dietary restrictions etc.). While it is certainly possible to include these details in your invitation, it’s not necessary to (literally and figuratively) weigh-down your invite with tons of additional information that isn’t required in printed form. By keeping your invitation simple and clutter-free (one line inviting your guests to visit your wedding website for details is perfect) you allow your guests to digest the information about your wedding at their own pace, rather than have it all thrown at them at one time.

And of course, lest we forget those things that just don’t belong in your wedding invitation package – registry information (never include this information with your wedding invitations), information on bachelor/bachelorette parties, extremely detailed accommodation info, itineraries etc.

One really beautiful thing about wedding website is the ability to share your story, photos (even video) with your guests – how you met, your proposal story, more about you as a couple and individually, engagement photos, childhood photos, stories from your friends and family, a guestbook for guests to share their thoughts – the sky is the limit and it really does help to get your guests involved and excited about your big day.

Another upside – less design time, less paper, less postage, less $$$. It’s a great way to get the most value out of your invitation budget, and that’s never a bad thing, now is it?

Now, if you’re really keen, know a designer or have some moolah to throw at it, you can have a site custom designed to match your theme. One of the coolest wedding websites I’ve seen is this one: Absolutely flawless design, LOVE! You can check out this blog post to see their matching printed Save The Dates – so cute! Or what about OMG. Ridiculously delicious wedding website design. Crazy good.

If you’ve hired a custom designer for your invitations, ask them if they do wedding websites as well – there are many designers out there who will create matching wedding websites for you, or sell you a digital package of related graphics for use on your own wedding website. Here’s a great example from the always fabulous Rifle Paper Co. of their wedding websites.

Looking for something a little less slick? Lucky for you, there are TONS of personal wedding website sources out there – some are free, some offer paid subscription for upgraded features etc. The usual suspects are Wedding Channel and The Knot, each of which is affiliated with multiple websites offering slightly different options:, Wedding Window, Wedding Tracker, NearlyWeds etc. Some of these sites offer upgraded options like music and video upload, online RSVP trackers, personal domain names, custom designs etc.

If you’re looking for something a bit “cooler”, try sites like Wedding JoJo (modern themes and great features, with free and paid options), WedSite (unique multimedia sites, paid subscription only) or MODWedding (cool features, highly customizable and free!).

Or, another great free option is using a blog site (like WordPress or Blogger) to create your own personalized wedding website, without the cookie-cutter wedsite look. The Budget Savvy Bride has a great article on DIY wedding websites that gives you the low-down on how to create a fab wedsite all on your own.

So yes, I’ve been fairly outspoken about the evils of digital invitations, but wedding websites are a great way to enhance your invitation suite with online interactive content that won’t leave your guests feeling cold.

A Personal Story: The *Real* Value Of Your Wedding Invitations

July 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

A quick iPhone snap of U2 in Toronto, July 11, 2011

You’ll have to excuse me in advance, because this isn’t particularly sassy, there is no advice, no explanations; but, it *is* something I think is important to put out there, in light of all the talk about electronic invites, facebook invites etc.

I was motivated to write this post after an experience I had earlier this week that opened my eyes to what the true value of art is, and reminded me of the value of the work I pour my heart and soul into everyday.

First, the background:

I have been a fan of the rock band U2 for over 25 years, but never had the chance to see them live. Over the years it’s been all sorts of things – my parents saying I was too young, not having enough money, exams, work commitments, shows that sold out in minutes, illness, pregnancy – you name it, and it has prevented me from seeing one of my favourite bands perform in person.

All of that changed on Monday night.

My husband had persuaded me to just “suck it up” and buy tickets, at any cost, for the show, which had been sold out for years (it was actually a rescheduled show from 2010, when lead singer Bono was injured and had to cancel the original date). Monday afternoon I was able to buy a pair of ticket (and not have to sell my first-born to do so), and my best friend and I were off to *finally* see U2.

We were lucky enough to be able to experience the show from field level at the Rogers Centre (home to the Toronto Blue Jays), quite close to the massive stage, and it was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by a sea of U2 fans, knowing that my 25-year wait would finally be over.

A few songs in, the band played one of my favourite songs, “Stay (Faraway, So Close)”. From the opening note of the song, I felt myself welling up, big fat tears forming as Bono launched into the chorus and 50,000+ fans were silent, soaking in the moment. Directly afterward, another favourite – “Beautiful Day” – and now the tears were actually falling. It was an overwhelming experience, and it came to a release during the encore, as the band played the song “One”. I was physically unable to sing along to a single word, as the tears streamed down my face uncontrollably – I wasn’t even embarrassed, although maybe I should have been, but it was too personal for me to care much about the people around me thought.

