Thursday Throwback: No, Your Wedding Invitations Do Not Need To Match Your…

March 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

Today’s throwback post looks at something that I hope is slowly changing in the wedding industry – matching every dang thing to your bridesmaids’ gowns or flowers or [insert details here]. It’s just not necessary and sometimes it can actually be crazy-cheesy looking too. My advice – choose what you love, don’t be limited by “matching” every single thing. Your guests probably won’t notice anyway (truth).

We’re going to talk about a phenomenon in the wedding industry in general, and definitely in the stationery business…let’s call it, “Matchy-Matchy Syndrome”.

I will agree that they heyday of “Matchy-Matchy-ness” has passed (the ’80s anyone?); but, like the stink of an old piece of gorgonzola, it lingers long after it’s time has passed.

Need proof? I still have clients who come to me and insist that their invitations match their insert-wedding-detail-here exactly. Usually it’s bridesmaids dresses, sometimes flowers, sometimes linens, and yes, they bring swatches. Lots of swatches. And they insist that it NEEDS to match exactly. No amount of coercion on my part will convince them.

Yes, I expect that cut-rate big-box wedding dress retailer to sell invitations that match their bridesmaids dresses – not a big surprise. But, when I’m running a business called “Hip Ink” and have clients who come to me with their strict “Matchy-Pants” on, you’d best believe that it is still a rampant issue in the wedding world.

Who was it, I wonder, who determined that everything needed to match exactly? Because if I catch him, I’ll tell you right now, I can’t be held responsible for what I’ll do.

I’m gonna be straight about it ladies (and gentlemen):

Your wedding invitations do NOT need to match your bridesmaids dresses. Or anything else for that matter.

I don’t really have an issue with someone who *really* wants to incorporate the same colour into their invites; but, it seems to be the easy go-to thing to just say, “well, let’s make them match the whatever“.

Believe me when I tell you that no one is going to receive your invitation and say, “Oh wow, chartreuse, can’t wait to see the matching bridesmaids dresses”. No one is going to show up at your wedding with their invite, pick up the tablecloth and say, “Tsk tsk, this is clearly royal blue, not cerulean!”. No one is going to gasp, “Oh, the horrror”, when they realize that your ranunculus centerpieces aren’t the same shade of pink as your invitation envelopes. And if by chance they do, trust that therapy is in order.

Yes, your invite should evoke the same feeling as your event, the same general tones, but they don’t have to match in every aspect exactly. In fact, there is something to be said for the element of surprise – no need to give away your whole colour scheme with your invitations. Maybe you are having a bright yellow, fuchsia and deep purple colour scheme (yes!) – why not choose one of those colours to show off on your invites? Yellow and Grey anyone? Maybe sneek in one of those other colours in a small way – just a hint. Or maybe go for shades or tones of those colours – more or less intense than the colours you’ll be using in your decor etc.

No, you are certainly not breaking the cardinal rules of invitation design by wanting your invitations to match your ________, but consider the all the possibilities you are shutting out by not at least considering something just a bit different.

And hey, while you’re at it – consider the fact that the pieces of your invitation suite don’t need to match either. Yep, I said it…and lots of people are doing it these days. And if everyone else is doing it, then…wait, nevermind.

Keep watching this space and you’ll see some of own clients who have shed the mantle of “Matchy McMatcherson” and embraced being just a little bit different!

Invitation Advisor: Tips for Venue and Reception Wording on Your Wedding Invitations

March 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

from Martha Stewart Collection by Crane & Co.

Whew! Have to admit I played hooky the last couple days of last week – too much excitement from the Hitched by Hip Ink launch!

But, today we’re back with a continuation of our in-depth series on invitation wording (using the word in-depth is awesome and makes things sound very important, like we’re on 60 Minutes!) – looking at how to word your venue information, as well as wording for receptions.

I’m sure you can’t handle the excitement, so let’s get to it 😉

While I will admit that venue wording isn’t as tricky or dramatic as some of the other things we’ve talked about, I do think it’s important to know how things are done traditionally, as well as what’s currently in favour.

I’m actually going to talk about venue and reception wording together, as one often has an impact on the other.

There are basically two options here: ceremony and reception at the same location, or ceremony and reception at different location. Yes, technically you could have a ceremony or reception-only invite, but for today’s purposes, we’ll just pretend that doesn’t exist to save me from getting carpal tunnel and you from eye strain. If you’re in the situation where you need to do a ceremony or reception-only invite, just as Uncle Google – he always knows how to help.

