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!

Big News: Hitched by Hip Ink Has Arrived…Sort Of!

March 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

Have you ever had one of those days? When it seems that technology has forsaken you? Yep…that’s today (and yesterday, and most of the day before), which so happens to coincide with the launch of our brand new Hitched by Hip Ink invitation collection.

Sort of…I say sort of because our new Etsy store that was supposed to be ready to show off all our fab new designs is not quite ready for it’s big debut – that will be early next week though, I promise!

But, I won’t let some pesky tech issues keep me from showing off our twenty new Hitched designs…nuh uh. In fact, I am going to post them right here, right now over four posts – so get ready y’all 😉

First up, some of my favourites:


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Woo – 5 down and 15 go. Watch this space over the next hour for 3 more posts full of Hitched eye-candy just for you!

Day 29, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends 2012 – Eco-Friendly

December 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Aspen invitation suite by Bloomin’ Invitations

Eco-friendly is certainly a buzzword these days, and it is definitely emerging as a trend in the wedding world – although describing it as a trend may not be the best fit, as we may very well see the eco-movement change the world of weddings in the coming years. But for now, just work with me – we’ll consider it a trend; call it eco-friendly, green, environmentally responsible or any number of other things, but a growing number of couples are placing greater importance on how the products (and services in some cases) they purchase for their big day are manufactured, and issues of biodegradability, sustainability, recycling etc.

Paper is certainly a big one on that list – traditional paper is produced from trees and processed with chemicals etc.  In response to customer demand there are a growing number of paper manufacturers who are changing they way they process their papers, and providing more options with recycled content (there are now a number of 100% recycled stocks out there that are perfect for use on invitations projects), as well as interest in related paper materials that are much “greener” than traditional papers – things like seeded paper, wood veneer and bamboo/cotton papers.

Seeded paper (shown above in the suite from Bloomin’ Invitations) is made from 100% recycled, post-consumer paper and embedded with wildflower seeds. At Bloomin’, they actually print their seeded paper with natural biodegradable inks that do not compromise the seed’s ability to grow, and all of their cardstock is FSC-certified. Not only that, but since 2010 they have been using a complete 30kW solar energy system, which offsets all of the power used.

Wood veneer is available from a number of sources and is a much more eco-responsible choice as it does not require the breakdown and chemical processing of standard papers – it’s simply a thinly-sliced sheet of real, natural untreated wood.

There are also beautiful cotton and bamboo papers available, which allow you to choose a completely tree-free options. Cotton papers are generally made from recycled content (for example, Crane Lettra – a favourite for letterpress printing – is made from reclaimed cotton fibers from the fashion industry) and bamboo papers are made from fast-growing bamboo fibers, which are a much more quickly renewable resource.

There are also eco-friendly printing options out there as well, with printers available that can print from vegetable-based dyes etc.

While I recognize, of course, that e-mail and digital invitations can also fall into this eco-friendly category, but there are so many eco-responsible choices out there that I’d like to think it’s easy these days to choose a invitation that is beautiful, personal, easy on the environment and still tangible (after all, showing your grandkids an email of your wedding invitation just isn’t quite the same).

Day 28, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends 2012 – Unusual Materials

December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Copperfield invitation suite by Twig & Fig

An emerging trend in the high-end/luxury invitation world in 2011 was using unusual materials and textures in invitations suites – everything from metal and acrylic to wood and fabric, there seemed to be an endless supply of unique invitation eye-candy out there. I’m definitely not complaining – I love the idea of using unusual papers and other materials in creating invitations, and it’s these types of invites that will definitely surprise and delight your guests.

Consider the invite above, created by the über-creative Twig and Fig. The Copperfield suite is screen-printed on rusted metal with a wood backer and suede envelope, and the matching program fan has a laser-cut (which you’ll be seeing more of in 2012 as well) wood cover and leather/brass fastener – a rustic and beautiful mix of completely unexpected materials and textures. Twig and Fig are masters of using amazing specialty papers and unique materials in their couture invitations, providing a big impact for clients and their guests.