As I lay in bed that night, replaying the experience over in my head, I realized exactly what it was that had me so emotional. It wasn’t just that I had waited so long to have that experience. It wasn’t the beauty of the songs, although one could be excused for thinking that, as they are powerful both lyrically and musically.

Instead what had brought me to tears was the memories and the feelings that those songs evoked – each one immediately bringing me back to that place of despair, of heartache or of joy; each one conjuring up a flood of memories in a second, a feeling of being transported back to that specific place and time. In fact, the whole night played like the soundtrack to the last 25 years of my life.

I realized *that* is what the value of art is – while you may appreciate it for it’s visual beauty, it’s technical nuances, it is the visceral response that it can illicit that makes it so powerful.

And that is the real value of custom designed and hand-crafted invitations – not just a personal and beautiful way to invite your guests to your wedding, but something that immediately grabs your guests and transports them forward to your big day, that provides hints at what surprises your special event will hold, and that reminds them of your journey, your commitment and your love.

Moreover, long after that day has passed, when you (or your parents, your grandparents and maybe even your children) pick up that invitation, you will feel the emotion, the beauty and the love of your wedding day all over again.

Sorry e-vites and facebook, but you’ve got nothing on that.

Featured: Travel-Inspired Details for Mandie & Brad’s Engagement Shoot

July 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Surprise, a Thursday post!

Thought I’d post a little bonus today as a follow up to yesterday’s post featuring Mandie & Brad’s Engagement Party invites.

A few weeks ago I got an email from Mandie asking if I could put together some props for her engagement shoot. She went on to describe the fact that they were doing a glam vintage travel-inspired shoot – featuring a vintage plane and sports car, as well as a picnic – and needed some last-minute props to style the shoot.

I had a blast designing boarding passes, luggage tags, postcards, love letter…I went a bit overboard, but it was totally inspiring!

Here is a quick snap I took of some of the items before they went off to the shoot:

Mandie and Brad’s engagement shoot was recently featured on the beyond-fabulous WedLuxe blog (THE source for luxury Canadian Wedding eye-candy), and below are a few shots featuring paper goods from Hip Ink, and shot by the very talented Rick Denham from Rick Denham Photography:

You can (and absolutely should!) view more of this fantastic shoot on the WedLuxe blog, and also on Rick Denham’s facebook page.

From The Studio: Carnival-Inspired Engagement Party Invitations

July 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Hey all – it’s Wednesday and we know what that means…okay, well lately it’s meant MIA Workshop Wednesday posts, but today I have one that’s just plain fun to make up for it!

A while ago I introduced y’all to Mandie Charlton from Shutterbrugs Photography via our Friday Vendor Love feature, and mentioned that I was working with Mandie (and fiancĂ© Brad) on their wedding invitations for their August 2012 nuptials.

Well, to celebrate their engagement, Mandie and Brad planned a super-cute vintage carnival engagement party (held just this past weekend) and needed a super-cute vintage carnival engagement party invitation to invite their friends and family!

Being a photographer, Mandie is all about the visuals, so I was thrilled when she showed up with a ton of inspiration photos, and we had a blast chatting about the theme of the party etc.

The photo Mandie kept going back to was this amazing carnival invite:

As featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, and created by the fabulous A Thoughtful Day

We decided to use the ticket style of this invite as an inspiration, and feature Mandie and Brad’s hot pink, apple green and black colour scheme.

Something that was a first for us was the addition of Engagement Party save the dates! Because the party was being held during the summer, Mandie wanted to ensure that her guests had marked their calendar well in advance, so we whipped up these cute postcards to give friends and family a hint of what was to come (and featuring a vintage camera, of course!):

Then on to the invites! Instead of the candy bag, we decided to use a half-wrap to hold the invite contents together, and not shown here are the funky hot pink and apple green envelopes used for mailing the invites and rsvps.

The invitation was die-cut into the shape of a ticket, and invited guests to celebrate Mandie and Brad’s upcoming foray into the “death-defying act of nuptials”, wording inspired by the original invite.

The RSVP echoed the invite with a alternate ticket-inspired shape and custom carnival wording – lots of fun trying to think that up! The background features a carousel and ferris wheel, just to get guests in the mood!