Ceremony and reception at the same location:

Traditionally speaking, you would usually see the following:

“Saturday, the ninth of June, two thousand twelve
at six o’clock in the evening

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Toronto, Ontario” 

Notice you don’t use the word “at”. You don’t need to say “at” Chuck E. Cheese on an invitation, just name the venue, and people will get the idea. Second, notice that the street address is missing. Traditionally, and formally, an invitation does not include a street address – simply the city and state/province. Back in the day the reason was that most people knew exactly where the venue was, because there weren’t many choices and most of them would be local anyway. These days, well – times have changed. There are tons of traditional and non-traditional wedding venues, and many, many guests are travelling and unfamiliar with the city where the venue may be located.

It is acceptable these days to put the venue’s address on your wedding invitation. I just think it’s unattractive and unnecessary – strictly personal opinion. I feel that the address doesn’t belong on your invite – that’s what a direction/guest info card or wedding website or GPS or the internet or whatever is for. I may be in the minority on this one, but I don’t think THAT much hand-holding is necessary for guests. I’m not saying that the address shouldn’t be somewhere in your invitation package (one reason I’m a fan of the catch-all Guest Information card), just that it doesn’t necessarily belong directly on your wedding invitation. That said, it’s not “wrong” to include the address at all.

As for the actual venue information, how should you word it? I have to say that because of my stance on not including the address, I think very specific and detailed wording is necessary for the name of your venue. I like to include exactly what the venue is, ie. St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, Four Seasons Hotel, Carmen’s Banquet Centre, Spencer’s on the Waterfront Restaurant. If it’s a hotel or banquet hall that has multiple rooms, it’s also acceptable to include the specific room (ie. Main Ballroom, Vancouver Room etc.) – although that information can also appear elsewhere.

What if it’s not a place with a name? What if it’s your backyard or a public space or something similar? In that scenario, I do think you can include the address if you’d like, although again, it’s not 100% necessary on the invite if you’ve got it elsewhere as well.

And what about the reception?

If the reception is at the same venue/location, you can include reception wording directly on the invite (either as part of the main wording or as “corner copy”, meaning in smaller text in the lower right-hand corner of the invite).

You can use all sort sorts of wording, like:

“Reception immediately to follow”

“Dinner and dancing to follow at 6 o’clock”

“Join us for revelry and merriment after the ceremony”

…whatever “fits” with the tone of your celebration. Just remember that if the reception does not immediately follow the ceremony, that should be made clear by giving a start time for the reception itself – guests are much happier and more comfortable when they know what to expect. Also, I think it’s important to specify what type of reception guest should expect – ie. cocktails and hors d’oeuvre, dinner, light refreshments, whatever. If what you are doing is non-traditional in any way, give your guests a heads up to make sure your celebration runs smoothly.

Ceremony and reception at the same location:

Traditionally in this case you would use a separate Reception card, inviting guest to the reception. Again, the wording is fairly flexible – you might say something like the following:

“Please join us at a reception in honour of the new
Mr. and Mrs. Jingleheimer Shmidt  

at six o’clock in the evening
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Grand Ballroom
181 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario”

You can pretty much word it in any way that communicates the information and fits with your invitation wording.

These days, it’s becoming more rare to see reception cards, and I frequently have couples who ask for all of the wording to be on the main invitation. Again, I would say it’s totally acceptable to do so at this point, although I do think a reception card is still de rigueur for very formal events.

As for the rest, much of the above still applies; however, it’s important in this case that it’s completely clear that the ceremony and reception are at two different locales and the exact time that each starts. In many cases guests may have to amuse themselves in the break between the ceremony and reception, so make sure they know exactly how much time they will have to kill.

So, what’s left? Well, we do have a few odds and ends to talk about next week when we wrap up this series on invitation wording, and we may even have some juicy controversy, so do come back 😉

From The Studio: And Now We’re *Finally* Live on Etsy!

March 7, 2012 § 3 Comments

Whew – what a whirlwind the past week has been!

I’m happy to announce a few things:

1. Hip Ink Paper Co.’s Etsy shop is finally live, with sample and deposit listings for all 20 Hitched by Hip Ink design collection invitations (and more to come over the next few months!). Currently Etsy is the only marketplace where you can purchase Hitched by Hip Ink, so do mosey on over and check it out, y’all.