Obviously, when considering new and different materials, cost is certainly a factor – in many cases, non-paper materials can only be printed by certain specialty processes. For example, things like screen printing and laser-engraving both tend to work well on a variety of substrates, but will definitely add to the cost of your wedding invitation suite. Add to that the actual cost of the material itself, and it’s no wonder that this trend has pretty much stayed within the upper-echelons of custom invitations.

But, I think that in 2012, we’ll see that trend “trickle down” a bit to more mainstream invitations, and as some of these print processes become more common for wedding invitations and more widely available, you’ll likely begin to see things like wood veneer and acrylic used more often in both custom and album invitations as well.

Looking to incorporate this trend into your wedding invitations, but working with a modest budget? Concentrate on specialty papers that have the “look” of other materials (like shiny crocodile skin paper or thin cork veneer), and use them as accents with your invitation printed on a standard paper. Or, incorporate other materials as embellishments – use shells, paper flowers, wooden buttons – anything that makes sense with your overall theme and design.

Day 27, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends 2012 – Pattern

December 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ikaty invitation suite by Bella Figura

Pattern definitely became a trend in the world of stationery and invitations in 2011, and I think you’ll see it emerge in the wedding industry overall in 2012.

There were a few that were suddenly everywhere when it came to paper goods in 2011 – chevron, quatrefoil and ikat (and yes, the ever-present damask was still hanging around as well). It’s not so much *which* patterns are used, but how they are incorporated, and I think you’ll see all sorts of patterns showing up on invitations over the next year.

It’s my fervent hope that damask takes a break in 2011, but I think the others will continue to be popular (and more mainstream) in 2012, not just in paper good for weddings, but as part of overall wedding decor. I think we’ll see patterned used more overall when it comes to cakes, linens, lighting etc.

We’ll also see a variety of options as to where those patterns are placed – not just on invitations or on envelope liners, but on insert cards, on envelopes themselves, on the backside of printed cards, as belly bands, as part of wedding signage…well, I could go on, but you get the idea!

So, what other patterns might be emerging in 2012?

Trends in weddings and paper goods do often follow those in fashion and home decor, so you’re likely to see the emergence of soft florals (think watercolour, impressionist etc.), strong geometrics (colour-block, line-art etc.) and ethnic and culturally-based patterns (batik, tribal etc.), adding to the continued strong showing of small geometric based patterns.

Care for a peek at one that I know is going to be a fave in 2012?


The beautiful pattern above is Trellis, one of the brand new patterns from Envelopments for 2012, and features hand-painted art by the amazing Kristy Rice of Momental Designs. Can’t wait to use this for one of our 2012 brides!

Day 26, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends for 2012 – Colours

December 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

My favourite series of posts during last years original 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December was on wedding invitations trends for 2011, sooooo – I thought we’d revisit the same topic again during this year’s 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December: The Redux, and talk about some trends for 2012.

As an aside, and not to toot my own horn *but*…I think we were pretty dead-on last year about the invitation trends that would take over in 2011 😉

First up this year, we’re talking colour (and boy do I love talking about it). And what better place to start than with Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Tangerine Tango:

Pantone are the defacto colour experts, and their pick for this year’s hot colour is this hot red-orange. Interestingly, it pairs really well with another colour I think will be hot this year, which is teal – gorgeous colour combo, bright and dramatic!

I think in the wedding world (including invitations) there are always really three “groups” of colours – brights, pastels and neturals.

For 2012, I think brights will be coming back in a big way. We’ve had a few years of pastels and neutrals (and metallics) really leading the way, especially with the rustic/vintage trends happening at the same time, but I think 2012 will see trends shift slightly back towards more modern weddings, making way for some big, bright and bold colours.