It was a blast working on these carnival engagement party invites, and an even bigger blast getting to attend the party! So many fun vintage carnival touches – it was amazing, and I had the pleasure of creating a whole bunch of signage and ephemera for the party as well, which we’ll feature soon!

While you may not want to go all out with a theme wedding, a themed engagement party or bridal shower is a perfect way to have some fun with the events leading up to your big day!

Invitation Advisor: Unique Wedding Invitation Wording – How Far Is Too Far?

July 12, 2011 § 5 Comments

Amazing image by Debbie Smyth

Hope everyone is enjoying some beautiful summer weather right now (in the Northern Hemisphere at least!). Here in North America wedding season is in full swing, and I have to admit I’m still one of those people who honks my car horn when passing by a gorgeous couple all decked out for their big day!

And these days, it’s such a treat to see all the unique touches couples are bringing to their weddings – love to see all those little personalized details! That said, I think there is a tendency now, more than ever, to have a wedding that is unique – to do something other couples aren’t doing, to be the first to show guests something new etc.

One of the ways to do that is custom-designed invitations – *shameless plug alert* maybe even from Hip Ink – that lend that personal aspect to your festivities. One way that some couples like to take it up a notch is by including more modern or fun wording for the invites, rsvps, etc. Generally speaking, I’m all for it, but…it seems to be a slippery slope. I’ve seen a few examples lately that just literally make me scratch my head, a total “what were they thinking?’ moment – which I know is *not* the reaction you’re hoping for from your guests!

I am most definitely a proponent of not necessarily sticking to traditional invitation wording, but there IS a line…and it’s probably best to be conservative rather than make your guests feel uncomfortable. After all, the purpose of your wedding invite is not only to extend an invitation and provide info, but also to gets your guests excited about attending. There are a number of things that will probably NOT excite your guests…

The most obvious one – asking for money. How about this gem:

“A wishing well we thought would be great (but only if you want to participate)
A gift of money is placed in the well, then make a wish, but shhhhh, don’t tell
Once we’ve replaced the old with the new, we’ll look back and say it was thanks to you
And in return for your kindness, we’re sure, that one day you’ll soon get what you wished for
Please don’t be offended by this type of request, as our day is complete with you as our guest”

I don’t care how you do it, how cute your little saying is, it all boils down to one thing, and it’s rude and tacky. Yes, I said it. TACKY. And wrong. “Please don’t be offended”? Already am, thanks. Oh and by the way, if you think you’re being sneaky using the phrase “No boxed gifts”, we all still know what you mean, and it’s still just as wrong. What’s the appropriate thing to say about gifts? NOTHING. Not even that you don’t want any. A gift is something that is given, not requested. Just save yourself the embarrassment, and don’t mention it at all.

***Slightly off topic, but indulge me just this once: I don’t care who tells you asking for money is okay, it isn’t. I’ve heard people make the argument that in their culture, their area, whatever, it’s totally acceptable. I don’t buy that for a hot second. I don’t know of any culture where it is acceptable to ask for gifts, nevermind specify exactly what you’d like (cold hard cash please). Coming from a culture myself where money is THE gift that is given, no one has to tell me, and if they do…well that’s a guarantee that they are getting a blender.***

Moving on…

What about theme invitations? Sure, a little nod to the theme here and there can be cool, but…um….

“Once upon a time, in the very near future, there will be an event you will not want to miss. On Friday, March 30, 2001, in a land far, far away, our fair Princess Jane and our handsome Prince John will be joined in Holy Matrimony. A small Italian villa in the heart of Napa Valley, California will host this magical event. The Smith and Jones families will be hosting a magnificent celebration in honor of this momentous occasion. An occurrence this significant cannot be contained in just one day, therefore it will be held over an entire weekend of March 29 – April 1, 2001. The pleasure of your presence will be requested to be a part of this wondrous occasion so start planning now so you are not left kissing a frog at midnight. And everyone lived happily ever after!”

A little over the top, yes? I know that to *you* your wedding is the most amazing, stupendous, fantastic thing ever, but you may want to cut down on the superlatives when it comes to your wedding invitations. Frankly, it just sounds a little awkward.