2. That means that I can officially stop pimping out Hitched by Hip Ink designs on Wednesday, and get back to showing off some really cool custom designs. But don’t worry, I’ll be featuring one of our Hitched designs every Friday, with an in-depth look at the design and the inspiration behind it.

On a personal note, launching this design collection has been a labour of love, and I use the word labour on purpose. It’s literally been about 9 months since I made the final decision to design and create a Hip Ink invitation collection, and it’s been 9 months of growth, change, nervous anticipation, joy, sadness, doubt and everything in between. But now my babies are out in the world and I couldn’t be happier.

Most of all, I’m thrilled to be able to share my designs with a much wider audience. As a custom designer, I can only work with a limited number of couples every year, to insure that they receive the best quality product and experience possible. While I absolutely love creating custom designs, I realized that I was turning away so many clients because of a tight schedule, or a modest budget, and I realized that many of the potential clients didn’t necessarily need a completely custom invitation, but rather were after that Hip Ink signature look – something fresh and modern, and something not available in every invitation album or big box store out there.

So that’s when Hitched by Hip Ink was conceived – an invitation collection that takes the best of what I have to offer as a designer, and makes it accessible to anybody, anywhere (and for any event).

Here’s the low-down:

The Hitched by Hip Ink collection is digitally printed on your choice of extra-thick specialty paper:

White Matte (110 lb) – paper has a smooth flat texture
White Metallic (111 lb) – paper has a metallic sheen and sparkle
White 100% Cotton (118 lb) – paper has a soft luxurious texture, tree-free (eco-friendly)

The basic Hitched invitation set includes the following:
* Main Invitation and matching envelope
* Choice of response card and matching envelope, or large enclosure
* Digital PDF proofs with up to two rounds of revisions, personalized with your wording and choice of style for response or insert card
* Choice of paper

Many designs also include choice of colour(s) from over 40 available standard ink colours (custom colours are also available for an additional fee).

In addition, we’ve got lots of add-ons and upgrades available (including addressing) and invitations are available without response/enclosure cards as well (for use as Save The Dates, shower/engagement party invites etc.).

Prices start at just $4 per set (based on quantity ordered and paper selection), so what are you waiting for?

I’m so thankful to everyone who encouraged, supported, nudged or downright pushed me to complete this collection and I hope you’ll find a favourite somewhere amongst these new designs too!

Invitation Advisor: By The Numbers – How To Write Dates And Times On Wedding Invitations

March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Colours clock by Richard Shed

Back this week continuing our series on breaking down invitation wording and the etiquette behind it – and today, it’s by the numbers.

Well – dates and times at least!

Traditionally speaking, no numerals (numbers) would be present on an invitation at all. While certainly for very informal or modern weddings we do often now use numerals in place of words, most invitations these days still use very traditionally formatted versions of the date and time.

Which means that dates and times can be one of the trickiest parts of wedding invitation wording, because these days most people aren’t used to writing out formal dates and times – so format, capitalization and even spelling can be a challenge.

When’s the last time you wrote a friend an email and said, “Hey Bertha, can you meet me on Saturday, the twenty-seventh of March, two thousand thirteen at half past seven in the evening”? Probably never. In fact, those of us who aren’t old enough to have written cheques probably never spell out numbers higher than ten.

So, let’s look at how this info would traditionally appear on an invite:

the marriage of their children
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Jane Ann Katz 

Saturday, the twenty-ninth of December
two thousand twelve
at seven o’clock in the evening

Believe it or not, those three little lines are full of opportunities to mess things up (from a traditional etiquette, format and spelling point of view) and also some controversy thrown in for good measure. Who knew?

The Date:

Let’s start with the date, shall we?

Notice that only the day of the week (Saturday) and the month (December) are capitalized – never the day of the month. Seems pretty easy right? Maybe. How good are you at spelling ordinals (technically that’s what days of the month are ie. first, second etc.)? No sweat right – tenth, eleventh, twe…uh…twelveth? twelvth? twelfeth? twelfth? And don’t forget those hyphens if it has two words. Wait. Is seventeen one word? Or is it seven-teen? Exactly my point. You can always check out the table of ordinal numbers here if you’re unsure.

And by the way, I’ve read a few resources that will tell you to put a comma after the date on a wedding invitation. I’m here to tell you they are clearly smoking crack. Punctuation (just like abbreviations) is most unwelcome in wedding invitations, unless absolutely necessary.

Okay, so maybe the date isn’t so bad. But what about the year?