Expect to see clear, bright tones – rather than rich ones – I think that orange will become hot and yellow will stay hot as well, and I definitely think we’ll be seeing teal become quite popular, as well as pink and red being used in more adventurous and unexpected colour combinations. I think purple and blue may be the two exceptions this year, with the hot colours tending towards deeper and warmer tones – think fig instead of amethyst or navy instead of sapphire.

Pastels are still going to be a contender in 2012 though, don’t count them out. I think you’ll continue to see pastels used as part of a greater overall colour scheme, rather than as a single overriding colour. Vintage and rustic themes will continue to be popular in 2012, which lend themselves easily to dusty pastel combinations – think rose, peach and sage green, as an example – and I think we’ll continue to see pastels used in palettes that combine multiple soft colours and textures to achieve a more natural look.

Neutrals never go out of style, but I think we may see a shift in the kinds of naturals that are being mixed into colour schemes this year. While the trend has been brown, grey and soft taupe and beige, I think we’ll be seeing a shift towards cleaner neutrals – bright white instead of off-white or cream, black instead of brown. Grey and navy will still continue to be popular, but they likely won’t be 2012’s main neutrals.

While I think that the rustic/vintage trend will continue to be fairly strong in 2012, I think we will be starting to see it decline and a more modern aesthetic re-emerge.  With that shift towards more modern affairs (both casual and formal), we’re likely to see a lot of bold and dramatic colour combinations this year – and I can’t wait!

31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December: The Redux

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hey all,

I’ve been neglecting The Invitation Blog since I got back – still recovering from my vacation! Ever feel like you need another vacation from the vacation you just took? I’m there my friends.

But today brings something I’ve been looking forward to with glee/fear/remorse/excitement/wtf-was-i-thinking-ness….

So, I let it slip a couple of weeks ago that this December we’ll be revisiting last Decembers blog-a-day post-a-palooza I lovingly refer to as “31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December”.

[You can click here to visit last years intro post with links to all of the posts from December 2010]

Yes, it’s true – 31 all-new blog posts (no re-posts allowed) to help couples navigate the sometimes confusing world of wedding invitations and stationery.

So what the heck could I be rambling on about for 31 days straight – trust me, I’ve asked myself the same question! I decided to concentrate on some of the things that I find most couples come to me not knowing a thing about (but not anymore!)…

First up is etiquette – yes, I’ve written quite a bit on etiquette in the past, but this will be a little different. We’re going to examine traditional etiquette, modern etiquette and what couples are doing right now – things like wording, inserts, addressing etc.

Then, I’ve decided to dedicate a week to printing methods (which we oh-so-briefly touched on in one post last December) – it is truly an important aspect of any invitation (both when it comes to design as well as budget considerations) and I think many couples come into this crazy wedding stationery world completely unaware of the types of printing available – how they work, what the limitations are and what you can expect to spend.

On to something that I know is a big deal these days – an entire week of posts demystifying the wedding stationery budget (small ones, big ones, non-existant ones and crazy sky-high ones). Each post will examine a specific price range and the types of invitations that you can expect to find that will fit that budget – while it won’t solve any champagne dreams on a beer budget, it will give couples some realistic information on what they should expect to be available in the price range they are comfortable with.

Finally, we’re bringing back our most popular series of last year –  a week of posts all about wedding invitation trends for 2012 (colours, patterns, materials, oh my!). Our posts on 2011 trends remain some of the most read on The Invitation Blog, which tells me that someone out there will probably interested in what’s hot for 2012.

One twist this year: on weekends I’ll be posting a look back at 10 of my favourite Hip Ink invites from the past year – some of which are brand new and have not been featured on the blog previously (I highly recommend checking out December 30th, for my absolute favourite!).

Of course we’ll wrap up with a look back at 2011 at Hip Ink, and a look forward 2012 and lots of the exciting changes ahead.

And it all starts tomorrow, December 1. Last year I started off with a little comedy, and tomorrow I’ve got a post that I guarantee will amuse some of you…just wait and see 😉

Grab your jingle bells and let’s get this!

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