And what about your RSVP cards (these are actually from – not even kidding). Maybe you’d like to flatter yourselves a bit:

__ will attend
__ regretfully decline
At your wedding, I/we plan to:
__eat a lot of cake
__dance my feet off
__smile endlessly
__all of the above
The happy couple’s best qualities include:
__good looks
__stunning intelligence
__witty sense of humor
__excellent taste in friends

Uhhh…I might be forced to send that one back blank.

And meal choices? Why stick to something traditional when you can tantalize your guests with some of the following:

“EntrĂ©e Choice:
__*The silence of vegetables growing*
We prefer to dine on a beast
__Of the land
__Of the sea
__Of feathers
__Of soy”

Er…seriously? I prefer not to think of the sound my meal makes in its original form, and frankly the whole “beast” thing is just downright nasty? Can’t say I’m going to be looking forward to chowing down on my “beast of feathers” at your reception, sorry.

And it’s not just couples getting in on the action either. How thrilled would you be to have your parents send out these invites?

Mr. and Mrs. Davidson and Mr. and Mrs. Robinson
Invite you to a wedding reception in honor of their children
Catherine and Mike
We will officially turn them loose to make their own beds on:
On (date)
From (time)
At (venue)
Guests found passed out will be charged rent, so keep that in mind.
Please RSVP by _____.”

Really? Demeaning the happy couple and the guests at the same time? Wow.

Or maybe this?

“Mr. and Mrs. Robinson
Along with Mr. and Mrs. David Davidson
Invite you to witness the wedding of their children
Christopher and Emily
She’ll vow to do his laundry
And he’ll promise to come home at night
And at the end of every argument
They agree that she’ll always be right.

The honor of your presence is requested
as Jack and Emily exchange their vows
to be followed by a reception
Where we’ll all get drunk and loud!

Against their better judgment
The parents of the bride and groom
Would like to invite you to the wedding
Although they think it’s way too soon!”

On (date)
From (time)
At (venue).

Okay then…

So yes, by all means, personalize your invitation wording, make it a reflection of you as a couple, but don’t get carried away. Remember the occasion (unless you think your wedding is a joke – there is a line between light-hearted and flippant) and consider what you make think is hilarious may be offensive or uncomfortable for your guests.

Invitation Advisor: Sending Invitations to Heads of State, Celebrities and other VIPs

July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, in lieu of another post from my invitation soapbox, I thought in honour of the holiday weekend that just passed (Canada Day here in Canadia, and Independence Day for my friends in the USA) we’d keep it light.

You may have heard of friends or family sending wedding invitations to famous people – luminaries like The President, Prime Minister, Queen, The Pope and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

Will you get a response? Maybe. Should you expect one in a timely fashion? Maybe not. Is it fun to do anyway? Damn straight. Just think how cool it would be to keep all your responses from the powerful, rich and famous with the rest of your wedding memorabilia – maybe even display them at your wedding reception, just for kicks.

So – who is worth inviting, how do you send them an invitation and what can you expect in return? Here’s the fruits of my research on the subject thus far:

The President of the United States of America

Send your invites to the following address, a minimum of six weeks before your wedding:

The Honorable Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama
The White House
Greetings Office Rm. 39
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500

The Prime Minister of Canada

I know the PM will send greetings for milestone birthdays and anniversaries – not so sure about weddings, but it’s worth a try:

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office
Langevin Block 80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A2

The Queen of England

Send your invitations to this address, but make sure that you address the invitation to “The Secretary to Her Majesty”, never to HRH Queen Elizabeth herself. Only British citizens should expect a response – non-british citizens are out of luck on this one:

The Secretary to Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II of England
Buckingham Palace
London, England

The Pope

You’ll want to send this one as soon as possible, as His Holiness receives a LOT of mail (go figure!):

His Holiness John Paul II
Prefettura della Casa Pontifica
00120 Citta del Vaticano, Italia

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Hey, why not? They are certainly famous! I have heard that you will receive a sweet response from the world’s cutest couple. Send your invite here:

Walt Disney World Info
Guest Letters
Letters to Mickey Mouse
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-00100

What about other celebrities? Fancy inviting Hugh Jackman? Ricky Martin? Jerry Springer? Your best bet is to try to track down the name of their PR person and send it directly to them, but if all else fails just check their website and send it to the address provided for fan mail – you never know who might receive a response or congratulatory note from!

The biggest tip here is allow lots of time. The earlier you can send out invitations to these VIPs, the better chance you’ll have of receiving a response before your big day.

Did you send an invite to one of these famous folks? Receive a repsone? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it!

‘Cause I’m nosy like that…seriously.


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