The Year:

Ooooh, the drama here folks! First, let us give thanks that it is the 21st century, and we now do not have to write things like “nineteen hundred and ninety-six”. But, those pesky 2000s (and 2010s especially) do cause their own problems.

The question of the day is: do we write the date “two thousand twelve” or “two thousand and twelve”? Or is it actually “twenty twelve”?

I’ll save you searching on Uncle Google and give it to you straight. Who knows? It’s actually quite controversial (I know, really, right?). For every “authority” you will find that says one thing, you find someone equally important who says the other.

Technically speaking, there is no black and white answer – the British tend to use the “and” while here in North America we tend not to. Both “two thousand twelve” or “two thousand and twelve” are correct; but, while it’s easiest to say “twenty twelve”, it isn’t really the formal way of spelling the year (plus it just looks yucky on an invitation – it really does).

If it’s up to me, I tend to use “two thousand twelve” – looks cleaner, less wordy, that’s my preference. Just know the whichever you choose, you aren’t really wrong!

The Time:

This another example where we almost never write out the time with words, so certain elements may be tricky.

First, format-wise, again there is no capitalization, and it’s important to note that rather than using AM or PM, the time of day is included (ie. “in the morning”, “in the afternoon”, “in the evening”).

So while it’s not that complicated if your wedding is at 7 pm (that would be seven o’clock in the evening), what if it’s at 7:30 pm?

Again, I’ve read multiple different arguments on how to word this, but traditionally speaking, you would say “half past seven in the evening”, or “half past seven o’clock in the evening”. These days it’s most commonly written without the “o’clock” and I prefer it that way myself, as I think “o’clock” actually sounds awkward in that context. It’s also acceptable to say “half after seven in the evening” and more common in the UK, Australia etc. What you don’t want to say is “seven-thirty o’clock in the evening”.

Oh, and a tip – if your ceremony is at noon, or midnight, that’s exactly the way to write in. No need to say noon o’clock or noon in the afternoon. Just plain old noon will do, since that is a specific time of the day and is not repeated.

And while we’re on the subject, do you have to specific morning/afternoon/evening? Are people really going to think your wedding is at seven-thirty in the morning? While they won’t, formally the time should either include AM or PM, or the time of day written out. Since abbreviations of any kind are a no-no for formal invites, you should in fact include the time of day (and it just sounds nice).

Now on to controversy number two – when does afternoon end and evening begin?

Traditional speaking, afternoon would be considered noon until 6 pm, and then evening from 6 pm onwards. There are some that would say evening begins at 5pm – not sure where that comes from to be honest, but I’ve seen some serious internet throw-downs on this topic.

When it comes to invitations, most etiquette mavens will tell you that indeed, evening begins at 6 pm, so if your ceremony is at 5:30 pm, you’ll need to say “half past five in the afternoon” rather than “half past five in the evening”. Frankly, “half past five in the evening” just sounds really wrong to me somehow; but, that said, I don’t think you’ll be tarred and feathered if you feel it makes more sense to you.

And that brings me to…

Do I really have to follow this traditional/formal stuff anyway?

If you’re a frequent reader of The Invitation Blog, you know the answer already. No, you don’t. While I would say that most of our clients actually do place a lot of importance on their invitation being “correct”, we also do invitations often that bend or break the rules above, but there is one important thing that makes it work – it fits the event. Writing the time informally on your invite as “7:30 pm” is fine, if you are having a more casual wedding or have chosen a very modern invitation style. If you are having a huge formal affair – probably not appropriate.

You know what “fits” you and your event – if you’re throwing a backyard do and would never be caught dead saying “half past seven in the evening”, then go for whatever works for you.

So, did you know there was so much controversy and drama involved with dates and times?

Next week we’ll dial back on the drama and talk about something fairly straightforward(ish) – venues and reception wording!

Announcing Hitched by Hip Ink: Eye Candy Part 4

March 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

Whew! Thanks for sticking with us – proud to show off the last 5 designs of the brand new Hitched by Hip Ink invitation collection!


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Stay tuned – more details on Hitched to come next week 🙂

Announcing Hitched by Hip Ink: Eye Candy Part 3

March 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

And we’re back…lots more eye candy to come!


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Finally, we round out the rest of the collection in just 15 minutes 🙂

Announcing Hitched by Hip Ink: Eye Candy Part 2

March 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

Ready for more? Here we go!


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Next up, Part 3 in 15 minutes 🙂

Where Am I?

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